Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
Holy Spirit Resources on sale now.
About this series
The Holy Spirit
Experiencing His Power and Presence 24/7
Who is the Holy Spirit? Is He more than "The Force?" For many believers, a relationship with the Holy Spirit rarely factors into our day-to-day lives. The truth is, experiencing His power and presence unlocks spiritual living to an entirely new level. This series will help you understand how the indwelling of the Holy Spirit deepens intimacy with God. In the process, you'll experience empowered living that reveals and activates your unique spiritual gifts in ways you never imagined possible.More from this series
What did Jesus teach about the Holy Spirit? Who did He say He was? How does it really work? There’s a context, Jesus makes a promise, there’s a rationale, and there’s a command.
If you will, turn to John chapter 14 and as you go there let me give you the context. The context is this: There is a handful of people, eleven in particular, and probably another hundred and nine at least that are scared to death.
It’s the night before His crucifixion. And He’s been telling them all kind of weird stuff. He just washed their feet, He took a symbol and an event that they’ve known since they were little boys called the Passover and He began to tell them things that He’s been telling them over and over and over about, “I’m the Passover Lamb and I’m going to die and then I’m going to rise from the dead.”
And they could, they really didn’t have a clue of what that whole thing was about.
And they’re starting to get the idea that this Messiah, this Champion was not going to take over Rome, and they weren’t going to sit on thrones, and they weren’t going to take over the whole political system, and all of a sudden they’re seeing that where He’s going and what’s happening is not at all what their expectations are, and they’re afraid.
And so after He washes their feet in John chapter 14 He wants to reassure them. He says, “Do not let your heart be troubled, trust in God. Trust also in Me.”
And He starts to give them some hope, “In my Father’s house there’s many rooms. If it weren’t so I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you I’ll come back and I’ll take you to be with Me that you may be there with Me also. You know the way to the place where I’m going.”
And then I love people like Thomas, you know? It’s kind of like he interrupts this little, “Excuse me, Lord? These other guys may get it but I really don’t.” Thomas said, “Lord, we don’t know where You’re going so how can we know the way?”
And then a passage we often quote and I believe He looked them dead in the eye. And you’ll notice there’s a definite article before each one. And He says to them, “I am the way. I am the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
If you skip down to verse 18 He makes this promise because they’re very afraid and He says, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”
And then if you back up just a little bit He’s going to give them a promise. Now think about this. Sometimes we so get this into Bible stories in another day, in another time. Imagine yourself following and sacrificing, and believing He’s real, and you’ve seen the miracles, and you’ve actually been an eyewitness of people coming back from the dead, and you were one of the people that He gave you parts of the bread and parts of the fish, and you are aware that He is God incarnate but you can’t quite get your arms around the story and He’s telling you that He’s going to leave and you’re afraid and you just wonder, “How does it all fit together?”
They didn’t have what we have. They couldn’t look back. They were looking forward. And then He says, “Look, I won’t leave you as orphans. I’m not going to abandon you.”
And then notice His promise. Look at verse 16 of chapter 14. And He says, “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever.” And then He describes this Counselor or Comforter, this Paraclete. “It’s the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him but you know Him for He lives with you,” and notice this promise, “and will be in you.”
He says He’ll give you another and in Greek there’s a couple key words for “another.” One is “heteros” we get the word like heterosexual. It means someone of a different kind. This word is one of the same kind.
There’s someone who will be called to do life alongside you, He’ll not just be with you as he has in the past, here’s the promise: He will be in you. He’s going to dwell in you. He’s promising them that the Spirit of God – He’s describing the new covenant and some of their minds are going, “Oh, I, what Ezekiel, what, where is this happening?” This was the promise. Could this be?
And He’s telling them that a new day is arriving and He’s going to leave. And the Spirit of the Living God is actually going to indwell inside of them.
Jesus goes on, verse 23, “If anyone loves Me he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him,” notice the plural now, “the Father and the Son. We will come to him and make our home,” or literally, “our abode, our dwelling place.
“We, the Father and the Son, will come to those who are followers who demonstrate their love through obedience, we will come and we will dwell with or make our home with them. He who does not love Me will not obey My teachings.
“These words you hear are not My own. They belong to the Father who sent Me. All of this I have spoken to you while still with you. But the Counselor, the Advocate, the Guide, the Holy Spirit, the Friend whom the Father will send in My name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything that I have said.”
