Sermon Notes: Life and Teaching – Who is the Holy Spirit?

1 Timothy 4:16 (CSB) 16 Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

This course of sermons is to help us to practice 1 Timothy 4:16. 

We want to watch our life (practice) and teaching (what we believe) because our saving is wrapped up in what we believe and do and thus multiply in others. Our saving is not just keeping us in the truth so that we persevere, but keeping an eye on our life and teaching preserves our spiritual vitality. 

If we have to pay close attention to life and teaching, then we must understand if we are not careful we can drift away from correct belief and practice, and in drifting some might abandon their faith. All who drift will lose spiritual vitality.

So, we are focusing on the basics of the faith and how we apply them so that we keep on following Jesus and maintain our spiritual vigor together. 

Today, we want to ask and answer the question: Who is the Holy Spirit? 

There have been and still are people and churches who put on the Holy Spirit extra-biblical ideas and practices rooted in poorly read and interpreted Scripture and/or emotionally manipulated practices.  

We can easily do with the Spirit what we have a tendency to do with many Christian doctrines, and that is read on top of the Bible’s words our own wants, foolish and rash desires, or “things” taught by ill-informed people who won’t do the work necessary to understand the Author’s intent in the words or don’t know how to read the Bible well. They read it like it’s a spell book. 

NOTE: Biblical accuracy about Holy Spirit will not impede intense experience with the Holy Spirit. Biblical accuracy will narrow your experience to the Holy Spirit and not deceptive spirits who lie and deceive and propagate lies. Thus John said we need to “test the spirits” to see if they are from God. 

Here are two examples: 

  1. “When you become a Christian you don’t get all of the Holy Spirit. You get more later by seeking that experience.”
    1. That later experience beyond salvation is what some falsely apply to the biblical phrase “baptism in the Holy Spirit”.  
    2. 1 Corinthians 12:13 makes it clear that baptism by/in the Holy Spirit is the work of placing believers in the body of Christ, and if BIHS comes as a later experience for sincere seekers of God, then the person is not in the body of Christ when they believe the gospel, and that’s a problem for the rest of the New Testament. 
    3. This misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches (BIHS only appears 7 times in the NT) has created 2 classes of Christians where this is taught:
      1. The really spiritual.
      2. The really un-spiritual. 
    4. Don’t misunderstand, if you have believed the gospel, you were baptized by the Spirit into the kingdom of God and became a member of the universal church of Jesus Christ as he gave you a new heart and took up residence in you REGARDLESS of what it felt like or what you experienced or didn’t experience emotionally. 
    5. **BIHS is NOT the same as what Paul calls “being filled with the Holy Spirit”.
      1. Ephesians 5:18 uses language contrasting being full of wine and controlled by it versus being full of the Holy Spirit and thus being controlled by him.
        1. We can walk in greater power when we sow more to the Holy Spirit and thus be controlled by him more. 
  2. “Receiving the Holy Spirit is evidenced by speaking in another language.”
    1. The examples of people speaking other languages upon repentance and faith is a missionary description of what’s happening in Acts as the gospel advances glocally the Acts 1:8 framework.
      1. These instances in Acts are NOT prescribing what should be happening in all Christians everywhere all the time. 
      2. The belief that Holy Spirit is evidenced primarily by speaking in other languages is contrary to what the Bible teaches about the gift of languages in Corinthians. 

What does the Bible teach us about the Holy Spirit? 

NOTE: This list is NOT exhaustive. This list is intended to give us some guard rails to operate inside of.

Let’s read together John 16:7-11 (CSB) 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. 

