Our Advocate, the Holy Spirit

Ben Reed’s sermon at Redeemer Indy on February 21 was another incredible message.  Speaking from John 14:8-31, he reminded us about the Holy Spirit: our champion and our advocate.

“Our Advocate, the Holy Spirit” was delivered on February 21, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN by Ben Reed.

Thesis and Outline

“The Holy Spirit is a precious gift.  Run to Him!”

  1. The Problem: Misdirected Affections
    1. Our misdirected affections are built on fear.
      1. In Peter: fear of insignificance
      2. In Thomas: fear of ignorance
      3. In Philip: fear of missing out
      4. This is not life-giving; survival is the goal of fear.
        There is no fulfillment to be found here.
    2. Jesus addresses our fear directly in verse 18:
      1. “I will not leave you as orphans.”
      2. Jesus sends us an advocate.
  2. The Solution: Our Advocate, the Holy Spirit
    1. There is a legal connotation
      1. A lawyer is ethically bound to do whatever is best for you.
      2. Your lawyer is always for you—even if you were guilty and deserve death.
    2. More than just legally: the Spirit…
      1. Dwells with us (v16-17)
        1. “He” – The Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force.  (You can’t have a real relationship with a force)
        2. Relationships are important to show us where our blind spots are.
        3. He doesn’t get disappointed in our metrics and statistics and decide to “go on to holier Christians”
        4. He is not distant or passive – he indwells with us, actively.  He…
      2. Champions for us
        1. Intercedes for us according to God’s perfect will
        2. Empowers us with strength and refreshment from God
        3. Emboldens us to learn and speak
        4. “Groanings too deep for words” – approach God, even when you don’t know what to say.
      3. Helps us remember (v26)
        1. Brings us memories of truth (see children’s question below)
        2. Stir up a desire to glorify God through us, leading to obedience
        3. Reminds us of Christ’s salvation
        4. Pushes us to Repentance: lies get pushed away, and truth unites us to Jesus and to others.
  3. The Action: Run to the Spirit
    1. Don’t waste any time!
    2. As we run to Him, our clarity of Him increases.
    3. How to run to the Spirit:
      1. Through the Word.
        1. Difficult!
        2. The Spirit will use it to bring healing, conviction, comfort, and life.
        3. He will meet you there.
      2. Through Worship.
        1. A temperament and lifestyle of worship
        2. The Spirit uses worship to turn us around so we can live as we’ve been called
      3. Through Prayer.
        1. For others
        2. For your own memory!
  4. Quit trying and start collapsing
    1. The Spirit reminds us to be a newborn in our Father’s arms: nothing else matters to a newborn
    2. Fight for expectant, bold, free, life-changing prayer in your community
      1. Yes, it’s weird…of course it’s weird! (we serve a dead guy who’s alive again).
      2. Ask the Holy Spirit for one person to go to, pray for, and be present with. (encouraging a community of broken prayerfulness.

Bulletin Discussion Questions

  1. The apostles are concerned about Jesus leaving. Even though he promises to send the Holy Spirit to be with them, he must constantly remind them that he will not leave them as orphans. What are ways that you live like an orphan? Are there ways that you live as if God has forgotten you?
  2. This Lenten season we are talking about the affections of our heart. The Holy Spirit helps those affections be focused on Jesus by reminding us of things like the truth of God’s word, our adoption as children of God, and the joy of our salvation. Are there examples in your life where the Holy Spirit has reminded you of these good things? Are there places in your life where you are ignoring the Holy Spirit as he tries to remind you of the truth?
  3. Spend some time praying for each other. Pray that the Holy Spirit’s voice would be loud and clear in your life. Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you tear down the walls you have built in your heart.


Sometimes when we are going through a hard time, we suddenly remember a story from the Bible, or a song from church, or we just remember that Jesus loves us. That’s the Holy Spirit reminding us of those things. Are there examples in your life where the Holy Spirit reminded you of something good like that? Did it help you to remember those things? Share those with your friends and your parents.

