Robert Jeffress - What Every Christian Should Know About The Holy Spirit - Part 1
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". Most Christians tend to picture God the Father and God the Son in human form, a King on his throne or a teacher among his disciples, but when it comes to the Holy Spirit, Christians don't often know what to think. Well, today I want to reintroduce you to the third person of the Godhead and help you understand his role in your life today. My message is titled "What Every Christian Should Know About the Holy Spirit," on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
Are you familiar with the rule of three? You may not have heard that term before, but you see it in operation all the time. Movies or plays are usually written with three acts to them. Sermons or motivational speeches have three points to them. Even a good joke has how many people walking into a bar? "Three men walked into a bar," not one or two. Interior decorators understand the importance of three. Many times, they'll arrange furniture in three pieces or picture frames in three pieces, three frames, and, yet here's the interesting twist. Although all three members of the triad are equal, one usually takes a subsidiary role, a complementary role. It's still equal, but it diminishes in its view and its prominence.
For example, think of vanilla in Neapolitan ice cream. Everybody talks about chocolate and strawberry. Poor ole vanilla gets left behind. Or think about Larry in "The Three Stooges". I mean, he was a brother just like the other two, but he had a subsidiary role. Now, admittedly, it's quite a jump to go from "The Three Stooges" to the Trinity, but I don't want you to miss the point. In the Trinity, we have God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three are equal, but the Holy Spirit is mentioned third, and some people feel like he is not as important as the other two members of the Trinity. Nothing could be further from the truth.
As we're going to discover today, the Holy Spirit may have a subsidiary role, one that's not prominent as the other two, but he is just as important. And understanding who the Holy Spirit is... and by the way, he is a who, not a it. Who, understanding who the Holy Spirit is, is key to experiencing the kind of life, the kind of power that God wants us to experience every day. Today, as we continue our series on the "Ten Core Beliefs of Historic Christianity," we're going to look at that fourth pillar, and that is "What Every Christian Should Know About the Holy Spirit of God".
Now, as I said earlier, the Holy Spirit is equal to God. You see that in the attributes or the perfections. He has the same attributes or perfections as the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit's eternal. He's omniscient, all knowing. He's omnipotent, all powerful. He is God. Jesus treated the Holy Spirit as God. Remember in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19? He said we're to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. In our study of Acts, remember, Acts chapter 5, when Ananias and Sapphira lied to the church about the money they were given? And what did Peter say to Ananias? "Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit of God"? And then, in the next verse, verse 4, Peter said, "You've not lied to men. You've lied to God".
In other words, he was acquainting lying to the Holy Spirit as lying to God himself. We see the Holy Spirit's work throughout scripture. We see him in the Old Testament. Now, he wasn't present in Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," but you find him in the next verse. "And the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters". The Holy Spirit was instrumental in creation. He was instrumental in the creation of man, of you and me as well. In Job 33, verse 4, remember, Elihu is talking to Job, and he said, "The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life". It is the Holy Spirit of God who gives us physical as well as spiritual life. Throughout the Old Testament, we see the Holy Spirit working, bringing power to empower certain people to do certain things. He empowered Gideon and Othniel and Samson, all to produce mighty works for God.
You see him in the life of David in a different way. Remember when David sinned his sin with Bathsheba? In Psalm 51:11, he prayed, "O Lord, do not remove your Holy Spirit from me". The worst thing David could imagine was the Holy Spirit being removed from him. He had seen what had happened to his predecessor, Saul, because in 1 Samuel 16:14, it said, "The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul". David didn't wanna experience that same fate. It was unimaginable to try to live life without the Holy Spirit of God. I got a good inkling this morning of that. I was getting ready to come to church. We were getting ready to come to church, and all of our electricity went out in the entire neighborhood. You know, in 100-and-some-odd-degree weather, that's about the worst thing you can imagine, losing electricity. You never know when it's gonna come back on. You feel helpless. You're wandering away in the dark.
Let me tell you, the only thing worse than losing electrical power is losing spiritual power, to have the Holy Spirit leave you, to try to live this life on your own. It's unthinkable of such a thing would happen, but that is what David feared, losing the Holy Spirit of God. You see the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament in writing scripture. In Acts 28, verse 25, Paul said, "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers". It wasn't Isaiah's words. Isaiah was speaking. It was the Word of God, moved by the Holy Spirit of God. In our message on "What Every Christian Should Know About the Bible," we talked about the role of the Holy Spirit in scripture. In 2 Peter 1:20-21, Peter said, "Know this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of the human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God".
