The Holy Spirit

Fruit of the Spirit, 26 June 2011

Big Idea: Perhaps the best indicator of our spiritual maturity is not how often we attend church or how many Scripture verses we’ve memorized, but the prominence and growth of the Fruit of the Spirit in our character, attitudes, and actions.

Before we dive into the list of the fruit, let’s look at the context. Paul is writing to a church in a city called Galatia. The people are debating the value of the Old Testament law and its implications for followers of Jesus, particularly Gentiles. He writes

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
- Galatians 5:13-15

Sometimes it just amazed me how the more things change, the more they stay the same. Two thousand years ago people in the church were after each other. If we can’t get along inside the family of God, how in the world can we expect to act like Jesus when we leave this building to be missionaries in our community?

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
- Galatians 5:16-18

We must be filled with the Spirit as we talked about two weeks ago. We need to daily—hourly!—confess our sins and receive the power of the Holy Spirit.

Look at the contrast between the fruit of sin and the fruit of the Spirit.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

- Galatians 5:19-21

That sounds like our world, doesn’t it? If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen these behaviors on television, at the movies, in my neighborhood, and in ME...I’d be a rich man!

Can you relate to these behaviors? Which one is the most challenging for you?

There is a better way. We can’t make it happen. We can’t do it on our own. As AA says, we need a higher power, the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with the Spirit, our lives will look like this...

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
- Galatians 5:22-26

This is one time when I like to see the word “but!”

I’ve heard a lot of religious people in my day talk about how holier-than-thou they are. I’ve heard people brag about how many Bible verses they have memorized, how many times they’ve been to church, how long they pray, how long they fast, how much of the Bible they have read, how much money they have given to the church—but enough about me!

If yo
u really want to measure your spiritual growth and maturity, look at this list.

Are you more loving than a week ago? A month ago? A year ago?

The first three deal with our relationship with God. They are habits of the mind.

- Love (for God and man), agape, Rom. 13:10, I Cor. 13 (the foundation of the other graces; God’s agape love)

- Joy, chara, I Pet. 1:8; Neh. 8:10 (a deep and abiding inner rejoicing not dependent upon circumstances)

- Peace, eirene, Phil. 4:7, Rom. 5:1. (an inner quietness even in the face of trails that defies human understanding)

The next three deal with our relationship with others.

- Patience, makrothumia, (long-suffering), Eph. 4:2; Col. 1:11 (when wrongfully treated, no thought of revenge)

- Kindness, chrestotes, I Cor. 13:4, Eph. 2:7 (benevolence in action)

- Goodness, agathosune, Rom. 15:14; Eph. 5:9 (doing good even when it is undeserved and uprightness of the soul)

The final three address our personal character and relationship to ourselves. They are graces that guide our general conduct.

- Faithfulness, pistis, Matt. 23:23; Rom. 3:3; Titus 2:10 (trustworthy and reliable)

- Gentleness, prautes, II Cor. 10:1; Eph. 4:2, II Tim. 2:25 (submissive to God’s Word and considerate of others when discipline is needed)

- Self-control, egkrateia, Acts 24:25; II Peter 1:6. (self-mastery curbing fleshly impulses)

The Greek word here for fruit is karpos (
karpo/ß). It is related to the Gifts of the Spirit and refers to many gifts but one fruit (“cluster”), the opposite of “works of the flesh.”

Perhaps like me you’ve called them the fruits of the Spirit but the word is singular.This seems to indicate a unity. In other words, they all should be found in a believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Some have described it like a puzzle. Unlock the linchpin and the entire puzzle comes apart, and must be put together in the correct sequence, with the linchpin as the last piece or all is 'lost'. I kind of think of the Fruit of the Spirit like this - each one is a facet or slice that reflects God's character and by His very nature, they are interlocked/interwoven in such a way as to be inseparable. As we work on one, all are developed. If we look at the list again you will notice that since they are related, the goal isn't to focus on one. It's to focus on God. It can be overwhelming to think of working all nine listed aspects of the fruit of the Spirit at once, but as Dallas Willard points out, spiritual formation often works like a train: developing one virtue tends to “pull” others along with it.
Notice, too, that this list is simply a description of Jesus. He lived the ultimate human life. He was controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit despite temptation and trials and invites us to similarly be filled with the same Holy Spirit. This should describe us!
A recent research study was summarized in a book called

When asked to describe Christians, what do you think non-Christians said?

