Tonight I want to talk about the greatest Mystery: The Holy Spirit:
The Bible uses many metaphors for the Holy Spirit – wind, fire, a dove, anointing oil, water, a counselor, a guide, and breath.
I read a book called “The Shack” and it portrays God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in down to earth ways, so I want to share just a few of those passages as we go through the lesson, first the author named the Holy Spirit Sarayu, which in the authors words, and I quote ‘That is a simple name from one of our human languages. It means ‘Wind,’ a common wind actually. She loves that name.’” (pg. 110)
“’Speaking of Sarayu, is she the Holy Spirit?’
‘Yes. She is Creativity; she is Action; she is the Breathing of Life; she is much more.
“He had a difficult time focusing on her; she seemed almost to shimmer in the light and her hair blew in all directions even though there was hardly a breeze. It was almost easier to see her out of the corner of his eye than it was to look at her directly.” (pg.84)
So as we proceed through the lesson, I want to focus on three questions.
- Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
- How do we receive or get the Holy Spirit?
- What is effect upon us?
#1 Let’s start with the first question: Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
Jesus gave this description, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
So how do we put a face on the Holy Spirit? Christ says He is like the wind, we can’t see it, we can’t know where it came from or where it is going, but we can certainly feel his presence, and like the wind certainly has power, go through a tornado, just one and you will understand it’s power.
There is a two part argument concerning the Holy Spirit:
- Many segment of the Christian faith claims the Holy Spirit is a “person” others claim The Holy Spirit is not a “person” but a “being”.
- Some contend The Holy Spirit is not a part of the Holy Trinity.
Let’s begin with this explanation, people may be tempted to think of human being as one word, but it isn’t its two words.
Let’s begin by stating a few definitions: Let’s look at the differences between person, being, and personification.
- A human being regarded as an individual, a human person. e. “the porter was the last person to see her”
Was God or the Holy Spirit ever defined as a “person” as in human being? With the exception of Christ; the answer is No but is described as a “being”
Some describe the human being as a spiritual being having a human experience, and personally I think that is an accurate statement. Especially when we consider Jesus is God having a human experience, but only at that time in history that He was in the world was He having a human experience.
What they are doing is confusing the idea of person with the concept of a “being”
So, lets define “being”
1.existence. “the railroad brought many towns into being”
The Holy Spirit is referred to as a being or an “existence” but not as a spirit having a human experience, but having a God Experience, and often angels who would be spirits having a celestial experience, and when Christ returns we will shed this terrestrial body, and put on a celestial body and be the same spirit having an eternal experience.
So what is behind their misunderstanding?
So a human being, is a being (something that exists) that is human (in the flesh) A person is a human being.
Misconception: These same people find that The Bible personifies the Holy Spirit, and believes this proves that it is being referred to as a person, but not a personified person, but a human person.
Real quickly let’s look at the definition of personify: attribute a personal nature or human characteristics to (something nonhuman).
We call a ship “she” but that doesn’t make it a human female, however it is a being, because it exists
The Scriptures do at times personify the Holy Spirit, but this does not prove that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Bible also personifies wisdom, death, and sin. (Proverbs 1:20; Romans 5:17, 21) For example, wisdom is said to have “works” and “children,” and sin is depicted as seducing, killing, and working out covetousness.—Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35; Romans 7:8, 11.
Just because we personify something doesn’t make it human, we can have a much better idea of the Holy Spirit when the difference between “person”, “personified”, and “being” is understood.
Again, as above we have shown that the Holy Spirit is not a “person” as in Human Being, but a being (having a God Experience)
Let’s take a look at the second argument, that the Holy Spirit is not part of the Holy Trinity, or sometimes known as the Godhead.
Let’s allow scripture to answer this:
- Rom. 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
- John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
Now here’s a trick question for you; Did God create life? The answer is no, He is life, and He imparts life:
in Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Now think about that verse, first God formed the man, and at that point he was a being, a non-living being, just as that ship, or that town is a non-living being, and if any of you have worked in the funeral business as I have, you really start to understand the difference, for that is what the body returns to, but once God breathed Himself, the breath of life into that body, it changed from a non-living being to a living being a human being.
John 6:63 says that the Spirit who gives life… not creates….gives. Who but God or a dimension of God could give life, which is God?
Only God can give of himself, which is life.
#2 How do we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit?
How do we receive the Holy Spirit?
How does the Bible say we receive the Holy Spirit?
