The Holy Spirit
Notes below based on sermon preached at One Church Home on November 20, 2022
For the past couple of weeks, our sights have been set not just on the names of our GREAT God but the three Persons of God—the holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and this week God the Holy Spirit.
We pray that you have come to see more clearly a God who longs for and passionately pursues a relationship with you. He wants you to know Him…not just head knowledge, but heart knowledge (the Greek word is ginosko). It is a knowing that comes only from intimate personal experience.
But how can we have intimate personal experience with the Father who sits on the throne of heaven or the Son who sits at His right hand? Perhaps even more challenging, how can we have intimacy with the One who is invisible Spirit?
We saw in last week’s study on The Son that we come to know the Father through the Son, as the Son chooses to reveal Him, but how does He do that? Can we know the Son and the Father through Him simply by studying the Word?
The short answer is no, but the explanation is critical because studying God’s Word is an essential aspect of growing in our relationship with Him—it is necessary but insufficient.
Let’s go back to the study on The Father and our discussion of the Trinity or “tri-unity”—three Persons always acting in complete and perfect unity. We said that each has particular roles (within the Trinity and in carrying out the work of the Trinity).
One of the most important roles of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Truth—the Truth about our triune God, not just so we know about God, but so that we can experience Him intimately and glorify Him in our daily lives.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth…
I Corinthians 2:10-16
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
We have been given the “mind,” the Spirit of the One who is Truth, to reveal Truth to us. That is the only way we can know Him. To really know the Son, and to know His Father though Him, we must know God the Spirit.
The name of the Spirit—“ruach” in Hebrew, “pneuma” in Greek—is linked to “wind” or “breath,” but this is important: it is not the wind or the breath that is the essence of ruach or pneuma. Instead, it is the power within the breath or the wind. It is that aspect of each that is in motion and has the power to set other things into motion.
In Genesis 2:7, we see the Spirit of God, the very breath of God Himself, breath the breath of life into the newly created man.
In Ezekiel 38:9-10, we again see God’s Spirit, His very breath moving over the dry bones of Israel, bringing them back to life and standing them on their feet.
And in Acts 2:3-4, on the day of Pentecost, the mighty rushing wind of heaven filled the whole house where the disciples awaited the gift Jesus had promised them, tongues of fire came to rest on each of them, and the Holy Spirit filled them.
Even though we cannot see the wind, we can hear it as it moves and sets trees and other things in motion. We feel and see its impact or effect.
The same is true of the Person of the Holy Spirit. We cannot see Him, but we see the effect of His movement, His work in and through us. This is not to suggest in any way that the Holy Spirit is like the wind in other respects. While the wind is a natural force of nature, the Holy Spirit is a living Person.
According to a recent study directed by George Barna at the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, six out of every ten self-identified born-again Christians do not believe that the Holy Spirit is a real, living being (choosing to instead see Him as merely a symbol of God’s power, presence or purity).
If most Christians do not know the Holy Spirit, it is not surprising that we fail to see His power moving in our churches and lives. Without Him, the church becomes little more than a social club or religious institution.
Without Him, there is no agape love.
God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
There is no power.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
No victory over fleshly desires.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
No spiritual gifts.
I Corinthians 12:7-11
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another lgifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
No love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—all fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
No revelation of who God really is and how He loves us. John Piper says that, “All truth exists to display more of God and awaken more love for God.”
I Corinthians 2:12-13
12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
No helper or advantage.
In John 15:26, Jesus said to His disciples (speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit: “When the Advocate (or Helper) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father (other translations say “proceeds” or “comes” from the Father)—he will testify about me.”
The Holy Spirit “proceeds” from the Father. He is not the Father, but He comes forth from the Father and is fully God—the third Person of the Trinity. He is often called the Spirit of God or the Spirit of the Lord.
He is also called the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2 King James Version). Other translations say He “gives life” or “brings life.” He is a “life-giver.” We have seen that “In the beginning…” it was the Holy Spirit that “breathed…the breath of life” into Adam.
