A. THE PRESENCE AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN JESUS
Paul in Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. What does this mean? What does this look like? Do we have an example? Can we ever obey this command?
Tonight we would like to give you a glimpse into all of this. Jesus is the perfect example of walking in the Spirit, of not carrying out the desire of the flesh.
Jesus Christ Himself is the one perfect manifestation in history of the complete work of the Holy Spirit in man. We are going to unpack this statement tonight.
Last Equip – The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world and especially in the church”- Grudem
The Holy Spirit is a Person, He is God. We looked at the specific work of the Holy Spirit from Creation to Christ. The Holy Spirit was active in creation, bringing order out of chaos, He is the author of the Word of God, He empowered individuals for leadership and service. We learnt that He was present with God’s people in limited measure, but the prophets prophesied a great outpouring on all God’s people to empower them to walk in righteousness. Some day in the future, this Promise of the Father would be poured out.
“The Bible portrays for us a history of redemption with three major divisions that reveal progressively the three persons of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Before the first coming of Christ, the great testing truth was “the oneness of God’s nature and his kingship over all,” especially with respect to the person of the Father.
When Christ came, the great question was whether a people orthodox on the first point would recognize and receive the incarnate Son of God in whom all the fullness of deity dwells.
Then, after the Son had gathered a people who received him, he was put to death, raised up, and exalted to the Father’s right hand, from which he sent the Holy Spirit with new prominence upon the church.
Before Christ’s coming . . . the prominence of God the Father;
during the days of Christ’s earthly life . . . the prominence of God the Son;
and since the ascension of the Son . . . the prominence of God the Holy Spirit.
Therefore today, we live in a unique, climactic period of redemptive history, the days of the Spirit.
Just as Israel of old had a special responsibility to know and honour God as Father in the oneness of his nature, and just as the people of Israel had a special responsibility to know and honour Jesus as the Son of God in the days of his flesh, so now we have a special responsibility to know and honour the Holy Spirit.” – John Piper
“The sin of despising the Person Of the Holy Spirit and rejecting His Work now is of the same nature with idolatry of old and with the Jews’ rejection of the Person of Jesus Christ, the Son” (Owen).
There is a special responsibility upon us in this day, in this age of redemptive history to know and experience the Holy Spirit.
Creation and Fall
The story of the world starts with God creating a perfect world. From the dust of this perfect earth, God created man in His own image and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being. – the first man, Adam, became a living Soul (Corinthians 15:45 tells us) . God’s celebratory statement on His final creation: Behold, it is VERY good.
Soon this perfection was marred and broken by this first man listening to a serpent, Satan. Through Adam’s unbelief and disobedience to His creator, Sin resulting in death, entered the world. But God, in grace, gave a promise that one day the Seed of the woman will bruise Satan’s head and that Satan will bruise him on the heel. HOPE!
This promise is absolutely pregnant with meaning – redemption of mankind will come by a man, born of a woman and He will have victory over sin and death. Man can only be saved from sin and death by another man, perfect, without sin. But that is pre-empting the story…
After the Fall, God choose a nation, Israel, through which this Saviour, this Messiah should come. They were to be his special people, holy, separated to Him, shining His light to the Gentiles. Over and over they forsook God for a god of their own making, Again and again God sent His messengers, the prophets, to warn them of judgement and to call them to repentance for restoration. Hope was shining in the promises of a Messiah that will come to set them free from sin. In the messages from the prophets we learn about the Holy Spirit’s relationship to the Messiah, that the Holy Spirit would in fact be the Spirit of Messiah, inextricably linked and bound to Messiah. Many centuries passed and then when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Gal 4:4-7
1. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Conception and Birth of Jesus
Why did Jesus have to become a human being? According to God’s plan of salvation only a sinless, perfect sacrifice of the same kind (human) could atone for the sin of mankind and restore mankind back into fellowship with a holy God. God, the Son had to become the Son of Man.
In Luke 1:35 the angel Gabriel announces to Mary, “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.”
