|...he saw the Spirit of God coming down|
on him as a dove
The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is doing a study of The Holy Spirit. The study will look at who the Holy Spirit is, His role in the Trinity, His interaction with man, His role in and after man's salvation. This is an intense study of the Holy Spirit in scripture. We are using the bible as our primary reference resource. These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments below. We welcome your thoughts, questions, comments, and prayers.
Remember as we finished Titus last week we said that the point that Paul was driving home to both him and Timothy was that believers should show their salvation through good works. The ability to
In his prayer for the Ephesians Paul prayed that the Holy Spirit would reveal Himself in their lives and personality
Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. "
This is something that I found on the bible.org websiteYou might as well try to hear without ears or breathe without lungs, as try to live a Christian life without the Spirit of God in your heart. ― D. L. Moody
Someone once articulated that the average church member’s understanding of the Holy Spirit is so vague it is nearly non-existent. Imagine a conversation with a Jehovah witness (JW); it might go something like this. JW: The word Trinity never appears in the Bible and is a myth. Christian: While you are correct that the word Trinity itself never occurs in the Bible the Bible teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are separate persons but one God. JW: The Holy Spirit is merely God’s “active force”1kind of like electricity but not a separate person. Christian: Really! I am not sure; that doesn’t sound right. I will have to get back to you on that.
Let's start with a few basic questions
Who is the Holy Spirit?
What is the biblical evidence for the personhood of the Spirit?
What did the Holy Spirit do in regard to creation and revelation?
What is the Holy Spirit’s role in a person’s conversion and sanctification? What about spiritual gifts?
We are going to explore these things and probably much more during this series. I have no idea of how long this study will last. It will be completely up to the Holy Spirit. When He says that’s enough we’ll end it.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
Most Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. He is a person equal in every way with God the Father and God the Son. He is considered to be the third member of the Godhead or the Trinity.
Now there has been a great deal of discussion about the Trinity.
- What is it?
- Is there really a Trinity?
- Is it three separate persons?
- Is it one person with a split personality?
Some religions or religious groups, even some that say they are Christian, don’t believe in the trinity. Some examples are Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Christian Science, Jehovah' Witnesses, and there are others. They will say, and they are correct, that the word Trinity is not in the bible, but the truth of the Trinity is there.
The Trinity is not the subject of this study series, so we are not going to get into the doctrine of the Trinity, but we do have to talk about it because it’s important in knowing who the Holy Spirit is and His role.
We say that the Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
1. God the Father—Jesus Christ referred to His Father as God
John 6:27 (NLT)27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
2. God the Son—Jesus is identified as being divine
John 1:1 (NLT)1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
While Christ never specifically called Himself "God," His Father did apply the title to Him
Hebrews 1:8 (NLT)8 But to the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. You rule with a scepter of justice.
Jesus acknowledged having unlimited power—an attribute possessed only by the divine Creator
Matthew 28:18 (NLT)18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.
He also accepted worship
John 9:35-38 (NKJV)35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, "Do you believe in the Son of God?"36 He answered and said, "Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?"37 And Jesus said to him, "You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you."38 Then he said, "Lord, I believe!" And he worshiped Him.
3. God the Holy Spirit—After declaring that God raised Christ from the dead, the New Testament goes on to credit the Holy Spirit with the resurrection
Romans 8:11 (NLT)11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Jesus reinforced that idea when He commanded the disciples to baptize new believers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. -
Matthew 28:19 (NLT)19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit’s role as a member of the Trinity
The Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in their divine attributes. Yet each relates to mankind in a different way because He has a specific role. It's very important to understand this distinction: We do not have three gods; we have one God in three persons functioning uniquely and perfectly.
The way of redemption showcases these roles in a clear manner.
The Father designed and organized how mankind would be redeemed
Galatians 4:4-5 (NLT)4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.
He set into motion a complex set of events, actions, and prophecies which culminated in the life and death of a Savior.
The Son carried out the plan
John 6:37-38 (NLT)37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.
He followed the Father's instructions to come to earth, even though that meant He would have to die.
The Holy Spirit sees to it that every person feels a call toward God's saving grace
John 14:26 (NLT)26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.
