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God's Holy Spirit

We observed Pentecost two weeks ago. This year Pentecost was observed on Sunday, May 19th. Pentecost is the memorial of the giving of the Holy Spirit - Ruach ha Kodesh in Hebrew. We often hear and read about God's Holy Spirit, but what is it and how does it differ from the spirit of man? What do we have to do to receive it? What does it do in our lives? How do we use it? Can we lose it?

These are five questions I want to address in this sermon. We will take each question in turn and refer to scriptures to answer the questions.

1. What IS the Holy Spirit? How does it differ from man's spirit?

Let's turn first to:

(Gen 1:2 NKJV) The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Verse 2 describes the universe during its creation. The "surface of the deep" in verse 2 indicates an abyss or a very deep, measureless space. "Waters" indicates a thick, liquid-like substance of nuclear particles which some describe as a confused soup.

"Without form" is from the Hebrew word "Tohu", H8414 ("H" numbers refer to the Hebrew portion of Strong's Concordance), and means something empty, formless, unformed. "Void" is from the Hebrew word "Bohu", H922, and means emptiness or void. "And the earth was tohu and bohu....", unformed and void. Unformed or chaotic is a fair translation of tohu. But bohu does not only mean void. Both the Talmud and Nahmanides state that bohu means filled with the building blocks of matter. A more accurate, though cumbersome, translation of Genesis 1:2 might be: "And the earth was in a state of chaos but filled with the building blocks of matter." Perhaps we are wandering a little off the subject.

"And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." God is Spirit. I think this describes God hovering over the very young universe. It is the only place in the Bible that this example is used. Biblically, this was required to start the making of the universe following its creation. His creating powers may also be referred to in Job 26:13.

(Job 26:13 NKJV) By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; . . . ..

A review of the Old Testament applications of the words 'Spirit of God' will reveal that God's Spirit is most often likened to a wind or a moving of air such as in breathing. The Hebrew word for Spirit is "Ruach", H7307 in Strong's Concordance, but to get a better understanding of the use of the word in the above scriptures, let's look at another Old Testament scriptural example where this concept and term is used:

(Psa 51:10-13 NKJV) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me...{11} Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit [Ruach ha Kodesh] from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. {13} Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.

This verse refers to both God's spirit and man's spirit and thereby moves us into the next part of the question: How does God's Holy Spirit differ from the spirit of man? Let's look at some descriptions of the spirit of man. As we just read, David asked that God renew in him a pure heart and by that cleaning up, provide David a spirit willing to be taught and by which David could be sustained through a willing intent and dedication.

Let's look at some other scriptures which provide us a description of the spirit of man.

(Psa 34:18 NASB) The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit (ruach). [In this case, "spirit" reflects the amount of enthusiasm or zest].
(Psa 51:16-17 NKJV) For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.

David is describing how humility is pleasing to God.

(Mark 14:38 NKJV) "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Christ is talking here about devotion, intent and allegiance to God through the spirit God had given us to avoid sin versus the weakness of the carnal mind and body to avoid sin.

This next verse from Eccl 3, which compares the spirit of animals and the spirit of man, reveals several things about man's spirit.

(Eccl 3:20-21 CJB) They all go to the same place; they all come from dust, and they all return to dust. {21} Who knows if the spirit of a human being goes upward and the spirit of the animal goes downward into the earth?"

This verse show that man's spirit is different than an animal's spirit even though the fate of their bodies is the same. Is Solomon describing the breath of man and animal when he mentions spirit? It's possible but it wouldn't appear so. He's saying that only a human being's spirit can rise to heaven.

New Testament scriptures turn away from what may appear to some people as seemingly aimless statements in the Old Testament. Let's address the spirit of man as described in the New Testament by reading a number of New Testament verses which mention it. As we read them, notice how the New Testament is oriented toward the converted who have God's Spirit, a big departure from the very restricted sharing of God's Spirit in the Old Testament.

(Rom 8:16 KJV) The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Rom 8:16 says that God's Spirit inspires our spirit to know that we are God's children.

(Eph 2:18-22 NKJV) For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. {19} Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, {20} having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, {21} in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, {22} in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the [through His] Spirit.
(John 14:16-17 NKJV) "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; {17} "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

These verses contain the mistranslation of the neuter word "it" in the original text into the masculine word "Him." Let's read the same verses from the Interlinear to prove the mistranslation.

(John 14:16-17 Interlinear) "And I will request the Father and another Comforter he will give you, that he may be with you unto the age {17} the Spirit of truth which the world cannot receive because it beholds not It nor knows; you know It because with you he remains and in you will be.

The fact that the Holy Spirit is of neutral gender is also proven by Romans 8:26. It is not a gender because the Spirit is a force or influence, not a person. Let's look at Romans 8.

(Rom 8:26 KJV) Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

But many insist the Bible describes a God-head which is a trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all in one person, and use 1 John 5:7 as their proof. 1 John 5:7 is a spurious verse. It is not in the original Greek text.

Back to the subject.

(1 Cor 2:11-12 CJB) For who knows the inner workings of a person except the person's own spirit inside him? So too no one knows the inner workings of God except God's Spirit. {12} Now we have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit of God, so we might understand the things God has so freely given us.