He’s saying that the Spirit of the Living God, the third person of the Tri-unity is going to come and take up residence inside a human body and everything that I ever taught He’ll reveal and manifest the very presence of Jesus and the resurrected power of Jesus of the Father, did you notice the Trinity coming through here?
“The Father will send, the Father and I will dwell. The Spirit will actually take up residence in a human body and His abode will be with you and inside you.”
And then He talks about how it’s relational. “Those who love Me will obey Me, those who follow My teaching.” Those who the conduit of your heart and life, His promise is, “I’ll be in you, not just with you.” His rationale is basically that what I’m about to do is better than staying.
Turn in your Bibles, if you will, just a couple chapters. He gives the great illustration about the Spirit and the relationship with the Father and the Son in chapter 15 and, “I’m the vine and My Father is the vinedresser.” And He gives this picture of abiding that they clearly understood.
And what He teaches them early on, it’s not about performance. What He teaches them early on, it’s about relationship. What He teaches them early on is, it’s the life-giving Spirit that brings transformation and your only real job is just to stay connected to the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And when you’re in relational connection that has to do with, yes, renewing your mind and obedience and the community of God’s people. But that relational connection, the Spirit of God will produce the fruit supernaturally and the fruit will be what He’s like.
And after He gives them that picture in John 15 then here’s His rationale. He says, “But I tell you the truth, it’s for your good or for your advantage that I’m going away. Unless I go away the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go away I will send Him to you.” That’s John 16 verse 7.
Skipping down to verse 12 He says, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can bear now.” But notice the promise. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own, He will speak only what He hears. And He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking what is Mine X and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is Mine and that is why I said the Spirit will take from what is Mine and make it known to you.”
Do you see what He’s saying? “Someone’s going to take up residence inside of you, disciples. And He’s going to take all the truth, anything you’ve ever heard, He’s going to guide you. Right now, Peter, John, James, you got in on the Mount of Transfiguration. That was pretty amazing, wasn’t it? And you were with Me when I raised Jarius’ daughter from the dead.
“And then remember when you had a big question, Peter, and the other guys were over there and, you know, you came over and you talked to Me and I worked through some of those issues with you? Well, while I was talking with you James and John couldn’t talk with Me. I want you to know it’s better because you, James, John, and every believer will have access to me 24/7, unlimited. I will be their Counselor, I will be the Truth, I will reveal the truth of God from His Word. I will speak to them in their heart.
“I will be available. I will live not just on the earth, I will live inside of you. And I’ll manifest the person, the presence, the power, and the reality of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit inside of you.”
I’m not sure most Christians get that at all. I think most Christians, if you asked them, they think the Holy Spirit is a lot like the Force. “Luke! Luke! Obey the Force! Take your hands off the controls! Let the Force guide you!”
They’re creative, wonderful, exciting movies that have been teaching Zen Buddhism for the last thirty some years. And the average Christian, I think, thinks there’s some sort of neutral, spiritual power or energy somehow working somehow. “I don’t know who He is, I don’t know how it works, don’t know what it is, and some people say a lot about Him and some people don’t say much about Him, and other people are just plain afraid of Him,” or “it,” as they say.
When I listen to Christians talk about the Holy Spirit I often hear, “Well it.” It’s not an “it.” It’s a He. It’s a person. Jesus told His early disciples in the midst of their fear and uncertainty that it is better for Him to go because they would have access to God, relationship with God, and intimacy with Himself like no one ever, ever before and we are of that clan. New Testament saints. The story goes on in Acts, He gives them a command. He makes this promise but this isn’t like, “Well, you know, for those of you that are second milers and really want to experience God in an amazing way,” notice the command.
Acts chapter 1 if you want to turn in your Bibles there you may know the story already. I’ll pick it up in verse 4. It says, “On one occasion while He was eating with them He gave them this command, ‘Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift,’” notice He’s speaking of the Holy Spirit, “‘that the Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’”
By the way, the literal meaning of the word “baptism” means “to dip.” The metaphorical meaning has to do primarily with being identified with. It does certainly have to do with water. You know, we are baptized, it’s this picture of the dying with Christ and being raised with Him.
