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 The Holy Spirit - Intro

John Hoole May 04, 2008


WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE THIRD PERSON OF THE TRINITY?

You say: The Holy Spirit. I will confess that I asked you a "loaded" question. We really are not given the name of the third Person of the Trinity. We give Him the title, Holy Spirit, because it speaks of what He is. He is holy and He is a spirit.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Before we get very far, I need to address two things. First, all the things you mentioned about the Holy Spirit show that He is not just some emanation or a Force. Was it the "Star Wars" movies that said, "The Force be with you." That is not a description of the Holy Spirit. There are some who try to reduce the Holy Spirit to a force. Or maybe it is just the impersonal collective energy of God.

But that is not the description given in the Bible about the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, the word for "spirit" is feminine in Hebrew - Neuter in Greek - Masculine in Latin. We use masculine pronouns referring to the Holy Spirit to remind us that He is a Person - an individual, not an impersonal force. We should not refer to the Holy Spirit as "IT", but "HE." The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity, equal in all ways to the Father and the Son. We will look at the Bible's description of the Holy Spirit later.

The second item I want to take care of is this: Why is the third Person of the Trinity sometimes called the Holy Spirit, and at other times as the Holy Ghost? The original King James Version is the only version of the Bible that anyone here has that uses the term Holy Ghost, although it does use the title, Holy Spirit, 7 times. I'm not sure why it uses the term Holy Spirit 7 times and Holy Ghost 87 times. The same exact original language word is used in both cases. Since 1611, when the King James was written, the English language has evolved, so the word "ghost" has a slightly different connotation today than back then. It was not meant always to indicate a disembodied spirit of a deceased person. It was being used to indicate, or refer to, an immaterial being. The New King James Version has the word, GHOST, in it only twice - once each in Matthew and Mark. They are a reference to the words of the disciples when they saw Jesus walking on the water.

The real issue is that the terms Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit refer to the third person of the Trinity, coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

Most of you have probably heard a story like the one I am going to tell you. In a Texas city, there was a panhandler who lived in a cardboard makeshift home under an overpass. His transportation was a rusty grocery cart borrowed from a local market. In the summer he would stand at a corner hoping someone would give him a few cents. But during the winters, it was easier to rummage through dumpsters behind hotels for a few scraps of food. One bitter winter day, he didn't make his usual rounds, but nobody took particular notice. Two days later, someone found his frail wasted body in his cardboard home, surrounded by crumpled newspapers in his attempt to keep warm.

When the county coroner did the autopsy, he was puzzled to find a safe-deposit key tightly clasped in the old man's right hand. At first he supposed the old man had just found it on the street - or perhaps had even stolen it. An investigation revealed, however, that the deposit box had been issued in the old man's name many years ago. They finally located the bank where the box was located. Inside, lawyers found what the next day became front page news. In the box, they found the deed to the man's mansion in Florida, now unoccupied for many years. There were stocks and bonds from an investment portfolio, untouched for more than a decade. They found his diploma from Harvard - a Rolex watch - and a stack of crisp $100 bills. They also found a small container filled with gold coins and a diamond ring worth thousands of dollars. The old man who had lived in such misery and squalor was, in reality, a very wealthy man. He possessed incredible resources, but had not made use of the resources he possessed.

I tell you that story because it is a picture of so many in the Church today. God has blessed every Christian with incredible resources. He has made us to be kings and priests (Revelation 1:6). He has given us every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). He has granted us authority over all the forces of the enemy (Luke 10:19). And He has made His own omnipotent power available to us (Ephesians 1:19-20).

The Bible is a guide to these resources - and how God intends for us to use them. In John 14:12, Jesus promises that if we believe in Him, we can to not only the same works that He did - but even greater ones. Now, that's POWER.

In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul indicates that the power available to us is like the awesome power displayed at the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20). This power will enable us to take the gospel into all the world (See Acts 1:8), to see people delivered out of darkness into the kingdom of God.

The reason for the next several lessons is to show the incredible resources God has given to you and I. Too many of us live in spiritual poverty, rather than being "partakers of His divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). In contrast, we are living as "mere men." (1 Corinthians 3:3). Christians live from week to week, attending church services, holding Bible studies, going to home groups, going through the rituals we have been told are important. But all too often, it is just a religious game. There is a reason we do not see the results that we read about in the New Testament church. We barely have enough power to sustain ourselves through pressures of daily life, much less reach a hurting world.

Yet, the key to the supernatural resources of God is in your hand at this very moment. That key is found in the person of the Holy Spirit. The average Christian knows very little about the Holy Spirit. If you have lived as part of a Pentecostal church for years, you might have a slightly broader understanding of Him. And yet, the Bible has a great deal to say about the Holy Spirit.

WHERE IS THE FIRST MENTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE?

We find the Holy Spirit of God brooding over the waters on earth in Genesis 1:2.

WHERE IS THE LAST REFERENCE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE?

In Revelation 22:17, we find the Holy Spirit joining with us, the Bride, in calling for the second coming of Jesus Christ to earth. Throughout the Word of God, the Holy Spirit plays a vital part in the work of God on earth.

Some Christians have been taught that it is not right to emphasize the Spirit. They say, "I don't want to talk about the Holy Spirit. I just want to talk about Jesus." This may sound spiritual, but it is not biblical.

Jesus openly and emphatically announced that one of the goal of His (Christ's) ministry was to bring people into a dynamic, life-giving relationship with the Spirit of God.

