Sermon Notes : The Comforter – Being Filled With The Holy Spirit

*Part three of a sermon series regarding “The Comforter”. I was tasked with preaching on the Comforter and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit indicates how loved and special you are to God.
  2. What does “Comforter” mean?
  3. Being filled with the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit indicates how loved and special you are to God.

It started with creation. The Spirit of God moved over the face of the waters (Gen 1:2) as God spoke order and beautiful perfection out of darkness. We are all familiar with the story of man’s fall in the garden that brought sin and death upon God’s creation. God, being just, enforced the penalty of man’s transgressions, death. God, being merciful, also made a promise of a future redeemer — the seed of man who would crush Satan (Gen 3:15).

The rest of our Bible is a story of God’s redemptive plan. God chose to create a nation for himself, a people set apart to give him Glory. God chose Abraham to do this, a man who was called a friend of God in whom God unconditionally promised that he would be a father to many nations and that in him, all nations would be blessed.

Out of Abraham’s lineage God rose up Moses. Moses had the privilege of conversing with God directly, “face to face” (Ex 33:11). Through Moses, God gave us the covenant of the law — instructions in righteous living and ceremonial acts in order to properly worship a holy God. These were an earthly shadow of the heavenly things.

Later God would rise up David of the tribe of Judah. David was called a man after God’s own heart. God promised that out of the root of David would arise a king whose kingdom would never end (Jer 23:5-6).

Throughout the Old Testament, mighty men of God like these are empowered by the Holy Spirit to do great things:

  • Prophesy (in speech and/or writing) the word of God – Isaiah Isa 48:16-17, Ezekiel Ez 2:1-3
  • Create/build wonderful things – Bezalel Ex 31:2-5
  • Ruling & Administration – Joseph Gen 41:38, Joshua Num 27:18, David 1 Sam 16:12-13
  • Judges leading Israel to war –  Othniel Jdg 3:10, Gideon Jdg 6:34
  • Perform great physical feats – Samson Jdg 14:6,19
  • Perform miracles – 2 Kings 2:9, 13-15

The Spirit would indwell these people for God’s purpose. Not all received this same indwelling or overshadowing, and the indwelling was temporary and could depart (1 Sam 16:4).

While the kingdom of Israel had moments of glory and power when they were faithful to God, in general they were a rebellious people. Because of this, God would allow them to be brought into captivity so that they would learn to seek him again. It was during one of these periods of rebelliousness that God spoke through Isaiah the prophet regarding a future outpouring of God’s Spirit.

[Isa 44:2-5 KJV] [2] Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. [3] For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: [4] And they shall spring up [as] among the grass, as willows by the water courses. [5] One shall say, I [am] the LORD’S; and another shall call [himself] by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe [with] his hand unto the LORD, and surname [himself] by the name of Israel.

Jeshurun: symbolic name of the nation of Jacob/Israel showing special relationship[1]

“upright one,”[2]

Upon who will God pour out this water? Upon those who are thirsty. (See Matt 5:6, John 6:35, John 7:37) God is looking for those who are thirsty, dry, hungry, empty, and aware of their own poorness of spirit. These things are not detractors to God they are qualifiers. What is the effect of this outpouring?

They shall spring up to health, watered by an ever-running river of water. They will boldly claim the LORD offering up their loyalties, bodies, minds and souls to be vessels for his honor. The will “belong to” him in every sense.

“…Shall call himself by the name of Jacob” would indicates that those not normally associated with Jacob (non Israelites’) would be brought in. [3]

One will sign her name as a pledge or seal. This association with the LORD will be a public one, and this outpouring will be a seal on his chosen. He (the Holy Spirit) is our seal.

[Eph 1:13 KJV] [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

We’ve briefly spoken of Abraham, Moses and David, who could easily be considered the greatest men of the Old Testament. But there was one who was called the greatest. This man was not a father of many nations (he had no children), he did not lead Israel out of bondage, and he was certainly no king. He performed no miracles and his ministry lasted about six months. John the Baptist was called the greatest because of the message he brought was the greatest up until that time. John was a herald of the coming King and the new kingdom, a Kingdom of Heaven. John’s job was to prepare the hearts of the people. It was John who bore witness of the Holy Spirit descending from heaven and permanently resting upon Jesus as his baptism.

