FOF-06 - The Holy Spirit
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FUNDAMENTALS OF FAITH
In Acts chapter 19:1 the apostle Paul found certain disciples, and he asked them,
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” In response to that question in
Acts 19:2 they said, “We have not even heard so much as whether there is a Holy
Spirit.” There was a lot of confusion in the first century among some disciples about the
Holy Spirit, just as there is today.
We welcome you to our study of the fundamentals of the faith. Today we address
the subject, fundamental subject, of the Holy Spirit: His work, His function, and what
about His work today among Christians.
When we think about the Holy Spirit, there is a lot of mass confusion, there is
ignorance, and there are a lot of areas where emotionalism and sometimes where
feelings take over, as it relates to the Holy Spirit. We simply want to examine, from the
Scripture, some basic facts about the Holy Spirit that will equip us to better know about
that person of the Godhead, and to help us in defending and standing up for the truth.
What do we know about the Holy Spirit's nature? Like the father and like the Son,
the Holy Spirit is identified as a person of the Godhead. The Holy Spirit has certain
qualities that are unique to His function. For example, the Holy Spirit speaks. 1 Timothy
4:1-2 the Bible says, “The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from
the faith.” We know, as relating to the nature of the Holy Spirit, He speaks, that is, He
had the ability to give His Revelation to men and women in the first century. The Holy
Spirit has the ability to feel in some ways. Ephesians 4:30 and James 4:5, Christians
are taught ‘not to grieve or vex the Holy Spirit,’ has some way of grieving, some way
being vex, some way of being brought to a righteous jealousy, over God's people
concerning his love for them. The Holy Spirit in the New Testament is not identified as
some in animate ‘it.’ Rather in Scripture, He is identified as masculine in person. Listen
to the language here, John 16:13 Jesus said, “When He, the spirit of truth, has come,
He will guide you into all truth.” Hebrews 10:15 the Holy Spirit is again identified as He,
and so masculine in person is the way the Scripture identifies the Holy Spirit. And we
know as well, the Holy Spirit is a part of the Godhead. Let me illustrate this to you from
2 Corinthians chapter 13. Here's a passage where we have all three persons of the
Godhead identified. Listen to the words of 2 Corinthians 13:14, at the close of the letter
Paul says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of
the Holy Spirit be with you.” Grace of Christ, love of God, communion of the Holy Spirit,
father, son, Holy Spirit are all mentioned as part of the Godhead. Genesis 1, we see
much of the same the spirit of God hovered upon the face of the deep, Genesis 1:2.
Even at the beginning, the Holy Spirit Himself was there.
One of the most pressing questions, as it relates to the Holy Spirit is how does
the Holy Spirit communicate with people? How did he do it in the Bible? Is he still doing
that today? Many people believe the Holy Spirit communicates through a hunches or
intuitions or some enter leading, this is such a highly subjective and feeling based idea.
It is not just biblical, it's just not biblical. In the New Testament it wasn't a nudge or a
hunch, or some feeling based intuition. The Holy Spirit communicates in the medium of
communication that people use today: language, voices, and the voice that spoke.
God's means of communication in the Bible is through words and language.
Now let me give you a couple of passages that teach this in Scripture. 2 Samuel
23:2, “The spirit spoke by me,” David said now watch this, “his word was on my tongue.”
How did the spirit communicate to David? He spoke by David. How did he do that? His
word was on David's tongue. The spirit has always communicated in the medium of
words through language. 1 Timothy 4:1, again the Scripture clearly says, the Spirit
expressly says He uses language to do that. Revelation 2:11, ‘the spirit speaks,’ or says
again is the idea. When we think about how does the Holy Spirit communicate, am I
receiving some kind of a nudge, or how did he do that in the Bible? He uses the medium
of language and words to do that in Scripture. That has always been the method that He
chose. As we think about the Holy Spirit, let's also realize the spirit had a function in
man's salvation. I understand God's part. He put the plan into action. I understand
Christ's part. He came to this earth and sacrificed Himself for the salvation of mankind.
But what's the function of the Holy Spirit in man's salvation? The function of the Holy
Spirit and man, in man's salvation, is to get the message about the Father and about the
son into the hands and hearts and lives of men and women today through God's word.
Think about these words, I want you think about the words of Revelation 1. I think
they so beautifully describe the work of the spirit in getting God's message of salvation
to us. Look to these passages in Revelation. Revelation 1:11 the Scripture records
saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,” now watch this here's
what the spirit said to John, “what you see, write in the book and send to the seven
churches which are in Asia to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis,
Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” The spirit had a function here in getting His message out.
