Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

Title: The Holy Spirit: A Living Gift

 

Text: “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 14:17)

 

Bible Reading: (John 14:15-20)

 

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 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.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

 

11-18-03

Introduction

 

There are many different options available to someone who is eager to give a gift to someone he or she loves. 

 

Some gifts are made from the lifeless materials that are found in nature, so they last a long time. 

 

Other gifts, like cut flowers are perishable. 

 

There are also living gifts like puppies, kittens, and beautiful growing plants. 

 

Our heavenly Father has seen fit to give the believer a living gift of a different nature. 

 

It is placed within the mind and heart of His children at the moment of their conversion. 

 

This gift is the Holy Spirit, who is the living presence of God Himself.

 

Our message today is about the Holy Spirit. 

 

I want to show you first that the Holy Spirit is a living gift. 

 

Then we will see from God’s Word that the Holy Spirit is a divine person. 

 

 

I remember a time, and it wasn’t too long ago, when people were saying God is dead. 

 

I don’t hear that today, thank God. 

 

What I am hearing is that God loves us and He is actively drawing us to Himself. 

 

AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF GOD’S GIFT—THE HOLY SPIRIT, WHO LIVES WITHIN EVERY BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER.

 

It is important to know that the Holy Spirit is not just a mere influence that comes from God. 

 

The Holy Spirit is more than a force, like magnetism, or gravity, or electricity. 

 

As we read our scriptures today, notice that Jesus, and Paul, and John use the personal masculine pronoun “He” to describe the living gift from God.

 

But there are those who would pose the question, “What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?”

 

They might say, “I believe in Him, that He is part of the Trinity, but I just don’t understand what He does.”

 

So, I will answer that question by describing for you seven of the functions of the Holy Spirit that are available to all of God’s children.

 

First, the Holy Spirit speaks to us to communicate what God wants us to know.

 

In the Revelation of John, Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelations 2:7).

 

This is a command for us to pay attention.

 

We can spot three truths in this verse.

  1.  What is written in the scriptures is spoken by the Spirit of God.
  2. What is said to one church concerns all the churches, in every place and any time.
  3. We can never use our sense of hearing better than in listening to the word of God.

 

And we deserve to lose our hearing if we do not use our ears for this purpose.

 

Second, the Holy Spirit intercedes on behalf of those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior.

 

Paul understood that the Spirit helps believers know how to pray. 

 

He said this in his letter to the Romans.

 

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

 

The Spirit puts into words those prayer burdens that God’s people cannot even express.

 

Even when we don’t know what to say to God, the Holy Spirit interprets our innermost feelings and intercedes in our behalf.

 

The Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints of God.

 

Therefore, intercession is made for us not only by God the Son, who sits at the right hand of God the Father, but also by God the Spirit who dwells within the believer.

 

The third function of the Holy Spirit it that He testifies about Jesus Christ.

 

 John reported that Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26).

 

Here, Jesus reminded the disciples that they will not be alone, because He will send the Comforter to them. 

 

That’s a title given to the Holy Spirit. 

 

He has many other titles, but notice that Jesus said, “He will testify of Me.”   

 

In other words, He will be a witness for Jesus Christ.

 

He will give a powerful testimony about the mission and purpose of Christ.

 

The forth purpose of the Holy Spirit is to lead God’s people into service for Him. 

 

Phillip is a classic illustration that I can use. 

 

The story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch is told in the eighth chapter of Acts. 

 

There we read that “… the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot” (Acts 8:29). 

 

An angel of the Lord told the Apostle Philip to travel from Jerusalem to Gaza.

 

Philip obeyed and met the Ethiopian eunuch during his journey.

 

The eunuch was reading from Isaiah the prophet when Philip encountered him.

 

After a deep, but brief conversation where Philip explained the scripture he was reading and then presented the gospel, the eunuch became a believer in Jesus Christ.

 

When they came to some water, the eunuch requested baptism, and Philip baptized him.

 

The new believer went on his way, rejoicing.

 

He is not mentioned again, anywhere in the Bible.

 

But when the eunuch returned home, did his newfound faith and vibrant testimony have an impact on his queen?

 

The Bible doesn’t say.

 

But the queen, even with her royal status, is secondary, because the Scriptures highlight her servant, the Ethiopian eunuch.

 

Because one day on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza, he made a decision that granted him royal status even greater than that of a queen.

 

He became a son of the heavenly King. 

 

However, it all began with the Holy Spirit, who led Philip to a man who was seeking God.

 

The fifth role of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into an understanding of God’s truth.

 

The Apostle John wrote about that in his Gospel. 

 

He said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:13).

 

The Spirit of God guides (or leads) believers into the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word.

 

The verse says that what the Spirit hears, He will speak.

 

This indicates the close relationship of the Trinity.

 

It says that He will speak of things to come.

 

The book of Revelation is an example of this.

 

Those who are guided by the Spirit do not lose their way.  

 

He will guide you; just like Israel was guided through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and fire.

 

The Spirit is given to us to be our guide, not only to show us the way, but to go along with us, and to help us along the way.

 

A sixth function of the Holy Spirit is to appoint spiritual leaders for the churches.

 

In Acts there is a verse about Pastors; it says: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

 

A pastor needs something besides a majority vote of the congregation to be an effective minister. 

