BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST”
On the back of your bulletin you will find written The Apostle’s
Creed, the most famous, if not the oldest, of all Christian Creeds.
This morning I conclude my series of three sermons, each
one dealing with one portion of The Apostle’s Creed.
Two weeks ago I looked at the first part, which reads, “I believe
in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”
At that time I showed you how many modern day
so-called Christians and denominations no longer believe what the Creed
shows Christians believed in the early centuries after Christ,
specifically how modern day so-called Christians are wrong about God the
Last week I visited The Apostle’s Creed a second time, dealing
with that portion which reads, “And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our
Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he
descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he
ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father
Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
I showed that the Creed focused on Who Jesus Christ is, what He has
done, and what He is going to do. He
is the Son of God. He did
suffer and bleed and die, descend into Hell.
After His burial He did rise from the dead on the third day, and
ascend to His Father’s right hand on high, where He is right now.
And what will He do? He
will come again to judge those who are destined for heaven and also to
judge those who are bound for an eternity in Hell.
Further, I pointed out last week that many professing Christians
these days deny the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ when asked, and
do not agree with the Scriptural declaration that Jesus is presently at
the Father’s right hand, as the Creed declares.
In other words, there are serious departures by many modern day
professing Christians from what this ancient Christian creed shows
Christians to have always believed the Bible to clearly teach.
The third portion of The Apostle’s Creed, as you can see,
concerns the Holy Spirit of God. But
before we read that final part of the Creed and I comment on it, allow me
to deal with four points related to the Holy Spirit of God:
First, LET ME RESPOND TO THE ACCUSATION THAT WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN
THE HOLY GHOST
From time to time someone of the Pentecostal or Charismatic
persuasion will voice the opinion to one of our members that I do not
believe in the Holy Ghost. Or
someone will opine that we, as a Church, do not believe in the Holy Spirit
Let me say that anyone who voices such
an opinion is just, plain, stupid. Excuse
me for being so blunt and brassy as to be so
direct, but I get really tired of people throwing out wild accusations
that have no basis in fact.
I am an orthodox Trinitarian.
I believe in the Father, the Son, and the blessed Holy Spirit.
I believe that the Bible teaches the Holy Spirit to be God.
Further, I believe the Bible teaches the Holy Spirit to be a
on these in a moment.
So, when someone accuses me or this
Church of not believing in the Holy Spirit, what I think they really mean
is that we do not believe that the Spirit of God continues to do in our
of the things He did in the days of the apostles.
Example: Unlike the
apostle Paul’s experience at Melita, I think if you are bitten by a
poisonous snake the snake’s poison will seriously affect you.
Example: I do not
think it appropriate for you to bring the sick out into the street so that
my shadow, or anyone else’s shadow for that matter, should fall on them
. . . as was the case with the apostle Peter.
I do not think the Spirit of God performs signs and wonders in
precisely the same fashion as He did in Jesus’ ministry and as He did
early on in the apostle’s ministries.
Some may wonder why Paul left his friend
Trophimus sick at Miletum, instead of healing him.
Others may wonder why Paul did not heal the beloved Epaphroditus
when he was so sick he almost died, but sent him from
I do not so wonder. The
Holy Spirit’s ministry was changing, even in Paul’s day.
So, anyone who accuses me or this Church of not believing in the
Holy Spirit, just because we recognize that the Spirit’s ministry has
changed, even as it was changing over the time period covered by the book
of Acts, is delusional. As
the Creed says, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
Next, THE TERMINOLOGY “THE HOLY GHOST” VERSUS “THE HOLY
My own experience with those of the Pentecostal and Charismatic
persuasion has led to the observation that a considerable number of them
seem to believe that the phrase “the Holy Ghost” is somehow different
in meaning than “the Holy Spirit.”
My former pastor, Dr. Eli Harju, once
told me of a woman who had been visiting the
The facts of the matter are that the King James Version translates
both the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit from the exact same Greek phrase,
the word agios
that is translated holy, and the word pneumati
that can be translated by the words spirit, ghost, wind or breath.
