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Sunday, March 30, 2014 am                Basics Index

 

BACK TO BASICS – 12
The Godhead – 5
What is the Work of the Holy Spirit? Today

 

We have been discussing the Godhead this month.  The past 2 weeks we have been studying the Holy Spirit.  We have noted that learning of Him is a challenge.  He is different than God the Father and God the Son, yet He is God and a distinct being in the Godhead.  On author noted that Jesus left “footprints in the sand” becoming a man, but the Holy Spirit did not.  Even Jesus said of Him, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)  To us He is like the wind, but very much He has made His presence known.  AND while there may be some mystery in understanding Him, there are things we are taught about Him in the Bible. 

Last week we examined His work in times past. We noted His work in the life of Jesus, and discussed in detail His work of miracles. We also noted His part in inspiration – both the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles and writers (who were inspired – not all were) had the Holy Spirit guiding them as they taught and wrote the message of God’s word. 

But that still leads to the question – what about today?  As with His person, there is much debate over how He dwells within us and how He guides us.   I will admit that I do not have a full understanding of His work, but there are certain elements that we should eliminate as we seek to understand how He works AND there are thing we are told that He does for us.   With that in mind, let us discuss His work today. 

 I.                    The Work of the Holy Spirit Today

a.        When we obey the gospel we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  While there is debate as to exactly what that involves (is He the gift or is it salvation - the gift He provides?) we know that it is not a miraculous indwelling.  We also know that the Holy Spirit is instrumental in our salvation AND in some way He dwells within us (i.e. He influences us).

b.       His work in our salvation – 1 Cor. 6:11 – when we obey the gospel we are both sanctified and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”   Holy Spirit has a part in our salvation!
Jesus specifically instructed His apostles to baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
He purifies our souls – 1 Pet. 1:22, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,” This purification is associated with God’s grace in our salvation – it is His part in making us clean.
Titus 3:4-5 says “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:4–5, NKJV)
John 3:5, “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  NOTE: IT is possible that being born of the Spirit is receiving the gift from the Spirit (salvation)

c.        He intercedes for us  - Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
This verse is of great comfort as it describes His part as we pray to God.   NOTE: Jesus also intercedes for us – Heb. 2:17-18, Heb. 7:25 – “He always lives to make intercession for them” (those who come to God through Him).

d.       He convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment – John 16:7-11.   Jesus was explaining that He would do this when He came.

e.       He bears witness – 1 John 5:6 says, “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 

f.         He leads us – Rom. 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. The idea of leading us is that He goes before us and gives us direction. 

g.        He strengthens us – Eph. 3:16, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

h.       He sanctifies us – “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11).  The spirit sanctifying and justifying us means that He is instrumental in setting us apart to God.  I am convinced this is a part of His cleansing and purifying us (hence our salvation). 

i.         He dwells in us – Romans 8:9-11, 1 Cor. 6:19-20, Ac. 5:32 – that He dwells within us is clearly taught. 
The question is HOW? While we may not fully understand it, there are some conclusions we can reach.  For example we need to understand that the way He dwells within us is NOT:

                                                   i.      Though feelings or enlightenment.  We hear many today say “God led me” in a particular decision.  Feelings are a dangerous source of authority.

                                                  ii.      Through visions or dreams. 

                                                iii.      Through giving us special “enlightenment.”  Such as the teachings of Calvinism.  Some teach that you cannot understand the word of God unless the Holy Spirit enlightens you.  This presents problems on many fronts. 

 

 II.                  He influences us through His word. 

                     i.      While there are things the Holy Spirit does for us which are not directly related to how He influences us (i.e. He intercedes for us, He purifies our souls, etc. – NOTE: These are things He does OUTSIDE of us ), in those ways that He DOES influence us – it is related to His word.

                    ii.      We need to understand that the Holy Spirit is NOT the word and the word is NOT the Holy Spirit.  BUT, the word of God IS the instrument through which He influences us today.  As I understand scripture, you cannot separate His influence from His word.

                  iii.      Consider the following things the word does that we have already discussed concerning the Holy Spirit.

a.        The word saves us -
Romans 1:16 describes the gospel as “the power of God unto salvation.” I contend that the way the Holy Spirit influences us today is THROUGH the word.
James 1:21, Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls

The word purifies our souls – notice again and continue reading 1 Pet. 1:22-23, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
Notice how we are purified through the Spirit by obeying the TRUTH!  Furthermore, it is emphasized that we are born again of incorruptible seed THROUGH the word of God. 
1 Cor. 4:15 says the Corinthians were begotten through the gospel.

b.       It convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment by revealing these subjects. 
On Pentecost, Peter preached to them and they were “cut to the heart” (Ac. 2:37).  What pricked their hearts?  It was the message they had just HEARD. 

c.        The word testifies or bears witness – Note that 1 John 5:6 says that “the Spirit is truth.”   John 5:39, Jesus taught that the scriptures bore witness of Him.
The word of God is the starting point of where we learn about Him.

d.       The word leads us – Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

e.       The word strengthens us - Col. 2:6-7 – “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

f.         The word sanctifies us – John 17:17 – “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

g.        The word of Christ is to dwell in us – Col. 3:16,  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

NOTE: In scripture we are told that
God the Father dwells in us – John 14:23 says that if we love Jesus, both He and the Father will “make our home with him.”
Jesus dwells in us – Gal. 2:20, Eph. 3:17 which says that Christ dwells in our hearts.
And we have just noted that the word of God dwells in us.
JUST as God the Father, the Son and the Word dwell in us, I am convinced it is in this same way the Spirit dwells in us.  He influences us and that is related to His word.  He doesn’t take over our lives. 
We need to let Him lead us – Rom. 8:12-14, Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.   I repeat that this is not some miraculous indwelling – rather it is His influence.
We need to determine to walk as He instructs!  Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
We need to dwell on the things of the Spirit.  Romans 8:5–6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
But HOW do we do this?  We appeal to the word of God.  Ephesians 6:17 says, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

Consider Galatians 5:16-25.  IT begins, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (16-18)  After this Paul discusses what it is to walk in the flesh – it is to be carried away by the works of the flesh.  Then in vs. 22-25 we find the fruit of the Spirit that we are to live within. 
NOW how do we learn about the qualities of the flesh and godliness?  It is THROUGH the word He has revealed to us.  We learn the qualities we are to strive to develop and the qualities we are to strive to avoid. That is how the Spirit will influence us today.

 

And there we have a brief examination of the work of the Holy Spirit today.  Like God the Father and Jesus the Son He ought to dwell in our lives.   For that to happen, we must strive to obey the Gospel – both in becoming children of God and remaining faithful as such.  What influence does He have in your life?