The Gift of the Holy Spirit Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Text: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:15-17)
Bible Reading: (John 14:15-19)
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
We all like to receive gifts. Parents enjoy receiving gifts from their children and children enjoy receiving gifts from their parents. Husbands enjoy receiving gifts from their wives and wives enjoy receiving gifts from their husbands. All of us enjoy receiving gifts from our friends. Employers enjoy receiving gifts from their employees and employees enjoy the gift of a turkey on Thanksgiving or a bonus for Christmas. There are times when we give gifts to strangers and there are times when we get gifts from strangers. But God is the greatest giver of gifts. James declares, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). The only gifts that God bestows are good gifts. My friends, if you have a good gift, it came from Him. Count your many blessings today: the sunshine, the rain, the cloudy day, the bright day, the green grass, the water you drink and the air you breathe. God gave us clean air and pure water. It is man who has polluted it. God gives good gifts, my friends. God is good! You and I don’t really understand how good He is.
Our Lord contrasted the good gifts of God with the ability of fallen men to give good gifts to their children. He said in Matthew, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11). The point is that even sinful men are kind to their children; therefore, how much more will your heavenly Father delight to answer your prayers.
The message today has three points. We will see that God’s gifts are always given with the right motive, and they are always appropriate. And the final point is that we need to recognize and appreciate God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.
I want to say first that GOD ALWAYS GIVES HIS GOOD GIFTS WITH THE RIGHT MOTIVE.
All of us have received a gift at some time, which did not come with the highest motives. But when God gives a gift, it is always with the proper motive.
I can say that, because God’s gifts come to us as an expression of His love. Consider His greatest gift; His Son. Our sin was not enough to put Jesus on the cross. It took more than that. It took God’s great love for us to nail Him to that rough wooden cross. There isn’t a greater verse in the Bible than this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Here we have the gospel in a nutshell. It’s the love of God shown in action.
(1) The source of love—God.
(2) The extent of love—the world.
(3) The sacrifice of love—He gave his only begotten Son.
(4) The results of love—whosoever believeth in him should not perish.
Jesus was God’s love gift to us. God’s gifts are not substitutes for His love. Instead, they are the expression of His love. They never come as a payment or as a bribe, because God doesn’t owe us anything, and there is nothing that we have that God needs.
God’s gifts are also an indication of His hope for us. We should recognize His gifts as a declaration of our worth. And that His gifts come to us as an expression of His divine confidence in us. Let me ask you a question. How much are you worth to God? You are worth the blood of His only Son, because that is what He paid for you. So never think that you are not worth much. You are so valuable that God’s word declares that no one can snatch you out of His hand. God has made you a place in heaven where you will spend eternity with Him. He has even placed His Spirit inside of you to help you and guide you through life. Here’s something wonderful.
God’s gifts to us are always chosen by His wisdom. Since that’s the case, there are three things that we can say about His gifts.
First, God’s gifts are practical. They are for us specifically, and for no one else. God knows what we need even better than we do, and He supplies our needs with His gifts. The prophet Joel knew that God gives practical gifts. He said, “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month” (Joel 2:23). Israel needed rain or they would suffer, so God sent the rain and they had an abundant harvest. In this way, He showed His people that He is Jehovah their God, and that there is no other God than He, and that He will protect His people.
Second, God’s gifts are good. We know how to give good gifts to our children, so just imagine how much God enjoys giving us what we ask for in prayer. He is our heavenly Father and we are His dear children. He loves us so much that He won’t give us anything that would be harmful, so we can trust that everything He gives us is for our good. We receive these good gifts from God through the power of the Holy Spirit. It says in Romans, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Romans 15:13).
Third, God’s gifts are helpful. They help us to live the Christian life, and to love others, and to understand His teachings, and to serve Him. And Paul wrote this in his letter to the Ephesians, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:17). What Paul is saying is that God will give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation. That’s the Holy Spirit He is talking about. Revelation has to do with new truths. The Holy Spirit knows the deep things of God, and He is our teacher. You and I need much more than reason and research; we need a revelation from God.
The second point to the message is that GOD’S GOOD GIFTS ARE ALWAYS APPROPRIATE.
Someone made this remark about a gift of money, which came in the form of greenbacks, “The color of the gift is always appropriate.” God’s gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit is for each believer. It is undeserved, and it doesn’t come with an expression of gratitude or as payment for services rendered to our heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit is given at the moment that a person is saved. It is appropriate that we receive God’s Spirit at that time, because that’s when we are baptized into the body of believers, which is His church. And from that point on, the Holy Spirit serves the Christian in many, wonderful ways. There are four points concerning the great value of the Holy Spirit that I want to make this morning.
The first point is that the Holy Spirit is a gift of unknown value, for the recipient, at first. The value of this gift, to the new believer, is far beyond anything he or she could possibly hope for. To begin with, we are sealed by Him until we go to be with the Lord. It says in 2 Corinthians, “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). The sealing of the Holy Spirit has threefold significance for us: (1) to show that we are owned by God, (2) to indicate the realness of our new relationship with Jesus Christ; and (3) to keep us safe.
Satan can no longer harm us and sin can no longer dominate us, due to the presence of God’s Spirit within. And He becomes our Helper. He helps us when we pray. And when we read the Bible, He helps us understand what we have read. He makes our conscience aware of sin and temptation that is all around us, and He helps us resist sin and Satan. So much of this happens without our knowledge. The Holy Spirit has a ministry to all believers, but it is hard for us to recognize what He is doing. That is especially true for new believers.