Pudding, Praise and….. the Promised Holy Spirit?
1. The Person of the Holy Spirit
He is God…
– A person, not a thing
– The third person of the Trinity (Matthew 28) *
– Spirit: Pneuma = breath, wind
He is called…
– The Spirit of God (Gen 1 v 1)
– The Spirit (Matthew 4 v 1)
– The Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1 v 21)
– The Spirit of Jesus (Phil 1 v.19)
– The Spirit of Truth (John 15 v 26)
– The Counsellor (John 15 v 26)
– The Comforter (John 15 v 26 KJV)
He is like…
– a Wind (Acts 2 )
– Fire (Acts 2)
– Water (John 4)
– A Dove (John 1)
All this is truth about the Holy Spirit – but knowing about someone can never be a substitute for actually knowing them ourselves.
*As the third person of the Trinity the Holy Spirit has a specific job role=- namely to glorify Jesus. This may be why we see little of Jesus and the apostles praying to, praising or glorifying the Holy Spirit. Although he is worthy of all this because he is God, he does not draw attention to himself – He is self-effacing.
2. The Promise of the Holy Spirit
We can see the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout the Old Testament. Below are just a small number of many verses that tell about the way the Holy Spirit is portrayed throughout the Old Testament.
• Present at Creation (Genesis 1 v 2)
• Equipped people for service (Numbers 31 v.3; 35 v.31)
• Inspired prophecy (Numbers 11 v 25)
• Equipped for service (Judges 3 v 10; 6 v.34;11.v29;)
• Guided God’s people ( Neh 9 v.20)
• Admonished God’s people (Neh 9 v 30)
• Inspired the Scriptures (2 Tim 3 16; 2 Peter 1 v 20-21)
• NB – the Holy Spirit was active throughout the Old Testament, guiding and leading God’s people, equipping them for service and inspiring the prophets – but he was given to only a few people. The general outpouring of the Holy Spirit that has been ours since Pentecost was not available to them
The OT Prophets then pointed forward to a new day, when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all God’s people
• Isaiah 43 v 18-21 “water in the desert”
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
• Isaiah 44 v 1-5 “my Spirit on your offspring…”
But now listen, Jacob, my servant,
Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what the LORD says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun,whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Some will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The LORD’s,’
and will take the name Israel.
• Ezekiel 37 v 1-14 “dem bones”
The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORDsays to these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.’”
• Ezekiel 47 v 1-12 “the river from the temple”
The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits[a] and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets.The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea.11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
• Joel 2 v 28-32 “I will pour out my Spirit”
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the LORD will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the LORD has said,
even among the survivors
whom the LORD calls.
Here is maybe the most explicit of God’s promises about the outpouring of the heavenly gift: a day when God would indiscriminately pour out His Spirit on both men and women, accompanied by prophesying andn power.
All the Old Testament prophets pointed towards a day when the reality of God would be available to all. The new testament begins with the voice of another prophet – John the Baptist – prophesying exactly the same thing:
• “ I baptise you with water. But one more powerful than I will come.. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Luke 3 v 16)
• “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him…”the man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptise with the Holy Spirit” (John 1 32-34)
And when Jesus starts his ministry, he too talks about the day – now imminent – when the Spirit would be poured out:
• John 4 v 10-13 “living water”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
• John 7 v 37-39 “streams of living water”
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
• John 14 v 16 “another Counsellor…”
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth.
• John 16 v 7 “for your own good” *
But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
• Acts 1 v 8 “you will receive power”
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
*Amazing but true: Jesus was telling his disciples that would be better off when he went because the Holy Spirit would be with them. The implications for this are stunning: we are better off now we have the Holy Spirit than we would be if Jesus was standing physically in our midst!
3. The Presence of the Holy Spirit
Finally God “presses the button”. On that wonderful day of Pentecost a new era started: the era of the Holy Spirit.
Pete quoted the prophecy from Joel to confirm that the time had come.
We still live in that day today. The rest of this series is about living in that new era.
So,,,how do can we experience those “springs of living water” for ourselves?
Jesus had a very clear answer to that question.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
So – let’s ask. Shall we?