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The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit - Part 1 (Acts)

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
February 4, 2023 10:00 am

The Person and the Work of the Holy Spirit - Part 1 (Acts)

So What? / Lon Solomon

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We are in a study of the book of Acts, and last week we looked at Acts chapter 2, verses 1 to 11, and in these verses we saw how the Holy Spirit came upon the early Christians, and how he enabled them to speak in tongues, that is to speak in other languages and dialects that were not their own native dialects. Now if you missed that, I urge you to go to our website and download that message and catch up, but what I want to do today is before we go on in Acts chapter 2 to Peter's sermon, which is next, I want us to take two weeks and I want us to do a very short little series about the person and the work of the Holy Spirit.

I mean we're talking about the Holy Spirit here, and I believe that one of the areas of the Christian life where most Christians are least well educated is when it comes to the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. And so this is a very appropriate moment for us to do this. So we're going to talk about who the Holy Spirit is today, and we're going to talk about what the Holy Spirit does.

So are you ready? Alright, here we go. First, who is the Holy Spirit?

Well I want to say two things about that. Number one, that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit, the Bible says, can be lied to, Acts chapter 5. The Bible says the Holy Spirit can be grieved, Ephesians chapter 4. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit intercedes in prayer for Christians, Romans chapter 8.

Now friends, you can't grieve an it. An impersonal force cannot pray for you. And my point of course then is that the Holy Spirit is a personal being, a he, not an it. Be careful when you talk about the Holy Spirit that you don't say it this and it that, because I'll correct you if I'm around and I'll say no. He this and he that.

He's a person. Number two, the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible says that Almighty God is a trinity, three distinct persons, three distinct personalities, all equally God, and yet all distinct and separate. Jesus commented to this in the Great Commission where he said in Matthew 28 19, go out and reach people and then baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, making no distinction as to their co-equality in the Godhead. The Affination Creed says, and I quote, we worship one God in Trinity, neither confounding the persons nor dividing the substance. In this Trinity, nothing is greater or less, but all three persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.

End of quote. And you know, people have come up with all kind of human analogies to try to explain the Trinity, but there is no human analogy for the Trinity because God is unique. God is a one of a kind being. God is unlike anyone or anything else in the universe and therefore we don't understand the Trinity.

Nobody does that. We simply accept the Trinity the way the Bible teaches it and we say praise the Lord. That's it.

All right. Now I've met a lot of people who grasp the idea of God the Father and God the Son being co-equal but who struggle, it seems like, with the idea of God the Holy Spirit being equal with them. And yet, folks, all the attributes that the Bible credits to both God the Father and God the Son, the Bible also credits to the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is omnipotent, Isaiah chapter 40 verse 13, that he is omnipresent, Psalm 139 verse 7, that he is omniscient, that he knows the deep things of God that only God can know, 1 Corinthians 2-11. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit created the world, Genesis chapter 1 verse 2, that he wrote the Bible, 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 11, and that he performed the virgin birth, Luke chapter 1 verse 35.

And I could keep going, but you got the point. The Council of Constantinople says, and we quote, we believe in the Holy Spirit, the life-giving one who is to be glorified equally with the Father and the Son, end of quote. So this is who the Holy Spirit is. This is the person of the Holy Spirit. He is a personal being and he is fully and totally God. Now, why don't we talk about second, the work of the Holy Spirit.

What does he do? Well, if you were to offer the average Christian today two options, option number one is to have Jesus himself back here on earth walking with us, talking with us, eating and drinking with us, or option number two, to have things the way they are right now with Jesus in heaven at the right hand of God and the Holy Spirit carrying out God's work here on earth. If you were to offer the average Christian those two options, I suspect that most Christians would choose option number one. They would say, oh, I want to have Jesus back on earth where I can touch him and talk to him and see him. But listen to what Jesus said about this. John chapter 16 verse 7, he said, it is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the helper, the Holy Spirit will not come to you.

But if I go, I will send him, notice please, not it, I will send him to you. Now in light of this, this means that the church age, according to Jesus, in which we're living right now, is almost exclusively the age of the Holy Spirit's ministry here on earth. Not God the Father, not God the Son, but God the Holy Spirit. And it also means that the Holy Spirit must be in the business of doing some pretty spectacular things if Jesus said that it is better for the Holy Spirit to be here with us than it is for him to be here with us. So let's talk about some of the work, some of the things that the Holy Spirit does here on earth during the church age. And we're not going to discuss the gift of tongues or charismatic gifts. We talked about those last week. So go download that message.