Thus, there is no difference whatsoever in the Greek New Testament
phrase that is sometimes translated “Holy Ghost” and at other times
translated “Holy Spirit.” To
teach that these two phrases are different, or to behave as though they
are somehow different, is to expose either one’s ignorance or one’s
Would you like to know who makes a
distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost in their satanic
Mormons. Listen to
this quote about Mormonism from The
Watchman Expositor, a fairly reliable Internet cult watch web
site: “A distinction is
made [by the Mormons] between the Holy Ghost . . . and the Holy Spirit.”
So, the next time a Pentecostal or a Charismatic distinguishes
between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit, as if they are somehow
different descriptions of the third Person of the trinity, tell him that
he is mimicking Mormon doctrine.
Third, THE PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD
In his systematic theology, Lewis Sperry
Chafer rightly states that personality exists when a being possesses the
characteristics of intellect, sensibility, and will.
Is the personality of the Holy Spirit of God important?
If the Spirit of God is not a person the godhead is not a trinity
and the Spirit of God cannot be God.
So, it is important whether or not the Spirit of God is a person.
Of course, liberals do not believe the
Holy Spirit is a person. As
well, Christian Science,
and until very recently the Worldwide Church of God (Herbert W. Armstrong),
all deny the personality of the Holy Spirit of God.
But if the intellect of the Holy Spirit,
and the sensibility of the Holy Spirit, and the will of the Holy Spirit,
can be shown in the Bible, then all the requirements to recognize the Holy
Spirit’s personality have been met.
So, let me show those three requirements of personality:
The principle verses used by opponents
of the Spirit’s personality are Romans 8.16 and 26, where we see the
phrase “the Spirit itself.” They
maintain that a person would never be referred to using the word
This argument carries no weight,
however. A. T. Robertson, the
legendary Southern Baptist Greek scholar, writes on this point, “The
grammatical gender of pneuma
is neuter. . . .”
Pneuma, of course,
is the Greek word translated “Spirit” in these two verses.
Since the word “spirit” comprises a
title and not a proper name, and since the word refers to what in other
contexts is ordinarily inanimate, the translators decided to preserve in
the English translation what was written in Greek.
Do not doubt, however, that to a man the
translators of the King James Version recognized that the personality of
the Holy Spirit of God was clearly taught in the Bible.
Turn to two verses which prove beyond
any doubt that the Holy Ghost is a person:
Acts 13.2: “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.”
In this verse the Spirit of God does two things which only a person
could do. He speaks to men,
showing intellect, and He calls to service, showing will.
Acts 16.6-7: “Now
when they had gone throughout
There are other verses that could be used to show the personality
of the Holy Spirit, but I think the point is made.
He is rational, intelligent and able to communicate.
We have seen His intellect. We
have seen His will. And the
fact that He is referred to as the Holy Spirit, having the moral quality
of holiness, shows that He is sensible.
Finally, THE QUESTION SHOULD BE ASKED “IS THE HOLY SPIRIT GOD?”
a quick comment or two to give you some hint of the powerful assertions of
the Spirit’s deity presented in the Bible.
First, there are attributes the Spirit has that only God can have,
thus showing Him to be God.
Is any being other than God omnipresent,
which is to say, everywhere present?
No. Yet the Spirit of
God is everywhere present. Psalm
139.7-8: “Whither shall I
go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee
from thy presence? If I
ascend up into heaven, thou art
there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art
Can any being other than God create and
give life? No.
Yet Job 33.4 declares, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the
breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”
So, these two attributes, omnipresence and the power to create and
give life, which only God possesses, are attributes the Holy Spirit
possesses. This shows that
the Holy Spirit is God.
But there is another way in which the
deity of the Spirit is asserted in Scripture.
To see this, please turn to Acts 5.3-4:
“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?
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.”
The context is of relatively minor
importance to the point I seek to make, though I urge you to read the
context of these two verses when you get home.
The point to be made is that when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit,
verse 3, Simon Peter asserted that he had lied to God.
As if to set a seal on the words of Peter, in the very next verse
Ananias fell down at Peter’s feet, dead.
When he lied to the Holy Ghost, Ananias lied to God.
The Holy Spirit has the attributes that only God can have.
The Holy Spirit is said by an apostle of Jesus Christ to be God.
