The Fundamentals of Our Faith;
What We Believe Sermon Series
“We Believe in the Holy Spirit”
Gloves are an amazing thing. They can pick things up. Then, I drop it on a hymn book or Bible and tell it to pick up the book. When it doesn’t move, I apologize for its failure and assure them that I’ve seen it pick up books before. I suggest it might be too heavy, so I move to a smaller book. When it still doesn’t work, I move to a piece of paper.
I need to put the glove on my hand. I then suggest that I neglected something important. A glove can’t pick anything up without a hand inside it. We can’t do anything significant unless the Holy Spirit is inside us. Just as the glove can do things with my hand inside it that it cannot do by itself, so we need the Holy Spirit.
And yet, so many believers try: to deal with their sin problems without calling upon the Holy Spirit; to handle their personal problems without getting guidance from the Holy Spirit; and to serve God without getting power from the Holy Spirit. We are going to look at the vital role that the Holy Spirit plays in the believer’s life, and why we should include Him in our daily walk with the Lord.
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
The Holy Spirit helped create the universe and man in Genesis 1:2 “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” and Job said, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
The Spirit equipped individuals for service. He gave power to judges and warriors as in Judges 14:6 “Then the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon him [Sampson], and although he had nothing in his hand, he tore the lion in pieces as one tears a young goat.” “The Spirit came upon people for a particular purpose in this manner, but they did not necessarily transform their moral character unless they called out for it.”
He gave wisdom and skill for particular jobs, including those of a nonspiritual nature. Bezaleel was filled with the Spirit to work gold, silver, and bronze for the tabernacle (Ex. 31:2-5).
The HS inspired the prophets. When they spoke they would often say, “This is what the Lord says.” They would also attribute their message to the Spirit such as Ezekiel 2:2 “And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, “Son of man, . . .”
The HS moved people toward moral living. David committed adultery and murder and he repented and pleaded with God to create a new heart within him. David pleaded with God not to remove His Spirit from him, Psalm 143:10; “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!” and 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
The Spirit foretold the coming of the Messiah. “The references that anticipate Jesus are of two kinds. There are those that prophesied a direct indwelling of the Spirit in one messianic figure. Other prophecies contained a more general message, telling about the new covenant people of God, with the Spirit given to all people of all classes.”
Scripture suggests the HS caused men to grow more and more conscious of their inner need for God’s help if they were to serve the Lord and be morally pure. In the latter parts of the OT, some scholars detect an awareness, on the part of believers, that the human government of Israel would never succeed in achieving the purpose of Jehovah, and that in time, the Spirit would be given to all God’s people, not only to the people of Israel.
The Holy Spirit’s Work in the Life of the Believer
The gift of the Holy Spirit was increasingly unfolded in Jesus’ lifetime on earth. He was conceived by the HS and born of Him (Luke 1:35). Jesus was led by the Spirit (Matthew 4:1). He was anointed for His ministry by the Spirit in a special way at His baptism (Matt. 3:13-17). He offered Himself as a sacrifice through the Spirit (Hebrews 9:14), and He was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit (Romans 1:4). He gave commandments to the apostles, and through them to the church, by the Spirit (Acts 1:2).
Then, following His death and resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples His last instructions in Acts 1:4-5, “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
At Pentecost approximately 120 were gathered in Jerusalem for prayer, suddenly a violent wind came from heaven as did tongues of fire. Acts 2:1-14 “When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” This event marked the time when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in any person that places their faith in Christ – immediately at the moment of salvation.
Of the three persons of the Godhead – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit is vitally and intimately involved in our initial salvation, and the ongoing development as a Christian. The Holy Spirit is as much a person as God the Father and God the Son. He is not an impersonal “it” or ghost.
Jesus has completed what was required to accomplish salvation for humanity – through His death, burial, and resurrection. He ascended into heaven, and His present ministry is praying for us. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to apply salvation to believers:
Conviction: causing us to see sin and to desire righteousness, leading us to receive Christ as our Savior (John 16:8). Without the unveiling of sin by the HS, we would not believe we are really sinning. Whenever a person comes to a sense of his own sinfulness, whether by the preached word, written, or personally spoken word, the Spirit of God has been at work.
Regeneration: causing our old, dead spirit to be born again, so that we are now spiritually alive (Titus 3:5)
Indwelling: coming to live within us to help us live out our new life (1 Cor. 6:19-20). The Spirit’s work is to reveal what the holiness of God desires for us. Through Jesus’ death He gives us His righteousness; He makes us sensitive to anything that goes against God’s revealed righteousness.
