Knute Larson, keynote speaker at the 2021 GARBC Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois, began his sermon “Unleash the Spirit of Help!” observing that many Christians feel uncomfortable talking about the Holy Spirit. To some, the Third Person of the Trinity may even seem scary. Knute’s message from John 14:16–18 debunked that idea.
Interlacing his fingers and clasping his hands in a tight fist, Knute illustrated the closeness Christians should have with Christ and the Spirit of God. Throughout the sermon he clasped his hands while saying that Christians are to “live in combination with Christ.” He also warned Christians to emphasize Christ over the Holy Spirit. “We need to understand the Holy Spirit in light of Jesus Christ,” he said.
Knute showed from John 14:16 and Acts 2:38 that the Holy Spirit is a gift. The Trinity desired to give believers the Spirit to help them in their journey. And, because He is a gift, believers don’t receive Him on the basis of their works: “It’s not what we do,” Knute said. The Holy Spirit was a gift for the disciples and has been a gift for every believer since.
Then Knute pointed out that the Holy Spirit is “another Helper [Paraclete]” of the same kind as Jesus. In everyday life, that means the Holy Spirit does for believers what Jesus did for the disciples: teach, encourage, counsel, help, and more. Christians should view the Holy Spirit as the same kind of friend as Jesus. Knute presented various meanings of Paraclete in John 14:16—the Holy Spirit is the believer’s advocate, comforter, counselor, helper, supporter, and sponsor.
Knute also mentioned four commands to Christians about the Holy Spirit: quench not (1 Thessalonians 5:19), grieve not (Ephesians 4:30), be filled with (Ephesians 5:18), and walk in (Galatians 5:16). Then he showed how these commands translate into daily living when Christians view the Holy Spirit as a friend like Jesus. They desire Him (“quench not”); they confess their sins (“grieve not”); they are open to Him, letting Him fill every part of their lives (“be filled”); and they walk with Him (“walk in”).
Just as the disciples experienced the same joy with the Holy Spirit that they had enjoyed with Jesus, Christians today can do the same. Or as Knute says, There is no reason to stay away from or be afraid of the Holy Spirit of God.