Who IS the Holy Spirit?
Years ago when Dale was working on the pipeline and we were traveling with others who were doing the same, one of the mens’ wives came for a visit. They took a weekend trip and he was driving while she read the map (this was before the days of GPS!) Apparently she was not doing to suit him and some words were exchanged and she rolled down the window and threw the atlas out the window as they were going down the road. I think it is safe to say, this man had “grieved” his wife….. I will come back around to this in a few minutes.
Being a Christian is not a place we land – a milestone we achieve. This world is set up with many milestones – graduation, marriage, raising children, financial stability, retirement.
We feel as though we have accomplished something when we reach one of those milestones. We can buy the t shirt and relax for awhile – we have made it!
But biblically – life is not a series of plateaus. We are always moving – sometimes toward God and sometimes away from God. God is the destination but like the ancient Israelites in the desert we travel in circles and backtrack and spend a lot of time just being lost even when we THINK we are going in the right direction. Well maybe you don’t – but I sure do!
Example – story in 2nd Kings 5
Naaman was a great man but he got leprosy. A young slave girl said if he went to see Elisha he could be cured. Namaan took money and gifts for the prophet and goes. Elisha sends a messenger out to meet him telling him to wash in the Jordan 7 times. At first Naaman gets angry. That’s it? But his servants say hey, if the prophet says do it what can it hurt. He does what he is told and is cured. He returns to Elisha and tries to give him gifts but Elisha won’t take gifts for something God did. Naaman has now become a believer.
In the meantime a servant of Elisha named Gehazi is listening and he runs after Naaman and tells a lie saying Elisha sent him to get Naaman to give him some money.
Gehazi ends up with leprosy.
Naaman obeyed and was healed by God and left filled with joy. He was moving toward God. Ghazi tried to profit from something God had done and in doing so moved away from God. There are consequences.
So back in Ephesus…
Paul spends a little time telling the folks at the church in Ephesus how they are to live now that they have this new covenant (or relationship) with God through Christ by way of the Holy Spirit. He gives a list and not only is it a list of things to avoid if you want to keep moving toward God, but it is a list of things that can give the devil a foothold. There is a whole sermon in giving the devil a foothold but that’s going to have to wait for another day.
Paul says stop lying, stop sinning in your anger, stop stealing, work so you will have extra to share with those in need, speak in a way that builds others up “so that your words may give grace to those who hear” He doesn’t say “if’ you are doing these things. He knows our sinful nature.
Paul says Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. How do we grieve the Holy Spirit? Well, It helps me to understand if I learn a little more about WHO the Holy Spirit is so I went on a search to learn more and what I found that the Holy Spirit IS a WHO. A person. Not a thing, not a ghost. In the bible the Holy Spirit is often referred to as He. The bible also uses verbs to say what the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit is active!
Gen. 1:1-2 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”
The Spirit has always been there.
2 Timothy 3: 16 tells us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God. and 2 Peter 1:21 “No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”
Scripture comes from the Holy Spirit.
John 16:7 Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you”
The Holy spirit is a person and our helper. Jesus sent HIM to us!
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit is our advocate – defends us, teaches us, convicts us and reminds us
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is a gift to us from God
Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
The Holy Spirit speaks to us and gives us direction
Acts 15:8 And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us;
God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit
Acts 15:28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials:
The Holy Spirit is a decision maker and works with us and within us
Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
The Holy Spirit is how God interacts with us
So where are you. Are you moving toward God or away?
John 14:6 says 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” and 14:16 says 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.
Someone much smarter than I am described our journey like this – God is the destination, Jesus is the conduit through which we reach our destination, and the Holy Spirit is the engine that moves us in the right direction.
As we wander in our circles, Jesus came to be our advocate but He had to die and be raised so that sin and death would be conquered and that work is complete but we still have to get through this thing called life. So Jesus asked the Father to send us ANOTHER advocate that would be with us forever to guide us, to help us know the truth from the lies of the world and to come along side of us in this wilderness world.
Are you going to throw the atlas out the window? Would you ignore a friend? Refuse a gift? I challenge each of us to read our bibles and learn more about the Holy Spirit. To pray and ask God to help us to hear this advocate, helper, guide when He speaks to us. Let’s all fall in love with God and have hearts that thirst for more, for a deeper relationship with God through the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent us. If the one who died for our sins chose to send us someone that He said we would need, doesn’t it make sense to pay attention?