Do you know that Jesus is advocating for us in heaven? It's often easier to understand how the Holy Spirit advocates for us here on earth as He teaches us and helps us in our weaknesses.
But Jesus' work in heaven is no less important. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll begins a helpful message about Jesus, our advocate in heaven. This is the final study in a 12-part series about the names of Jesus called His Name is Wonderful.
Chuck titled his message, We Have an Advocate. For quite some time we have been considering various names and titles of Jesus Christ. Let me do a little review with you and see if you can recall a few of them we've looked at together in the scriptures. We've seen Jesus as He is called Lord, Kurios, the one who has the right to rule over us. And then we looked at the amplified of that King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And we learned that it means He is King over all who may call themselves King and He is Lord above all who may declare themselves Lord. He's the King of all the Kings and He's Lord over all who may say they are Lords. And then it was Messiah and we saw the thrust of that as it flowed through the scriptures.
And then Alpha and Omega. Jesus is called that on more than one occasion. Then we looked at Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in one of our studies and we saw Him as King and Servant and Son of Man and God portrayed in the gospels. Then we looked into John 15 and found that He was called the vine or the true vine and we are called the branches. Following that it was John 10 where we saw Him portrayed as the shepherd of the sheep.
And then as the Lamb of God. And then it was John 14, the way, the truth and the life. The definite article is very important. Not a way and one of the truths and something about life but the way and the truth and the life. And then last we looked at His role as mediator, the one who is the go-between.
Between humanity and the living holy God. And now this final time we are looking at His title as advocate. Advocate. There is something about names that change our minds. I met a young lady following one of our morning services recently, beautifully attired, rather petite and quiet spoken and we talked for a while and after about a, oh I would say two or three minute discussion and dialogue together, I found out that she is in the military. I would have never guessed that. And then I discovered that she was a career military person. In fact she is a major in the Air Force. I wouldn't have guessed that at all but once I found out her title, it somehow changed my relationship with her. There was a new dimension of her life that was introduced just by hearing that other people call her major. They call her an officer. The friend she was with is the CEO of a rather large organization that the lady has begun and therefore the major's friend is seen as the boss, the CEO of an organization.
When I found that out, again, knowing the title changed my feeling toward her, my relationship. I heard this past week about a man who had never been ice fishing so he got all the paraphernalia together to fish on the ice and late one evening he slipped into the ice and he put the tent up and he began to chop, chop, chop, chop, chop to get through the ice and he heard a voice and the voice said, there are no fish there. And so he slid the tent over maybe 15, 20 feet and sat back down on the stool and chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, began to go through the ice again and there are no fish there either. He said, who are you? God? The voice answered, no, I'm the manager of the skating rink. It changed his whole feeling once he heard the title of the person.
Remarkable. It really helps us to know the identity of an individual and when we know the identity we can relate better because the identity reveals something about that person and if the identity is significant it has a significant effect on us. All our lives we've called him Jesus and we should, it's his given name.
They were to name him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins, from Yeshua, deliverer, Jesus. But now we find out that he is advocate. Let's look at the word and let's understand the meaning. In English the word advocate usually means one who pleads the cause of another. Simply one who pleads the cause of another and it almost always has a judicial scene in mind.
You are almost always in a courtroom scene or you will be. The advocate is one who represents his client or her client in court before the judge or before the jury. Interestingly we sometimes refer to an attorney as counselor and that's right. The advocate gives the client counsel, informs the client how to testify, what to say, what to answer, when not to answer, etc. He's the counsel. Down through history the word advocate or the person of an advocate has played a rather important role.
Listen to some examples. In ancient Greek the counselor or the advocate was the friend of the accused and he was called in to speak in support of the character of the accused in order to enlist the sympathy of the judges in his favor. In Demosthenes it can be used for the counsel for the defense. It means someone who will present someone else's case to some other person or to some other authority in the most favorable light. Now understand that an advocate in the world system can sit on either side of the case.
I called an attorney friend and got some information that helped me. In a criminal case the advocate can be the advocate called by us the prosecuting attorney and he represents the people and then there is in a criminal case the defense attorney. He represents the accused. Both of these individuals are advocates and they are on opposite sides of the criminal case. In a civil case an advocate can represent the plaintiff. The plaintiff is the one voicing the complaint in a civil case or the advocate can be the one representing the defendant, the one against whom the complaint has been made. In either case the advocate represents the person in the courtroom who is not representing himself but has that person there as his defense. Now in scripture, interestingly the only time the word for advocate appears is in the writings of John.
Only time. I found that interesting because I would have expected Paul who seemed to have such a legal mind and so swift in legal affairs you would have thought he would have used parakletos but never once. Only John. Turn for example to John chapter 14 and locate verse 16. When you do let me give you the background of the word and then I want you to see how it is used in both the gospel and the letter of first John. We are looking at John 14 verse 16. Jesus is in the upper room. It is hours before he is placed on trial, run through the kangaroo court and finally nailed to a cross and left to die.