Isaiah didn't wake up one day and say, "I'm gonna write some scripture today". They didn't initiate it. God moved upon them, and he moved them to write scripture without error. That's the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. You may be surprised at what the Holy Spirit did in the New Testament. Did you know Luke 1:35 said it was the Holy Spirit who was responsible for Mary's conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the Holy Spirit who ministered to Jesus when he was going through a trial, when he was being tempted by Satan, when he was on the cross. He was comforted by the Holy Spirit of God. And did you know that it was the Holy Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead?
In Romans 8:11, Paul said, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you". Only the Holy Spirit of God can take something that is dead and make it alive again, and if you're a Christian today, the guarantee you have that you're gonna be raised from the dead is the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. And, by the way, that same Holy Spirit works in your life while you're alive to give you power to say no to sin. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead gives you the power to say no to sin and yes to God. Last time I talked about Jesus's parting gift to us, "Peace, peace I give you, peace I leave with you," peace about our past, our present, and our future, but that peace is not just some unnamed substance out there. Our peace is in a person, the Holy Spirit of God.
In John 14, verses 16 and 17, Jesus said, "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever," who is that Helper, that Paraclete? "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 in you, and will be in you". Jesus said, "I'm not leaving you as orphans. I'm not leaving you all alone in this world. My Holy Spirit will dwell in you". Well, what is it that the Holy Spirit does for us? I wanna mention to you seven wonderful things the Holy Spirit does for every Christian.
Now, there may be 20 things, but these are seven things I've chosen to highlight from scripture. First of all, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer permanently. He indwells every believer permanently. We never have to worry that the Holy Spirit will depart from us one day. Why? Because he permanently indwells us. How does that happen? How does the Holy Spirit become a part of us? It is through what we call the baptism with the Holy Spirit of God. Remember in Acts 1:5, Jesus told his disciples before he left, he said, "John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now".
In Acts chapter 11, remember, Peter was trying to convince the Jewish Christians that Gentiles were being saved. And how did he convince them? He says in Acts 11:15-17, "I saw it myself. These Gentile believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit of God". That is the sign that you are a Christian. You have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. What is the baptism with the Holy Spirit? I want you to write this down on your outline because there's so much misunderstanding in the world today about it. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the supernatural act of God by which Christ immerses believers with the Holy Spirit, joining them to Himself and to other Christians. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit of God.
Now, if we're not baptized by the Spirit, Jesus said he would baptize. Mark 1:8, said, John the Baptist said, "I baptize you with water, but He, Jesus, will baptize you with the Holy Spirit of God". It is the act of God by which we are joined to Jesus Christ, the head of the body of Christ, and to other Christians. That's how we become a part of the body of Christ is with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. And, by the way, water baptism is just a symbol of the spirit baptism we experienced. That word, baptizo, baptize means to immerse. It referred to a piece of cloth that if you wanted to change its color, you would dip it. You would submerge it. You would immerse it in a vat of purple die. You didn't sprinkle it. You immersed it so that, when you took it out, you couldn't separate the dye from the piece of cloth. They were all one together.
Now, the Bible says, when you trust in Jesus Christ, you are baptized, immersed, with the Holy Spirit of God. And notice who the recipients of baptism with the Holy Spirit are. Who receives the baptism with the Holy Spirit? Look at 1 Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit," Paul said, "we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free. We were all made to drink with one Spirit". Now, Paul was writing to the Corinthian Christians. They were some of the sorriest no-account excuses for believers you could find in the world. They were carnal. They were immoral. They got drunk at the Lord's Supper, and, yet Paul said about them, "You were all baptized with the Holy Spirit of God".
Listen to me, the baptism with the Spirit is not some experience reserved for a group of super-spiritual Christians. It's not some spiritual upgrade from coach to first-class experience with God. Paul said, "We were all baptized with the Holy Spirit of God". When you're saved, you received not just some of the Spirit but all of the Spirit. And notice the timing of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Again, Paul says, "For by one Spirit we were baptized," not "we hope to be," "we're counting on," "we're looking forward to," we were already baptized with the Spirit. From Acts chapter 8 through the rest of the New Testament, the pattern's the same. The moment somebody trusted in Christ as Savior, he was immediately baptized with the Holy Spirit of God.
What does that mean to us? Let me just be real practical. We all desire more power in our prayers. We'd love to have more power to say no to sin our life. We'd like more power to find peace when our world is collapsing around us. We already have that power. That power is a person, the Holy Spirit of God. 2 Peter 1:3-4, says, "God's divine power has granted to us everything," not just some things. "He has granted everything to us pertaining to life and godliness". You have all of the Holy Spirit of God the moment you are saved. He indwells every believer permanently. Secondly, the Holy Spirit makes us aware of sin. He makes us aware of sin. Jesus, prophesying about the Holy Spirit, said, "He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness and judgment".