Ergo, the Holy Spirit of God, already shown to be a person, is now
seen in the Bible to be God.
When I come back to deliver this morning’s sermon, I will quickly
review the last portion of The Apostle’s Creed, which begins with the
words, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
The purpose of this rather long exposition has been to make it very
clear to you that this preacher and this Church do very much believe in
the Holy Ghost.;
Now, brother Isenberger comes to lead us as we sing.
Please stand at this time.
Two weeks ago I showed you some startling differences that exist
between present day professing Christians and The Apostle’s Creed
concerning God the Father.
Last week I showed you some startling differences that exist
between present day professing Christians and The Apostles Creed
concerning Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
In this third portion of The Apostle’s Creed you will note that
there is greater agreement between contemporary professing Christians and
The Apostle’s Creed.
Six phrases to comment on and compare:
First, “I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY GHOST”
It is quite obvious that The Apostle’s
Creed is a Trinitarian creed. God
is properly seen in Scripture to be of one essence and three divine
persons, with the Holy Ghost being both a real person and a member of the
godhead coequal with the Father and the Son.
But this opening phrase of the third portion of the Creed does not
stop there. Those who
subscribe to the Creed “believe in the Holy Ghost.”
That is, the Holy Spirit of God is the Object of a believer’s
faith along with God the Father and Jesus the Son.
It must be remembered that a sinner
cannot come to the Father, but by Jesus Christ.
And I am not suggesting that one who is lost becomes a Christian by
coming to the Spirit of God, Who is not in God’s Word shown to be the
Savior of sinful men’s souls. That
office has been reserved in the godhead to be fulfilled by only One,
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Once a sinner has come to faith in Jesus
Christ, however, through union with Jesus Christ he comes to know and to
embrace and to worship the entire godhead, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
That is what is meant by “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
This phrase tends to cause consternation
among Baptists, who forget that words and phrases are best understood
against the backdrop of the context and setting in which they were
originally composed. This
phrase does not suggest that the Christians of the second century
subscribed to the notion of a Church hierarchy, Roman or otherwise.
Remember, when Jesus dictated seven letters in Revelation chapters
two and three, He dictated those letters to the angels, the pastors, of
seven separate and distinct Churches.
Thus, the concept of a hierarchy was as foreign to them as it
should be to professing Christians today.
What the phrase “the holy catholic
church” does mean is seen when you consider why the phrase was written.
The Marcionite, Manichean and Gnostic heresies were posing a
threat. Each of those
heresies believed to one degree or another:
#1, that there were different levels or gradations among God’s
#2, that there was some degree of defilement associated with the
#3, that certain special truths were to be held back from the
The phrase “holy catholic church”
actually refers to the belief among early Christians that important
Christian doctrines are not reserved for a select few.
The orthodox belief was that the fullness of the Gospel was to be
preached to the entire human race. Hence
the term “catholic,” or universal, which
distinguished them from Gnostics.
What about the issue of whether or not
everyone who is a Christian is a member of a universal, or as some would
say a catholic, body of believers?
Please turn to Hebrews 12.23:
“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are
written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just
men made perfect.”
I believe that the “holy catholic church” is now being formed,
one convert at a time, and will be brought together and assembled when
Christians are caught up at the Rapture by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Understood in this way, I am in complete harmony with this portion
of the Creed, and heartily endorse it.
When a sinner gets saved he is adopted into the family of God and
will someday be in that one Church of the firstborn in heaven of which all
Christians are promised to be a part.
Third, “THE COMMUNION OF THE SAINTS”
Saints, of course, are not some select few who
are special and better than everyone else, but a Scriptural designation
for every genuine believer in Jesus Christ.
Thus, each person who has trusted Jesus Christ to the saving of his
eternal and undying soul is referred to in the Bible as being a saint.
This is why we read in Romans and First Corinthians that they were
all “called to be
and why Paul wrote “to the saints which are at Ephesus,” “to all the
saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi,” “To the saints . . .
which are at Colosse,” when he wrote those letters.
Hello? A saint is a
Christian and a Christian is a saint.
The communion of the saints, then,
refers to that which every genuine Christian holds in common with every
other Christian, refers to that which every genuine Christian shares with
every other Christian. What
do we have in common, we who are born again?
