Text: Psalm 139
I. The concept of indwelling, specifically the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is interesting because there are so many misconceptions given that a simple answer is commonly rejected.
II. Who is the Holy Spirit?
A. The religious world holds many ideas regarding the Spirit of God
1. Some believe it is just another reference to God
2. Some believe the Spirit is just one aspect of God
a. We often refer to things by multiple names, where each name gives us a viewpoint, but it remains a single thing.
b. Thus some claim there is only one being called God, but the Spirit is one way we see the expression of that one being.
3. Others believe that the Spirit is a separate personality with the Godhead
a. The Godhead being made up of three beings
b. But these three are so unified in purpose that they act as one
B. But religious philosophy does not establish truth
1. Truth is found in God’s word - John 17:17
2. If we accept that the Bible is God’s inspired word, then we believe that truth is established by proving our beliefs by what the Bible states.
C. The Bible says the Holy Spirit is deity - Acts 5:3-4
1. In one statement Peter accuses Ananias of lying to the Holy Spirit and concludes that Ananias had lied to God
D. The Spirit is separate
1. Ephesians 4:4-6 - In a list of unique things the Spirit, the Lord (Christ), and God, the Father are all listed.
2. Matthew 28:19 - Baptism is done by the authority of three.
a. If there was just one being, you could claim that there was an attempt at inflated authority. (I have it on good account from me, myself, and I.)
3. Matthew 3:16-17 - Jesus’ baptism
a. Three named
b. Three locations
c. Three activities
d. Some dismiss this saying God is powerful enough to be three places at one time
(1) To what purpose?
(2) Why would God call Jesus His Son if they are one and the same?
(3) If there is only one being, is God declaring that He is pleased with Himself?
(4) The difficulty is the preconceived notation, not what is actually stated.
4. John 15:26 - The sending of the Helper
a. Jesus stated he would send the Spirit from the Father.
b. Since Jesus is sending the Spirit, the Spirit and Jesus cannot be the same.
c. Since the Spirit comes from the Father, the Spirit and the Father cannot be the same.
E. The Spirit is not nebulous
1. Perhaps one reason for the vagueness in regards to the Spirit is that we do not have a crisp name for the Spirit.
a. We vaguely understand what a spirit is.
b. But we all have spirits.
2. We have titles for the Father and the Son.
a. The Father is called Jehovah (or Yahweh), the Son is called Jesus
b. But what is the name of the Spirit?
c. Vague concepts become a breeding ground for odd ideas
3. But the Spirit is referred to as a being
a. He speaks - I Timothy 4:1
b. He commands - Acts 13:2
c. He can be grieved - Ephesians 4:30
d. He can be insulted - Hebrews 10:29
e. He is a person, not in human terms, but in terms of deity
III. Dwelling and God’s Omnipresence - Psalm 139
A. Note verse 7
1. God’s Spirit is always present
2. Omnipresence is a characteristic of deity
B. God was always present with Israel - Exodus 33:12-17
1. Moses did not want to go further until he knew that God would be present
2. God being with him and the people was important
C. Jesus promised to be with his disciples - Matthew 18:20; 28:20
D. Yet when people speak of God or Jesus being present, they think of someone who is close at hand or who is readily accessible.
1. But when they speak of the Spirit’s presence, it changes to a concept of control or a lack of free will.
2. Why is one member of the Godhead treated differently?
IV. The Concept of Indwelling
A. Even though “indwelling” is used frequently by the religious community, the word is rarely used in our English translations.
1. It is not in the KJV, ASV, NIV, or the NKJV
2. It is used once in the Modern King James Version and twice in the original NASB, but not in the NASB’95
B. The Greek words:
1. Enoikeo (en-oy-KEH-o) and a related word katoikeo (kat-oy-KEH-o)
a. Refers to dwelling in something or abiding in someplace
b. The root word is “house.” It is the place you inhabit; it is your abode; it is the place where you live
2. Meno (MEN-o) - refers to staying in one place or continuing with one idea.
C. Too often we want religious things to be mysterious, so the simple is rejected.
1. Where we dwell or where we abide refers to where we stand on matters.
2. Example, Christians are urged to abide in love - I John 4:16
a. The place were we stay is in love
b. When we stay in love, then we stay in God and God stays in us.
c. Notice that our relationship with God is a two-way street
d. However you describe God being in you, it equally applies to you being in God.