Baptism: placing us, spiritually, in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
Sealing: marking us as God’s own possession and guaranteeing our eternal salvation (Eph. 1:13-14).
The Holy Spirit is called, in the New Testament, our paraklete. This is a combination of two words, para – beside, alongside, and kaleo – to call, invite, or summons. Therefore, the meaning is “to call or summon someone to come to your side to help.”
As our paraklete, the Holy Spirit does a number of things. He:
- Helps us have inner assurance of salvation (Rom. 8:16)
- Helps us understand the Bible (1 Cor. 2:9-10, 13)
- Helps us understand God’s ways (Eph. 1:17-18)
- Helps us in our prayers (Romans 8:26-27)
- Helps our strength in faith and obedience (Eph. 3:16-19)
- Helps guide us (Romans 8:14).
Our Relationship With The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit lives within the Christian as described as 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Therefore, the HS is not only a person (with emotions, feelings, an expressed will, etc.), He is deity.
He is eternal, (Heb. 9:14), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7), He is the Spirit of life (Romans 8:2) qnd the “Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit may be grieved by our actions (Eph. 4:30) and sinned against by unforgivable blasphemy (Mark 3:29).
In Ephesians 5:18 the apostle Paul says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, . . .” This is a command, and the language points to an ongoing action to be taken (not just a one time act). “debauchery” – expresses the idea of an abandoned, debauched life.” The Christian life should be an ongoing process of being filled by the Holy Spirit.
In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) the son wasted the inheritance given to him by his father. An while he was wanting the food he was feeding to the pigs he was employed to feed, “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger!” The sons thoughts were finally cleared of greed, alcohol, lust, entitlement – all gone, all that remained was a desire to go home.
Paul is saying take whatever that hidden inward desire is that a person may be seeking in alcohol, find that instead in God, allow the Spirit to fill you. In the prodigal son story we see the father make a statement twice, “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’”
The Holy Spirit guides believers away from death and into life. He is a guide, not a tyrant – you have the choice to be filled or not. He leads us away from a debauched (or abandoned) life to a purposeful and full life.
Galatians 5:16-18 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
In Galatians 5 Paul used four distinct verbs to designate the Spirit-controlled life of the believer, all of which are roughly equivalent in meaning: to walk in the Spirit (v. 16), to be led by the Spirit (v. 18), to live by the Spirit (v. 25a), and to keep in step with the Spirit (v. 25b).” They must continue to walk with God as they did when they received Christ.
“In this verse the emphasis is on the spiritual inability in which man lives, if he has only the law. He is defenseless against the flesh.” In order to overcome the flesh, we should be led by the Holy Spirit.
Instead of giving over to our flesh which impairs our ability to do wise things, clouds our thoughts, and pulls us away from holy living – the Spirit will lead us toward a life pleasing to the Lord.
Paul describes the church as the body of Christ. All believers are joined into one body, stressing its unity, even as the physical body works as one. In this context Christians are given spiritual gifts.
The Holy Spirit gives believers spiritual gifts – this is a God-given ability for ministry to others, for the good of the church body as a whole. Each believer in Christ has received at least one spiritual gift. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”
Spiritual gifts can be broken down into three major categories. First, there are “office” gifts which are given to those who serve the church at large in a specific capacity; apostle, prophet, evangelist, or pastor/teacher (Eph. 4:11-12).
The second category of spiritual gifts are “service” gifts, which are non-miraculous gifts that correspond to ministries that all of us should do, but some individuals are gifted for greater impact in those areas.
The third category are the “special” gifts, which are miraculous or supernatural gifts that appear to be given for the purpose not only of meeting a need of the moment but also for validating the message of Christianity to those who have not previously received the message (1 Cor. 12:4-11).
When the Spirit does His work in the believer there will be change and evidence of His presence in their lives – Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
 Little, 86.
 Little, 87.
 Little, 87.
 Paul E. Little, Know What You Believe, A Practical Discussion of the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Cook Publications, 1999) 83.
 Max Anders, New Christian’s Handbook, Everything New Believers Need to Know (Nashville, Tennessee; Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999) 58.
 Anders, 59.
 W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Volume III (Grand Rapids, Michigan; WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967) 363.
 Timothy George, The New American Commentary, Galatians (Nashville, Tennessee; Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994) 386.
 Herman N. Ridderbos, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Epistle of Paul to the Churches of Galatia (Grand Rapids, Michigan; WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1984) 204.
 1 Corinthians 12:11