Summary: This sermon looks at the third part of the Trinity which is often the most overlooked and least understood part, the Holy Spirit. Most of us when we focus on God do so through either through God, the Father or Jesus. Very few of us focus on the Holy Spiri
Powerful Presence- God the Spirit
For the past three weeks, we’ve been looking at the doctrine of the Trinity, one the beliefs which makes Christianity unique from every other religion in the world. First, we looked at the unity of the Trinity. There is one God consisting of three distinct persons, not one person wearing three different hats. These three persons are all equally God. We focused on God the Father who gives tough, covenantal love, providing rules and laws to follow and thus boundaries for our lives. Then, we focused on the grace of Jesus Christ in whom God’s love was made manifest as he died on the cross for our sins so that we might be re-united in relationship to God. Today, we’re going to look at the third part of the Trinity which is often the most overlooked and least understood part, the Holy Spirit. Most of us when we focus on God do so through either through God, the Father or Jesus. Very few of us focus on the Holy Spirit. Who is the Holy Spirit and what does the Spirit do?
The Holy Spirit is God’s presence with us. The Spirit has always been present. We see the Spirit of God active in creation. In Genesis 1:2 “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Old Testament uses the word “ruah” which means wind or breath. We again see the breath of God active in Genesis 2:7 when the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. The Spirit is that which gave us life but after Jesus’ resurrection gives us life in Jesus Christ. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is connecting us to experience the fullness of a relationship with God. How?
The Holy Spirit calls us to relationship with God. Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the father which has sent me draw him:..." John 6:44 In Wesleyan terms, we call this prevenient grace. Prevenient Grace is the moving of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life before he/she accepts Christ as their Savior. It is the Spirit helping us see and claim our sinfulness, and showing us our need of Christ. The Spirit is not coercive but rather woos and persuades us of our need for salvation. When a person gives their life to Christ, it is due to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. John Wesley says of this verse, "No man can believe in Christ, unless God….draws us first by good desires, not by compulsion, not by laying the will under any necessity; but by the strong and sweet, yet still resistible, motions of His Heavenly grace.” Thus, salvation is that experience in which we are brought back into a relationship with God. Our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God. We see prevenient grace in action at the beginning of the church on the day of Pentecost when 1000’s of people were gathered as the disciples began to preach. Each of them heard the Good News of Jesus, and “were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Acts 2:37 And they repented, were baptized and received the forgiveness and salvation that their hearts were longing for.
Second, the Holy Spirit transforms us. When a person gives their life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within them to transform and grow them in Jesus. In Wesleyan terms, we call this sanctification which is the lifelong process of growing to be like Jesus, to live for Him and do His will in every aspect of your life. This is manifested in several ways in our lives. First is by helping our new nature in Christ win the victory over the old nature which still resides within us. (1 Cor. 1:30, 1 Thess. 4:3-4 and 2 Thess. 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2) Second is by growing our faith. Third is by giving us spiritual gifts through which we serve Him, build the kingdom of God and accomplish His will (1 Cor. 12:7). As we use these gifts and dedicate them to the Lord, our lives and our activities are become more like Jesus and are empowered by the Spirit. Fourth is by producing certain fruit within us of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). When these become real in our lives, our attitudes and behavior become more like Jesus. When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill, and guide our life, we will continue to become more like Jesus in every way. Eph. 1:13-14