Often in ministry, pastors in counseling situations end up dealing with the felt needs of individuals. But underlying those felt needs are the actual needs. The real needs are usually related to incorrect actions that stem from aberrant thinking, i.e., biblical ignorance or poor theology. As a man thinks in his heart so is he, states, Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV).
Accordingly, and in order to shape proper thinking, one must be guided by God’s Word. But in order to manifest right actions, God’s Word must be overwhelmingly powerful and convincing in the conscience of the individual—in his or her thinking. Your conscience is no better than that which you are conscientious of.
This is where studying the great doctrines of the faith comes into play. When a person grasps and understands all that Scripture has to say about a particular subject, it will often be persuasive to the conscience—and guide the person into right actions.
With that in view, I would like to study the great Bible doctrine of the Holy Spirit with you this week. May the profound truths about the Third Person of the Trinity help to further mature you in the faith and strengthen your thinking, conscience, and ensuing actions.
Jesus said to the disciples, and ostensibly to believers today, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever” (John 14:16). Jesus’ ministry with His disciples was limited by time as He would soon ascend into Heaven. It is comforting, and only known through studying and applying this truth of the Scripture, that God has empowered all believers with the Third Person of the Trinity!
Known also as the Helper in Scripture, the Holy Spirit is God; the Bible identifies Him as one of three Persons existing as one God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As the third member of the Godhead, He is tasked with the ministries of helping and empowering. Via His enabling, every Public Servant who is a follower of Christ has the ability to do what is right in his personal and vocational life. In the study that follows, Do You Grieve or Quench the Holy Spirit? we will learn more about who the Holy Spirit is, His presence and ministry, and His enabling, helping abilities in the believer’s life. It follows that, given His multifaceted positive functions, you would not want to grieve or quench Him.
II. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON
A. RECOGNIZED AS A PERSON
Personal pronouns like “He” or “Him” are used to refer to the Holy Spirit rather than “it.” Note that “He” or “Him” is used four times in John 14:17 to refer to the Holy Spirit:
That is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
B. ATTRIBUTES OF PERSONALITY
Personality is defined by the presence of intellect, emotion and volition. Notice each of these is a part of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the following respective passages.
Romans 8:26 and 27 reveal that the Holy Spirit has intellectual capacity. He possesses the ability to know and understand reality:
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words . . . He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
What a comforting passage! As we often fumble around in our prayers, the Holy Spirit has the intellectual capacity to cut to the chase and read the desire of our hearts—effectuating our prayers to God the Father! He helps us to pray. (This passage has led me to conclude that quantity is more important than quality when it comes to praying.)
Further, relative to intellect, in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 notice that the Holy Spirit has the ability to search and comprehend:
For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit aids in our understanding of both God and self. All of the above to say, the Holy Spirit is not some kind of ghost, nor is He esoteric in terms of our understanding of Him; He is a person as revealed by His intellectual capacity. Accordingly,
HE WHO DWELLS IN THE BELIEVER IS BOTH PERSONABLE AND INTELLIGENT. IT FOLLOWS THAT WE SHOULD STRIVE TO HAVE A PERSONAL, INTELLECTUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM!
The Holy Spirit possesses the ability to experience emotion. One example is Ephesians 4:29-30. This passage reveals that He grieves when we use the temple He dwells in (our physical body, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:16) to
speak or do things that are unbecoming or uncharacteristic of Him; i.e., when you, as an ambassador of Christ, somehow and in multifarious ways, mischaracterize the very nature of Him whom you actually carry around inside of you:
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The Holy Spirit possesses the ability to determine and/or act decisively. This too reveals personableness as evidenced in 1 Corinthians 12:7 with 11. Herein the Apostle Paul reveals that the Holy Spirit is in charge of determining and distributing spiritual gifts to believers:
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good . . . . But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.
Acts 13:2 and 15:28 respectively also serve to reveal the volitional aspect of the Holy Spirit:
While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials . . . .”
In summary of this first insight regarding the nature of the Holy Spirit, illustratively throughout Scripture God the Holy Spirit possesses intellect, emotion, and volition which, when taken together, underscore that He is not a thing, or a ghost, but rather can be likened to a person. This theological knowledge manifests in the practice of a very personable way of living with Him! As a believer you can know Him who lives in your heart! In fact, God the Holy Spirit desires that—He desires to have an ever-increasing personal relationship! So, learn to talk to Him through prayer; consult with Him and enjoy His ever-present company! He is there to help you, encourage you, guide you and correct you! Memorize and meditate often on the opening passage of this study, John 14:16, in regard to the purpose and role of the third Member of the Trinity. Again, Jesus states regarding His eventual departure from His disciples:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”
III. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD
Scripture expressly declares that the Holy Spirit has the same attributes as does God. Note these common characteristics in the chart below.
