The Holy Spirit is God.

Hesham Shehab: The World’s Best Counselor

Sermon text preached by Rev. Hesham Shehab
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Resurrection Lutheran Church, Crown Point, IN
Text: Gospel of St. John, Chapter 14

The World’s Best Counselor

Jesus said: 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.”- John 14

Grace to you and peace from God, Our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some think that the scriptures are not very clear about what the Holy Spirit looks like.

At Jesus’ baptism, the dove descended from heaven.

At Pentecost, you have the tongues of fire in each of the disciples’ heads, and you have the sound of the mighty rushing wind.

In other parts of the scripture, you have a still small voice or a whisper.

It’s enough to make you say, will the real Holy Spirit please stand up?

So, what does the Bible say about the identity of the Holy Spirit? Simply put, the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is the third divine person of the Trinity, with a mind, emotions, and a will.

The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. In these verses Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” It is a clear declaration that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. We can also know that the Holy Spirit is God because He possesses the characteristics of God. For example, His omnipresence is seen in Psalm 139:7-8, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Then in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, we see the characteristic of omniscience in the Holy Spirit. “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”

We can know that the Holy Spirit is indeed a divine person because He possesses a mind, emotions, and a will. The Holy Spirit thinks and knows (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). He makes decisions according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. As God, the Holy Spirit can truly function as the Comforter and Counselor that Jesus promised He would be (John 14:16, 26, 15:26).

In particular, over and over again, in the Gospel of St. John, and particularly here today in John 14, Jesus uses a very unique word to describe the person and work of the Holy Spirit. The word is paraclete. Some English translations use paraclete, but there are many other versions that use, like ours for today, the helper, or the advocate, or the comforter, or my favorite, the counselor. By the way, Muslim apologists corrupt the word paraclete in order to change the meaning to “the praised” which means Muhammad…but the rest of the text does not fit the description of any human being…because the Counselor stays with us forever…right?

Jesus said, these things I have spoken to you while I am still with you, but the helper, the comforter, the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Holy Spirit is the best, the world’s best counselor for two reasons.

First, the Holy Spirit counsels us by honestly and truthfully convicting us of our sinfulness.

And secondly, the Holy Spirit counsels us by soothingly and persistently comforting us with the assurance of the forgiveness of sins and the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

Now according to Jesus, He is the Spirit of Truth, one of the most important things the Holy Spirit does as counselor is a rather unpleasant task. He counsels us by convicting us of our sins.

He uses the word of God to confront us with those secret areas of our lives that are not pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

You know the areas. The areas where we tear down one another rather than build one another up.

The areas where we are damaging to the Christian witness we are supposed to be giving.

And even those areas that are hurting us, preventing us from enjoying the blessings that come through the willing and joyful obedience to the commandments of God.

Now this is not an easy task for the Holy Spirit, not because the Holy Spirit can’t do his job, but because of you and me. We’re hardheaded. We don’t like to be told that we’ve done something wrong.

We don’t like to acknowledge that we have guilt or sin.

The best counselors I’ve had in my life have been people who have cared so much about me that they’ve dared to speak the truth in love to me even though they knew the truth would probably hurt.

And even though they knew that possibly they would be hurt, our relationship would be hurt.

But that’s the kind of counselor. The world’s best counselor, the Holy Spirit is.

He’s always loving, always compassionate, always looking out for our best interests.

But he is painfully honest, never afraid to tell us the truth.

He is so concerned about our future here in time and there in eternity that he’s not going to let us free from not admitting that we’re not sinful.

According to the Bible, now you and I can actually help the Holy Spirit with his job as Convictor. Now, let me be clear.

You and I had nothing to do with coming to saving faith.

If you remember those of you who went to confirmation class, third article of the Apostles’ Creed, the meaning.

I believe that I cannot, by my own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him.

But the Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified me and keeps me in the true faith.

According to the Bible, it is the Spirit who brings us to saving faith. He’s given us life.

He’s come to live in us so that we can strive to walk by the Spirit. The Spirit of God works primarily through the Word of God.

Fortunately for you and me, convicting us of our sins is not the Holy Spirit’s only job as counselor.

The Spirit’s second important or proper work is to comfort us with the gospel, with the good news of forgiveness through Jesus Christ and His righteousness put on us by faith.

According to the Scripture, the Spirit convicts us not just to make us feel guilty, but to lead us to repentance.

Do you realize that you cannot repent of your sins on your own?

It’s the Holy Spirit who calls you by the gospel so that you recognize that what you have done is sinful in God’s sight.

And then He’s right there to comfort you with what Jesus Christ has done for you.

As I mentioned earlier, some versions of the Bible translate that word paraclete as counselor or comforter.

And that’s a good and scripturally meaning translation, both of those, because that’s the Holy Spirit’s ultimate mission.

To convince us and to keep on reminding us that although we are poor, miserable sinners, that because of what Jesus has done, His perfect life, His innocent death, His victory and resurrection, you and I have been saved, and we are now His precious, forgiven children.

The world’s best counselor, the Holy Spirit, carries out this role as the comforter through the holy words of Scripture.

The other way is when the pastor speaks the words of forgiveness to you in the public service, in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins.

The Holy Spirit comes to us in the gracious waters of baptism, and when we celebrate the sacrament of the altar. However, there is yet one other way the Holy Spirit comforts us, and this way is not to be overlooked or underestimated.

The Spirit of God comforts you and me through one another, through the words that we speak to comfort each other, words of forgiveness that Christ has first spoken to us.

St. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all mercies and the God of all consolation. He comforts us in our sorrows or our afflictions, so that we might comfort others in their sorrows or their afflictions with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Even with all the other ways of receiving God’s forgiveness, there is something special, at least to me, about receiving the assurance of the forgiveness of sins through a trusted friend, through my wife, through your husband or wife, through your mom or dad, through your brother or sister, through a Christian friend, and where there is so much more that could be said about the counseling ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The job of the Holy Spirit is to make sure, first of all, that we never forget that we are sinners, but secondly, to make sure that we will never stop believing in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that we are by what Christ has done, we are God’s precious, holy, forgiven, righteous children.

Anything else that He does for us, in us, through us, is dependent on his work as comforter.

I hope that you and I, each morning when we wake up,  invoke the presence of the Holy Spirit to fall afresh, as we read God’s Holy Word. As Jesus says: 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and (John 6) . And then throughout your day, you realize how the Holy Spirit is working in you to help you be the holy people that God has made you to be in Jesus’ name.


Hesham Shehab

Read more from Hesham Shehab……

Hesham Shehab
Hesham Shehab
Educator, Journalist, Columnist, Islamic Expert, Muslim Expert, Human Rights Activist, Pastor at Salam Christian Fellowship | Website

Adjunct Faculty at College of DuPage, Formerly Adjunct Faculty at American University of Beirut and Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church Lombard, IL Name pronounciation: HI-shahm SHI-hab  Hebrews 12: 4 & Philippians 1: 29

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