Pasted Graphic

Which of the above is a part of the fruit of the Spirit? Do you see a problem here?
Jesus said...
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

  • Matthew 7:15-20

What fruit are you bearing?

Remember, fruit takes time to mature. We don’t just pray a prayer and suddenly
become Jesus! Maturity takes years—a lifetime. It doesn’t matter where you are today on your spiritual journey, but where you’ll be tomorrow. Are you growing? Are you becoming more like Jesus...or less? Is your faith growing or shrinking? Is your passion for those far from God increasing or waning?

How would your family members and best friends describe the fruit in your life?

Are you more loving than a week ago? A month ago? A year ago?

At the end of the day, there’s only two things we need to do—love God and love our neighbor.

The passage concludes saying this about the fruit of the Spirit...
Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
- Galatians 5:24-26

Here Paul states the obvious—of course no one would make laws against these characteristics. Imagine what our world would look like if we were all filled with the Spirit!

If we live by the Spirit—if we are filled with the Spirit—we will be like the Spirit, be like Jesus, love God, and love our neighbor. That’s a church family worth embracing!

We can’t make the fruit of the Spirit come alive in us by trying hard any more than we can make fruit grow on a tree by willing it. It’s a God thing. If we seek Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, He will respond.

It all begins with repentance and seeking the filling of the Spirit. More of Jesus, less of me.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Spiritual Gifts, 19 June 2011

Big Idea: The Holy Spirit gives gifts to Christ-followers in order to serve the Body of Christ, the Church.

1 Corinthians 12

Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth, instructing them concerning spiritual gifts. He makes it clear that spiritual gifts are all about revealing the lordship of Jesus as God over all things and people. If someone calls themselves a Christian but they don’t call Jesus LORD, they don’t have the Holy Spirit. Love and submission to Jesus are the primary evidence that someone has the Holy Spirit.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. (4-6)

These verses reflect the Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit. They also show that God loves unity in diversity. We are not all the same, but we are all loved the same. God gives the gifts. If you don’t like your gift(s), take it up with Him!

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 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. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (7-11)

What’s the point? Paul lists several spiritual gifts that are distributed by God in order to build up the Church and glorify Jesus.

Paul then goes through a lengthy discussion on the body and the uniqueness and value of each part. He continues in verse 27

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? (27-30)

The answer, of course, is no!

We’ve all been given at least one gift, we have been given different gifts, and each is vital. We are all different parts of one Body, the Body of Christ.

We need you. We need your part. We need your gift. Every part is important.

Romans 12

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (4-8)

Did you notice that this list is different than the one in 1 Corinthians? There is no absolute list of spiritual gifts.

There are assessments that will help you discover your gift(s). Every assessment is slightly different so none is perfect, but you can find one at

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. - 1 Peter 4:10

Spiritual gifts are all about serving Jesus and His Bride, the Church. They should never be selfishly sought for our personal pleasure or benefit.

Seek the Giver not the gifts

Years ago my friend Paul told me about visits from his parents. Each time the car pulled into the driveway, his kids would run out to meet grandma and grandpa. After hugs and kisses, the grandparents always retrieved gifts for the kids out of the trunk. As the years went on, rather than greeting grandma and grandpa, the grandchildren ran to the trunk seeking after the gifts rather than the giver.

It’s the same way with spiritual gifts. We need to seek God and receive the gifts as a bonus. God is not our cosmic Santa Claus. He is worthy, holy, awesome God who chooses to bless bless others.

The fourth and final passage relates primarily to church leaders, but it illustrates, again, God’s design, creativity, and diversity.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. - Ephesians 4:11-13

Do you see the five different gifts?

Shepherd or pastor

At Scio, our elder board has been intentionally formed to have each of these five gifts represented. Each of us is different, yet together we form one team with the mission to “prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature.

To conclude, spiritual gifts

  • are given by God
  • benefit the Church and glorify God
  • every believer gets at least one
  • many members but one Body
  • no gift given to everyone
  • all gifts are needed
  • develop your gift(s)
  • use your gift(s)
  • we need you!