Jesus Christ told His disciples that they would receive the Holy Spirit after His death. On the Day of Pentecost, the beginning of the Church of God was announced with powerful miracles, and Peter preached an inspired sermon describing how we can receive the Holy Spirit:
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38).
Other passages show that the Spirit is usually given to the repentant believer after baptism when a minister lays his hands on the person and asks God to give the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
Acts 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money
Some believe repentance, belief, baptism and the laying on of hands are the steps God asks us to follow today before He gives His Holy Spirit, so if a person has not followed these steps, he or she does not have the Holy Spirit in him or her yet. However, in the verse above these people had been baptized in the Name of Jesus alone, Jesus tells us to baptize in the Name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, He doesn’t tell us to also later to lay on hands, but give the invitation of the Holy Spirit during baptism.
But nowhere are we told we can receive the Holy Spirit before baptism.
Repentance, belief, baptism and the laying on of hands are the steps God asks us to follow today before He gives His Holy Spirit, so if a person has not followed these steps, he or she does not have the Holy Spirit in him or her yet.
The Holy Spirit is the working agent of God’s Mind and Power. Having the Holy Spirit is having the Holy mind of God. God is pure or Holy Spirit. That is, He is not flesh and bones and blood. He has no “parts” which are not Spirit. Therefore, He is undiluted or Holy Spirit or Mind. When His Spirit manifests itself, both Hebrew and Greek use the “wind” to represent the invisible expression of God as He works in the physical dimensions.
Thus, when we say, “Come, Holy Spirit”, the Spirit can come, not as if on command, but as promised.
In Acts 9:31, it is said that the church lived and grew not only in the fear of the Lord, but in the comfort of the Spirit.
#3 What is the effect of the Holy Spirit indwelling us?
I think the mystery of the Holy Spirit is best described in the book “The Shack”
Meeting “Sarayu” – God the Spirit
A little disclaimer is needed here, the author of the book refers to the Holy Spirit as a she, however we biblically refer to the Holy Spirit as a male, even though I am not sure the spirit is either male or female but the reference either way is just a personification.
So the main character of the book is Mack, and he is describing the Holy Spirit in his words.
Again from the book the Shack; Mack continues to describe the Holy Spirit “Sarayu” “From what he could tell this wiry-looking person was maybe of northern Chinese or Nepalese or even Mongolian ethnicity. From her clothing, Mack assumed she was a groundskeeper or gardener.” (pg.85)
The author of the “Shack” portrays the Holy Spirit as a gardener who, as Mack discovers later, is working in the garden of his soul. We need to think of our own soul as the Spirit’s garden and consider some of the areas the ‘gardener’ is working on in our own lives.
We should think about how we have experienced the Spirit’s presence in our lives, and how does the Holy Spirit grow in us, or how do we grow due to the Holy Spirit living within. What can we do to increase our awareness, or what can we do to increase the presence of the Holy Spirit within ourselves?
The Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
At the beginning of the church (Acts) the Holy Spirit was very active in miracles, supernatural guidance, and empowering believers.
You see the Holy Spirit is a wonderful mystery, we only catch the glimpse of Him out of the corner of our eye occasionally.
Rom. 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
What would life be like the without the Holy Spirit?
1 John 5:6, “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth.”See also 1 Cor. 2:12, 2 Tim. 1:14.
John 14:26, “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Could a non-being, or any being other than God teach you all things?
Rom. 8:16, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
Rom. 8:26, “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Revelation 2:7 7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Matthew 12:28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Romans 8: 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Conclusion: There is a being called the Holy Spirit…
Is The Holy Spirit part of the Trinity? Again from scripture which is the only true source of information concerning the HOLY SPIRIT:
Luke 1:35 35And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
I could spend hours on all of this, but we just don’t have time so let’s establish the Holy Spirit is God, part of the trinity in four statements:
- The Gospels of Matthew and Luke and the Nicene Creed state that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.
- John 6:63 says that the Spirit who gives life… not creates….gives. Who but God or a dimension of God could give life, which is God?
- The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove during his baptism, not a person, but a “being”
- All three Synoptic Gospels proclaim blasphemy against the Holy Spirit as the unforgivable sin. Blasphemy against God is the only unforgivable sin, blasphemy against any human being is forgivable.
- In his Farewell Discourse after the Last Supper Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure.
