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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
September 28, 2008
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is sometimes the forgotten part of the Triune Godhead that we serve. In many ways that is due to the nature of His ministry that magnifies both the Father and the Son. However, with the rise of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movement over the last 100 years, the Holy Spirit has received a lot of theological attention. In many ways this has been good since our understanding of Him and His ministry has been sharpened by those who have been diligent to handle accurately the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), but there has also been some strong negatives due to those that have not been so diligent in Bible study and end up using the Holy Spirit as the excuse for their own desires. This morning I want to give a brief overview of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and then conclude with how to discern between the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life and following your own desires.
When we consider the Holy Spirit, one of the first issues that must be emphasized is His nature including that He is a person and one of the three persons that make up the Triune Godhead.
Personhood – There are groups, such as Unitarians, and cults, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, that teach the Holy Spirit is some sort of impersonal force. There are also many Christians that treat Him as such or that He can be manipulated by humans to one degree or another. The first step to eliminating these false ideas is recognizing the fact that He is a person that is part of the Godhead.
The personhood of the Holy Spirit is seen in His characteristics, His work and the references to Him. Some people are confused by the fact that the Greek word for spirit, pneuma / pneuma, which is the same word for “wind” (see John 3:8), is neuter in gender. Some conclude from this that the Holy Spirit is an “it” rather than a “he.” However, when a pronoun is used to refer to the Holy Spirit, the masculine gender is used (John 15:26; 16:13-14; Ephesians 1:13-14; etc.). The Holy Spirit is a “He,” not an “it.”
The Holy Spirit has the characteristics of personhood including intelligence, since He searches all things and even knows the thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-12), emotion, since He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30), and will, since He commands believers to specific actions (Acts 13:2) and distributes gifts as He desires (1 Corinthians 12:11). He also has self-awareness (Acts 13:2) and moral awareness (Galatians 5:16-17). The Holy Spirit also does things that only a person can do including teach (John 14:26), convict (John 16:8), intercede (Romans 8:26) and bear witness (Romans 8:16). The response people have to Him also shows He is a person. He can be obeyed (Acts 8:29), resisted (Acts 7:51), lied to (Acts 5:3), insulted (Hebrews 20:29) and blasphemed (Matthew 12:31). Something that is just a “force” cannot have these characteristics and actions or be responded to in these ways.
Deity – It is also important to understand that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the triune Godhead. Peter specifically equated Him with God in Acts 5:3-4, but He is also directly referred to as God throughout the Scriptures with such titles as the “Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2), “Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3), “Spirit of the Lord” (Ezekiel 11:5) and “Spirit of the Lord God (Isaiah 61:1). The Holy Spirit has the attributes of God including eternality (Hebrews 9:14), omniscience (1 Corinthians 2:10), omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-13), supernatural power (Luke 1:35; Romans 15:19) and sovereignty (Romans 12:11). The Holy Spirit also does the work of God including creation (Genesis 1:2), creation of life (Job 33:4), regeneration (Titus 3:5) and the resurrection of Jesus (Romans 8:11).
The Holy Spirit is equated with the Father and the Son in several passages including the three-fold baptismal formula of Matthew 28:19,20. He was present at Jesus’ baptism when the Father pronounced His blessing upon Him. One of the best Old Testament passages showing the triune nature of God is Isaiah 48:12-16 in which the One who is the first and the last and founded the earth proclaims that the Lord God sent Him and His Spirit. The inter-relationship between the three persons of the Godhead is such that God the Father works through God the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Though many people try to manipulate God, their efforts are futile for He is the sovereign One that does all things according to the counsel of His own will, not that of others (Ephesians 1:11).
His Work in the Old Testament
Creation: The first mention of the Holy Spirit in the Bible is His work in Creation in Genesis 1:2, & 26,27 (see also Job:26:13; Psalm 33:6; 104:29), but as part of the triune Godhead, He would have been at work before that in eternity past in formulating the decrees of God.
Revelation: A large part of His ministry in the Old Testament was revealing God’s nature, will and plans to people. We most often associate this with the prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah and such, but the Spirit also came upon others. Numbers 11:17-26 records that the Spirit that was upon Moses was also given to the seventy elders and they prophesied. 1 Samuel 10 gives the account of the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Saul and causing him to prophesy. God also revealed Himself to people that were pagans such as Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2 & 4).
The revelation given might come directly such as in His speaking to Moses (Exodus 3:4, etc.), or it might be in a dream (Genesis 41), a vision (Genesis 15:1) or in the case of Ezekiel
, a physical presence (Ezekiel 8:3).
