The One Thing that Sets Christians Apart

 

Sometime back,  I read an article of a woman who lived in Paris. She left her apartment, fully furnished just days before World War II, and she never returned. Every month, the owner of the apartment building would receive payment for the rent, but the apartment was locked up and no one entered it. That was until the woman died in 2010, seventy years after she left. When opened, what they found inside shocked and amazed everyone and made international news. Inside were priceless treasures, one of which, was a painting of “The Woman” by Giovanni Boldini, and it later sold in an auction for €2.1 million.

For us who are followers of Jesus, God has given us a treasure that is beyond wealth. A treasure that, sadly to say, is often ignored and left unopened, undiscovered, and greatly unappreciated. When I mention this gift by name it will be familiar, though it may not be truly known nor understood by you ….the treasure is…The Holy Spirit. If we were to be honest, we would agree that the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood aspect of God. In fact, we do a decent job of talking about God, the Father and a real good job talking about Jesus, God the Son. However, when most of us talk about the Holy Spirit, the conversation often becomes uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be.

In John’s Gospel, we find Jesus preparing his disciples for his crucifixion. He explains how He came from God, and now, He is about to be betrayed, crucified, buried and then three days later will arise from the grave. If that wasn’t startling enough, then He says…

     “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’   But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” ~John 16:5-7 (NKJV)

I want you to think about what Jesus said:  (In essence) “I’m ascending back to the Father, and this is good for you.”

Now, if you are like me, my first thought is, “How can this be better for me?” Think about it. The disciples had God Himself walking with them on a daily basis. He sat at their dinner table. He was available to listen and give advice. How awesome would that be? How would you feel if you knew every minute of the day the creator of the universe was beside you, helping you make your decisions, encouraging you, giving you direction?  How much easier would it be to keep a healthy prayer life if Jesus was sitting next to you, or be faithful to your devotion time. With Jesus right there, think of the ease by which we could keep your thoughts pure or to stand up for the downcast, abused and neglected in society? How much more strength do you feel you would have to resist temptation if you had Jesus Christ standing beside you?

Yet, Jesus tells His disciples, “I’m going away….and this is to your advantage.”

     There is only one question left to ask isn’t there? HOW is this better?”

     Jesus gives the answer…

     “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you ANOTHER Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”  ~John 14:16-18 (NKJV) 

Circle the word, another in verse sixteen. In Greek, this word means, “just like the one before.” Get that truth down in your heart! Jesus says, “I will give you one who is just like Me!” Now, notice the next word – Helper. The word for helper is the Greek word Parakletos, which means, “One who is called beside another….a helper, advocate, counselor, comforter.” The Holy Spirit is Jesus manifested, not in bodily form, but in the spirit.  Take note of what Jesus says next, “The Holy Spirit abides with you and shall be IN YOU!”  When you surrender your heart to Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit of God moves into you. He doesn’t walk with you on the outside, no, He goes everywhere you go because he is in you.

So again, how is it better for us that Jesus has ascended to Heaven and given us the Holy Spirit? Get this, when Jesus was on this earth, He walked in a physical body. He could walk beside you, but wasn’t in you. Now, He comes to us through the Holy Spirit. He has come not to walk beside us, but live inside of us! The only thing better than this would to be in heaven!

      NOW knowing that Jesus is LITERALLY INSIDE YOU, should you not be more comfortable, more confident as you walk into school every day? Or knowing that Jesus actually goes with you to work every morning,  would you be bolder about your faith? Would you live more pure? Would you help others more often? Would you pray more, read your Bible more? Share your faith with other people more?

This is the one thing that sets Christians apart from all other religious people. Only in serving Christ does God Himself come live inside of His people.

~ Pastor Chris Vaught

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Have you trusted Christ as your LORD? If not, today is your day. Right now! Not later. Not tomorrow. Now! The Bible gives us the assurance that anyone, (yes, that includes you), who calls upon Christ, acknowledging their sin, and believes in their heart that Christ died, was buried and arose from the grave, will be forgiven and receive eternal life.

Pray: 

God, I do believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sin. He was buried and arose from the grave. The best I know how, right now I place my trust in Him for the forgiveness of my sin and ask that you grant me eternal life. I will live for you from this moment forward. Empower me now with your own Spirit to serve you. In Christ Name, Amen.”

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