The Highest Affection

lastsupper-wideToday’s sermon at Redeemer Indy, given by Jeff Nottingham, was one of my favorite sermons in recent memory.  Based out of John 13:31-14:12, it’s a beautiful and heart-stirring message about our affections that get in the way of loving Jesus, and I commend it highly.

“The Highest Affection” was delivered on February 14, 2016, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, IN by Jeff Nottingham.

Thesis and Outline

“We need to make Jesus our highest affection, because He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

  1. Peter’s Interruption: “I would lay down my life for you.”
    1. Affection: significance.
    2. Jesus’ response: “Will you lay your life down for me?  No, will lay my life down for you.  You will deny me.  But I will still prepare a place for you in my Father’s house.”
    3. Make Jesus your highest confession and affection.
  2. Thomas’ Interruption: “Lord, we don’t know where you are going.”
    1. Affection: knowledge.
    2. Jesus’ response: “You know the way.  Its me!”
    3. We are not those who possess Biblical truth.  We are those who are possessed by it.
    4. Thomas’ unfair nickname: “Doubting Thomas”
      1. Jesus wants to hear Thomas’ doubts!
      2. John 20: Jesus will draw Thomas close and prove Himself to Thomas – not to dismiss, but to cure Thomas’ doubts.
      3. Do not leave Jesus untested and somehow wanting.  He desires that we “taste and see.”
  3. Philip’s Interruption: “Show us the Father, and it will be enough for us.”
    1. Affection: personal experience.
      1. Experiencing God is good!  But Philip misses the fact that he has been experiencing God for the past three years.
      2. When we begin seeing the spiritual disciplines as mundane, or hold the method of experience in higher esteem than God, we are falling into the same trap as Philip.
    2. Jesus’ response: “You’ve seen me, my miracles, my love.  You’ve already seen the Father.  The love with which the Father has loved me, that is the love with which I have loved you.”
    3. The reality of the Trinity is your greatest joy.
  4. What does this do for us?
    1. “The Expulsive Power of our Highest Affection”
      1. Jesus can and does expel all lesser affections.
      2. “I don’t think I’ll ever hate my sin enough to stop sinning…Loving Jesus?  That’s another story.”
    2. Layers of tradition can desensitize us to the love and affection of Jesus.  But it’s uncomplicated!  Jesus’ love pulls me away from my evil.
    3. “Jesus does not merely point out the way, and speak the truth, and restore the life.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.”
  5. How should we respond?
    1. Meditate on and be with Jesus.
    2. Let us reacquaint ourselves with Him.  Talk about Him and His work.
    3. Take time to pray – even “one-line prayers.”

Bulletin Discussion Questions

  1. We all have too much deep affection for our own significance (like Peter), or our own understanding (like Thomas), or our own experience (like Philip).  Remember, our significance, our understanding, and our experience are in fact good, created things in and of themselves, but we take them too far; we “ultimatize” them.  The Lord Jesus can re-direct each of these deep affections towards himself.
    1. What is a specific example from your life right now where you can ask Jesus to replace your deep affection for your own significance with a deeper affection for his significance?
    2. Or, replace your deep affection for your own understanding with a deeper affection for his understanding?
    3. Or, replace your deep affection for your own experience with a deeper affection for his experience?
  2. Jesus teaches us about himself in this passage that he is the way, the truth, and the life.  Please share with your group what one of those mean to you.
  3. Jesus calls us to love other Christians with the same love with which he loved us.  Which denominations, groups, or “flavors” of Christ-followers today would you rather distance yourself from than love with that kind of love?
  4. What is a practical way that the Lord can re-direct this deep affection of yours (your significance, your understanding, or your experience) into a deeper affection for the significance, understanding, and experience of Jesus?


Jesus is the only way to live with God forever.  What kinds of things would you like to do with Jesus forever?