the Holy Spirit is God;
He has come to reveal Jesus Christ;
He reveals God’s truth; without this revelation we are spiritually ignorant;
He has come to fulfil God’s work in the world;
He is moving in revival power in much of the world;
Christians are commanded to “walk in the Spirit” –we need to know how to do this;
He has come to impart POWER to the church (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:16)
the Bible contains extensive teaching about the person and work of the Holy Spirit (88 references in the Old Testament; 22 of 39 books; and 261 in the New Testament; 24 of 27 books, plus every author);
we need to be able to correct error and misunderstanding;
we need to work with the Holy Spirit in undertaking Christian ministry.
In this short course, we will emphasise a mix of theology and experience. In the words of one writer:
if we have all Word and no Spirit we will to dry up;
if we have all Spirit and no Word we will blow up;
if we have both Word and Spirit we will grow up.
What is your understanding of the Holy Spirit?
Is the Holy Spirit a “power” or a Person?
Unless we understand this issue we will never appreciate the eternal and functional relationship between Father, Son and Spirit.
He is sometime referred to impersonally, eg breath, gift, anointing – however, these describe His operations.
The Holy Spirit has “personal” attributes:
a mind – Romans 8:27
a will – 1 Corinthians 12:11
feeling – Ephesians 4:30; Romans 15:30 (love)
knowledge (including self-knowledge) – 1 Corinthians 2:11
He is able to do things that only a “person” can do:
reveal things– 2 Peter 1:21
teach – John 14:26; 16:14; Luke 12:12; 1 Corinthians 2:13
bear witness – John 15:26
Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 10:15
intercede – Romans 8:26
search – 1 Corinthians 2:10
speak – Acts 8:29; 10:19; 13:3; Revelation 2:7,11 (not about Himself - John 16:13)
choose – Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 11
inspire – 2 Timothy 3:16
lead – Acts 8:29; Romans 8:14
command – Acts 13:2, 4
give permission – Acts11:12
forbid – Acts16:6-7
be jealous – James 4:5
be grieved – Ephesians 4:30; Isaiah 63:10 (or “vexed”)
be insulted – Hebrews 10:29
be lied to – Acts 5:3, 4
be blasphemed – Matthew 12:31, 32
give invitations – Revelation 22:17
strive with people- Genesis 6:3
be resisted – Acts 7:51
be tested, tempted – Acts 5:9
be described as “He/Him” – John 14:16, 17; 16:7-8, 13-14 (recorded 12 times in John 16 alone).
He is distinct from God the Father & Jesus Christ the Son – Matthew 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Acts 10:38; 15:28.
Implications for Us
If the Holy Spirit is a PERSON we can approach Him knowing that He hears and understands us; He is not a formula, or a concept. He will extend his love and strength to us in time of blessing or need. He is able to guide us throughout the Christian life. We can (and should) get to know Him. He meets with us; demands obedience, offers fellowship, intimacy; guidance, responsiveness; flexibility to listening hearts (eg Hebrews 3:7, 8).
2. HIS NAMES AND TITLES
The names and titles of the Holy Spirit describe His character and attributes.
Has the attributes and performs the works of God:
called “My Spirit” – Genesis 6:3
called God – Acts 5:3, 4; Ephesians 4:30
called Spirit of Glory and of God – 1 Peter 4:14
eternal - Hebrews 9:14
omniscient –1 Corinthians 2:10, 11
omnipotent - Luke 1:35; Romans 15:19
omnipresent - Psalm 139:7-13
creator - Genesis 1:26; Job 33:4
gives new birth - John 3:1-8
involved in Jesus’ resurrection – Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18
ranked as equal with Father and Son - 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19 (in the baptismal command given by Jesus)
inspired the Word of God – 2 Timothy 3:16 with 2 Peter 1:21
source of Divine power – Matthew 12:28 with Luke 11:20; Acts 19:11 with Romans 15:19
appoints, commissions and sends God’s ministers – Acts 13:2, 4 with Matthew 9:38; Acts 20:28
directs where the Gospel should be preached – Acts 16:6, 7, 10
called ”Spirit of your Father” (God) – Matthew 10:20
The Scriptures describe the Trinity (term coined by the church much later):
the Father who is God (Romans 1:7);
the Son who is God (Hebrews 1:8);
the Spirit who is God (Acts 5:3, 4).
He proceeds from the Father – John 15:26; John 14:16; through Christ – Acts 2:33.
The same Holy Spirit brings us to Christ (John 6:44); supernaturally reveals the truth of Christ to us (John 16:13); lives in us (individually and corporately), energizing, directing, empowering us as the children of God.
We need to submit to His authority and will and be led by Him; kept by Him (cf Jude 20, 21).
Christ was led by Him, eg Luke 4
sent in the name of Christ – John 14:26
sent through Christ’s intercession –
the Greek has two words for another:
heteros = another of a different kind;
allos = another of the same kind (used in the NT
to stand in the place of Christ when He ascended – John 16:7
Christ is the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit – Matthew 3:11
came to glorify Christ – John 16:14
indwells believes as Christ dwelling in our hearts - Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:9, 10
imparts the life of Christ to us – Romans 8:2.