We're going to talk about some of the other things the Holy Spirit does. So are you ready? I got 10 for you. We're going to get it done. Don't worry. All right. Ready?

Here we go. Ministry number one of the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit convicts people or convinces people the word can mean either that they need Jesus Christ. Jesus said in John chapter 16, he, the Holy Spirit, will convict the world of sin concerning sin and righteousness and judgment. Listen, you and I can argue with people all day long telling them about their need for Christ, telling them that they are sinners in the sight of a holy God, telling them that they're under the judgment of God and headed for hell. But folks, only the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit can convince them that everything we're telling them is true. Folks, nobody ever comes to Christ without the Holy Spirit doing this convicting work in their heart.

And why is that? Well, it's because people's unbelief is a spiritual problem that only the Spirit can break through. 2 Corinthians 4 says, the God of this age, Satan, has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ should shine on them. And therefore, when we pray for people to come to Christ, this is how we must pray for them.

We must pray for the Holy Spirit to lift this spiritual blindness off of them and to break through this spiritual blindness and to convince them that their only hope of forgiveness and heaven is in Jesus Christ. Number 2, ministry number 2 of the Holy Spirit is that the Holy Spirit regenerates. That means he brings the new birth to everyone who believes in Jesus.

In John chapter 3, Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, the great Pharisee, and he was talking about how to get to heaven and how to get into the kingdom of God. And he says to Nicodemus, he said, the only way you're getting into the kingdom of God is you must be born again. And then two verses later, Jesus identifies the new birth, quote, as being born of the Spirit, end of quote. Listen, folks, if you are here today and you are born again, then it's because the Holy Spirit rebirths you spiritually the moment you gave your life to Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord. That's the only way people get the new birth.

He did it for you. John chapter 1 verse 12 says the new birth is not of the will of man and it's not of the will of human beings. It's God who does the new birth. You with me?

All right, number 3. Ministry number 3, the Holy Spirit gives us assurance of our salvation every day. Assurance that we belong to God as his children. Romans 8 verse 16 says the Spirit himself, gosh, I love that. It means he doesn't delegate it to some angel. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we, say the next word, say it louder, we are children of God.

He bears witness to my heart of that. You know, when I was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, right after I came to Christ, I had all kinds of people, old drug buddies, old drinking buddies, old girlfriends, fraternity brothers, who all tried to talk me out of believing in Jesus. They would bring up all kinds of Bible stumpers that I didn't know the answer to at that time in my life.

I do now, but I didn't then. They threw the Crusades at me. They threw the Inquisition at me. They threw the hypocrisy of Christians and the church at me. But in spite of all of that, it made no difference to me because, and this is what I told them, I know that I know that I know that I belong to Christ.

I know it here. There is a witness in my heart that I belong to Jesus that nothing you can say and no argument you can give me can ever convince me it's not true. And friends, if you know that you know that you know that you belong to Jesus, it's because of the Romans 8 16 affirming ministry of the Spirit of God bearing witness to your heart that you belong to Christ. And don't you ever let anybody talk you out of it. Praise the Lord.

All right. Number four, ministry number four of the Holy Spirit is that he, 1 Corinthians 12 13, baptizes us. He inducts us. He inserts us into the body of Christ when we come to believe in Jesus. Number five, the Holy Spirit, ministry number five, indwells every genuine follower of Christ. 1 Corinthians 6 19. Don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is, say the next two words, in you.

Yes. Whom you have from God. And it's only because of this. It is only because the Holy Spirit lives inside of you and me that we're even remotely able to live a Christlike life. And that's what we're going to talk about next week. We're going to talk about how we live the Christian life the way God wants it lived. And if you're struggling in your Christian life, it's entirely possible you're trying to live it incorrectly.

This Christian life is a supernatural life that has to be lived supernaturally by the power of the Spirit in you. And if you don't know how to do that, then no wonder you're struggling. I mean, we struggle even when we know how to do it.