  • You can listen to the podcast

    How Can I Be Filled With The Holy Spirit? 12 June 2011

    Big Idea: Being filled is a vital but not automatic experience that must be done continually. In Pentecost Sunday, we will look at what happened in Acts 2 and how we can experience the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    Today we celebrate Pentecost, a tremendously significant day reported in the second chapter of Acts.

    Last week we began our creatively titled series “The Holy Spirit” with a look at who the Holy Spirit is. We said that He is not a ghost, but a Person, God, one third of the Trinity, one God in three Persons. We saw, too, how Jesus said it was better for Him to leave and give us the Holy Spirit than for Him to stay on earth, so He ascended into heaven and promised the Holy Spirit. The Spirit arrived in a big way in Acts 2.

    When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. – Acts 2:1-4

    This is quite possibly the most popular passage of Scripture among charismatics and Pentecostals. These groups are often known for signs and wonders and miracles in their midst, something that should not surprise us since Jesus did them and said that we would do even greater things.

    So why doesn’t the Church in USAmerica look more like the New Testament? Why are so few people doing “the stuff,” to quote John Wimber from last Sunday? Why aren’t people flocking here on Sunday mornings to get healed and set free from addictions and bondage?

    Great questions!!!

    Scio family, I can’t find a biblical answer to that question! How many of you want more of God? Really!

    Have you ever been on a cruise? There was a man who wanted to go on a cruise in the worst way. He had heard about the wonderful experiences of others aboard ships and spent years saving up every possible penny in order to purchase a ticket. When the big day arrived, he proudly boarded the boat and waved goodbye to those less-fortunate people on the dock as the ship headed to sea.

    Over the course of the cruise, he got acquainted with a man in a nearby cabin. After several days, the neighbor finally asked why his friend was never seen in the dining room during meals. The man replied, “I cannot afford the extravagant food on the ship so I eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my room that I packed in my luggage.”

    “My dear friend, all of the food is included with your cruise ticket!” the neighbor replied in disbelief. “It has been available to you all week!”

    Friends, if you have surrender your life to Jesus Christ, you get the Holy Spirit, too. He is included!

    So why do so many Christ-followers live such miserable lives? They have not been filled with the Holy Spirit!

    Last week we looked at Luke 11:11-13

    “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!”

    It says that our Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

    How are we filled with the Holy Spirit? We must ask.

    Jesus’ brother James said once,

    You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. - James 4:2

    So all we have to do is ask and the Holy Spirit will bring us gourmet meals, heal all of our diseases, enable us to do miracles, and we all live happily ever after? Not quite

    The late Bill Bright, the founder of the international group Campus Crusade for Christ, called the process of being filled with the Holy Spirit “spiritual breathing.”

    It begins with
    exhaling—repenting of our sins and getting the junk out. This is where we confess our sins, acknowledge that we have wronged God and possibly others, and commit to a new way of righteous, holy living.

    Confess your sin -- agree with God concerning your sin and thank Him for His forgiveness of it, according to 1 John 1:9 and Hebrews 10:1-25. Confession involves repentance - a change in attitude and action.

    Have you ever grabbed a drinking glass from the shelf only to discover that it was filled with junk inside? What do you do? You grab another glass!

    I think God is much the same way. When He wants to show His power, I think He often looks for those that are truly seeking Him and His holiness. Understand, we’re not perfect, but because Jesus is, we can be forgiven and stand righteous before a holy God. When we agree with God that we have sinned, turn away from our sin, and follow Jesus it is called repentance and it delights the heart of God and brings us back into right relationship with Him.

    The next step—
    inhaling—is simply to ask the Holy Spirit to come. Ask to be filled. When a glass is filled with dirty water, there’s no room for the pure stuff. When we receive the cleansing of Jesus, we make room for the Holy Spirit to come and fill us.

    Inhaling is when we surrender the control of our lives to Christ, and appropriate (receive) the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith. We must trust that He now directs and empowers us; according to the command of Ephesians 5:18 and the promise of 1 John 5:14, 15.

