Calvary Road Baptist Church

“INTRODUCING THE HOLY SPIRIT”

Genesis 1.2

This evening I propose to rehearse some familiar truths with you. Particularly, I want to refresh your memories and rekindle your thoughts about the Holy Spirit of God, that most mysterious member of the triune godhead.

The need for such review and rehearsal is well established in Isaiah 28.9-13, where we read,

 

9      Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10     For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

11     For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

12     To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

13     But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

 

Though Isaiah 28.11 is very familiar to anyone who has studied the role of tongues in God’s dealings with His people, verses 10 and 13 show very clearly the importance of repetition in teaching and learning. Therefore, a review of basic things related to the Holy Spirit of God will do us all some good.

Turn to my text for this evening, Genesis 1.2, where the Holy Spirit of God is first mentioned in scripture: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Therefore, you see, the Spirit of God played a role in creation, though it is a role that we will not explore tonight. Instead, some specific things about the Holy Spirit that should prove to be important to your life.

 

First, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD

 

You might take it for granted that the Holy Spirit is God, especially in light of the reference to Him in Genesis 1.2 in connection with creation. However, it would still be beneficial for you to recognize that the Spirit’s deity is firmly established in scripture beyond any shadow of doubt. Additionally, it is helpful to remind ourselves that the ancient creeds and confessions all pay proper heed to the deity of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is no new doctrine, no recent recognition in the mainstream Christian community that the Holy Spirit is God. His deity has always been recognized by orthodox Christians.

How to establish His deity beside this association of Him with creation? There are two ways, in addition to recognizing that only God could create. First, show the Spirit of God to have attributes that only God can have. Second, to show where He is specifically declared to be God.

Romans 8.9: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” This passage shows the Spirit indwells every believer, meaning the Spirit of God possesses the attribute of omnipresence. Beloved, only God can be in more than one place at a time. Thus, He is God.

Turn to Acts 5, where we read of Ananias and his wife Sapphira, who sinned by lying and were slain by God for their heinous sin. However, the point I seek to make is that Simon Peter points out that in lying to the Holy Ghost, Ananias had lied to God, verses 3-4:

 

3      But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

4      Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

 

I could go on if I had more time, but since the Bible does not contradict itself there is no need. Clearly, the Holy Spirit of God is shown in scripture, by His creative acts, by His presence everywhere at once, and by the direct testimony of an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to be God.

 

Next, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON

 

This is an important point to make, since Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the personality of the Holy Spirit, and since Muslims deny the personality of the Holy Spirit, thinking Him, instead, to be an impersonal force or influence. No. The Spirit of God is no mere force or influence, no matter how powerful. The Spirit of God is a person.

Romans 8.16 is sometimes cited to the unwary or those unfamiliar with the Bible as evidence that the Spirit of God is an it and not a person, but this is faulty reasoning: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

The fact is that someone, anyone, is a person who possesses the faculties of intellect, sensibility, and will. Let me show you how we know the Spirit of God is a person:

Luke 12.12 is where the Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples that “the Holy Ghost shall teach you.” Is that not evidence of intellect? To teach requires knowledge and understanding, something only an intellect is capable of.

How about sensibility, or sensitivity to moral issues of right and wrong? First Thessalonians 5.19, where Paul wrote “Quench not the Spirit,” only makes sense if the Apostle Paul recognized the Holy Spirit’s sensibility.

Intellect, sensibility, and now will. Turn to Acts 13.1-2, where we read of an occasion when the Holy Spirit clearly and unmistakably expressed His will:

 

1      Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

2      As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

 

The Holy Spirit, clearly, is a person, a divine person.

 

Third, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS AN INCORPOREAL PERSON

 

By incorporeal, I mean the Spirit of God does not consist of substance. To put it another way, He is not made of stuff. You and I are beings who are made of a combination of material stuff and that which is immaterial. The Spirit of God is not like us in that way at all. He is entirely spirit, which means He is not normally to be apprehended or perceived by means of sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching.

