God the Holy Spirit
Lesson Four from
Those Things Most Surely Believed by Us
Text: John 15:16-26
The triune God reveals Himself in the Bible like characters on a stage. When the curtain opens in the Old Testament, the spotlight shines upon God the Father. Though God the Son and God the Spirit are on stage, they are not in the spotlight. As the Gospels begin, the spotlight is turned upon God the Son. In the Book of Acts and the Epistles, the spotlight focuses upon God the Spirit. Of God the Spirit, John wrote, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, but ye know him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you”(John 14:16-17). From the Book of Acts and the Epistles, the person and work of the Holy Spirit are made known to us. The study of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit is called Pneumatology.
This study should be of special interest to Believers of this age. This is the age in which God the Holy Spirit ministers to us and in us. His coming enabled the disciples to witness at the time of Pentecost. If the Church accomplishes anything for God, it must be done through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, the Person of the Holy Spirit is essential in order for Christians and Churches to do the work of God in their day. In order to understand more about the Holy Spirit, you will examine the promise of, the person of, and the purpose of the Holy Spirit.
Person of the Holy Spirit
The first fact you will examine is that the Holy Spirit is not just a power, but He is a personal being. As Jesus informs His disciples of the coming of the Holy Spirit, He used the personal pronouns “he” and “him” to refer to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is never referred to as “it” because He is the third person of the Godhead.
There are three things worthy of note about this person of the Godhead.
First, you should note that God the Spirit is an eternal person. While the Holy Spirit is highlighted in the Book of Acts and the Epistles, He was in existence with the Father and Son for all eternity. In Genesis 1:2, the Bible says, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b). Like the Father and the Son, when time began, the Holy Spirit was.
Secondly, you should note that God the Spirit is an equal person of the Trinity. Of this equality, Luke wrote, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God” ( Acts 5:3-4). These verses reveal that when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit he lied unto God. Also of this equality, John wrote, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (1stJohn 5:7). From this verse, we understand that all three persons of the Trinity are the one God of the Bible. Therefore, God the Spirit is equal in His person to the Father and the Son.
Existence as a Separate Person
The third truth you should note is that the Holy Spirit exists as a separate person. In the Book of Genesis, the Holy Spirit was there in creation existing as a separate person. In the words of the Great Commission, He is found listed along with the Father and the Son denoting His separate existence. When the Person of Jesus returned to Heaven to be with the Father, the Holy Ghost came down to earth to be with man and within man.
Therefore, you should recognize that God the Spirit is an eternal person, an equal person, and exists as a separate person of the Godhead.
Promise of the Holy Spirit
Having considered the person of the Holy Spirit, you will now study the promise of the Holy Spirit. After Jesus informed His disciples that He must return to the Father, He promised them that the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost would come and dwell among them, and even within them.
Of this promise there are two important points to observe.
First, you should observe that the promise of the Holy Spirit was foretold. The foretelling of an event is known as prophecy. The promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit is foretold in the Scriptures. Our text is the first time this promise is mentioned. Even though Jesus must return, another like Jesus (Deity) would come and dwell with the disciples and others who believe. Again, Jesus spoke of this promise saying, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7). Right before His ascension, Jesus spoke of this promise saying, “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye heard of me” (Acts 1:4). So important was the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Jesus foretold the coming of God the Spirit.
Secondly, you should observe that this promise of the Holy Ghost was fulfilled. Prophecies of the Bible are not just foretold; they will also be fulfilled. As instructed, these disciples waited at Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit as foretold by Jesus. Jesus had promised them the Holy Spirit would come to earth as He was on earth. In Acts 2, the fulfillment of this promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled. Of this fulfillment, Luke wrote, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). Hath not Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter . . . . for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16-17). The coming to earth of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled even as it had been foretold.
Purposes of the Holy Spirit
Finally, you will examine the purposes of the Holy Spirit. God the Spirit has come to earth to fulfill certain purposes. Found within the Gospel of John are these purposes for which He came. The Holy Ghost is actively at work fulfilling these divine purposes in this day.
You will now consider four purposes of the Holy Spirit.
The first purpose of the Holy Spirit is to convict you. The first time you became aware of the work of the Holy Spirit was as you were convicted of your sin. As a result of that inward conviction, you repented of your sin and got saved. Of this work of conviction, Jesus said, “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).
This is a twofold work of conviction. He convicted you, as a sinner, of your sin that you may realize your need of salvation. The Holy Ghost convicts you, as a Saint, of sin in your life that you may confess it and be forgiven. Conviction of sin is the work of God the Spirit.
The second purpose of the Holy Spirit is to convert you. After convicting you of your sins, He converts you into a new creature in Christ. He fulfills this purpose because you were willing to repent of your sins and to believe on Jesus for salvation. Of this work of conversion, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (John 3:5). It is though the work of the Holy Spirit you and I were born again!
The third purpose of the Holy Spirit is to control your life. There are two important truths about the Believer’s control by the Spirit. The first is the indwelling of the Spirit. Upon salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells us as Jesus had foretold. John wrote of this indwelling, “for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17). Paul verified this indwelling as he wrote, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own” (1st Corinthians 6:19)? Again, he wrote, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9).
The second truth is the influence of the Holy Spirit. All saved people are indwelt by God the Spirit. The Holy Ghost further desires to control the lives of those whom He indwells. Of this influence or control by the Spirit, Paul wrote, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The Spirit–filled life is the Spirit–controlled life. Those who are filled with the Spirit will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Paul wrote of this fruit, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Spirit that indwells you desires to control your life for your good and God’s glory.
The fourth purpose of the Holy Spirit is to counsel you. God the Spirit was given to be our spiritual guide upon earth. Jesus said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). Of this work of the Spirit, Jesus said, “he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
In order to guide you, the Holy Spirit does two things. First, the Bible was given by inspiration as “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2nd Peter 1:21b) . Secondly, you are guided by the Holy Ghost through illumination. Illumination occurs when the Holy Spirit helps us to see or understand the truths of the Word of God. God the Spirit counsels you through the Bible which was given by inspiration; He helps you understand what you read through illumination.
As was promised, the person of the Holy Spirit has come to earth to fulfill divine purposes. It is through His ministry that the Church is able to accomplish the work on earth today!
God the Holy Spirit
- The study of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit is called _______________.
- The first fact you will examine is that the Holy Spirit is not just a power, but He is a ____________ being.
- There are three things worthy of note about this person of the Godhead. He is a _________________ person, He is a ______________ person, and He exists as a _______________ person.
- The promise of the Holy Spirit was ______________. The foretelling of an event is known as ________________.
- Secondly, you should observe that this promise of the Holy Ghost was ______________.
- The first purpose of the Holy Spirit is to ____________ you.
- After convicting you of your sins, the Holy Spirit ______________ you into a new creature in Christ.
- The third purpose of the Holy Spirit is to ____________ your life. Not only does He _____________ you, but also He desires to ______________ your life.
- The fourth purpose of the Holy Spirit is to ________________ you.
- It is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit that the ____________ is able to accomplish the work on earth today!