The Holy Spirit and You – Session One: Who is the Holy Spirit?
Talk given 17 September 2009.
Listen to this talk (or download – right click here and ‘Save as’):
All the talks in this series will be based on two assumptions:
…that we are confident that we have more to experience of God’s Holy Spirit. Not that we are disappointed in God – but we believe that there are greater things of God that are not yet a reality in our lives.
..and that we want our experience of God’s Holy Spirit to conform to what we see as the New Testament norm
The objectives in this series are as follows:
To understand what the Bible says about the work of the Holy Spirit
To experience what the Holy Spirit says about the work of the Holy Spirit
To apply what the Holy Spirit says about the work of the Holy Spirit
With that in mind, we launch into the first session: Who is the 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 2)
– 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 (Exodus 31 v.3;Numbers 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”
Isaiah 44 v 1-5 “my Spirit on your offspring…”
Ezekiel 37 v 1-14 “dem bones”
Ezekiel 47 v 1-12 “the river from the temple”
Joel 2 v 28-32 “I will pour out my Spirit”
All the Old Testament prophets pointed towards a day when the realisty 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”
- John 7 v 37-39 “streams of living water”
- John 14 v 16 “another Counsellor…”
- John 16 v 7 “for your own good” *
- Acts 1 v 8 “you will receive power”
- 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. We still live in that day today. The rest of this series is about living in that new era.
Questions for Discussion:
“We were all given one Spirit to drink” Discuss.
How could we hinder the work of the Holy Spirit amongst us?
How can we foster the work of the Holy Spirit amongst us?