“Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father.”
Today I want to speak to you on this whole issue of being left behind, but not being left alone. The disciples were about to encounter what this meant first hand.
First, I have a quick story to share. A Pastor, Tim Johnson, was driving back from a trip with his wife Karen. She was asleep in the back of the van. He looked in the rear view mirror and saw a highway patrolman behind him with his lights flashing, signaling for Tim to pull over (a scene I’m getting familiar with). He knows he’s about to get a ticket and thinks to himself, “Maybe if I’m quiet enough she won’t wake up and know that I’m getting a ticket.”
So the policeman walks up to the car. Tim rolls down the window and the policeman says, “Are you Tim Johnson?” Tim’s thinking, “How in the world does this guy know my name?” Then responds, “Yes, I am.” Then even more strange, the officer says to him, “Is your wife Karen Johnson?” And Tim’s kind of scratching his head thinking, “How in the world does he know my wife’s name.”
He responds, “Yes, my wife’s name is Karen and she’s asleep in the back of the van.”
The replied, “No, she’s not. She’s sixty miles back at the gas station. While you were paying for the gas she went to the restroom and she’s still there. Would you please go pick up your wife?”
I know some of you have really thought about leaving your wife at the gas station.
Getting left behind is no fun. And it’s not going to be for the disciples. I would dare say for some of us getting left behind has a real personal pain attached to it . . .
In a group this size I know that many of you have been left behind by parents, or abandoned by a spouse, or coping with the loss of a mate and trying to figure out where God was and even where God is now. . .
God, you were there when my Mom left . . . Even though it didn’t seem like it…
You were there when my Granny had to move out …
God, I know you were there when the doctor said something was wrong with Joshua during the pregnancy…
God, you were there when my friend’s three year old little girl died unexpectedly…
I know you were there when my Dad had a massive heart attack…
When I felt like I was all alone . . .
God, you were there.
I have some good news for you. Jesus was going to leave them behind, but not alone. He had a plan. And the same plan He had to meet the needs of the disciples after He left is basically the same plan He has for us today.
In John 14:16 Jesus says, “I will talk to the Father, and He’ll provide you another friend so that you will always have someone with you.” (MES)
The first thing I want to point out in this verse is the word “another.” The reason this word is so important is because this specific word means another of the exact same kind. So He is saying in essence and in character, and in personality this friend, Jesus says, will be just like Me.
As a Christian and a follower of Christ the Bible says the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in you. And having the Holy Spirit in your life is just exactly like having Jesus live inside me.
More than anything in the world Jesus wants to be your friend! You have to get this! He wants to be your friend! Does he want to be your Father yes, but he wants to be your friend! Does he want to be your Savior? You better believe it! That’s easy . . . He wants to be your friend. He wants to do with you what friends do . . .
Friends go out and hang out and spend time with each other. Friends believe in each other through thick and thin. Friends are there for each other – it’s a two way street . . .
Then Jesus says, “Because I’m leaving, through the Holy Spirit, your new friend I will always be with you!” Some of you are saying, “What does that look like practically? What does it feel like? When does it happen? What’s the result of it?
We know that the Bible tells us that the moment a person personally receives Jesus Christ as their Savior a spiritual transformation takes place. You are made spiritually alive. You were forgiven of your sins. You are given a promise of eternity in heaven. One of the things the Bible says happens to you at that very moment is that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your life. You may not have physically felt that but if you have embraced Christ as Savior that has happened to you.
Look at Romans 8:9 “You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.” (NIV) To be a Christian means to have the person of the Holy Spirit living inside of you.
The Bible is so clear about this. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is real. He is personal. He is just as much God as Jesus is. Here’s the good news. Jesus did not promise the Holy Spirit just to be super spiritual or just to the mature. In fact, He says that the Holy Spirit of God is promised to every single believer who receives Christ.
For some of us, right now, this could be a radical, life changing moment. Let me tell you why. Some of us live with a tremendous fear of abandonment. Because of some painful experience in our past, because of some hurtful experience in our past, we live with this nagging doubt that God couldn’t possibly unconditionally love us.
And we really live with the fear that if we screw up, if we step out of line, if we mess up, or if God really knows what we’re really like, there’s no way He’s going to hang around.
Today I want you to embrace the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus in your life. And to realize that He is a friend that will never leave you. I hope for some of you you’ll settle that once and for all today that no matter how you feel, no matter what the circumstances are you have the confident assurance that God has promised that the Holy Spirit’s presence would always be with you.
Think of it like this: When Jesus came to planet earth one of the things He wanted to do was be able to relate to us and understand our human condition so He took upon Himself flesh in the human body. Jesus was limited by time and space. He could only be in one place at one time. Jesus says to His disciples, “When I leave it’s going to be better in this way. When the Friend called the Holy Spirit comes, He will not be limited to one time and one place.”
He will be able to reside in the life of every single individual believer and He will be able to minister to everyone’s needs. When He, as the Counselor your friend, comes He will guide you, He will strengthen you, He will comfort you, He will instruct you, He will always be with you. What a great friend to have. If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit and it’s just like having Jesus.
“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you.”
In other words if I’m your friend, your real friend, your best friend, then show it. Listen it’s not about being religious. It’s about me wanting you to experience life the way God intends for you to experience life. Here are some simple things that He’s told us to do.
Start the relationship – “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 NIV
Go to His Weekly Party – “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another . . .” Hebrews 10:25 NIV
Put His friendship above everything – “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.” Psalm 46:10 MESS