John 16:5-8 (NLT)5 “But now I am going away to the One who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going.6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you.7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. (Emphasis mine)
Furthermore, He transforms the lives and hearts of those who receive salvation through Jesus Christ.
What is the biblical evidence that The Holy Spirit is a person?
First, the Holy Spirit is a Person. He is not a mystic “power” or “thing.” or an “it” as if the Spirit is a thing or force that we can control or use.
John 14:17 (BBE)17 Even the Spirit of true knowledge. That Spirit the world is not able to take to its heart because it sees him not and has no knowledge of him: but you have knowledge of him, because he is ever with you and will be in you.
This means that we are in a relationship with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a Person who has personal relationships with not only believers, but also with the Father and the Son. We see the Spirit working in conjunction with the Father and the Son throughout the Scriptures.
The Holy Spirit has attributes that only a person could have. He has intelligence, feelings, a will, He prays, He does miracles (humans can’t do this), He can be lied to, He can be insulted, He teaches and He directs.
He has intelligence
1 Corinthians 2:6-13 (NLT)6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten.7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord.9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.
This wisdom Paul is talking about is wisdom taught by the Holy Spirit, who is the perfect Teacher.
He has feelings
Ephesians 4:30-32 (HCSB)30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice.32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.
We can hurt the Holy Spirit’s feeling, or grieve Him. How? Through dependency on self, pride, selfishness, distrust, worry, fear, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, hatred and similar self-centered, negative actions.
Although the Holy Spirit can be grieved he will never leave you because He is our seal, our guarantee.
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NLT)13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
He has a will
1 Corinthians 12:11 (HCSB)11 But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.
Here Paul is talking about the spiritual gifts given to all who believe.
The Spirit gives the gifts whoever he decides to give them to so He has a will. The words “as He wills” indicates that He alone decides and that they are not the result of anybody deserving any gift.
Here is another example of the will of the Holy Spirit
Acts 16:6-10 (HCSB)6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia and were prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the message in Asia.7 When they came to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.8 So, bypassing Mysia, they came down to Troas.9 During the night a vision appeared to Paul: A Macedonian man was standing and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!”10 After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them.
It was not His will for Paul and the group traveling with him to go to Asia, they tried to go to a place called Bithynia but they were prevented from going there too. Then Paul got a vision that directed him to Macedonia and specifically Philippi where some people think he may have met Timothy and his mother and grandmother.
Romans 8:26 (HCSB)26 In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
Likewise, the Spirit helps our weakness. The weakness referred to is our inability to analyze situations and pray intelligently about them. Sometimes we cannot pray because words cannot express the needs we feel. The Spirit's response of sighs too deep for words shows how God through his Spirit enters into our experiences.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
He does miracles (remember humans can’t do this)
Acts 8:39 (HCSB)39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him any longer. But he went on his way rejoicing.
He can be lied to
Acts 5:3-4 (HCSB)3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field?4 Wasn’t it yours while you possessed it? And after it was sold, wasn’t it at your disposal? Why is it that you planned this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God!”
I want you to notice two thing in these verses. The first is that the Holy Spirit is lied to. This means that the Holy Spirit is personal. You cannot lie to a table or to electricity because it is not a person. The second aspect is that lying to the Holy Spirit is equated with lying to God. This means that the Holy Spirit is God.
We are not told how Peter recognized this deception; it was probably by divine illumination. Peter charged Ananias not with deceiving him but with attempting to deceive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is obviously a person, and verse 4 shows that the Holy Spirit is also God.
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
He can be insulted
Hebrews 10:26-29 (HCSB)26 For if we deliberately sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire about to consume the adversaries.28 If anyone disregards Moses’ law, he dies without mercy, based on the testimony of two or three witnesses.29 How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
Deliberate sin is a rejection of the sacrifice of Jesus and to be honest a believer can’t be guilty of this because remember if your salvation was authentic then it is permanent. Deliberate sin The threefold charge follows: (1) contempt for Christ in the thought of trampling under foot; (2) rejecting the blood-bought covenant as worthless and unholy; (3) despising the person and work of the Holy Spirit. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
Next week we'll continue or study of the attributes of the Holy Spirit that prove from the Scriptures that He is a person and we are going to look at all the names for the Holy Spirit in scripture.