This is the manuscript for the sermon I preached at West Bradenton Baptist Southside on Sunday February 9, 2020.
Today we are starting a new series titled “The Holy Spirit”. For the next 8-weeks I will be talking extensively about the Holy Spirit. There is so much written in the Bible about the Holy Spirit and yet it is a topic we seem to shy away from. The Spirit plays a significant role in the transformative life and church and yet so many neglect to acknowledge the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives and churches. Pastor Jim Cymbala wrote in his book FRESH POWER, “A Church cannot be a Church without the abiding and empowering of the Holy Spirit.” And I would ad that a Christian cannot be a Christian without the abiding and empowering Holy Spirit. This quote struck me because I have noticed that more and more Christians and/or churches are depending less and less on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Today we are going to spend some time searching the Bible to answer the question… “What or who is the Holy Spirit?” This is message is in no way an exhaustive or complete revelation of what/who the Spirit is because the Holy Spirit cannot be sufficiently explained nor packaged in a nice little box of understanding and clarity. I think the early church theologian Cyril of Jerusalem said it best when he said, “When we speak of the Holy Spirit, whatever we say will be inadequate. There is nothing any theologian, preacher, priest, co-worker, teacher, spiritualist, author, believer, or I can say or write to paint sufficient picture or description the Holy Spirit. It is impossible. However, we can learn and understand what we do by searching the Scripture to see what God has revealed about the Holy Spirit in His Word.
Before we can answer the question, “Who or what is the Holy Spirit?” we will have to tackle some challenges that hinder a proper understanding of who or what the Holy Spirit is.
My goal and purpose for today is to open our Bible and look as comprehensively as time will permit about what it says about the Holy Spirit. So, in our remaining time together we will look at these three things…
A Biblical View of the Holy Spirit
Who or what is the Holy Spirit?” This is a question many have asked and will continue to ask. Keep in mind that a concise and complete definition does not exist.
Holy Spirit: The word Holy – Kodesh (Heb) or Hageos (GK) means “the most Holy thing, separate, sacred, or set apart. The word Spirit – Ruah (Heb) or Pneuma (GK) means breath, wind, or air in motion. So, we can define the Holy Spirit as a sacred or set apart from everything breath. What does that mean? Maybe this will be more helpful, it is the divine breath or wind of God. The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God. We know that the Holy Spirit is referred to as the third person in the trinity (who was present at the Creation of the World) and the Spirit is present in both the Old and New Testament. This Holy Spirit we have today is the same Spirit that indwelt the prophets, the Apostles and dwells in us today. The very essence or breath of God resides in the believer; as 1 Corinthians 6:19 states, “The body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…” The Spirit dwells in the body of every believer in Christ. When one is called to become a follower of Jesus, the Spirit takes up residency in the believer’s life. We will talk more in the weeks to come.
Even though, it seems in the O.T. the Spirit would come and go as it pleased, we read in John 20:19 – 22 that Jesus gives the disciples the Holy Spirit and it dwells in them, “When it was evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said,[c] “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” and from this moment on the Spirit dwells and abides within a person once he/she believes.
The Holy Spirit has many names in the Bible… (Not an exhaustive list)
The Spirit is analogous to….
The Holy Spirit is a person not an unknowable force
The Holy Spirit is God
The Holy Spirit is omnipresent – Psalm 139:7 - 12
The Spirit is Creator – Job 33:4
The Spirit is eternal – Heb. 9:14
The Spirit is omniscient – 1 Cor. 2:10
The Spirit is the Truth – John 16:13, 14
The Spirit is a teacher/helper/comforter – John 14:26
He is unique because there is none like Him.
He is not matter but He is substance.
Fundamentally the Holy Spirit is not an optional part of Christianity… He isn’t something we can opt in or out of if we want Him. He is a vital part of the life of a Christian. In fact, he is essential to the Christian faith. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot live the Christian life. I conclude with these words that I believe to be true and will hopefully encourage us to be a people and church who are led by and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Just as Christianity without Christ is a dead religion so a congregation without the Spirit is a dead church. By the grace of God, may we be a congregation who is alive in the Spirit of God.
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I currently live on the Gulf Coast of Florida with my beautiful family. The Lord has blessed me with over 25 years of full time ministry. He is and has been faithful.