So God's Spirit enables us to understand God's ways and wishes.

(Zec 4:6 NKJV) So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.
(Luke 1:35 NKJV) And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest (the Most High) will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
Luke 1:35 makes it clear that our Messiah was sired by the Father, not God's Spirit which overshadowed her. That explains why he is called the Son of God, not the son of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a force or power, like a muscle. It performs the Father's will. It can also provide our spirit (man's spirit) with a knowledge of God, a driving desire to please God, an understanding or empathy of what God wants us to do in our day to day experiences, but only for those whom the Father wills it to be done. It gives His people the desire and ability to please God and avoid sin.

And man's spirit is the entity which gives us enthusiasm, zest, humility, devotion and a medium through which we can connect with God's Holy Spirit to understand God.

2. What must we do to receive God's Spirit?

(Luke 11:13 NIV) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

So first we must want God's Spirit enough to ask for it.

(1 Sam 16:13 NIV)So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power.
(2 Tim 1:6 NIV) For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

The seed of the Holy Spirit is implanted in us by the laying on of hands at the time of baptism, healing, whenever, but we have to feed it, fan it into a flame to enable it to work in us.

(Acts 10:45 NIV) The circumcised believers (Jews) who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles.

The Holy Spirit was no longer limited to Jews and other Israelites only. Those who believed in Christ began to be grafted into the root of Abraham (Rom 11) from this time on.

(Acts 11:15-18 NIV) "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as it had come on us at the beginning. {16} Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' {17} So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" {18} When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."

Repentance is a key ingredient; a key requirement prior to baptism, which includes the receiving of the Holy Spirit, and ultimately being listed in the Book of Life.

(Acts 2:34-38 NKJV) "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, {35} Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' [from Psalms 110] {36} "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." {37} Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" {38} Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In Psalms 110:1, notice that the "LORD," written with all capital letters, is from the Hebrew word Yahweh, H3068. The word "Lord," is from the Hebrew word "Adonai," H113. The Father is talking to our Messiah.
(Acts 5:32 NIV) We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

Again, what must we do to receive God's Spirit?

  1. First, we must ask Him.
  2. Second, we must be baptized which includes
  3. Repentance for past sins
  4. Baptism
  5. Anointing, where the Holy Spirit is requested.
  6. Third, we must obey Him.

3. What does the Holy Spirit do in our lives?

Here are about fourteen examples of what it does:

(Exo 35:30-31 NIV) Then Moses said to the Israelites, "See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts--
(Num 11:25 NIV) Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, then but not afterward.

The KJV says 'did not cease'. The Latin Vulgate is the source for "did not cease." The Hebrew is the source for "then but not afterwards." The point is: When God's Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. Their new, proper function was to govern, not to prophesy. But in either role, they were led by the Holy Spirit.

(Deu 34:9 NASB) Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; and the sons of Israel listened to him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses.

This is another of several instances where hands were laid on people of the Old Testament to give them the Holy Spirit. Another example is when Jacob laid hands on Ephraim and Manasseh. Also, we should remember that the priests laid hands on the animal sacrifices before killing them.

(Psa 51:12 NKJV) Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
(Mark 13:11 NIV) Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
(Rom 8:8-11 CJB) Those identified [or controlled] by [their old sinful] nature cannot please God. {9} But you do not identify with your old [sinful] nature but with the Spirit - provided the Spirit of God lives inside you, for anyone who doesn't have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn't belong to him. {10} However if the Messiah is in you, then, on the one hand, the body is dead; because of sin, but on the other hand, the Spirit is giving life because God considers you righteousness. {11} And if the Spirit of Him who raised Yeshua from the dead is living in you, the One who raised the Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
(Rom 8:26 NASB) And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself [Itself] intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
(1 Cor 2:9-14 NIV) However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind had conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" [from Isa 64:4]-- {10} but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. {11} For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. {12} We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who [which] is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. {13} This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. {14} The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. [They must be spiritually discerned.]
(Rom 8:16 KJV) [We read this before but it also shows what the Holy Spirit does.] The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Rom 8:16 says that God's Spirit inspires our spirit to know that we are God's children.
(1 Cor 12:3-13 NIV) Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be [ac]cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. {4} There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. {5} There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. {6} There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. {7} Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. {8} To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, {9} to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, {10} to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. {11} All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines. {12} The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. {13} For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
(John 16:13 NASB) "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears [from the Father], He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come [prophesy].
(Acts 1:8 NIV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
(Gal 5:16-18 NIV) So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. {17} For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. {18} But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under [the penalty of the] law.
(CJB) Not in subjection to the system that results from perverting the Torah into legalism.
(Gal 5:22-23 NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Again, the Holy Spirit gives us:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Wisdom
  3. Skills
  4. Joy
  5. A willing spirit
  6. Sustenance
  7. Inspiration
  8. Ability to please God
  9. Ability to pray better
  10. Ability to understand God's reasoning
  11. Spiritual discernment
  12. Power
  13. Self control
  14. Kindness
  15. Faithfulness

4. How do we use the Holy Spirit?

(2 Sam 23:1-4 NIV) - To make us good rulers (kings and priests)

These are the last words of David: "The oracle of David son of Jesse, the oracle of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel's singer of songs :

{2} "The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. {3} The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: 'When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God, {4} he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth.'

