We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life

We are asking, “What is salvation?” We have thought about sin and forgiveness and grace and the blessings of belonging to the church. But if we really want to understand what salvation is about we need to think about another vitally important area – and that is the person and work of the Holy Spirit. One memorable Sunday around a year ago when you were still seeking a new minister, sitting in a big circle you posed the questions that were most on your hearts. And some of those questions were concerned with Holy Spirit. So it is high time that we should begin to answer those questions both in sermons and Home Groups.

A wise man once asked, “Why is it when you speak to the modern church about the Holy Spirit that cold shivers go up and down the spines of cultured people?” Some people find talk about God the Holy Spirit exciting. Many people find talk about the Holy Spirit confusing. Quite a few people find talk about the Holy Spirit frightening. Perhaps that is because the AV used the name “Holy Ghost” and we’re all a bit afraid of ghosts. Perhaps it’s because the God we believe in would be too much of a gentleman ever to intrude into people’s lives. But then the title of one good book on the Holy spirit is “God the disturber!”
Perhaps its because we know many churches have been divided over their understandings of the work of the Holy Spirit and some have even split. Perhaps it’s because we may have seen or heard about some very weird things happening in some churches, people speaking in tongues, or falling flat on the floor, or even stranger phenomena sometimes associated with the so-called “Toronto Blessing”. I’m not going talk about spiritual gifts and Toronto blessings this morning, although we will get on to those things in weeks to come.

When you start talking about the Holy Spirit, some Bible-believing Christians start to run away as quickly as possible. They seem to think that the work of the Holy Spirit may be all right for Pentecostals and Charismatics, but ordinary Christians can get on quite well without the Holy Spirit, thank you very much! I want to begin this morning by trying to take away some of the fears concerning the Holy Spirit. But I also want to remind us that the work of the Holy Spirit is NOT an optional extra for certain Christians who happen to like that kind of thing. The reality is, none of us would be here at all, there wouldn’t be any Christians, there wouldn’t be any church, there wouldn’t be any of ANYTHING if it wasn’t for God the Holy Spirit.

Let me begin by taking you back to the ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD, to what is know as the Nicene Creed which says. “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life.”

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified.”

“The deity of the Holy Spirit ought to be clearly recognized in Scripture. Look at these facts:
He is called the Spirit of God; the Spirit of Christ; the mind of Christ; the Spirit of the Lord;
the Spirit of adoption; the Spirit of truth; the Spirit of liberty; the Spirit of wisdom; the Spirit of understanding; the Spirit of counsel; the Spirit of might; the Spirit of knowledge; the Spirit of godliness; the Spirit of the fear of God. This only begins to show how unlimited He is.” Gregory of Nazianzus C4th

2 Cor 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18 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.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit,” “which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” The Spirit IS God! The third person in the Holy Trinity. The Lord who along with Father and Son is to be worshipped and glorified, not neglected or ignored.


Genesis 1:1 ¶ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 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. 3 ¶ And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

The RUACH of God – the wind, or breath of God was there at creation. Using a very human picture, God the Father spoke, God the Son was the living Word that was spoken that brought life into existence, and God the Holy Spirit was the breath which conveyed that Word into the whole of Creation. God the Holy Spirit is the source of ALL life.

Psa 104:24 How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. …. 28 when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.

The Spirit is the Giver of Life. But back in the Old Testament God promised that one Day his Holy Spirit would bring a deeper quality of life to his chosen people. God promised that ordinary men and women would experience even more of the life-giving power of the Spirit.

Ezekiel 36:25 ¶ I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

God is promising to cleanse his people from their sin and to put a new heart in them and to help them to keep his laws by putting His Holy Spirit inside each and every one of them. These promises are fulfilled in the wonderful salvation we have in Jesus Christ!

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

“You must be born again.” It’s one of Billy Graham’s favourite phrases but did you know that the great 18th century Methodist preacher George Whitefield preached more than a thousand sermons on that one text? “You must be born again.” The word could also equally mean “born from above”. Some Christians have a dramatic “conversion” experience. Others grow gradually into faith. Either way, Jesus is saying, that our new Christian life only comes from the activity of the Spirit of God, the wind of God, the breath of God blowing where it wills. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’
Jim Packer: “The use of the figure of new birth to describe this change emphasizes two facts about it. The first is its decisiveness. The regenerate man has forever ceased to be the man he was; his old life is over and a new life has begun; he is a new creature in Christ, buried with Him out of reach of condemnation and raised with Him into a new life of righteousness.
The second fact emphasized is that regeneration is due to the free, and to us, mysterious, exercise of divine power. Infants do not induce or cooperate in their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are dead in trespasses and sins prompt the quickening operation of God’s Spirit within them.”
The wind of God, God’s breath, the Holy Spirit brings new life. So also do the living waters of the Spirit.

John 7:37 Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

Every time we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it. J. B. Phillips (1906–1982)

The New Testament teaches us that it is the Holy Spirit who brings to each believer all the blessings of new life which Christ offers us through His death and resurrection. Very clearly the Holy Spirit IS The Lord, the Giver of Life.

In Romans chapter 8 alone the Holy Spirit is mentioned no less than 17 times.

The Spirit brings LIFE instead of death

Romans 8: 9 And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

The amazing truth is that Christians have God the Holy Spirit, the One who raised Jesus from the dead alive and at work inside us, sharing Jesus’s resurrection life with us! If a person doesn’t have the Holy Spirit at work inside them they don’t belong to Christ, they don’t have eternal life at all!

The Spirit brings SONSHIP instead of slavery

Romans 8: 14 Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

So the Holy Spirit gives to each Christian the assurance of Salvation. John Wesley put it this way.
“By the testimony of the Spirit, I mean, an inward impression on the soul, whereby the Spirit of God immediately and directly witnesses to my spirit, that I am a child of God; that Jesus Christ hath loved me, and given Himself for me; that all my sins are blotted out, and I, even I, am reconciled to God … He so works upon the soul by His immediate influence, and by a strong, though inexplicable operation, that the stormy wind and troubled waves subside, and there is a sweet calm; the heart resting as in the arms of Jesus, and the sinner being clearly satisfied that God is reconciled, that all his ‘iniquities are forgiven, and his sins covered’.”

The Spirit is THE GUARANTEE our eternal life

Rom 8:23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

2 Cor 5:5 God … has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession- to the praise of his glory.

So the Holy Spirit is the first instalment of heaven. It is God the Holy Spirit who gives to every believer our New Life in Christ. He is the Lord, the Giver of life.

Do you remember the old television series Candid Camera with David Nixon. The series was famous for its practical jokes. You may remember seeing one of its best. A car rolls into a garage and fills up with petrol. But then the driver can’t start the car. He calls the mechanic over and he can’t start the car either. So they lift the bonnet and find – no engine!
The car had coasted in down a hill. It looked perfectly roadworthy – it just didn’t happen to have an engine in it! It looked convincing, the lights worked, the steering worked, the brakes worked, but there was no power. Nothing to make the car go! Is a car really a car at all if it hasn’t got an engine?

A person can’t be a Christian without the work of the Holy Spirit bringing Christ’s resurrection life. A church isn’t a church if the Holy Spirit isn’t at work in the people making them into the Body of Christ. So we have no need to be afraid of God the Holy Spirit. Nor can any Christian afford to ignore the promise or the work or the power or the gifts or the fruit of the Spirit. Rather we should all invite Him in.
Holy Spirit we welcome you! Come Holy Spirit!!

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