Faithlife Sermons

I Believe in the Holy Spirit

1000 Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching Spiritual Power

There is a pertinent dialogue in the sixteenth chapter of Judges. Delilah says to Samson: “Please tell me wherein your great strength lies” (v. 6). After three unsuccessful attempts to discover the source of Samson’s strength, Delilah renews her efforts. Finally Samson succumbs and declares his power is in his hair. You remember the rest of the story. He not only lost his hair, but he lost his strength.

When we consider Christian ministry of all believers, irrespective of station or training, we must inevitably ask, where does the strength come from? First and foremost, it comes from God! “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim. 1:7).

Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a Word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
John 7:37–39 ESV
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
In the great struggle regarding the Person of Christ, as reflected in the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene/Chalcedonian Creed, the nature and work of the Father was granted, the person and work of the Son defined, and the work and person of the Holy Spirit seemingly ignored.
All things which as are in the realm of creation are ascribed to the Father in both Creeds. To the Son is granted the mystery of the Incarnation (with an aside credit to the Holy Spirit) and the awesome work of our redemption. Their activities are described in terms that place us in the position of passive recipients of their divine activity.
The Holy Spirit, however, truly is treated like the wind. We can’t see Him coming, and we don’t know where He goes. We only see the results of His visitation. Some of the things we do want to give Him credit for, the world thinks can be done through common sense, intelligence, or passion. As Baptist clergyman Rev. Dr. Carl Bates of Amarillo, TX once put it,
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 4950 If Holy Spirit Pulls Off …

“If God called his Holy Spirit out of the world, about 95 percent of what we are doing would go on and we would brag about it.”

John 3:8 ESV
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Acts 2:1–4 ESV
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
That was a unique event; since that day, the Holy Spirit has not brought attention to Himself in that manner. Instead, He has done His work of empowering us to bring attention to Jesus Christ
John 16:13–14 ESV
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
The Holy Spirit enables you to hear and receive Christ’s Word to His Church. It is by the power of the Spirit that we are enabled “to will and to do for God’s good pleasure.” It is God’s will that His children be holy.
1 Peter 1:13–16 ESV
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
The truth is many Christians don’t trust in God’s promise regarding the Spirit; if we did, we would treasure baptism. It is in His baptism that Jesus first showed His identification with us. In the first sermon preached by the Apostle Peter, he declared that Baptism offers grace, the forgiveness of sins. The Apostle Paul wrote that Baptism unites us to Christ in His death, so that just as He was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit, we can walk in newness of life. Through it, our children are entrusted to God and become pleasing to Him. Given what God’s Word says about baptism, how sad it is that people have, in Jesus’ name, declared that the baptism of children is not right?
Instead of trusting God’s exceeding great and precious promises, we seek for signs and wonders, and look for tools to control the Spirit, hoping to gain dominion over the world, the flesh and the devil.
Now, all of these things are ours in Christ, but we seek to possess them without Christ, by the Spirit operating under our control. That isn’t Scriptural, that isn’t Christian, that isn’t the Gospel.
That is witchcraft! Thinking that by incantations and knowing a spirit’s name you can control it. The devil would have you chasing rabbit holes of false teaching. He wants you to look away from Jesus Christ, “the author and finisher of your faith.”
1 Timothy 4:1–5 ESV
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
The devil wants you to forget the things that you were taught in the beginning, to believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who as conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended on to Hell. The third day He arose again fro the dead. He ascended in to heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church,. the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
He wants you to look elsewhere, in endless speculations about esoteric things, when the Gospel directs our attention to Jesus, in whom we everything that pertains to life and godliness.
2 Peter 1:3–11 ESV
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
How is this done?
2 Peter 1:19–20 ESV
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
Trust in God’s Word, proclaimed to you by those who serve you out of a proper call, rather than by false teachers who serve their own appetites, and would have you follow after them although they have no obligation to you.
Jude 3–4 ESV
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Don’t let hucksters of heaven lead you astray in this evil day. You know from God’s holy commandments how you should conduct yourselves in Witness - Mercy - Life Together:
Ephesians 4:2–6 ESV
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Say it with me:
One Faith
One Lord
One Baptism
There is only One who can save you, can heal you, can rescue you from those things that possess you and free you from those things to which you have surrendered in bondage:
Acts 4:10–12 ESV
let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
You cannot come to God apart from Him, you cannot set Him aside or replace Him with the Spirit, and you cannot be “spiritual” and reject His Bride, the Church of Jesus Christ, through whom the Spirit of God bears witness . Jesus Christ is, as Simon Peter confessed, the Son of the Living God. He builds His church that He paid for with His own blood. He was raised again from the dead by the glory of the Father. He baptizes today with the Holy Spirit, who works through the waters of Holy Baptism to unite you to Himself. He walks in the midst of His churches and He holds their messengers in His right hand.
So let the peace of God, that passes all understanding, guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.
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