Then in Matthew 1:20 an angel says to Joseph “Do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
In these verses we learn that the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” or “conceived” Jesus. This is a key point when trying to understand how Jesus can be human yet also be without sin.
Mankind was made in the image of God which means we’re spiritual beings. The problem is that the image of God in us has been tarnished by sin. So when humans reproduce they pass on that tarnished spiritual image. That’s why David says in Psalm 51:5 that “in sin my mother conceived me.”
But Jesus wasn’t conceived through humans, He was conceived through the Holy Spirit. He’s fully human, but because He didn’t inherent our sin nature, instead of being predisposed to sin, Hebrews 7:26 tells us that he was “separate from sinners”. The result is what we see in Hebrews 4:15 Jesus was “tempted as we are, yet was without sin.”
While the human nature of Jesus was inseparably united to the Divine nature of the second Person of the Godhead, Jesus needed to live a perfectly sinless life in the power and by the grace of the Holy Spirit.
It was not sufficient for Him–as the second Adam and representative of a new humanity–to merely live according to His Divine nature. What fallen man needed was a human Redeemer who would gain a human holiness for His people and would die a human death in their place.
“The framing, forming, and miraculous conception of the body of Christ in the womb of the blessed Virgin was the peculiar and especial work of the Holy Ghost” – John Owen
Our New Birth
Our anchor text tonight is “Walk by the Spirit…” and we say Jesus is our 100% example. Can we follow Him in His conception and birth by the Holy Spirit? Turn with me to John 3 – Jesus says to Nicodemus “You must be born again to enter the kingdom of God” Just as the birth of Jesus was the work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, without a man, so being born again – it is the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in the life of man. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” –John 3:8
So before we can walk by the Spirit, we must be born again by the Holy Spirit.
2. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Childhood of Jesus
Moving to Jesus’ childhood Luke 2:52 tells us that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and men.” Luke 2:40 says the same thing saying the “Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” You hear people ask all the time what did Jesus do during His childhood and here we have our answer. He increased in “wisdom and stature and in favour with God and men.”
Now it’s important to note here that this verse and others like it are referring to Jesus’ human nature. Jesus is fully God and fully Man. As God He’s unlimited in His power and knowledge. But as Man He willingly laid aside His position and Philippians 2:7 tells us “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant.”
Jesus, when He took on a human nature, willingly limited Himself and needed to grow physically, mentally and spiritually, but did so without ever sinning.
The Holy Spirit aided Him every step of the way. In Isaiah 50:4 we find Jesus saying that “The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.”
From 1 Corinthians 2 we know that the Spirit helps us to understand spiritual truths. In the case of Jesus it seems He received unique personal training.
So in His birth and childhood the Holy Spirit aided Jesus by separating Him from sinners and by teaching Him what He is to say. John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit in Elizabeth’s womb, before birth and Jesus, as the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, would be no less, filled by the Holy Spirit from conception and for all His life on earth.
Our Spiritual Growth
We said Jesus is our example of walking by the Spirit – how do we grow in our spiritual lives? Eph 1:17 Paul prays that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
3. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Baptism and Anointing of Jesus
While Jesus was still labouring as a carpenter in Nazareth, John the Baptist emerged from the wilderness and began preaching and baptizing along the Jordan River. Central to the Baptist’s call for repentance was the announcement that one more powerful than himself was on the way. John proclaimed the coming of Messiah: “I baptize you with water. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I. … He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).
The prophecy of Messiah’s Spirit-baptism is so important that both Matthew, Mark, Luke and John place it at the beginning of his Gospel, giving his “primary lesson on the Holy Spirit up front.”. In John’s Gospel, the Baptist looks back reflectively and testifies, “the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit’ ” (John 1:32).
