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Intro: Ephesians 2:13-18 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
The apostle catalogues the work of Christ for us. What a glorious view of the spiritual blessings contained in the death and resurrection of Christ. What has Jesus done?
He has brought us near to God; He is our peace, because through His physical death on the cross He dismantled the wall that separated us from each other and God. We were lawbreakers, and as such the law of God’s commandments condemned us. But Jesus died to redeem all men from the curse of the law, both the Jews and the Gentiles, by providing forgiveness of sins. He has thus reconciled them to God and united all the forgiven in the one body of Christ. Now notice his words in v. 18 – 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Our access to the blessings of Christ, and to the Father Himself, are provided by one Spirit. Later in chapter 4:4, Paul again says, There is one body, one Spirit… Who or what is this one Spirit?
I. The One Spirit Identified: Who is the Holy Spirit? There are various names and descriptions used in the Bible to identify the Holy Spirit. The NT word translated as spirit (ghost-KJV) in pneuma, which means wind, or breath. Vines lists 18 different uses of the word in the N.T. from describing the One Spirit of God, to the human spirit, or inner person, to a disposition (spirit of gentleness, 1 Cor. 4:21), to a type of gift (spiritual gift).
A. the most common designation is Holy Spirit – (found 96 times in NKJV) The spirit under consideration is certainly holy or distinct. Romans 1:4 describes the Spirit as “the Spirit of holiness.” Some references contain a preceding definite article “the“. In fact, some passages have the article before both words; the Holy, the Spirit, emphasizing the distinct person of the Holy Spirit – [Matt 12:32 – Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.] But the article does not appear in every text where the Holy Spirit is under discussion. Vine’s says… The use or absence of the article in the original where the “Holy Spirit” is spoken of cannot always be decided by grammatical rules, nor can the presence or absence of the article alone determine whether the reference is to the “Holy Spirit. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
1. One thing to keep in mind as you study, the use of a capital “S” in the text is not a failsafe way to identify when the text is referencing the Holy Spirit. This is a work of the translators, not inspiration. Most English translations have attempted to make this distinction, but this is unreliable.
2. He is also called “the Spirit of God” or “the Spirit of the Lord” 32 times in the NKJV. The Holy Spirit is God. We will look more closely at this point later.
3. Three times in John’s gospel the Holy Spirit is referred to as “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17, 15:26, and 16:13). This describes a function of the Holy Spirit as a revealer of God’s law and God’s truths.
4. Two times the Holy Spirit is described as “the Spirit of grace” (Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 10:29). As God, He is actively involved in offering grace to all humanity.
B. The Holy Spirit is a person. There is a common perception that the Holy Spirit is a force. Some religious groups, particularly the Jehovah’s Witnesses, teach that the Holy Spirit is simply an active force. These groups say that the Spirit is not deity and is not a person, but just a force that works in the world by God’s power. Unfortunately, even some Christians equate the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives as simply the presence of emotion or feelings. Biblical evidence that the Spirit is a person can be found in Jesus’ words.
1. John 14:16 – 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. The word “Helper” (parakletos) can also be translated “Advocate,” “Counselor,” or “Comforter.”(comes alongside) It is the equivalent to an attorney who is called to defend another. It describes an actual person, not an influence or force. The same word is used by John to refer to Jesus in 1 John 2:1 in His work as the propitiation for our sins.
a. Further, Jesus said “allosparakletos” which is translated “another Helper.” The word allos means “another of the same kind.” This is in contrast to the Greek word heteros which means “another of a different kind”. The Holy Spirit would be another Helper of the same kind as Jesus Himself. This describes the Holy Spirit as another person who is the same nature as the Word.
2. The Holy Spirit acts as a person – The scriptures describe the actions of the Holy Spirit in language that portrays an individual.
a. He has intellectual ability; he knows, searches, and makes intercessions.
• Romans 8:26-27 – 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
• 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 – 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
b. He has the ability to choose and decide. Acts 13:2 indicates that the Holy Spirit separated Paul and Barnabas for the work to which God had called them. In Acts 16 Paul says that he was forbidden by the Holy Spirit from preaching in Asia. Acts 20:28 – 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
c. The scriptures reveal to us that the Holy Spirit speaks (John 16:13-14) teaches (John 14:26) expresses emotions, like grieving and loving (Romans 15:30; Ephesians 4:30) The Holy Spirit is not merely an active force or influence. The Holy Spirit is described as having the characteristics of a person, just as the Father and the Son are described.
3. Not only does the Spirit act as a person, but the Holy Spirit is treated as a person, not a force. He can be blasphemed (Matthew 12:31);insulted – Hebrews 10:29 – 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? and tested – Acts 5:9 – Peter asked Sapphira “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord”) To deny the Godhood of the Holy Spirit and the person of the Holy Spirit is to deny the plain teaching of the scriptures.
C. The Holy Spirit is God. The deity of the Holy Spirit is easily seen in scripture.
1. Apostolic teaching: Acts 5:3-43 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Peter declares in vs. 3 that Ananias has lied to the Holy Spirit. He then concludes his condemnation in verse 4 saying, “You have not lied to me but to God.” The Holy Spirit is God, just as the Father is God and the Word is God.
2. The Holy Spirit and Creation: One clear indication of the deity of the Holy Spirit is His participation in creation. The second verse of the Bible tells us that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. In Genesis 1:26 God said “Let Us make man in Our image…” The plural pronouns indicate the joint participation of the 3 persons of the Godhood in creation.
• Job 26:13– By His Spirit He adorned the heavens… Job 33:4 – The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
3. The Spirit was the agent of the Incarnation of Christ. Luke 1:35 – 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
D. As God, the Holy Spirit revealed the mind of God through inspiration. Jesus promised the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit with power to guide them into all truth.
• John 16:13-15 – 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
1. Later Paul proclaimed the work of the Holy Spirit in revelation.
• 1 Cor. 2:4-5– 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God … vs. 10-13 – 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
• 2 Peter 1:20-21– 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Conclusion: The apostolic message contained in scripture is the work of the Holy Spirit, and thus it is the word of God. To reject the scriptures is to reject God.
• 1 Thess 2:13 – 13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
• 1 Thess 4:7-8 – 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.
Will you obey the words of the Spirit today? Mark 16:16 – 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.