Summary: A theological but practical look at the Holy Spirit and what He does in our lives.
Would You Like a Refill? – John 14:15-18, 25-27
It’s been said…
God is like Pan Am … He makes the going great.
God is like General Electric … He lights your path.
God is like Bayer Aspirin … He works wonders.
God is like Hallmark Cards … He cares enough to send the very best.
God is like Coke … He’s the real thing.
God is like Tide … He gets the stains out that others leave behind.
God is like VO5 Hair Spray … He holds through all kinds of weather.
God is like Sears … He has everything.
God is like Scotch Tape … You can’t see Him, but you know He’s there.
As we continue along on our journey through the Apostle’s Creed, today we will look at the invisible presence of God on earth today… the Holy Spirit. Although the normal question asked is, “What is the Holy Spirit?”, the better question is “Who is the Holy Spirit?”
One of the distinctives of traditional Christian faith is the doctrine of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit coexisting in the unity of the Godhead. Even though the word Trinity isn’t found in the Bible, the concept is clearly taught. Jesus draws attention to the Trinity in His baptismal statement in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19). Paul closes off his second letter to the Corinthians with this verse: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:2 to the believers “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ.”
Confession of belief in the Trinity shows up in the Nicene Creed (A.D. 381) and the Roman Symbol, a short statement of belief from at least as far back as the fourth century. And of course, The Apostles’ Creed, formalized in the sixth century and forming the basis for much of evangelical Christianity’s doctrine, states specifically, “I believe in God the Father Almighty … and in Jesus Christ His Son … and in the Holy Spirit.” Let’s read it together:
I believe in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into Hades; the third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Church universal, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
The Holy Spirit is not just a force like electricity, as Jehovah’s Witnesses believe. He is a person, the Spirit of God Himself on earth today. Wesleyans believe that God the Father is seated in heaven right now, Jesus (God the Son) is seated at the Father’s right hand, praying for us, and God the Spirit is on the earth, and in believers’ hearts. Each one is God, and there’s only one God. But He shows up in 3 persons, perhaps so that we can understand Him better.
It’s been said God is like water: solid, liquid and gas. It’s been said that God is like a piece of runny, gooey pie: you can cut it into 3 pieces, but it’s all the same. And it’s been said that God is like an egg: yolk, white, and shell. All one egg, but three parts. However you want to picture it, no matter who says different, it’s true. As we sing, “God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”
In the context of this sermon, we don’t have time to look at all the truths about the Holy Spirit. But we’ll look at these 2 main ones.
1) The Holy Spirit is personal.
That is, He’s not a force like electricity. He’s not a ghost like some long-dead ancestor. Here are some reasons we believe He’s personal:
a) by the uses of His Name. We use His name when we baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.¨ The Father and Christ are persons and we connect the Spirit’s name with them because the Spirit is also a person.
b) by the personal characteristics ascribed to Him.
- knowledge: 1 Corinthians 2:11 – the Holy Spirit knows God’s thoughts
- will: 1 Corinthians 12:11 – He decides who gets what gifts
- mind: Romans 8:27 – the Spirit prays, and God knows His mind
- power: Romans 15:13