  1. The Holy Spirit is God, he is eternally a member of the Trinity, and he is distinct from the Father and the Son.
    1. He is described as eternal in Hebrews 9:14.
      1. Hebrews 9:14 (CSB) 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we can serve the living God?
    2. He is described as omnipresent in Psalm 139:7-8.
      1. Psalm 139:7-8 (ESV) 7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
    3. He is implicitly given the title “God” in Acts 5:3–4, and the Holy Spirit is called  “Lord” in 2 Corinthians 3:17.
      1. Acts 5:3-4 (CSB) 3 “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds of the land? 4 Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to people but to God.”
    4. New Testament Letters affirm the Holy Spirit participates together with the Father and the Son as co-sources of the divine blessings that belong to Christians. (see 2 Corinthians 13:14; Titus 3:4–7; 1 Corinthians 12:4–6; Ephesians 4:4–6; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 20–21)
      1. Titus 3:4-7 (CSB) 4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us —not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy — through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. 6 He poured out his Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.
    5. The Holy Spirit is the very presence of Jesus with us, thus he is God just as Jesus is God.
      1. John 14:16 (CSB) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
  1. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
    1. John 16:7-11 (CSB) 7 Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment: 9 About sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 and about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
    2. The word used here “convict” is a word the New Testament also applies specifically to the church in regard to refinement.
      1. The word “convict” means to detect, lay bare, expose, chastise, discipline, etc. 
      2. The exact nuance of the definition depends on context and audience. 
    3. Here the word “convict” is applied to the “world” to describe the Holy Spirit’s ministry in the world to those who are in and of the world system.
      1. So, the Holy Spirit is actively doing work to lay bare sin, show what righteousness is, and warn of coming judgment.
        1. So, when you see sin exposed and it was not due to anything actively done by obvious Christians, know the Holy Spirit is at work.  
        2. When you preach the gospel and someone repents, know it was the Holy Spirit who was already present, doing the convincing. 
        3. When you successfully labor at systemic change to see wholeness restored in the created order, know it was Holy Spirit doing the behind-the-scenes work and enabling your labor to be effective. 
  1. The Holy Spirit enables people to confess the true identity of Jesus and worship the Triune God.
    1. 1 Corinthians 12:3 (CSB) 3 Therefore I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
      1. Clearly, Paul means that a person cannot say “Jesus is Lord” and mean it without the Spirit’s enablement. 
    2. Philippians 3:3 (CSB) 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh —
    3. Ephesians 2:17-18 (CSB) 17 He came and proclaimed the good news of peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
  1. The Holy Spirit is the source of our spiritual life.
    1. Galatians 5:25 (CSB) 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
    2. Galatians 6:7-8 (CSB) 7 Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows he will also reap, 8 because the one who sows to his flesh will reap destruction from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.
    3. Ephesians 1:13-14 (CSB) 13 In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.
      1. This is also another piece of evidence that you get the Holy Spirit when you believe the gospel. 
  1. The Holy Spirit transforms those who repent and believe into the image of Jesus and makes them the temple of God.
    1. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (CSB) 18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
    2. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (CSB) 16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is holy, and that is what you are.
      1. The “you” here is plural not singular.
        1. There is a sense in which each of us is the temple of the Lord. 
        2. That sense that we individually are the temple is activated only by our commitment to and engagement with the local church in active and intentional membership and accountability.
          1. This is worked out in that our experience of the Holy Spirit is only confirmed and made clear as we work out His activity together on mission. 
  1. The Holy Spirit is a person who can be grieved and lied to.
    1. Isaiah 63:10 (CSB) But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them.
      1. Make sure you don’t fall outside the New Covenant promise of the substitutionary work of Jesus so that you will never grieve the Spirit and find yourself God the Father’s enemy. 
      2. If you are a professing Christian, then you need to be careful to NOT do what these people in Isaish did and presume on the Lord.
    2. Ephesians 4:30 (CSB) And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption.
      1. We need to lean into our security in Christ as repentant followers of the Lord. 
      2. We need to NOT presume upon the kindness of God by harboring in the dark behavior(s) that grieve the Spirit.
        1. This kind of living might indicate our status as one who has not been born again by the powerful and supernatural grace of God to transform sinners. 
  1. The Holy Spirit leads his church in victory over sin, guides his church into truth, teaches his church, and reminds his church of what Jesus has said.
    1. Galatians 5:16-18 (CSB) 16 I say, then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
    2. John 16:13 (CSB) 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come.
    3. John 14:26 (CSB) 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
  1. The Holy Spirit enables prayer for holiness and for power in spiritual conflict.
    1. Jude 1:20-21 (CSB) 20 But you, dear friends, as you build yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting expectantly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.
      1. Praying in the Holy Spirit is not a mystery.
        1. This is all prayer. 
        2. Prayer IN the Spirit is prayer that is located in intimate fellowship with the Spirit in which we are praying in line with his eternal will and with him as he intercedes for us and his people. 
    2. Ephesians 6:18 (CSB) 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.
      1. NOTE: “Pray” in Ephesians 6:18 is the participle that defines how we put on the armor of God to fight and be protected in our spiritual warfare and should be translated as “Praying” to make that clear. 
  1. The Holy Spirit prays for Jesus’ people, the church. (Rom 8:26–27)
    1. Romans 8:26-27 (CSB) 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
  1. The Holy Spirit is Jesus’ counseling presence with his people.
    1. John 14:16 (CSB) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.
      1. Parakletos” – comforter, encourager, exhorter
        1. Allos” – another of the same kind.
      2. Holy Spirit is One like Jesus who is with all who are in Jesus all at the same time.
        1. Proverbs 20:27 (ESV) 27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.
          1. When we have Holy Spirit and will relate to Him, he will work with our very souls to search out what’s happening inside of us, and he will be a source of amazing healing. 
          2. NOTE: This does not mean we should jettison good counseling with a brother or sister who is skilled at walking with the Spirit and skilled at helping us in that healing process. 
  1. The Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus and glorifies Jesus.
    1. John 15:26-27 (CSB) 26 “When the Counselor comes, the one I will send to you from the Father — the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father — he will testify about me. 27 You also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
    2. John 16:14-15 (CSB) 14 He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. 15 Everything the Father has is mine. This is why I told you that he takes from what is mine and will declare it to you.
  1. The Holy Spirit can be suppressed. He is a person to be related to and seems to be unwilling to force himself into recognition.
    1. Just like we can grieve him, we can also suppress him.
      1. 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (CSB) 19 Don’t stifle the Spirit.
      2. Since the Spirit’s job is to highlight Jesus, he will not exalt himself, and if we don’t want more Jesus, he won’t force the issue, and we can stifle his work among us through resistance to him and his mission to lift up the Son of God. 
  1. The Holy Spirit unifies the people of God in local churches.
    1. Ephesians 4:1-3 (ESV) 1 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
      1. Jesus has unified his people worldwide by his elective and redemptive and powerful salvation, and he has sent us to make disciples of all nations who then gather in cities, small towns, villages, and neighborhoods all over the world as local churches
      2. Those local churches have distinctives in 2nd and 3rd level issues as well as tactical distinctions in doing the great commission that allow them to meet in different locations and yet still be on the same team.
      3. Inside the local church, however, we experience the Holy Spirit when we stay unified on absolute essentials and then allow latitude with each other on 2nd and 3rd tier issues.
        1. What are the essentials?
        2. Our doctrinal statement is where we need to stay unified.
      4. The Spirit gave us Romans 14 for a reason, and part of that was to keep us from doing what supposed Christians do on social media and in person on issues we should have our opinion about and then lock arms and get wor work preaching the gospel to the lost.
        1. I’m convinced that people who have time to fight about 2nd and 3rd issues are simply not busy enough about the kingdom of God. 
      5. Theological triage help questions:
        1. First-tier: Are you alive?
        2. Second-tier: Are you healthy?
          1. Is the issue a sprained ankle or is it cancer?
          2. Is this isolated or is this something that could spread and cause disunity?
          3. Is this transmissible to others?
        3. Third-tier: What kind of workout do you like?
          1. Church structure, liturgy, ministry philosophy, etc. 
      6. The Spirit, however, keeps the local church in unity, and if anyone wants to leave over third-tier things, you can bet it’s not Holy Spirit doing the relocating, it’s dark forces driving wedges.
        1. NOTE: Usually the people who scream the most about 2nd and 3rd-tier issues are the ones who do the least witness in the public square. 
        2. They have too much time on their hands to scour social media and find things to beat people up about. 
        3. If you are itching to pick a fight about an issue that does not equate to denying the faith, then can I suggest you go line up to take a foster child, adopt a kid, mentor a struggling youth in a local school, and minister to their family?
        4. The Spirit unifies. He does not pick fights on things that are night fightable.
          1. If you cannot discern the difference, you either don’t have the Holy Spirit and are not reading your Bible or you are isolated and fill your time with news or social media or you don’t have any wisdom speaking into your life. 