But if you don't know how to do it, you're going to struggle a lot worse. You show up next week and we'll talk about that. Number six. Ministry number six, the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don't know what to pray for. Romans 8 26, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don't know what we ought to pray for. But the Spirit himself, again, I love the fact he doesn't send some angel to do this. The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Hey, if you've been a Christian any length of time, man, you have been here. Yes, in so much pain, in so much confusion, so distraught that we just drop to our knees and groan. We don't even know what to pray. We don't even know what to say to God. Hey, friends, in those moments, the Holy Spirit comes along and he says, Now, God, what Susie really wants to say to you, what Susie really needs to ask you for is this. So even though she's not able, I'm asking for her.

Hey, how cool is that? How cool is it to know that not only does Jesus intercede for us Romans 8 34 at the right hand of God, but the Holy Spirit also prays for us every single day in our pain and in our heartache. Praise the Lord. Number seven, the Holy Spirit, number seven, comforts, encourages and infuses hope into the trials of life for us. This is why Jesus called him in John 14 to the comforter.

He's the one who wraps us up in the arms of his love and says it's going to be OK. God is going to take care of you. Number eight, the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds so that we can understand spiritual truth. The word of God, the Bible, First Corinthians two says the natural man, an unbeliever, a person without the indwelling Holy Spirit cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them.

Why? Because they are spiritually discerned. Look, but we man, I love that. But we, as followers of Christ, have received the Spirit who is from God that we may say the next word, understand the things that have been freely given to us by God in his word. You know, when you hear a person saying, we've all heard it. You know, I try to read the Bible. I really do, but I can't understand a thing that it's saying. It's like reading, I don't know, hieroglyphics as far as I'm concerned. And then suddenly they come to Christ and all of a sudden, man, the Bible springs to life in their heart and they begin to get goosebumps when they read the Bible. Maybe that happened to some of you.

What took place? What took place, my friends, is that the Holy Spirit came into your life and it began illuminating your heart and your mind so that you understand spiritual truth. You get it. And so if you're here today and when you open your Bible, you get it.

Then you have the Holy Spirit to thank for that, not yourself. You don't get it because you're smart. You don't get it because you've studied. I know people who have studied the Word of God as unbelievers who don't know a stinking thing about it. Stupid when it comes to the Word of God. Ah, but you know what? I know people who haven't finished the third grade who understand every single word that Bible says.

Why? Because it's the Spirit of God who brings that illumination to our hearts. Number nine, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts and then supernaturally gives us the power to use those gifts effectively. Every single one of us here who knows Christ has at least one spiritual gift.

You may have two or three, but you've got at least one. And this is why here at McLean Bible Church we are trying so hard to motivate every single person here if you're not already using your spiritual gifts and serving the Lord. We're trying to get you out of the pew and out of the seat and get you up on your feet serving God, using your gifts as a volunteer staff member here at our church. Now, that's another message altogether, but I'm just saying.

I'm just saying. Number 10, and finally, the Holy Spirit restrains evil on earth so that God's work can move forward. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 7 tells about that. And you say, are you serious? As bad as this world is, God is restraining evil in this world?

Folks, are you serious? If the Holy Spirit weren't restraining the devil, if the Holy Spirit weren't restraining all of his demons, this place would be so evil it would be like hell itself on this earth. God the Holy Spirit is restraining Satan and his evil so that the work of God can move forward in spite of his evil. And we thank God for that. Praise God for that. Amen. Now, that's as far as we want to go. I hope you kept up. I hope you're not comatose. So are you ready to ask our most important question of the morning? Everybody at our campuses, you ready? Here we go.

One, two, three. Yeah, so what? Hey, there's one other really great thing I want to tell you about the Holy Spirit and then we're done. And that's that the Holy Spirit is God's deposit on us as followers of Christ. Let me explain that. 2 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 22 says, God sealed us and gave us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a what?

Say it. As a deposit. Now, this word deposit here in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 is a Greek word, Erebon, but originally it was a Phoenician word. The Phoenicians were the great traders, the great merchants of the Mediterranean area before even the Roman Empire.

And this was their word. It was a merchant word. It was a trade and commerce word. It was a word that was used regarding making deals between people. And what it means, it is a non-refundable pledge. Earnest money, if you will, that a person would put down as a guarantee they were going to complete the deal. It is earnest money that was non-refundable that a person put down in a merchant deal as a guarantee they were going to complete the deal.