Empowering: The Holy Spirit also enabled people to carry out specific tasks. For example, Exodus 31:3 records that Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding, knowledge and craftsmanship in order to make the Tabernacle and its furnishings. The book of Judges records that the Spirit of the Lord came upon the various judges at different times empowering them to judge, organize an army, wage war and defeat the oppressors, or perform feats of superhuman strength in the case of Samson. The Spirit of the Lord had a similar ministry to the Kings of Israel and Judah (1 Samuel 16:13) and the priests (2 Chronicles 24:20) in enabling them to perform their God given duties.
One of the major differences in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and New Testament is the longevity of ministry. He might only come upon a person for a short period of time to enable them to carry out a specific task, or He might remain much longer. The Spirit came upon King Saul when he was chosen to become King, but Saul’s disobedience eventually resulted in the Spirit departing from Him (1 Samuel 16:14). One of King David’s great fears is that the same thing might happen to him, so in his Psalm of confession and repentance he prayed that God would not “take Thy Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11). God’s presence in a particular place was also temporary. The glory of God filled both the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) and the temple when each was dedicated (1 Kings 8:11), but that glory also departed when God judged the nation (Ezekiel 10:18f). In the New Testament, the Spirit will permanently indwell the believer and His glory will also permanently fill the New Jerusalem for eternity.
His Work in Christ
The Holy Spirit had a special work in Jesus Christ. It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that the virgin Mary conceived and gave birth to Jesus (Luke 1:35). Even during His childhood Jesus’ understanding of the things of God made it obvious that the Spirit was upon Him (Luke 2:47f). The Spirit came upon Jesus at His baptism and empowered Him for the ministry that He would carry out over the next three years (Matthew 3:16). John proclaimed that Jesus was the one that would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).
It was by the power of the Spirit that Jesus was able to teach the things of God (Isaiah 11:1-4), proclaim the gospel and do His many miracles (Luke 4:18). That is why it was so serious when the Pharisees charged Jesus with casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul (Matthew 12:24). This was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and His work, and nothing more can be done for a person that rejects the revelation of the Spirit of God and proclaims it to be Satan. They are left in their sins without recourse (Matthew 12:30-32).
The Holy Spirit was at work in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Hebrews 9:14 tells us that it was through the eternal Spirit that Jesus offered Himself without blemish to God. All three persons of the Godhead are also at work in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Galatians 6:1 tells us that God the Father raised Him from the dead (See also Romans 10:9; Ephesians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:21). Jesus said He had the authority to take up own life again and would raise it up three days after He was put to death (See: John 2:19-22; 10:18). We also find that it is the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead (See Romans 1:4; 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus is currently in heaven preparing a place for His followers (John 14:1-3) seated at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 3:1) and making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). When Jesus does return to set up His millennial kingdom, it will be by the power of the Spirit that He will rule the nations in justice (Isaiah 11:2-5; 42:1-4).
Before I move on to the work of the Spirit in the present, I need to make sure I emphasize again the relationship of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. Though each person within the Trinity is equal in nature and attributes, there is a hierarchy of order with the Father being the head of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). Jesus’ purpose was to glorify the Father (John 17:4) and please Him (John 8:29), and so He set Himself to do the Father’s will and accomplish His work (John 4:34) speaking only what the Father gave Him commandment to say (John 12:49). That is why He kept the Father’s commandments (John 15:10).
John 15:26 tells us that Jesus sends the Spirit and that the Spirit proceeds from the Father. The designations of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord and the Spirit of Christ further strengthen this idea of the Spirit’s purpose is coming from the Father and the Son. As we look further at the ministry of the Spirit we find that He glorifies the Father and the Son (John 16:14-15) without ever seeking glory for Himself. There are no commands to worship Him or even pray to Him, though it would be impossible to worship God or to pray without Him.
His Work in Revelation
One final ministry of the Spirit I want to mention before we look at His work in the present is His role in producing the Scriptures. I already mentioned this as part of His work in the Old Testament that He revealed the will and message of God to the prophets (Hebrews 1:1). Many of those revelations were written down as the record of the Old Testament. God then revealed Himself through the incarnation of Jesus Christ with His life and teachings recorded in the gospel accounts. The revelation of God then continued through the Holy Spirit’s ministry moving upon the apostles and inspiring them to write the books of the New Testament (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16). The Holy Spirit worked through the apostles to receive the divine message and record exactly what God wanted while still enabling the writer to produce it according to his own personality and writing style. We call this infallible, inerrant, verbal, plenary inspiration. It is true in all it speaks about, it does not lead astray, it is inspired in specific and in whole. We can be confident that the Bible in its original autographs is the word of God. Our translations will vary in their ability to communicate that message to us, which is why we must be diligent in our own study (2 Timothy 2:15) and rely on the Holy Spirit to help us understand it.
