"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever ..." (John 14:16)
"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:26)
This lesson explains 1) Who is the Helper?, 2) Why did Jesus ask the Father to send his disciples another Helper?, and 3) How does the Helper -- the Holy Spirit -- aid us as believers in Christ today?
The scripture references in this lesson are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) and the New American Standard Bible (NASB) (Ref. 1, Ref. 2).
Consider. How have you experienced the Holy Spirit helping you in your life? How would you like the Holy Spirit to help you in your life going forward?
On the night before his crucifixion and death, Jesus spoke with his remaining disciples to prepare them for his departure (John 13:33, 14:1-2). Judas Iscariot had already left to betray Jesus and was not the beneficiary of these promises (John13:26-30). Jesus told his disciples, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever ..." (John 14:16).
Who is the Helper?
In John 14:16, the Greek word for "Helper" is paraklétos (pronounced par-ak'-lay-tos), and means one who is called to the aid of another (Ref. 3, Ref. 4). Paraklétos signifies "an advocate in a court of law, but more widely a helper in any form whatsoever" (Ref. 4). The ESV, NIV, and KJV translate paraklétos as "Helper," "Advocate," and "Comforter" respectively. Jesus identifies the Helper as the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). Jesus also describes the Helper as the "Spirit of truth" in John 14:17, 15:26, and 16:13.
Why did Jesus ask the Father to send his disciples another Helper?
Jesus was about to leave his disciples through his suffering and death on a cross (John 19:1-3, 19:15-19). After his resurrection, Jesus would go to the Father (John 14:2, 16:28; 20:17, Acts 1:8-9). Jesus' disciples would need another Helper -- someone to be the strong continuer of Jesus' presence, to be their permanent companion (Ref.4). The Helper would teach them all things and would guide them into all the truth (John 14:26, 16:13).
The Helper would "be with" and "be in" (after Pentecost) Jesus' disciples permanently. Whereas Jesus during his earthly ministry was with them for three years, the Helper -- the Holy Spirit -- would be with them (and is with us as Jesus' disciples) to the end of time (John 14:16-17, Ref.4).
Jesus' disciples also need to be strengthened and power-filled by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mission Jesus sends us to in an unfriendly world (Mark 13:9-11, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 1:8).
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives as believers in Christ?
How does the Holy Spirit help us?
The following scriptures describe the many ways the Holy Spirit helps us as people who believe in and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
The Holy Spirit is with us and dwells in us permanently. John 14:16-17
The Holy Spirit strengthens us and is our spiritual companion forever.
The Holy Spirit teaches us all things and calls to our remembrance all that Jesus has said to us. John 14:26
The Holy Spirit especially is our teacher for helping us to understand God's word.
The Holy Spirit bears witness to us about Jesus and helps us bear witness about Jesus to others. John 15:26-27
The Spirit of truth guides us into all the truth. John 16:13
The Greek word for truth in the New Testament is alétheia, pronounced phonetically as "al-ay'-thi-a." In ancient Greek culture, alétheia was synonymous for "reality" as the opposite of illusion, i.e., fact (Ref. 5). Jesus not only taught the truth but also is the truth (John 14:6).
The Holy Spirit gives us power to be Jesus' witnesses wherever God sends us at home or abroad in the world. Acts 1:8, 1 Thessalonians 1:5
The Holy Spirit gives us the words to speak when we face trials, persecution, and suffering for our faith in Christ. Mark 13:9-11
The Holy Spirit guides us in what to do (Acts 10:19-20) and where to go (Acts 16:6-10).