You got it? Alright, now, Ephesians 1 13 says, after you believed in Jesus, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is a what? Deposit. What's the next word? Guaranteeing our inheritance. And what exactly is the deposit of the Holy Spirit in your life guaranteeing that God will do for you and me? Well, listen, 2 Corinthians 4, we know.

Oh, man, do I love that word. Does it say we think? Uh-uh. Does it say we hope? Uh-uh. Does it say the odds are in favor? Uh-uh. Does it say your broker recommends? No. No.

What does it say? We know. We know. Watch, that he who raised up the Lord Jesus, who was that? God the Father.

Yeah. Will also raise us up by Jesus. Watch. Now, he who prepared us for this very purpose is God who has given us the Holy Spirit as a what?

As a deposit. What? Guaranteeing. What is to come? And what is the Holy Spirit guaranteeing? What purpose is Paul talking about?

Well, he just said it. That he who raised up Jesus is going to raise you up and me up as followers of Christ by Jesus when he comes back at his second coming. And that is one of the reasons the Holy Spirit is inside of you as a down payment on you that God is going to complete the deal.

Now, listen. People sometimes make a down payment and then they back out on it and they don't carry through. But God never does that. When he makes a down payment, he is coming back to complete the deal. You got it?

Yes. And the deal is that I don't care whether you're in the grave. I don't care whether you're in the urn. I don't care whether you're in the sea. And I don't care if nobody even knows where your body is.

Jesus knows all of that. And when he comes back, you're coming out of the grave, out of the urn, out of the sea, out of wherever you are. And you're coming alive again. He's going to resurrect your body into a glorified body and seat you in the heavenly places alongside Jesus and God the Father. And you have his Spirit as a down payment and I guarantee this is going to happen.

Hallelujah. And so am I afraid to die? No. Am I afraid to go into the grave?

No. My wife wants to cremate me and I don't want her to. I want to be buried. But it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter whether I go in an urn or a grave. It doesn't make any difference because I'm not afraid of that. I know.

And how do I know? Because the Bible says we know that I'm not there permanently. Now I'm not in that grave permanently and I'm not in that urn permanently. I'm coming out again when Jesus comes back and my body's coming back alive to be reunited with my Spirit which has been in heaven with Christ to live for eternity with the Lord Jesus. This is why Paul said, 1 Corinthians 15, O death, where is your sting?

It's not there. O grave, where is your victory? There is no victory in the grave because we will rise, the Bible says.

God made a down payment on you folks and He is coming back to redeem it and keep the deal. And this is how Christians face the grave. This is how people who know Christ face the grave without fear because we know something. We know we're going to rise. If you're here and you don't know Jesus and you don't know for sure you're going to rise when you go into that grave, friends, you come down front when we're done in just a moment and see one of our staff folks down front and they can help you ask Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior and you can walk out of here saying, I'm not afraid of the grave either because I'm going to rise and I know it.

This is our birthright as followers of Christ, our birthright. And friends, you need to rejoice in it. I need to rejoice in it. I don't care how bad your day is, all you got to remember is you're going to rise. And guess what? All those problems ain't rising with you.

No, they're staying here. I don't care what problem you got, it ain't rising with you. Because the only thing that happens when we rise is no more pain, no more suffering, no more heartache, no more wheelchairs, no more disability. All that stuff stays in the grave. So if you got it now, don't worry about it.

It ain't coming up with you. Praise the Lord. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you for the assurance of your word today. And we thank you, Lord, for the Holy Spirit and the incredible ministry that he has to our lives and to our world. Oh God, teach us to value the Spirit of God. Teach us to understand why Jesus said it is to your advantage that he comes and I go away. And God help us more than anything else to appreciate the fact that just his being inside of us is proof positive.

It's a down payment that you are coming back to redeem. So Lord Jesus, may this cheer our day. May it cheer every day. May we be able to look at our problems and go, yeah, they're not so nice. But I'm going to rise.

And those problems ain't. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. We will rise when he calls our name. And we look forward to that day and know it's going to happen. And we pray this in Jesus name. And what do God's people say? Amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-04 12:26:33 / 2023-02-04 12:36:42 / 10

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