As great as John was, he said that he wasn’t even worthy to unloose Jesus’ shoes, and that John must decrease while Jesus must increase.

Jesus proved that he was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. He showed by his life, words and actions that he was the Messiah, the one to bring salvation to all people. Jesus the Son of God, emptied himself of divine privileges (Phil 2:7) and lived a perfect life as a man. Jesus, the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14) had all authority and power. Yet what of the Spirit? Jesus spoke the following, fulfilling the prophecy we just read in Isaiah 44:

[Jhn 7:37-39 KJV] [37] In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. [38] He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

While we have a tendency to imagine that the time of Jesus walking the earth would have been the greatest time to be alive or the most effective time to do ministry, here is what Jesus said to his devoted followers just a few days later:

[Jhn 16:5-7 KJV] [5] But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? [6] But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. [7] Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

Expedient: When used intransitively, “to be an advantage, profitable, expedient” (not merely ‘convenient’); [4]

Jesus said that it was actually profitable to us that he departs and we continue on in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the same way the Holy Spirit did not depart from Jesus, the Comforter does not depart from us. Unlike the Old Testament where select people would be filled with or overshadowed by the Holy Spirit for a period of time, we are promised that this Comforter will dwell in us and make us new creatures (John 3:5-8). This is not something reserved for Kings, priests or great prophets, it is for you and me, it is for those whom God has predestined by his perfect will to receive and be empowered by this gift.

The fact that God has called certain people to live at this time, a time where God would dwell in people and empower them to do his will shows his great love and care for us. John was the greatest because of his message. We not only carry the message of salvation, but also are sanctified and empowered by the living Spirit of the one true God.

[Jhn 16:12-15 KJV] [12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you. [15] All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

The Holy Spirit bears witness of and glorifies the slain and resurrected Son of God, the Holy Spirit takes of the things of God and shows them to us.

Out of all the people up until now, God has chosen you to carry this. There is no reason for any reborn believer to ever feel neglected, insignificant, unusable or unloved.

While David cried “take not they Holy Spirit from me” (Psalms 51:11), the Holy Spirit is ever our seal. Recall the pledges and boldness of the prophecy in Isaiah 44.

[Eph 1:13 KJV] [13] In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

[Eph 4:30 KJV] [30] And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

God has set is seal of love upon you. Be encouraged.

[Sng 8:6-7 KJV] [6] Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love [is] strong as death; jealousy [is] cruel as the grave: the coals thereof [are] coals of fire, [which hath a] most vehement flame. [7] Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if [a] man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.



“the transliteration of a Greek term meaning ‘called to the side of’ and hence ‘advocate’ (cf. 1 John 2:1). Its importance derives from its use in the Gospel of John (14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-11; cf. 16:13-15), where Jesus promises his disciples that when he departs he will send them another Paraclete (rsv and niv: ‘Counselor’; kjv: ‘Comforter’; jb and neb: ‘Advocate’) to remain with them.”[5]

“’It means properly “one who is summoned to the side of another’ to help him in a court of justice by defending him, ‘one who is summoned to plead a cause.’ ‘Advocate’ is the proper rendering of the word in every case where it occurs.”[6]

This word literally means to “call to one’s side.” John uses this word to describe the Holy Spirit as a helper, comforter, counselor, and advocate who communicates to and from God.

The word “comforter” in the KJV is a good word, but only partially describes the role of the Holy Spirit. At the time of translating, the word “comforter” had a slightly different meaning then the soft, “comfort me after the fact” meaning it could be construed as today. On the translation of “paraclete” to” comforter”, Sprouls says:

“The translators of the King James Version chose to render parakletos with the English word “Comforter” because at that time the English language was more closely connected to its historical roots in Latin. Today, we understand the word comfort to mean ease and solace in the midst of trouble. But its original meaning was different. It is derived from the Latin word comfortis, which consisted of a prefix (com-, meaning “with”) and a root (fortis, meaning “strong”). So, originally the word carried the meaning “with strength.” Therefore, the King James Version translators were telling us that the Holy Spirit comes to the people of Christ not to heal their wounds after a battle but to strengthen them before and during a struggle. The idea is that the church operates not so much as a hospital but as an army, and the Holy Spirit comes to empower and strengthen Christians, to ensure victory or conquest.”[7]

As soon as Jesus received the Holy Spirit, it says that the Holy Spirit drove him into the desert to be tempted of Satan.  The Holy Spirit is not a comforter who only shows up after the battle, He will lead us into battle, and it is only through his sustenance that we will be victorious in battle.