The Holy Spirit helps us to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Romans 8:13-14
The Holy Spirit helps us to know that we are the adopted children of our heavenly Father. Romans 8:16, Galatians 4:6, Ephesians 1:3-5
The Holy Spirit intercedes for us and helps us to pray. Romans 8:26
The Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving others and building up the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:4-12
The Holy Spirit's work in us helps us to bear spiritual fruit that benefits ourselves as well as others. Galatians 5:22-23
The Holy Spirit strengthens us with power in our inner being whether we are men, women, or children. Ephesians 3:14-16
The Holy Spirit fills us with rivers of living water so we can be a spiritual blessing that refreshes and comforts others. John 7:38-39
The presence, companionship, and strengthening of the indwelling Holy Spirit is Jesus' gift to all who put their faith and trust in him. Thanks be to God for such a precious gift!
Apply. If you are not yet a believer in Jesus Christ, confess your sins to him, yield control of your life fully to him, and he will fill you with the Holy Spirit. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, thank God each day for the presence of the Holy Spirit with you and for helping you to understand and apply God's word to your life. Thank God for the Holy Spirit guiding you in making godly decisions and for strengthening you through the challenges -- and for some of you, persecution -- you are going through. Thank God for the Holy Spirit helping you to discern, to prepare for, and to do boldly the life work that God reveals to you to do in Jesus' name.
"The Spirit of Truth" - John 16:13
"Jesus is the Truth" - John 14:6
"Adoption as Sons" - Ephesians 1:4-5
"Characteristics of a Child of God - Part 1" - Matthew 7:16
"What is Living Water in the Bible?" - John 4:10
MacLaren Expositions of Holy Scripture - John 14:16-17
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV)
This lesson explains the meaning of Hebrews 4:16.
Consider. In what area of your life do you need God's mercy and grace to help you with temptation, weakness, or a "storm" that you are going through?
The scripture references below are from the New King James Version (NKJV) unless noted otherwise (Ref. 1).
1. Come boldly to the throne of grace
a. Come boldly
In the first part of Hebrews 4:16, the author of states, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace." "Come" means draw near or approach (Ref. 2). "Boldly" means with confidence (Ref. 3). The "therefore" at the beginning of the verse points to two reasons why we can draw near with confidence to God:
(1). Jesus, as our high priest, has opened the way for us to God's presence in heaven (Hebrews 4:14, 9:24, 10:19 NLT). Recall that when Jesus died, the veil of the temple separating people from God was torn in two (Mark 15:37-38).
(2). Jesus, more so than any other, understands our weaknesses and temptations. Jesus, was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
Because Jesus Christ has paid with his life the atonement for our sins once and for all time, we can come to God boldly, with confidence (Hebrews 9:11-12 NASB). We come not trusting in our ourselves but in the merits of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
b. To the throne of grace
Let us rejoice that there "is" a throne of grace and not of "justice" only (Ref. 4). The Greek word for "throne" literally means a (king's) seat, and metaphorically refers to God in heaven (Ref. 5). "Grace" is God's favor towards us. God freely gives us his grace because God is inclined to bless us (Ref. 6).
Because Jesus now is at the right hand of God's throne, the throne of God has become the throne of grace (Hebrews 8:1, 12:2). From generation to generation, from every land, and in every language, God may be approached. In all times of our weaknesses and temptation, we may be assured that he is on that throne (Ref. 4). At any time, 24/7, we may approach God with confidence to receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
2. Receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need
At God's throne of grace, we receive mercy (Hebrews 4:16 ESV). Mercy is God's compassion towards us in our sin-full and hurt-full condition (Ref. 7). In the same way that Jesus had compassion on and touched and healed the leper and forgave the paralytic, God reaches out in mercy and compassion and touches us where we hurt and need healing and forgiveness (Mark 1:40-42, 2:1-5). By God's mercy he offers us salvation in Christ (Titus 3:4-5 ESV). By God's love and mercy, even when we were dead in our trespasses, God "made us alive together with Christ" (Ephesians 2:4-5).
