Summary: Part 1 of 3 part on WHO the Holy Spirit is; WHEN He came; and His WORKS on earth in nonbelievers' & believers' lives. Part 1 places special emphasis on the baptism with the Holy Spirt and what it means, and the danger of looking for shortcuts to maturity.
You and the Holy Spirit, Part 1: No Shortcuts
February 9, 2014
There is a PowerPoint presentation available for this sermon upon request by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Acts 1:4-8 – “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Illus. – When our boys were little we were scheduled to attend a field conference with my mission board in Interlaken, Switzerland. We decided to go a week early, and begin over in Saltzburg, Austria on the opposite end of Switzerland, and then drive west across Switzerland to Interlaken in time for our field conference that was to start that next Monday.
After seeing Saltsburg, we slowly meandered west, leisurely taking our time. Susan wanted to visit a quaint village several kilometers south of the main Autobahn, so I looked on the map and it looked like there was a non-Autobahn shortcut from that village straight west over to Interlaken. (This was long before GPS.) We visited this gorgeous village and then headed west to Interlaken on this road.
Well…what looked like a good straight road on the map was anything but in real life. A trip that should have taken half a day took us almost a day-and-a-half on a one-way road that that zig-zagged on hundreds of hair-pin curves directly up into some of the steepest mountains of Switzerland.
The scariest part was that about on 90% of the road, you were looking straight down cliffs and steep valleys WITH NO GUARD RAILS—ON A ONE-WAY ROAD! And the VERY scariest part was when we encountered another vehicle. Have you ever tried to drive IN REVERSE to a little pull-off so a car can pass by with deep cliffs and valleys on one side with no guardrails? Believe me; you NEVER want to do that!
You see, sometimes shortcuts aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Hold that thought until the end of this sermon because we’re going to come back to it. But this truth segways right into our subject today about the Holy Spirit.
There’s a lot of confusion about the Holy Spirit today. Some Christian brethren would have you believe that there is an experience after your salvation which they mistakenly call the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” and that the evidence of this baptism (they say) is speaking in tongues. I believe these teachings stem from a basic misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit.
Well, who exactly IS the Holy Spirit? What really is the “baptism with the Holy Spirit”? Is it a second work of grace that takes place after salvation? If you haven’t experienced what these brethren describe, are you missing something that could revolutionize your life and provide a shortcut to victory? Is it manifested by speaking in tongues or other miraculous phenomena? Finally, what does the Holy Spirit actually DO in our lives?
We’ll address all these questions in the next couple of months in our study of the book of Acts. Today we’ll look at who the Holy Spirit is, and when He came, and next Sunday and the following Sunday we’ll explore what the Holy Spirit DOES in the world and in our lives.
I. FIRST, LET’S CONSIDER WHO EXACTLY IS HOLY SPIRIT
There are two simple, yet profound, things to know to understand who the Holy Spirit is:
• First you may have noticed that I refer to the Holy Spirit as HE instead of IT. That’s because the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, but a real PERSON.
That’s why we generally prefer to call Him the Holy “Spirit” in today’s vocabulary, instead of the Holy “Ghost” as it is found in the King James Version of the Bible. Today, the word “ghost” conjures up Casper the friendly Ghost or some scary phantom from the other world, so today we call Him the “Holy SPIRIT” to capture the real meaning of the Bible word.
The Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit as a real person, with all the attributes of personality: He has a mind; He thinks; He has a will; He has emotions; He forbids and permits and speaks and loves; He can be angered and grieved. All of these are characteristics of a person, not an impersonal force.