His Work in the Present
Non-Believers: The key work of the Spirit among those who are not Christians is to convict them concerning sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11) and bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26). Without that ministry the non-believer will never turn from their sin and believe in Jesus for none understand or seek God on their own (Romans 3:11), and the things of God are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Holy Spirit is the one that brings the sinner to conviction of guilt and need for a savior, that righteousness will only be found in Jesus Christ and warns them of the coming judgment.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 implies that the Holy Spirit also has a current work in restraining lawlessness and sin in the world. Through various means He keeps Satan and sin in check from their full expression. As bad as we think things are at times, they are not as bad as they could be or as they have been in the past when God judged the world through the flood of Noah’s day in Genesis 6-8. At that time the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5). In the future that restraining work will be removed and sin and evil will rise exponentially with the revelation of the man of sin, the anti-Christ, who will work in accord with the activity of Satan to deceive the world, for which those who follow him will be judged because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
Believers: At the time of salvation it is the Holy Spirit that quickens the mind to believe and regenerates the soul to new life so that a person is saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8,9). This is what Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about in John 3 that he must be born again by the Spirit of God. It is at that time the new believer is also cleansed from sin by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11) and set apart to God – sanctified (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Concurrent with these is justification which is God’s judicial action in declaring the believer to be absolved from sin, made clean before Him and clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Romans 3:24; Philippians 3:9). It is also at this time that the new Christian is sealed by the Holy Spirit as a pledge of God’s faithfulness to keep His promises to us (Ephesians 1:13). This is also when the individual becomes part of the body of Christ by being baptized by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13) who now will indwell him forever (Romans 8:11). Unlike during the Old Testament period, though the Spirit could be grieved by a believer’s sin (Ephesians 4:30), the Spirit will not depart from the Christian.
The Holy Spirit also has continuing ministry in the life of the believer. First, He is described as another who is of similar nature to Christ and is the paraklhtoV / Parakletos, meaning helper or advocate, who abides in us (John 14:16-17) and who is the Spirit of truth that will teach us and bear witness of Christ in us and through us (John 15:26). Part of that ministry is bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). That gives us an inward sense of assurance that we are saved.
Another part of His ministry as our advocate is His intercession on our behalf. Romans 8:26-27 says, “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; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to [the will of] God.” There is much comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit is interceding for us with the Father, and even more so during those times when we do not know how to pray. We often do not know what the Lord’s specific will might be a in a particular situation or we may be overwhelmed emotionally so that we do not know how to pray other than perhaps plead for His mercy. We can take comfort that the Holy Spirit always knows exactly how to pray on our behalf.
Second, it is the Holy Spirit that enables us to give proper and acceptable worship to God in spirit and truth (Philippians 3:3; John 4:24). I must emphasize here the element of truth in worship because that is often missing in what some claim is “spirit led worship.” When truth is set aside and what is proclaimed and practiced is contrary to the Word of God, then you can be sure it is the spirit of man and not the Holy Spirit leading it, for the Holy Spirit never sets aside truth or contradicts the Word of God.
Third, it is the Holy Spirit that enables us to live the Christian life and become conformed to the image of Christ as our lives are transformed by the renewing of our minds as we walk with Him (Romans 12:2). You will either walk in the Spirit or in the flesh for the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). Since His abiding in us makes our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) then it only makes sense for us to walk with Him. In doing so the Spirit produces in us the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). At the same time the Holy Spirit also enables us to fight and be victorious against the schemes of our adversary and the spiritual forces of wickedness spoken of in Ephesians 6:12f. (We will begin a series of sermons on Spiritual Warfare in November).
