Summary: Gift of the Holy Spirit differs from spiritual gifts. God's Word and God's Spirit work in tandem in our lives. The Spirit touches the heart - the inner life. The same Spirit that indwelt 3,000 on Pentecost is the same Spirt that indwells us today.
THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Just about everyone knows just how important the signs are that are placed along our highways are. These official highways signs give us direction and warn us of certain dangers. These signs are easily read in the daytime and also at night because they reflect headlamp light.
In darkness, they are invisible to anyone who travels without a light. But when our auto headlights are flashed upon these signs, they reflect back to us their message of guidance or caution. Their night-time aid to us depends upon the light we bring to them. They have no meaning for unlighted lamps.
God would like to guide us through the days and through the nights of this life. His signs are out there ¡V in all the appropriate places. But whether we see them will depend upon the light with which we approach them.
This morning, I want to talk to you about what is ¡V apart from salvation and eternal life ¡V the greatest of all gifts that God has given to His Church. This morning I want to talk about what it is which lights our way through the signs of this life; what it is that gives meaning, hope, comfort, and encouragement to us.
This morning I will talk to you about the great gift given to us; God¡¦s Holy Spirit!
The NT clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit does dwell in the faithful Christian. Second only to the death and resurrection of Jesus, the gift of God¡¦s Spirit is a tremendous blessing.
Some have confused the ¡§gift of the Holy Spirit¡¨ with ¡§spiritual gifts¡¨. However, spiritual gifts were given at a specific time and for a specific purpose in the early church.
Peter¡¦s call for repentance to his hearers in Acts 2:38 is very familiar.
When asked, ¡§what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.¡¨
The joyful worship of the believers was not the result of too much wine; it was the evidence of the arrival of God's Holy Spirit to dwell in His people. Orthodox Jews did not eat or drink before 9 a.m. on the Sabbath or on a holy day, nor did they usually drink wine except with meals .
Notice, that the word gift in this text is singular. When spiritual powers are mentioned later by the apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians it is in the plural ¡V gifts . So, the ¡§gift of the Holy Spirit¡¨ does not mean ¡§spiritual gifts.¡¨ The gift of the Spirit is the Spirit himself, who regenerates, indwells, unites, and transforms lives. All the fruit and gifts of the Spirit flow from this one great gift .
The Spirit touches the heart, the inner life and is the source of all the thoughts, motivations, intentions, and plans of sin-prone human beings. It is internal as opposed to outward emotional experiences.
In John chapter 16 we read these words of Jesus and his final teaching about the Paraclete ,
¡§And He [the Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.¡¨
The coming of the Paraclete is not some automatic, impersonal response. Before explaining further what the Paraclete will do for the disciples, Jesus describes the effect that the Paraclete's presence among and within the disciples will have on the world. When the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, they through the power of the Spirit convicted the world of its sinful condition.
The only other place besides Acts 2:38 where the ¡§gift of the Holy Spirit¡¨ is used is Acts 10:45, when Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit. This was of course to absolutely convince Peter that God was no respecter of nationality as it opened the door for Gentiles to hear the Good News. And although this gift preceded baptism in this isolated case, it was for the purpose of making salvation available to all. It was not a miraculous outpouring of the Spirit but the Spirit himself given to the obedient believer .
As well as we may think we know God ¡V do we really understand and know Him? In actuality, we have nothing with which to compare God to. And to our finite minds, God is incomprehensible. God and His Holy Spirit are unlike any other being.
Can you imagine the scene in Acts 2 on Pentecost? These men have spent three years with God¡¦s Son ¡K they have dedicated their lives to Him ¡K they have witnessed miracle after miracle ¡K and now they have been told to wait in Jerusalem. What were they waiting for? How long should they wait? The anticipation and the intrigue of this time would have been almost unbearable¡K..