Summary: The identity of the Holy Spirit can be misunderstood at times. This sermon deals with the Holy Spirit identifying himself.
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit, who He is, and what his role is. We have a rather clear understanding of God, the Heavenly Father and Jesus, our Savoir. However the Holy Spirit can become controversial in his role.
First of all the Holy Spirit is a real person. Therefore the Holy Spirit is not an it but rather a He. He came to reside within the followers of Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. Jesus told His apostles...And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. (John 14:16-18)
The Holy Spirit is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. He is the third member of the Trinity. Jesus said to His apostles...“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:18-19)
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And all the divine attributes ascribed to the Father and the Son are equally ascribed to the Holy Spirit. When a person becomes born again by believing and receiving Jesus Christ, God lives in that person through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has intelligence, emotions, and a will.
The Holy Spirit bears "witness" of Jesus Christ. He tells people's hearts about the truth of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit also acts as a Christian's teacher. He reveals God's will and God's truth to a Christian. Jesus told His disciples…“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”(John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit was given to live inside those who believe in Jesus, in order to produce God's character in the life of a believer. The Holy Spirit will build into our lives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. He convicts people's hearts of God's truth concerning how sinful we are -- needing God's forgiveness; how righteous Jesus is -- He died in our place, for our sins; and God's eventual judgment of the world and those who do not know Him. The Holy Spirit tugs on our hearts and minds, asking us to repent and turn to God for forgiveness and a new life.
I believe that the Holy Spirit knew people would have a difficult time grasping who He is and what his ministry is. So He defines himself in the word that is designed to assist us in grasping the reality of the Holy Spirit and how He works in our lives.
He identifies himself as living waters.
“On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)” (John 7:37-39)
For rivers to survive they must have two elements working for them. They must be filled with water. And they must flow.
To be filled with water they need streams and creeks constantly flowing into them. When a drought takes place streams and creeks begin to dry up. Soon the river will follow suit.
Also in order for a river to flow there must be an outlet. If there is no outlet the water becomes stagnate. The Jordan River in Israel is highly celebrated. Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River. Naaman washed in the Jordan River and was healed. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. And yet the Jordan River ends at the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea has no tributaries; therefore the water stands and becomes unable to sustain life.
The Holy Spirit presents himself to us as a river of living water. He is constantly pouring himself into us so that He may flow from us due to our love for him. That flowing from us will result in our doing good works for him; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
However, if we get into a spiritual drought that prohibits his flow then we may sense the feeling of being dried up, barren, and hardened. This draught may come from unconfused sin or absence of time spent with him through prayer and daily teaching.