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Summary: The sermon examines the evidences of the Spirit’s work in the life of the believer.

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Holy Spirit Series 2000

The Case for the Spirit

Romans 8:15-27

Dr. Roger W. Thomas, Preaching Minister

First Christian Church, Vandalia, MO

I loved those old Sherlock Holmes movies I watched as a kid. The scenes were different. The crimes varied from movie to movie. The bad guys had different names. But we all knew the outcome.

The plot went something like this. A crime has been committed. The police arrive and secure the crime scene. They interrogate all the witnesses and a number of suspects. An evidence team arrives. They scour the scene looking very the smallest tell tale information about what happened. A piece of thread here; a bloodstain on the carpet; a footprint outside the bedroom window.

Eventually a suspect emerges. Everyone is convinced that they have the bad guy. A veteran of such movies knows that it’s not that simple. The camera pans to Holmes. He is puffing his pipe and scratching his chin. He’s thinking. He’s pondering some strange bit of evidence that everyone else overlooked. He spots some weird little inconsistency in the testimony of a witness. Dr. Watson watches in bewilderment.

Eventually, Holmes cracks the case. Scotland Yard’s top cop has done it again. Always, somewhere near the end, he replies to Watson’s incredulous query about how he did, “Elementary, Watson, elementary. It’s the evidence just the evidence.”

The work of the Holy Spirit may not be elementary but to understand his work we merely need to follow the evidence.

Today’s message brings us to our fourth in a series on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. We have been examining seven names, titles, or descriptive terms for the Spirit.

Our last three names or descriptive terms provide what I will call “the case for the Spirit.” Each of these three names provides a piece of the evidence that together reveal who the Spirit is and what He does. What would you site as evidence of the Spirit? What proof could you find for a compelling case for the Spirit?

Some in our day, like the other detectives in the Sherlock Holmes mystery, gather a bounty of evidence for their case but end up at a dead end because they have either gathered the wrong evidence or overlooked the real evidence. Some point to enthusiasm, sincerity, or emotional intensity as the proof of the Spirit. Obviously, the Holy Spirit can and does produce enthusiasm, sincerity and emotions. But so do a high school football game, a rock concert, and an Amway convention. No, there must be more evidence than that.

As noted in a previous study, some point to signs and wonders, speaking in tongues, or futuristic predictions as the evidence of the Spirit. I believe God can do all of those things. But I also know from the Bible and from history, that each of those things can be counterfeited and abused. Throughout history, totally pagan and non-Christian religionists have spoken in ecstatic tongues, fallen into spiritual trances, and appeared to perform inexplicable feats and amazing wonders. Nowhere does the Bible ever suggest that such things, in and of themselves, make a case for the Spirit.


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