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Walking in the Comfort of the Holy Spirit - Rev. Funke Ewuosho
Acts 9:31. “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”
“They were permeated with a deep sense of reverence for God. The Holy Spirit was with them, strengthening them. They prospered wonderfully.” (MSG)
“And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it also grew in numbers.” (NLT)
“and walking in the respect and reverential fear of the Lord and in the consolation and exhortation of the Holy Spirit, continued to increase and was multiplied.” (AMP)
The Apostle Paul prayed for the Corinthians saying, “The grace (favour and spiritual blessing) of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the presence and fellowship (the communion and sharing together, and participation) in the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen (so be it).” (2 Cor. 13:14 Amp)
Jesus calls the Holy Spirit, the Comforter - “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (Jn. 14:26 KJV)
Jesus said there was no need for His disciples to sorrow because He was going away; He told them He will pray the Father, and He will give them “another” Comforter that He may abide with them forever (Jn. 14:16). By the implication of His word “another” (translated from the Greek word ‘allos", which means another of the same sort not ‘heteros", i.e. another of different sort); the Holy Spirit was to become to the disciples (and the believers) what Jesus was to them, when He was with them! Hence His words, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (Jn. 14:18).
He told the disciples, “However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profi table (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you].” (Jn. 16:17 Amp)
It was advantageous for them, because the Holy Spirit would be with them, not just for a while, but forever! (Jesus was only with them for just about three years and a half). “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (Jn. 14:16)
Also, the Holy Spirit wasn"t just going to be with them - as Jesus could only be with them, but He would also be IN them! “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.” (Jn.14:17)
And it is because of the presence of the Holy Spirit with and in the believers, that they can do greater works like Jesus said; “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (Jn. 14:12-14)
Jesus commanded His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; but told them to wait in Jerusalem, until they were endued with power from above. He said, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) And as a result of the power of the Holy Spirit, “they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” (Mk. 16:20)
Like we read in Acts 9:31, the Church multiplied, grew, and prospered wonderfully, as they walked in the fear of The Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. This implies that the key to growth, increase, prosperity, etc. corporately and even individually is, walking in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
The word ‘Comforter" according to the VINE"S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY, is translated from the Greek word, Parakletos; which literally means, one called to one"s side, i.e. to one"s aid. It was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the Defence, an advocate; then, generally one who pleads another"s cause, an intercessor, advocate (as in 1 John 2:1 of the Lord Jesus). In the widest sense, it signifies a succourer, comforter.
The NKJV simply says, “The Helper”. The Amplified Bible explicitly says, “But the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby).....”
This ties in beautifully with Isaiah"s description of the Holy Spirit as, “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” (Isa. 11:2)
Walking in the ‘Comfort" of the Holy Spirit is therefore, walking in the Counsel, Help, Intercession, Strength, etc. of the Holy Spirit. But before we examine each of these dimensions of the Comfort of the Holy Spirit, we must take note of two important things:
One, the major tool by which the Holy Spirit brings comfort to us, is the WORD of God! “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4).
“.......And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God"s promises to be fulfilled.” NLT
The Amplified Bible talks about the endurance and the encouragement [drawn] from the Scriptures. Also, Hebrews 6:18-19 says, “God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.....” NLT
The Bible calls the Word of God, “the sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17.
Two, the comfort of the Spirit is usually activated by prayer. Prayer creates the right atmosphere for what the Holy Spirit wants to do IN, THROUGH, WITH and FOR us. Here are a few examples from the Scriptures:
When Jehoshaphat was told that a great multitude was coming against him, the Bible says he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah; and all Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord and to seek the Lord. And as Jehoshaphat prayed, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel.......a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.” (2 Chron. 20:1-4, 14)
In the case of the church, after the persecution of Peter and John;
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)
The Apostles gave themselves to Prayer and the Ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4)
“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers........ As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:1-3).
Note that in all of these cases, when the people prayed, the Holy Spirit spoke and they received comfort - in one way or the other.
Now, let us look at the different dimensions of the Holy Spirit, as the Comforter:
1. THE COUNSELLOR
As the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit wants to lead, guide, direct, teach, instruct and counsel us - if we would listen to Him!
He is “The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel.” (Isa. 11:2)
The Psalmist said, “I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons.” (Ps. 16:17); and “You will guide me with Your counsel,” (Ps. 73:24)
Jesus told His disciples, “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 things that I said to you.” (Jn. 14:26). God told the Israelites, “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Your descendants also would have been like the sand, And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand…“ (Isa. 48:17-19)
God wants to teach us and guide us, but His ways and thoughts are different to ours; and they are higher than ours. We will have to trust Him enough to follow Him. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Pro. 12:15). We must be ready to lay aside our own ways and thoughts, to embrace His. He said, “And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.” (Isa. 42:16). Also, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding......” (Ps. 32:8-9)
Jesus said the sheep will follow the shepherd, because they know his voice; but will flee from a stranger, because they don"t know the voice of strangers. He went on to say, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father"s hand. I and My Father are one.” (Jn. 10:27-30). It seems to me that a lot depends on the sheep knowing, hearing and following, the voice of the Shepherd!
His voice is the voice of the Holy Spirit within us. He told His disciples, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (Jn. 16:12-15)
The Holy Spirit usually leads us by the inward witness. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ....” (Rom. 8:14-17)
The Holy Spirit also leads us by, and in line with the Word. God told the Israelites to lay up His words in their hearts and in their souls, to teach them to their children, to speak them all the time, and to write them on the doorposts of their houses; “that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.” (Deut. 11:18-21)
The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105).
Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."” (Matt. 4:4)
Recognising and following His voice, guarantees our protection, preservation, provision, prosperity, and our experiencing all His benefits in life.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name"s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:1-4)
Also, “If they obey and serve Him, They shall spend their days in prosperity, And their years in pleasures.” (Job 36:11)
And in Isaiah 1:19, “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;”
The Holy Spirit reveals God"s purpose and plans for our lives to us, so we can cooperate and participate with Him; for them to be fulfilled in our lives.
“But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:9-10)
2. THE ADVOCATE AND INTERCESSOR
‘Parakletos" was used in a court of justice to denote a legal assistant, counsel for the DEFENCE, an advocate; then, generally one who pleads another"s cause, an intercessor, advocate. “In nonbiblical literature Parakletos had the technical meaning of an attorney who appears in court on another"s behalf.” (WORD WEALTH, Spirit-Filled Life Bible). Job, in all his trials, cried out in desperation; “Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbour!” (Job 16:21)
God challenged the people of Israel, saying; “Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted. (Isa. 43:26)
“Let us review the situation together, and you can present your case to prove your innocence.” NLT
“Put Me in remembrance [remind Me of your merits]; let us plead and argue together. Set forth your case, that you may be justified (proved right).” AMP
But the truth is, who can ever, in their own strength, knowledge or eloquence, present their case successfully before God? Nobody! He is the just, righteous, all-wise, all-knowing and impeachable God. So, we do need an advocate – one who knows God and who knows us.
Thank God; we do have an advocate with the Father - Jesus Christ, the righteous! (1 Jn. 2:1). He is the mediator between God and man; He is both Son of God and Son of man. Hebrews 9:24 says, Jesus has entered into heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God for us, that is, on our behalf. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:14-16)
Jesus is also able to save those who come to Him to the end, because He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb. 7:25)
Not only do the New Testament believers have an advocate with the Father; we also have One living inside of us! Thank God for the Holy Spirit; in prayer and intercession, He helps us present our case with the Father, and pleads our cause - like an attorney helps present the case of his client to the Judge! The Bible clearly says, we don"t know what or how to pray, as we ought to.
“So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God"s will. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labour] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (Rom 8:26-28. Amp)
The Holy Spirit, not only pleads our case before the Father; He also intercedes for us against the enemy - to deliver us. “Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives of a tyrant be rescued? For thus says the Lord: “Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you, and I will save your children.” (Isa. 49:24-26)
The Bible says, our struggle isn"t against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. We should, therefore put on the whole armour of God; “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” (Eph. 6:12)
The Holy Spirit knows the kind of prayer that is needed for every situation, and He helps us pray accurately, to get the right results all the time.
3. THE HELPER (AND ‘STANDBY")
Comforter (Parakletos), literally means one called to one"s side, i.e. to one"s aid; the Helper. Jesus came down from heaven to help us. “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Heb. 2:16-18). And even though He is back in heaven, we can still count on His help - in time of need!
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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 4:14-16). The Amplified Bible says, “that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”
Before He went away, Jesus told His disciples; “I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.” (Jn. 14:18 Amp). He was introducing to them the Person of the Holy Spirit; whom He called “another Comforter” (or ‘Helper"). The Bible says the Spirit helps us in our weakness; “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness;” (Rom. 8:26 Amp).
God said He will never leave us nor forsake us; “for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6. Amp)
Jesus told His disciples that the Helper would be with them forever. His ever-abiding presence with us guarantees us help anytime and every time we need it. We can therefore expect to be victorious always; because we are never alone and never without help - Hallelujah! Someone said, before Jesus went away, He made the provision that none of us should come down in defeat. However, making the provision is one thing, and experiencing it is another matter; that is why every believer must learn to walk in the Comfort of the Holy Spirit.
Here are more Scriptures that further assure us of God"s presence and help:
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." “Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them— Those who contended with you. Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you." (Isa. 41:10-13)
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Ps. 46:1-7).
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isa. 43:1-2)
“Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill.” (Ps. 3:1-3)
4. THE STRENGTHER
He is the Spirit of might, according to Isaiah 11:2. The Bible says the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon Samson, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. (Judg. 14:6). Thank God, He does not only come upon us in the New Testament, the Spirit of might also dwells in us! The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesians, to be strengthened with might through the Holy Spirit; “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].” (Eph. 3:16. Amp)
Apostle Paul, in his affliction cried out to the Lord; “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ"s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10). The Bible says, “Let the weak say, ‘I am strong." ” (Joel 3:10)
It takes inner strength and fortitude to remain standing in the face of danger, opposition, trials and temptations. The Bible says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Pro. 24:10). Or, “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.” (NLT).
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Eph. 6:10-13)
The Spirit of God strengthens us through the knowledge of God and His word.
“I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father... I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 Jn. 1:13-14). Also in Daniel 11:32, “..... But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him.” (NLT)
“A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;” (Prov. 24:5)
What we focus on also determines if we would be strong or weak in our hearts. The Bible says we should focus on “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” lest we become weary and discouraged in your souls. (Heb. 12:2-3). The Apostle Paul gives us the secret of what kept him going on in spite of all he went through; he said “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.... Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:8-18)
We need strength in these days we are in, more than ever before. And as we stay in fellowship with God"s Spirit, in prayer and the Word, He will give strength and power to us - to do His will, overcome the enemy and fulfil our destiny in life.
“He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isa. 40:29-31)
God bless you.