The Holy Spirit is Good
A well-known party game, designed to encourage conversation among guests, is “Would You Rather.” In this game, participants are asked to respond to hypothetical questions about their preferences, questions such as:
‘Would you rather always be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early?’
‘Would you rather have all the traffic lights you approach be green or never have to stand in line again?’
‘Would you rather live the rest of your life in a sailboat or in an RV?’
‘Would you rather have unlimited first-class plane tickets or never have to pay in restaurants again?’
‘Would you rather be an average person in the present or the ruler of a large country 2500 years ago?’
‘Would you rather have the superpower of flight or of invisibility?
Silly questions like these, of course, have no right or wrong answers. That is the point. Conversation flows and people laugh as everyone shares their personal thoughts. But there is one “would-you-rather” question that, according to Jesus, should elicit the same response from all Christians:
Would you rather have Jesus with you physically or have the Holy Spirit as he is available to us now?
Many of us might chose the physical presence of Christ. Imagine having Jesus explain scripture to you every time you sit down to read the Bible. Imagine having him as your prayer partner every time you kneel before God. Imagine how helpful it would be to look into Jesus’ eyes whenever you face temptation, or to stand at his side whenever you are afraid. Imagine how effective you would be at sharing your faith if all you had to do was invite your friends over and introduce them to Jesus, sitting right there on your couch!
Despite how wonderful it would be to have our Savior with us in the flesh, Jesus said we would be better off with the Holy Spirit. The evening before his death, having just informed his crestfallen disciples that he would no longer be with them, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn. 16:7). These were not empty words of hyperbole, intended to placate their sorrows. Jesus really meant what he said. Having the Holy Spirit present, as he is currently available to believers, is a blessing of indescribable worth.
Look at this (incomplete) list of benefits the Holy Spirit brings:
- He makes us aware of our sin to draw us to Christ (Jn. 16:7-8)
- He creates genuine saving faith within us (1 Cor. 12:3, 1 Thess. 1:5)
- He teaches us and reminds us of the words of Christ (Jn. 14:26)
- He empowers us to share the gospel (Acts 1:8)
- He reveals the deep truths of God to us (1 Cor. 2:10-11)
- He assures us that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:16; Eph. 1:13)
- He adds intimacy, accuracy, and power to our prayers (Rom. 8:15, 26-27; Eph. 6:18)
- He empowers us to put sin to death in our lives (Rom. 8:13)
- He gives us spiritual gifts to use in building up other believers (1 Cor. 12:7-11)
- He leads us in the paths of God (Rom. 8:14)
- He enables us to live good and fruitful lives (Gal. 5:16-25; Ezek. 36:26-27)
- He makes God’s love real to us, filling us with hope (Rom. 5:5)
- He transforms us into people who are more like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Thess. 2:13)
- He brings unity to the church (Eph. 4:3)
- He satisfies the deepest thirst of our souls (Jn. 7:37-39)
- He fills us with hope until we overflow (Rom. 15:13)
- He gives us strength and endurance to face difficult times (Eph. 3:16)
- He always lives within us (1 Cor. 6:19)
On Sunday, April 25, we will begin a six-week sermon series on the Holy Spirit. Community Groups are forming to study passages on this subject. To join a CG, sign up here. I hope you will join us, because, as you can see from the list above, the Holy Spirit is inexpressibly good.