August 27, 2017
John 15:26; Ephesians 2:1-2; 1 Corinthians 2:8-10; Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:3; John 14:26; Ephesians 1:7; John 14:27; Titus 2:13; Luke 2:10; Galatians 5:22, 25
Within Christian circles, the Holy Spirit isn’t talked about much. He almost seems to be less than God the Father and God the Son. But I assure you, he isn’t, and that’s what we are going to look at today.
The good news for us is even though many people don’t know what the Holy Spirit does, we have the Bible, God’s Word. There, we are told about the Holy Spirit, and what he does. Do you remember the two attributes of the Bible that we’ve talked about the past two weeks? It is inspired, meaning God guided and directed it and sometimes even dictated his Word. The other is inerrant. It contains no errors.
It’s in God’s Word that we hear what Jesus has to say about the Holy Spirit. The night before he died, he was talking with his disciples. He told them that he was going to die, but don’t worry he’d send some help.
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me.
Jesus was going to send the Spirit of truth and what was he going to do? Testify about Jesus. Right there, Jesus tells us the purpose of the Holy Spirit. His job is to testify about Jesus. To shine a spotlight on our Savior.
Have you ever gone to a play? The whole stage is dark except for the one person that the spotlight is on. They don’t want you to look at the light, they want you to focus on the person the light is illuminating. Same is true with the Holy Spirit. His job is not to be in the spotlight, but to be the spotlight on Jesus. And so today, we are going to see how the Holy Spirit does that for unbelievers and believers, and why is it important in the 21st century.
The Holy Spirit has made me who I am spiritually.
2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
What does Paul say here? When we are born into this world, we are born physically alive and yet, we are spiritually dead. We aren’t spiritually alive just because we have physical life. Physically we are alive and breathing, but spiritually we are dead. When we are born into this world, we are sinners. The bible says, “Surely I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” So, we are born sinners, and we have no faith in God. No faith in God means that we don’t receive his forgiveness. If we aren’t receiving forgiveness, there’s only one thing we deserve: eternal separation from God; hell. And because we are spiritually dead, there’s nothing we can do to change our status.
I have a friend who is a funeral director. He is in charge of getting the body ready for the visitation so that their loved ones can come and pay their final respects. If he needs the corpse to move, do you think he gets any cooperation from it at all? No. It simply lays there. It cannot cooperate because a corpse has no will and no power. Paul says, by nature, this is what we are spiritually. We are spiritually dead. We are completely reliant on God to give us faith and make us alive.
But maybe that doesn’t make sense to you. Maybe you’re thinking, “Look, I’m a logical person. I can think things through. I don’t need outside help to believe in Jesus. Check this out.
8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:8-10
Notice what Paul says, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human mind has conceived God’s plan of salvation. So what does that mean? I can be alive, I can hear God’s Word, but unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to me, I can’t understand it. And that’s what Paul says in verse 14.
14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:14
So unless the Holy Spirit acts in my life and reveals God’s plan of salvation to me, unless he makes me alive, makes me see, and works faith in my heart, I will never be alive spiritually. I’ll never have faith. This is exactly what we confessed earlier. “I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him.” By ourselves, we cannot choose to believe in Jesus.
Maybe an illustration will help us. Do you remember what happened to Han Solo at the end of the Empire Strikes Back? He was frozen in carbonite. Frozen solid like a statue for an entire year. Then at the beginning of the Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia comes in and pushes the right buttons and he begins to melt and he’s brought back to life. He had absolutely no control. If someone didn’t act and bring him back to life, he would have remained like that forever. That’s how we are spiritually.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. He. Made. Us Alive. When we are born into this world, spiritual we are like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. Dead. Completely reliant on some outside force to make us spiritually alive. And that’s exactly what God, the Holy Spirit did. He made you alive and it all started at your baptism. When God’s Word was connected with the water and poured over your head, God washed away each and every one of your sins. Past, present and future. Even the sins you haven’t committed yet were washed away. It was a status change. God brought you from a dead spiritual corpse to a living spiritual being.
But there in your baptism, we are also told he poured out his Holy Spirit on you. Through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit opened your eyes to see God’s plan of salvation. He made this message which was blurry and made it crystal clear. And he worked faith in your heart. The Holy Spirit has led you to believe that Jesus lived perfectly in your place. He died to pay for every one of your sins. Even the ones you have a hard time forgiven yourself for. And he rose so that one day you will rise from the dead too. The only reason you believe that, the only reason why you take such comfort in that message, is because the Holy Spirit has worked faith in your heart. He’s worked behind the scenes to bring you to that point.
Now why is that important? Because it takes you and me out of the equation. Our salvation from beginning to end is all from God. All we can do is open the Word and read it, and the Holy Spirit creates faith and keeps us in the faith. It has nothing to do with us.