The Holy Spirit isn’t a mere symbol of anything. No mere symbol is able to:
- communicate (‘speak’), Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
- intercede (step in on behalf of someone) (Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.),
- testify (John 15:26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.)
- guide (John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.),
- command (Acts 16:6,7 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
6 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. 7 When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.),
- appoint (Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[),
- lead (Romans 8:14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God),
- reveal to someone how wrong, foolish, or sinful he/she was (John 16:8When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:).
- seal God’s promise in believers’ hearts (Ephesians 1:13-14And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.).
- live within a believing Christian (1 Corinthians 6:19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;).
- shape the life of each person and community to Christ’s (Romans 8:1-17Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 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. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 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[e] his Spirit who lives in you.12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.)
Here are the 50 Things the Holy Spirit Does
- The Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
- The Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13).
- The Spirit regenerates us (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5).
- The Spirit glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26; 16:14).
- The Spirit reveals Christ to us and in us (John 16:14-15).
- The Spirit leads us (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1).
- The Spirit sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 5:16).
- The Spirit empowers us (Luke 4:14; 24:49; Rom. 15:19; Acts 1:8).
- The Spirit fills us (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17).
- The Spirit teaches us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 1:20).
- The Spirit bears witness in us that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16).
- The Spirit produces in us the fruit or evidence of His work and presence (Gal. 5:22-23).
- The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts and manifestations (the outshining) of His presence to and through the body (1 Cor. 12:4, 8-10; Heb. 2:4).
- The Spirit anoints us for ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38).
- The Spirit washes and renews us (Titus 3:5).
- The Spirit brings unity and oneness to the body (Eph. 4:3; 2:14-18). Here the Holy Spirit plays the same role that He plays in the Godhead. The Spirit is the life that unites Father and Son. The Spirit plays the same role in the church. When the Holy Spirit is operating in a group of people, He unites them in love. Therefore, a sure evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a group is Love and Unity. Not signs and wonders (those are seasonal and can be counterfeited).
- The Spirit is our guarantee and deposit of the future resurrection (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5).
- The Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
- The Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2).
- The Spirit quickens our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11).
- The Spirit reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Cor. 2:10).
- The Spirit reveals what has been given to us from God (1 Cor. 2:12).
- The Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14; John 14:17).
- The Spirit speaks to, in, and through us (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:11; Heb 3:7; Matt. 10:20; Acts 2:4; 8:29; 10:19; 11:12, 28; 13:2; 16:6,7; 21:4,11).
- The Spirit is the agent by which we are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
- The Spirit brings liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).
- The Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
- The Spirit cries in our hearts, “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6).
- The Spirit enables us to wait (Gal. 5:5).
- The Spirit supplies us with Christ (Phil. 1:19, KJV).
- The Spirit grants everlasting life (Gal. 6:8).
- The Spirit gives us access to God the Father (Eph. 2:18).
- The Spirit makes us (corporately) God’s habitation (Eph. 2:22).
- The Spirit reveals the mystery of God to us (Eph. 3:5).
- The Spirit strengthens our spirits (Eph. 3:16).
- The Spirit enables us to obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22).
- The Spirit enables us to know that Jesus abides in us (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
- The Spirit confesses that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2).
- The Spirit says “Come, Lord Jesus” along with the bride (Rev. 22:17).
- The Spirit dispenses God’s love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5).
- The Spirit bears witness to the truth in our conscience (Rom. 9:1).
- The Spirit teaches us (1 Cor. 2:13; John 14:26).
- The Spirit gives us joy (1 Thess. 1:6).
- The Spirit enables some to preach the gospel (1 Pet. 1:12).
- The Spirit moves us (2 Pet. 1:21).
- The Spirit knows the things of God (1 Cor. 2:11).
- The Spirit casts out demons (Matt. 12:28).
- The Spirit brings things to our remembrance (John 14:26).
- The Spirit comforts us (Acts 9:31).
- The Spirit makes some overseers in the church and sends some out to the work of church planting [through the body] (Acts 20:28; 13:2).
Summary: The Holy Spirit unites us to Jesus Christ and to His body. The Spirit reveals Christ to us, gives us His life, and makes Christ alive in us. The Spirit takes the experiences of Jesus . . . His incarnation, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension . . . and brings them into our own experience. Because of the Holy Spirit, the history of Jesus Christ becomes our story and experience. Unfortunately, some movements have become known for their excesses in regard to the Holy Spirit’s work.