Reflects the glory of God in us and in the Church – 1 Peter 4:14. Helps us glorify God.
Described as such in John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7.
came to continue the work of Christ
“alongside” Christians and give power, assurance, authority to do the work of Christ
He would give them invisibly what Jesus gave them visibly
He would not be restricted to one place at a time. (Jesus’ work continues, but the Holy Spirit does it on earth)
comforts the church – Acts 9:31
gives supernatural God’s joy to Christians (irrespective of circumstances) – Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
He is our teacher: John 16:12, 13.
We need to be teachable.
Spirit of the Holy One. Spirit of God.
He is the one who “sets us apart” to God, transforms us, makes us holy.
Sanctifies the church – Romans 15:16; makes us “saints”.
Spirit of Wisdom – Exodus 28:3; Ephesians 1:17.
Wise, sensitive, imparts the wisdom of God to us.
The Holy Spirit is promised in various places in the Bible, eg
promised throughout the OT (Ezekiel 36:27; Joel 2:28)
promised by Jesus Christ (Luke 24:49; Galatians 3:14). See also Ephesians 1:13
confirms and validates God’s promises in our lives
John 14:17, 27; 16:13 He is the personification of Truth. He:
speaks the truth;
reveals and verifies the truth of God, His Word, Jesus Christ;
opens our eyes, gives us illumination, understanding and power to implement the Truth in our experience;
does not speak of Himself, but the words and life of Christ;
jealously guards God’s truth, eg Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:1-11
Referred to in Hebrews 10:29; Zechariah 12:10. Imparts God’s grace to us:
to repent for salvation
to live for Him, in a way that pleases God.
If we drive away the spirit of grace we arguably cut ourselves off from God’s mercy.
Makes us free from the “law of sin and death”. Gives us abundant life. Romans 8:2; Revelation 11:11. He also gives us life as the Creator, the “breath of God”, Psalm 104:30; Isaiah 42:5.
The letter of the law “kills”, but the Spirit gives life – 2 Corinthians 3:6.
The “agent” of our adoption, or incorporation in the family of God as His legal heirs- Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5, 6. Confirms our sonship in our hearts.
Spirit of Burning – Isaiah 4:4
Searching out, refining, burning dross, illuminating the believer.
SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Symbols “speak” to us of the work of the Holy Spirit – John 7:38
Spirit means: ”breath” or “wind:” Hebrew “Ruach”; Greek “Pneuma”. Ezekiel 37:7-10; Acts 2:2 Jesus used the illustration of wind to signify the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion – John 3:8. He subsequently “breathed” on the disciples and imparted the Holy Spirit (John 20:22).
purges (burning out dross and impurity)
The Holy Spirit gives us burning zeal, boldness. Speaking of the power of our witness, someone once said, “If you are on fire for Christ, people will come to watch you burn”.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (type); John 4:14; 7:38, 39.
Water in the Bible symbolizes life, renewal. The Holy Spirit is the source of life. Much of the church is like “clouds without water” (Jude), promising but not delivering. Water:
quenches thirst, refreshes
The water of the Spirit continues to flow through willing believers.
seal implies ownership and responsibility – we belong to Him (have the seal, or branding, of God in us – 2 Timothy 2:19)
security- Ephesians 1:13, cf Revelation 7:3. In Roman times, tampering with official seals was judged severely. We must be careful that we do not break the seal - Ephesians 4:30
authority – someone using the seal of another (eg a person in power, such as a Governor) acted with their authority. We have Christ’s authority for His work (Matthew 28:18-20).
Oil was used for anointing (priests, kings, one prophet). Jesus was anointed (Acts 10:38). Also used for food, light, balm for healing. The Holy Spirit in us produces these things.
He who anoints us is God – 2 Corinthians 1:21.
Speaks of grace, gentleness, purity, peace, patience. The Holy Spirit “brooded” over the waters in Genesis 1:2. In form of a dove at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16 and the 3 other Gospels).
Down-payment, deposit, token, pledge, guarantee of balance of payment to come.
The Holy Spirit is Divine Science.
Denies the personality of the Holy Spirit; some believe the Holy Spirit is the spirit of a person who has died.
The invisible active force of Almighty God.
The influence of deity, the light of Christ, a divine liquid.
Unification Church (“Moonies”)
Holy Spirit is a female Spirit (cf Gnostics believed the Holy Spirit to be a “female principle”). Cleanses sins.
Teaches the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and the same person.
Denied the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Scripture. Replaced the Bible’s claims of supernaturalism with theories of naturalism and humanism. Denied the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation.
Denies the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Reduces the Holy Spirit to “an allegorical way of speaking of ‘the possibility of a new life which is opened up by faith”. The work of the Holy Spirit is replaced with “human behaviour”.