It is important to realize that the John the Baptist’s practice of baptizing his fellow Jews in water was radical and outrageous. While Jews had many ceremonial washings, they were not baptized. Only Gentile converts to Jewish faith were baptized and even then not quite in this fashion. Predictably, the Jewish leaders declined John’s baptism of repentance. But as radical as John’s baptism was, the Spirit-baptizing activity of Jesus is to be even more radical and significant. The verb “to baptize” is baptizo, deriving from the verb bapto, which denotes a thorough immersion as of cloth in a vat of dye or a person in water. John’s baptism signalled a total reorientation of life in which people confessed and forsook their sins in expectation of the coming Messiah. But sharply contrasted against John’s water baptism, Messiah’s baptism in the Spirit was to be even more definitive and life-changing.
Jesus came to John to be baptised, not because He had any sin, but so that all righteousness should be fulfilled. When Jesus was baptised, the Holy Spirit presented Himself bodily as a dove to indicate Jesus as the SON of GOD.
Luke 3:22 – “And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 42:1 “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.
Jesus explains what happened during His baptism a little later. The Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus was His anointing for ministry. In the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus read the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor … proclaim freedom for the prisoners … recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Luke 4:18,19). After returning the scroll to the synagogue attendant, Jesus said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (4:21). Luke carefully placed this scene at the beginning of Jesus’ Galilean ministry to show that the Spirit, in keeping with the Old Testament promises, had now anointed Jesus for His mission. And the “Anointed One” is by definition the Messiah, the Christ.
Peter would much later echo this understanding of Jesus’ anointing. Preaching to the house of Cornelius, he said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and … he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38). The Spirit did not come to regenerate or purify Jesus. As the sinless, incarnate Son of God He did not need to be born again or spiritually cleansed. Nor did the Spirit come merely for indwelling and fellowship with God, which Jesus already enjoyed. The Spirit came at Jesus’ baptism expressly to empower Him to begin and successfully complete His mission on earth.
Our Baptism in the Spirit for Empowering
Have you been empowered for ministry? Jesus is the Spirit-baptiser, come to Him. Walking in the Spirit would mean that you follow Jesus’ example of water baptism and coming to Him as the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. The invitation is open – Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
4. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Temptation of Jesus
Immediately after Jesus’ baptism and anointing, “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:12, 13). Mark used a very strong verb, ekballo, meaning basically “to throw out” or “to drive out” to depict the Spirit’s new and sudden impetus in Jesus. Luke makes sure that we understand that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit and being influenced and led by Him in the wilderness. It was from Jesus’ fullness of the Spirit that He could wield the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God to overcome every temptation that Satan brought to Him in those 40 days of hunger and exposure.
Jesus Christ met and overcame temptations as other men may meet and overcome them, in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was tempted and suffered through temptation. He was tempted in all points like we are Hebrews 4:15 yet without sin. Never once in any way did He yield to temptation. He was tempted entirely apart from sin, but He won His victories in a way that is open for all of us to win victory, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our Victory over Sin and Temptation
Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh, says our anchor Scripture. Jesus, filled with the Spirit, using the Word of God as weapon, shows us the way to fight sin and the flesh. He is the guarantee that we will overcome the wiles of the evil one. 1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. How? By the power of the Holy Spirit and Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God
5. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Life and Ministry of Jesus
In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the Spirit filled Him with the power necessary for His ministry.
Luke 4:14-15 – “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.” Jesus understood that His ministry was the fulfilment of the passage of Isaiah 11:2 that spoke of the Spirit acting through the Messiah.
Luke 4:16-21 – “He went to Nazareth, …and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. … and he read ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.‘ Then He said to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’.”
The Spirit anointed Jesus and made Him ready to start His ministry. In this ministry, His teaching caused the people to be amazed. In His entire ministry The Holy Spirit led Jesus and empowered Him to preach, to perform miracles, to heal the sick, to set the demon oppressed free and to free them from sin.
Isaiah had prophesied that the Spirit would rest upon Messiah giving Him wisdom, strength, and knowledge in His ministry.
Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
Jesus is fully God and fully man. We sometimes assume that Jesus did His ministry, the healings, the miracles, living a sinless life because He was God, because of His divine nature. His divinity does indeed seem to flash forth in the Transfiguration, for example, and is certainly implied in His forgiveness of sins. Although it is difficult to understand the interplay between the divine and human nature of Jesus, Paul tells us that, “although He [Christ Jesus] existed in the form of God, [he] did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself [“made himself nothing,” NIV], taking the form of a bond-servant … being made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:6,7, NASB). Paul is not saying that Jesus in the flesh emptied himself of His divine nature, His deity, but that Jesus in assuming human flesh, voluntarily and purposefully limited the use of His divine attributes to live and serve as a human being. Jesus, in his human nature, was empowered by the Holy Spirit to teach, to work miracles, to heal, to do ALL that he was sent to do by the Father.
Jesus had to become one like us –
Heb 2:14-17 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had* the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters,* so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. 18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. As our example, our forerunner, Jesus demonstrated what a life looks like filled with the Holy Spirit.
Paul says in Col 1:19 For in Jesus all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. Jesus was 100% full of God, the Holy Spirit and so throughout His ministry on earth we see Jesus displaying the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
and operating in the gifts of the Spirit – miracles, healings, prophecy, discernment of spirits, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, mercy, leadership , administration, knowledge, wisdom – Jesus is our example of what it looks like to minister in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit.
6. Our Life and Ministry Empowered by the Holy Spirit
Walk in the Spirit! The Holy Spirit today still gives His gifts to His children to empower them to advance the Kingdom of Jesus on earth. Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
1 Cor 12:7 To each is given the manifestation(a gift) of the Spirit for the common good.
Gal 5: 22 If you are led by the Spirit, if you walk by the Spirit, you will have the fruit of the spirit evident in your life – the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
In EVERY WAY Jesus is our forerunner in the Spirit.
Jesus Christ Himself is the one perfect manifestation in history of the complete work of the Holy Spirit in man.
7. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Death of Jesus
The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Comforter” in John 14:26. Ephesians 3:16 tells us the Holy Spirit strengthens us. If He comforts us how much more must He have comforted Jesus throughout His ministry and especially as His crucifixion drew near? How much more must He have strengthened Jesus as He agonized in the garden of Gethsemane?
Not only did the Spirit sustain Jesus Hebrews 9:14 tells us Jesus offered Himself through the eternal Spirit without blemish to God. Whereas earthly altars were used by the priests to make sacrifices, the Holy Spirit, in some mysterious way, acted as a spiritual altar to accept Christ’s sacrifice once and for all.
Through the Holy Spirit Jesus became Man, through the Holy Spirit Jesus was empowered for life and ministry without sin, and through the Holy Spirit Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice to God.
8. Walk By the Holy Spirit: The Resurrection of Jesus
The biblical accounts indicate “each member of the godhead had a particular part in this great act of resurrection.” Christ was raised by the power of God the Father (Ephesians 1:19–20 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places),
but Christ also had the power to raise Himself (John 10:18 “No one has taken it (my life) away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”).
The Holy Spirit also was involved in effecting the resurrection of Christ. Romans 1:4 declares Christ to be “the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness.
Also, In Romans 8:11 we see that the Spirit raised Christ from the dead. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Our Death and Life in the Holy Spirit
What is our response to be to the death and resurrection of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit? How do we “walk in the Spirit” following the example of Jesus through His death and resurrection?
Romans 8:11-17 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Gal 5: 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
So in His death and resurrection the Holy Spirit comforted and strengthened Jesus, acted as the altar through which Christ offered Himself and raised Him from the dead.
And we’re told this same Holy Spirit who reveals Christ, who applies salvation, who gives gifts, who empowers us, who teaches us, who comforts us, who strengthens us, this same Spirit is in us and loves us and is the guarantee of our salvation and eternal life.
Several things are plainly evident from the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ:
First of all, we see the completeness of His humanity. He lived and He thought, He worked, He taught, He conquered sin and won victories for God in the power of the same Spirit whom it is our privilege also to have.
In the second place, we see our own utter dependence upon the Holy Spirit. If it was in the power of the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, lived and worked, achieved and triumphed, how much more dependent are we upon Him at every turn of life and in every phase of service and every experience of conflict with Satan and sin.