This is just hours before that. The darkest time of his life and yet in the darkest moment of his life he reveals the greatest light to his disciples. There is perhaps no finer body of truth for the believer today from the lips of our Lord than the upper room discourse. Chapters 13 through 17 of John's gospel.
In 1416 he talks about the one who was yet to come. I will ask the father and he will give you another helper that he may be with you forever. Now if you carry the new American Standard Bible you will find mentioned in the margin of the Bible parakletos. Now learn a little Greek.
Just a little. Para means to place something alongside something else or to stand alongside. If I stand alongside this pulpit I am para the pulpit. Kletos is from the word that means to cry out or to cry or to speak out, to call. When you put para and kaleo together you have someone called alongside. In this case it is the Holy Spirit who is called alongside to be our constant companion. He is our para kletos.
You may have heard that word used. The old King James Bible rendered this. He is the comforter. Interestingly the NIV invariably renders parakletos counselor and the new American Standard renders the word invariably helper.
All of them fit. He is the one who comes alongside to comfort, he comes alongside to counsel and he comes alongside of course to help us. In recent days I have been in need of a parakletos in my life.
Maybe you have had the same experience. I haven't seen him, I haven't heard him, he hasn't written me a note of encouragement but I have sensed his presence. He has been my para kletos. One who has come alongside and held me up, strengthened my walk, kept me going, given me the message and the courage to declare it. Even though my feelings weren't inside of me as strong as they have been in previous months, the Spirit of God has been my para kletos, my helper. You will notice over in chapter 14 verse 26 the word appears again. But the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will not simply come along to help, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
Isn't that great? You're learning things from the Bible right now. You realize that there is nothing in your system that would equip you to take in spiritual truth or to retain it, that that is all a divine work. The Spirit of God, the para kletos, is doing a work of instruction and also putting a crease in your brain and tucking truth down in the crease and then sealing it there so you'll remember it when you need it later. That's the work of the Holy Spirit. He's not only our companion, 14, 16, he is our teacher and the one who reminds us of truth.
In the next chapter it appears again, chapter 15, and verse 26. When the helper comes, and it's the very same word, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness of me. We have all been in a worship service and we have all been singing a grand hymn with organ accompaniment and voices surrounding us and we have lifted our voices on high and we have sensed the presence of Jesus Christ.
It has come upon us, that sense of awareness. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. He doesn't announce his presence, he never attracts the glory, that's not his desire.
His desire is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He is what the moon is to the sun. All of the light on the moon is reflected light.
It has no light of itself, it doesn't generate light, all it does is reflect it. And when you see the light of the moon on a clear night, you see the glory of the sun reflected across the surface of the moon. So it is when you see the person of Christ reflected in the life of a believer, or in the lyrics of a song, or the words of a grand hymn.
It is the Spirit of God reflecting the light of the Lord Jesus Christ. According to 1526, he is bearing witness of Christ. Now again, chapter 16 verse 8. Jesus has said, if I don't go away, the helper will not come, and if I do go, I will send him to you.
Now notice what he will do. When he comes, he will, this is the same parakletos, verse 7, the helper, when he comes he will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. Concerning sin because they don't believe in me. Concerning righteousness because I go to the Father and you no longer have a visible presence of righteousness.
They will no longer see me. So how will they sense the righteousness of God? The Holy Spirit will be working. And concerning judgment because the ruler of this world has been judged. Several additional activities of the Holy Spirit. On your way to 1 John, stop off at Romans chapter 8. Even though it doesn't mention the name of the advocate, or the parakletos, it's the idea of the same, and I stop here for a reason.
Romans 8, 26, and 27. In the same way, the Spirit also helps us, or helps our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should. Ever been in a jam like that?
You sure have. We don't know how to say the words. We don't even know exactly what is best for us in this needy moment. But, watch closely, the Spirit himself intercedes. He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
I love it. When he approaches the ruler, he comes with our message which left the earth as nothing but deep groanings. Haven't you had something hurt you so deeply that all you could do inside was sigh and kind of groan?
I tell you I have. My wife will tell you, when I am really sick, I am the groaner of the family. She says, honey, I never have to wonder what room you're in when you're really sick.
There are sounds that come out of the room. I groan in my pain. When I am sick, I want the whole neighborhood to be sick with me.
I don't want to be sick all alone. I want to be well. And these groanings that come in my sickness are all interpreted correctly by the Spirit of God and he sets them before the Father in perfect order and in perfect logic in divine terms that not even I can understand. It's a wonderful ministry. As he intercedes for us with those groanings that are too deep for words, how does he do it? Verse 27, because he who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is. Because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
I love that. He doesn't simply intercede representing what I want. He represents what I need according to the will of God. Now we're ready for 1 John chapter 2.
