SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 07/03

The Holy Spirit

His Work, Gifts, Fruit and Baptism

Reading: John 14: 15-31


The presence of Yahweh's Spirit (the Holy Spirit) is the greatest and best asset any believer can have. But, sad to say, in Christian circles there is much confusion about the Holy Spirit. Areas in need of clarification are: I will attempt to answer a few of these questions in this Sermon.

1. Given to the Obedient

To begin with the Holy Spirit is not given to unbelievers. They may be influenced by the Holy Spirit; but they are not given the Holy Spirit in the sense I am talking of Him this morning. Only believers who endeavour to obey the Almighty's commandments receive the Holy Spirit. I repeat, the Spirit of God enlightens - in varying degrees - 'every one that comes into this world:' but what I am speaking about is far more than the conscience of man. I am speaking about spiritual fruit, holiness, wisdom and power the Spirit of God brings with Him when He takes control of the believer's mind. The true believer receives these from on high - in direct proportion to his/her faith and obedience. Not blind obedience to man: but obedience to God.

Yahweh does not give His Spirit to the wilful sinner. The Scriptures testify to this fact:
Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

2. The Obedient Believer

When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in a believer's mind, He inhabits the believer just as we humans would inhabit a house.
John 14:17 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.
verse 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.

3. The Holy Spirit's Work

The Holy Spirit performs many duties when He takes up residence in a believer's life. A few of His divine duties are listed below.

He Teaches

verse 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things...

Note: Unless one has his/her eyes opened to spiritual realities by the Holy Spirit it is impossible to appreciate spiritual concepts and truths.

He Reminds

verse 14:26 continued ... and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

He Testifies

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.

He Reproves

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
8: And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin,and of righteousness, and of judgment.

In other words the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin when they break Yahweh's law, when they sin. (1 John 3:4). He will not only point out disobedience (sin), but He also directs people to do what is right (righteousness) and how to obey God. He will then go on to warn of the coming Judgement; when every soul on earth will be judged according to his/her reaction to such awesome prompting.

The Holy Spirit's work goes even beyond those critical lessons.
John 16:13-14 "He will guide you into all truth ... He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me, for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."

Note: These are vital lessons which the Holy Spirit of Yahweh teaches with untiring efficiency.
Are you responding to His sacred work?

4. Spiritual Gifts

The Holy Spirit gives every believer one or more spiritual gifts. These gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Notice these facts about spiritual gifts: there are different gifts which manifest themselves in different ways.

Every believer is given at least one gift - some have several. The gifts are: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation.

Note how the Apostle Paul classifies the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He also places the receivers of these gifts in a hierarchic order of importance.
verse 28 First: Apostles
Second: Prophets
Third: Teachers
After that: Miracle workers, Healers, Helps, Governments and speakers in tongues.

Let those who try to reverse this order by placing speakers in tongues at the head of the list - beware!

Believers Have Different Gifts

Not every believer has the gift of healing or tongues or understanding. Those who claim that every believer should speak in tongues are mistaken. All the prophets of old and Jesus himself never spoke in tongues. Neither did most of the reformers. For further information, see the Gift of Tongues.

5. Grieving the Holy Spirit

Disobedience grieves the Holy Spirit. If unchecked, disobedience will result in the Holy Spirit abandoning the sinner.
Ephesians 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Can the Holy Spirit be withdrawn from a believer? The answer is yes if he/she persists in sin. When David sinned grievously against God, by committing adultery with Uriah's wife and then murdering that valiant soldier, the king came extremely close to being abandoned by God. David's penitent prayer is recorded in Psalm 51. Here is a portion of that psalm which tells us that God can withdraw His Holy Spirit from the unrepentant sinner.
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8: Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9: Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11: Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12: Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

David's prayer was heard and answered: but see how close he came to losing the Holy Spirit.

6. Evidence of the Holy Spirit

The most reliable evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence is the spiritual fruit He produces in a believer's life. The best evidence of Yahweh's presence is 'holiness.' Holiness is a word meaning set-apart for sacred use; to be pure, righteous, clean and without sin. Holiness is being like Yahweh. Holiness is a sign of Yahweh's presence. But there are other signs of the Holy Spirit. We refer to them as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Notice in the following passage how the Holy Spirit helps the believer to overcome natural (sinful) tendencies. A spiritual war is raging in the human mind: the war of good against evil.
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18: But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19: Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20: Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21: Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

7. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is one of the most misunderstood teachings of Scripture. Many believers confuse the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They also fail to see the difference between the baptism, the gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In reality the Holy Spirit is quite separate from His gifts, His fruit and His baptism.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the reality to which water baptism points. Water baptism symbolises a death to sin, a burial of the old sinful nature and a resurrection to walk in newness of life. Water baptism is a meaningful drama, a shadow, a type. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the substance, the real thing! When the Baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place in a believer's life he dies to sin. He/she doesn't knowingly sin any more. His old evil nature is slain and buried. A new, nature then takes over. Every believer who enters the Kingdom of God is, at some soon-coming date, going to be baptised by Christ in the Holy Spirit - yes every one of us. The one who does the baptising will be Yeshua the Messiah - Jesus Christ. Of him John the Baptist said:
Mark 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is being counterfeited on a world scale in our day. Millions of sincere believers in many countries are being deceived. They believe that when they 'speak in tongues' they have been baptised in the Holy Spirit. Oh what a tragic deception this is! This counterfeit baptism abounds in every land. Beware of the bogus baptisms!

See Lesson 20 where the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is dealt with in more detail.
What about the Trinity?

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
August 1997 ... Updated September 1999