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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
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.