Understanding The Holy Spirit Part 1

Full Sermon Notes

We just sang some very important lyrics. It was actually a prayer. Let's read the lyrics to the last verse and the bridge of that song...
“Holy Spirit, You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord
Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness”

That next to the last line is so deep and so important to understand…"Let us become more aware of Your presence."

You see, God is present in this place. How do I know? God's Word assures us of this...

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

And let's not forget our body is a temple of The Holy Spirit, so He is here with us and will go with us when we leave this place. What we need is to become aware of His presence! Let's ask God to teach us today to understand more about His Holy Spirit, but to also help us to be more aware of His presence in our very lives!

“Father God I pray You will teach us today about Your Holy Spirit, and teach us through Your Holy Spirit! We live in a world that is becoming increasingly hostile to those who claim Your name and seek to live by Your truth! As a result we need desperately to be aware of Your Spirit's presence with us and to be empowered by Your presence with us!
I give You this time and ask You to cover me, to speak through me, to work through me, to anoint me and at the same time hide me behind Your cross and in Your glory!
I pray this in the sweat name of Jesus and trust You've heard and believe You are already answering this prayer!! Amen”

Today we're going to review some of the basic truths about The Holy Spirit. Some of you might remember we had a series back in the fall of last year on The Holy Trinity. We spent several weeks on God the Father, God The Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Some of the basics I'll go over this morning can be found in the two messages I preached on God The Holy Spirit. The full notes of those sermons can be found on our web-site, Northshorechurch.net on page four of the sermon notes section under the resource tab. God The Holy Spirit part 1&2.

And, by the way, we're only going to deal with the basics today, so if you need to take notes on the back of your notes page, it's okay. We'll deal with the advance stuff next week. Our text for today is found in Acts chapter 1 which deals with some of the very last things Jesus said and did while on earth...

Acts 1:1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through
the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
8 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.”

Holy Spirit Basics

Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit!

Did you notice our text said Jesus gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen? This is so very important and crucial that we don't miss what this means for us. This was so important for the disciples that He actually gave them a command...

Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

You see, The Holy Spirit, He is the very presence of God in our lives. He is not some impersonal force, but He is in fact the very Spirit of God All-mighty! Jesus had been the presence of God with the disciples but He was about to ascend back to heaven and He had told them He would not leave as orphans, but would send them another counselor or comforter! And they were not to leave Jerusalem until they had received this gift!

While Jesus was God the Son, He lived and taught at the direction of The Holy Spirit! He was conceived of The Holy Spirit, anointed by The Holy Spirit at His baptism and led by The Holy Spirit throughout His life! This was intentional! Jesus wanted us to learn from His life the importance of allowing His Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct our lives.
Early on in His ministry, Jesus went to the synagogue and He was handed the scroll of Isaiah. He found the place where it is written:

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,

If Jesus depended on The Holy Spirit, who are we to think we don't need The Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct our words and our actions? "Ok, how does The Holy Spirit do this?"

The Holy Spirit Baptizes!

Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

The greek word for baptize is Baptizo. Here's what it means in the greek...

Baptizo  
- to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge
-to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water,
-to overwhelm

Baptism in The Holy Spirit is a supernatural and powerful experience that unfortunately has been relegated to a one time, mystical experience that some people say comes after salvation and is sometimes called the second blessing. First of all, I want to remind you again that you receive the Holy Spirit when you receive Jesus.

Jesus comes to live within us when we repent of our sin and ask call on His name for salvation. Jesus comes into our heart by way of the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Bible says if we don't have the Spirit we don't belong to Christ. So you can't accept Jesus and later get the Holy Spirit.

Here's what I think happens many times. A person accepts Jesus and later comes to an understanding and awareness of The Holy Spirit who now dwells within them. This awareness may indeed have a powerful, even life changing, spiritual impact on the individual! But let me say this, being filled with the Holy Spirit, being baptized in the Holy Spirit, is something which should be repeated on a daily basis. Receiving the Holy Spirit is a one-time occurrence when you turn your life over to Jesus, but being immersed, submerged, cleansed, washed and even overwhelmed by the precious Holy Spirit of God should be a daily experience for a follower of Jesus!

I don't know about you, but I desperately need every moment of every day for the Holy Spirit to baptize my thoughts, my attitudes, my actions, my agenda, my goals, my relationships, my work, my struggles, my everything! I don't want anything to overwhelm me but The Holy Spirit of our Holy God! I want to be aware of and influenced by and even controlled by the one power I can trust and that's the power of the Holy Spirit. I know He only wants what's best for me! What's good for me! What will honor God through me! I've mentioned this before, but we must never forget...

Being baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit is not us getting more of the Spirit, but allowing the Holy Spirit to get more of us! In other words, as we yield more of our life to the direction of the Holy Spirit He is able to baptize, cleanse, and fill up that aspect of our life. Think what could and would happen if you allowed the all powerful Spirit of Almighty God to work His miracles in your marriage, your family, your career, your dreams, your struggles, your discouragement, your everything. This doesn't mean you won't have any more problems, but it does mean you won't face them by yourself anymore! And another thing that will happen when you allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with His presence is that your desires will begin to change. Temptations will be there, but their power in your life will be drastically reduced. Why?

The Holy Spirit Empowers!

Acts 1:8 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.”

We don't have the power without The Holy Spirit to overcome temptation, to see through Satan's lies, or to stand up against the satanic attacks that are bound to come our way! But when we are filled with The Holy Spirit, we have a new found strength.
Paul put it this way in Ephesians 3:16-21...

Eph 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Did you hear that? I get so excited when I read God's instruction book, His Words of wisdom. I get so excited because of the amazing truth I find in His Word. Three things about this power of The Holy Spirit...

1. There's no limit to His power!

Eph 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

This power comes from His glorious riches. He's got plenty enough for you, for me, and for every other follower of Christ!
Second...

2. His power is multiplied when we work together!

Eph 3:17b.... And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
18a  may have power, together with all the saints...

When we love one another, support one another, pray for one another, and serve with one another, the power goes exponential and begins changing the world around us! Why?

3. It's the very power of Almighty God at work in us!

Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

And do you know what this means? No matter who or what comes against you, you don't have to worry. They'll have to get through God to get to you and, if God allows them through, you can know there's some greater purpose He's going to accomplish through you and your suffering. Either way you win in Christ! I think about our brothers and sisters around the world who face persecution for just believing in Jesus and for owning a Bible or sharing their faith. I think about what may be coming in this country sooner than you might think. Our persecuted brothers hold tightly the words found in 1 John 4:4 and so should we...

John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

So no matter what you face in this world, persecution, sickness, financial struggles, depression, temptation, failure, you name it, let God fill you daily with His Holy Spirit and you will have all the power you will need for any circumstance or situation!

Just one more basic thing! Listen again to our text for today...

Acts 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

Jesus said wait for the gift! The Holy Spirit is a gift from God to us! Sometimes we are tempted to focus on the gifts of The Holy Spirit when we should focus on the Gift of The Holy Spirit! Instead of seeking the gifts we should be seeking the giver of the gifts, and let Him decide which gifts we need! The Church at Corinth had some difficulties keeping things in perspective so Paul gave them some instructions about the Giver of the gifts and the gifts. We read some of this passage in our message on Finding God's Direction for Serving. Remember I told you we would dig a little deeper in the message on The Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:1-11...

1 Cor 12:1 Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.
2 You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.
3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,”  and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
8 to one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom,  
to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Even though Paul list some of the spiritual gifts in this passage, did you notice he was constantly telling them to keep the main thing the main thing.  

1 Cor 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

But some folks will point to what Paul said just a few verses later where he seems to indicate we are to seek the gifts...

I Cor 12:28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration,
and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?
30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues ? Do all interpret?
31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Wait a minute! Did Paul just say eagerly desire the greater gifts? Yes he did. And he had listed some pretty impressive gifts like, apostle, prophet, worker of miracles, speaking in tongues, but then he says desire the greater gifts and says now I'll show you the most excellent way... And what could that be? He then writes what has become known as the love chapter of the Bible. Every gift The Holy Spirit ever gives to anyone is in order that we might use that gift to love! To love God, to love each other, to even love our enemies. Here's the sad thing…

Sometimes we get so caught up in who's got what gift, and we start comparing, and coveting, and being jealous of what God is doing in someone else's life that we take our eyes off Jesus. We start trying to use The Holy Spirit for what He can do for us selfishly and how He can make us look good in the eyes of others and God's heart is broken! The Holy Spirit does want to give spiritual gifts to us and to empower us, and to bless us, but everything He does is to help us get closer to God The Father! Maybe what we need to remember is where we came from and what an amazing thing it is that God would allow His Holy Spirit to come and live in our hearts and lives. That God would allow His Holy Spirit to wash us and cleanse us and to fill us. I'll close with this passage that paints the picture so beautifully...

Titus 3:3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Let's pray!

End of Sermon for this week.