Summary: This is the 5th of a 5 part series on basic bible doctrines for our new congregation. (New Church Plant as of 4-6-03)
Basic Training: The Holy Spirit is Our Guide
INTRODUCTION: Man on the Street video: “What is filled with the spirit?”
There were actually some pretty good answers to that question in those interviews but most of the people asked, either didn’t have any idea or thought being filled with the spirit had something to do with your personality or was something you drank.
That there was confusion is not surprising. Admittedly this is kind of a mystical subject. There are some things we talk about in the Church that are very logical and tangible but this subject is kind of mysterious and hard to understand. That’s why I think it is crucial that we understand the importance of the Holy Spirit.
Recently I heard an amazing story of human strength. Four soldiers in Afghanistan were riding in a jeep when suddenly they were ambushed. They were on a narrow mountain road and the only way out was to go in the opposite direction, but there wasn’t room to turn the jeep around without going over the side. Terrified, the four jumped out, each grabbed a corner of the jeep, physically lifted it up, turned the vehicle 180o and raced to safety. When they got back to their base they bragged about what they had done to their buddies but nobody believed them. So they said, "Well, come outside and we’ll show you we can do it." But when they tried to do it a second time they could not lift the jeep one inch off the ground. What they were able to do when they were terrified and the adrenalin was coursing through them, they could not do under normal circumstances. Well, the purpose of this message this morning is to teach or remind you that God has promised something that can empower you to do more than you think is possible. You see, we have a tendency to focus on the negative, "I can’t change my habits," "I can’t cope with this problem," "I can’t overcome these difficulties." But Phil. 4:13 says, "I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.”(GW) So, let’s look at God’s Word and see that if you are in Christ, you have an inner, spiritual resource that enables you to do more than you think imaginable.
I. IDENTIFICATION: WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?:
Let’s begin by identifying who, or what the Holy Spirit is. Maybe it’s easier to begin by explaining what the Bible says the Holy Spirit is NOT.
1) The Holy Spirit is not just an emotion. Sometimes, if a church service is particularly lively or moving I’ll hear someone say, "This Spirit was sure in this place today." And I think I understand what they mean but what does that say if the service is boring or doesn’t stir the emotions? And if it is something supernatural doing that shouldn’t everyone be so moved? I’m reminded of the woman who came out of church one Sunday with her 14 year old boy and said to the preacher: “Pastor, that was a great message. I’m overflowing with the words you gave. I’m just so filled with God’s love because of what you said, just filled to the brim.” The Pastor looked at the teen and said, “What’d you think son?” and he said, “Yeah, I got my belly full too!” You see passages like the one we see from 1 Cor. 6 tells us that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. So, He is always in any place where Christians are whether it is an emotional experience or not. Now, don’t misunderstand, the Holy Spirit can certainly stir the emotions. Gal.5:22 lists the fruits of the Spirit and many of them we would identify with our emotions: joy- love-peace- self-control, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that they are the Holy Spirit, Himself. The Holy Spirit is not simply an emotion and ...
2) The Holy Spirit is not just an influence. Some think that the Holy Spirit is simply our conscience. If you’ve ever seen Pinnochio you probably remember Jiminey Cricket singing, "Let your conscience be your guide." Once again though that confuses function with identity. The Holy Spirit, as we shall see in a moment, certainly convicts us through our conscience but He is not simply an influence.
So, what is the Holy Spirit? Well, the Bible makes it very clear that the Holy Spirit is not a what but a who. The Holy Spirit is: (1) a person. God’s Word says He does what a person does- In Jn. 14:26 it says He teaches, He reminds. In John 15 Jesus says, the Holy Spirit testifies about Him, Acts 16 tells us that he leads and forbids. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit has the characteristics of a person too- Rom. 8:27 -the Spirit has a mind, Rom. 15:30- the Spirit loves, Eph.6:30 - the Spirit can be grieved, Acts 7:51 - He can be resisted. Not only does He do what a person does and have the characteristics of a person but each time the Bible describes the Holy Spirit it uses a masculine pronoun. It is never neuter as if He was a thing. A good example of this is in Jn 14:17that we have printed for you. Underline the times it refers to the Holy Spirit as a person. "He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”(NLT) Five times within that one verse the Spirit is referred as a "He"or a "Him."