So, what do we do with the witness of the Bible to the Holy Spirit?

  1. Make war on any idea that views the Holy Spirit as a force or thing to be manipulated.
    1. He is a person who desires to relate to us and for us to relate to him. 
  2. If you want more Holy Spirit, want more of Jesus.
    1. Jesus is clear that the Spirit takes from what the Father has given to Jesus and makes it known to us to lift up Jesus. 
  3. Acknowledge the Holy Spirit by speaking in to him when you rise and as you go through your day.
    1. He is present, so don’t ignore him. 
    2. Speak and still yourself to tune in to his counseling help.   
  4. As you continue learning prayer, take time to listen.
    1. Get quiet. 
    2. Get comfortable. 
    3. Let your mind slow down. 
    4. Be saturated with the Scriptures. 
    5. Wait on the Lord. 
  5. In order to not stifle/quench the Spirit, pay attention to the activities around 1 Thessalonians 5:19 that are contrary to Holy Spirit.
    1. What activities can stifle the Spirit? 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
      1. Ignore or despise those who labor for the gospel. 
      2. Seek out drama or chaos or conflict. 
      3. Be idle. 
      4. Give no comfort to the discouraged. 
      5. Give no help to the weak. 
      6. Be impatient. 
      7. Repay evil with evil. 
      8. Pursue what just a few thinks is good since everyone else is dumb unlike you. 
      9. Be constantly in grief and “woe is me” mode. 
      10. Don’t pray. 
      11. Complain. 
      12. Despise the prophetic word. 
      13. Don’t test ideas or teachings.
      14. Let go of the good and embrace what our flesh wants. 
      15. A little evil never hurt anybody. 
  6. Seek the Lord in fellowship according to the Bible’s instruction.
    1. We as individuals have the Holy Spirit, yet the Bible is clear that the church gathered in membership together, accountable to one another, under biblical leadership is the temple of the Spirit not just isolated Christians.
      1. This dynamic is important.
        1. John 14:16 AND 1 Corinthians 6:19 both tell us that the “you” is plural not singular.
          1. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (CSB) 19 Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.
      2. If we intentionally isolate ourselves, we are grieving the Holy Spirit, and we are in fact stifling the Spirit. 
  7. Don’t be in such a hurry that we rush past divine moments the Spirit has prepared for us to encourage and to be encouraged.

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