John 14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."
2. The Holy Spirit's comforting or strengthening ministry in the early church
In light of the last post and this one, it is hoped the reader will understand the significance of this title of the Holy Spirit. Luke's statement about the early church in Acts 9:31 is connected to outcomes that are attributed to the Holy Spirit's comforting ministry:
a. Peace. Acts 9:31a "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace....".
b. Edification or "being built up". Acts 9:31a "being built up...."
c. Feared the Lord. Acts 9:31a "and going on in the fear of the Lord." This "fear of God" speaks of a deep reverence and desperate dependence upon God, fearing what life and ministry would be like if He were to remove His hand or if we were to do anything to provoke His Fatherly discipline.
These first few statements describe for us the effects that were taking place in the life of the church in the wake of Saul of Tarsus' conversion and the temporary reprieve from persecution that the church would enjoy as a result (compare Acts 9:1-22 and 9:23-30). But now what is the ultimate Cause or Agent behind the peace, the building up and the increased dependence or fear of the Lord in the early church? The next part of Acts 9:31 gives us the answer: "and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase."
The first part of 9:31 views the mighty effects and activities that were taking place, whereas the second part takes us in the walls and behind the scenes and inside the people to see Who the source is - the Holy Spirit, the Mighty Comforter Himself. He is the One who "comes alongside" and Strengthens the church to do the bidding of the Lord. Peter's healing of Aeneus in Acts 9:32-35 and the raising of the little servant girl Tabitha in 9:36-43 following on the heels of the statement of the Holy Spirit's comforting ministry in 9:31 shows us Who is responsible for any ministry done in and among God's people.
Were it not for the Holy Spirit, the Great Comforter or "Helper", there would had been no ability for Peter to say to Aeneus to "take up his bed and walk" nor for Aeneus to have such an ability. Also too, the same can be said of how the Spirit's worked through Peter to raise the little girl Tabitha from the dead. The Spirit of God is the author of life - both physically and spiritually. Because the Holy Spirit performs all these operations in the life of His people, it can be seen why He is the Mighty "Comforter" or "Helper" of the Christian.