Who Is the Holy Spirit?
from The Holy Spirit by Dr. Mike Holloway
Lesson One from The Holy Spirit by Dr. Mike Holloway
Since the early 1900s, we have witnessed Baptists abandoning teaching and preaching on the Holy Spirit because of the Charismatic movement.
In 1906, a black illiterate preacher named William Seymour began preaching in a home a new belief that speaking in tongues was evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. From that small beginning, people began coming from all over to behold services in larger buildings where people would roll in the sawdust aisles or lay in a trance for hours.
They were called holy rollers and received nothing but bad reviews in the papers. However, little by little, the Pentecostal movement continued to spread until they finally merged with another group and came to be known as the Charismatic movement.
The primary heresy being taught and preached was that the baptism of the Holy Spirit would result, not in power as mentioned in the Bible, but in the miracle of tongues.
While trying to attack the heresy of this movement, preachers and people alike began feeling uncomfortable talking about the Holy Spirit, almost as if they were ashamed of Him. With a lesser emphasis on the Holy Spirit, more and more people began to shy away from the Holy Spirit with the only teaching and preaching about Him being done by the Charismatics, and their doctrine was wrong!
As a result, thousands of saved people became increasingly ignorant of Who the Holy Spirit is and what He does.
Speaking in tongues was a temporary gift given to the church for the purpose of reaching the lost. When the Bible was completed by the apostle John on the island of Patmos, the gift of tongues then ceased.
“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”1 Corinthians 13:10
Unfortunately, this way of thinking is not the norm. In 2007, a survey reported that two thirds of all Protestant ministers believed in speaking in tongues. That group would include Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians. The same survey also reported that fifty percent of all Southern Baptist pastors also believed in speaking in tongues. Those results show that this heresy is continuing to spread like wildfire and that most Christians do not have a good understanding of Who the Holy Spirit really is and what He does.
The Holy Spirit is … THE MOST PROTECTED PERSON IN HEAVEN.
“Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”Matthew 12:31-32
This passage of Scripture mentions that there is an unpardonable sin.
When the Pharisees saw Jesus casting out devils, they claimed that He did so through the power of Satan. When they voiced their views, Jesus warned them very strongly and pointedly about how they spoke of the Holy Spirit. If they blasphemed Him, they would never be forgiven.
What is the unpardonable sin?
It is a final and ultimate rejection of the Holy Spirit and a specific part of His work. It is a sin that can only be committed by a lost person, and it is an attack against the work of the Holy Spirit in the matter of salvation. By denying the Holy Spirit and His work, the person is choosing a position of unbelief, which is the one and only sin that will ever send a person to hell. To reject Christ as Savior is also to reject the work of the Holy Spirit, for He is the One Who convicts a person of his need to be saved. To reject His convicting power is to forfeit any desire to be saved.
How can a person tell if he has committed the unpardonable sin? The easiest way to tell is that he has NO desire to be saved. Where there is no desire, there is no hope.
An interesting point to see here about the Holy Spirit is that He has such an active role in saving a person, that blasphemy can be committed against God the Father or Jesus Christ, and that person can still be forgiven. However, when he burns his bridges to the Holy Spirit by rejecting His conviction, he is done. The Father can be rejected, and the Holy Spirit can convict the person to the point where he changes his mind. Jesus Christ can be rejected, and again, the Holy Spirit can convict that person and bring him to the place where he repents and gets saved. However, when a person rejects the Holy Spirit, he has just lost the only Person Whose job it is to convict him; and where there is no conviction, there is conversion!
The Holy Spirit is … THE MOST NEGLECTED PERSON IN THE TRINITY.
“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:”Matthew 3:16
This event highlights how the Holy Spirit is usually treated by Christians. Here, the Father’s voice was taking control in calling attention to His Son. Jesus Christ was visibly presented to the entire nation as the Messiah and Son of God while the Holy Spirit quietly did His job without introduction or fanfare, and His presence was largely unnoticed.
It would seem that the Holy Spirit is always struggling to get the respect He deserves throughout the world. In reference to God the Father, atheists for centuries have claimed He does not exist.
Ernest Hemingway stated, “All thinking men are atheists.”
Mark Twain once said, “If there is a God, he must be a thug.”
Robert Frost who was from Indiana put in poem, “I turned to speak to God about the world’s despair; But to make bad matters worse, I found that God wasn’t there.”
Thomas Edison said, “I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul…All this talk about an existence beyond the grave is wrong.”
There are plenty of famous people who have had the courage or stupidity to reveal their true feelings about God, but while they can deny him their entire lives, they still know in their hearts that He exists.