But the meaning of the word “to baptize” primarily means “to be identified with,” “connected with,” “a new identity.” That’s why when a couple of the disciples got their mother to see if they could get, you know, in the places of position Jesus turned to them and said, “Can you be baptized with the baptism that I will baptize with,” speaking of His death.
And they said, “Yes.” What he was saying is, “Can you identify with Me? I’m going to the cross and if you want to follow Me you’re going to have to go to the cross with Me.”
And now He’s saying John baptized with water, it was a baptism of repentance. It was an external thing, it was when people understood they were far from God and they turned from their sin and they found a Savior. “But I tell you what, I’m going to baptize with the Spirit.” And then He’s going to describe and tell them what that means.
Verse 6, “So when they met together they asked Him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It’s not for you to know the time or the dates the Father has set by His own authority but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all of Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’”
Now I don’t know about you but I didn’t grow up reading the Bible. In fact, I didn’t go to a church that even taught the Bible. I never opened it until I was eighteen. But even as a growing Christian I started to grow spiritually and it’s not the first time I ever heard people talk about the Holy Spirit or Acts.
But how many of you when if you were sitting in the room and Jesus said, “I’m going to baptize you with the Holy Spirit,” would you have said, “Oh! So you’re going to restore the kingdom?” See these guys were not just a bunch of blue-collar workers. They knew the Old Testament.
Open your Bible, I want you to see something. Open it to Ezekiel chapter 36. Ezekiel chapter 36. What I want you to get is Jesus is beginning to put the pieces together of all the promises of all God was going to do in the Old Testament economy.
And when He began to talk about, “I’m going to leave, the Spirit is coming, He won’t be just with you.” They understood the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament in that economy. They understood that there were times of power, and people were chosen, and there was a David or there was a Saul, and the Spirit was given at times, and the Spirit was taken away. But it was for a special service and it would be for a king, or for a prophet, or someone who had a special, special calling.
It allowed people to have access and power and hear God’s voice and get direction. But Ezekiel, at a time when Israel had, was far, far from God, after talking about judgment, judgment, judgment was giving them hope.
And in verse 24 of chapter 36 he says, speaking to Israel, “For I will take you out of the nations,” because he says, “I promise because of your idols I’ll spread you around the earth. I’ll gather you back from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.”
And then listen to this, “I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurity and cleanse you from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit in you and move you to follow My decrees and be careful to keep My laws.”
That’s why they said when He said, “I’m going to baptize you with the Spirit,” the lights went on. “So you’re going to restore the kingdom, it’s all going to come together?”
And Jesus said, “Guys, that’s a good theological question but when I restore the kingdom isn’t the issue. The issue is you responding to what I’m telling you. You’re going to receive power.” God’s expectation of every believer who is a follower legitimately of Him is that you possess power. And the moment you receive Christ you will receive power and you’ll be His martyrs. That’s the Greek word. You’ll be His witnesses.
It’s not, you can be a good one or a bad one but you are one. The Spirit of the Living God lives inside of every single believer.
And so I just want to say this out loud. And you may know this theologically but my challenge will be for you to let it sink from your head to your heart and then let it soak in.
The promise of the Holy Spirit is that all believers would receive the indwelling presence and resurrection power of the glorified Christ within us forever. Think of that. Think of that. You’ve got a big problem. You’ve got a financial need. You’ve got an addiction. You’ve got a struggle in your marriage. You’ve got a problem with one of your kids.
How many of us believe, more than just at the intellectual level, that the power that raised Christ from the dead and the indwelling Christ actually in this moment dwells inside of you?
So you need wisdom? What’s a good counselor do if He lives inside of you? He’ll give you wisdom. You need power? You need strength? You need the will to do what’s hard to do? It’s available. Right now if you’re a follower of Jesus, if you’ve turned from your sin, received Him by faith, and the Spirit of God has come into your life you have all the Spirit you’ll ever get. He doesn’t come in installments.
What we’re going to learn is that He can get a lot more of you. And as He gets more of you and as you understand how, sort of, to open up the conduit of your heart and your life and we’ll talk about exactly how, you can access that power in ways that most Christians honestly aren’t.
And that it’s not like trying hard to get joy. A byproduct of this relationship is love and joy and peace and patience and goodness and kindness and gentleness and self-control.
It just gets produced. It’s a byproduct. It’s not a byproduct of trying to be loving and trying to be joyful. Certainly there’s a responsibility on our part and we’ll talk about that.