He used John as a tool. Here's what He said to John, “What you see, draw a picture of,
not what he said. Make a movie about, do a play on, no, write in a book. God's message
of salvation has been written in a book. That book is the Bible. Listen again to
Revelation chapter 2 and notice what Christ says to the church. Revelation 2:11, “He
who has an ear, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches, he who overcomes
shall not be hurt by the spec in the second death.” We use our ears to hear the
message of God, and that's how God spoke to His churches in the first century. So
here's the process God used, the Lord dictated to John, Holy Spirit dictated John. John
wrote down what was dictated. The Lord said that was what the Holy Spirit says, and
thus the Holy Spirit's work was putting the message in a form, a book form, that men
and women could have throughout the centuries. That's always been the plan of God.
I'll give you another passage to think about, John 16:13. Jesus said this of the spirit,
“When He, the spirit of truth, has come, He'll guide you into all truth, you don't have to
speak on your own authority, whatever He says and what He hears from the Father
that'll be what you speak.” In essence when the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus said, ‘He's
going to guide you.’ Who? The immediate apostles right there. He's going to guide you
into all truth. Friend did that day come? You bet it did! Acts 2, they're to assemble
together, there the Holy Spirit comes upon them, they began to speak in unknown
languages, Peter stands up with the 11, and they began to preach the message of
Jesus Christ. Men and women heard that message, the message spoken in words. We
have that message revealed to us in the pages of the Bible.
Does the spirit have a function in salvation? Sure He does! He got the message
revealed, written in a form that can be written down, revealed to men and women, and
that message has been written down for all centuries. The Bible is the product of God
through the Holy Spirit giving us the message of salvation. We want to address this
also. Does the Spirit play a part in the Revelation of the message? There's no doubt.
We've already seen He does, but exactly what part did He play? This is so important,
because you know I hear a lot of people today say, well the spirit is speaking Holy Spirit
told me to do this. Wait a minute now, is that the way God's working and is that the way
God worked in the first century?
I want to direct your attention to a passage in the book of 1 Corinthians. 1
Corinthians 2:9 following, Paul indicates how the spirit got God's revelation to people
then, and how the spirit worked in the first century. Look at 1 Corinthians 2:9, the Bible
says, “As it is written eye has not seen nor ear heard nor have entered in the heart of
man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him,” but now watch this,
what about those things God wants us to know? “But God has revealed them to us
through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes the deep things of God for what
man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him, even so no one
knows the things of God except the spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit
the world with the spirit of him was from God, that we might know the things which have
been freely given to us by God,” now watch this, “these things we also speak, not in
words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches comparing
spiritual things with spiritual things.” Watch these things that are to be identified. The
Scripture teaches us from this passage; it takes a revelation to know God. How can I
know the things about God and the things He's prepared for His creation? I can know it,
because God has revealed them to us. It takes a revelation to know God. That
Revelation must be made in words, not in words which human wisdom teaches, but
which the Holy Spirit teaches. That Revelation was spoken through the mouths of the
men directed by the Holy Spirit. And so to know God, I've got to have a revelation that
Revelation has been written in words. Those words came through the men in the first
century. We have that Revelation right here in our hands today in the form of the Bible.
What about the spirit and Revelation? God used the spirit in the first century to reveal
His message and His plan of salvation. We have that preserved in the form of the word
of God today. Do I, listen carefully, do I need more than what was revealed in the first
century? I want you to listen again to John 16:13. Jesus said, “When He, the spirit of
truth, has come He will guide you into all truth.” Now consider He's writing to that amid
talking to that immediate group of people, who would become the apostles, consider
that that happened in the first century to those men, and as promised when He came,
and He did come, He would guide them into all truth.
Can you have more than all truth? If the Holy Spirit came, and He did, and if He
revealed His message to the apostles, and He did, do we have all truth today? Listen to
2 Peter 1:3. The Bible says, “According to His divine knowledge, God has given to us all
things that pertain to life and godliness through Him who called us.” Am I looking for
another revelation today? No! Is the book of Mormon another Revelation of Jesus
Christ? No. Why not? Because, in the first century God revealed all truth. Jude verse 3,
“It was once for all delivered to the saints.” If God once for all delivered the message
that we must contend earnestly for, we’re not looking for something new, something
different. We've got everything we need to know God, know about His plan, and to go to
heaven in the pages of the Bible.
