And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
The Holy Spirit, although the most active, potent, and real worker in the world, is not discerned by the mass of mankind, who are affected only by what they see, or hear, or feel. The vital distinction between the man of God and the man of the world is this: the man of God knows the Holy Spirit, for He is with him and dwelleth in him; but the man of the world knows not the Holy Ghost.
I. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS KNOWN TO BELIEVERS THROUGH HIS OPERATIONS IN THEM AND UPON THEM.
1. We have seen the operations of the Holy Spirit in the Church at large —
(1) It was the Holy Spirit who at the very first formed the Church; who called out the chosen ones, quickened them, made them living stones fit to be builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit; who binds these living stones together, for all Christian unity comes from Him as the Spirit of peace, the Holy Dove proceeding from the Father.
(2) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Church is as manifest to many of us as any other great fact can possibly be. Even when we have doubted whether we ourselves possessed the Spirit, we have been charmed to see his work in others. We have seen conversions which nothing but Omnipotence could have wrought; we have seen graces exemplified which unaided human nature could not have produced.
2. The works of the Holy Spirit within a regenerate man find an illustration in the work of the Holy Spirit upon the person of our Lord, our Covenant Head and Representative.
(1) Christ was not born at Bethlehem without the Spirit of God, neither is He born in our hearts.
(2) Although Christ was baptized by man with water, He was also baptized with the Holy Ghost; and it is only in the power of His Divine anointing that we can have power to minister in the Lord's house.
(3) Then the power by which Christ wrought miracles, and preached, is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me," etc. Did the Master work in the power of the Spirit of God, and shall not the servants do so?
(4) The resurrection of Christ is ascribed to the Holy Ghost. You are promised that the same power which "raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies."
3. If we know the Spirit of God at all, we shall know Him as having convinced us of sin. No one ever came to Christ until he felt his need of Him.
4. If you know the Holy Spirit, you will also know Him as the great revealer of Christ.
5. Since that, have we not often known the Spirit as our helper in prayer?
6. Then, when we rose from our knees, we opened the Scriptures, the Spirit of Truth acted as interpreter. He wrote the book, and therefore He understands it meaning.
7. You know not the Spirit unless you have often recognized Him as the great calmer and quieter of His people's minds when under distractions.
8. More especially is the Spirit known to believers as their sanctifier.
II. THEY KNOW HIM BY HIS PERSONAL INDWELLING IN THEIR SOULS. The Holy Spirit gives us His operations and His influences for which we should be very grateful, but the greatest gift is Himself, which "dwelleth with you and shall be in you." This is —
1. Wondrously condescending;
2. Singularly effective. There is no way of doing work well, except doing it yourself; and when the Master comes and gives personal attendance, it is sure to be done.
3. Delightfully encouraging, "If God actually dwells in me, then what may I not expect?"
4. Potently sanctifying. If God dwell in us, let us not defile these bodies. When Ignatius stood before the judges, they said, "You are called the God bearer, Theophorus; what mean you by this? He said, "God dwells in me." When the persecutor looked at him and said he blasphemed, he replied that the Holy Spirit dwelt in him. Ah! but Ignatius proved it. If you and I dare to say God dwells in us, we must prove it too; perhaps not by a cruel death, but by what is far more difficult — a holy life.
III. WE SHALL KNOW HIM BETTER SOON. We shall be more instructed; and the instructed disciple knows the Master better than he who is in the A B C class. We shall be more fully sanctified, and the more pure we become, the more clearly shall we see the great Purifier. I do not know what we may be even here. We become warped and crippled by our small conceptions of the possible in grace.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;