But before we go on I want you to get, Jesus lives inside of you. The Father and the Son in the person of the Holy Spirit dwells inside every single believer and He longs to whisper in your ear, and He longs to comfort you, and He longs to comfort you in ways that are beyond what any person, or any book, or any pastor, or any counselor, or anyone. No one understands you like Him. No one feels your pain like Him.
But a lot of times we have this idea that there’s this invisible energy or force over there somewhere, somehow where the Spirit did that someday, some ways and we don’t live with that reality.
Well, let’s talk a little bit then, who exactly is the Holy Spirit? That’s what Jesus taught. That was just the teaching of Jesus about the Holy Spirit to the early disciples and to us.
Who is the Holy Spirit? Number one, He is a person not an influence. He’s a person. He’s not the Force, He’s not an energy, He’s not an “it.”
He’s a person first because He’s intelligent. 1 Corinthians 2:10 and 11 says, “No one knows the mind of a man except the spirit of a man. And no one knows the mind of God except the Spirit of God who searches all things.” The Holy Spirit has intelligence. Intellect. He has feelings. Ephesians 4:30. We’re told, we’re commanded, “Don’t grieve the Spirit.”
What’s grieving? It’s making a person feel sad. And we’re told not to grieve Him by let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor not be a part of your life anymore. It grieves, it makes God so sad when we’re unkind and harsh and unloving to one another.
See what happens, here’s what we do in the Christian life, we get this idea that it’s about, “Here’s this formula and here’s this success and here’s this way I’m supposed to live and I try hard to live this way and if I live this way and it really works out good things happen and when I don’t live this way it doesn’t work out, bad things happen. And so I keep trying to live this way and I get really tired doing all this stuff.”
And somehow I know there’s these rules and these rules are really important, I know they’re for my good. But when you break an invisible rule it’s like, “Darn, I wish I could keep that rule.”
There’s a big difference between breaking a rule and breaking someone’s heart. I can break a lot of rules and go, “Boy, I’ll try harder next time.” But I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve looked at my wife after I’ve said something that I wish I hadn’t said or I was late for the fifteenth, or the eighteenth and the nineteenth time when I said I would be there early in our marriage. And I looked at her face and I broke her heart.
And when I saw how my behavior impacted her heart I wanted to change. I wanted to change. When you sin and when I sin you’re not breaking some rules that it’s going to have some impact on your self-fulfillment or cause you to lose some brownie points with God. You break God’s heart. Because He has your best…
Think of those of you that are parents when you think about how it breaks your heart when one of your kids lies to you or when you talk to them about something and they, and they just go around you and, you know, when they keep doing the same kind of thing.
Because what it really says is your kids don’t really trust you. What it really says is they don’t really love you. Right? And some of you had some horrendous times. Your kids have really gone off. And you see them in terrible situations.
Well, of course there’s hurt and there’s disappointment but isn’t there more than anything else, sadness? Doesn’t it just break your heart?
When you begin to think that God lives in you and when you have that sort of check in your spirit, that’s a loss of peace, what if you started thinking, “That’s the Spirit shedding a tear for me. I’m breaking His heart. I’m disappointing God and He loves me.”
That will change, that will change how you live your life. He’s a person. He’s intelligent. He has feelings.
He has a will. 1 Corinthians 12:11 says, “Now all things,” it’s speaking of giving spiritual gifts to the Church, “all these things work from one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them just as He wills.” Or just as He determines.
So who is He? First and foremost, He’s a person. Do you think of the Holy Spirit as a person? Second, He possesses the attributes of God. In Genesis 1, He’s omnipotent, He’s a part of, the Spirit hovers over the earth. He’s a part of creation.
He’s is all-knowing in 1 Corinthians 2. He has the very mind of Christ. He’s omnipresent, remember Psalm 139, “Where can I flee from Your presence? Where can I run from Your Spirit?”
And finally He’s truth - in 1 John chapter 5. It’s probably pretty obvious by now but He is God. The Holy Spirit is co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.
The two classic passages are Acts chapter 5 verses 3 through about 5 and then 2 Corinthians 3:17. And if you know the Acts passage it’s a just great picture. Remember Ananias and Sapphira? Remember the story?
