Charles Stanley - Your Convictions About the Holy Spirit
Many believers will live their entire life and miss out on one of God's awesome blessings. Because they'll never realize that living within them is the Holy Spirit whom God sent to live within us in order to enable us to do the things He wants us to do and to be the person He wants us to be. And most people will never realize that. They'll never think about the fact that God not only saved them but that He indwelled for a very specific reason.
And I think that many churches that do not even mention the Holy Spirit and most people don't know what part He plays in their life. And if you would ask the average person who is the Holy Spirit? They'll say, Well, He's something religious. I'm not sure what He is. And so, when I think about that, and I think about the fact that He has really come to indwell us to enable us to be everything God wants us to be, and to accomplish everything God wants us to accomplish.
That is, He didn't say just go do this, that, and the other. He says, I'm going to be with you. I'm going to indwell you and I'm going to see to it that you are able to do and to become everything I desire. But it's not until I was in seminary that I realized what the Holy Spirit was all about. And the way I realized it was this. I was sitting at dinner table one night and this was my first year. And I was right out of college and in college I argued about all the things that I believed. And some of our best times were arguments we had at night time.
So, I'm sitting there and somehow we got on the Holy Spirit and I said the Holy Spirit, well, well, it's supposed to help all of us. And I said something else about it and one of the students who was sitting there, I did not know. He didn't embarrass me. He said, Charles, he said, Would you like to come to my room after, dinner? I said, sure I would. He was a doctoral student. I thought I'll learn something listening this boy, for sure. Well, I walked in his room and there, I was very intimidated. There were books from the floor to the ceiling, except for the windows all around his dormitory room.
So, what he said to me, he said that, I noticed that when you talk about the Holy Spirit, that you call Him it. I said, that's what the Bible says. And then I pointed him to passages of Scripture. So, I turned to them and showed him where it was and he handed me a Greek New Testament. This is my first year, in my first semester and I'm just starting Greek. He said, that's okay. I'm going to take you through the Bible. I said, well, I can't read that. He said, I'll help you read it. So, he took me through the New Testament and he showed me every time the Holy Spirit was mentioned.
He said, Now, here's what happened. When they translated in a couple of passages, here the Holy Spirit, you know it's the third person singular; he or she or it. And so, the translators once in a while, would call Him it. And so, he showed that and all of a sudden I felt very ignorant, very embarrassed but very grateful. He straightened me out about what the Bible said about the Holy Spirit; that He is somebody. He's not just a power, another force, not a it. And so, I was very grateful about it.
So, the question is, Who is the Holy Spirit? If you go back to Genesis chapter one for a moment and notice what the Scripture says about the creation. It's in the first chapter in the twenty-six verse. "Let Us make man in Our own image". Well, who is Us? God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. And so, there He is in the Old Testament, and oftentimes in the Old Testament He's referred to usually sort of coming and going upon somebody's life. And every single believer has the Holy Spirit living within us. And if you go back to John chapter fourteen, for example, let's look, if you will, in verses sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen. And here's what He says. Jesus talking to His disciples before He was crucified. He says, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper," a capital H, somebody, "that He may be with you forever," not partially, but forever, "that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans".
And so, now He begins to explain what all that is about. Three persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Here He calls Him a Helper. The Great Enabler. The One who enables us to do what God calls us to do, and the One who equips us to be able to do whatever He says. And I think about growing up in a church that talked about the Holy Ghost and so forth, but nobody ever said this Holy Ghost we're talking about, look what He does in your life. He was a stranger to my life until my friend took his Greek New Testament, and gave me one and said here's who He is. Went through every verse in the New Testament.
Well, I understood it to some degree, but I realized immediately what somebody should have told me. That as a twelve-year-old kid, I didn't have to live the Christian life by myself. I didn't do very good sometimes. And so, I struggled. And I struggled a lot of times until he straightened me out. He said, you have the Holy Spirit living within you. When I began to realize that, everything changed. And immediately I realized I'm going to be a better student because I have the Spirit of God working within me who'll enable me, and help me to recall whatever I need to recall. And everything I could think about, the Holy Spirit is there.
And so, think about what you face with your family, for example. Sometimes they'll struggle, you have the Holy Spirit. With your finances you struggle, Holy Spirit. People where you work with struggle, Holy Spirit. For example, sometimes people don't understand what you're saying. They don't understand your Christian experience, but you have the Holy Spirit living within you who will enable you in every single circumstance of life to do your best, whatever it is. So, He didn't just leave us. And Jesus said to them He was very concerned about this. He says I'm not leaving you as orphans. I'm sending you a Helper. That's what He called the Holy Spirit. I'm sending you somebody Who is going to enable you.
So, now watch this, when you got saved, immediately, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in you and what happened? He gave you the capacity. That is, He enabled you to do everything God wanted you, watch this carefully, He enabled you to do everything God wanted you to do at that age, at that circumstance, at a later age, all the rest of your life, you and I have Him living within us enabling us. Whatever it is. That's why we shouldn't be afraid of anything. There'll be difficult times. There'll be times we're misunderstood. Times, for example, of conflict, but we have to remember this, we're not the ones doing the battle. He who has indwelt us, living inside of us, filled us, anointed us, running over inside of us, He is our guardian. And He is the source of our knowledge, the source of our wisdom, and the source of our power, our energy to be and to do what God wants us to do.