I mentioned earlier the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing the world to conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit continues a similar role in the life of a Christian because as long as we are still in these bodies of flesh on this earth we will still sin. It will become less over time as we are being conformed to the image of Christ, but we will still fight against it (Romans 7:14-25). It is part of the sanctifying ministry of the Spirit to change us and that includes letting us know when we do wrong. The book of 1 John is written to Christians and 1 John 1:8-10 makes it clear that if we say we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves and even calling God a liar. It is as we confess our sins that we are forgiven and cleansed of all unrighteousness because He is faithful and righteous to do so. As we mature in Christ and become more knowledgeable of the Scriptures we will be able to specifically identify the sin, but the Holy Spirit will convict us long before we learn the specifics that something is not right. We should seek this ministry in our lives and pray as David did in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” It is the Holy Spirit that retrains our conscience according to God’s standards. That brings up His teaching ministry.
Theologians refer to the Spirit’s teaching ministry as “divine illumination.” Anyone can pick up a Bible and study it to academically explain the words on the pages, but it is only by the Holy Spirit that a person can understand the divine truth that is contained in those words. Matthew 13 records that Jesus spoke in parables for the very purpose of hiding the truth from the unbelieving while
revealing it to the believing. I can preach the Scriptures to you, but without the Holy Spirit you will not understand the message, for as stated in 1 John 2:17, it is His anointing that teaches you about all things. It is also the Holy Spirit that gives you that sense that someone is not declaring the truth even when you cannot specifically identify what it is. As an immature Christian I recall this happening a lot when I heard preachers on the radio and did not know at the time that they were cult leaders or those with aberrant theology. All I knew at the time was that what they said did not ring true. After all these years of Bible study I can now usually identify the error, but it is still the ministry of the Spirit that teaches me the truth and protects me from error. Whenever we listen to a sermon or pick up our Bible to study or read, our prayer should be like that of Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law.”
It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to perform ministry. The apostles had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them before they would have the power to proclaim Christ to the world (Acts 1:8). It is the Holy Spirit that gives us our spiritual gifts by which we serve the Lord (1 Corinthians 12:4). The example in Acts 13:2 shows that it is the Holy Spirit that sets us apart for our particular ministry as well, and Romans 8:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit leads us.
There are many more details I could go into, but the final ministry of the Spirit I want to mention this morning is that He fills us. Many people misunderstand this ministry because they have listened to those espousing a theology instead of looking at what Scripture actually says. (See: Being Filled With The Spirit – 11/24/1996). The command concerning it is Ephesians 5:18, but the thought of the passage begins in verse 15, so we will start there. 15 “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit , 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
The word for filled (plhrow / plaroÃ´) has several connotations, but the contrast used here to being drunk with wine indicates the usage here is that of being influenced to the point of being controlled by it. The actions of those who are filled also indicate that the Spirit is influencing them to the point of controlling. Here in Ephesians it results in praising God, giving thanksgiving and humble submission to one another in the fear of Christ. Bezalel was able to make the Tabernacle and its furnishings because of it (Exodus 31). Elizabeth proclaimed God’s blessing on Mary because of it (Luke 1:41-45). Zacharias prophesied the ministry of John the Baptist because of it (Luke 1:67-79). The believers on the day of Pentecost publicly proclaimed the mighty deeds of God in the languages of those listening because of it (Acts 2:4-11). Peter gave his powerful defense to the Sanhedrin and the believers spoke the word of God with boldness because of it (Acts 4:8, 31). Paul rebuked and pronounced the Lord’s judgment upon Elymas the magician because of it (Acts 13:8).
In addition, the verb is in the present tense and in the command voice so it is something that we are to be continually doing. It is not something that only happens once or that we wait for God to do to us. How then is this command filled? First, you pray for Him to do it, and He certainly will do His part since it is in keeping with His commands.
Second, you live according to your new nature as a believer. What does that mean? Well, it is all which Paul has talked about throughout the book of Ephesians. It includes walking worthy of your calling in humility, gentleness, patience and love (Ephesians 4:1,2); Fulfilling your role in the body by using your spiritual gift(s) to build up one another (Ephesians 4:12-16); Walking in a renewed mind (Ephesians 4:17-24); Being selfless and considerate of others in your dealings with them (Ephesians 4:25-32); Imitating God in love (Ephesians 5:1-6); Walking as children of light (Ephesians 5:7-14) and Living by wisdom (Ephesians 5:15f).
In short, to be filled with the Spirit is to submit yourself to the Lord and obey His commandments. That brings us to the final subject for this morning. Becoming discerning of the Spirit’s leading. Those who are filled with the Spirit will be able to discern the guidance of the Spirit in their lives.