The Holy Spirit acts as a conscience, not only in Christians but in non-Christians. In non-Christians it is the Holy Spirit who convicts unbelievers of their need for a Savior from their sin. In Christians it is the Holy Spirit of God who warns us, an internal warning system when we're approaching something that's dangerous or wrong or that we need to flee from. That's the Holy Spirit of God. The other day, Amy was driving and her little light came on that said "check oil".
Now, she had a choice of how she could respond to that warning light. She could've taken a hammer and smashed through the covering there and extinguished that light immediately and gone on her way, but, fortunately, she paid attention to the warning and went to the dealership and got the oil put back into her car. In the same way, we have warning signs that flash in our life, internal feelings that what we are doing is wrong, is dangerous, we need to move away from it. That is the Holy Spirit of God. Unfortunately, a lot of people try to extinguish the Holy Spirit of God, not listen to it, and you can come to a point, the Bible says, where you get seared in your conscience. You can no longer feel the Holy Spirit when you refuse to listen to him after a period of time.
In Ephesians 4:30, Paul said, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption". When you sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit because, in a sense, you are asking the Holy Spirit, since he has immersed you, you are asking him to join in sin. There's an amazing statement in 1 Corinthians 6, verses 15 to 20. Paul said to these carnal Corinthians, "When you, as a Christian, join yourself together with a prostitute, it is like asking the Holy Spirit to engage in that sin". I mean, I don't wanna belabor that imagery so far, but it's an unthinkable thought that you would take the Holy Spirit of God with you to commit immorality. It grieves the Holy Spirit when he is asked to be involved in sin. It's just an unthinkable thing.
That's why the scripture says, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God". Thirdly, the Holy Spirit amplifies our prayer. Have you ever had this experience? You've had a desire to pray, but you just didn't know what to pray for? You were at a loss for words? You felt there was a need you had that you couldn't even express in words? Paul had that experience in Romans 8:26. He said, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words".
By the way, don't misread that. He's not talkin' about some ecstatic prayer language where you speak mumbo jumbo and somehow that is what he's talking about here. These are not words that are spoken. He says, "These are groanings too deep for words". It's not what you're praying. It's what the Holy Spirit is praying through you. The Bible says, "He speaks with groanings too deep for words," either intelligible or unintelligible words. This is something the Holy Spirit of God does. He fills in our prayers.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit distributes spiritual gifts to every believer. You know, when you were born physically into the world, you were born with certain natural abilities and gifts. Some people have the gift of speaking. Some people have the gift of working with their hands, and so forth. Well, when you were born again, the Bible says, the Holy Spirit brought into your life a spiritual gift. What is a spiritual gift? It's a unique desire and power God gives you to accomplish his purpose. We've done a series on spiritual gifts before. Every Christian has a spiritual gift. 1 Peter 4:10, says, "As each one has received a special gift," singular, "employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the grace of God".
The Greek word gift, charismaton, comes from the word charis, grace. When God extends his grace to you in salvation, he gives you a unique gift, and the root word, char, means joy. Joy, grace, and gift, true joy and fulfillment in your life comes when you discover and use that unique gift God has given you. What are the gifts? They're listed in Romans 12:6-8. Paul said, "Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given us, let us each exercise them. If prophecy, according to the proportion of faith; if service, in serving; if teaching, in teaching; exhortation, giving, leading, diligence, showing mercy with cheerfulness", these are all gifts, and we don't have time to go into those gifts, but go to our website. Listen to the three-part series "Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gift". It is a key to finding your real purpose in life.
Next, what does the Holy Spirit do? He fosters unity in the church. You know, when you think about it, the church is a miraculous organization. There's none other like it. Here you have people from all nationalities, people from all races, people from all economic backgrounds and educational achievements, people of different political affiliations, all coming together to work together to love one another. How is such a thing possible? The only thing comparable to that unity in the midst of diversity is the human body.
Paul writes about that in 1 Corinthians 12:12. He says, "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ". He goes on to say, we're not all arms or noses or ears. We have different parts in our human body, and, yet they function together, and they appreciate the contribution each part makes to the body. So should it be in the body of Christ. How do you have that unity in the midst of diversity? Well, verse 13, in 1 Corinthians 12, answers that, "For with one Spirit, we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews, Greeks, slaves or free, we were all made to drink of one Spirit". The only explanation for the unity we have, our common denominator is we all have the same Holy Spirit of God, who joins us together with one another. Unity in diversity.