Last week we began looking at what the Bible has to say about the third Person of the Trinity. Yes, I said "Person," because the Holy Spirit is not some impersonal force or power. He is a person, co-equal to the Father and Son. We should speak of Him as "HE" not "IT."
We know He is a person because:
o He has personal attributes
o He performs personal acts
o He can be treated as a person would.
We also learned that when the King James Version uses the term, "Holy Ghost," there is no difference from the term, Holy Spirit.
As we continue our investigation of what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, let me ask you a question.
HOW WAS THE HOLY SPIRIT ACTIVE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?
We mentioned in our lesson last week that the first mention of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is Genesis 1:2. He had a role in creation.
In Numbers 11:16-17 (NKJV), God tells Moses to select 70 elders and meet with them in the tabernacle.
17 Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.
The Holy Spirit was active during the time of Moses and the wilderness wanderings.
1 Samuel 16:13 NKJV
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward...
The Spirit of God came upon King David.
In Isaiah 30:1 (NKJV), God scolds the people for not taking the counsel of the Spirit through God's prophets.
"Woe to the rebellious children," says the LORD , "Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin;"
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Othniel, one of the Judges - Judges 3:10. The Spirit was also active through the life of Gideon - Judges 6:34. In Ezekiel 11:5, the Spirit of God revealed to the prophet things about the house of Israel. Job says the Holy Spirit gives him life - Job 33:4.
It is obvious that the Holy Spirit had several roles in the Old Testament. When we move from the Old Covenant to the New, does the Spirit's ministry and work change?
HOW DOES THE SPIRIT"S PRESENT MINISTRY DIFFER FROM OLD TESTAMENT TIMES?
When Jesus was about to leave his disciples and return to His Father, He teaches them how the Holy Spirit will guide them. And in the discourse, I believe Jesus very adequately described the contrast between the believer's relation to the Spirit in the Old Testament as compared to the New. We find it recorded in John 14:17.
John 14:16-17 NKJV
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever -
17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
Notice that last phrase - "He dwells with you and will be in you." Specifically notice the two little words, "with" and "in". He dwells with you - that is a present fact. He will be in you - that is a future promise. This is the big change Jesus is impressing upon them. Not only will He (The Holy Spirit) be with you as Jesus was that day, but He will take up residence inside you. You will become His dwelling place.
Every Scripture we read earlier concerning the Holy Spirit's activity in the Old Testament, said that the Spirit of God came upon people. None of them said the Holy Spirit was within the people. That represents the norm in the Old Testament era. And when the Holy Spirit came upon someone, it was temporary. He didn't indwell a person just because He/She was a believer, but because God would empower them for a specific task or mission. In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God was experienced only by a select few.
There were, however, several people in which the Holy Spirit did dwell.
CAN YOU TELL ME ANY OLD TESTAMENT PERSON WHO WAS INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT?
There were only 7 people mentioned in the Old Testament in whom the Spirit dwelt.
1. Bazaleel Exodus 31:2-3
2. Micah Micah 3:8
3. Moses Isaiah 63:11
4. Joshua Deuteronomy 34:9
5. Joseph Genesis 41:38
6. Ezekiel Ezekiel 2:2
7. Daniel Daniel 4:18
In referring to these 7 men, it may not be totally proper to say the Holy Spirit indwelt Old Testament people. The Holy Spirit filled them for a task they were to do, but He never took up permanent abode in them. A good example of one in which the Spirit came into for a specific task is the very first one - Bezaleel.
Exodus 31:2-5 NKJV
2 "See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.
3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze,
5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.
The Holy Spirit came into Bezalel to give him wisdom and knowledge on how to make the utensils needed in the Tabernacle. This would include making of small incense holders to larger instrument, like the Ark of the Covenant and the Menorah. That was the only reason the Holy Spirit came into Bezalel.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit gave supernatural leadership abilities - like Joshua. Sometimes it was superhuman strength - as in Samson. Sometimes it was to give people unnatural boldness - like Gideon.
When I attended Eugene Bible College in the late 50's, all students had certain ministry requirements. You could sign up to speak at a church, hold a street meeting, minister to inmates at the local jail, etc. Holding street meetings was fairly common at that time. I remember being part of a street meeting team. I didn't speak very often, but I took my horn to play while they sang hymns.
