New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 22

The Holy Spirit A Sermon by the Rev. Michael D. Gladish Third of a Three-Part Series on the Trinity Lessons: John 16:1-15; True Christian Religion 139:1 and 138:2-6 T Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18) his is the third sermon in our series on the Divine Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It has been inspired, at least to some extent, by the realization that although we have a strong and clear set of teachings about the Holy Spirit in this church we don’t actually talk very much about it, and when we do it is almost always in rather abstract, impersonal terms. Yet the Gospels refer to the Holy Spirit as the Helper or the Comforter and not just some abstract Spirit of truth that nobody can see or feel. Indeed, people in most Christian churches think of this Spirit as a Person – the third Person in the Trinity – for several reasons that we’ll consider momentarily. And yet it is not a person separate or different from the Lord Himself, as He made perfectly clear, saying that He, as that Spirit, would dwell with His disciples and be in them – indeed that He would not leave them orphans, but that He would come to them. So what are we to believe about this very powerful presence that the Lord promised at the end of His natural life in this world? And how can we learn to appreciate its influence in our lives? As usual, it’s important first to get the meaning of certain key words in the Gospels. For example, the word translated Helper, and sometimes Comforter, is from the Greek, Paraclete, from a verb that means to call alongside. Curiously, it is the very same word used in Luke (3:18) to describe the preaching of John the Baptist (and several other places), where it is translated “exhortation.” So it suggests a kind of urging or encouragement, as of one walking with you, appealing to you. It is also translated “consolation,” when for example it refers to Simeon, who at the Lord’s birth was found “waiting for the Consolation 198