Now we've mentioned it, and we know that is directly related to these ideas, but
it's worth bearing out again. We ask the question, where exactly does the Scripture say
the Holy Spirit's words are located at? ‘Inspired men of God, to whom this promise, He
would guide them into all truth.’ They're not with us today. This is a simple fact that any
person can notice. God promised to the disciples, ‘I'll guide you into all truth.’ But hey,
those disciples have long perished. Where is that message and that Revelation? Friend
we know well their words, which are inspired by God, are still alive today. “The word of
God is living, powerful, sharper than any two edged sword.” How's that word alive?
Friend we find the revelation of the Holy Spirit deposited in the pages of the New
Testament. Listen to Hebrews 1:1, “God who at various times and in various ways
spoke in times past to the fathers, has in these last days spoken to us by his son.”
“John, what you see write in a book.” Revelation 1:7, ‘if any man thinks himself to be a
prophet or spiritual let him acknowledge,’ Paul said, ‘the things which we've
commanded you things we've written you these are the commandments of God.’ Where
are the commands of God? The things Paul wrote. The things John wrote. The things
the apostles wrote down. The Holy Spirit's word, my friend, it's recorded in the pages of
the Bible. It's living and powerful. It is God's power unto salvation, Romans 1:16.
Now sometimes I'll hear people say, as relates to the Holy Spirit, as it relates to
the Bible, ‘well we need something more, we need something fresher, we need
something newer, we may need more than what's in the Bible, we need another
revelation.’ Let's ask this question, do these words, which we've identified as the words
of the Holy Spirit, do they meet our needs today? Friend the Bible clearly teaches, it
alone makes us complete before God. Do you remember 2 Timothy 3:16-17? The
Scripture says, “The Holy Spirit's word says all Scripture is given by inspiration of God
and is profitable,” profitable for what? “Doctrine, correction, reproof, instruction, in
righteousness,” listen now don't miss this, “that the man of God may be complete
thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Does the Bible, does the Holy Spirit's word,
claim it makes us complete for every good work? You bet it does! If this book makes me
complete, it meets our needs. John 16:13, “When the spirit comes, He will guide you
into all truth.” You can't have more than all. If the spirit came, this book meets our
needs. Again 2 Peter 13, we've got everything we need for two items: life and godliness.
I've got everything I need in the Bible, according to the divine knowledge of God, to
know how to live the best life, John 10:10, and to be a godly person. I want you to listen
real carefully, and we say these things in love and kindness and because we love God
and His word, if the Bible makes us complete before God, and if it gives us everything
we need to live the best life and to be a godly person, why then do we need God's Spirit
to do more than that today? Do we need more than everything and can you have more
than being complete? Of course not! God in His work and purpose, in the Holy Spirit
and its function, perfectly did His job, revealed the will of God to us, got that message of
salvation, and today I have everything I need to get to heaven and to be a godly person.
Which leads us directly to another question that is so prevalent and popular
today, is the Holy Spirit nudging me? Is he giving me some kind of intuition? Am I am I
you know, I hear people say the Holy Spirit's leading me to do this. Really? How do you
know the Holy Spirit is doing that? How do you know it's not some other type of feeling
or emotion guiding you? This thinking, my friends, about the Holy Spirit nudging us or
leading us to make some decision or do something, there's no doubt we can be led by
the words of God in the Bible, and it let it guide and direct our lives. But is the Holy Spirit
especially doing that for me or for you? Friend this kind of thinking is contrary to
Scriptures. I wouldn't want to hold a doctrine that is contrary to Scripture and this kind of
thinking causes a person to teach things that are just not found within the pages of the
Bible. It leads to further spiritual departure, and is not based on Scripture today. Where
is the passage that teaches that the Holy Spirit is nudging or guiding or giving us some
kind of intuition today? You read the pages of the Bible, and I don't find that the Holy
Spirit is nudging me.
Is God guiding me? Is the spirit of God working in Christians today? Absolutely!
How? In the pages of the word of God, through the truth that God has revealed. But to
say ‘you know the spirit is leading me to make this decision,’ let’s consider that line of
thinking for a moment. Someone says, ‘okay the spirit is leading me to make this
decision,’ that decision ends up being a decision that leads to sin, ungodliness or
immorality. I've heard it said, and you've heard people say that, and then you watch and
that decision wasn't by the Holy Spirit. It's evident. Are we then going to turn around
say, well maybe that wasn't by the Holy Spirit? Here's the real thing to consider. One
person says the Holy Spirit is nudging me, another person says the Holy Spirit's
nudging me, and a whole bunch of people are saying Holy Spirit is leading me to do
this. And then, we how do we know? Some turned out not to be, evidently. They
weren't. So how do we know either way? Can you be sure in those scenarios? I can be
sure, I'm being led by God's spirit, as I let the Bible guide and lead me. This is how God
guides and leads us today through His Spirit. There's no doubt the Bible says, ‘The
father dwells in me,’ 1 John 4:15. The Bible says that Christ is in us, Colossians 1:27.