And we want to confess that especially living in the area we do. We live in a part of the country where you hear a lot of people talking about dedicating their life to the Lord, or about the day they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But here’s what the Bible says
3 Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,”except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:3
By the time I stand up and say, “I accept Jesus as my Savior,” the Holy Spirit is already living in me. And when I stand up and say that I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior what do I do? I take credit away from God. I place my focus on me instead of on God, who has worked in my heart, has washed my sins away, has broken through my stony heart and worked faith in Jesus to the point where I say that. I can’t say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. He’s already living in me by that time. There’s nothing I’ve done to earn or deserve it. I was passive.
Our whole salvation is from God. Every aspect. Grace after grace after grace. And everything continues to be grace. When it comes to your salvation it is 0% your doing and 100% God’s doing even to the point of believing this message. That is real comfort for your life. If it was up to us, we’d screw it up. God can’t screw it up, and that’s whose hands you are in. The only thing we can do is open the Bible and read. The Holy Spirit takes over after that. It’s just grace after grace after grace.
The Holy Spirit has taught me all I need to know.
Here’s what Jesus said the night before he died.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you
“The Holy Spirit will not only teach things, but will remind you of everything I have said.” The Holy Spirit not only works faith in our hearts, but he also continuously reminds of everything we need to know.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and all of a sudden you think of a bible passage or something we talked about in bible class, and afterward you think to yourself, “Where did that come from?” That’s the Holy Spirit working. That’s him teaching and reminding you, and that’s what he is always doing. Let’s look at just a few things he is constantly reminding us.
We have forgiveness.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
Have you ever sinned and Satan attacks immediately, “You’ll never be forgiven for that. You’re a failure. You can’t make up for that one. Do you really think God will forgive you again?” What is the job of the Holy Spirit? To constantly remind you again and again that you are forgiven. Again and again he spotlights Jesus’ perfect life in your place. He spotlights his innocent death on the cross where he paid for every single one of your sins. Even the sins you don’t think he can forgive. There’s no sin too big for Jesus.
We have peace.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
As I wrote this sermon, some of the top stories were, “Woman burns bibles in Pennsylvania.” “North Korea missile testing.” “Isis beheads 11 at check point.” “Harvey is not a category 2 hurricane.” That was just that day. Not to mention all the hate and non-peace we have in the country right now. Yet, what does the Holy Spirit remind us? He reminds us of what Jesus said. We have peace this world cannot give. He reminds us that Jesus has won the victory of sin and death. He reminds you that this isn’t your final place, but one day Jesus is going to take you to be with him away from the chaotic life we live here.
We have hope.
13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Hope isn’t just a, “Boy- I- hope-it- happens” type attitude. The Greek word for hope in the Bible means sure and certain confidence. Eager expectation is a good way of putting it. The Holy Spirit reminds us over and over again that we have the eager expectation of the resurrection when we will rise again with new glorified bodies when Jesus returns. And in those bodies, we will live forever with our Savior.
We have joy.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
What’s the joy that we have? A Savior was born into the world. Have you ever finished paying off a debt? Maybe it was your car payment or a house payment. Maybe it was your student loan. Do you remember how much joy you had when you finally paid that debt off? It felt amazing right? You and I we have a debt to God that we could never pay back even if we tried. We are sinners. Our debt is too big. Ah, but the Holy Spirit reminds us again that Jesus, God himself, was born into this world. God himself came to wipe our debt clean. And that’s exactly what he did at the cross. And when we were baptized and faith was worked in our heart, we received a clean record. The debt was paid in full. Debt free before God.
The Holy Spirit has lead me to hate sin and do good.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:22, 25
The Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to do good. He leads us to hate sin. When I read this did you think? Yes! That’s me! Or did you think, “That is not me at all!” That’s my reaction. None of us are perfect. We are all work in progress, and we will continue to be until Jesus takes us to heaven.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I can’t stop drinking or doing drugs. I can’t stop using foul language. I can’t get control of my anger. I can’t stop looking at porn. I can’t stop gossiping.” Do you know what I ask when I hear that? How big is your God? God the Holy Spirit is the one who leads us to do good and to hate sin. He is just as much the God of the world as the Father and the Son. He has all power and all control. He works through your baptism, the Word, and the Lord’s Supper to remind you that you are forgiven. He reminds us of God’s powerful love and he will produce in us the fruit of the spirit and to say no to sin.
God, the Holy Spirit, is such an amazing comfort. He is responsible for not only bringing you to faith, but maintaining you and strengthening you in that faith. Give him the opportunity to work this week as you read and hear God’s Word. Let him spotlight your Lord and Savior as he continues to keep you in the faith.