The Lawyer Within: The Complete Paraclete

John 14:15-17, 25,26 Scholar’s Annotated Version  “If you love me, you’ll obey my instructions.  At my request the Father will provide you with yet another advocate (paraklhtos), the authentic spirit, who will be with you forever.  The world is unable to accept this spirit because it neither perceives nor recognizes it.  You recognize it because it dwells in you and will remain in you.  I have told you these things while I am still here with you.  Yet the advocate, the set-apart spirit the Father will send in my stead, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I told you.”

 

 

 

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Jackson Snyder  May 25, 2002

 

Trinity and Kingdom

   Pentecost is celebrated as a memorial of Yahweh giving the Law to the people of Israel through the prophet Moses.  Remember?  Pentecost is also the “birthday of the church” since it was on this feast day in the year 33 AD that the Set-apart Spirit was poured out upon those who watchfully waited. 

   Trinity Sunday follows Pentecost and, of course, celebrates the Trinity – in the apartment on pentecostFather, Son and Set-apart Spirit – as set forth in the Nicene Creed.  Today is Trinity Sunday, and we’ll look to the Set-apart Spirit for light on this awesome mystery.  Trinity Sunday also marks the first Sunday in the three-month season we call Kingdomtide, in which we study Yahshua’ss Kingdom lessons.  The season is also called “Ordinary Time,” but this year we would do well to refer to it as “Extraordinary Time,” as we consider the strange days of our lives.  On the church calendar, we have come full circle plus two Sundays together.  However, on the secular calendar, this marks the final Sunday of our first year – the fifty-second Sunday of our appointment here – of which I’ve preached fifty-one.

Memorial Day 

  Webster's defines the word “memorial” as "something that keeps remembrance alive."   Memorial Day is that thing.  Memorial Day became a national holiday during the Civil War, keeping alive the memory of those who died for their cause on either side of the Mason Dixon line.  When I was growing up, it was called “Decoration Day,” and the family elders would take the youngsters to the cemetery to ‘decorate’ grave markers.  I remember my grandmother telling me to get ready to go to the cemetery.  I must have been eight or ten.  I quoted her the Bible, “Oh, why don’t you just let the dead bury the dead.”  Red-faced, she cried, “Jackie!  Just how could you be so cruel?”  Now I’d give anything to decorate gravestones with my grandmother.  Wouldn’t you?  I remember her this day along with so many other loved ones who are awaiting resurrection.

   Our people have fought many wars since the Civil; our own kin have been victimized by war; some bereaved, some have died; some are buried behind this church.  The world has been in constant war for nearly a hundred years, beginning with the assassination of Prince Alexander on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo right up to May 20, 2002 when an American soldier on a routine surveillance mission was ambushed and killed by unknown gunmen in Shikn, Afghanistan.  Since October 7, 2001 thirty-six Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, 10 by the enemy, 26 by accidents. 

   In the same period of time, over three hundred people have been killed and hundreds more injured in suicide bombings in Israel and elsewhere.  Now the highest officials of our government are telling us that suicide bombings – or ‘homicide bombings’ as they are now being called – are to be expected right here, and any day now.  In fact, as I’m writing this message, a flash comes in from the New York Times warning us of an imminent attack on the Empire State Building or some other national landmark.  A hundred solid years of war with a hundred million dead, and now war on our own soil, demonstrates the shortness of our memory and the paucity of our resolve to follow the tenets of our faith.

Summary of Pentecost

   It seems almost a pity that our redemption as human beings had to come through an act of murder: the assassination of the Son of Yahweh by a corrupt conspiracy between church and state.  And that our freedom to worship is bought and paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands or martyrs, 500 or so losing their lives for our sake daily; 500 today are dying in your place.  However, the word of Divine Justice informs us that we may abolish crimes against humanity altogether, not by hitting back, but through the unseen power of the sacrifice of the Martyr who once battled and conquered death. 

   Yes, the resurrection and glorification of this one man set in motion Yahweh’s divine plan of human resistance against evil forces, including death itself.  It’s through His word that our Advocate and Soul Avenger is now wrestling the enemy through us.  Of course, I’m referring to the Set-apart Spirit.  Last week we discussed the outpouring of the Set-apart Spirit at the feast of Pentecost, outlined how such spiritual power conquered and converted an evil empire, and how He is available to us so that we might become dynamic change agents for the Unseen Kingdom.

   Last week we also learned that the disciples of Yahshua experienced two glorious events that caused them to gain the very power of which we speak: the first (John 20:22) is when Yahshua breathed on them and they received the Spirit; and the second event (Acts 2:4) is when they were immersed in the Set-apart Spirit Wind at the feast.  On that latter day, through that self-same Spirit, Peter’s words to the multitudes of religious observers in Jerusalem brought not only an irresistible burden – that Yahshua’ss survivors forgive those who killed him – but also a judgment by which the Messiah-killers were shamed into repentance and converted.

