Summary: Part 2 of 4 in an introductory series on the Holy Spirit, looking at who He is and how He works in our lives.
INTRODUCTION: John 16 is what I would describe as a fundamental passage on the Holy Spirit. In these verses, Jesus has just finished telling the disciples that things are going to get hard for them when He leaves and that people are going to hate them mistreat them, kill them, and they will do so in the “name of God” (vs. 2). So he comforts them with words on the Holy Spirit (vs. 5-15). In this passage He tells them it’s to their advantage that He leaves because he’s going to send the Helper. At first this may seem puzzling. How can it be to our advantage that Jesus would leave? But when we look at the ways the Holy Spirit works, we see why Jesus leaving is to our “advantage.”
BACKGROUND: When looking through scripture at all the things that the Holy Spirit does, the most complete list that I’ve been able to compile has approximately 50 things on it that the Holy Spirit does, in our world and within us as the people of God. Now we could spend several months going through them all, and I believe that it would be an exciting study, but for the sake of our current series, I’ve narrowed the list down to 5 actions that pretty well encompass the majority of them.
THE HOLY SPIRIT KNOWS US IN OUR WEAKNESS
• We like to think that we’re strong (especially us guys) strength is a “great virtue” in our society, while weakness is frowned upon. (boys don’t cry)
• The Holy Spirit not only knows us, but He helps us in our weakness, and what do we do when we “realize” our weakness – we pray, and it’s in prayer that the Holy Spirit does some of His greatest work in our lives! (Romans 8:26)
• He will especially intercede when we’re focused on glorifying God and loving his people.
• If you don’t know what to pray, ask the Holy Spirit for help. After all, He is “the Helper” who will help those who love him.
• Oftentimes, God uses our prayers to change our hearts more than the hearts of others, to transform us to be more and more like Him (Image).
• He helps us do things that we cannot do in our own strength. (2nd Corinthians 12:10)
• Paul had a “thorn” it was a “weakness” but in that “weakness” He was made “strong” through Christ and His Spirit! – It’s the same with us today!
• If it glorifies Him and is about His people and His church He will work in and through our weakness
THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES US
• The Holy Spirit works through Scripture and people to change our hearts (John 14:26)
• When we struggle with a passage of Scripture, the Holy Spirit will step in and aid us with understanding its meaning, and how it can be used and applied in our lives.
• Oftentimes, that teaching comes through other people i.e. a sermon (Romans 10), a close friend or mentor (Acts 18) Apollos was a “powerful” preacher, but lacked understanding, so God brought in Aquila and Pricilla to correct his “deficient theology”
• This is not to mean however that the Holy Spirit is only active through the Word of God
• Back in 1951 there was a controversy that arose at San Jose Bible College (now William Jessup University) about “how” the Holy Spirit worked – some believed in the indwelling of the Spirit, others that He only worked through the Word.
• I loved Archie Word’s response to the whole issue “So you’re telling me that on the day of Pentecost that heaven opened up and dumped a load of Bibles on their heads?”
THE HOLY SPIRIT REVEALS JESUS’ PURPOSE FOR US
• God gives good gifts. He gave us Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins. He gave us the Holy Spirit. He also gave us instruction in the Bible for living this life (2nd Timothy 3:16–17)
• I believe that the vast majority of our life’s purpose are readily found in the Bible.
• The purpose of our life is to glorify God through the power of the Holy Spirit by loving people, and pointing them to Jesus.
• The Holy Spirit will reveal the finer details of our purpose, such as where we will work, whom we will marry, and where we will live, as we study the Bible and walk in faith.
• We must remember that the Spirit will not prompt us to do anything that goes against Scripture.
• People sometimes justify their actions by saying, "My conscience told me … " We need to make sure we're listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, not the voice of our own desires. And we know which is which by checking this voice against the truth of God's Word.