For the next few weeks, we’re going to review what we know about the Holy Spirit. A year ago we spent several months studying the attributes of God, or God the Father. We constantly review what we know about the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact we’ll do some of that in our morning message in a few minutes. But the Holy Spirit unjustly gets put on the back-burner. By the very nature of His personality and ministry, we don’t focus our attentions on Him. Because He is our primary teacher, His focus is on the Father and Son, not on Himself. In fact, we basically have to force our selves to look at Him in order to see Him at all. For the next few weeks that is exactly what we’re going to try to do.
This morning, we begin with that fact that the Holy Spirit is. Just as the Bible assumes that we all know that God exists, it assumes we know that the Holy Spirit exists. Not only does He exist, He exists as a person.
What is it to be a person? How is it that the Lord Jesus is a person? Does the Holy Spirit have personality? What is personality? It is the quality or condition of being a person. It is the accumulated qualities and traits which made someone a specific person. Is a rock a person? Does a rock have personality? (Only as we speak of it anthropomorphically.) Why do we say of some people, “He’s a character”? Why do we say that some people don’t have any personality?
Is the Holy Spirit a person? Does He have personality? If He didn’t have personality what would it be? (A lifeless power.)
Actually, there have been “Christian” heretics who have denied the personality of the Holy Spirit. Modern Unitarianism is a grand daughter of the heretic Arius. Arius denied the eternality of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit. For him, the Holy Spirit was only the “exerted energy of God.” Even the budding Catholics rejected this idea at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. But the idea never went away, and Socinius picked it up again in the 16th century.
This morning, let’s prove to ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person, one of the three divine Persons.
His ATTRIBUTES declare that He is a person.
Some of the attributes of personhood and personality are the ability to think, to feel and to choose. Can a rock feel pain? Joy? Pleasure? Is a rock a person or does it have personality? Does the Holy Spirit feel? Ephesians 4:30 – “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” What is it to grieve someone? Can a rock be grieved? What is it to be vexed? Can a rock be vexed? Isaiah 63:7-10 – “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.”
Does a rock have the ability to think? Does the Holy Spirit think? I Corinthians 2:6-16 – “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 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. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 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. 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. 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. 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. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
Finish this thought from Ephesians 1: – “Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of _____ (wisdom) and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”
Isaiah 11:1-3 – “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:”
Does a rock have a will? Can it choose whether or not to throw itself or to be thrown? Does the Holy Spirit have a will? Genesis 6:1-8 – “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
The things that the Holy Spirit does proves His personality.
We will look at a lot of this material more closely in later lessons. Did the Holy Spirit play a role in creation? What? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Can a rock give someone comfort? (I suppose.) Is it proper to call a rock “the comforter?” In our opening scripture we read: “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.” 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.” 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.” Who was that Comforter to whom the Lord was referring? 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.” Can a rock give guidance? Romans 8:13-16 – “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”
If the Holy Spirit is nothing but the influence of God, can a mere influence create, empower, teach, or guide? What do the people who deny the personality or the deity of the Holy Spirit do with the Word of God?
The Bible’s use of personal pronouns affirms the Personality of the Holy Spirit.
Even though I could, should I talk about a rock as “he” or “she?”
One of the interesting nuances of the Greek language is that the word “pneuma” (spirit) is neuter. So what should we expect to find when a pronoun is used in relationship to “pneuma”? But that is usually, not the case. 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.” 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.” 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.”
The Holy Spirit is introduced to us as a Person, not only in poetic passages where it might be argued that the language is allegorical, but also in simple narrative, and direct instruction.
That the Bible teaches us to worship the Spirit, also proves His personality.
Do we ever find the Holy Spirit placed on the same level as God the Father and God the Son in the Bible? When we see this, what is the natural inclination of our Christian hearts? Worship? II Corinthians 13:11-14 – “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” Matthew 28:16-20 – “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
What is it called when people worship a rock? Are there any people in the world who worship rocks, the wind, or a river, or a volcano? Are these people worshiping the Creator as they should?
On the other hand, to the best of your knowledge, are we ever commanded to worship the Holy Spirit? Why do you suppose that is?