Feeling and Knowing the Set-apart Spirit

   Now, there are those who believe they need simply kneel at the altar of some tiny wildwood chapel to withdraw with the Spirit in tow.  Others accept the easy idea that they became spirit-filled in 1963 when they had an emotional experience.  Some are frightened by the supernatural; others really don’t care.  But for the initiated, the receipt of and baptism in the Set-apart Spirit are not passé and forgettable encounters, but monumental, life-changing events, after which there can be no doubt whatsoever of the Spirit’s reality and the Bible’s truthfulness, the Scriptural evidence manifesting so unmistakably in both hearts and lives. 

   We learned last week that the Set-apart Spirit is the Spirit (or Angel) of Yahweh, for he rested upon the bush as fire before the face of Moses, yet the bush wasn’t consumed.  Likewise, as fire he rested upon the disciples in the upper apartment.  Isaiah foretold the evidences of this ‘resting’ in chapter 11:2-5 and listed a number of attributes of a spiritual infilling, including wisdom, understanding, knowledge, respect for Yahweh, right judgment, desire to help the needy, and the exposition and destruction of evil.

   When the Spirit rests upon a person, there is a mutation, an inward change that the person can feel and identify.  The person looks the same, sort of.  But she doesn’t feel the same.  There is a whoosh of lightness, a marvelous breath of holiness, an inner voice saying, “Do not be afraid,” a sweeping through of some kind of indescribable goodness.  What she is becoming is far more than she was; better, too.  There is sudden vision: everything looks different through the wisdom and justice of spiritual eyes.  Even a person’s politics change!

 

   When Yahshua said, “Judge not lest you be judged,” he was talking to the spiritually dead.  But when the Spirit rests upon and indwells a person, she takes on Yahweh’s own wise ability to judge rightly between right and wrong in all cases, for all choices.  Her eyes and ears will be less involved in making day-to-day decisions than her heart and spirit; her sentiments will always consider the less fortunate, even if she was stingy before.  And although she will be generous with her own possessions to a fault, she will distinguish between those who are poor and those who cry poor. Her actions will speak far more of her spiritual condition than her words. 

 

   She will also have a keen sense of identifying evil; she will discern those who are beyond redemption, the wicked, the reprobate, the fallen, the habitual, rebellious sinner, and expose them as the beasts that they are and slay them with her mouth.  Everywhere she goes, the Spirit-filled person robes in faithfulness and vests in righteousness.  Evil in any form can’t abide the spirit-filled woman.  She judges her world and sets it ablaze.  Through the infilling of the Set-apart Spirit, she is Messiah on earth.

 

Set-apart is His Name

 

   For the righteousness of the Spirit-filled person is not goodness in a vacuum.  Yahshua told his disciples long before Pentecost that the Father, in the form of the Set-apart Spirit, not only was with them as a companion, but would one day be in them (John 14:17b).  Besides engrafting the righteous characteristics described by Isaiah and the gifts listed by Paul, the Set-apart Spirit is to be within them.  Why?  To remind them of the lives of Yahshua and Miriam, so that the Spirit-filled person might be righteous; and to teach them the law of love and justice so that the Spirit-filled person might act righteously.  To be Spirit-filled is to be set-apart, and Set-apart is the Spirit’s first name!

 

Parakletos as Advocate

 

   Finally, Yahshua said he’d send the Paraclete (paraklhtoV).  Look at John 14:26 as a reference.  Sometimes, Paraclete is left untranslated.  If we break it into parts, the word means, “one called alongside.”  Some Bibles translate Paraclete as “comforter” (NIV, KJV), “helper” (NASB, NKJV), “counselor” (NLT, RSV) and “advocate” (Scholar’s Version).  Our celebrated Gospel reader used the (Annotated) Scholar’s Version today, which has “advocate.”  In fact, advocate is an exact literal translation of paraclete.  This word advocate is more in keeping with the context of the passage than all the others. 

   In the dictionary, “advocate” has three meanings: First, an advocate argues a cause; is a supporter or defender.   Have you ever been accused?  Somebody said that the Devil isn’t bothering you because you’re not bothering him.  If you’re a Spirit-filled believer, you are being accused; the Devil accuses you day and night, and many people listen intently to what he has to say.  Perhaps you’ve been incarcerated on a false charge and needed an attorney.  Nothing is more depressing than lying in a cold cell knowing nobody’s on your case.  Maybe you’ve been a victim of a lying tongue and the lie has become common knowledge.  What a great sin is betrayal.  How much suffering it brings!

   Yahshua calls the Advocate a “spirit of truth” in John 14:17.  As such, the Spirit as your Advocate is in perfect keeping with the crux of Yahshua’ss meaning.  If Yahweh’s Spirit of truth dwells in you as your attorney, then surely, if you are a victim of lies,

 

(Isaiah 54:17 NKJV) 17No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of Yahweh, and their righteousness is from Me."

 

Notice that the Spirit of Truth destroys lying tongues through your personal righteousness.  The only righteousness you may claim comes through your relationship with the Set-apart Spirit.