In relation to Jesus Christ, even Muslims and Jews are in agreement that Jesus Christ was a real person. They are wrong in thinking He was not God, but at least they have admitted that He existed. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, people do not know what to think, because most do not see Him as a Person at all, but rather as some kind of heavenly force.
“And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:”Acts 2:18
This verse and others have confused people who try to take it literally when it is teaching a spiritual truth instead. Contrary to what most people think, the Holy Spirit is a Person!
It is the Holy Spirit Who knows our every thought, our every word spoken, our every gesture, our every sin, and our every motive!
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”1 Corinthians 2:10
He makes choices.
It was the Holy Spirit Who chose to give singing voices to some people, the ability to play an instrument to others, and the skill to organize things to others. He is the Distributor of every talent that is ever needed in the Lord’s church.
“But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”1 Corinthians 12:11
Perhaps one reason the Bible forbids our using any kind of visual aid in worshiping God is that we need to learn how to love the Holy Spirit Who is invisible yet is as much in love with us as is Jesus Christ.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;”Romans 15:30
He can be hurt.
The word grieve means to be made sad. How would you feel if you were not spoken to and neglected all day, every day by someone who claims to love you?
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”Ephesians 4:30
He is God.
The Bible is full of references to the Holy Spirit that prove He is not a force that creates miracles but is God Himself!
“But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.”Acts 5:3-4
The Holy Spirit is … THE MOST NEEDED PERSON IN THE WORLD TODAY.
He is needed for anyone to be saved.
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”John 6:44
Here is how salvation works.
The Father came up with a plan whereby Jesus Christ would become the only acceptable sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Jesus Christ agreed to submit to the Father’s plan and left heaven to be born of a virgin. He then spent the last three years of His life offering Himself as Israel’s Messiah and Savior. His ministry was ended when He voluntarily became our Substitute at Calvary.
What is the function of the Holy Spirit?
He is the One Who is responsible for approaching every person and convicting him of his sin. He is the One Who opens a person’s eyes to his need of a Savior. He is the One Who uses the Bible to make an inroad into the heart and teaches a person what it means. He is the One Who goes back to that person after he rejects His offer of Christ. He is the One Who wakes him up in the middle of the night and stirs his heart in hopes that he will accept Christ. He is also the One Who closes the transaction by accepting a person’s faith, erasing his sins, and then giving Himself as a down payment of his eternity in heaven.
The Father came up with the plan. Jesus carried that plan to earth and became the perfect Sacrifice that the Father’s plan required. Then the Holy Spirit takes that salvation and applies it around the world.
He is also needed for every Christian to be changed.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between two people who both claim to have gotten saved, but one begins to change instantly while the other one never does? The difference is found in their relationship with the Holy Spirit. It is the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit to overhaul or to remodel the life of every Christian. The Holy Spirit knows the Father as well as the new Christian, and He knows exactly what is necessary for him to be changed.
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”Romans 8:29
The word conformed means to be made similar. It is the Holy Spirit’s full-time job in our lives to make us as similar to Christ as we will allow Him. From the moment we first get saved, up to our dying breath, the Holy Spirit lives to change us from what we are to what Jesus Christ is.
“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”2 Corinthians 4:15-16
Every day, a new attempt is made by the Holy Spirit to gain control of our lives to bring about these changes. Every day, we are either willing to let go, or we are not.
How well are Christians submitting to His changes?
Basically every survey done on American society shows the same result—there is basically no difference in the lifestyles of Christians and non-Christians! Seventy-five percent of people in the United States claim to be Christians, and seventy-five percent of people in prison also claim to be Christians. Fifty percent of the people in America get a divorce, and fifty percent of Christians also get a divorce.
Those statistics sound to me as though we are doing well at getting our eternity settled, but we are not doing any better than lost people in how we are living here on earth.
Why is that?
We have accepted God as the one and true God. We have accepted the death of Christ as our payment for sin. Unfortunately, after we get saved, too many pick up the old lifestyle again and try to maintain as much control as possible while being content with the fact that when it is all over, heaven is the final destination!
“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?”James 4:5
When a person gets car fever, every car on the road becomes that one car he has to have. He sees that car everywhere except in his driveway. When a person who has not eaten in a long time finally gets to sit down to a big plate of food, he cannot help but pig out.
Those are both extremely weak examples of what the Holy Spirit is going through every morning when we get out of bed.
The word lusteth means to long for or to have a great desire for.
When a Christian wakes up in the morning, an invisible Person is standing alongside his bed, anxious to be able to take control of his life. The only way He will ever be able to do so is for the individual to meet with Him, surrender to Him, and then become a little child as He begins to change what he looks at, where he goes, what he eats, what he says, and how he says it.
Every Christian ought to let Him have tomorrow and let Him be his Boss. He knows what is best and can do a much better job of running our lives than we could ever dream!
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