How do we know the Holy Spirit is a spirit? He is referred to as the Spirit. Being a spirit is not what distinguishes Him as God, since the Devil is a spirit, and the host of fallen angels are spirits. What distinguishes Him as God are His divine attributes of eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence, sovereignty, and such things as that. Such beings as angels and demons, including the Devil and other spirits are incorporeal, as the Holy Spirit is incorporeal, but they are not eternal, are not omnipotent, are not omnipresent, and are not sovereign. The Spirit of God is uncreated, while the Devil and angelic beings are all created things.

From eternity past, then, the Holy Spirit has existed as the third person of the triune godhead, along with God the Father and God the Son, all three being one God and uncreated spirit. At the appointed time, the second person of the godhead took upon Himself human flesh and was made in the likeness of men. However, the Holy Spirit, the same as God the Father, is as He has always been, a spirit, an incorporeal person.

Since the Holy Spirit is a spirit, He is not ordinarily to be perceived by means of the five human senses. Not that He cannot manifest Himself in supernatural ways to human beings, since there is no doubt that He has and that He can. However, He does not ordinarily choose to deal with men by means of our five senses. Rather, He typically makes use of various means such as scripture, such as human conscience, such as Bible preaching and teaching, to affect and influence men’s thoughts.

 

Finally, THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS A MISSION

 

The Spirit’s ultimate mission, of course, will always be to glorify God. This is clearly seen in First Corinthians 6.19-20, where we see the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that it is to be used to glorify God:

 

19     What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20     For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

 

With the overall mission of the Holy Spirit to be that of glorifying God (and glorifying Christ, of course), it needs to be pointed out that the Spirit’s mission is worked out in different ways in the lives of different people, with the Spirit working one way in the life of a Christian and another way in the life of a sinner.

First, the sinner. Since the vast majority of sinners do not respond to the spiritual light they are exposed to, but do continually “hold the truth in unrighteousness,” Romans 1.18, the careers of most spiritual criminals with respect to the wooing and awakening ministry of the Holy Spirit can be summed up as careers of nonstop grieving of the Spirit. However, of those few who end up embracing the gospel message and fleeing to Jesus Christ for salvation from their sins, this can be said of the Holy Spirit: His ministry is one of convincing and persuading sinners of their sinfulness and their desperate need of Christ. This is quite different from what most evangelical Christians imagine the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be. They always think of joy and delight in reference to the Holy Spirit. However, the Lord Jesus Christ described things differently in John 16.7-11:

 

7      Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8      And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9      Of sin, because they believe not on me;

10     Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

11     Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

 

Should the sinner respond to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in his life, he would become profoundly persuaded of his need for Christ, his undeniable helplessness to save himself, and his conviction that he deserves God’s wrath apart from Christ’s intervention to save him. Ultimately, of course, the Holy Spirit will give the sinner new life as He works the miracle of the new birth.

Then there is the saint. The Holy Spirit indwells and seals the believer in Jesus Christ, according to Ephesians 1.13: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” This done the moment the sinner comes to Christ, the Spirit of God then embarks on a mission of glorifying Christ in the life and ministry of the new Christian, changing the Christian’s personality, and producing spirituality and maturity in the Christian’s life over time.

 

The Holy Spirit of God is a person, a real person, an invisible person, a divine personal, and a frequently misunderstood person. Unsaved people typically misunderstand the ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict them of their sins and their need of Christ, and therefore foolishly resist and grieve the Spirit when He seeks to prepare the sinner’s heart for Christ. Christians typically misunderstand the ministry of the Holy Spirit to make them Christ-like by grieving and quenching Him in opposition to His work to produce humility and to strengthen faith in the Christian’s life.

How differently we would behave if we, be it the sinner under conviction or the Christian provoked to love and good works, recognized that a person is dealing with you, an invisible person, a divine person, the Holy Spirit of God.

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org