At God's throne of grace, we find grace. Grace is God's favor towards us (Ref. 6). Grace is a blessing and a free gift. Grace is totally undeserved. By God's grace, Jesus forgave the men who nailed him to the cross (Luke 23:33-34). By God's grace, the Apostle Paul found the sufficiency of God's power to help him in his weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). By God's grace, even though we are saved already through faith in Christ, God helps us when we are going through a tough time such as a loss, temptation, persecution, or poor health. By God's grace, God has given us the gifts of salvation and eternal life (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23).
At God's throne of grace, we receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). The Greek word translated as "help" [boétheia] in this verse occurs only twice in the New Testament -- in Hebrews 4:16 and Acts 27:17 (KJV) -- and has a nautical meaning (Ref. 8).
Recall that in Acts 27:14-17 the Apostle Paul was traveling to Rome on a ship that was caught in a severe storm. The sailors were losing control of the ship and feared running aground. In Acts 27:17 (read in KJV) the sailors wrapped supporting ropes or cables called "helps" [boétheia] around the wooden hull of their ship from stem to stern to hold the planks of the ship tightly together during the storm (Ref. 8, Ref.9).
In the same way the ancient mariners used "helps" to wrap around, undergird, and support their vessels in storms, God provides his help to support us and hold us together when we are going through the storms of life.
God's mercy and grace always are available to help us at the time we need (Ref. 10). This is encouraging news indeed. When we have trials and temptations, we can come boldly to God's throne to receive mercy and find grace to help us at any time. As author Dillon Burroughs has correctly concluded, "God is never late and rarely early. He is always exactly right on time -- His time" (Ref. 11).
Listen, watch, and sing along in your heart with this video of Alan Jackson singing, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." Note the words, "Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer!" (Ref. 12).
Prayer. Dear Jesus, thank you that by your sacrifice for us, we can boldly approach you. Thank you for understanding our trials and temptations. We need your mercy and grace. In your graciousness, forgive our sins and fill us with your presence. Strengthen us, support us, and surround us with your grace so we with your help will be victorious over sin and will come safely through the storms we are experiencing. We give you all the praise, glory, and honor. In your precious name we pray. Amen.
"The Meaning of God’s Favor" -- Psalm 30:5
"Made Alive Together with Christ - A New Quality of Life" -- Ephesians 2:4-5
Barnes Notes on the Bible - Commentary on Hebrews 4:16
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers - Acts 27:17
"God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)
This lesson explains God's promise to be the refuge, strength, and help of his people (Psalm 46:1).
Consider. Do you need God's help and strength for what you are facing today? How can you better experience God's protection as your refuge?
God is Our Refuge
The Bible tells us that God is our place of safety and protection from danger and distress. A refuge is a place where we go, and while we are inside, we are protected because our refuge surrounds us as our defense. David writes, "For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy" (Psalm 61:3). Solomon writes, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe" (Proverbs 18:10). David tells us from his own experience, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them" (Psalm 34:7, italics added).
The Bible provides several clear images for God as our refuge - a tower that we run into (Psalm 61:3, Proverbs 18:10), our shelter from the storm (Isaiah 25:4), our rock and fortress (Psalm 18:2), our shield (Psalm 28:7), and our hiding place (Psalm 32:7).
God is Our Strength
Note that Psalm 46:1 does not just say "God is strong" (which he is). This scripture verse says that God is our strength. We who are God's people can receive, experience, and apply God's strength to face our enemies such as worry, fear, discouragement, and opposition. God gives us the strength to accomplish the work he gives us to do in the face of these enemies.
The Apostle Paul knew that God was his strength. Paul wrote during his imprisonment, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13). God provides strength to the believer to accomplish what God gives the believer faith to do (1 John 5:4). As believers, we need God's strength when we encounter resistance and trials. God provides us that strength.
Hymn composer Will L. Thompson (1847-1909) writes, "Jesus is all the world to me, My life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, Without him I would fall" (Ref. 1). David writes, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him" (Psalm 28:7).
