Bible Study Series: Holy Spirit - Roles, Types and Imagery
The Holy Spirit - Our Helper
by I Gordon
- We'll drill down into this verse in John 14:16 where Jesus spoke of this Helper that will be with believers forever
- We'll explore two Old Testament types/pictures of the Helper
- We'll look at what Jesus said the Helper would do
- We'll see how the Helper worked in the early Church and can do in your life
- I will ask the Father and He will give... We see first of all that the Holy Spirit is a gift from the Father. It was the Father's love that led Him to give his only begotten Son (John 3:16) to save the world. Here we see that He also gave the Holy Spirit. The first gift enabled the way for the second. The first gift cleansed the temple of our bodies so that it could be filled with the second gift. He gave the first to set us free from the penalty of sin. He sent the second to set us free from the power of sin. Both blessings were from the Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift comes from!
- He will give you another Helper... This word 'another' is interesting in the Greek. There are two prominent words for 'another' in Greek.
i) 'heteros' – speaks of another of a different sort or kind
ii) 'allos' – speaks of another of the same sort or kind
So, for example, let's say that I break my tennis racket and mention that I'm going to get another one. In English you now know that I'm going to get another one but you wouldn't know whether I am going to buy the same type of racket or not. But if I said it in Greek you would know. Well, if you spoke Greek you would. Otherwise you'd look at me slightly odd wondering what was all that?
So when Jesus said that the Father would give another Helper which Greek word did He use? Yes, that's right... 'Allos' - another of the same kind. If the Holy Spirit is another of the same kind, who was the first that the Spirit would be like? That is obviously an easy one... it is Jesus. What Jesus had been to the believers, the Holy Spirit, the Helper, would now be. Yet this new Helper would not be restricted to time and space as Jesus was in His humanity. He could be with believers in Jerusalem, Bethany, Samaria and to the outer parts of the world (like New Zealand... thankfully!)
- Give you another Helper.. A Helper... the Greek word for Helper is 'paraklētos' and is only used by the Apostle John in the Bible (John 14:16, John 15:26, John 16:7, 1John 2:1). It has the thought of 'encourage, comfort and exhort'. Someone who 'comes alongside'. Here is how the Amplified Bible expounds on this word:
Joh 14:16 AMP And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever.
So Jesus was saying to His disciples that what I have been to you - your comforter, your counselor, your teacher, your helper, your advocate, your strengthener, the One who stands with and alongside you... the Holy Spirit will be for you, all of you, for all time!
So easy quiz starter - How many helpers 'Parakletos' are mentioned in scripture for the believer in this age of grace? There are two:
- We have Jesus before the Father - 1Jn 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate (paráklētos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
- We have the Holy Spirit with us - Joh 14:26 "But the Helper (paráklētos), 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 said to you.
And both act as a paráklētos (helper / one alongside) interceding for us. Can you think of any scriptures about this?1
Eliezer is the name of servant sent by the father to receive a bride for his son. So... next question... what then does Eliezer mean? It is the Hebrew word 'eliyezer' which is derived from two words 'El' (God/Almighty) and 'Ezer' (help). So Eliezer means the God of Help. There is the Helper again! I really like that. What great pictures God places in His word to confirm what He would do even thousands of years later! The very one that is sent from the father to receive a bride for his son, has a name that points to God as our helper. What a perfect pointer to the person and role of the Holy Spirit!
Eve would be a helper to Adam. As a picture, Adam and Eve are a type of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:31-32) and just as Eve was to help Adam, so the bride of Christ is a 'help' to the Lord in His work both in this age and the one to come. When Jesus is ruling and reigning over this Earth in His Kingdom, the church will be helping in that rule and reign with Him. So the Holy Spirit is a helper to us, so that we, in return, can help in the work of the Lord.2
|Name meaning||Type / Picture / Meaning|
'Drawn or taken out'
|Moses was named because he was 'drawn or taken out' of the Nile (Exodus 2:10). He would later be 'taken out' of Egypt when he escaped for his life. Later he would return to take all of Israel out of Egypt. Moses' name speaks of our position as believers in Christ. While still living in this world (for the meantime!) we have been chosen from amongst the many in this world. We are not of the world. And the day is coming when we too, at the rapture of the Church, will be 'taken out' completely from this world.|
'A stranger here'
|Gershom was named because Moses, after leaving Egypt, felt like a stranger in Midian. As believers, we too are called 'strangers, aliens, exiles' (Heb 11:13, 1 Pet 2:11). We are not at home living here and our heart should be for another place - the heavenly home that is being prepared for us. Is that how you feel? Living in this world at this time especially can certainly mess with your head! Everything is reversed and confusion and ungodliness reigns. As believers, this feeling of being a stranger isn't something strange. It comes from the inner voice of the Helper reminding you that this is not your home3. For this the men and women of old were commended and so are we:
Heb 11:13-16 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
'God of help'
|Though he had left the worldly attractions of Egypt, and felt for a time like a stranger in Midian, what did Moses find? Though separated from 'the world' Moses found God to be his helper. God was with Moses and helped him through. And thus he names his next son 'Eliezer' - in honour of the 'God of help'. This also is a pointer to our life as believers. We are strangers here as mentioned above but have been given the 'Helper' - the precious Holy Spirit, who comforts, strengthens and encourages us on our path. Then one day, like Rebekah leaving her home and finally seeing Isaac, we will be 'taken out' of this world to be with our Lord and we shall no longer be exiles or strangers... we shall feel (and be) right at home! Home at last!|
- Brings comfort, encouragement & help:
Joh 14:16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
- Teaches us and remind us of what Jesus taught:
Joh 14:26 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 said to you.