He have God as our Father, Jesus as our
Savior, the Spirit as our Indweller and Comforter.
We enjoy a common salvation and a common destiny.
And we love one another. Jesus
said, “By this shall all men
know that ye are my disciples, if you have love
one to another.”
Fourth, “THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS”
The heresies that I mentioned before
that the Creed was formulated to guard against were not religions based
upon forgiveness, but what they claimed to be enlightenment.
Ignorance, not sin, was what they saw to be the problem.
The Creed, therefore, strongly asserts need for the forgiveness of
What most these days who claim they want
to become Christians have in common with the early heretics is a felt need
to know more, to learn more, to understand more.
They see their problem as one of ignorance and the solution as
being enlightenment. Paul
described such as “Ever learning, and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth.”
The Lord Jesus Christ, however, did not come to enlighten sinners,
but to save them. The angel
Gabriel described the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly to
Joseph, in Matthew 1.21: “he
shall save his people from their sins.”
Fifth, “THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY”
“The chief goal of the Gnostics was to become free forever from
the taint of matter and the shackles of the body, and to return to the
heavenly realm as Pure Spirit. They
totally rejected any idea of the resurrection of the body.”
However, the Christian’s great hope is the coming of our risen
Savior for us and our own glorious transformation to His likeness.
First John 3.2-3 expresses it perfectly:
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear
what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like
him; for we shall see him as he is. And
every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is
Finally, “AND THE LIFE EVERLASTING.
teach that after the closing of the Millennium, the temporary release of
Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:7-15), the
saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the
elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Pet. 3:10) and replaced with
a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Eph. 5:5; Rev. 20:15,21,22).
Following this, the heavenly
city will come down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2) and will be the dwelling
place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and
one another (John 17:3; Rev. 21,22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having
fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God
the Father (1 Cor. 15:23-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign
forever and ever (1 Cor. 15:28).
What is a creed? The
word “creed” derives from the Middle English word “crede,” which
in turn derived from the Old English word “creeda,” which itself comes
from the Latin word “credo,” which means “I believe.”
Early Christians found that Christian truth was being subverted by
heretics who taught error and sought to divide congregations.
The Apostle’s Creed was specifically formulated to counter the
influence of these heretics and their poisonous doctrines.
So beneficial did creeds prove to be that they have been used
throughout Church history to clearly define what has been believed.
The Roman Catholic Church has used creeds to delineate her
positions throughout her history, as have the Reformers, the Puritans, and
the Baptists of days gone by.
So, creeds and confessions of faith have their place.
That, I think, has been adequately established.
Sadly, however, our consideration of The Apostle’s Creed has
shown that grave heresies have crept into Christendom.
We saw two weeks ago that modern day evangelicalism, and too many
fundamentalists, fall short by not having a
proper Object upon which to fasten their faith.
They also stand idly by when the eternal fatherhood of the First
Person is denied. And they
will not stand up and oppose the gradualism erosion of belief that God
created the heavens and the earth in six literal days, opening the door
for evolutionary thought, perhaps the most destructive error of the last
Last week our attention was turned to the Creed’s statements
about the Lord Jesus Christ. You
will remember that people these days do not seem to know that the soul of
Jesus went to Hell for three days and nights before the resurrection, and
that when He rose from the dead He rose up in a glorified body and not as
a spirit, and that He is now seated at the Father’s right hand.
The implications of such departures from Christian orthodoxy are
And today, in the final portion of the Creed, I would point out
that the forgiveness of sins is an article of our faith that is greatly
ignored, with people wanting Jesus or the Holy Spirit to help them or
teach them rather than wanting Jesus to save them from their sins.
To conclude, we are living in a dark hour.
We are living in the last days.
We are living in a time when the Gospel is being greatly diluted
and when men are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
 Acts 28.1-5
 Acts 5.12-16
 2 Timothy 4.20
 Philippians 2.27-30
Bauer, Danker, A
Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian
 Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol III, (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1948), page 222. ????
 A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol IV, (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1930), page 374.
 John 14.6
 Acts 4.12
 Romans 1.7; 1 Corinthians 1.2
 John 13.35
 2 Timothy 3.7
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 2198.