Summary: This is the fifth in a 7-part series on The Apostles Creed. I used this as a way to give folks in my new churches an understanding of my beliefs and our common ground as Believers. Teaching sheet at the end of the text.
Sermon Series “Belief and Faith Coming Together”
Week Three – “The Promised Spirit”
Pastor John Bright – delivered 8/11/19
John 14:15-18 “15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”
I love to fish! Part of fishing is knowing where to find the fish. In the old days folks went to Wachapreague, Virginia to find the “doormat” flounder. When I was young we went to the Chowan River when the herring would run. My grandparents used them to make salt herring. Large mouth bass fisherman in Virginia always went to Briery Creek for the biggest fish.
Today I’m going to tell you that to know about the Holy Spirit you have to go to the Bible. Then I’ll tell you that something vitally important to our Christian faith can’t be found anywhere in the Bible.
In this reading from John, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit. To be more precise – that the Holy Spirit would come and stay!
Let’s look to the Bible to find the Holy Spirit:
@ the beginning…Genesis 1:2 - Hebrew "Ruah Elohim"
@ the end…Revelation 22:17 - Greek "pneuma"
In the middle - Psalm 51:10-12
"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me."
Now – what’s not in the Bible? “the Trinity”
The word is not in the Bible – but we see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In fact, they were all together in one place… at one time: Matthew 3 “16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
The Holy Spirit is NOT:
• Like “the force” in Star Wars - not in the trees and rocks
• Some floaty-around thing - IN US!
• An “IT” – He is the Third person of the Trinity
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son. Gen. 1:26 “Let us make man in our image.”
We use terms like “the Trinity” as shorthand.
Part of the mystery of the Trinity is that all three persons of the Trinity operate in the “spirit realm.” There is a great hunger today for the “supernatural” – for the most part, the Church had denied the presence of the supernatural in the life of a Christian. We concentrate on the physical (mission work), mental (too much psyco-babble from the pulpits) and emotional (lots of warm fuzzies)… but do we recognize the present battle? There is a battle this morning – to keep you from coming to church, keep you from hearing the Word, keep you comfortable in your comfort zone. To put it plainly – there is an ongoing battle between angels of light and the forces of hell.
The enemy, satan, a fallen cherub (Ezekiel 28:14) wants us to believe there is no spirit realm. WARNING – If you begin to desire a greater reality of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life, you will become MORE aware of the spirit realm in new ways. That’s how God wants it!
Back to John 14 - Jesus uses another name for the Holy Spirit – “paraclete” – helper/advocate/intercessor/strengthener –“one who comes along side to counsel.”
Jesus offer comfort to the Disciples and to us – He calls us God’s Children ( in today’s culture – folks say “everyone is a child of God” but God’s Word says that you have to be saved to be a Child of God) and He told them and us that the Holy Spirit would be in us to stay.
This is different than how the Holy Spirit operated in the Old Testament – there He comes to a certain person, for a certain task, for a certain amount of time. Example – the Holy Spirit comes to Saul to serve as king… then in a few chapters God takes the Holy Spirit from Saul for disobedience (Book of 1 Samuel).
Fast forward to Acts 2:1-4 – Pentecost – fulfillment of the promise!
Now the Holy Spirit will be with us, with the church, with the believers… forever. That’s a good thing, right? Maybe.