04 - IV. Faith in the Holy Spirit
6 July, 2008 A.M.
Tree of Life Wesleyan Church
IV. The Holy Spirit
Job 33:4; Matt. 28:19; John 4:24; 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-15;
Acts 5:3-4; Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 3:17; Gal. 4:6
Ian Pitt-Watson told the truth to his congregation: “Because I’m leaving on Tuesday for Korea, I am not as well prepared as I ought to be. And I am reminded of the pastor who thought, when he had difficulty preparing a particular sermon, ‘Perhaps the Holy Spirit will tell me what to say on Sunday morning.’ This thought returned to him several times during the week, and when at last he stood silently before his congregation, he turned to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and a celestial voice said to him, ‘Tell the people you are unprepared!’”
The third part of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gift from our Father in heaven, a most precious gift. It enables us to do things that we normally would not be able to do, like stand before people and preach the gospel, or witness to our friends and loved ones about our Savior, it also causes people to be uncomfortable in church. When a person feels uncomfortable or feels as if their toes are being stepped on, that is the work of the Holy Spirit – most people don’t like that feeling and many will even change churches to find one that does not make them feel as if they should do something – the Holy Spirit is a wonderful gift and it is our forth article of religion and it states:
“We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is of the same essential nature, majesty, and glory, as the Father and the Son, truly and eternally God. He is the Administrator of grace to all mankind, and is particularly the effective Agent in conviction for sin, in regeneration, in sanctification, and in the glorification. He is ever present, assuring, preserving, guiding, and enabling the believer.” (Discipline)
So, let’s back up and look at why we believe what we do. The first sentence says: “We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, . . .” There are some who want to make the Holy Spirit something greater than it really is – some even make the Holy Spirit sound as if it were greater than God, but we, as Wesleyans, believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds, that means that it extends, comes from, continues, it carries on, from the Father and the Son. Let’s start this morning by looking again at the Gospel of John chapter 14, verses 15-17. Jesus is talking to His disciples here, not long before He was crucified, and He says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
Jesus gives us some very important information here. First, He tells us that we need to love and obey Him, then and only then will He ask the Father to send another Counselor to be with us. This Counselor is along the same line as Jesus Himself. He was the first Counselor but He knew He was going to be leaving His disciples and us behind when He returned to heaven to sit at the Father’s right side, so He said, if you love and obey Me, I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor. He did not say that He would ask the Father and that God would think about sending another Counselor – many people believe that the Holy Spirit is only given to some and not to others – but Jesus tells us here that if we love and obey Him, He will ask God to send the Spirit and God will send Him. And here some more good news, not only will God send anther Counselor to replace His Son, but this Counselor will be with us forever – as long as we continue to love and obey Jesus’ commands.
Jesus reminds us that the world cannot accept Him, the Holy Spirit, because the world neither sees Him nor knows Him. But for those that have received the Holy Spirit, He will not only live with you, but will be in you! He will become the driving force in all that you do, He will enable you to do those things that once seems impossible.
The Holy Spirit is “of the same essential nature, majesty, and glory, as the Father and the Son, truly and eternally God.” In the fourth chapter of John, the 24th verse, we are told that, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.” When we looked at the Scriptures dealing with the Trinity, we saw that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in the same. Here we are told that God is Spirit, and only those that have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will receive the Holy Spirit and will truly be able to worship God. You can come in to service on Sunday and sing the songs, listen to the prayers and even give tithe, but until you love and obey Jesus and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit which God promises He will send, you cannot truly worship. Truly worshipping is not worrying about which songs are being sung, and about who is sitting where, its about focusing our praise on God! If we truly believe in the Trinity, and we as Wesleyan’s do, then we understand that the Holy Spirit has the same essential nature, majesty, and glory and God and Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Any yet many of us will stop the Holy Spirit from working in our lives – but if Jesus were here, so that you could see Him face to face and He said, let’s go to such and suches house and witness to them, we would drop what we were doing and run, but when the Holy Spirit tells us the same thing, we fight Him off and do our own thing – even though He is of the same essential nature, majesty, and glory as our heavenly Father and of Jesus Christ His Son. If we would not fight them, why do we fight the Holy Spirit?