And they, you know, the church is growing and Barnabas gives this big gift and he’s generous and I think a lot of people were giving him a lot of strokes for this generous gift and so pretty soon they go, “Wow, you know, if Barnabas is getting all those strokes…”
So Ananias and Sapphira, their sin is not that they gave money and held some back. Their sin was the hypocrisy of saying the land was sold for this much so they could get the acclaim of people.
Peter said, “You know, when you sold it, the land, the money, it’s yours. You didn’t have to give anything. Why did you lie to the Holy Spirit?” Two verses later, “You haven’t lied to men, you’ve lied to God.”
And 2 Corinthians 3:17 the word “Lord” the New Testament word used for reference for Yahweh it says, “The Lord is the Spirit.” So He’s a person. He has the attributes of God and He is God.
Now what I want to do is give you a brief overview of what exactly does the Holy Spirit do in a believer’s life? But what exactly does the Holy Spirit do in a believer’s life? First and foremost He dwells inside of us.
1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20. Open your Bibles. I want you to look at this one, okay? 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 19 and 20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is,” where? “Who is in you.”
And he goes on to say, “Whom you’ve received from God. You are not your own, you were bought at a price, therefore, honor God with your body.” First and foremost the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us.
Okay. Jesus said that would happen. Paul says your body was bought. So your body and my body is called what? A temple. Now if you’ve been to any other parts of the world or been to a beautiful church or any world religion, temples have certain characteristics, correct?
What do people do in temples? They worship. And there’s usually some level of reverence or sacredness, right? In a temple and, you know, and different traditions do all kind of different things but a temple is a holy place where people worship, that’s set apart, and that is sacred.
What the apostle Paul is saying is in this day you are that temple. You know what real worship is? What we do is we gather together as the church for instruction and corporate worship but the real worship of the Living God is in temples not made with hands and the temples are His people, individually, and then His people gathered.
And so the question that always comes to my mind is, “Are you treating the temple that is made to worship even half as well as most people treat the buildings in the false religions that they worship in?”
Is it sacred? Is it holy? What goes into the mind of your temple? What comes out of the tongue of your temple? What do your hands do that represent that temple? Where do your feet go from that temple?
See worship is offering your body as a what? A living sacrifice. You’re a living, walking, breathing, infiltrated, dwelt inside out of the Spirit of the Living God and that’s why Jesus would call us light and salt because we are moving temples that breathe and the Spirit of God dwells inside of us and He wants to renew our mind and produce in and through us the very life and personality and heart and love of Jesus so that progressively what comes out of your mouth is what Jesus would be saying in that situation through your personality and your heart and your life.
And your feet would go where Jesus would send you. And your hands would do what Jesus would do because you’re a living temple and he takes up residence in you. That’s a different picture than trying hard, need to read my Bible, make it to church three times this month, read the Bible three times this week, I gave a little bit more than normal. What do you think, God?
That totally misses the point! That’s called religion. That’s called performance orientation. That’s called a works-righteousness. And Paul takes the whole book of Romans to say, “That’s not Christianity.” Christianity is the Spirit of God manifesting the relationship of the Father and the Son inside of you in connection and abiding producing His life through you.
So what are the ministries? Well, how does it happen? Where does it start? How do you get connected to the Spirit? Well, the first ministry is what’s called “regeneration.” Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness you have done but according to His mercy He has saved us; by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.”
You’re probably familiar with the very familiar passage of Nicodemus, John chapter 3, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “I tell you truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and of the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to the Spirit.”
“You’re a rabbi, you’re a leader in Israel, you should know this. Why are you surprised that I say, ‘You have to be born from above or born a second time?’ The wind blows wherever it pleases, you hear the sound but you can’t tell where it comes from or where it’s going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus, this isn’t rocket science. It’s not about all your goody stuff that you’re doing. It’s not about all the verses you’ve got down. It’s not that you fast on Tuesday and Friday. It’s not that you’re a leader in the temple. It’s not your external morality. You can’t have a relationship with God unless the Spirit dwells in you.”
1 John is going to tell us later, “This is the record, or the testimony, God has given us - grace gift, eternal life. He that has the Son has life. He that does not have the Son does not have life. These things I have spoken to you that you might know with certainty that you have eternal life.”
That’s a far cry from, “I go to church. I’m trying hard. Being a good Christian means I’m trying to be a good wife, trying to be a good husband, I hope I’m a better parent, I hope my kids don’t get in trouble.”
