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Back to the Basics - The Holy Spirit

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Thesis: To note that that Holy Spirit is a Divine & personal being who is active today in

              the life of Christians.


(1)   There is a lot of confusion today concerning the Holy Spirit.

(2)   Let us note some key teachings concerning the Holy Spirit and His work in the lives of Christians today.


I.                   The Holy Spirit is a Personal Being:

A.    Jesus specifically referred to the Holy Spirit with masculine pronouns (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7, 8, 13, 14)

B.     He is said to perform personal actions (He speaks [Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 1 Tim. 4:1]; He teaches [John 14:26]; He testifies [John 15:26-27]; He guides [John 16:13]; He forbids [Acts 16:6-7]; He intercedes [Rom. 8:26]; He searches [1 Cor. 2:10]; He leads [Rom. 8:14]).

C.     He is said to have personal attributes (He has a mind [Rom. 8:27]; He has knowledge [1 Cor. 2:11]; He possesses emotion [e.g., love – Rom. 15:30; joy – 1 Thess. 1:6]; He has a will [1 Cor. 12:11]; He can groan [Rom. 8:26]; He can judge [Acts 15:28]; He is good [Neh. 9:20]).

D.    He is able to be: 1) Grieved (Eph. 4:30); 2) Blasphemed (Matt. 12:31-32);     3) Insulted (Heb. 10:29); 4) Lied to (Acts 5:3); 5) Resisted (Acts 7:51); &     6) Quenched (1 Thess. 5:19).

II.                The Holy Spirit is a Divine Being:

A.    According to Acts 5:3-4, the Holy Spirit is called God.

B.     He is said to have divine attributes (He is all-knowing [1 Cor. 2:10-11]; He is all-present [Psa. 139:7-10]; He is eternal [Heb. 9:14]; He is all-powerful [Micah 3:8]).

C.     He is said to be able to perform divine actions (He was involved in creation [Gen. 1:2, 26; Job 26:13]; He was involved in revelation [2 Pet. 1:20-21; 2 Sam. 23:2]; He was involved in confirmation of the word with miracles [Heb. 2:3-4; Matt. 12:28]; He is involved in regeneration [John 3:5; Titus 3:4-6]; He is involved in sanctification [Eph. 3:16; Rom. 8:11-13]; He will be involved in the resurrection [Rom. 8:11].

D.    He is a part of the Godhead (e.g., He was there at the baptism of Jesus [Luke 3:21-22]; Jesus speaks of the Godhead [John 14:16-17]; the authority of the Godhead is invoked at baptism [Matt. 28:18-20]; Paul concludes 2 Corinthians with a reference to the Godhead [2 Cor. 13:14]; John refers to a greeting from the Godhead [Rev. 1:4-5]).

III.             The Work of the Holy Spirit Today:

A.    In Acts 2:38, Peter told the crowd that when they repented and were baptized, they would receive remission of their sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

                                    1.      “The gift of the Holy Spirit” is viewed in 2 ways:

a.      The Holy Spirit is the giver of the gift

b.      The Holy Spirit is the gift

                                    2.      The later view (i.e., the Holy Spirit is the gift) seems to be the view that best fits the broader context and the grammatical style.

a.       It is difficult to ascertain the meaning based upon the context alone; however, the only other time that the same phraseology is used, it clearly means that the Holy Spirit is the gift (cf. Acts 10:44-45).

-          Also, Wayne Jackson observed: “The fact of the matter is, almost every Greek authority known to this writer contends that the genitive of Acts 2:38 is epexegetical (appositional), i.e., the Holy Spirit is the gift (cf. the lexicons of: Arndt & Gingrich, 209; Thayer, 161; Robinson, 196; also the works of Kittel, II, 167; Vine, 147; Robertson, Word Pictures, III, 36; Moulton, Howard, Turner, Grammer, III, 214; Expositor’s Greek Testament, II, 91)” (14)

b.      J. W. McGarvey observed:

“By this is not meant the miraculous gift which had just been bestowed upon the apostles; for we know from the subsequent history that his gift was not bestowed on all who repented and were baptized, but on only a few brethren of prominence in the several congregations.  The expression means the Holy Spirit as a gift; and the reference is to that indwelling of the Holy Spirit by which we bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and without which we are not of Christ” (39). 

c.       The Bible often refers to the Holy Spirit as a gift.

(1)   Luke 11:13 – “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your  heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

(2)   Acts 5:32 – “And we are witnesses of these things; andso is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

(3)   Galatians 4:6 – “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, " Abba! Father!”

(4)   1 Thessalonians 4:8 – “So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

d.      The broader context of the Bible discusses the indwelling of the Spirit; therefore, adding to the evidence for the gift being the Holy Spirit, because if one has the Spirit, then he/she must have received it at some point, which would have been at baptism.

(1)   In Romans 8:9-11, Paul states that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling proves that we belong to Jesus.

(a)    Regarding this passage, one author wrote: “There is no true believer who does not have the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit” (Gromacki 179). 

(b)   The Holy Spirit is connected with having fellowship with God (cf. Psa. 51:11).

(2)   In 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul discusses the necessity of keeping the church pure because of the fact that it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

(3)   In 1 Corinthians 6:18-19, Paul discusses the necessity of keeping our bodies pure because of the fact that they are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

(4)   In 2 Timothy 1:14, Paul commands Timothy to guard the treasure in him; i.e., the Holy Spirit who dwells in “us” (i.e., all Christians).

e.       Further, “if God had wanted to tell us that the Holy Spirit is really and actually in us, as Christians, how could he have chosen words more effective for the purpose than he used?” (Nichols 166-67). 

B.     Because the Holy Spirit indwells us:

1.      We are sealed by Him (Eph. 1:13; cf. 2 Cor. 1:21-22)

2.      We have Him as a deposit (Eph. 1:14; cf. 2 Cor. 1:21-22)

3.      We are identified as being in the family of God (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15)

4.      He bears witness that we are doing God’s will (Rom. 8:16)

5.      We are strengthened by Him (Eph. 3:16; Rom. 8:26a.)

6.      We have an inner source of spiritual reserve (John 7:38-39)

7.      We are led by Him (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:16, 18)

8.      We are sanctified by Him (1 Pet. 1:1, 2)

9.      We bear His fruit (Gal. 5:22, 23)

10.  We have help in living a moral, godly life

11.  He works on our behalf in the realm of providence (Rom. 8:28-30)

12.  We have help in our weaknesses and prayers (Rom. 8:26, 27)

IV.             How does the Holy Spirit accomplish His work within us?

A.    Obviously, He uses the Word of God.

1.      According to Ephesians 6:17, the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit.

2.      Many of the things that the Holy Spirit is said to do for us, the Word is God is also said to do for us. 

3.      Please note:

a.       “The Holy Spirit, like a soldier, has more than one instrument in his armament” (Jividen, Alive in the Spirit 83). 

b.      “We should not mistake the instrument for the agent; it would be folly to make no distinction between the instrument of a man that he may use in his work and the man himself” (Boles 204-05).

B.     However, He also uses other means to accomplish His work.

1.      In Romans 8:26-28, He is said to be active in providence and in praying on our behalf, in certain situations.

2.      The Holy Spirit has the same means available to Him as does God and Jesus.

3.      Jimmy Jividen is correct with this observation: “The doctrine that the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God is a Biblical doctrine. The doctrine that the Holy Spirit works through the Word of God only is false” ( Alive in the Spirit 75).


(1)   Obviously, as Christians, we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit working on our behalf today.

(2)   Are you living a life that is allowing the Spirit to work within you or are you living a life that is resisting and quenching the Spirit?

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