So, when you think about that, the Christian life is an awesome life. When you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, your sins were forgiven based on what He did at Calvary paying your sin-debt in full. You simply ask Him to forgive you; believing what He said, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God's raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". Immediately God seals you as one of His children. Then the Holy Spirit begins to work in your life. It isn't an instant, in other words, watch this, receiving the Holy Spirit's instantaneous. Living it out is lifelong.
And so, we come to the fruit of the Spirit, and all of us admit that every once in a while we're not as loving as we ought to be. We're not as kind as we ought to be. But He's there and what does He do? He does what is one of His tasks and that is to convict us of our sin and forgive us. And so, He reminds us that we don't have to harbor sin, we don't have to just hang around with sin and think, ohhhh God, what am I going to do, He says in First John one, nine. "If I confess my sins," watch this, that means I'm agreeing with Him about them, that they don't belong in my life, and He's willing to remove them if I agree with Him. "If I confess my sins, He's," what? Faithful.
Now, watch that next word, "and just". What does it mean by being just? It means because He went to the cross and paid my sin-debt in full, He has the right to have said the soul that sinneth it shall die, and now, say you confess your sins, repent of your sins, turn your life over to Me, you're absolutely forgiven. And so, the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our sin. That's just one thing. Jesus said it so beautifully when He said He's the helper. He helps us in every area of our life. Watch this, He intends for you and me to live for Him by depending upon Him, trusting in Him every day, about every, single circumstance of life. Here's what He said to them.
He said, now, in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke. "Repentance for forgiveness of sin will be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You're witnesses of these things. And then behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father," the Holy Spirit, "sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; for you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high". Listen to this, He said, to them here's your task, the world. "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature". Now, suppose there were a hundred and twenty of us sit here, hundred and twenty of us. Just the folks sitting right here. And Jesus said to us, okay, here's your task. You're to take what I've taught you to the world. I'm going to leave you, but the Spirit of God's going to be in you, with you, and help you, but you hundred and twenty, your task is simply to get what you have seen and heard to the whole world.
What would be your first, honest, reply? Well, in no way I'm going to be able to do that. That's what you'd say. But that's exactly what He said to them. He said, your task is to get what I've taught you to the world. And He says, I'll not leave you, I'll always be there. And so, when you wake up in the morning, you wake up in the presence of the Holy Spirit. And God wants us to wake up in not just presence, but the awareness of the Holy Spirit that today, whoever I meet, whatever I face, I don't have to fret and worry, and be anxious because He's going to be in me, with me, and upon me, and enabling me to carry out the responsibility I have, fulfill whatever God wants me to fulfill, do well whatever He calls me to do. Trust Him for every... I'll have everything I need because He's going to supply it. And He says He sealed us. This isn't something you come and go with, you are sealed by the Spirit of Promise, the Holy Spirit. He never intended for you and me to live one single day apart from depending on Him.
And yet I think about how many people go to church every Sunday. The only time they hear about the Holy Spirit is they may sing the song, Holy Spirit, breath on me. They may hear it there, but when it comes to preaching it, teaching it, talking about it, sharing, you don't hear anybody talking about it. Because the devil doesn't want us talking about the source of our strength and power. He doesn't want us thinking about that. He wants uppermost in our thinking, fear, doubt, I'm unclear, who am I? I'm a nobody. Here's, I'll tell you who you are. You're somebody that was worth Jesus dying for. That makes you very valuable in the eyes of holy God. And He's there to work in your life, and to dwell in your life, and accomplish the things He wants you to accomplish.
Now, He is our source, we're to see Him as our source. The source of power and strength in our life. And there are many references to that in the Bible, but what does He mean when He talks about the power of the Holy Spirit? Everybody wants some kind of power. What is the power of the Holy Spirit? That's His enabling. That's His divine energy. That is the reality of Almighty God. That's God doing something supernatural in our life. Divine energy and spiritual authority.
Now, watch this, somebody begins to argue you about the gospel, you just say, Thank You, Holy Spirit. Watch this carefully, when you get in a confrontation with somebody, you claim in that second the presence, the power, and the word of the Spirit of God. He is there as your defender. He is there as your proclamation. He is there as the speaker of truth through you. You'll say things you hadn't even thought about. God'll bring Scriptures to your mind you hadn't thought about in a long time. Why? Because it is no longer I, but Jesus living in me and through me. And that's the way God wants us to live. That's why He sent the Holy Spirit. Why? To enlighten your mind, to help you understand, and to enable you to know what to do and how to respond. And to equip you to live a godly life.
