A Primer on the Holy Spirit

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The following text is extracted from a handout that was used with the sermon embedded above.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

1. He is not a ghost, an impersonal power, or an angelic spirit.

2. He is a person who can…

  • be lied to (Acts 5:3, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit'”).
  • be grieved (Eph. 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption”).
  • be resisted (Acts 7:51, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit”).
  • be insulted (Heb. 10:29, “How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has … insulted the Spirit of grace?”).

3. He is God.

  • Acts 5:3-4, “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit … You have not lied to men but to God.'”
  • Matt. 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

4. He is distinct from the Father and the Son.

  • Matt. 3:16-17, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.'”

5. He co-operates in all God does. God does all things triunely.

  • God the Father, Son, and Spirit cooperate in creation, redemption, atonement, prayer, and apparently in everything God does.

What Does the Holy Spirit Do?

1. Convicts (John 16:8, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”).

2. Indwells (Rom. 8:9, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him”).

3. Fills (Eph. 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit”).

4. Empowers (Eph. 3:16, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man”).

5. Helps (John 15:26, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me”).

6. Counsels (Isa. 11:2, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD”).

7. Leads (Gal. 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”)

8. Illuminates (1 Cor. 2:12, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.”)

9. Intercedes (Rom. 8:26, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words”).

10. Gives gifts (1 Cor. 12:4, 11, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. … But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills”).

11. Enables prayer access (Eph. 2:18, “for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father”).

12. Unifies the body (Eph. 4:3, “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”).

13. Inspires Scripture (2 Pet. 1:21, “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God”).

14. Assures believers (Rom. 8:16, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God”).

15. Shares fellowship (Phil. 2:1, “Therefore … if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion”).

16. Provides (Phil. 1:19, “for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”).

17. Sanctifies (1 Pet. 1:1-2, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit”; 2 Cor. 3:18, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit”).

How Do I Relate to the Holy Spirit?

1. Relate to the Spirit as a person.

2. Talk to the Spirit in terms of His Scriptural jobs and titles.

a. Ask the Spirit for illumination when you read Scripture.
b. Thank the Spirit for speaking to you through Scripture.
c. Ask the Spirit to help you understand Jesus better so you can be more like him.
d. Ask the Spirit to convict sinners, help fellow believers, and sanctify you.
e. Tell the Spirit you are committed to submitting to and obeying him.

3. Don’t grieve him by rebelling (Eph. 4:30; Isa. 63:10).

4. Don’t resist him by refusing to obey Scripture, which is the Spirit’s speaking (Acts 7:51; Heb. 10:15).

5. Don’t insult him by turning from Christ for salvation (Heb. 10:29).

6. Walk in, follow, keep in step with him (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25).

7. Listen to him while reading Scripture (Heb. 3:7), as well as praying and fasting (Acts 13:2-3).

Philip Brown
Philip Brownhttp://apbrown2.net
Dr. Philip Brown is Graduate Program Director and Professor at God's Bible School & College. He holds a PhD in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University and is the author of A Reader's Hebrew Bible (Zondervan Academic, 2008).