    Spiritual breathing and being filled with the Holy Spirit is not just some fun thing to please ourselves. The second part of James 4 says

    When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    Being filled with the Spirit is a blessing for us, but ultimately it’s about Jesus and bringing honor and glory to Him. Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus (5:18)

    Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

    Drunkenness was the besetting sin of the ancient world, but this is not a verse about wine. A drunk man is possessed by alcohol.The Holy Spirit should possess the believer, a divine intoxication. This isn’t emotionalism but a dynamic life that looks like Jesus, the ultimate human who was filled with the Spirit continually.

    The Holy Spirit is given at the time of conversion when a person makes Jesus their LORD and Savior.

    I love these words from John Piper:

    “What we should seek is that God pour His Spirit out upon us so completely that we are filled with joy, victorious over sin, and bold to witness. And the ways He brings us to that fullness are probably as varied as people are. It may come in a tumultuous experience of ecstasy and tongues. It may come through a tumultuous experience of ecstasy and no tongues. It may come through a crisis of suffering when you abandon yourself totally to God. Or it may come gradually through a steady diet of God's word and prayer and fellowship and worship and service. However it comes, our first experience of the fullness of the Spirit is only the beginning of a life-long battle to stay filled with the Spirit.”

    This word “filled” is not something that is done once, but the Greek verb means to continually be done. It’s like breathing. You don’t say, “I don’t need to breathe today because I breathed last week!” You constantly breathe and in the same way we are to constantly be spiritually breathing and filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Years ago my pastor, Roger Schweigert, demonstrated it this way: when you put Nesquik powder in milk, it needs to be stirred. If it sinks to the bottom, it doesn’t consume the milk despite its presence. The Holy Spirit is a bit like chocolate powder! When you get Jesus, you get the Holy Spirit. Having something doesn’t mean that you are filled with it, though. We need to stir it up to allow it to permeate our entire being, and we need to keep stirring—every day—repenting of our sins and asking the Spirit to fill us.

    This will enable you to walk in the Spirit. It doesn’t mean you’ll be perfect. You may fall like a child as you’re learning to walk, but you are to get up and try again.

    What happens when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit? The next verse says

    Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    – Ephesians 5:19-20

    The fundamental meaning of being filled with the Spirit is being filled with joy that comes from God and overflows in song. Luke wrote in Acts 13:52,

    The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

    One of the core values of our denomination, the Christian & Missionary Alliance, says

    Without The Holy Spirit’s Empowerment, We Can Accomplish Nothing

    The Apostle Paul said, My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:4–5).
    This is the fiber of our being as believers and the sixth of our Alliance core values.

    In addition to joy and empowerment, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will receive gifts and fruit, two things that we will look at the next two weeks.

    Until then, I invite you to get out of your cruise ship cabin and get down to the dining room. Repent and be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is in your life waiting to be activated. If we all commit ourselves to spiritual breathing as much as physical breathing, I believe our church will begin to look a lot more like the New Testament and we’ll begin to see God show up in unexpected and wonderful ways to bring His Kingdom from heaven to earth.

    You can listen to the podcast here.

    Who Is The Holy Spirit? 5 June 2011

    Big Idea: The Holy Spirit is a vital Person that is willing and able to transform us. He is not a “ghost” or a force. Jesus said it is better for us to have the Spirit than for Him to remain on the earth, which is quite a statement.

    Have you ever felt that something was missing in your life? No, I don’t mean that $5 bill you lost or even that loyal friend you’ve spent your entire life seeking. I mean in your spiritual life, have you ever felt like something was missing—or someone?

    Shortly after John Wimber became a Christian, he became a voracious Bible reader. The Scriptures excited him. Finally, after weeks of reading about life-transforming miracles in the Bible and attending boring church services, John asked one of the church leaders, "When do we get to do the stuff?"
    "What stuff?" asked the leader.
    "You know, the stuff here in the Bible," said John. "You know, like the stuff Jesus did—raising people from the dead, healing the blind and the paralyzed. You know,
    that stuff."
    "Well, we don’t do that anymore," the man said.
    "You don’t?"
    "Well what do you do?" asked John.
    "What we did this morning."

    In frustration, John responded: "For that I gave up drugs?"