Becoming Discerning (See: Developing Discernment – 5/17/1998)
Many people make false claims about God’s leading them. Sometimes it is simply a pattern of speech they pick up from others to describe what has happened or what they plan to do, and it may not actually reflect what they even believe. It is just the manner of speech they have learned. Others claim God’s leading, but they lack the discernment to know if it is really the truth. Then there are those that make the claim that God is leading them as an excuse to cover their own flagrant sin. That may be done willfully or because of complete self-deception.
Understand first of all that people who are not true Christians but are spiritual or religious will often claim God is leading them, but without the Holy Spirit they cannot know the things of God. Paul explained this in 1 Corinthians 2:12-16, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual [thoughts] with spiritual [words.] 14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
These truths apply not only to those who are obviously not Christians because they are followers of other religions or recognized cults, but also to those who falsely claim to be Christians that may even be part of a Bible believing church. Remember that there are tares among the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). There will be those with false professions of faith mixed in with those who have true professions of faith. Just because someone claims it does not mean it is true.
Second, even among true Christians there are various levels of spiritual maturity. Paul continued on in 1 Corinthians 3:1f, 1 “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; fo
r you were not yet able [to receive it.] Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly.” A person’s claim to know the will of the Lord may or may not be true. Those who are “fleshy,” as Paul described here did all sorts of evil things and thought they were doing fine with God and even proud of some of their evil. Paul had to correct them about their pride, jealousy, strife, factions, toleration of immorality among them, worldly lawsuits, harlotry, legalism, licentiousness, selfishness at the Lord’s Supper, selfishness in the use of spiritual gifts and lack of love for one another.
I would wish that the Corinthian example was only a part of ancient history, but there are plenty of professing Christians that behave today as they did then. I have had people tell me God was leading them to move somewhere else and never give any reason for the move except they would earn more money. They didn’t know anything about the churches in the area nor ask me if I could find out anything, and they had no plans for seeking a ministry after moving. If there is not concern for how your move can bring glory to God, and how you will spiritually grow and serve the Lord in your new community, please don’t tell me you are seeking God’s will in the move. Why not be honest and just say you want to earn more money, get a bigger house or whatever else it is that you desire and leave God out of it. God’s concern is His glory and your spiritual health.
I have had people claim God was leading them to another church with some even adding that they would be able to do a new ministry there. That is certainly possible, but I don’t think it is probable when they have strained and broken relationships here and have not fulfilled the ministry promises already made here. God wants unity in the body and that is founded in humility (Philippians 1:27-2:4). God also wants us to keep our promises and prove our integrity (Psalm 15). When I questioned them about getting those issues resolved first so they could leave in peace and good standing, they were greatly offended that I would challenge God’s leading in their lives. It has become a common practice among Christians who do not want to be challenged about what they are doing to claim they are following God’s leading. However, I must challenge such claims when they do not match the evidence. That is one of my job as a pastor (2 Timothy 4:2), but it is also your job too as part of healthy body life in which we encourage, exhort and admonish one another as needed by speaking the truth in love (1 Thessalonians 5:14; Ephesians 4:15).
I have heard people claim that it was God’s will that they marry a particular person, yet they could not tell me how that person was helping them grow in Christ or how they were helping that person. God’s desire is that your marriage reflect Christ and the church and thus glorify Him (Ephesians 6:32). Just be honest and say what you desire instead of trying to justify it by claiming it is God’s will. It is not. There was also the person who claimed it was God will for them to marry a person with whom they were living in sin though they were currently married to someone else. God does not lead people into immorality. They were clueless about God’s will as should be expected of anyone that is continuing in sin.
The key to knowing if the Spirit is leading you is not how you feel, but whether the actions desired are in harmony with the principles, precepts and commands of the Scriptures. The Spirit of God will never contradict the Word of God. The Spirit of Truth will not promote what is not true. The Holy Spirit will never lead you into something that is unholy. Do not claim you are following God’s will if what you are doing is not holy or contrary to the Scriptures, and do not let others get away with making such a false claims. You are simply following your own desires and it is blasphemy to try and justify such things as God’s will. Let us seek and do God’s will by hiding His word in our heart that we might not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11) and walking in holiness as a reflection of Him (1 Peter 1:16).
Sermon Notes – 9/28/2008
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit – Selected Scriptures
His Nature – He is a __________ and one of the three persons that make up the Triune Godhead
Personhood – The ___________ of the Holy Spirit is seen in His characteristics, work and designations
His characteristics of personhood include: intelligence, ______, ___, self-awareness & moral awareness
His work includes __________, convicting, _____________and bearing witness
He can be ________, resisted, lied to, insulted and ______________.