Way over almost to the end of your Bible in a little book that we don't spend very much time in, but what a profound work it is. It's easy to forget that when John wrote this letter, he was up in years. He was old enough to be perhaps a great grandfather. It had been 30 years since Jesus had been on the earth and he, the disciple of Jesus, the same John who walked as one of the 12, he is remembering those days and those experiences, those encounters, those miracles, those words.
And having had time to reflect and to season with these things, here he is on the island of Patmos, writing a letter left for the church throughout the centuries to read. And he begins, my little children, when you get that age, you're able to say that. Those are words of tenderness and gentleness.
Their grandfather talk, their great grandfather talk, my little children. I'm writing these things to you that you may not sin. I think if I would put a title on the top of verse 1, it would be if I had my druthers. You ever use that expression?
I was raised in the south where that expression is very common, if I had my druthers. If I had my druthers, I'd rather you not sin. However, this old grandfather, this old disciple of Christ, is a realist. He knows we will sin.
I would wish that you would never sin again. However, if anyone sins, maybe you will and maybe you won't. In the New Testament, there are various ways to explain this little word if. It's called a conditional phrase. One way is to express it if and it's assumed as true. Another is if and it won't occur. But the most common is the if like we use it. If, maybe it will and maybe it won't happen.
That's the way it's used here. If anyone sins, maybe you will, maybe you won't on a given occasion. But if you do, we have a parakletos. This is the only time in all the Bible that Christ is referred to as our advocate.
Mark it down. Only reference to Christ as our defense attorney. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. Notice he is our advocate with the Father.
That's the only one we need to be concerned about. We don't need, as far as our heavenly standing is concerned, to have an advocate with one another. Those are earthly matters. Our major concern in life is how will I be represented before the eternal God of heaven.
And as a child of God, you can relax. We have an advocate, even if we sin. A.T. Robertson writes, the Holy Spirit is God's advocate on earth with men, while Christ is man's advocate with the Father.
Isn't that helpful? On earth, the Holy Spirit is God's advocate with men. But in heaven, Christ is man's advocate with the Father. On earth, God has given us an advocate, the Holy Spirit.
In heaven, our advocate is Christ. There's much more that Chuck Swindoll wants to share with us. He's presenting his 12th and final message in a series about the names of Jesus. Well, stay with us because Chuck is in the studio with a surprising closing comment in just a moment. But first, let me remind you that Insight for Living has created a special web page for this teaching series.
It's titled His Name is Wonderful. When you visit this page, you'll discover that each of Chuck's sermons can be streamed start to finish on that page. And you'll also have access to the study notes that we call Searching the Scriptures.
For all of these helpful resources and more, go to insightworld.org. And then before we hear from Chuck, let me extend a word of thanks to all those who support Insight for Living. You are truly making a difference with your donations. I want to share one of the comments that comes from far away. This woman said, Chuck, my family and I love listening to you every morning on our way to school and work. Your messages have brought us closer to God. Thank you and God bless you and your family. Well, isn't it great to know that families are using their car radio to learn more about the Bible? And when you contribute to Insight for Living, you're playing a significant role in making these special moments possible.
So thank you so much. And now here's Chuck. God does not need your money. Let me say that again. God does not need your money. What an amazing set of six words, huh? Have you ever stopped to think about it? Our God, great and mighty, doesn't have any needs. His resources are not only unlimited, they're infinite. Psalm 50 verse 1 makes it very clear. The Lord, the Mighty One is God. In this same passage, God says, for all the world is mine and everything in it.
In fact, I own the cattle on a thousand hills. So if God doesn't need your money, what does He expect from you? Well, in Psalm 50 we read, make thankfulness your sacrifice. God said, giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. Letting go of our own resources is an expression of gratitude to the Lord our God. You see, God is after your heart, not your purse, not your wallet.
Remember, He doesn't need your money. Well, for this reason and more, I'm boldly inviting you to join God in His master plan to make disciples of all the nations. We are partners with the Almighty and it's a privilege to cooperate with His Son Jesus in this way. So as we wrap up another year of ministry together, can I count on you to join us? At Insight for Living Ministries, we remain fully devoted to our singular goal, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ in all 195 countries of the world. So let's do this together.
That's the ticket. Let's do it together. Let's give generously from our hearts that are filled with thanksgiving.
I have every confidence that God will receive our collective gifts to make disciples of Jesus Christ here in your community, in our country, and even around the world in every country. Thank you so much for responding and thank you for doing so today. And here's how to get in touch. First, you can call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. That's 800-772-8888. Or it might be quicker to go online to insight.org slash donate. And then for those who prefer, we also have a mobile app which includes an easy to use donate function. Thanks so much and we look forward to connecting with you very soon. I'm Bill Meyer.
Join us when Chuck Swindoll concludes his 12-part series on the names of God, Tuesday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, We Have an Advocate, was copyrighted in 1988, 1992, and 1998. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 1998 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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