    Like so many of us, John was taught by example that the contemporary Christian life was radically disconnected from the power and awesomeness of the Scriptures.

    Have you ever read the Bible and wished you were an eyewitness to the events? People write books that are turned into movies in order for us to experience the story, but there’s nothing like being there.

    Perhaps this is no more true than with Jesus. How many of you would like to spend the day with Jesus? If He walked into this room and said, “Who wants to hang out with Me tomorrow?” would you respond? Of course!

    This leads me to one of the most provocative passages of the entire Bible, in my humble opinion.

    But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. - NIV (1984)

    Look what Jesus told His disciples. “It is for your good that I am going away,” He said. This is before He died, so we can understand His point being that He needs to go away and die to save us. Without His death, burial and resurrection He would be merely a good teacher, not a forgiving, grace-filled God who atoned for our sins, reconciling us to God.

    The latest scholarship in the recent NIV translation makes a few clarifying changes.

    But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. - NIV (2011)
    The word “Advocate” is used rather than the more passive “Counselor.”

    Note, too, that Jesus’ return to Heaven is proof that righteousness is possible. It validated all that Jesus proclaimed. His acceptance into heaven proved that sin had been defeated and that one day we also will be accepted, not because of our righteousness, but His.

    Today is known on the Church calendar as Ascension Sunday to commemorate the day Jesus left our planet to prepare a place for us.

    Although the disciples experienced the tremendous grief and sadness when Jesus left them to die, they were not done with their goodbyes. Forty days after Jesus’ resurrection, He left them again, saying that He would return soon.

    Just for the record, my first thought when Jesus said He was going to the Father would be, “Come back!” yet Jesus said it’s good that He leaves to allow the Counselor or the Advocate to come. Who is the Advocate?

    The Holy Spirit is a Person—one of three Persons in the Trinity that includes the Father and Jesus. Because of that, we can say that the Holy Spirit is God.

    The Holy Spirit is not a force or a ghost, though some old translations called Him the Holy Ghost. You don’t have to be afraid of the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit has been around for a while—like forever!

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. - Genesis 1:1-2 

    The Spirit was present at Creation and appeared to particular people at particular times prior to Jesus.

    Everything Jesus did was because of the Holy Spirit. He was continually filled with the Spirit and although Jesus was God, He became one of us—a human with limitations.

    The unleashing of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 after Jesus left earth changed everything, however, and the Spirit became available to all believers 24/7. If you think about it, although we can’t see, hear, and touch the Spirit like we can Jesus, the 24/7 access is quite remarkable. The Spirit of the Living God is living within those of us who have received Jesus.

    Listen to this account from the day of Christ’s ascension:

    On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

    Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

    He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.”

    After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. - Acts 1:4-9

    Jesus left to allow the gift of the Holy Spirit to come.

    “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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!” - Luke 11:11-13

    The Greek word para¿klhtoß or parakletos means “one who encourages and comforts, intercessor, helper.” This word in the NT exclusively refers to the Holy Spirit and Jesus, which makes sense because in John 14:15-17 Jesus said

    “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

    Jesus said that the Father would send another comforter—one like Jesus.

    What does the Holy Spirit do?

    Indwell, guide, teach, empower believers, John 16:13; Acts 1:8
    Convinces the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, John 16:7-11
    Helps us to pray, Romans 8:26
    Enables us to understand God’s Word, Ephesians 1:17-18
    Regeneration, John 3:5; Titus 3:5
    Assurance, Rom. 8:16 
    Justification, I Cor. 6:11
    Adoption, Gal. 4:4-6; Rom. 8:15
    Sanctification, II Thess. 2:13; Rom. 15:16; I Peter 1:2
    Repentance, Acts 11:15, 18
    Faith, I Cor. 2:9, 12; 12:3
    Good works, Gal. 5:22-23
    Perseverance, Eph. 4:30; 1:13-14; II Cor. 1:22; 5:5

    Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? How is that possible? We’ll examine that next Sunday. In the meantime,

    It is my prayer that you will encounter the Holy Spirit in a way that truly transforms your life, whether you’ve been going to church your entire life or just investigating what it means to be a Christ-follower.

    You can listen to the podcast here.