- Witnesses to Christ and helps us witness:
Joh 15:26-27 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, (27) and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
- Convicts the world of sin:
Joh 16:8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
- Guides believers into truth:
Joh 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak;
- Gives understanding of future events:
Joh 16:13 ...and He will disclose to you what is to come.
- Brings glory to Jesus:
Joh 16:14 "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.
We've seen above that the word Helper contains the thought of one who stands with you and is a comforter, counselor, intercessor, advocate and strengthener. So how did this work out for the early Church? Have you thought what role the Holy Spirit played in the formation and development of the early Church? Here are some quick examples of the Helper's presence and work from the book of Acts:
- Empowered believers with spiritual gifts: Act 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
- Gave boldness in speaking God's word:
Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
- Gave wisdom over their adversaries;
Act 6:10 But they (Jewish leaders) were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he (Stephen) was speaking.
- Comforted believers and brought increase:
Act 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
- Gave direction in where to go and who to trust:
Act 11:12 "The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings. These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man's house.
- Gave knowledge of future events:
Act 11:28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.
- Set apart certain people for the Gospel work:
Act 13:2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
- Brought joy to the disciples:
Act 13:52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
- Instructed the leaders with important teaching:
Act 15:28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:
- Opened and closed doors on where and where not to minister:
Act 16:6 They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;
- Compelled believers forward even when afflictions and trials awaited:
Act 20:22 "And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. Act 21:11 And coming to us, he took Paul's belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, "This is what the Holy Spirit says: 'In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'"
Col 1:10-12 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (11) being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully (12) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
But we all need the Helper no matter what we are experiencing. There have been times when I was really desperate and cried out to hear God's voice - and the Spirit, our helper, spoke. He has spoken with words of encouragement, words of hope for the future, words of wisdom for decisions and strength for the day. I can certainly testify to also receiving the Spirit's help in gaining some little insight into God's word that I can then pass on to others, God has been incredibly faithful to me over the years as I have tried to give back to His body. And we need truth and discernment from the Spirit to navigate through this world of fog. The fact is we all live in a world that is changing rapidly. Whether we are talking financial, health, moral or technological changes, sometimes it is hard to keep up. There is no doubting that we all need the Helper more and more - even just to get through the day it seems sometimes!
“The sign that the Holy Ghost is in us is that we realise, not that we are full, but that we are empty, there is a sense of absolute need.”
Oswald Chambers, If Ye Shall Ask: A Book Of Devotional Readings
You have probably heard people say that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. While that isn't a Biblical phrase as such it does express the Biblical idea that the Holy Spirit does not force Himself upon anyone, but looks to our desire and requests for His help. So again... A lot of the time we live self-sufficient lives, doing all that we can to make sure we have all that we need in every area. But God's grace, which is dispensed through the Helper, is perfected in weakness. It is the opposite of what our natural flesh wants and thinks.
“The Holy Spirit has not only power, but He has the Spirit of love. He is troubled over this dark world and is troubled over our country. He is concerned about every sphere of work within it, and He is willing to bless. Why isn't there more blessing? There can only be one answer. We have not honored the Holy Spirit as we should have done. Is there anyone who can honestly say that we have? Every thoughtful and sincere heart should be ready to cry out, 'God, forgive me that I have not honored the Holy Spirit as I should have done, that I have grieved Him, that I have allowed self and the flesh and my own will to work where the Holy Spirit should have been honored. May You forgive me that I have allowed self and the flesh and the will to have the place that You intended for the Holy Spirit.”
Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender
i) Heb 7:24-25 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
ii) Rom 8:26-27 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Not that God needs our help. He can achieve His purposes without any of us helping at all. And yet He has chosen to include us, and the angels for that matter, right in the middle of those plans and use us in this great plan and work. And by doing so we get to learn so much more about this incredible God!
And to be fair, the 6 o'clock news is also a good reminder that you were made for somewhere else and something better! C.S Lewis said "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." Too true but it is not just unsatisfied desires that tell us this. When we look at what the world believes and loves and promotes, it is easy to see and think "ok, I'm clearly in the wrong place!"