Summary: Many people have problems understanding God’s Spirit. Is He a "He"? Is He part of a "trinity"? Does He even have a purpose in my life?
OPEN: A missionary named Herbert Jackson who told of being given car that wouldn’t start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them give his car push to get it started. As he traveled around the area, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. Some times he would get other children to help him push it to get it started. He used this ingenious procedure for 2 years.
At the end of that two years, however, he needed to return to the states because of health problems and a new missionary came to replace him.
Of course, the car stayed with the new missionary, and so Jackson began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started. As he did so, the new man began looking under the hood.
“Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable.”
He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life.
For 2 years, the only trouble with that car was a loose connection. The power was there all the time.
It’s just that Jackson didn’t realize how to access it.
APPLY: There’s a power source for the church.
There’s a force that electrifies the Christian.
And the Bible tells us that power, that force, that energy is the Spirit of God.
In Romans 15:13 Paul prayed “…that (the Christians there) may overflow with hope by the POWER of the Holy Spirit.
He prayed essentially the same thing for the Christians at Ephesus: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with POWER through his Spirit in your inner being.” Ephesians 3:16
And Paul encouraged Timothy by telling him “…God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of POWER, 2 Timothy 1:7
God has given us His power and His power comes through His Spirit that dwells inside of us.
It’s such a wondrous thing that John marvels:
“…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4
We have received a powerful and life changing gift
The Spirit of God is marvelous power in our lives.
And yet… it’s really kind of surprising how little the Bible tells us about Him.
There are far more passages in Scripture that deal with the Father and the Son. By comparison the teaching about God’s Spirit in the Bible is disappointingly meager.
But Jesus seems to be telling us here in John 14 that it wouldn’t make any difference how much the Bible told us about God’s Spirit – most people wouldn’t understand much about Him anyway.
Look again at John 14:16-17
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
The world can’t accept God’s Spirit
It doesn’t see the Spirit… nor know Him.
This implies to me that God’s Spirit isn’t the easiest thing for mortals to comprehend.
In fact, this idea (that the Spirit IS hard to understand) is best shown in the difficulty that many people have in accepting that God’s Spirit is person. That He is a He.
ILLUS: Back in 2003, World Magazine, reported a study of people who identified themselves as being “Born Again”. They answered questions about what they believed on various subjects.
Now these folks weren’t necessarily Christians (by anybody’s standards) because fully 35% of them didn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead.
But THEY believed they were born again.
And of these people who thought they belonged to God – a little more than half (52%) thought God’s Spirit was an “It”. (“Unbelieving Born-Agains” 12-6-03)
Many of the people who took part in this survey were probably just common folks that didn’t know much about their Bibles. But even in theological circles (filled with highly educated religious people) there are often many who have trouble accepting that God’s Spirit is a person (He).
Well is He?
Is the Spirit of God a “He”?
Well, yeah. All you have to do is look at our passage today:
John 14:17 tells us... The world cannot accept HIM, because it neither sees HIM nor knows HIM. But you know HIM, for HE lives with you and will be in you.”
Jesus tells us - the Spirit of God that lives inside of each Christian - is a He… not an it.
Now, there are many people who have trouble with that.