For the past two weeks I have been exploring the question – who is Jesus? I tried to convince you that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human. That is a mystery and defies all human logic! Now I want to turn our attention to the third person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. Who is He and what does He do?
Before I move completely to delving into the personhood of the Holy Spirit, I want to take one more look at the Trinity. Before any creative act took place, before anything existed, there was the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lived in complete harmony and fellowship with each other. When the scripture says that man was made in the image of God, I think at least in part, it means that we were made for community. When God looked at Adam, He said that it wasn’t good that man was alone and He created Eve, someone who complemented him, and began to satisfy his need for fellowship.
Somehow the Holy Spirit was involved in the act of creation. The opening verses of the book of Genesis say, Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV) “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” God’s Holy Spirit, along with the Father and the Son were involved in beginning and launching of our magnificent creation.
The Holy Spirit was God’s agent of speaking through the prophets of old. After Saul had been anointed to be king of Israel, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied. 1 Samuel 10:10 (NIV) “When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him (Saul); the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying.” This is how Peter understood the prophets. 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV) “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
But something happened on the Day of Pentecost. As the disciples met in the upper room, they were overcome by the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in languages they had never learned and testified to the gathered Jews that Jesus, whom they had crucified was God’s own messiah. On hearing these uneducated fishermen, some of the people began to accuse them of having hit the bottle even though it was still early in the morning. Peter saw this accusation as an opportunity to explain what God was doing. Acts 2:14-18 (NIV) “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”’” The Holy Spirit would now be given to all who believed in Jesus. Listen to Paul’s assertion. Romans 8:9 (NIV) “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” As followers of Jesus, we now have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
I love the way Paul puts it in Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV) “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.” It’s almost like the Holy Spirit is God’s engagement ring to those who have chosen to follow Jesus. He is God’s promise and guarantee that everything else in our covenant relationship will be fulfilled.
And what exactly is His ministry once He has come to dwell in us. I believe there are at least three things He has come to do. The Holy Spirit still speaks through His anointed messengers. As I prepared to preach, I often acknowledged that no one gathered needed to hear my opinion about anything – they needed to hear the Holy Spirit’s opinion. As important as it is for a preacher to prepare a sermon, he must prepare himself. He must be ready to speak the Word of God with clarity and with boldness.
The next is to convict us of sin when we have strayed. In explaining the Holy Spirit’s ministry in John 16, Jesus said that He would convict us of sin. This isn’t to make us feel bad about ourselves, rather it is to bring us to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.
Finally, the Holy Spirit has been given to us to make us holy, to sanctify us. Listen to Paul’s prayer – 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV) “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He makes us holy by growing the fruit of the Spirit in us and through His gifts He equips the church for the ministry He has left us.
Wow! That’s an awful lot to take in. Take some time. Prayerfully read what I have offered and allow the Holy Spirit to saturate and irrigate your soul with His truth. As times get more complicated and difficult, we begin to see our need of the Holy Spirit more and more and in the meantime remember to Keep the Son in Your Eyes.