Summary: Jesus reveals that that Holy Spirit is God and that He is a person.
Do you ever feel like there ought to be more to life? Do you read the accounts of supernatural events in the Bible and think to yourself, “Why isn’t my life more like that?” Do you read about Moses parting the Red Sea or Elijah calling down fire from heaven or the eyes of Elisha’s servant being opened so that he could see that the mountains around him were filled with horses and chariots of fire and think “I’ve certainly never experienced anything like that?” Do you read how the Holy Spirit came upon the early church and people were empowered to hear others speak in their own language and how an ordinary fisherman like Peter was able to preach Jesus with such boldness and long for that kind of power in your own life? Shouldn’t there be something more to this life as a follower of Jesus?
I sure know that I feel like that at times and my guess is that most of you do, too. I think the late great Baptist pastor Adrian Rogers had a pretty good handle on why we often feel like that. He once compared Christians who don’t understand the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit to someone who buys a new car and then pushes that car everywhere he goes because he doesn’t understand it has an engine. Unfortunately, I think that is probably a pretty accurate picture of the way that so many followers of Jesus attempt to live their lives apart from the empowering work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
And I’m convinced that is the main reason why we often feel like there ought to be something more to life. I think we sense deep down that there is power out there, but for some reason we’re not connected to it. That is not a new problem in the church. When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Galatia, he addressed that very problem:
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?
(Galatians 3:1-3 ESV)
I think it would pretty safe to assume that all of us who have entered into a relationship with God through faith in Jesus would acknowledge that our relationship with God would not be possible without the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Without Him drawing us to Jesus and revealing our sin and our need for a savior, none of us would have ever submitted our lives to Jesus on our own. Our walk with Jesus, as Paul puts it, was clearly “begun by the Spirit.”
But once we’ve entered into that relationship, it seems that we often abandon the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and attempt to live for Jesus like those Galatian believers – trying to perfect our faith “by the flesh”. And I’m convinced that in most cases we don’t do that intentionally – it’s just that we don’t have a good understanding of the Holy Spirit and how He works in our lives. So therefore, we’re unable to tap into the power that He makes available to us. So it’s no wonder that we feel like there has to be something more to life.
That’s why we’re going to spend the next nine weeks or so taking a look at what the Bible teaches us about the Holy Spirit – who He is, what He does, and most importantly of all, how He can empower our lives on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, there seems to be both a lack of understanding as well as a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to the Holy Spirit. Perhaps some of you who, like me, come from a conservative church background and have a conservative theology, even get a bit uneasy when I say that we’re going to spend nine weeks focusing on the Holy Spirit. And there is good reason for that apprehension given the manner in which some groups who claim to be Christian have engaged in activities that they claim to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
So let me just assure you before we begin that we’re not talking here about things like uncontrollable laughter, barking like dogs, public healings, and other similar actions which some, mostly charismatic churches, have claimed are manifestations of the Holy Spirit. As we’ll discover in our study, the Holy Spirit has many much more important things that he want to do in our lives in order to empower us to live abundant, godly lives.