So far, we’ve covered quite a few names for God in the Bible. I hope this series has helped you know God better—not just know about Him, but actually know Him. It is never enough to know about Him. God wants you to know Him, personally. It is one thing for you to know about a person; we know about many people. But when you know a person, it’s like you have dinner with them and sit around the living room talking about their life until late in the night. You tell them all about your life and they tell you about there’s. Even more than that, you really get to know a person when they come rescue you when your car breaks down, or when you are sick in the hospital and they take your children to school for you while you’re having surgery. When you live life with someone—when they are at your wedding and the birth of your child and in the good times and the bad times and everything in between, then you really know them. And this is the kind of relationship God wants with us all. He knows us and He wants us to know Him. And the names for God, which He reveals in Scripture, show us different ways He is there with us and who He is to us. And I hope this series has helped you see some of the ways God is there.
Our name for God today is Advocate.
15 “If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.
1 John 2:1
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
Who would you call to help you if you were in really big trouble? Imagine something terrible happens. I mean, suppose you are driving through the Kroger parking lot and a 4-year-old kid dashes out in front of your car before you even have a chance to react. And you hear that awful sound—kadunk… You immediately stop and get out of the car and see the horrible sight of a mangled child. It wasn’t your fault. You had no chance to stop. There was nothing you could do, but none of that matters to the crowd gathering around. You mind is swirling and the mother is screaming. The crowd is angy. All they see is broken child, a devastated mother, and you and your car. Someone yells “He was probably texting and driving!” You weren’t. Your phone was in your pocket, but it doesn’t matter. The mob wants someone to blame for this senseless tragedy. They blame you. The police arrive. They take you to jail… Who would you call? Who would be on your side and fight for you no matter what?
I hope you never get in a situation like that. But if you do, you will need friends who love you unconditionally. You will need a good lawyer who will fight for you.
I say all this because it steers our thinking towards one of God’s most beautiful names—Advocate. In John 14:16, Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.” The Greek word for Advocate is Paraclete. It literally means, “Called to one’s side.”
In the ancient world, a paraclete (advocate) was the person you would call to defend you before a judge. They would plead your case and fight for you with every means possible. In our day, you would hire the best lawyer you can afford. We have seen in our time the difference between having a high paid lawyer as opposed to a public defender (that the court appoints for those who can’t afford a lawyer).
Public defenders are notorious for providing bad defense. It’s not necessarily that they are bad lawyers. It’s just they are overworked, underpaid, and understaffed. You are just another name on a long list of clients they have to defend. On the other hand, we have seen how a really rich person might hire a brilliant lawyer who’s only job is to defend their one high-paying client, and they do it so well their client might even get away with murder. Having the right advocate can make all the difference.
And Jesus says, “I
will ask my Father (God) and He will give you an Advocate.” The God of the Universe gives us an Advocate. The Advocate is the Third Person of the Trinity—God the Holy Spirit.
When we decide to follow Jesus as our Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts. He is there fighting for you, encouraging you, defending you, advising you, guiding you every step of the way. Isn't it good to know that even if the whole world is against you, God the Holy Spirit is on your side?
The Holy Spirit was there fighting for you before you even know He was there. We celebrate the prevenient grace of God whenever we baptize and infant. Sometimes people think the practice of infant baptism is peculiar. They wonder why we would baptize a person before they can consciously understand what Jesus has done for them. One reason we do infant baptism is specifically because represents how the Holy Spirit is working on our behalf before we even know or understand. Parents present their child to God for baptism and ask the Holy Spirit to pour grace into the child and the parents and the church to help raise the child until they are old enough to accept Christ for themself and complete the baptism at confirmation. Then they will recognize all that God has done for them through so many people and in so many ways.
All of my children were baptized as infants. They will never know all the people who prayed for them, helped them, babysat them, and blessed them through the years. All these people were instruments of the Holy Spirit to help them and give them every possible chance to grow up know CHrist and His love so that they were able to accept Jesus for themselves when they were old enough to understand what it means to be a Christian.