The Holy Spirit is the sustainer of life. If God were to take back His life-giving Spirit, man would cease to exist.
14 If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, 15 all humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust.
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual life to those who believe in the Son and accept His free gift of salvation. Jesus said to Nicodemus…
“6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.'”
And someday, when Jesus returns, the Holy Spirit will give life to our mortal bodies, literally resurrecting from the dead those who have died in Christ.
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Let’s not miss the first half of this verse either:
And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you…
As believers, not only will He bring new life to our mortal bodies someday, He is alive in us now.
We say it…do we understand what we are saying? Do we believe it? Do we live as we believe it? The very Spirit of the Lord, which proceeds from the Father, is alive in us. He indwells us.
Jesus said that it would be to our “advantage” if He went away and the Holy Spirit came. How can that be? I love the way the Amplified Bible says it:
But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you;but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].
That says so much.
We serve a God who longs to be with us. It is part of the Covenant formula woven throughout the Bible, showing us God’s love:
I will be your God.
You will be my children.
And I will dwell with you forever.
When man sinned and separated Himself from God, God sent His Son to be with us and to show us who He is. This is Immanuel, God incarnate.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
And while we can only imagine what it would have been like to walk with Jesus during His earthly life—to hear His teaching and to see His miracles- His death brought us to the Father. That covered our sins once and for all, opening the way for us to come to the Father in Spirit until we can dwell with Him eternally face to face.
Spurgeon says that “The Holy Spirit is to us all that Jesus was to the disciples.” It was not until Jesus completed His earthly mission that God sent His Spirit to dwell in us—in communion.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 13:14, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship (the King James says “communion”) of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
That word communion in Greek is koinonia, which means “to have in common” or “to share,” and includes three relationship types.
The first is fellowship—companionship, friendship. As believers, we are never alone. God’s Spirit is with us and in us.
Psalm 25:14 in the English Standard Version says, “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.”
The second is intimacy. It is the Spirit who enables us to know the Son and to know the Father through Him.
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
And last, but certainly not least, is partnership. We are laborers together with Him in advancing God’s kingdom.
1 Corinthians 3:9-11
9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
To be clear, this is not work we can do alone. It is work that He must empower in and through us.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
His power working in us through the Holy Spirit enables us to do all He calls us to do.
We can have as much of the Spirit as we want…to the extent that we are willing.
Ephesians 5:18 tells us that we are to “be filled with the Holy Spirit,” and we should ask for that. But we need to understand it requires more than just asking. It requires obedience and submission.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit means that we are no longer controlled or governed by self but by the Holy Spirit.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
We cannot be full of Him and full of ourselves at the same time. We cannot be filled until we are fully yielded to Him, until we surrender to His control. It is not so much that we acquire more of Him but that the Holy Spirit acquires all of us.
Will you give all of yourself to Him? Will you allow Him to do in and through you “immeasurably more than all…[you can] ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within…[you]” (Ephesians 3:20)? Will you seek to know Him intimately and through Him the Son and the Father?
We join with Paul in asking:
17 …that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-19).
Through His Spirit alive in you, filling you, may you know fully and intimately the GREATness of our GREAT God.
Note: all scripture references are from the New International Version. (2011) BibleGateway.com
Questions for reflection or discussion:
Do you have a relationship with the Holy Spirit? If you don’t, or if you want to know Him more, say or write a prayer asking Him to open the eyes of your heart to see all that He is in you and through you.
Can you recall a time when the Holy Spirit was your tangible Advantage/Helper?
When you think of all the things you would not have without the Spirit, which would you miss the most and why?
Are you living in communion—koinonia—with the Holy Spirit? Are you experiencing His fellowship, companionship, friendship? Do you know Him intimately? Are you allowing His power to work in and through you as you partner with Him in doing God’s work on the earth?
Read Romans 8:1-17. Is your mind controlled by the Spirit or the flesh? Have you given yourself fully to Him? Say or write a prayer of surrender today and receive all that He longs to give you.
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