   Second, an advocate pleads on another’s behalf: is an intercessor.   Scripture says that Yahshua lives to make intercession for you – to plead your case!  Yahshua was once a builder, but now he’s a lawyer.  Some teach that Yahshua has been praying for you in the heavenly sanctuary since 1844.  But I prefer to think that “he walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am his own.”  The way he does is through the Advocate within, who intercedes for us as we go, wherever we go, whether we’re conscious of it or not.  This advocacy is what Paul means when he says, “Pray without ceasing.”  We can’t do that.  Many people can hardly find time to pray in church.  But the Set-apart Spirit will intercede from within by groanings to deep to utter.  He never sleeps.  He’s on your case 24/7.

   Finally, the Advocate is our lawyer.  We already learned that if we are Spirit-filled we are to judge!  We are Doctors of the Law, not because the Law is written on the wall of a Montgomery courtroom, but because it is etched upon our inner organs.  If we aren’t Spirit-filled, then we dare not judge unless we invoke Yahweh’s righteousness; then we may.  This is why Yahshua says in one place, “Judge not,” and in another, “Judge with right judgment.”  Before one may judge, she must know the law, and before she can know the law, she must have the lawyer within.

 

Advocacy and Judgment

 

   As for our personal judgment, we will be judged for our deeds.  When he does a good deed, my friend likes to say, “Write it down in your book.”  Each one of us is writing a book, alright; there is a judge that is taking notes.  Some like to say we’re beyond judgment, but don’t fool yourself.  Yahshua says,

 

John 5:26For as the Father … 27 … has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. 28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out--those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

 

This is how Memorial Day fits with Trinity Sunday.  Do you believe the Bible?  Then all will rise from the grave.  Every grave out back will open.  Every war hero, every beloved family member, every sin –sick rascal will come out.  We don’t like that idea much.  We like to keep our religion clean and tidy by insisting that when people die they fly up or down.  But Yahshua said many times, “Graves will be opened” and judgment will follow.  Those who have done good will be judged accordingly; those who haven’t will have to pay.

   So it’s well worth taking tarry-time and making an effort to pursue the Advocate’s infilling.  If the Bible proves true and there’s to be a resurrection and judgment, then there must be a lawyer and a judge.  For while others fearfully stand at the judge’s bar in self-defense, stating their cases for innocence from documents written upon filthy rags, the Spirit-filled believer will discover that her defense attorney and the fearful judge are the same Person.  Having the judge at your defense might give you a slight advantage in the judicial process, wouldn’t you say?  We call this advantage ‘greater grace.’  The Set-apart Spirit is not an option for the believer; it is essential.  Eternity is at stake.

 

From Theology to Practicality

 

   At the insistence of the pastor, we visited a Methodist Church in north Georgia Wednesday night (May 22) for a prayer service.  A visiting Catholic monk was ministering; how unusual is that?  The church itself has a reputation for being dead; however, a few committed believers worked hard to get people out, and there were about 200 in attendance of which sixty were church members, the rest visitors.  There were quite a few young people there and an interesting cultural and racial mix.

   I’m a skeptical person.  This little monk picked me out of the crowd first off.  Through a spiritual gift, he prayed for my exact physical needs.  He also prayed specifically for a personal need that only I knew.  He prayed for the ministry here, too.  There is absolutely no way he could have known these things unless the Spirit told him so to pray.  During the course of the next hour or so, the monk worked his way around the sanctuary and ministered with incredible clarity.  Many were brought to tears by the revelation of and ministry to their deepest needs.  Thirty or forty people were on the carpet, “slain in the Spirit,” at any given time; Yahweh was lifted up.  Perhaps you’ve seen this kind of thing before.  It’d been a long time since I had.  It was a wonderful demonstration of peace and power. 

    The greatest thing we witnessed Wednesday night was the youth.  Understand that there was no preaching.  Regardless, young adults, teens and even children began to rush into the ministry.  Many were in tears.  When asked what they wanted, almost all said “forgiveness.”  Forgiveness!  Without exception, these children rested in the spirit.  Often the minister received a word about what that child would grow up to become for the Lord.  Children were “resting” in every aisle, crying and worshipping with uplifted hands, praying fervently.  Children were ministering to children.  Even the pastor’s twelve-year-old son, whom we’d exorcized of a deplorable occult demon eight years earlier, received forgiveness; he rested there above the altar in the peace of the Spirit.

   Some members of the congregation came just to see what would go on.  Several left upset soon after the service started.  The next day, the phone began to ring, and there were complaints.  The church will be troubled now because of the move of the Spirit.  But in the end, the trouble will never compare with the work of the infilling Set-apart Spirit upon these precious, young lives.  Wednesday night the future of that community was altered forever.

   I wonder what would happen here one night if we urged everyone to come tarry for the Set-apart Spirit.  Do you think something similar could happen here?  I do.  What if we could?  How would such an outpouring of the Spirit change the direction of our youth and the future of our community?   Maybe youth programs are really not needed.  Maybe the Set-apart Spirit is.

 

Now your children can learn Hebrew