In John 7:38-39 (NKJV), Jesus said:

38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

Then, in the very next verse, He goes on to explain that these rivers of living water are a reference to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy* Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

John the Baptist foretold of Jesus - "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:16). The writers of the New Testament never hesitated to honor and exalt the third person of the Trinity. They repeatedly stressed the vital importance of living in relationship with Him.

On one occasion, Jesus assured His disciples that it was to their advantage for Him to leave and return to Heaven. Only then could the Holy Spirit be sent to them (John 16:7). That's an incredible tribute by Christ to the importance of the Spirit's ministry. Jesus was saying that it is better to have the Holy Spirit with you than to have the Son of God personally present. Jesus was telling his friends that they were not ready to serve Him until they received the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).

No matter where they are on the theological spectrum with regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, all godly men and women agree that the Holy Spirit is the key to the Christian life.

I believe it is safe to say: No matter how much you know about the Bible, no matter how much you discipline yourself, no matter how hard you try to serve and please God, if you are not properly related to the Spirit of God - the Christian life will not work for you. That is because the Christian life is not a ritual or a set of teaching, but, rather, it is a relationship - a relationship with God only through the Holy Spirit.

This understanding that the Christian life is a relationship is very important. As I mentioned earlier, some think of the Holy Spirit as an impersonal "higher power." Others think of Him only as a source of power and blessing. They just want to "plug in" and receive what they need. Still others think of the Holy Spirit as an influence for good, similar to one's conscience.

But you cannot have a relationship with a force or an influence or even a power source. You might manipulate a force, or plug in to a power supply, or respond to an influence, but you will never have a love relationship with any of them. We can have a relation with the Holy Spirit because He is a person.

To know the Holy Spirit involves more than knowing some facts about Him. Knowing the Holy Spirit means pursuing a personal and intimate relationship with Him. Because the Father, Son, and Spirit are one in nature, though distinct in person and role, what we learn about the character of one member applies to all three. Just as one cannot have a relationship with the Father without the Son (1 John 2:23), one cannot have a relationship with the Son except through the Spirit (John 16:14). So whatever we learn here about our relationship with the Father or the Son also applies to our relationship with the Spirit through whom we experience the presence of the Son and the Father.

WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON?

HOW DO WE KNOW HE IS A PERSON?

First, by saying He is a person, we certainly don't mean He is a being with a physical body. Having a physical body is not what makes you a person. When you die and your spirit leaves your body, you will still be a person. By "person" we mean one who has his own identity or individuality as a rational being.

We know the Holy Spirit is a person, because:

o He has personal attributes
o He performs personal acts
o He can be treated as a person would.

Personal Attributes:

o The Holy Spirit has a mind: Romans 8:27
o He has a will of His own: 1 Corinthians 12:11
o He is able to love: Romans 15:30

These three Passages tell us the Holy Spirit has emotions, intellect and will.
Emotions - He has feelings as any person does.
Intellect - He has an intelligent mind.
Will - He has the ability to make rational decisions - and carry them out.

Personal Acts

o The Holy Spirit creates:
Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God has made me..."
Job 26:13 "By His Spirit, he has garnished the heavens."
Psalm 104:30 "You send forth Your Spirit…and You renew the earth."

o He strives with people:
Genesis 6:3"My Spirit shall not strive with man forever."

o He convicts:
John 16:8 "...He will reprove the world of sin."

o He intercedes:
Romans 8:26 "The Spirit makes intercession for us..."

o He raises the dead:
Romans 8:11 "If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead…"

o He speaks:
Revelation 2:7 "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says..."

o He teaches:
Luke 12:12 "The Holy Spirit will teach you what you ought to say."
John 14:26 "He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance."

He can be treated as a person would

o He can be resisted: Acts 7:51
o He can be lied to: Acts 5:3
o He can be tempted: Acts 5:9
o He can be grieved: Ephesians 4:30
o He can be blasphemed: Matthew 12:22-30; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 12:10

The Holy Spirit is identified with other persons. Acts 15:28 NKJV

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.

Try to make sense by inserting wind or power in this verse.

The Holy Spirit is a person - not just the essence of God. And you and I need to come into a personal relationship with Him. Only then can we experience His love and His power working through our lives as He guides us in our spiritual walk.

CLOSING

The Church is the Body of Christ - and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit fills the Body, directs its movements, controls its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies its strength. He guides into truth and empowers for witness. The Spirit has never abdicated His authority nor relegated His power. We must always remember that, because the church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure.

A ministry that is college-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles. The Church that multiplies committees and neglects prayer may be fussy, noisy, enterprising, but it labors in vain and spends its strength for nought. It is possible to excel in mechanics and fail in dynamics.

To run an organization needs no God. Man can supply the energy, enterprise and enthusiasm. The real work of a Church depends fully upon the power of the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Spirit is vital and central to the work of the Church. Nothing else avails. Apart from Him, wisdom becomes folly - and strength becomes weakness.

The Church fails when it become self-confident. There may be a crowd, but there is no Shekinah. That is why prayer is the test of faith and the secret of power. The Spirit of God travails in the prayer-life of the soul.

Miracles are the direct work of the Spirit's power, and without miracles the Church cannot live long. The carnal can argue - but the Spirit convicts. Education can civilize - but it is being born of the Spirit that saves. The energy of the flesh can run bazaars, organize activities and raise millions, but it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes a Temple of the Living God.

One of the greatest problems of the church is that it has more faith in the world and the flesh than in the Holy Spirit. We must never forget that it is the winds of the Spirit that turns death into life, and dry bones into mighty armies.

   
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Last Updated: Thursday September 08 2011
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