But suppose you were an orphan and didn't have a family or a church showing you the Holy Spirit's grace all through your childhood. I want you to know that when no one else is there for you, God is the for you personally. Deuteronomy 10:18 says, "[God] ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing." Psalm 10:14 says, "The helpless put their trust in [God]. You defend the orphans."
When you are helpless and you have no one fighting for you, God is fighting for you personally as the Holy Spirit--opening doors, providing for needs, bringing people into your life to help. God makes this happen, because God has a deep compassionate heart for the least, the last, the forgotten, and the lost. Read the stories of the Scripture and you will see Him there time and time again for the widow, the orphan, the foreigner, the leper, the lame, and the social outcast.
The Holy Spirit is there fighting for us to bring us to know God—even before we are thinking of God.
And then one day, we realize all that God has done for us, even though we haven’t been living for Him. We see how Jesus died on the cross to save us from our own selfishness and when we cry out, “Lord, forgive me! I want to start following You know. Come, take control of my life!”
In the moment, the Devil is there prosecuting you before God. The Devil lays out all the charges against you about all the ways you’ve sinned and hurt people and turned your back on God. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit steps in on your behalf and defends/justifies you. This is called the justifying grace of God. The Holy Spirit says, “All these sins have been paid for by the blood of Christ shed on the cross.”
However, the Devil is relentless. He doesn't give up. The Devil says, “Yes! But she’s not going to be true. She’s a sinful human! She will say she’s gonna follow you today, but tomorrow or the next day or the day after that, she will sin again!”
So, the Holy Spirit says, “ALL of her sins are paid in full—her sins from the past; her sins today; and every sin she might do in the future. ALL her sins are swallowed up by Christ’s death on the cross. They are atoned. They are forgiven. They are washed away by the blood fo Christ, forever!”
Then God will look at you and pronounce: “You is innocent. I see no sin in you. I see only Christ in you. You are completely justified, forever!"
It doesn't stop there. Now, the new Christian has to rebuild their life as a new creation patterned after Jesus their Lord. God has proclaimed them innocent, but now they have to live a new way—for the old has passed and the new has begin. How will a person know how to live as a Christian? Howe will they actually do it if they know how? Jesus was there showing his 12 disciples and helping them every day. Who is walking with us today showing us how to live?
Jesus told His disciples how this would work. In John 14:26, He said, “When the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
So this is another function of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate. The Holy Spirit shows us how to live for God and the Holy Spirit empowers us to live holy lives. If we listen with sensitive spiritual ears, the Holy Spirit is there to guide us and show us what to do, how to live, which way to go. Our Advocate not only helps us understand what the Bible says, He also empowers us to live it out in every day life, in every situation. The Advocate is Wisdom that knows the right thing to do, in the right way, at the right time, for the right reasons. If you will respond to the Holy Spirit's guidance, you will live the way God wants you to and you will be more like Christ and you will bring glory to God thorugh the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s Time to Follow Jesus
And so today, I offer you a chance to make a choice to become a follower of Christ—a true Christian. I want you to realize the God was there with you—in the Holy Spirit—the whole time. Even if you couldn’t see Him. Even if there was no one to tell you about Him or show Him to you, He was there opening doors, guiding your steps, using your decisions and the people in your life and every circumstance (both good and bad) to lead you to know Him and His love. Now, it is time to trust Him, to proclaim Jesus the Lord of your life. It is time to choose to follow Christ.
If you would like to become a Christian today, I invite you to pray this prayer:
"Lord, come in and take control of my life. I surrender to You. I recognize that You are the true Lord of all and You deserve my full allegiance. I want to give my allegiance to you from this day forward. Lord, please forgive me for my sins. Wash me clean and give me a fresh start so that I can live for You from this day forward, with the help of Your Holy Spirit. I know that Jesus is Your precious Son who died on the cross for my sins. I trust Him to forgive me. Thank you for giving me eternal Christ, for His names sake. Now, let me live all my days as Your precious child. Amen."