One of my favorite Bible scholars of a generation or two ago was Harry Ironside (1876 - 1951). He also ministered in street evangelism. One day he was preaching on a busy street corner in a Northeastern city, when a well-dressed man walked up and began to ridicule and jeer. Ironside recognized the heckler as a university professor and a well-known and vocal atheist. This professor was full of bitterness and anger against all religion, but especially against Christianity.
As Ironside tried to continue his message, the man began to shout objections. He criticized the Bible and labeled Christians as ignorant fools. He loudly proclaimed, "There is not God! Jesus is a myth!" At first, Ironside tried to ignore the man, but the professor grew more and more belligerent, taunting Ironside to responds to his intellectual arguments. Finally the man shouted, "I challenge you to a debate! Are you afraid to debate me?"
Ironside knew that an intellectual debate with this man would accomplish nothing, but he also knew that he must respond to the man's attack. "I accept your challenge, sir," he shouted, "but on one condition! When you come to the debate, I ask that you bring with you ten men and women whose lives have been changed for the better by the message of atheism. Bring some alcoholics and drug addicts who have been set free by atheism's power. Bring former prostitutes and criminals whose lives have been changed, who are now moral and responsible individuals. Bring outcasts who had no hope and have them tell us how becoming atheists has lifted them out of the pit! And sir," Ironside concluded, "if you can find ten such men and women, I will gladly bring with me two hundred men and women from this very city whose lives have been transformed in just those ways by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
As the professor heard Ironsides challenge, he stopped his jeering, turned and walked away without a word. He knew that, for all its pretense, atheism had no power to change lives. Jesus changes lives. You can go into any city in all the USA and find many whose lives have been change by the gospel. In this church - even in this class - I know some of your stories. We have all around us people who had been hopeless, rebellious, immoral, people who were alcoholics and drug addicts, men once enslaved by pornography, individuals who have been deeply ensnared in witchcraft and the occult, and people who were so full of despair they attempted to take their life. And yet, as you look at these people today, they are godly, responsible individuals. They are loving parents with fine families. They are full of hope, and every one of them will tell you that what changed their lives was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, through the work of the Spirit.
Christ can do what no other religious leader has ever offered to do. He can change lives. And He does it through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus living in the hearts of His people, sent to give them new hope, new love, new peace, new joy and new direction.
This internal ministry of the Holy Spirit is foundational to everything else in our Christian life. It is through the indwelling Spirit we are sealed in Christ. It is this Holy Spirit giving us the inner assurance that we belong to Him. He is also dwelling in us to lead us to become more like Jesus Christ our Savior.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a New Testament ministry. During Old Testament times, the Spirit of God was with His people and they enjoyed the fellowship of His presence. He would also come upon certain ones to empower them for specific tasks, but He did not dwell in them on a continual basis.
But this indwelling of God in His people was prophesied by some of the Old Testament prophets. Shortly after the destruction of Solomon's temple, 586 B.C., the prophets began to predict a fundamental change in the way God would relate to His people. They prophesied that God would cause his Ruach Ha Kodesh, His Holy Spirit, to dwell within the hearts of His people.
Ezekiel 36:27 NIV
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
God promised His people that His Spirit would take up residence in their hearts to provide a powerful new resource for holy living. The Old Testament saints must have marveled at that thought. They had known the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit - the Shekinah glory, the dazzling light of God's presence, which made its abode in the holiest place of the temple or tabernacle. But through Ezekiel, God promised that this Shekinah would one day come to dwell in the hearts of mortal human beings.
During His life on earth, the presence of Christ could only be bestowed temporarily and externally to a small group of people in a given country. Now Christ dwells, through the Spirit, in the hearts of all those who love Him throughout the entire earth.
Jesus often talked about what this indwelling Spirit would accomplish. At the Feast of the Tabernacles, He described the indwelling Spirit as an artesian well in the believer's heart, from which a river of living water - the very life of God - would flow (John 7:38). This same Passage continues to tell us when this ministry of the Spirit would occur. The next verse says it will happen after Jesus was glorified.
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus again repeated Ezekiel's promise. He told His disciples that the Holy Spirit was "with" them but would, in the very near future, be "in" them (John 14:17).
