Summary: 40th in a series on Ephesians. We grieve the Holy Spirit when we harm the unity of the body of Christ.
Last week after the message, someone came up to me and said, “Those were some really good jokes in your sermon today.” But when I asked them about the main idea of the message they couldn’t remember a thing. So this morning, you’re going to get just a plain old boring message without any jokes. I don’t even have a catchy sermon title today. But God’s Word does contain a very important message that we need to hear this morning. So let’s get right to it. Let’s read our passage out loud together:
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 (NIV)
There is a very important principle contained in this passage, but before we get to that, I think it’s really important that we take a few minutes and consider...
WHAT THIS VERSE REVEALS ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT:
1. He is a person
Although we certainly don’t have time to cover this principle exhaustively this morning, the Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is 100% God. He is one of the three members of the Godhead, or what we often refer to as the Trinity. Therefore He is not an object. He is not, as some people would claim, merely an essence or an impersonal force, such as “the force be with you” in Star Wars. Like God the Father and God the Son, He exhibits the traits of a person. He certainly meets this dictionary definition of a person:
The composite of characteristics that make up an individual personality
In Scripture we find that the Holy Spirit has a mind, a will, and emotions. Each of those aspects obviously operate differently in the Holy Spirit, being God, that they do in us, but they are present, nonetheless. This is an important concept that distinguishes Biblical Christianity from how all other religions view the Holy Spirit.
The most compelling evidence of His personhood is the fact that every time that Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit, He always called Him “he” and not “it.” The New Testament is also filled with examples of how the Holy Spirit carries out functions that only a person can carry out.
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Acts 13:2 (NIV)
He has a will:
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 12:11 (NIV)
And, as we see in our passage this morning, He can be grieved. The Greek word Paul uses here denotes pain or grief that is experienced between two people. In my own life, I can grieve the people around me – my wife, my kids, perhaps even some of you. But I can’t grieve an object or an essence or a force. I can’t grieve my TV, or my car, or “Mother Earth”. So the very fact that the Holy Spirit can be grieved is evidence that He is a person who is fully God - omniscient, omnipresent and eternal.
2. He loves me
The word Paul uses here for grieve originally was used to picture a husband or wife who discovered hat his or her mate had been unfaithful. As a result of that betrayal, the offended person was shocked, devastated, hurt and wounded. So when Paul uses this word, he is picturing the fact that the Holy Spirit is in a love relationship with us that is similar to, but greatly exceeds, the way we love our spouse. Rick Renner in his book Sparkling Gems from the Greek described that relationship like this:
“Just as someone in love thinks about, dreams of, and cherishes the one he loves, the Holy Spirit longs for us, thinks about us, desires to be close to us and wants to reveal Himself to us.”
Occasionally, I’ll read the obituaries in the paper, just to make sure my name isn’t there. And most of the time, I don’t grieve at all over the names of the people listed there, because I don’t have any kind of relationship with them. But once in a while, I’ll come across an obituary for someone I know, and depending on the nature and depth of my relationship with that person, I’ll grieve accordingly.
The Holy Spirit loves us so much, that when we engage in some of the kinds of behaviors we’ll discuss in just a moment, he is hurt and grieved deeply, because he knows that those behaviors are not what is best for us.
3. He will never leave me
Paul makes reference here to the work of the Holy Spirit that he had previously described in Chapter 1: