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Sunday, March 16, 2014 am                            BasicsIndex

BACK TO BASICS 2014
March – The Godhead
Who is the Holy Spirit?

 

As we continue our study of fundamentals to our faith, we are in the midst of discussing the Godhead.  The past 2 lessons have been directed toward Jesus – noting who He is and that He is God.  Today we want to discuss the Holy Spirit as God.  In connection with this we will also discuss for a few minutes – the TRIUNE God.  Next week we will briefly discuss the work of the Holy Spirit.

 I.                    Who is the Holy Spirit?

a.        The subject of the Holy Spirit is one that is misunderstood and often neglected by brethren.  We profess and proclaim that He is God, but how often do we acknowledge Him.  How often do we thank God for sending the Spirit and the work He has done in our prayers?  Do we consider His part in our prayers (as we do with Jesus as our Mediator)?  After all the Holy Spirit is an intercessor on our behalf as well (Rom. 8:26-27).
We have a pretty good understanding of God the Father and Jesus the Son, but to many the Holy Spirit is a mystery.   Perhaps it is because He is called “the Holy Ghost” and when we think of a “spirit” we think of a force rather than a person.  Perhaps it is a challenge because His work today is different than when the Bible was written (though it is addressed).  Perhaps it is because of the over emphasis of Him by charismatic religions and many denominations today.  Perhaps it is because we relate the terms father and son to humanity (and as such we see YHWH and Jesus as persons) whereas Spirit does not fit into such terms of the physical realm.   The reasons are many. 
In the lessons presented in this study we will NOT answer every question about Him nor will we settle various differences concerning His person and work.  But we will present a fundamental introduction to Him and His work.  With what understanding we have, we can at least eliminate some misconceptions about Him.  

b.       The Holy Spirit is one of three persons of the Godhead whose work is instrumental in our salvation.  He was there at creation (Gen. 1:2) and active throughout the life of Jesus (at His birth, baptism, temptations, His resurrection, etc.)  

c.        The Bible DOES mention Him and addresses many things about Him.  He is mentioned more than 260+ times in the New Testament (all but 3 books - Philemon, 2 & 3 John).  He is also frequently mentioned in the Old Testament though the expression “Holy Spirit” is only found 3 times (Psa. 51:11, Isaiah 63:10-11).
The word of God is His product!  He was “the Helper” who would “guide you into all truth” (Jn. 14:26, 16:13, etc.).

 II.                  The Holy Spirit as God

a.       He is a person –

                                                   i.      A person is defined as “one who has substance, completeness, self-existent, individuality and rationality.” 
While in this world we equate being a person with being human, the qualities of a person are as we just defined.  The Random House Dictionary defines a person from a philosophical standpoint as, “a self-conscious or rational being.”[1]

                                                  ii.      The Holy Spirit is not an it!  He is not a divine influence or a force!  He is not a “ghost”.  
And while He is Spirit, He is so in the same way as God the Father and Jesus are Spirit.   And He is a person in the same way God and Jesus are persons. 

                                                iii.      He possesses qualities of a person – as mentioned above (substance, completeness, self-existent, individuality and rationality). 
He has a mind – Rom. 8:27, “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
He has knowledge – 1 Cor. 2:11, “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
He has will - “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:11)

                                                iv.      He is referred to as “He” – John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13)

                                                  v.      His actions demonstrate that HE is a person.  Just to mention a few:

1.       He speaks – 1 Tim. 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says…”
 Acts 8:29 – He spoke to Philip to overtake the chariot of the Eunuch
Acts 10:19-20 – He spoke to Peter to go to Cornelius

2.       He teaches – John 14:26 – He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance.

3.       He loves – Rom. 15:30, “through the love of the Spirit…”

4.       He can intercede on our behalf – Rom. 8:26.

5.       He can be lied to – Acts 5:3-4

6.       He can be grieved – Eph. 4:30

b.       He is God – possessing the qualities of God

                                                   i.      He is eternal – Heb. 9:14, “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

                                                  ii.      He is omnipresent – Psa. 139:7-10

                                                iii.      He is omniscient – 1 Cor. 2:10-11“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

                                                iv.      He is Holy – as He is so often called.

c.        He is called God

                                                   i.      Acts 5:3-4, when Ananias and Sapphira lied, Peter told them they had lied to the Holy Spirit and then said it was to God.

                                                  ii.       Spirit of the Lord – 2 Cor. 3:18

                                                iii.       Spirit of God – 1 Cor. 3:16

                                                iv.      The Comforter – John 14:16-17

d.       To each of these points many other examples could be added.  They demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is God and a person.

 

 III.                God in 3 Persons – the Godhead

a.        The Godhead.  The term “Godhead” is associated with the “divine nature” or that which makes one God.  As we have noted in our studies this year, there are 3 distinct persons called God and thus part of the “Godhead” or “Godhood”.    Let us take a few moments to discuss the triune nature of God. 

b.       VERY early in the Bible we find God referred to as a plurality.  In Genesis 1:2, the word for God there is Elohim and is plural.  In Gen. 1:26 we read, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:26)

c.        God is 3 distinct persons

                                                   i.      The term “Trinity” (which is not found in the Bible) has reference to one God in 3 distinct persons.   This is a challenging concept that is often misunderstood. 
But the fact that there are 3 persons in the Godhead CANNOT be denied and scripture still be respected.  That is why we have spent so much time establishing each person of the Godhead to be God.  This IS FUNDAMENTAL to our faith. 

                                                  ii.      Seen in numerous passages and events – ALL 3 found distinct on different occasions.

1.       Matt. 3:16, 17 – at the baptism of Jesus we find Jesus (being baptized), the Spirit descending in the form of a dove AND the Father speaking in a voice.

2.       Matt. 28:19 – baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

3.       2 Cor. 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

4.       1 Pet. 1:1-2, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

                                                iii.      Each person of the Godhead is found in passages that indicate He is NOT the others:

1.       Father is God – 1 Cor. 1:3

2.       Jesus is God – John 1:1-3, 14, Phil. 2:5-6, etc.

3.       Holy Spirit is God – Acts 5:3-4

4.       Father is NOT Jesus – John 8:16, “And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.” (John 8:16, NKJV)

5.       Father is NOT Holy Spirit – John 14:26 – the Father would send the Holy Spirit

6.       Jesus is NOT Holy Spirit – Acts 10:38, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

d.       How can God be three, yet we say there is ONE God?

                                                   i.      Scriptures teach there is ONE God – Deut. 6:4, Eph. 4:6, 1 Cor. 12:6, 8:6, Jas. 2:19, etc.

                                                  ii.      The idea of one as it is used of the Godhead is not that of being alone, rather it expresses a complete unity. 

                                                iii.      It is a relational unity within the Godhead – of same substance, essence, will, purpose and mind – yet 3 distinct persons, each with a distinct purpose. 
It is the same type of “one” as you find for Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Their being “one” does not mean they are not 2 distinct beings.

                                                iv.      Perhaps this is best explained as Jesus demonstrated both His unity with God AND yet His distinction.  John 10:25-30 finds Jesus referring to doing the works of the Father, yet in vs. 30 He clearly claims, “I and My Father are one.”  The Jews knew what Jesus was saying.
Also John 17:20-21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

                                                  v.      This is a difficult concept to fully grasp with our human reasoning, especially when we condemn polytheism (and we should) as the three are not three different gods, but ONE God in three persons (coequal, coeternal, and simultaneous in existence).  But it is something we MUST accept as it is clearly taught in scripture. 

And thus we have examined the three persons of the Godhead.  As stated before, understanding this is fundamental to our faith and has a bearing on many doctrines of scripture.  Next week we will examine the work of the Holy Spirit. 



[1] "person." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 14 Mar. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/person>.