Summary: This message is the first in a series designed to be a journey of discovery. The goal of the series is to help each of us gain a better understanding of the Holy Spirit. This should enable us to better understand His role, power and impact.
There was a Sunday School teacher who was teaching her class about the trinity. Each child had been assigned a sentence to introduce each person of the trinity. The first one said, “The first person is God the Father.” The second child said, “The second person is Jesus Christ, His only Son…” When he had completed his sentence, there was an embarrassing silence. Finally, one child piped up, “Teacher, the boy who has the Holy Spirit isn’t here.” As Christians we know that we have the Holy Spirit or at least we think we do. The problem is that we are not really sure of what to do with the Spirit once we get it so it’s easier to pretend that He is not here. Things are even more complicated by the fact that there are so many conflicting pieces of information circulating at the Spirit. This makes it extremely hard to know exactly what to believe. So over the years we have only mentioned the Holy Spirit in passing or completely ignored the subject all together. So when the Holy Spirit is mentioned there is mixed reactions. Some people react with fear, others act confused and others admit that they just can’t wrap their brain around the subject. We know that the Spirit exists because it is mentioned in the Bible but we’re afraid if we talk about it too much we might be labeled as a charismatic. This series is designed to help us get up close and personal with the Holy Spirit. We will weed out some of the misconceptions and hopefully gain a better understanding of His role and work. Perhaps, if we come to this study with an open heart and mind we will begin to understand what the Holy Spirit can do in our lives and the church.
I. Reasons why the Holy Spirit is so misunderstood.
A. Why some concepts are easier for us to wrap our brains around.
1. The vast majority of us are familiar with the concept of earthly fatherhood so it is less of a stretch to view God as our Heavenly Father.
2. We can understand Jesus as the Son of God because of His humanity. He came to the earth and clothed Himself with flesh and lived as one of us for thirty-three years.
3. Outside of television shows, movies and books we have great difficulty relating to the things of the Spiritual realm. This contributes to our problem with the Holy Spirit.
4. Another problem could result from our understanding of the different members of the Trinity.
a. In Scripture it is easy to see the Father as being in control and calling the shots.
b. We see Jesus as the One who implemented the Father’s plan of salvation through His life, death and resurrection.
c. So what does the Holy Spirit do?
5. When it comes to the Holy Spirit there has been very little sound Biblical teaching on the subject.
6. When there has been teaching on the subject it has lacked personal application and the challenge to move toward personal discovery.
B. This series is designed to be a journey of discovery so that we may get to know the Holy Spirit up close and personal.
1. To accomplish this we will need to focus on how God has intended His Spirit to work in our lives.
2. The truth is that we are going to journey out into some deep water. In fact at times this study may stretch us to the point that it is quite uncomfortable.
3. We will learn that the Spirit is not an “it” or a “thing” but a unique person.
4. We will discover what it means to be filled with the Spirit and empowered by the Spirit.
5. We will gain a clearer understanding of the work of the Spirit and the role that God has assigned for Him.
II. Understanding the Holy Spirit on more of a personal level.
A. The Holy Spirit is intended to take up permanent residence in the life of the Believer.
1. As the curtain rises in John 14 Jesus is comforting a group of men who are struggling with the uncertainty of the future.
2. The disciples are obviously distressed by the fact that Jesus would soon be leaving them and returning to Heaven so Jesus speaks some great words of comfort.
3. Jesus comforts the disciples with a promise that He will be preparing a place for them while He is gone. However, as great as that is Jesus provides them an even bigger promise.
4. “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 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. (John 14:15-17—NIV)