weekend Broadcast

The Holy Spirit: He's More than "The Force", Part 1

From the series The Holy Spirit

Are you struggling with a difficult relationship? A tough decision? A hard situation at work? Confused about how to handle it, or what to do next? Chip launches this series on the Holy Spirit, by explaining how you can begin to get crystal clear vision for those important decisions in your life.

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Message Transcript

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. 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.