You Have An Advocate!

Read this carefully, dear Christians, because I think we all need it; especially these past few weeks when so many of our dear congregation have been beset with trials and afflictions. Recently, it seems as if every free moment has been spent at the hospital, at bedsides, at gravesides, comforting and encouraging dear ones who are up against some overwhelming hurts and losses and afflictions. 

Our church is being tested—many of you personally. From what I can gather, everyone seems to be passing the test. Don't lose sight of that!

One of the signs of Christian maturity is the refusal to be surprised by afflictions. After all, Jesus Himself even told us they would come. "In this world, you will have tribulation," He said. How true! In the world we live in, trouble just comes with the territory. But Jesus also went on to say: "... take heart, for I have overcome the world." Jn. 16: 33

Here's one thing to remember when trials become overwhelming: You have an advocate! He is on your side! And when He is on your side, nothing can oppose you!

That's what John was talking about in his first Epistle: 

"We have an Advocate with the Father: 

  Jesus Christ, the Righteous One." 1 Jn. 2:1 

You might recall that John was writing this letter to a church that was facing intense persecution. No one knew hardships more than those 1st Century Christians. But how encouraging John's words: "We have an Advocate!"  The word is an interesting one: 'one called to stand beside'  is the exact meaning of the term. That's what 'counsel for the defense' does, you know. It is an old legal term. My lexicon describes the word 'Advocate' as "one who pleads a man's cause before a judge."  Which is exactly what Jesus Christ does for you: He is your advocate! 

I was quite surprised to discover that ancient old Job knew all about our Advocate! How could he, I'd like to know? The guy lived at least 1200 years before Christ for goodness' sake! But listen to this: 

"Even now, my witness is in heaven; my Advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend, as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man, he pleads with God, as a man pleads for a friend. " Job 16: 19-21

What an astounding prophetic utterance! The Book of Job! An amazing portion of the Holy Word!

The point of it all is this, dear Christian: when you have Christ standing at your side, it doesn't matter who is against you! It doesn't matter what your circumstances are today. It doesn't matter what you've done in the past or what's going to happen in the future. Christ is at your side! He speaks on your behalf. And because of that—get this!—the Father is all 'for' you! That's why John worded it that way: "We have an Advocate with the Father." And with all of that going for you, nothing can oppose you!

Romans 8:31 says something quite similar: 

"If God is for us, who can be against us?" 

Now that last phrase might raise a few eyebrows. Surely some will ask: "Is this really true? I mean, it's wonderful that Christ is with me, and God is for me, but does that really mean that no one is against me? Isn't that a little simplistic? I wish you'd tell that to my enemies at work; or to the diagnosis I got last week, or to the bills that don't stop coming; or the fears I keep having; or the guilt that won't go away. Isn't this proof enough that things are against me?"

No. Not if God is for you! Not since you have the Advocate! 

Remember the Old Testament Joseph? When his brothers sold him into Egypt, could it be any more evident that they were "against him"? But no! God was for him dear ones! And so everything those brothers did turned out to be for the best! At one point, Joseph explains this astounding truth to his brothers: 

"You meant it for harm, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done: the saving of many lives."  Gen. 50: 20

When Moses took his stand before Pharaoh and presented God's demand to 'let my people go', it looked as if all the Kingdom of Egypt were against him. How could he win?

But God was for him: and in a matter of weeks, the Egyptian people were searching through their homes for all the gold and silver they could find, to place in the hands of the Hebrew people, pleading with them to "Go! Please Go! And have a nice safe trip!" Ex. 12: 31-36

When God is for you, can anyone be against you? When Christ is your Advocate, does anyone or anything truly oppose?

I love that story about Antigonus, the great general who served under Alexander way back in the days of the Greeks.

Antigonus was a powerful, courageous leader, but on the eve of one particular battle, his troops were greatly outnumbered by the enemy. Thoroughly intimidated by such over-whelming odds, the men sent a captain to reason with Antigonus: "Sir, don't you see? We have so few, and they have so many. We can't win this battle!" 

At this, the great general bristled and answered him sternly: "and just how many do you reckon me to be?"  I love it!

That's an especially good question when it comes to your Advocate, don't you think? 

God bless you, dear ones. I pray for each one of you. Please join me in praying for that list on page 5. Bring a friend with you this Sunday.

 

See you there!                                      RAS

 

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