Sermon Follow Up - Week 46, 2022
TWO GUIDING QUESTIONS DURING THIS SERMON SERIES
Are you growing in the knowledge of God?
Are you growing in loving God and loving people?
““If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:15–18 ESV)
The Holy Spirit is a gift of grace to be our personal helper that we would know the nearness and power of God now and forever.
1. Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, who proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son. He is equal in deity, attributes, and nature with the Father and the Son, and with them is to be worshipped and glorified (SGC Statement of Faith).
Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit has all the qualities of a personal being – he has a mind, filled with knowledge, he is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. The Spirit will teach us all things. The Spirit knows the mind of God. He has emotions – he groans and loves, he can be grieved, he chooses and plans, directs and guides, he sovereignly gives gifts to the children of God for the common good of the church. The Spirit talks and testifies, he can be sinned against and lied to. He can be tested and insulted. He is relational. He encourages, he strengthens and teaches. He is a person. A Divine Person. Not the least person of the Trinity. He is equal in deity, attributes, and nature with the Father and the Son. The Spirit is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. He is eternal and holy. All attributes of God. He is the Spirit of Glory (1 Peter 4:14), the Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29), the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:2), he’s the Spirit of Truth (John 14:26), and he’s the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph 1:17).
“the Spirit is not just something divine or something akin to God emanating from him, not some sort of action at a distance or some kind of gift detachable from himself, for in the Holy Spirit God acts directly upon us himself, and in giving us his Holy Spirit God gives us nothing less than himself” (Thomas F. Torrance, The Trinitarian Faith, T & T Clark, 191).
Why does it matter?
- It matters on account of appropriate worship - worship of God, not some "thing."
- It matters for practical reasons of pursuing not a "power" but a "person."
- It matters for our experience of communion with our personal God.
2. What Has the Spirit Done?
The Spirit manifests God’s active presence in the world, giving life in God’s creation and new creation. Existing forever with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is the agent of all blessing to God’s creatures and makes possible communion with him The eternal Spirit was present at the beginning of God’s creation, carrying out the creative word of God and giving life to all things. In God’s work under the old covenant, the Spirit was present with God’s people to consecrate, deliver, guide, and grant saving faith in the promises of God. He empowered prophets to reveal God’s Word, appointed elders to render judgment, raised up judges to bring deliverance, anointed priests and kings as his representatives, and inspired the record of old covenant revelation. Through all the institutions and offices of the Old Testament, the Spirit’s work pointed to the ultimate revelation of God through his Son, Jesus Christ (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith).
The Holy Spirit, with the Father and the Son, created the entire world. The Holy Spirit carried out the creative word of God and gave life to all things. Every tree, every mountain, every river, every beach, every ocean. Everything we love about this world he was involved in creating. And then throughout the rest of the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit is routinely present with his people. He is God’s presence among his people guiding and leading and protecting and providing for and delivering and speaking to them. He inspired men to write the Old Testament scripture.
From Jesus’s conception in the womb, to his baptism and subsequent temptation in the wilderness where he was driven by the Holy Spirit and then led by the Spirit in the wilderness to the general ministry of Jesus, including casting demons out by the Spirit of God (Matthew 12:28) to even his death…there was the Holy Spirit active in the life of Jesus. And then, on top of that, the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.
While Jesus, as also fully God, never relinquished any of his deity, he did take on being fully man and as such also needed the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Importantly, Christ’s humanity, both body and soul, does not get lost in or “gobbled up” by his divinity. Because of this, Christ’s humanity needed the Holy Spirit in order to have communion with God. His prayers to God were never simply the prayers of a man, nor even the prayers of the God-man to the Father; but more specifically they were the prayers of the Son of God to the Father in the power of the Spirit (Mark Jones).
The Holy Spirit was Jesus’ companion during the entirety of his life as a true man (Isaiah 11:1-3, Luke 4:18-19).
