I Believe In The Holy Spirit!
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE APOSTLES CREED
- I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth;
- I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic [universal] church, the Communion of Saints, the Forgiveness of Sins, the Resurrection of the Body, and the Life Everlasting.
WHO is the Holy Spirit? The MYSTERY of the TRINITY
During this year’s season of Lent – we’ve been following an ancient Christian tradition – of studying the Apostles’ Creed – to prepare ourselves for the great celebration of Easter Sunday.
We’ve been asking – How do our beliefs about God – give us strength and courage to make the most of the life we are given in this world – and to face death without fear because of our confidence in the victory of the Resurrection!
We studied our belief – in God, the Father Almighty Creator of heaven and earth. In Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord. Today we are going to dig in to our beliefs about the Holy Spirit.
I want to start by asking you, “How would you explain something you can’t see, smell, or touch?” The Bible uses pictures. So I want to start our study of the Holy Spirit by inviting you to use your holy imagination and try to grasp God’s message to you of Who the Holy Spirit is – through pictures. The first picture of the Holy Spirit is Breath or Wind
Breath – Wind – Pneuma
Take a breath. Hold that breath for a moment. How important is that breath to you? We all know that if we stop breathing – we will die in a matter of just a few minutes. The Bible gives us a picture of the Holy Spirit coming to us in every breath that we breathe.
Breath of Life: Genesis 2:7 (NCV) The LORD God breathed the breath of life into the man, and the man became a living person.
Some people complain – God never speaks to me. Might help to understand that there are many ways that God speaks to us and most of them are without words. I think one of the most powerful ways that God speaks to us – is through every breath that I take. God is breathing life into me – through His Holy Spirit.
The first picture of the Holy Spirit – helps us to understand how God is alive and at work within each of us through every breath that we take.
The next big picture of God I would like to invite you to open your mind and imagination to – is Jesus’ picture of the Holy Spirit as our * Advocate * Comforter * Helper – Who will never leave us and will guide us into all truth.
Advocate/Guide: John 14:16-17 (NLT) Jesus said, I will ask the Father, and He will give you the Advocate/Comforter/Helper Who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, Who will guide you into all truth.
Jesus’ first picture of the Holy Spirit as our Advocate – like our Personal Defense Attorney. Very helpful – since most of us make mistakes and it’s good to know that the Holy Spirit will Advocate for God’s mercy for us.
Jesus’ second picture – Our Comforter. Through the Holy Spirit – God reaches out to our minds and emotions to remind us that God cares about us. God is with us in our storms. God will give us the courage we need to find healing and hope.
Jesus’ third Picture – Our Helper. Many things that we don’t understand. Many times we feel like quitting. Holy Spirit – gives us strength
Lots of different pictures of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The last picture I want to share with you this morning – is the picture of Power – the Greek word was dunamis – the root word for Dynamite.
Consider how important the dynamite power of the Holy Spirit was to the first disciples of Jesus. The disciples saw what happened to Jesus – how He died on the Cross. They knew that the Jewish and Roman authorities were trying to hunt down everyone who was a follower of Jesus. So they were living in fear. They were hiding – so that they could stay alive.
Jesus wanted the first disciples and you and me to understand the power that the Holy Spirit gives us to tell other people about Jesus.
Power: Acts 1:8 (NLT) Jesus said, You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be My witnesses, telling people about Me everywhere…
Those first disciples – waited and prayed for 50 days and on the day of Pentecost – we see in Acts 2 how the power of the Holy Spirit came as tongues of fire that sent them out of hiding and in to the streets to share the message of Jesus. People were amazed that the disciples were able to tell them about Jesus in their own language. Power of the Holy Spirit – made it possible for 3,000 men and their families to come to faith in Jesus.
One last picture of the Power of the Holy Spirit. In Luke 1 – we were taught that the Power of the Holy Spirit made it possible for a virgin named Mary to conceive and give birth to God’s only begotten Son Jesus the Savior of the world. In Romans 8 – we see that the power of the Holy Spirit was at work to give birth to Jesus and that the power of the Holy Spirit was able to raise Jesus from death – and give Jesus and every one of us who trust Jesus a new birth to eternal life.
Romans 8:11 (NLT/NCV) The Holy Spirit of God, raised Jesus from the dead, and gives life to your mortal bodies… through God’s Spirit that lives in you also.
Power – 2 Timothy 1 God has not given us a spirit of timidity and fear, but of love, power, and self-control.
Now that you have some pictures to help you better understand Who the Holy Spirit is – there is one more big question we still need to answer. How do all of the members of the Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – work together as one God?