 

He needs to be appointed at the same time by the Holy Spirit. 

 

Notice that the verse says, “(The) Holy Spirit has made you overseers.”

 

“Overseer” is another word for a pastor. 

 

It’s the Holy Spirit who calls men to preach, and to preside over the affairs of the church. 

 

But that isn’t all He does. 

 

He teaches them, and cares for them, and He qualifies them for the job of pastor.  

 

I believe that this is the best job that any man can have. 

 

The final thing that I want to say about the gift of the Holy Spirit is that He can be grieved by the improper conduct of those who are within the body of Christ.

 

Paul gives this warning in Ephesians, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

 

The Holy Spirit is a very sensitive person.

 

Paul says; stop having the habit of offending the Holy Spirit by bad conduct and bad words. 

 

When a Christian lies, he grieves the Holy Spirit. 

 

When a Christian has dirty thoughts, he grieves the Holy Spirit. 

 

What happens when a person is grieved? 

 

It breaks the fellowship. 

 

The Holy Spirit cannot work in your life when you have grieved Him; when fellowship with Him has been broken.

 

WHEN GOD BESTOWS THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITHIN THE HEART OF HIS CHILD, HE IS ALSO BESTOWING A LIVING GIFT WHO IS AT THE SAME TIME A DIVINE PERSON.

 

In Galatians it says, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6). 

 

God is Spirit. 

 

God is not localized in a body as man is. 

 

God in Spirit comes to dwell within the body of every believer as a living presence. 

 

If you are a child of God, you will want to be led by the Spirit of God. 

 

The flesh may get a victory in your life, but it will never make you happy. 

 

You will never be satisfied with it, because you are sons of God, and He has placed His Spirit in your heart. 

 

There are four characteristics of the Holy Spirit that are important to all believers.

 

First, He comes into our lives to purify us and to reproduce in us the character and the personality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Paul wrote this to the Hebrews, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14).

 

If the blood of animals was enough to cover over the sins of Israel, surely the blood of Christ can take away the guilt of sin. 

 

But the blood of bulls and goats was not adequate to remove the penalty for those sins, so Christ had to shed His blood, and die in our place. 

 

But that’s not all that Jesus has done for us. 

 

He put His Spirit within us. 

 

He cleansed our conscience from the guilt that sin and dead works will bring. 

 

Anything that you try to do to earn your salvation is a dead work. 

 

We can know that we are right with God, because Christ has made us right.

 

Second, the gift of the Holy Spirit is all-powerful.

 

This power was never more evident than in the miraculous conception of Christ, when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary in great power. 

 

An angel foretold the birth of Jesus, according to Luke. 

 

“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God”’ (Luke 1:35). 

 

The Holy Spirit is called the power of the Highest.

 

Mary will not ask how this shall be.

 

This message from God is enough to help her over all the difficulty she will encounter.

 

A divine power will be present within her, not the power of an angel, but the power of the Holy Spirit himself.

 

Third, the living gift of the Holy Spirit knows all the things of God as well as the things of men. 

 

We are told in these verses in 1 Corinthians that the Spirit knows the deep things of God. 

 

“But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10-11). 

 

What we cannot get through the eye-gate or through the ear-gate, the Spirit of God can teach us. 

 

There are many things we can learn by studying the Bible—such as the history of it, and the poetry of it—but we cannot get spiritual truths that way. 

 

Why? 

 

Because, “God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.” 

 

There are certain things that only the Spirit of God can reveal to us. 

 

Forth, the Holy Spirit, which God has given to us as a living gift, is spoken of as God in the Scriptures. 

 

For example, Peter asked Ananias, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? …You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:3-4). 

 

There are people today who deny that the Holy Spirit is God. 

 

You will notice that Simon Peter believed He was God. 

 

First he says, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit.” 

 

Then he says, “You have not lied to men but to God.”

 

We can also see that the Holy Spirit is God in the statement Paul made to the Corinthians: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). 

 

Do you want to be Christlike? 

 

Then spend time looking at Jesus. 

 

There is a song we have sung that says, “Take time to be holy, speak oft to the Lord.” 

 

I believe we should change that first line to say, “Take time to behold Him.” 

 

Do you want to be holy? 

 

Then behold Him.

 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus;

Look full in His wonderful face;

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glorious grace.

 

I need this. 

 

I hope you, too, sense a need of seeing Jesus Christ on the pages of the Word of God, so you may grow more like Him.

 

Conclusion

 

The Holy Spirit of God invites each nonbeliever to put faith in Jesus Christ, and to receive Him as Lord and Savior. 

 

He uses the Bible, the church, your family, your friends, and the emptiness of your heart to communicate this. 

 

If you will receive Jesus Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit will enter you, to work God’s good work within you. 

 

He will work for your eternal welfare.

 

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, when you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…” (Hebrews 3:7-8). 

 

The Holy Spirit is speaking to those today who do not know Jesus as their personal Savior. 

 

He is calling them, and drawing them to God. 

 

He is convicting them of their sin, and He is ready to welcome them into the family of God. 

 

If you are not a member of God’s family, my prayer is that you will accept Jesus before it’s too late. 

 

Let me know if I can show you the way.

 Amen.

 

 

 

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