The Holy Spirit: Attributes of Deity
|Omnipresent|| Present Everywhere
|Eternal No Beginning or End||Hebrews 9:14|
|Truth Veracity; Integrity||1John 5:7; John 16:13|
Scripture also expressly states that the Holy Spirit is obviously a different personage. This harmonizes with the classic, tightest definition of the Trinity: “Three different personages of the same numerical essence.” If the Holy Spirit is omniscient, omnipresent, eternal and infallible (i.e., incapable of being untruthful), it stands to reason that He, too, is God. Note the following in this regard:
PSEUDO-CHRISTIAN CULTS ALL HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON—A FAULTY DEFINITION OF THE TRINITY, ERRING AT SOME BIBLICALLY EXPLICIT POINT OF DEFINITION
B. STATEMENTS OF DEITY
In further support of the fact that the Holy Spirit is God, in 2 Corinthians 3:17 the Apostle Paul states explicitly the deity of the Holy Spirit:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
In Acts 5:3-4, Peter references an aforementioned point in this study, the personable nature of the Holy Spirit as illustrated by the fact that Ananias lied to Him. But notice further that Peter associates lying to the Holy Spirit as synonymous with lying to God:
But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
These passages and many others underscore the historic scriptural underpinnings for the doctrine of the Trinity, and specifically herein, that the Holy Spirit is a member of it.
IV. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
As a personable member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit has certain responsibilities; what follows is an assortment of those. For instance, according to Psalm 104:30, the Holy Spirit is active in creation and its continual renewal:
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground.
In a world cursed with sin, one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to sustain and maintain our fallen earth and its ecosystem prior to the coming of a new heaven and new earth as described in Revelation 21:1 and 22:3.
Last, in terms of a quick survey, note yet another important responsibility of the Holy Spirit:
The Holy Spirit Bears Witness of Christ
|• Attests that Jesus is the Christ||John 15:26|
|• Will disclose or reveal Christ||John 16:14|
|• Will not speak of Himself||John 16:13|
V. THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN SALVATION
One of the most important areas of the Spirit’s work is with regard to God’s plan of salvation. Yet another connotation of the Holy Spirit being our Helper is related to an individual’s salvation. Jesus states in this regard (John 16:7-8):
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And he, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.”
It is by the Holy Spirit that sinners are convicted of their sin and born into God’s Kingdom, John 3:5-6:
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
As it specifically relates to the role of the Holy Spirit in salvation, note what He does in this regard per Titus 3:5-7:
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Lastly in terms of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in salvation, in Ephesians 1:13-14 the Holy Spirit seals and guarantees the believer’s salvation:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation— having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
An explanation about the sealing with the Holy Spirit is in order. A seal was an ancient device, usually a signet ring or cylinder engraved with the owner’s name or with a particular design. It was used to seal goods, to demonstrate ownership, to attest to a document’s authenticity, or to physically impress upon something an early form of a trademark. To the point, the idea of an ancient seal indicated ownership and security. Here in Ephesians Paul picks up on this cultural understanding in order to represent and communicate the believer’s guarantee of future blessings.
IT IS THE PERSONAL PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIFE OF THE BELIEVER WHOM GOD STATES IS THE PROMISE OF OUR INHERITANCE IN THE FUTURE!
What a wonderful assurance of salvation! When saved by the Holy Spirit, one is simultaneously sealed by the Holy Spirit, for all eternity per this magnificent passage (and many others)!
VI. THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BELIEVER’S LIFE
A. HE INDWELLS EVERY BELIEVER
The setting of the book of Romans records the Apostle Paul speaking to saved individuals; it is one of the primary books of the New Testament regarding the doctrine of salvation. In chapter 8, verse 9, notice how the Holy Spirit relates to those who are redeemed:
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
This passage unequivocally indicates that it is impossible to be a Christian and not be indwelled by the Holy Spirit. There should be no question in your mind, that if you have come to faith in Christ, you are also indwelled by the Spirit of God.
B. HE GUIDED THE AUTHORSHIP OF SCRIPTURE
Another ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer can be identified in 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (the “we” that follows is a reference to Paul and the other Apostles):
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
In other words, the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of Scripture—what they wrote came from Him; He guided the penning of Scripture that so blesses every believer to this day!
2 Peter 1:20-21 serves to further underscore this. (I like how the Jerusalem Bible translation states the original Greek text here):
No prophecy ever came from man’s initiative. When men spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit who moved them.
C. THE BELIEVER’S RESPONSIBILITIES IN RELATIONSHIP TO HIM
Again, given the significant and profound benefits that inure to the life of the believer, no follower of Christ in his right mind would ever want to short-circuit His empowerment in any way. But yet, the Bible says that condition is possible—so beware!
