Christianity 101: The Holy Spirit

We are on to part six of our Series Christianity 101, The Holy Spirit.  This material in based on the book…

You can find the complete series here

Of the three persons in the Godhead- Father, Son and Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit is the least known and understood. 
Yet he is most vitally and intimately involved in our initial conversion and birth into the family of God an in our ongoing development as Christians. 
The important truth is… The Holy Spirit is as much a person a God the Father and God the Son.   He is not an impersonal “it”.
Some Biblical terms help reinforce the “impersonal” stereotype.

– Both the Hebrew and Greek terms for spirit translate “breath” or “wind”
Misunderstanding may also come from the fact that the work for the Holy Spirit is not as visible as the work of the Father and the Son.
The many symbols of the Holy Spirit like oil, fire and water also may give an impersonal feel.

Personality-Mind, Feelings, Will
Personality is not a perfect term.  It has the connotation of being like a human person.  While there are similarities we still need to keep in mind that Man was made in the image of God and not the reverse.
Holy Spirit has a mind, feelings, and will.
He can think, he has emotions, and can choose just as god the Father and God the son do.
John Chapters 14-17 Jesus gave some of the clearest scriptural teaching about the Holy Spirit
• The Comforter or Counselor: One who acts as our attorney (solicitor) John 14:26.  Obviously an impersonal force can not do this.
• The Holy Spirit is equal in his nature to the Father and the Son.  You can’t explain the Holy Spirit apart form this understanding.
• The Holy Spirit does things, acts as only a person would.  See Page 85
1. He Speaks. 
2. He Strives
3. He Helps
4. He intercedes for us.
5. He Reveals, searches and knows
• The Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts  “to each one, just as he determines” 1 Cor. 12:11
Again all of these actions are of a personal being.

Holy Spirit is Deity
The Holy Spirit is not only a “person,” He is deity
• “Now the Lord is the spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17)
• “God’s Spirit lives in you” (1 Cor. 3:16)

The Holy Spirit possesses attributes that belong only to Deity.
• Eternal  (Heb 9:14)
• He is omnipresent (everywhere) (Ps 139:7)
• Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2)
• Spirit of Truth (John 16:13)

Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
Five Aspects of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
1. The Spirit Helped create the universe and man (Gen. 1:2)
2. The Spirit equipped individuals for service
• Power to Samson (Jud. 14:6)
• Made Othniel and Judge (Jud. 3:10)
Note:  The Spirit coming on people at this time did not necessarily change their character.  Note King Saul.
• He also gave wisdom and skill to people for particular jobs including those of a non-spiritual nature.  Bezaleel gold and silver smith (Ex. 31:2-5)
1. The work of the Spirit inspired the prophets.                                                           “This is what the lord says…   ”, “The Spirit came into me    …I heard him speaking to me”  etc
2. The work of the Holy Spirit produced moral living.  David pleaded for a clean heart.  Also he begged, “Do not … take your Holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11)
3. The Work of the Spirit foretold the coming of the Messiah. 
Two types of these prophecies.
• Direct indwelling of the Spirit in one messianic figure.   Read Isaiah 42:1-4
• General Message telling about the new covenant people of God with the Spirit being given to all people. .   Read Isaiah 9:2-7  This passage is actually both types.

Holy Spirit Came On Temporarily
In the Old Testament the Spirit came on individuals temporarily, generally for a particular task and for a period of time.  People could have a relationship with him like David but the relationship was not as personal or as permanent as is possible since Pentecost.
• Samson:  He turned away from the Lord and the Spirit withdrew. (Jud. 16:20)
• King Saul “Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul” (1 Sam. 16:14)
Just as the Trinity is only hinted at in the O.T., the picture of the Holy Spirit is not clear in the OT. 
The term “Holy Spirit” is only used 3 times in the O.T.  The NT completes the picture.

Old Testament Foretold His Pouring Out on all People  (p. 88)
The Spirits work in the OT was foretelling the fulfillment of God’s covenant promised to Israel and poured out on “all people.”
Read Isa.44:3
• Read Ezek. 36:26
• Read Joel 2:28-29

• These promises were encouragers of the people:  Complete deliverance and Peace
• This foretelling was always joined with the prophecies of the long-anticipated Messiah, the Redeemer.
• Jesus identified Himself with the promises of a Redeemer.  He read (Isa. 61:1).  “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21)

Arrival of the Promised Gift
The gift of the Holy Spirit was increasingly displayed in Jesus’ lifetime on earth.  He has a particularly intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit.
• He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of Him (Luke 1:35)
• He was led by the Spirit (Matt. 4:1)
• He was anointed for His ministry…(Matt. 3:13-17)
• He offered Himself as a sacrifice through the Spirit (Heb. 9:14)
• He was raised from the dead by the Power of the Spirit (Rom. 1:4)
• He gave commandments to the apostles, to the church, by the Spirit (Acts 1:2)
• He told his disciples that they would be baptized by the Spirit (Acts 1:4-5)
• The Gift came on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).  This was a major outpouring of the Holy Spirit