God is a Very Present (Proven) Help in Trouble
The word for help means aid, assistance (Ref. 2, Ref. 3). The word translated as present means proven to be (Ref. 4), that is, God is proven to be our help in trouble. The word very means exceedingly, emphasizing that this statement is true (Ref. 5, Ref. 6). Because God is proven to be our help in trouble, we have nothing to fear (Psalm 46:2).
David writes, "For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy" (Psalm 63:7). The writer of Hebrews states, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6).
Summary. Let's review the main principles in this lesson.
1. God is our "go to" place for refuge, safety, and protection from danger. God surrounds us as our defense.
2. God is our source of strength to face our enemies and to do the work he gives us to do.
3. God is proven to be our help in trouble, and we have nothing to fear, repeat, we have nothing to fear.
Apply. Take time now to pray. Thank God for being your refuge - your protection, your place of safety. Ask God to give you strength and faith to face your enemies and to do the work that God has given you to do. Thank God that because of him you have nothing to fear.
Listen to/Watch Video. "A Mighty Fortress" sung by HeartSong - Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio, USA.
"Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's." (2 Chronicles 20:15)
This article presents five steps to deal with our personal crises - steps that are scriptural, methodical, and effective. All of us at times either have faced or will face personal crises. Circumstances like this strike at the core of our being – physical, spiritual, and emotional. The Bible is a great comfort to us any time, but especially during difficult times - such as the times we are going through now.
Step 1: Recall God's Promises
The first place to turn to is to the Bible. Get your attention off of your problem and on to God. Read and meditate upon God’s promises. This step has a vastly therapeutic effect.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling." (Psalm 46:1-3)
For your encouragement, I have included links to 26 additional "promises passages" from God's word. You may see all of the verses listed below written out in just one click here (Ref. 1 - "Bible Verses for Times of Crisis").
God's promises verses: Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Psalm 16:8; Psalm 23:1; Psalm 27:1; Psalm 34:4; Psalm 34:7; Psalm 55:22; Psalm 56:3-4; Psalm 68:19-20; Psalm 91:1-6; Psalm 103:1-5; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 26:3-4; Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:2; Matthew 11:28; John 14:27; Romans 8:28; Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:6-7; Philippians 4:19; Hebrews 6:19; 1 Peter 5:6-7; Revelation 21:4.
Read your Bible regularly, not just when you have a crisis. Memorize scripture verses. That way, when a crisis arises, you can immediately draw upon familiar, comforting words of scripture, and you will be well-equipped to deal with difficult situations when they occur (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Step 2: Trust in God Through Prayer
Prayer is an open conversation with God. Even a short prayer, "Help me," is long enough. Talk with God and ask him to take care of your problem. Trust God to act (Proverbs 3:5-6). Ask God to take care of your problem according to God's will, not your own (1 John 5:14-15). Trust that God is in control of the situation.
Step 3: Solicit Prayer Support from other Christians
Other Christians can bring you much encouragement by praying with you or for you. Share your need or concern with Christian friends, and ask for their prayers. When you are "down," others can pray from strength and lift you up. "Plug in" with one or more small groups of Christians, for example, a Bible study or prayer group, or a fellowship group. Small groups can provide you tremendous personal support (Matthew 18:19-20; Galatians 6:2; James 5:16).
Step 4: Believe that God Will Act
Keep the faith. Remember that you have prayed. Keep on praying. Don’t give up. Feed your faith, not your doubts. Whichever one you feed will grow (Luke 18:1-8; Mark 9:21-24; Psalm 37:5; Hebrews 11:1). God will do what he promises.
Step 5: Testify Publicly to the Results that God Provides
Tell others how God answers your prayers. By this, you will encourage other people. Jesus expects you to “go public” with your testimony about his work in your life – that God may be glorified (Matthew 10:32; Mark 5:18-20; Psalm 66:16, 1 Peter 3:15).
Praise God that God's word never passes away (Matthew 24:35)! We can always count on God to help us through difficult times. God's promises are true and everlasting.
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Mr. Whitney V. Myers. Christian. For more information, please visit the Author Page.
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