None of these things can be done to something that is simply a “_________”
Deity – He is referred to as _____, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the _______and the Spirit of Christ, etc.
His attributes of deity include: eternity, _________, omnipresence, omnipotence and ____________
His work of deity include: _________, creation of life, regeneration & the ___________of Jesus
He cannot be ____________. He does all things according to the counsel of His own _____ (Eph. 1:11)
His Work in the Old Testament
Creation – Genesis ____________ (see also Job:26:13; Psalm 33:6; 104:29)
Revelation – He revealed ____________ nature, will and plans to people.
Revelation could be given to man _________, in a dream, in a __________or with a physical presence
Empowering – The Holy Spirit also enabled people to carry out specific __________.
_________made the Tabernacle and its furnishings – Exodus 31:3
The ________organized armies, waged war, defeated oppressors, ruled and performed superhuman feats
The Holy Spirit might come upon a person only for a limited ________ and could depart.
His Work in Christ
The virgin _________ conceived and gave birth to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit – (Luke 1:35).
The Spirit empowered Jesus for ministry including: _________, preaching, and _________
Though each person within the Trinity is _______in nature and attributes, there is a hierarchy of order
The Father is the _____of Christ. The Holy Spirit _______from the Father & is s
ent by Jesus (Jn. 16:26)
His Work in Revelation
He revealed the will and message of God to the __________ (Hebrews 1:1)
The inspiration of the Bible is _______and plenary and inerrant and infallible in the original autographs
His Work in the Present
Non-Believers: His key work is to _____them concerning sin, righteousness and judgement (Jn 16:8-11).
Believers – At salvation: Quickens the mind to believe and _______________the soul to new life
He __________us from sin, sets us apart to God (____________) which is concurrent with justification
We are __________by Him, ___________by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, and __________by Him
Continuing Ministry: He is a _________/ advocate that teaches us and bears witness of Christ in us
He bears witness with our __________that we are children of God (Romans 8:16)
He ___________with the Father on our behalf (Romans 8:26-27)
He enables us to ________ the Christian life and become conformed to the image of Christ
He _________ us, illumining our minds to understand and apply the Scriptures to our lives (1 John 2:17)
He enables us to perform __________, giving us our spiritual gifts and empowering us to serve God
He ________ us – meaning He controls us as we yield to Him (Ephesians 5:15-21)
You are filled with the Spirit as you pray and _________ according to your new nature as a believer
Those without the Holy Spirit cannot be ______by the Spirit – they don’t even understand ( 1 Cor. 2:12-16)
Christians will vary in being led by the Spirit depending on their spiritual ___________(1 Corinthians 3:1f)
______________ can result in claiming to be led by the Lord even while doing what is evil in God’s sight
The Spirit is leading when there is _________ with the principles, precepts & commands of the Scriptures
The Holy Spirit of God will never _________ the Word of God and lead into something that is ________.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the Holy Spirit is mentioned. 2) Discuss with your parents His nature and ministry and how you can follow Him.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Why is the personhood of the Holy Spirit so important? What characteristics does He have that demonstrate He is a person? How do the various responses to Him demonstrate that He is a person? Why is the deity of the Holy Spirit so important? What designations and titles show He is God? What attributes show He is God? What works show He is God? What is the relationship of the Holy Spirit to God the Father and God the Son? Why can’t the Holy Spirit be manipulated? What was the Holy Spirit’s work in the Old Testament? What sorts of things did He enable people to do? What are some of the ways the Holy Spirit worked in the life of Jesus? What was the Holy Spirit’s role in the death and resurrection of Jesus? What was the Holy Spirit’s role in the producing the Bible? What does verbal & plenary inspiration mean and that the Bible is infallible and inerrant in the original autographs? What is the key work of the Spirit in non-believers? What is the ministry of the Spirit at the time of salvation? Explain each of the following in relationship to the Holy Spirit’s work: regeneration, sanctification, justification, cleansing, sealing and indwelling. How is the Spirit our helper and advocate? What comfort do you take in knowing the Holy Spirit intercedes on your behalf? Why is the Holy Spirit necessary for the proper worship of God and how does He enable us to do that? How have you seen the Holy Spirit work to change your life? How well does your life reflect the fruit of the Spirit? Have you ever experienced knowing something was wrong with what someone was saying though you did not know exactly what? What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? How can you be filled with the Spirit? What is the key to knowing if you are being led by the Spirit? What should you do if a friend claims to be led by God but their life is not in harmony with principles and precepts of the Bible?
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