Summary: This third sermon on the Nazarene Articles of Faith explores scriptures related to the Holy Spirit.
Article of Faith #3 - The Holy Spirit
Date: Sunday, June 20, 2004
Author: Rev. Jonathan K. Twitchell
Today, we continue our study on the Articles of Faith of the Church of the Nazarene, helping us to more fully understand the teachings of the Bible in matters of faith and doctrine. It is my hope that these lessons will help us explore and internalize those beliefs that are essential to Christianity. In so doing, we may better be able to explain the primary doctrines of the Church of the Nazarene to those who are seeking God.
We began this series two weeks ago, first with a look at the Triune God. We discussed how God has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead eternally existing in “Community-in-Love.” Since God is Holy Love, He is revealed in a Triune relationship where each member pours itself out in love for the other two. Each person is distinct yet united, showing us how we too can live in perfect love with one another.
Last week we looked at the doctrine relating to Jesus the Christ. We spoke of the incarnation (or enfleshment), which is the perfect union of God and man. Jesus, the God-man, was fully divine yet fully human. Because He lived without sin, He was able to take upon Himself the sins of the world upon the cross. Jesus, the anointed One, took on flesh and blood, so that his body could be broken and His blood could be shed, in order that you and I might have forgiveness of sins. He was buried, rose again on the third day, and ascended into heaven. Because of the person and work of Jesus the Christ, we have hope of salvation and eternal life in relationship with God.
Today, we turn our attention to the third article of faith, which focuses on the Holy Spirit. In many ways, the Holy Spirit is the most neglected person of the Blessed Trinity. We often speak of the Father and the Son, but rarely speak about the Spirit. We pray to the Father, and we pray in Jesus’ Name, but often forget the role that the Spirit plays in our prayer life. Outside of Pentecost and revival services, one could go weeks without mention of the Holy Spirit. This is an unfortunate occurrence in our churches today, for the Holy Spirit is the primary empowering and moving agent in the Church today. It was the Holy Spirit which was given on Pentecost to fill the early Christians and the Church, and it is the Holy Spirit upon which we must rely today in order to see God’s Kingdom come to pass.
Fundamental to the picture of the Holy Spirit in Scripture is the imagery of God’s breath, or the wind. When the Spirit is present, we often see a “mighty rushing wind” or God’s Breath. Indeed, the very life which is given to humanity is due to God breathing the “Breath of Life” into Adam. This “Breath of Life” is likely one of the earliest understandings of the Holy Spirit at work. God’s Spirit is always at work around us, living and active in this world.
I invite you to turn in your bulletin where you will find the Article of Faith which speaks of the Holy Spirit. You will see the article written out, and under it are several passages of scripture which have revealed to us the Person of the Holy Spirit. We won’t have time today to look at each of those scriptures, but I hope you’ll take time this week to look them up, so that the Holy Spirit may reveal Himself to you through The Word. Here is how we have come to understand the Holy Spirit and how he works in our world:
3. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune Godhead, that He is ever present and efficiently active in and with the Church of Christ, convincing the world of sin, regenerating those who repent and believe, sanctifying believers, and guiding into all truth as it is in Jesus.
Before we look at some scripture passages, I’d like to highlight a couple of points from the Article of Faith. First, we see that the Holy Spirit is everywhere-present. One of the earliest characteristics of God that we learned what that He is omnipresent, and so we affirm that about the person of the Holy Spirit as well. Not only is the Holy Spirit omnipresent, but He is active in the Church. The Spirit does not sit on the sidelines and observe, but He is active—doing things—in the church and through the church. It is the Holy Spirit from which we derive our love and power. It is the Holy Spirit that fills and empowers us to do the work of the Kingdom.