The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit, Christians do have the Holy Spirit. But how do
they have the Holy Spirit? As the words of God in the Bible live in our lives, that's how
the Holy Spirit leads Christians today.
Now friend, we don't want to say, and we don't want to leave the impression, that
the Holy Spirit is dead and that He is not at work today. But we do want to note the way
in which He is alive and working. We ask the question, is the Holy Spirit still at work
today? Is he still doing things today? Yes, but only through the message He revealed,
and only in the medium in which He chose to do that, 1 Corinthians 14:37. Does that
does the spirit's message, the message revealed by the Holy Spirit, still work on men
and women's hearts today? You bet it does. The Bible says in Psalm 119:130 that that
God's word it had entrance into their heart. Did the word of God given by the Holy Spirit
work on the heart of men and women? It did in the first century, when Peter stood up
and preached the gospel that which was directly given by the Holy Spirit. The Bible says
in Acts 2:37, ‘they were cut to the heart.’ Did the Spirit's word work on their heart? It
absolutely did! Does that same word work on people's heart today, to change it? You
bet it does! ‘The word of God is living and powerful sharper than any two edged sword
piercing even to division of soul and spirit joints and marrow it's the discerner of the
thoughts and intents of the heart.’
There's no doubt this message is alive and that it's working and that the Holy
Spirit is working through God's word. Friend I hope you listen real carefully we’re not
living today in the day and age of the miraculous, in the sense that you're going to go
out to the cemetery, you not going to go out to the cemetery today, people are not going
to go out to the cemetery today, like they did in the first century, like Jesus did at the
tomb of Lazarus, you're not going to go out and raise somebody who's in a cemetery.
We’re not going to see the type of miracles, not going to see anybody walking on water
today, like Jesus did. The miracles of the first century, a man's got up a withered hand,
you're not going to see somebody make that whole again. That's not happening; those
miracles the Bible said were going to end in the first century. Now, let me show you that
from the Scriptures. Look in your Bible in 1 Corinthians 13. I want you to see this for
yourself. 1 Corinthians 13, I want you to look at what the Scripture says beginning in
verse number 8. That beautiful passage about love teaches us that love is supreme,
even supreme over the miraculous. 1 Corinthians 13:8 the Scripture records, “Love
never fails but whether there prophecies, they will fail, whether there is are tongues they
will cease, whether there is knowledge it will vanish away, for we know in part and we
prophesy in part but when that which is perfect has come that which is in part, will be
done away with.” The partial is the miraculous, tongue speaking, miraculous knowledge
of all those things that are mentioned there, prophesying, all that's going to be done
away with, when that which is perfect has come. Now Jesus has already come and has
already gone back by the time of the writing of this book. What's He talking about here?
There's only one other thing identified in Scripture as complete or perfect and that is the
word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16, it makes us complete. James 1:25, it is the perfect law of
Miracles were partial. They were in part until that perfect came, which is the full
will of God. In fact did you know miracles were given in the first century to confirm this
word? Mark 16:20, Hebrews 2:3-4, they were given to confirm the word of God. You've
got two people both say I've got a message from God. One man speaks and it’s
different. Another man speaks and it’s different. How do I know who's telling the truth?
This man just did a miracle; God's sign of approval is on him. This man we don't know
about. I've been confirmed. His messages been confirmed by God.
Today we have the full revealed will of God. Our hope and our encouragement is
that we'll let God's message and God's power through the Holy Spirit work in men and
women's lives today, as they read and study the Bible, obey its message, and put it to
use in their lives, and live for Christ each and every day.
Study Questions for: “Fundamentals of the Faith: Holy Spirit”
1. What will the Holy Spirit do according to John 16:13?
2. In 2 Samuel 2:23, how did the Holy Spirit speak to David?
3. According to Revelation 2:11, who spoke to the churches?
4. How did God reveal things to us according to 1 Corinthians 2:9?
5. According to 2 Peter 1:3, has God revealed all we need to us?
6. The Holy Spirit is profitable for what according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17?
7. In Acts 2:37 how did the people respond?
8. The word of God is what according to James 1:25?
9. According to 2 Timothy 3:16 what does the word of God make us?
10. According to Mark 12:20 and Hebrews 2:3-4, why were miracles used
in the first century?