The Holy Spirit: A Living Gift Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: The Holy Spirit: A Living Gift
Text: “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 14:17)
Bible Reading: (John 14:15-20)
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.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
There are many different options available to someone who is eager to give a gift to someone he or she loves. Some gifts are made from the lifeless materials that are found in nature, so they last a long time.
Other gifts, like cut flowers, are perishable. There are also living gifts like puppies, kittens, and beautiful growing plants.
Our heavenly Father has seen fit to give the believer a living gift of a different nature. It is placed within the mind and heart of His children at the moment of their conversion. This gift is the Holy Spirit, who is the living presence of God Himself. Our message today is about the Holy Spirit. I want to show you first that the Holy Spirit is a living gift. Then we will see from God’s Word that the Holy Spirit is a divine person.
I remember a time, and it wasn’t too long ago, when people were saying God is dead. I don’t hear that today, thank God. What I am hearing is that God loves us and He is actively drawing us to Himself.
AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF GOD’S GIFT-THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHO LIVES WITHIN EVERY BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER.
It is important to know that the Holy Spirit is not just a mere influence that comes from God. The Holy Spirit is more than a force, like magnetism, or gravity, or electricity. As we read our scriptures today, notice that Jesus, and Paul, and John use the personal masculine pronoun “He” to describe the living gift from God. But there are those who would pose the question, “What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?”
They might say, “I believe in Him, that He is part of the Trinity, but I just don’t understand what He does.” So, I will answer that question by describing for you seven of the functions of the Holy Spirit that are available to all of God’s children.
First, the Holy Spirit speaks to us to communicate what God wants us to know.
In the Revelation of John, Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelations 2:7). This is a command for us to pay attention. We can spot three truths in this verse.
1. What is written in the scriptures is spoken by the Spirit of God.
2. What is said to one church concerns all the churches, in every place and any time.
3. We can never use our sense of hearing better than in listening to the word of God.
And we deserve to lose our hearing if we do not use our ears for this purpose.
Second, the Holy Spirit intercedes on behalf of those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Paul understood that the Spirit helps believers know how to pray. He said this in his letter to the Romans. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit puts into words those prayer burdens that God’s people cannot even express. Even when we don’t know what to say to God, the Holy Spirit interprets our innermost feelings and intercedes in our behalf. The Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints of God. Therefore, intercession is made for us not only by God the Son, who sits at the right hand of God the Father, but also by God the Spirit who dwells within the believer.
The third function of the Holy Spirit it that He testifies about Jesus Christ.
John reported that Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26). Here, Jesus reminded the disciples that they will not be alone, because He will send the Comforter to them. That’s a title given to the Holy Spirit. He has many other titles, but notice that Jesus said, “He will testify of Me.” In other words, He will be a witness for Jesus Christ. He will give a powerful testimony about the mission and purpose of Christ.
The fourth purpose of the Holy Spirit is to lead God’s people into service for Him.
Phillip is a classic illustration that I can use. The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch is told in the eighth chapter of Acts. There we read that “… the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (Acts 8:29). An angel of the Lord told the Apostle Philip to travel from Jerusalem to Gaza.
Philip obeyed and met the Ethiopian eunuch during his journey. The eunuch was reading from Isaiah the prophet when Philip encountered him. After a deep, but brief conversation where Philip explained the scripture he was reading and then presented the gospel, the eunuch became a believer in Jesus Christ.
When they came to some water, the eunuch requested baptism, and Philip baptized him. The new believer went on his way, rejoicing. He is not mentioned again, anywhere in the Bible. But when the eunuch returned home, did his newfound faith and vibrant testimony have an impact on his queen? The Bible doesn’t say. But the queen, even with her royal status, is secondary, because the Scriptures highlight her servant, the Ethiopian eunuch. Because one day on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, he made a decision that granted him royal status even greater than that of a queen. He became a son of the heavenly King.
However, it all began with the Holy Spirit, who led Philip to a man who was seeking God.
The fifth role of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into an understanding of God’s truth.
The Apostle John wrote about that in his Gospel. He said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13). The Spirit of God guides (or leads) believers into the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. The verse says that what the Spirit hears, He will speak. This indicates the close relationship of the Trinity. It says that He will speak of things to come. The book of Revelation is an example of this. Those who are guided by the Spirit do not lose their way. He will guide you; just like Israel was guided through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and fire.
The Spirit is given to us to be our guide, not only to show us the way, but to go along with us, and to help us along the way.
A sixth function of the Holy Spirit is to appoint spiritual leaders for the churches.
In Acts there is a verse about Pastors; it says: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). A pastor needs something besides a majority vote of the congregation to be an effective minister. He needs to be appointed at the same time by the Holy Spirit. Notice that the verse says, “(The) Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” “Overseer” is another word for a pastor. It’s the Holy Spirit who calls men to preach, and to preside over the affairs of the church. But that isn’t all He does. He teaches them, and cares for them, and He qualifies them for the job of pastor. I believe that this is the best job that any man can have.
The final thing that I want to say about the gift of the Holy Spirit is that He can be grieved by the improper conduct of those who are within the body of Christ.
Paul gives this warning in Ephesians, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit is a very sensitive person. Paul says; stop having the habit of offending the Holy Spirit by bad conduct and bad words. When a Christian lies, he grieves the Holy Spirit. When a Christian has dirty thoughts, he grieves the Holy Spirit. What happens when a person is grieved? It breaks the fellowship. The Holy Spirit cannot work in your life when you have grieved Him; when fellowship with Him has been broken.