The Work of the Divine Helper
The Holy Spirit is the executor of the plans and purposes of the Godhead.
• The Holy Spirit convicts of guilt in regard to sin: Without the Holy Spirit we would not believe we are really sinning. Whenever a person comes to a sense of his own sinfulness the Spirit of God has been at work.
• The Holy Spirit convicts of righteousness: The Spirit’s work is to reveal what the holiness of God desires for us.  The Spirit makes us aware of anything that in against God’s righteousness.
• The Holy Spirit convicts of Judgement to come: Only through the work of the Spirit in our lives can we understand the imperative of judgement.  The result of this conviction by the Holy Spirit is His work of regeneration, the new birth of us as new creatures.

Gives Spiritual Gifts
The Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts for the good of the whole body.  The body of Christ is where the Holy Spirit teaches the new believer to grow, learn and serve.  There are four lists of gifts in the NT showing differences and some overlap.  Each Christian has at least one gift.  Some have more but the gifts are always the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Read 1Cor 12:7-11
• Wisdom:  Divine insights that come from the mind of God and his word.
• Knowledge:  More practical insight into every day living.
• Faith:  Special trust that God can indeed move mountains.
• Prophecy:  The Idea of preaching more than foretelling new insights form God.
• Healing:  Physical mental and spiritual healing
• Distinguishing Spirits:  Discern if a spirit is from God or from Satin
• Tongues:  Speaking in Tongues of the Angles
• Interpretations:  Understand what the person who was speaking in tongues was saying
Tongues and “second baptism of the Spirit” Baptism have been somewhat controversial over the years in the Church.  See 1 Cor 14 for some helpful direction in this area.

The illuminating work of the Holy Spirit and the human reactions to such illumination must always keep the Christ of Scripture as the central focus of the work

Gives Spiritual Fruit
When the Holy Spirit does his work in us our lives present the fruit of the spirit in our lives.  (Gal. 5:22-23)
What are the gifts of the Spirit?
• Love
• Joy
• Peace
• Kindness
• Goodness
• Faithfulness
• Gentleness
• Self- Control
Every Christian is indwelt by the Spirit and he is a constant guide to the Christian.  “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”  (Rom. 8:14)

The Spirit’s Sealing
As soon as a person puts his trust in Christ (The key here is real trust.  Put your life in his hands, not just acknowledge that he exists), he is sealed by the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 1:13)  A seal is a symbol of a finished transaction, of ownership, and of security (like a king’s seal ring.)
It is this knowledge that gives us our security of our salvation. 
• This baptism of the Spirit takes place at the time of conversion.
• It happens only once.
• We are sealed and indwelt.
• This is shared by every believer, despite varying degrees of maturity, strength and devotion

Filled with the Spirit
Being filled with the Spirit is not a once and for all experience.  This is a process/ experience that happens again and again.  Being filled with the Spirit implies being given power and boldness for God’s service for a particular need or crisis.
• Eph 5:18 “Be filled with the Spirit” means keep on being filled
• The Spirit is a person.  Therefore, it follows that being filled by the Spirit depends on our relationship with him
• It is a matter of desiring him more fully to occupy, guide, and control every area of our lives
• The test of being filled with the Spirit is not an external sign but rather “Have you given yourself wholly without reservation to God” (Rom. 12:1)
• When we learn to fully trust in him we are then empowered to do eternal work.
• Through the Holy Spirit we are delivered from the power of sin.
• Through the Holy Spirit we come to know, love and server Christ.

Do you have the gift of the Holy Spirit??

Next time:  Chapter 7 “Salvation

Wayne Moran


About waynem

As a Minnesota based photographer and artist I have been greatly influenced by the Upper Midwest. I focus my skills and energies on portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, architectural and fine art work. My best work comes from images first painted in my mind. I mull over a prospective image for weeks or months, seeing it from different angles and perspectives, then finally deciding what to capture. The result is images that deeply touch people's emotions and powerfully evoke memories and dreams. My images are used commercially by companies and organizations ranging from Financial Services firms, mom and pop Ice Cream shops and The Basilica of St Mary to communicate their shared vision and values. Book and magazine publishers have featured my images on their covers. My photographs also grace and enhance the decor of many fine homes.
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1 Response to Christianity 101: The Holy Spirit

  1. Jason Dollar says:

    Thank you for taking blog time to cover basic theology. In our theologically illiterate society every attempt at education helps.
    Furthermore, clarity concerning the Holy Spirit is vital. Keep up the good work.

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