All those things may be logical byproducts. That is not the Christian life. There’s cults that have better morality than most Christians, I assure you. God says He wants to indwell. And that doesn’t come from religion. It comes when the Spirit of God gives you a spiritual birth.
And a spiritual birth occurs when I understand that I’ve offended a righteous and holy God and I will incur His righteous and just wrath because I deserve it because He is holy but He sent His Son, Jesus, to die upon a cross to cover or atone for all that sin, of all men, of all time, and in the empty hands of faith I can say, “Father, will you take my sin and appropriate it to your Son and would you take His righteousness and allow it to clothe me and will you forgive me and come into my life? Bam! Regeneration occurs.
Now the Spirit begins the journey called sanctification of, little by little, making me more like His Son. And, yes, I have the responsibility of renewing my mind and being in a fellowship with God’s people and, you know, confessing my sin when I struggle.
But the moment I’m regenerated, here’s what I want you to get. There’s certain non-experiential things that occur and there’s certain experiential things that occur and grow.
And these are the ministries of the Holy Spirit. So I can’t go through all the passages but I just want to give you an overview of what they are.
The non-experiential, in other words, the moment you trust Christ you’re baptized into the body of Christ. We’ll talk about, we’ll have a whole time on baptism and filling and the difference and why. But baptism’s identification, the moment you pray and receive Christ, having turned from your sin, the Spirit of God picks you up, takes you out of the kingdom of darkness, takes you over here, places you in the kingdom of light, and inserts you into this new family called the body of Christ. You may or may not feel anything. That’s what occurs. That’s what the baptism is.
Then you’re sealed. Ephesians 1 says that there’s this unilateral seal where the Spirit of God seals you. And that’s like a down payment, like a guarantee, it’s like putting money down. It uses, it’s the same, it’s a financial term of the day. It’s like putting money down on a house. It’s the guarantee. The Spirit seals you. And it’s unilateral.
And then He anoints you for service and power. And then He begins to pray for you. And you may not experience that. He’s praying for you. He’s praying for your righteousness. He’s praying for your protection. And He deposits spiritual gifts in you.
Now if you’ve, two days, you pray to receive Christ, you’ve turned from your sin, the Spirit enters your life, you have those spiritual gifts. But you may not experience them. You have an anointing to begin to serve but you may not experience it yet.
Here’s the best picture I can give you. Because then we’ll look at the experiential ones. And some of them are both.
When my oldest boys were six years old I had an amazing, amazing opportunity. I got to adopt them. We went down to the Dallas courthouse and they were my wife’s children, biologically, and we got married and two years later God gave me the opportunity to adopt them.
When I went down to that courthouse their name changed and they became Ingrams. Eric and Jason Ingram. And it was legal. They were identified from one last name to another last name. They got baptized into Ingram-ness.
And then they were sealed because I had a legal document that said for all time they’re my boys as much as any other boys I ever got. Or my little girl.
And they had an anointing from their father. I had committed that whatever these boys need to be men of God my resources, whether it’s time, energy, teaching, Christian school, whatever it is they have an anointing. Everything they’re going to need to be men of God I committed to make available.
And they had a mom and a dad that were praying like crazy and they had all kind of gifts. But I want to tell you that from the moment we went in there and signed the papers to the moment we signed the papers my little six year old boys’ experience was not one iota difference when they didn’t have my last name or when they did.
All those things were true, all those things they possessed. From the moment I adopted them, I don’t know if I’ll have anything to leave my kids, hope I do. Back then I wasn’t sure, believe me.
But they’ve got my name. They were going to be a part of my inheritance. And they didn’t do anything. Why? Because they belong to me.
That’s who you are at the moment you trust Christ. Whether you, many of those things you don’t experience. They’re true, you possess, and what you learn is how to live out of those. What’s already true of you.
The things you begin to experience, however, is the fruit of the Spirit. As you begin to abide in Christ and his life begins to take shape all of a sudden there’s a byproduct of love and joy and peace and patience and goodness and kindness and gentleness and self-control.
I still remember, I mean, it was one of the early signs. God does it for different people. Like, two weeks into my Christian life I stopped cussing unexplainably. I just, and that was, that was a major miracle, believe me. And for other people it might be something else. But it was just a fruit of the, I didn’t try. It was like, “Oh, oh, oh, oh.” It’s just, hm, it stopped.