He went on to describe the fruit this change would produce. The indwelling Spirit would lead them into all truth, and reveal the things of Jesus Christ to them. Why would the Spirit of God want to live inside people like you and me? He lives within us to enable us to live life on a new level. He is working to change us from the inside out, so that we may become more and more like Jesus.
At Mount Sinai, God's people were given an external law that defined holiness. The Law was righteous and good, - but it lacked power. The Law couldn't give men and women the power to live holy lives.
In Jeremiah 31:33, God promised that He would one day write His law on the hearts of His people. And that is what the indwelling Holy Spirit accomplishes. When the Spirit lives within you, He changes you.
Unlike the Old Testament, every believer now has the Holy Spirit within them. When you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit automatically comes to live within you. You do not have to beg or seek or fast for it. It is a blessing you receive automatically as part of your salvation.
Many new believers have not been taught about the Holy Spirit prior to their conversion. But they know that something inside them has changed. That is the Holy Spirit at work within you.
As I was thinking about this lesson, two illustrations of the internal work of the Holy Spirit came to mind. As most of you know, I recently purchased a new laptop computer from Dell. A 3-year, in-home warranty came with the computer. That means if I have a problem with my computer, I don't have to send it in. Rather, they will provide an expert repairman in my home to take care of it. I also have 24/7 phone support. The Holy Spirit lives in me to take care of problems I have in my Christian life. God doesn't recall me, but the Holy Spirit is right there whenever I want Him. But unlike my pc warranty, I don't have to pick up a phone to call. He lives in me 24/7 - I only have to request his help. And here is something even better with the Holy Spirit. My PC will eventually become old and out dated. But the Holy Spirit does His work in me to make be better than when I arrived.
The second illustration that came to mind occurred while driving away from visiting Ruby Morris in the assisted living place where she lives. When we became a Christian, and the Holy Spirit took up residence in us, we all immediately became an "assisted living" person. The Holy Spirit lives in us to assist us in all aspects of living the Christian life. He makes sure we get the right spiritual nutrition out of the Word of God. He assists in cleaning up our heart. Like people in the assisted living place, they need to keep in touch with other people living elsewhere. Likewise, the Holy Spirit reminds us to maintain our conversations with Heaven. Unlike the human help found in the assisted living complex, the Holy Spirit is the master of all kinds of tasks needed in your life. He can fix anything.
The indwelling of the Spirit is so basic to Christian experience that each believer is described as the Holy Spirit's temple.
1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?...
Also, in 1 Corinthians 3:16 NIV
16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
The Holy Spirit confirms that we are sons and daughters.
Galatians 4:6 NIV
6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father."
In each of these Scriptures, we see the importance of the Spirit taking up residence in us. The power we need to live our life in Christ daily is found in the Holy Spirit within us.
Ephesians 3:16 NIV
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
The power of the Holy Spirit is already in you if you are a child of God. In fact, if we do not have the Holy Spirit in us, we are not a child of God.
Romans 8:9 NIV
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Now that you understand the Holy Spirit lives within you from the moment of your Salvation, let me ask you a question.
IS IT ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND NOT THE FATHER OR SON THAT LIVES IN YOU?
There may be some who might think that, in truth, once having received the Spirit, they had, in a sense, no further need of the other two Persons. The Scriptures clearly show that this is not the case. Let's look at a few.
1 John 3:24 NKJV
24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
That passage is speaking of the Father. The Father is the One who promised to send the Spirit. But Jesus Christ is also resident within us. We read Ephesians 3:16 a moment ago. Now let's read it again and add verse 17.
Ephesians 3:16-17 NIV
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
Paul summarizes the Christian life by saying: "Christ in you, the Hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). Paul often speaks of Christ dwelling in us.
Galatians 2:20 NIV
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Lastly, Christ Himself declared, "If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him and we (Father and Son) will come unto him and make our abode with him" (John 14:23).
So, with the Holy Spirit comes the entire Trinity to dwell in us. What an inconceivable honor.
Most of you have probably heard this illustration, but let me finish our lesson with this note. I have a glove here in my hand. The glove cannot do anything by itself, but when my hand is in it, the glove can do many things. True, it is not the glove, by my hand in the glove that acts. The Christian is a glove. It is the Holy Spirit in us, the hand, who does the work. We have to make room for the hand so that every finger in the glove is filled.