THE PERSON & WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Many today are very confused about the Holy Spirit. I do not profess to be all knowing about the member of the Godhead we call the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost. I am aware of a great deal of false doctrine about the Holy Spirit. And I am aware that I cannot compress all that the Word of God teaches about the Holy Spirit into one lesson. So, our purpose is to point us in the right direction.
The average Christian today likely has a poor understanding of the Holy Spirit. He is very prominent in the Word of God. He is mentioned in 47 of the 66 books of the Bible. He is mentioned more than 250x in the NT. He is mentioned more than 400x in the whole Bible. He is referred to by more than 40 names in the Word of God.
1. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is the third member of the Godhead.
a. He has a mind – Romans 8.27, John 16.14, 1 Corinthians 2.10
b. He has knowledge – 1 Corinthians 2.11
c. He shows affection – Romans 15:30, 1 Corinthians 2:4
d. He has a will – Acts 16:7, 1 Corinthians 12:11
2. The Word of God says about the Holy Spirit:
a. He can be grieved – Ephesians 4:30
b. He can be resisted – Acts 7:51, Genesis 6:30
c. He can be blasphemed – Matthew 12:31
d. He can be quenched - 1 Thessalonians 5:19
3. The Holy Spirit is a person because He acts as a person does.
a. He speaks – 1 Timothy 4:1
b. He bears testimony – John 15:26
d. He restrains – Acts 16:6
e. He has influence – Luke 24:44-49
4. The Holy Spirit is also God.
a. He is eternal – Hebrews 9:14
b. He is omnipresent – Psalms 139:7-10
c. He is omnipotent – Micah 3:8
d. He is omniscient – 1 Corinthians 2.10
e. He is placed equal with the Father and Son – Matthew 28:19
The Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament. There we see Him creating. Some suppose He is the one who brought order out of the chaos.
Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (2) The earth was without form, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
There we see Him in providence.
Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Isaiah 34:16 “Search from the book of the LORD and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.
Isaiah 63:14 As a beast goes down into the valley, And the Spirit of the LORD causes him to rest, So You lead Your people, to make Yourself a glorious name.
There we see Him giving God’s people strength and courage.
Judges 6:34 But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.
The Old Testament itself is a work of the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:20-21 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, (21) for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
We see the Holy Spirit working in the life and work of Jesus.
In the incarnation - Luke 1:34-35 Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" (35) And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
In His resurrection. - Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Was predicted in the Old Testament
Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Was quoted by Peter in Acts 2)
Supernatural claims require supernatural evidence.
Hebrews 2:2-4 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, (3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, (4) God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
There are only two recorded cases of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:1-4 – The Day of Pentecost, the Birthday of the church of Christ.
Acts 10 & 11 – identical to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
THE MISSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TODAY
He was given to be a comforter to the apostles.
John 16:13-14 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (14) He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
The Greek word translated “comforter” in the New Testament is "paraclete". It means “one who walks along beside.” This is the mission of the Holy Spirit; He is a helper and advocate. The Holy Spirit is to bear witness of Christ through the apostles. There is not an example of the Holy Spirit testifying of Christ otherwise than in words spoken or written.
The Holy Spirit gave spiritual gifts. Members of the early church chosen by the Holy Spirit were given supernatural gifts of various kinds. Such gifts enabled them to work various miracles. Some of the supernatural gifts were:
• Words of wisdom – 1 Corinthians 2:6
• Words of knowledge – 1 Corinthians 12:8
• Faith – 1 Corinthians 12:9
• Healing – 1 Corinthians 12:9
• Working of miracles – 1 Corinthians 12:10
• Prophecy – 1 Corinthians 12:10
• Discerning of spirits 1 Corinthians 12:10
• Speaking in tongues – 1 Corinthians 12:10
• Interpretation of tongues – 1 Corinthians 12:10
These gifts helped reveal truths of the gospel. Remember the New Testament was not written at this time! So, some help to know truth was necessary. Teachers and preachers needed inspiration. These gifts confirmed the truth they were teaching.
Hebrews 2:2-4 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, (3) how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, (4) God also bearing witness both with signs and
wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
These gifts were a sign to the unbelieving.
1 Corinthians 14:22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.
Gifts such as this ended. When the Apostles who had the power to impart such gifts died these gifts also died. That which was perfect had come.
1 Corinthians 13:8-11 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. (9) For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. (10) But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (11) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, (17) that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The Holy Spirit works through his divinely authenticated and inspired word to convert sinners. It is proper to conclude that the Holy Spirit cannot be separated from the written word. The Scriptures teach that each member of the Godhead plays a part in our salvation:
The Father devised the plan.
1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
The Son activated the plan.
Hebrews 10:7 Then I said, 'Behold, I have come; In the volume of the book it is written of Me; To do Your will, O God.'"
The Spirit revealed the plan.
1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
The work of each member of the Godhead is supremely important. If we dispense with just one person and His work, we would be totally lost. The issue before us is not "if" the Spirit plays a part in man's salvation. The Bible says that He does and we accept it by faith.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
So, the issue is not "if" the Spirit is operating in the salvation of mankind, but rather we are asking "How is the Spirit operating?"
Now, there are two possible ways that the Spirit of God can operate upon a man miraculously, or non-miraculously.
Oddly enough, the answer to this depends on whether man has a "free will."
If the Spirit influences men through miracles men would be powerless to resist and would lose freedom of choice.
If the Spirit influences men without the aid of miracles, men would have the power to resist and would retain freedom of choice.
Since God created man with free will, he will not violate that free moral agency.
Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
Revelation 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
God did not want us to be like pre-programmed robots. He does not force us to serve Him. When the Spirit influences men He chooses a method that will leave man's free will intact. If the Spirit chose a sinner and wanted to convert that sinner into a Christian and used His power directly upon the sinner, that sinner would be powerless to resist. Thus, mankind is not converted miraculously.
This brings us now to the second method which the Spirit could use to influence us: by using his influence through the inspired word. This is why Jesus sent the Spirit to His disciples:
John 14:26 "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 things that I said to you.
This passage indicates the indirect method He would use to influence men. Apparently, then, the Spirit's mode of operation is the use of words – by the use of words he would appeal to man's intellect and so convert anyone who wished to be saved.
John 15:26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
"He will testify of me" – testimony! Words from the Spirit which would appeal to the intellect of man.
John 16:13 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
"He will guide you" Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit after he ascended to the Father, said the Holy Spirit will “guide” not force. Since the Spirit's mission revolved entirely around the word of God, any man that would ever be converted will be converted by means of the word and by means of the word ONLY!