Article four also tells us about the Holy Spirit that, “He is the Administrator of grace to all mankind, and is particularly the effective Agent in conviction for sin, in assuring, preserving, guiding, and enabling the believer.” The Holy Spirit is the Administrator of Grace. God provided Grace, or came up with the way that we could obtain it, and Jesus paid the price for it, providing Grace for all who are willing to accept it, but the Holy Spirit is the One who Administers Grace. That means that the Holy Spirit is the One who manages, oversees and dispenses God’s Grace, and why? Because He is here with us. He is the reason that many people leave perfectly good churches to go to others. Ones where they don’t feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit, ones where their toes will not be stomped on. He is the effective Agent in conviction for sin.
Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” This Spirit causes great things to happen, it causes us to change! Because of His convicting us of our sins, we are to give in to Him and stop, when this happens, not only will you notice a difference but so will those around you. Our image changes!
On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is a portrait with the following inscription: James Butler Bonham – no picture of him exists. This portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle. It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died for freedom.
No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness of the Son who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His true followers – because of Holy Spirit.
Not only does the Holy Spirit convict us of sin, but He is with us to assure us that we are doing right, and that we can take a stand for Christ. He preserves us, if we will let Him, for God. We are somewhat like food. If we are left on our own, we will spoil, we will even stink, and will eventually be discarded and thrown into the burn pile. But food that is preserved can be kept for long periods of time. Some food, with the right preservatives can be kept for years – the Holy Spirit preserves us and keeps us good until we are called home, and then we will be changed and we will be given a new body – one that does not spoil, one that will remain fresh for all eternity. But while here on this earth, we need the Holy Spirit’s preserving.
He also guides us. At one time or another, we have all been lost – but with the right guidance we were able to find our way. The same is true of our spiritual life. We are lost, but there is One who will lead us – One who has been sent that knows the way and will lead us home. But we must ask for that help – and we start by asking Jesus into our hearts and letting the world know that we love Him and are going to obey Him – then He will ask God to send another Counselor, and He will send the Holy Spirit.
I am going to ask you to do something this morning. If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, why not listen to the Holy Spirit this morning and ask Him into your heart – so that the Spirit of God will reside in you – helping and guiding you throughout life.
If you already know Jesus as Lord and Savior I want you to pray, and to pray each and every day for the Spirit’s leading and guidance.
Dr. Kermit Long says, “With all our education, our fine buildings, our image of the church, we are doing less to win people to Christ than our unschooled forefathers did. We’re no longer fishers of men, but keepers of the aquarium, and we spend most of our time swiping fish from each other’s bowl.
I want us to leave this attitude of keeping the aquariums and I want us to take on the attitude of the woman who lived in a mid-Western town some years ago who took an unusual method of testifying to her faith in Christ. Her friends for the most part were lukewarm and indifferent. Surface Christians one might call them. One day she knew they would be passing by, so she stood before a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store and spoke to the Indian about Christ. When her friends ridiculed her for creating such a scene, she gave this defense: “I would rather be real Christian and talk religion to a wooden Indian, than be a wooden Christian who never talked religion to anyone.”
I want us to pray that the Holy Spirit would give us the words and put us into those situations in which we can share our faith – its time we use the wonderful gift that God has given us – We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is of the same essential nature, majesty, and glory, as the Father and the Son, truly and eternally God. He is the Administrator of grace to all mankind, and is particularly the effective Agent in conviction for sin, in regeneration, in sanctification, and in the glorification. He is ever present, assuring, preserving, guiding, and enabling the believer.” (Discipline)
Accept Him today and start living your life with the help of the Holy Spirit.
9 June, 2002 AM
Miles City Wesleyan Church
Miles City Mt.