D. Here is where many get caught
1. God being in a person is described as a form of possession where God controls the person’s life.
2. But since I am in God, does that mean I control God? The very thought is ridiculous! If such happened, God would no longer be supreme.
3. Yet, doesn’t God control my life? Of course! But only because I have given my life over to Him to do His will.
4. I still have choices. I still could rebel, but I don’t. Instead, I choose to do things God’s way.
5. God being in me doesn’t mean that I lost the ability to choose, just as I being in God means that God no longer has a choice.
E. I being in God and God being in me paints a picture that God and I have chosen to live together in harmony.
1. It is the result of a Christian choosing to be obedient to the teachings of God - I John 2:14
2. What is meant by the word of God abiding in you?
a. The teachings of God have a place of residence in your mind.
3. When God’s word is in us, then God Himself abides with us as well - I John 2:24
a. Notice the direction in this verse
b. The Christian abides in the Son and in the Father
c. It is still a two-way street. God becomes a part of our lives through His word and we in turn become close to God the Father and God the Son.
F. Living together in harmony is seen in John 14
1. John 14:11 - Jesus and God are in each other. They have a close relationship.
2. John 14:20 - The Christian is in Christ and Christ is in the Christian. Again it shows a close relationship.
G. People understand this until the Holy Spirit is thrown into the picture.
1. People understand that the Father and the Son are in heaven, so their dwelling with us is easily seen as a close relationship.
2. Yet, notice a verse between John 14:11 and 14:20 - John 14:15-17
a. This is no more mysterious than what we have stated before.
b. It is almost parallel to I John 2:24, which read a moment ago.
c. When we keep God’s word, instead of saying the Son and the Father abides in us, Jesus says the Spirit abides in us.
d. In other words, the word of God becomes the common meeting ground between the disciple and God.
e. While we remain in that word, we share a close relationship with God - Father, Son, and Spirit.
V. The Dwelling of the Spirit and the Dwelling of Christ
A. Many emphasize the Spirit dwelling in the Christian, but the New Testament speaks just as forcibly of Jesus dwelling in the Christian - Romans 8:9-11
1. Notice the shift from the Spirit dwelling in you to Christ being in you and then back to the Spirit dwelling in you.
2. Paul sees the ideas as being interchangeable.
B. Christ is formed in us when we become Christians - Galatians 4:19
C. He dwells in us by faith - Ephesians 3:14-17
1. Once again, the Spirit is spoken of being in a man along with Christ dwelling in the man’s heart through faith.
2. There is no difference in what is meant or how it is accomplished
D. The gift of Christ - Ephesians 4:7
1. We understand that this gift is salvation
2. But our imaginations go wild when we speak of the Spirit’s gift - Acts 2:38
3. Yet, it is the same gift
4. Jesus bought our salvation with His blood - Ephesians 1:7
5. The Spirit guarantees our salvation through the promise of God written for us in our Bibles - Ephesians 1:13-14
E. The work of Christ and the work of the Spirit are intertwined.
1. The relationship of the Christian with Christ and with the Spirit are similarly intertwined.
2. God is one. You cannot dwell with Christ without also dwelling with the Spirit.
3. When Christ is in us, the Spirit is also there, and so is the Father.
4. When we are in Christ, we are also in the Father and in the Spirit.
VI. The Dwelling Place of God
A. The Old Testament made much of God spending time with His people - Exodus 29:45-46
B. The tabernacle and later the temple represented God’s presence among the Israelites.
1. Not that God physically dwelt in a building made by men - I Kings 8:27
2. God is too great, too mighty, too large for anything in this universe to contain Him - Isaiah 66:1
3. But God then tells us where He chooses to dwell - Isaiah 66:2
C. The theme continues into the New Testament where the wonder is that in Christ God choose to live with men as a man - John 1:14
D. One day that relationship will be permanent - Revelation 21:3
1. Meanwhile each Christian is God’s tabernacle - II Corinthians 6:16
2. We represent God’s presence in the world - I Corinthians 6:19-20
VII. Where you live is your choice
A. God chooses to live with people who love Him and does His will.
B. Where we live is our choice - I John 2:24
1. Notice that word, “let”
2. It is your choice whether you will listen to God or not.
3. It is your choice whether to let the Savior in - Revelation 3:20
C. So, where have you chosen to live?