Jews and Muslims – claim that Christians aren’t monotheists. They say that we believe in 3 separate gods. I have to warn you that understanding the Trinity – is hard to fully comprehend. The Trinity has been debated for 2,000 years – and those debates aren’t going to end any time soon.
We have some analogies to help us try to understand a little of how the Trinity might work: Apple – Peel, Flesh, Seeds. Egg – Shell, White, Yolk.
One analogy that I think is very helpful – the Atom. Most atoms are made up of 3 parts: Proton, Neutron, Electron – all three essential to keep the atom functioning.
None of these analogies gives the whole picture – but they open our mind to understand – how is it possible for something to have 3 distinct parts, yet still be unified?
The Holy Spirit – is God giving us every breath that we breathe, Advocating for us, Helping Us, Comforting us. And the Holy Spirit is the power of God that gives us strength for every challenge we will ever face and will ultimately raise us up from death to eternal life in heaven.
The Holy Spirit brings the presence of God to every person all over the world at the same time – and the Holy Spirit has gifts for every one of us to make it possible for us to live productive and fulfilling lives.
The GIFTS of the Holy Spirit
When Jesus officially started His ministry by teaching at His home temple in Nazareth – He focused on the power of the Holy Spirit to help Him accomplish the mission that God had for His life.
Isaiah 61:1 (NCV) The Lord GOD has put His Spirit in me, because the LORD has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor.
Some people like to say – I’m a self-made man or a self-made woman. I can definitely affirm that they may have worked hard to develop their talents and abilities – but no one makes themselves in a test tube. All of our abilities and talents come to us through the Holy Spirit – and then we have to decide if we are willing to work with God to make the most of the gifts we have been given.
1 Corinthians 12:4-9 (NLT) The Holy Spirit is the source of all spiritual gifts. …Each of us is given a spiritual gift so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice… to another great faith and to another the gift of healing.
As you think about the gifts that the Holy Spirit has for each of us – I want to encourage you to focus on asking God to help you make the most of the gifts God chose to give to you – Wisdom, Faith, Healing, Teaching, Leadership… Sometimes we are tempted to get off track by being jealous of the gifts God gave to other people. Why did they get more than I did?
That’s a complete waste of time. Much better to focus on – God please help me to make the most of what I’ve been given. If I spend time worrying about why Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates have a whole lot more money than I will ever have – does that help me make the most of my life? No. The best thing I can do is to focus on celebrating the gifts God has given me.
And then to invest in cultivating God’s gifts in my life.
CULTIVATING the Fruit of the Holy Spirit
God gives us gifts and abilities through the Holy Spirit – and then God challenges us to develop those gifts through cultivation. Here in wine country – most of us have seen the power of cultivation. When you walk by wild and uncultivated grape vines – you see right away that they don’t produce much fruit. But when you walk by cultivated grape vines – you see the night and day difference – how they produce 20 or 30 times more fruit than a wild vine.
Jesus challenges us to consider what each of us is going to do with the life we have been given. Jesus shows us that God’s desire is for every one of us to make the most of the life we have been given by producing as much fruit as possible.
John 15:8 (NLT) When you produce much fruit with your lives, you are My true disciples. This brings great glory to My Father.
So as you contemplate how you can be as fruitful as possible for God – take time to think carefully about the gifts of God that the Holy Spirit wants to help you produce with your life.
Galatians 5:22-23 (TLB) When we live God’s way – and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and control our lives – He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
The last thing I would like to encourage you to celebrate as you affirm your belief in the Holy Spirit – is the strength the Holy Spirit gives us to fight our spiritual battles.
STRENGTH to Fight Spiritual Battles
The Bible warns us that as we go through life – we are not only fighting battles with other people – we are also fighting spiritual battles against evil spirits. This morning, you need to ask yourself: Are spiritual battles real? Are they hurting people?
Consider the spiritual battles that most of us face: Fear. Anxiety. Depression.
God wants you to know that you don’t have to fight these battles alone – the full armor of God is available to us – if we are willing to put it on through the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT) Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. …We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against… evil spirits… Take up the sword of the Holy Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit at all times so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Belt of truth. Breastplate of righteousness. Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Sword – of the Holy Spirit word of God. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.
How do you put on the full armor of God through the Holy Spirit? One way that helps me – is to invite the Holy Spirit to help you. Holy Spirit – I want to live in the truth and do what is right. Holy Spirit, I want Your help to share Jesus’ good news and peace. Holy Spirit, Teach me God’s life lessons from the Bible. Holy Spirit, Give me power to withstand every attack of the evil one.
God loves you and wants to help you to fully appreciate all that God has to offer you. God the Father Almighty – Who created everything. Jesus, God’s Only Son, our Savior. The Holy Spirit – God with me in every breath that I take – empowering me to do good things with the life I have been given and to win every battle over evil.