3. What Does the Spirit Yet Do?
After Christ ascended to the Father’s right hand, the promised Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost and ushered in the new era of the Spirit’s fullness, indwelling believers and empowering them for life and service. The Spirit glorifies Christ and bears witness to him, convicting the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. He inspired the record of new covenant revelation and makes it effective in people’s hearts through the gift of regeneration. He illuminates God’s Word to his people, assures them of God’s love, comforts them with his presence, intercedes on their behalf, and sanctifies them in conformity to the image of Christ. The Spirit is the bond of our union with Christ, the seal of our salvation, the firstfruits of our redemption, and the guarantee of our inheritance (Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith).
- He gives God’s people power for hope.
- He gives God’s people power for the Gospel Mission we’re called to.
- The Holy Spirit gives power for prayer.
- He gives power for praise and for preaching and for spreading the message of the Kingdom of God.
- He gives power to overcome sin and sanctify our motives and actions.
- He delivers us from the power and pollution of sin and cultivates his fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control in our lives.
- He makes known to us and in us the person and presence of Jesus. He throws a floodlight onto Jesus, causing us to see him with more clarity.
And so much more...what doesn't the Spirit yet do? What a gift we have been given!
- Get to Know the Spirit More and More
Oh, my friend, we are just beginning. God’s personality is so infinitely rich and manifold that it will take 1,000 years of close search and intimate communion to know even the outer edges of the glorious nature of God. When we talk about communion with God and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, we are talking about that which begins now but will grow and increase and mature while life lasts (A.W. Tozer).
Read the word of God, hear the word of God, trust the word of God by the illumination of the Spirit of God in a life yielded to him in increasing fashion.
- Be Engrossed with and Honor Jesus Christ Above All
“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:38–39 ESV)
The Spirit opens our eyes to see Christ clearly, to love him more and to know his love more, and as we see Christ and love Christ we do so by the power of the Spirit and grow in unity and fellowship with him. Further…we walk with and by the Spirit when we walk in a manner worthy of the gospel, with eyes on Jesus alone, entrusting our lives to him, truly honoring him as Lord and King. Not only by calling him Lord but by living for him as our Lord, walking in righteousness and living for his kingdom above all.
- Guard Your Thoughts (Keep your mind pure. Fixed on him.)
Our thoughts largely decide the mood and weather and climate within our beings, and God considers our thoughts as part of us. They should be thoughts of peace, thoughts of pity and mercy and kindness, thoughts of charity, thoughts of God and the Son of God – these are pure things, good things and high things (A.W. Tozer).
If we desire to cultivate fellowship with the Holy Spirit whom we have been given, our minds ought not be a wilderness in which every kind of other thought makes its own way into a place of priority in our lives. May the word of God burn most bright in our thoughts, not the incessant nature of podcasts and entertainment choices that flood our lives, thoughts, actions, and relationships. May we put our phones away, shut the televisions off, and meditate on the word of God like those godly men and women we read of in history. Imperfect and struggling just like us, they opened the word, meditated on the word, waited on the Spirit and their faith grew, the Spirit illuminated, strengthened, empowered, comforted, and helped amid the dark days in which they too lived.
- Practice His Presence
There is no place where the Lord’s presence isn’t. And the beauty of that is that if you have been given eyes to see him and love him by the regenerating work of the Spirit, you will find him right where you are. In your busy house, in your busy parenting, in your difficult workday, in rush hour, in the woods, at school, not to mention the privilege we have as his church body to enjoy his presence together as we gather.
- Are there things in your life that tend to hide the face of Jesus from you?
- Are there things in your life that take the joy out of your spirit?
- Do they make the word of God a little less sweet?
- Do they make earth more desirable and heaven farther away?
May I exhort you to put them away, friends. Repent of replacing your first love with something other than Christ Jesus and know God’s forgiveness and be reacquainted with increasing fellowship with the gift of the Father through the Son, that is…the active presence of God among us…the Holy Spirit.
- Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith - The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit
- Why Jesus Needed the Spirit
- Did Jesus Need the Spirit?
SONG TO ENCOURAGE
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