Listen, you're indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He's locked in because God sealed you with the Holy Spirit of Promise. And we act sometimes, like, you know, ooh, I'm so weak, and I can't do this and I can't do that, and poor me, hmm-mmmm-mmm, on we go, and all the time we have Deity living on the inside of us, ready to work through us and do His will, whatever that might be. But you have to acknowledge it, you have to believe it, you have to claim it, and yet, I know that many people who hear this message will have never heard a message on the Holy Spirit. And it's not new, it's just that people don't talk about Him.
And I've heard people say, Well, you know, I just do the best I can. Well, that's not scriptural. Where is that in the Bible? Just do the best I can. No, I do what the Spirit of God will enable me, and allow me to do. Whatever that may be. It won't be perfect, it won't be always the same. The Spirit of... listen, I love this about God. He loves us enough and knows us enough that He's not going to let us do everything perfect all the time. You know why? We'd get cocky, and egotistical, and prideful. Now, what He does for me, He lets me make mistakes right in front of you, so. So, I don't ever want to leave the impression I'm perfect, because I'm not. But I am truthful. I may not be perfect, but I am truthful.
And so, every single one of us has the Spirit within us. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you wake up in His presence indwelling you. And what's He there to do? To enable you, all day long, to do well whatever you have to do, and meet the people around you with a smile on your face and the joy in your heart. Even you may not always feel it, but you respond out of your spirit, not your feelings. Emotions come and go, there're all kind of things, but when you respond out of the Spirit, you respond in strength. You respond in the energy and the power, and the anointing of the Spirit of God upon you. And you know what happens? People, watch this, not impressed, but impacted by your life, because they see something there they don't normally see in everybody else.
Now, so, let me give you a definition of God's energy and His power. The power of the Holy Spirit is: God's divine energy and authority released in the life of the believer for the purpose of godly living, and fruitful service. Write it down. God's divine energy and authority released in the life of the believer for the purpose of godly living and fruitful service. Listen, not to make us happy, though we'll be happy. Not to make us joyful, though that's a fruit of the spirit. In other words, He's working within us in order to accomplish His will. He's the Great Enabler in every situation. It's a matter of knowing that He's there, acknowledging that He's there, and listen, acting like He's there, and walking in the awareness that He is there. And when that happens in your life, something really happens.
So, when we do God's work God's way, in God's wisdom, we're going to be blessed in spite of what goes on in our life. So, think about it for a moment. As a follower of Jesus Christ, you are equipped with the presence of the Holy Spirit who is a part of the Trinity. Therefore, has supernatural powers. You are no longer alone, but you are fully equipped by the presence of the Holy Spirit to face anything, everything, and all things. It does not mean life will get easy, but it means whatever you face, you never face it alone. You and God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit all face them together.
And think about it. You can't lose. Whatever the battle is, you can't lose when the whole Trinity... I thought you said just the Holy Spirit? God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, three persons of the Trinity. You can't separate them. When you have one, thank God, you've got them all! And that is, you have the Holy Spirit, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit living and working in you. Now, think about this, when Jesus told them that, He said, go out to the uttermost parts of the earth, and that small band started, what He told them to do, they did enough of it to cover the globe, and God is still working. And even with those few languages that are yet to be translated, people are working diligently so that every single person on the globe will be able to understand in their language the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, I would ask you this, Where does the Holy Spirit fit in your life? Are you sitting there this morning thinking, I didn't even know who He was. Listen, He's a person of the Trinity. He's our seal, our salvation, our life. He wants us to live, watch, He wants us to live out of His energy and strength, in His power, in His name, for His glory, for His honor. And what happens? We just get blessed in the process. Amen? So, somebody says, well, what's this being filled with the Holy Spirit? Here's what it is. The Holy Spirit who is within you has not necessarily filled you, He sealed you upon salvation, but to be filled with the spirit means you must be willing to confess your sins, repent of your sins, turn away from them.
Yield your life to Him, surrender your life to Him, acknowledge that He owns you, that He has the right to indwell you and guide you, and lead you. And that you're willing to follow His will, do what He wants you to do. When you have fully surrendered yourself to Him, the Spirit of God comes into your life in total fullness. You experience Him in a way that you won't experience Him by just confessing sins. And what happens is, the more of yourself you give to Him, the more of Him you experience. He is a real person of the Trinity.
So, think about this, when you walk out of here today, you walk out in the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill His will and purpose in your life. And you have with you the promise of His continuous, watch this: uninterrupted, continuous, uninterrupted. You may feel an interruption, all kind of things may happen to you. Total, uninterrupted presence, and power to live out your life and fulfill His purpose for your life. You don't get any more blessed than that. That's the work of the Holy Spirit.
Father, we thank You, this morning, for what You do for us. So, much more than we can ever recount, and we pray that You'll grant each one of us such a strong, deep, insatiable desire for the Sprit to work in our life, that we will live a surrendered life. And You said when we do there will be love, and joy, and peace, and goodness, and gentleness, and all the promises of the Spirit. So, we pray, today, for those who have listened, who are unsaved, who've never trusted You as their Savior. To remember there's no substitute for salvation. There's no substitute for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. And if they want Your best, it comes through salvation, by placing their trust in Jesus, and asking for the fullness of the Spirit in their life. And You will fulfill it and we thank You for it in Jesus's name, amen.