Oh that we could have rulers like that today.

(John 4:23-24 NIV) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. {24} God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
(John 6:63 NIV) The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

We'll now read the entire chapter of Rom 8, the Holy Spirit Chapter. We'll read verses 1-5 from the NKJV, the rest from the CJB. Keep in mind as I read from the CJB that the word "Torah" is usually translated "law" and that Messiah Yeshua is usually translated "Jesus Christ.".

(Rom 8:1-5 NKJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. {2} For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. [Referencing Rom 7:23] {3} For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, {4} that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. {5} For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
(Rom 8:6-39 CJB) {6} Having one's mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one's mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom.[peace] {7} For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God's Torah [the law]— indeed, it cannot.[Another proof that we are to keep the law (the Torah). It was not nailed to the cross.] {8} Thus, those who identify with their old nature cannot please God. {9} But you, you do not identify with your old nature but with the Spirit—provided the Spirit of God is living inside you, for anyone who doesn't have the Spirit of the Messiah doesn't belong to him. {10} However, if the Messiah is in you, then, on the one hand, the body is dead because of sin; but, on the other hand, the Spirit is giving life because [NKJV: of righteousness]. {11} And if the Spirit of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead is living in you, then the One who raised the Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.{12} So then, brothers, we don't owe a thing to our old nature that would require us to live according to our old nature. {13} For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live. {14} All who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons. {15} For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear; on the contrary, you received the Spirit, who makes us sons and by whose power we cry out, "Abba!" (that is, "Dear Father!"). {16} The Spirit himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are children of God; {17} and if we are children, then we are also heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with the Messiah—provided we are suffering with him in order also to be glorified with him. {18} I don't think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. {19} The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed; {20} for the creation was made subject to frustration—not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope {21} that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God's children will have. {22} We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; {23} and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons—that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free. {24} It [is] in this hope that we [are] saved. But if we see what we hope for, it isn't hope—after all, who hopes for what he already sees? {25} But if we continue hoping for something we don't see, then we still wait eagerly for it, with perseverance. {26} Similarly, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we don't know how to pray the way we should. But the Spirit himself pleads on our behalf with groanings too deep for words; {27} and the one who searches hearts knows exactly what the Spirit is thinking, because his pleadings for God's people accord with God's will. {28} Furthermore, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called in accordance with his purpose; {29} because those whom he knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers; {30} and those whom he thus determined in advance, he also called; and those whom he called, he also caused to be considered righteous; and those whom he caused to be considered righteous he also glorified! {31} What, then, are we to say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? {32} He who did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up on behalf of us all—is it possible that, having given us his Son, he would not give us [all things] too? {33} So who will bring a charge against God's chosen people? Certainly not God—he is the one who causes them to be considered righteous! {34} Who punishes them? Certainly not the Messiah Yeshua, who died and—more than that—has been raised, is at the right hand of God and is actually pleading on our behalf! {35} Who will separate us from the love of the Messiah? Trouble? Hardship? Persecution? Hunger? Poverty? Danger? War? {36} As the Tanakh puts it [in Psalms 44:22], "For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we are considered sheep to be slaughtered." {37} No, in all these things we are superconquerors, through the one who has loved us. {38} For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers, neither what exists nor what is coming, {39} neither powers above nor powers below, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord.
(Eph 5:18 NIV) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

So we use the Holy Spirit by:

  1. Allowing God to inspire us with thoughts and words
  2. Being able to worship the Father in spirit and truth
  3. Receiving life and strength from the Spirit

5. Can we lose the Holy Spirit?

Here are ten scriptures which show that we can:

(Heb 10:26 NIV) If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
(Mat 12:31 NIV) And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
(Heb 6:4-6 NIV) It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, {5} who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, {6} if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.
(Luke 9:62 NIV) Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

Never wish for your old sinful days. Remember the example of Lot's wife. See Genesis 19:26.

Acts 5 - Ananias and his wife lied to the Holy Spirit and ended up dropping dead on the spot.

(Eph 4:30 NIV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
(1 Th 5:19 NIV) Do not put out the Spirit's fire;
(1 Sam 16:14 NIV) Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.
(Psa 51:11 NIV) Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
(Isa 63:10 NIV) Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

We can lose the Spirit by grieving it, rejecting it or blasphemy against it, but it must be intentional. That is not to say that it cannot be weakened through lack of use; again, like a muscle.

In conclusion, brethren, God has granted us the greatest gift of all: His Holy Spirit and our eternal life. Very few of the billions who lived prior to the sacrifice of Christ were granted this gift. Since Christ's resurrection God has been calling out a few of us to be spiritual brothers and sisters with Christ in his inheritance. To enable us to qualify for this marvelous reward, he has given us his Holy Spirit. Don't waste or abuse it. Exercise it by following its dictates.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
1 June 2013
Copyright 2013, Wayne Bedwell

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