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South Shore Sermon Series: 2002
Roles Of God's Holy Spirit
By Bernie Parsons May 16, 2002
South Shore church of Christ
In our Christian lives, and in the church, we struggle with so many issues that plague us, shaking our confidence and rattling our minds.
For instance, how do we know if we have truly discovered the truth? What if we disagree with someone else in the church-who is right? How do we really learn the truth of Gods will? How do we know what God wants us to do with our lives? Where do we turn in times of trouble and distress, how can we get relief from overwhelming grief? How do we approach God about the things that weigh heavy on our hearts?
The denominational world handles these types of questions with a human response-they hold meetings to discuss and vote on what they believe, and how to handle situations. They behave as if the church is a democracy, when it is actually a theocracy-theo meaning God, and -cracy meaning power. God is in power, or in charge.
How to deal with controversy and obtain understanding is right in front of us, spelled out in the Bible, yet many of us refuse the solution. There is a reason for this, and it has to do with decisions of some of the brethren in the church around 150 to 200 years ago. Their conclusions have led us away from some of the most important truths of the Bible. I am talking about the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, and the many roles that God intended for the Spirit to have in our lives.
A few months ago I had an occasion to address this congregation on the importance of having the Holy Spirit. As the body without the spirit is dead, so the body of Christ without the Holy Spirit is dead. If we have not Christs Spirit, we are not His.
The Holy Ghost plays many roles, but let us consider five of the more obvious roles: teacher, guide, comforter, communicator, and witness.
A Biblical truth that we often shy away from is that the Holy Ghost, or Spirit, was sent as a teacher. We rebel against that, again because of history, and because there are others who pervert this truth. Yet the scriptures prove that the Spirit is a teacher.
Luke 12:8: "Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:
9: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God.
10: And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.
11: And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:
12: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say."
The Holy Ghost taught the Apostles what to say before government officials.
John 14:23: "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24: He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
25: These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26: But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Here is where we need to have understanding. The Holy Ghost will not teach anything different from what Jesus taught-He will teach the same things that Jesus taught. Look at verse 26 again: "he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Our fear that believing in teaching by the Holy Ghost will lead us into error is wrong. The Holy Ghost will teach the same things that Jesus taught. If anyone teaches differently, as Apostle Paul said in:
Galatians 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."
1 Corinthians 2:9: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10: But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11: For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13: Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
John 16:12: "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
13: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14: He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15: All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
Gods Holy Spirit has an intimate knowledge of Gods thinking, and so can teach us what God wants us to know. He will never teach anything contrary to Gods thinking, and plan for us. I guarantee you that any incorrect teaching isnt coming from the Holy Spirit!
If we will allow Gods Holy Spirit to teach us, we can rest assured of our understanding.
The Holy Spirit can also be our guide through those difficult decisions and perplexing crossroads of life. When we worry and our cares overtake us, we get bogged down, and despair as to what we should do. We feel lost and alone, dazed and dejected.
Acts 13:2: "As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3: And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4: So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus."
Acts 15:25: "It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26: Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27: We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28: For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well."
The Holy Ghost guided the elders in their decision as to what the Gentiles should observe from the Law of Moses. We see further guidance in:
Acts 16:6: "Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
7: After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
8: And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
9: And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
10: And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them."
The Holy Ghost guided Paul and his associates in where they should go to preach.
Acts 20:22: "And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me."
Acts 21:10: "And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11: And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12: And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13: Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14: And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done."
The Holy Ghost guided Paul into captivity, so that he might proclaim the gospel before authorities of the Roman government.
The Holy Ghost is also a comforter. There is comfort in knowing that what we believe is the truth, and there is comfort in knowing that God is aware of our condition.
John 14:15: "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."
John 15: 26: "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:
27: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning."
Acts 9:31: "Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied."
Romans 5:5: "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
Romans 15:13: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."
The Holy Ghost disperses and dispenses the love of God in our hearts, filling us with joy and hope. Hope is a great comfort in times of distress and anxiety.
The Holy Ghost is also a communicator, maintaining contact between our minds, and the mind of God.
2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."
Communion comes from the word commune, and the root word for commune literally means to share. The Holy Ghost of God shares Gods thoughts with us, and our thoughts with God. The Holy Ghost is a communicator, which literally means a sharer.
Romans 8:26: "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.
27: And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our interpreter, as He relays our needs to God in a way that we cannot approach. He is our voice, interceding with God for us.
One of the most important roles of the Holy Ghost is that of witness, which overlaps the other roles of teacher, guide, comforter and communicator.
John 14:26: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
By teaching and bringing into remembrance the things that the Lord had taught, the Holy Spirit bears witness to the truth of what Jesus, and the apostles, taught.
Luke 11: 9: "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12: Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
When we seek God, He gives us the Holy Spirit. When we knock, the door is opened to the Holy Spirit, and when we ask, we receive the Holy Spirit. When was the last time you asked God to give you the Holy Spirit, to be led by, or to commune with, the Spirit?
Acts 5:29: "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30: The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31: Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32: And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him."
The Holy Ghost, given to the obedient, witnesses to the truth of the resurrection of Jesus.
Romans 9:1: "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,"
The Holy Ghost bears witness to the truth with the Christians conscience. (Conscience, by the way, literally means to know, so the Holy Spirit witnesses to our knowledge of Gods truth. Thats why I emphasized the importance of knowledge the other night.)
Hebrews 2:3: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4: God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?"
The Holy Ghost bore witness to the apostles, that God worked in them.
Hebrews 10:14: "For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
15: Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
16: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17: And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
When the blood of Jesus purifies us, and our sins are washed away, and we learn the ways of the Lord, the Holy Ghost witnesses to us that this is our true state.
1 John 5: 6: "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8: And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9: If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son."
Three bear record-that is, bear witness to each other-in heaven: the Father, the Word-which is Jesus-and the Holy Ghost. Each substantiates that the other is true. There are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood.
We are baptized for the remission of our sins, the blood of Jesus cleanses from all past sin, and the Holy Ghost lives in us to affirm that we are the pure children of God.
Romans 8:16: "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"
John 3:5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
If you are here tonight, have not been born again of the water, Jesus said that you cannot enter the kingdom of God. If you are here tonight, and have not been born of the Spirit, Jesus said that you cannot enter Gods kingdom.
I urge you not to delay, but to be born of the water and of the Spirit, that you may enter the kingdom and be called a child of God. Come believing in Jesus and His promises, repenting of your sinful ways-that is, turn your heart and life over to God--, confess your Lord, and we will assist you in being born of the water. Let the Holy Spirit of God live in you, and you will be a child of God, a citizen in His kingdom!