1. Do Not Grieve Him
As mentioned earlier in the study, in Ephesians 4:30 Paul instructs the believers at the Church in Ephesus not to grieve the personally-indwelling Holy Spirit. This is worth stating again: God is grieved when believers fail to live in accordance with their new life in Christ; you have been bought with a price— and you carry around inside of you the Holy Spirit. Represent Him well! Don’t make His inhabitance a difficult daily chore that He does not look forward to!
2. Do Not Quench Him
In 1Thessalonians 5:19 Paul states imperatively,
Do not quench the Spirit.
If it is normative for the Holy Spirit who dwells in you to continually create a fire in your bosom to live righteously, then sinning carries the idea of dousing, or quenching that fire. Do not douse all of His power that would otherwise consistently and continually dwell within you!
3. Be Continually Filled With Him
Continuing along the lines of His personal empowerment to enable you to live righteously, take careful note of Ephesians 5:18:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit . . . .
Herein Paul is not so much contrasting two different kinds of lifestyles as he is comparing two lives that are controlled by outer forces. This passage indicates that it is normative and desirable for the indwelled believer to be totally controlled by an outer force: in this case not wine, but the power of the Holy Spirit. He should permeate every area of your being, which in the case of a Public Servant should include policymaking! There must be no compartmentalization as to what portion of one’s life is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit. It follows that to oppose His filling in any area is in essence to respectively quench Him.
In a cursory study of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, the following point should also be well understood:
WE ARE BAPTIZED IN THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN WE ARE SAVED—BUT THERE ARE MANY SUBSEQUENT FILLINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Whereas the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer occurs in a positional sense at the time of salvation, in a practical, ongoing sense, there are many fillings of the Holy Spirit. These fillings occur whenever the believer exhales sin (confesses and repents) and then inhales, so to speak, i.e., asks God to reappropriate the fullness and control of the Holy Spirit in and over the throne of his life. To illustrate and underscore this important truth regarding the Holy Spirit, note that in the book of Acts there is only one time when believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit—at the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2—but there are numerous times throughout this narrative, historical book when the believers are filled with the Holy Spirit. Importantly, deal with sin in your life in order to remain filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.
4. A Further, Critical Understanding Relative To Being Filled
Colossians 3:16 provides a keen insight in regard to further understanding this vitally important truth:
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
The same attributes listed at the end of Ephesians 5:18 appear here also in Colossians 3:16—only the cause is different in each passage. That is to say letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly and being filled with the Spirit in a deductive sense are the same thing, i.e., being filled in Spirit is commensurate with the degree to which the Word of Christ dwells in you! This is a huge insight: the Word is your charging station that allows your vehicle to remain energized and operate effectively for His glory and purpose: no Word, no power.
5. Keep From Sin
Galatians 5:16 states:
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Building on this concept further, the key to living a victorious Christian life is the lifelong fundamental habit of Bible study, which will keep you filled with the Spirit; this is synonymous with walking in the Spirit, which is the deterrent to carrying out the desires of the flesh.
TO THE DEGREE YOU ARE FILLED WITH THE WORD IS THE DEGREE YOU ARE NOT TEMPTED TO BE FLESHLY AND ARE POWERFUL IN THE SPIRIT
D. EVIDENCE OF THE BELIEVER BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
When a believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, he will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. Examine Galatians 5:22-25 with this in mind:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
The nine characteristics of being filled with the Holy Spirit in this passage are not things you are supposed to conjure up and discipline yourself to do as much as they are evidence, or indicators of one who is filled with the Holy Spirit: He comes out of your pores when you let Him! Do these attributes of His indwelling, filling, and empowering presence characterize you? Are you exhibiting these qualities in your own life? What unconfessed sin(s) is/are preventing Him from permeating and exuding from your life?
It should also be noted here that in any study on the Holy Spirit that being filled with the Spirit is both critical and progressive. That is to say this: A believer must be filled with the Spirit versus walking in the flesh – that is of critical importance. But being filled with the Spirit is also progressive: that is to say that a believer who has walked in the Spirit for many years will evidence more of the fruit of the Spirit than a believer who has walked in the Spirit for only several months.
Observe carefully and meditate on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
This passage must have major significance in every believer’s life!
GOD HAS BOUGHT YOU OUT OF THIS WORLD AT A TREMENDOUS COST TO HIMSELF! AT THE SAME TIME THAT HE PURCHASED YOU WITH THE BLOOD OF CHRIST, HE BOUGHT YOU, MY FRIEND!— HE INDWELLED YOU WITH HIS HOLY SPIRIT!
And now He expects you to serve Him and glorify Him as you live out the remainder of your earthly existence! These theological truths regarding the Holy Spirit need to re-create and shape your identity: how you see yourself in this life! They need to inform every area of your service to Him: Personal devotion of one’s self, personal commitment to family, and personal commitment in service as a Public Servant to your nation. Do not grieve or quench Him in any area of your life!