Jesus breathed on his disciples and they received the Holy Spirit, yet there was still an initial outpouring that they were waiting for. That outpouring was the reception of power, but it was not power for the sake of signs and wonders, the reason for the powers, signs and wonders given by the Holy Spirit was so that we would be his witnesses.

[Act 1:8 KJV] [8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

We will be witnesses by (just to name a few):

  • The word of our testimony
  • Our love one towards another
  • Our good works
  • Spiritual gifts
  • Our sound speech
  • Our conduct (KJV “communication”)

In all these things, reliance on the Comforter is essential. God has given the Comforter to us in order that we may testify of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ:

[Jhn 16:13-15 KJV] [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you. [15] All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a consistent presence in God’s saints. The word saints itself means “Holy Ones”[8] We are sanctified once (1 Cor 16:11), yet also in a process of sanctification (1 Thess 4:4). By one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13). This baptism into the body of Christ was a one-time occurrence; it is our rebirth, it is our sealing, it is the indwelling.

Yet in the book of Acts, those already indwelt by the Holy Spirit were said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”.

[Act 4:29-31 KJV] 29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Let’s unpack this briefly.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is actually a commandment:

[Eph 5:18 KJV] [18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

“Be filled” is present tense, meaning to continually be filled with the Spirit of God. While it’s not the greatest comparison, if one wanted to stay drunk at a certain level, they’d need to consume a good measure of wine on a consistent basis. We are commanded here to be consistently and actively full of the Spirit. This is not saying that the Holy Spirit has left us and we have to get Him back. It means we should constantly be lead by and yielded to the Spirit in all aspects of our lives. Remember, the Holy Spirit is described as a fountain or river, (as opposed to a stagnant body of water (John 7:37-39)), or rain that is poured out upon dry places (Acts 2:17), or wind that moves and animates otherwise stationary objects (John 3:3-5).

There are various illustrations one could use.

– A sailboat at sea that is completely dependent on the wind to move

– A baseball glove that has no usefulness unless filled up and animated by a hand

It also means, as in Acts 4:31, that we can receive special outpourings and overflowing’s, and that we can be  “clothed (KJV ‘endued’)” with power. This is a wonderful gift. As we exercise faith, live a repentant life, worship God and boldly witnesses for Christ, God can give us these special outpourings at any time. When we are physically or emotionally broken, tired and weary, God can choose to revitalize us with his love by filling us with joy, peace and power

In is book Joy Unspeakable, Martin Lloyd-Jones gives an example (based off a sermon by Thomas Goodwin) about the differences of normative Christian Living and when the Holy Spirit clothes a person with power:

“A man and his little child, his son, walking down the road and they are walking hand in hand, and the child knows that he is the child of this father, and he knows his father loves him, and he rejoices in that, and he is happy in it. There is no uncertainty about it all, but suddenly the father, moved by some impulses, takes hold of that child and picks him up, fondles him in his arms, and kisses him, embraces him, showers his love upon him, and then he puts him down again and they go on walking together.”

“That is it! The child knew before that is father loved him, and he knew that he was his child. But oh! This loving embrace, this extra outpouring of love, this unusual manifestation of it—that is the kind of thing. The Spirit bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” [9]

This child’s walk would turn to a skip, or a run, as he boldly, unashamedly cried out, “My father loves me! My father loves me!”

In conclusion, we would do well to remember the unspeakable gift that has been given to us in the Comforter. God has chosen his saints of the New Covenant to be temples in which the Holy Spirit dwells and be powerful witnesses of the testimony of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We can and should ever be filled with and lead by the Holy Spirit. We should not be surprised when we receive an extra outpouring of God’s love that re-energizes us and fills us with a supernatural love and boldness. May we always remember this great privilege, and let us be continually filled up with his presence.


[1] Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.

[3] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 480). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

[5] Achtemeier, P. J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. (1985). In Harper’s Bible dictionary (1st ed., p. 749). San Francisco: Harper & Row.

[6] Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

[7] Sproul, R. C. (2012). Who Is the Holy Spirit? (Vol. 13, pp. 30–33). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.

[8] Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible Dictionary. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.

[9] Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Joy Unspeakable, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1984), p. 95.