Click here to listen to this sermon.

  1. The Mystery of the Spirit:
    1. How does one have a relationship with the Holy Spirit?
      1. It is vitally important that the Holy Spirit be operative among us and in us if we call ourselves God's children. (Romans 8, Ephesians 1)
    2. The details are mysterious
      1. Scripture does not go into detail about the particulars
    3. The effect spirit is clear
      1. Scripture tends to focus on the effect of the spirit
      2. Electricity: Unseen and not completely understood, but the effects are obvious.

  2. The Spirit in the Old Testament:
    1. Three Functions:
      1. Creative -
        1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. - Genesis 1:1-2
        2. These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth. - Psalm 104:27-30
        3. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. - Job 33:4
      2. Prophetic -
        1. I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. - Micah 3:8
        2. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with Moses, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. - Numbers 11:25
      3. Empowering - God's work to save and sustain His people
        1. The Spirit of the LORD came upon Othniel, so that he became Israel's judge and went to war. - Judges 3:10 (cf. Samson, Judges 14:6, 19)
        2. This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: `Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. - Zechariah 4:6
        3. Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses' right hand, who divided the waters before them ...? - Isaiah 63:12
    2. God and Spirit are the same
      1. This same Spirit of God is what the NT calls the Holy Spirit (among other names) ...

  3. The Spirit in the New Testament
    1. Old Functions, New Functions:
      1. Creative - Not the creation and sustaining of the present world, but of the new reality, the Kingdom of God.
        1. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. - Romans 8:19-21
        2. No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "'In the last days,' God says, `I will pour out my Spirit on all people.'" - Acts 2:16-17
        3. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior - Titus 3:5
      2. Prophetic - Communication of the new Word of God, the Gospel of Christ.
        1. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. - Mark 13:11
        2. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. - Acts 2:4
        3. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened - Ephesians 1:18
      3. Empowering - This is a new work in Jesus Christ and his disciples.
        1. The Spirit was active in a new way in the ministry of Jesus Christ
          • Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. - Matt 12:18 (Isa. 42:1)
          • The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." - Luke 4:17-18 (Isaiah 61:1)
        2. Just as God worked by the power of the Spirit, now Christ does too (cf. The Spirit of Christ, The other Comforter):
          • But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. - Acts 1:8
          • Ephesians 3:14-19 - Power, love, knowledge. See also 2 Timothy 1:7
          • Now Christians, filled with the spirit of Christ, continue his work ...
    2. Baptism in the Spirit:
      1. A New Way of Life:
        1. Romans 8 -
        2. Hope of Eternal Life (8:11) If the spirit lives within us
          • It dwells within us - it marks us as God's people.
      2. Seal or Deposit. Assurance of what is to come ...Present experience of the eternal reality.
        1. God anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. - 2 Corinthians 1:22
        2. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. - 2 Corinthians 5:5
      3. This is clear, but "indwelling Spirit" has actually been neglected/feared because of uneasiness over ...
    3. Gifts of the Spirit:
      1. Abilities given by Christ through the Spirit (A. W. Tozer: "The power to do").
      2. Understanding the Gifts:
        1. Always focused on Christ: (This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. - 1 John 4:2. cf. 1 Corinthians 12:3)
        2. Given as the Lord sees fit: (All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. - 1 Corinthians 12:11; But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. - Ephesians 4:7)
          • Distributed variously and not all the same
          • God's prerogative, even in the Old Testament: Eldad and Medad in Numbers 11
        3. Always for the good of the church: (Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. - 1 Corinthians 12:7; ... to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up. - Ephesians 4:12; Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. - 1 Peter 4:10)
      3. Kinds of Gifts:
        1. Speech - apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists (Eph 4)
          • This does not mean hype. Paul had gifts of speech, but he was sometimes regarded as a "weak speaker." (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 10:10)
        2. Discernment - wisdom, prophecy
        3. Leadership -
        4. Service/Ministry - miracles, healing, giving
          • These are confirming because they display the power of God, not man.
        5. Gifts of the Spirit need not be strange, but having spiritual gifts must not be confused with having the spirit ...
      4. Fruit of the Spirit:
        1. These are to be common to all Christians (These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. - Titus 3:8)
        2. Contrary to Sin
          1. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
          2. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
          3. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. - Galatians 5:16-25
          4. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. - Jude 19-20
        3. Contrary to the World
          1. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us ... The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned ... But we have the mind of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 2:12-16
        4. Christ-Like Character and Christ-Like Church
          1. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. - 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
          2. Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. - 1 Corinthians 3:16
            • The Corinthians were still worldly (3:3-4)
            • The "You" in verse 16 is plural. As individuals we show the fruit, but must also as a group.
            • As a group we must also show a spiritual unity ...
      5. Unity of the Spirit:
        1. The Spirit holds us together as a body
          1. The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized with one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. - 1 Corinthians 12:12-12
        2. We have a sensitivity to one another, a spiritual bond
          1. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 = The body analogy
            • Held together despite our differences (which are important!)
            • Strong and Weak are balanced, and the hurting ministered too.
          2. When we fail to show concern and sensitivity to one another as a group, it is because we are getting out of step with the Spirit of Christ.

    4. Spirit of Love:
      1. The context in which the spiritual gifts operate and have their power
        1. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. - Colossians 3:14
        2. Without love, they are meaningless. "If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:2
      2. A fruit of the Spirit
        1. But the fruit of the Spirit is love - Gal. 5:22
        2. The greatest of "the greater gifts." - 1 Corinthians 12:31; 13:13
      3. The Key to Unity
        1. The best sort of unity
          1. Barton Stone spoke of Fire Union
            • It makes us uneasy, because we want unity on our terms!

    5. Challenge: The Spirit of the Age, or the Spirit of Christ:
      1. All: Walk in the Spirit
      2. Church: May we live as God's temple!
      3. Acts 2: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift." ... "Be saved from this corrupt generation."

    Chris Benjamin

    West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
    Evening Sermon, 4 March 2007
    next in series

    Read related article: "The Holy Spirit and Miraculous Gifts" by Roy Dunavin

     Link to next sermon

     Link to other sermons of Chris Benjamin