He’s the Holy Spirit. And filling. We’re going to learn there’s one baptism and that sometimes it happens, we’ll look at all the Acts passages and, relax, we’re going to, you know, have a great time there.
But there’s multiple fillings. The word “filling” has most to do with control. We’re commanded to be filled with the Spirit. It’s when he gets more of us. And you experience it and you experience His power and you have experiences with Him and He gives you boldness and courage and truth and things that happen in and through you think, “Whooooa, this isn’t me!” And guess what, you’re right.
It’s just like Peter and John. They stepped up against the authorities. Peter and John, “Silver and gold have I none.” All through the church when the Spirit of God fills His people, they’re courageous, they’re bold, they’re loving, they’re counter-culture, they’re winsome, they’re forgiving, and they’re pure.
And then you have Him, He teaches you. I remember as a kid I opened the Bible, like, twice and it was like, “Hither to… thine… somethin’.” I even tried a couple times, I couldn’t understand it. And then the Spirit begins to reveal what the Scriptures mean.
And then you pray and you sit quietly and the Spirit begins to pray with you and encourage you and help you and He gives you assurance. Something in your spirit cries, “Abba Father.”
And then He guides you. You learn, you actually learn to hear His voice. You have big decisions and you learn to live a life close to Him and in God’s Word and the counsel of wise people but you ask God, “I don’t know what to do.”
And people say, “Oh, I wish Jesus was here.” He’s not just here, He’s in you. What do you want to ask Him? Ask Him. We’d rather call the phone, call a talk show, or ask a counselor, or ask someone else, some expert. The Counselor of all counselors lives inside of you. He longs to tell you what to do.
But you probably have to turn off some of the media, close the refrigerator door, rent one less movie, not buy something every time you feel uptight, and realize maybe if you get real, real quiet you’re going to see some stuff you don’t like.
Because the Holy Spirit is always about producing two things: Holiness and Love. And sometimes we have to clean out some of our junk. And it’s very threatening to be quiet and to be alone with the Holy Spirit.
But I’ll tell you what, when you get real and honest and you do, whew. Short-term pain, long-term gain. Some of you know what I mean. When you see an ugliness about pride or arrogance or sin or an addiction and when you get out of all the games and all the denial and all the junk that we all do at some level and you bring that brokenness, all the ugliness, and you experience the Holy Spirit’s forgiveness and the sense that says, “I see all that and it is ugly. And I forgive you. And I still love you.”
So many of us are running away from God because the truth so threatens us. He’s the Spirit of truth. He convicts of sin… and righteousness and judgment… but His heart’s desire is always to draw us back.
The enemy? Condemnation. “You’re a terrible person. You’re a bad mom. You’re a bad dad. You’re an addict. You’ll never measure up to anything.”
The Holy Spirit is, “You are taking that in your body… you are neglecting that…” And you agree with Him and wonderful things happen.
And then He gives you spiritual gifts and He uses you and you realize, “Wow. This is amazing.”
How does someone receive the Holy Spirit? I have shared John chapter 3. You have to be born again. In fact, Romans 8:9 is a great passage. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, according to the apostle Paul, he says actually then you’re not in God’s family.
This isn’t like a super charger for some Christians. It says, “You, however, controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he doesn’t belong to Christ.”
And so it would just be crazy to start a series together about the Holy Spirit and not ask a very basic question as we close. And this is for you. This isn’t for anybody else.
Do you have the Holy Spirit? I didn’t say, “Do you go to church?” I didn’t say if you’re a good husband. I didn’t say if you’re a nice wife. I didn’t say if you’re working hard to be a parent. Didn’t say if you give to the church. Didn’t say if you’ve been on a mission trip.
Do you have, possess, the Holy Spirit and do you know that for sure?
Because he that has the Son has life, he that has not the Son of God does not have life. And the way you have the Son, according to Jesus, is what? The Spirit takes up residence inside of you. And the way you get the Son is a gift.
You bow your head, you confess your sin, you own your stuff, and you declare that, “Jesus, only what you have done on the cross to pay for my sin and your resurrection is my only hope. Will you forgive me and come into my life?”
And in that moment the Spirit of God enters you.