The Holy Spirit's Work
I. We have noted that the third person in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is often misunderstood.
A. People have let the imaginations run wild in regard to who the Spirit is and especially in how He operates.
B. Many of the incorrect beliefs are based on phrases found in the Bible, taken out of context of the whole scripture.
C. An example of this is Romans 8:14
II. What is meant by “led by the Spirit?”
A. The denominational world, especially Charismatic groups, believe that the Spirit directly operates on each Christian — guiding us in our day-to-day lives.
1. Some feel that this is done by giving free reign to their impulses or yielding to their hunches.
2. Some believe the Spirit illuminates the written Word for them so they may be able to understand it.
3. Some claim they receive special blessings of spiritual strength (the ability to behave righteously) directly from the Spirit separate and apart from the written Word and separate from God’s providence in the world.
4. Others believe they hear a voice speaking directly to them from the Spirit.
5. Others believe the Spirit leads them by showing them special signs which indicate the specific decisions needed to be made at a given time.
6. Some wait on the Spirit to lead them to get up in the morning, which socks to wear, and even which one to put on first!
B. Notice that these beliefs are different from the idea of God’s providence working in our lives.
1. When Joseph’s brothers sought to remove him from their lives, God used the occasion to preserve Abraham’s descendants - Gen. 50:20
a. But Joseph’s brothers did not feel the leading of the Spirit.
b. Joseph was given the interpretation of dreams, but there is little else shown as a leading in his life.
2. Esther was queen just at the time when the Jews were about to be wiped out by one man’s hatred - Est. 4:14
a. Yet neither Esther nor Mordecai felt the leading of the Spirit inside them.
b. Notice that God’s deliverance would come no matter what Esther chose to do.
3. God is so in control of this world that He can turn even the wicked events in this world to produce righteous outcomes. - Rom. 8:28
a. But the examples in the Scriptures show the God works His providence through the events surrounding His people.
b. There are times that He deals directly with his people, but that is not what we usually call His providence.
4. These beliefs are not in the realm of providence. They believe that the Spirit does things directly in a Christian’s heart that He does not do through His Word alone.
C. Many of these beliefs are creeping into the church.
1. Perhaps they should. Perhaps they should not.
2. The only determinate is God’s Word. What does God mean by “led by the Spirit?”
III. What is the Holy Spirit’s work?
A. The Spirit reveals the mind of God to mankind - I Pet. 1:10-12
B. He insured that the revelation was accurately related to man without error. The process of inerrantly revealing God’s mind to man is called inspiration - I Cor. 2:7-13
C. The Spirit then confirmed the revelation to be divine truth. - Heb. 2:3-4
D. As a result of His work, he convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgement - John 16:7-13
1. How is this done? By the product of His work - the Word of God
2. Eph. 6:17 - Sword of the Spirit is the word of God
3. II Tim. 3:16-17 - The inspired word is able to reprove the world of sin
IV. During the first century, the Spirit did directly tell some Christians were they needed to go.
A. Acts 8:29 - The Spirit directed Philip to the eunuch
B. Acts 10:19-20 - The Spirit got Peter and Cornelius together
C. Acts 16:6-10 - The Spirit directed Paul to travel to Macedonia
D. But even in the days of miracles, these direct messages were regarded as exceptional.
1. Not everyone had the miraculous gifts of the Spirit - I Cor. 12:28-30
2. There is no implication that every Christian’s movements were guided by the Spirit by direct revelation.
V. So how are we led by the Spirit? Or perhaps we should ask the other side of the question, how do we follow the Spirt?
A. Isa 48:16-18 - God leads when we follow His commandments.
B. Gal. 5:16-25 - Walk in the Spirit
1. How does the Spirit produces things like love, joy, patience, etc in our lives if not through the Word that He has given us?
2. Surely it doesn’t take a miraculous intervention in a person’s life to follow the Spirit into these things.
C. The law of the Spirit has freed us - Rom. 8:1-2
D. People who pursue spiritual things, pursue the things of the Spirit. - Rom 8:5-6
E. I Pet 2:22-25 - It is the Spirit’s work, the Word of God, that purifies us.
VI. The Spirit has done much for us in changing us into new creatures
A. But too many look for some mysterious, magical method of change.
B. The fact that God chose to accomplish this change through a plain book is too simple