The Holy Spirit (part one)

Perhaps one of the most misunderstood subjects to Christians in the 21st century is that of the Holy Spirit.  Few teachings are as misunderstood as those surrounding the Holy Spirit.  He is God.  Just as Jesus is God so is the Holy Spirit.  How could we have misunderstood God’s simple teachings in this matter?  There are so many false concepts surrounding Him.  Let’s list just a few of these false concepts.

  • The Holy Spirit was only here in first century times.  His mission was to confirm the Word by producing miracles.
  • The Holy Spirit is only available through Scripture.
  • The “indwelling of the Spirit” and the “Baptism of the Spirit” are the same thing.
  • The Holy Spirit “falls” on certain “mature” Christians.
  • When Scripture was completed, the mission of the Holy Spirit was completed.
  • John 14-16 was written only to the apostles.

The mission and work of the Holy Spirit is to indwell Christians providing divine authority and energy so that those Christians can live Godly lives.  He further enables us to produce fruit.  When we fail to understand His mission and purpose it becomes difficult for us to realize the full potential of His dwelling in us.

If we are to appreciate fully the blessings brought to us by the indwelling of the Spirit we must be willing to do a couple of things.  First we must become totally dependent on God.  When we realize that we can’t do this by ourselves we then become dependent on the only source of help that we have.  Second we must totally surrender our will to His.  This life isn’t about me.  It is about bringing glory and honor to God.  How many of those of us who preach have seen the same Christians walk the isle confessing wrongs.  Many plead for the prayers of the brethren and the help of God.  Often this is basically what is said,  “God I have done wrong but I will do better next time.”  Sadly, without God’s help we will not do better next time.  We will not produce righteous lives without God’s help.  Only when we realize that we are abiding in Christ and the Spirit of God is dwelling in us do we find the truth that allows us to walk by the Spirit.  Only then will we produce a Godly life surrounded by the fruit of the Spirit.

Unfortunately, one of the most damaging misunderstandings held  by Christians in our culture is the thought that if I can somehow understand and apply Scripture in an absolutely correct manner in my life God will be pleased.  If man could have understood and kept Moses law Christ’s death would have been unnecessary.

Prior to Jesus death He promised a helper.  That helper is the Holy Spirit.  This gift was more important than the physical presence of Jesus.  Jesus said, “It is good that I am going away.”  Jesus knew the value of the Spirit of God in the lives of His followers.  The Holy Spirit is as important in our lives today as He was in the lives of the first century Christians.  Rather than depending on our understanding and application of Scripture for salvation, we must be willing to surrender our will to Him.   God will help us in our daily walk through the indwelling of His Spirit.  Trust God and lean not on your own understanding.

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6 Responses to The Holy Spirit (part one)

  1. Great start! You go on, brother! I’m ready for part II.

  2. Thanks Keith!

  3. As the scripture says, it’s the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of me. Preach it, Dell!

  4. Don Morrison says:

    There is this sense that we should have the ability to get all the doctrines just right and then we will be…well, what would we be then? It’s paradoxical that we can acknowledge the weakness of our flesh and yet not seem to realize that our brains are also flesh (mortal, fallible, weak). Oh well, I am also pretty self-righteous when I think that way – and arrogant to judge someone else’s thoughtful conviction (my brain’s better than your brain…)

    I am not saying we should not work at an accurate understanding of God’s truth. But I am concuring with your thoughts about how we perceive that we are are worthy of forgiveness because we have “got it right.” And I am saying that it may be a kind of 21st century gnosticism to trust in a special knowledge rather than the blood of Jesus and the gentle work of his counselor.

    To confess a little more: I often miss the joy that should come from reading and article such as this one of yours, about the Holy Spirit, because I get caught up in the doctrinal correctness of it. I would like to not worry about that so much as resting in his care and feeling content with his work and presence.

    Thank you Dell

  5. Jim Bird says:

    I will anxiously await a continuance of the topic. I might disagree some with two of your points. The third point and the sixth point. I am hard pressed to distinguish between baptism in the Holy Spirit and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is I believe that indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what we receive when we are (water) baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, which I take to be the occasion when Jesus baptizes us in/with the Holy Spirit.

    And while I agree that John 14-16 is written to us, I do think it is a record of a discourse that Jesus had with His disciples. How much of that discourse we may take to be directly applicable to us is debatable.

    But if you have more coming I am eager to read it.

    Jim

  6. Jim, Don, and Brad thanks for the comments. I am teaching this topic on Sunday morning in our main adult class. It helps to put my outline in words. So hopefully I will print an article on the Holy Spirit each week for the next 12 weeks. Thanks for your reading and input. God bless

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