The third thing that is evident is the wondrous world of privilege, blessing and victory that is open to us.
The same Spirit, by which Jesus was originally born in the flesh, is at our disposal for us to be born again of Him.
The same Spirit by which Jesus offered Himself without spot to God is at our disposal that we also may offer ourselves without spot to Him.
The same Spirit by which Jesus was anointed for service is at our disposal that we may be anointed for service and ministry.
The same Spirit who led Jesus Christ in His movements here on earth is ready to lead us to-day.
The same Spirit who taught Jesus and imparted to Him wisdom and understanding, counsel and might, and knowledge and the fear of the Lord is here to teach us.
The same Spirit that filled empowered Jesus with gifts and fruit, is at our disposal that we may bring glory to God and extend His kingdom.
Jesus Christ is our pattern 1 John 2.6 By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.),
He is “the first born among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). Whatever He accomplished through the Holy Spirit is for us to accomplish also to-day.
Jesus Christ Himself is the one perfect manifestation in history of the complete work of the Holy Spirit in man.
Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
WALK IN THE SPIRIT, LIKE JESUS WALKED IN THE SPIRIT.
B. THE TEACHING OF JESUS ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. THE PROMISE OF JESUS
Jesus not only modelled the ideal Spirit filled and empowered life as a human being, He also left His disciples with a very special promise. It was also the last promise that He made before He left this earth. Why did He do this? He knew that in our own strength and ability we would never be able to model the life He lived and taught. He knew that since the fall, man has simply been unable in his/ her own strength to live a life pleasing to God or to obey the commandments of God. He had given Himself fully for our justification, tearing down the veil of separation between us and God, but knew that we needed someone else for the challenging yet rewarding life of sanctification. What was His promise? It was a promise he shared with His Father. This promise was also the promise of the Father. Listen to His last recorded words in:
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
After these words Jesus left them and was taken up into the clouds to take His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father. Once again the presence of God had left earth, but this time the hearts of His disciples were filled with an expectation, an expectation based on the teachings of Jesus, based on the promise He had made, the promise of the Father. This promise had been around before, but there was something about the pregnant prophecies of old, something about the powerful life of the Son Of God lived before their very eyes in their lifetime, something about the teachings of Jesus about this promise that changed everything in and around them. What is it that Jesus promised, what did He teach them about this coming promise?.
Of course we are speaking about the promise of the Holy Spirit. Remember the definition that Wayne Grudem gave us about the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New
Testament? “The work of the Holy Spirit is to manifest the active presence of God in the world and especially in the church.”
Just a little footnote, is there any significance that most if not all the teachings of Jesus about the Holy Spirit was done to His disciples? Hold this question in the back of your minds as we continue.
Again I want to summarise this section under the two headings that I shared before: The Presence of the Holy Spirit and the Power of the Holy Spirit. What did Jesus teach His disciples about the Presence of the Holy Spirit?
2. THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Joh 3:5-6 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Joh 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The promise was one of intimacy, an intimacy like never before. The veil of separation in the temple was torn forever. This was the inheritance of the great gift of grace of being born again by the Spirit of God, when the unmerited favour of God was richly deposited into our lives.
· A NEW TEMPLE
Joh 4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God knew, Jesus knew that for true and intimate worship, we would need Someone who is spirit to lead us in spirit and truth. So with a new intimacy of having been born again by His grace, Jesus promised Someone who would not only lead us in true worship, but someone who would live inside us as His new temple. Intimacy and worship would come from within.
· ETERNAL PRESENCE
Matthew18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus promised a new intimacy, a new way of worship as well as an eternal presence of God that would never leave nor forsake us, no matter what.
Consider the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Jesus was on His way from Judea, where John the Baptist had been baptising, back to Gallilee, but unlike other jews of His day, He did not take the long route around Samaria, but the route straight through Samaria. I wonder if Peter and the disciples dared to remind Him that this was simply not acceptable for a Jew? Then I realised that Jesus never did anything unintentionally, that this was again evidence of the fact that the Holy Spirit lead Jesus to break Jewis convention and pass through the forbidden land of Samaria.
It was midday when he arrived with His disciples at a well outside the city of Sichar. He sent His disciples into town to buy food and then meets a Samaritan woman who came to the well to draw water. He breaks convention again and asks her to give Him something to drink. She is surprised at the fact that a strange man and in particular a Jew would ask her for drink and she expresses her surprise to Jesus. He starts leading her gently upon a path planned by the Spirit of God. He answers her as follows:
John 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”
She is still a bit confused and asks Jesus how he will be able to give her a drink when He has no vessel to draw water with. Listen to the profound response of Jesus in:
John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Consider the significance of these words of Jesus. He speaks of a coming time when a spring of living water would well up in believers that would last forever. The woman still does not understand and says to Jesus to give her this water so that she will not have to come and draw water at the well again. In a gentle way Jesus then deepens the conversation and confronts her with her immoral life. She then changes tactics, still kicking against her conscience and starts to argue about this mountain of worship in Samaria, so why should they go the where the Jews worship in Jerusalem? Jesus then gives her another indication of the promise of the Spirit in:
John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Not only did Jesus promise a new intimacy, a new way of worship and the eternal presence of God, from this encounter with the Samaritan woman, He also promised a new life of abundance that would well up from within for all who believed in Him, irrespective of culture or gender.
A little footnote: His disciples come back from town with food and offer the food to Jesus to which He replies:
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
Over and above the promise of living water coming from within, Jesus demonstrated again that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word coming from the mouth of God.
Mat 12:31-32 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is referred to as the unforgiveable sin. In essence it means that if anyone ascribes the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, in other words, if someone says that Satan is at work, when in fact it is the work of the Holy Spirit, this will not be forgiven. Rather than dwelling on the significance of this sin, let’s rather dwell on the fact that God the Father and Jesus want us to respect and treasure the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, because He is the active presence of God in the world today.
3. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Joh 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
In this context Jesus had just explained to His followers that His blood is true drink and that His flesh is true food and unless they ate of His flesh and drank of His blood, they have no life in them. He then explains what He meant that you will not be able to live life in and by the Spirit, without the Spirit. The Spiritual life can only be lived by the Spirit of God.
Listen to the tragic response of some and to the response of others close to Jesus:
John 6:66-69 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
The walk of sanctification speaks of obedience and the eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood speak of identifying with Him and His death in order to become more like Him. Only the Spirit of God can help us to grow spiritually along this journey.
Joh 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
The context of John 15 is the True Vine and the branches and the pruning of the Vinedresser, who is God. The instructions of Jesus are that we are to abide in Him, submit to His ways and as we abide in Him, our Helper or Teacher, the Holy Spirit, will cause us to bear fruit and will lead us in all truth. Lest there be any misunderstanding about the truth spoken of here, Jesus says that “he will bear witness about me”. The Teacher, our Helper will reveal more and more about Jesus to us on the journey of abiding.
Joh 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
Once again we are told by Jesus that the Spirit of Truth will guide us into all truth, that he will speak what he hears from the Father and Jesus and that He will give us an insight into the things that are to come.
B. TO BE HIS WITNESS
There are so many examples where Jesus teaches us what it looks like when we live like His disciples.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
How does this happen? By the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. We are told by Jesus that we are salt that and that we are light and that we are to let our light so shine before men that they will see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven. How will this happen? By the Power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us to be ambassadors for Christ. He helps us to live like, behave like, talk like and have the authority like the One we are representing on earth.
With the help and power of the Holy Spirit, when we love one another like Jesus loved us, our words, behaviour and deeds will send a convincing message to a watching world. This is what Jesus Himself promised:
John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
· Defence when persecuted/prosecuted
Mar 13:11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
· Signs will follow those who believe
Mat 12:28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit with the 72 disciples he sent out and because of the amazing report they brought back of the authority that they had walked in and the miracles that they had seen:
Luk 10:21 In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
Joh 14:12 –17 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
· Convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment
John 16:8-11 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.