The Holy Spirit: Understanding the Power and the Presence
The notes & Transcript from Pastor Joel's message of the same title.
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
Now we’ve reached a point in our series on the Holy Spirit, which is kind of a sub-series on suffering, because I like to make things complicated, but we’ve reached the point in our series to talk about how the Spirit operates in the age of grace, and specifically, we’ll get to how the Spirit helps us when we suffer, which Paul highlighted in 2 Cor. 6. So we started this sub-series on the Spirit with a look at the Godhead, which for me was one of those rare studies that completely altered how I look at the entire Bible and God Himself. So many verses that used to confuse me make sense now, because now I see that everything, including the act of creation, everything in the Bible is the Godhead operating together as one. It’s not just the love of Christ on display for us at Calvary but the love of the entire Godhead because they were all operating together as one unit in order to make salvation possible for us, in order for all of the members of the triune Godhead can have a relationship with us, which is why the entire Godhead resides inside each of us, because the entire loves us beyond all comprehension, which is mind-blowing to me. We looked at that reference in 1Jn 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. I used to think it was impossible to understand what it meant that these three are one but I don’t think so anymore. They are three separate entities but they’re always operating together as one unit, one mind, one heart, one vision. Everything we have and everything we are is from the Father, by Jesus Christ, through the Spirit.
Then we looked at the operation of the Holy Spirt in the OT, and particularly what it meant to be filled with the Spirit vs. having the Spirit upon you. We looked at the incarnation of Christ. We looked at the operation of the Spirit at Pentecost. Then last week, we looked at blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Now we’ve arrived at the age of grace. How does the Spirit function now? Tonight’s message is just a basic overview about the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in us, especially as it relates to suffering.
The Presence of the Spirit
So let’s go all the way back to the moment you got saved. You heard the calling of God through the gospel. Probably heard some verses and felt convicted by the Spirit. The Spirit convicts us through the Word. The Lord said in Jer 23:29 “Is not my word like as a fire… and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” How is it that His Word can be like fire and like a hammer that breaks the hard heart? Through the Spirit which moves us, convicts us, when we encounter the Words of the Lord expressing the will of the Father. So is someone convicted only when hearing verses or if someone just explains the gospel in their own words? Yes. But I think people are convicted more when they hear verses. So you hear the gospel. God the Father said to you through the gospel, I’m offering you this free gift of eternal life if you accept my Son by faith and the payment he made for you and all your sins through His death, burial, and resurrection. Will you accept my Son by faith and all that He did for you? You accept His free gift by faith alone. You’re saved. God gives you His free gift of eternal life. He imputes His Son’s righteousness to you, credits to your account His Son’s righteousness. He declares you righteous and justified. And that moment you get saved, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the Body of Christ, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body. We know that the word baptism, in and of itself, in the Greek, simply means to wash. I know that most in Christendom today, when they see “baptize”, they think “water,” because of the baptism of John. Even worse, because of bad denominational traditions, many think baptizo means “to immerse” or “to dip” that was never the case. Even Strong’s doesn’t mention “immerse” or “dip” in its definition. Baptizo simply means “to wash” just as baptizo was twice translated as “wash” in Mark 7:4 when he wrote, “And when they come from the market, except they wash [baptizo], they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing [baptismos] of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” When they baptized the tables, did they fully immerse their tables under water? But the careful student would note that there are many types of baptisms in the Bible. There were Israel’s ceremonial baptisms in the OT, John’s baptism, baptism of fire, the baptism unto Moses in 1 Cor. 10, Noah’s type baptism in 1 Peter 3, baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost and baptism by the Spirit in the age of grace. Even though the word itself only means to wash, the Spirit uses that word to convey the idea of a deliverance or a cleansing through identification. The nation of Israel was baptized unto Moses in the sense that they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt by being identified with Moses when they crossed the Red Sea. Noah’s family was baptized in the sense that they were delivered from the judgment of the flood through their identification with Noah. The nation of Israel was cleansed in their identification with the Messiah through the baptism of John. In the baptism of fire, there is a corporate cleansing taking place in Israel to separate the wheat from the chaff during the tribulation and those who are delivered through that judgment are the ones who are identified with Christ.
And so here in 1Co 12:13 we learn from Paul that the moment we believed, we were by one Spirit… all baptized into one body. In that moment we believed, we were delivered from the wrath to come, we were cleansed or washed of all our unrighteousness in our identification by the Spirit with Christ, and that identification makes us members of His Body, which is God’s church today, His called-out assembly of saints. God’s true church today isn’t a building. It’s not a specific denomination. It’s not some lifeless human organization, but His church is a living divine organism. There are many members but one Body. All of us believers all around the globe are equal as one in the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:4; 1 Cor. 12:12), knit together in love (Col. 2:2), nourished by the head, which is Christ (Col. 2:19), who is the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:23). Just as we fill His Body, Christ fills all of us. Christ becomes our all, filling our souls with the beauty of Himself. The spiritual life inside of us is now the glorified resurrected Lord Jesus Christ - “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
As we mention often, we are more than simply identified with Christ and His body. Through that baptism by the Spirit, we learn that we are identified with His death, burial, and resurrection, which we are to reckon as true for ourselves, to see ourselves as dead, buried, and risen with Christ, a new creature living His resurrection life, all of which gave us victory over sin and death, all of which freed us from the judgment and the bondage of sin in our lives, and we’re now alive unto God through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
d. Not only that, the moment we believed the Holy Spirit indwelled you. You become the temple of the living God (1 Cor. 3:16-17). You are now His earthen tabernacle made for His good use. I love to make that point that just as God resided inside The Most Holy Place in the Israeli temple, so too, God resides inside of you. You are His Most Holy Place today. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 1:22 that God “hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” The Holy Spirit taking up residence inside of you is His unbreakable seal until the day of your redemption, which is the day you die or the day you’re Raptured out of here. The Spirit is God’s earnest, God’s guarantee that you are His purchased possession, the non-refundable deposit, if you will, of His possession purchased by His blood, guaranteed as His forever. Because you accepted His Son by faith, God has taken hold of you and He will never ever let you go, guaranteed by everything God has now made you in His Son and also by His down payment of the Holy Spirit now dwelling inside you. Not only that, Eph. 1:14 tells us that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of OUR inheritance, guaranteeing that WE shall also inherit God’s Kingdom, as an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
Doctors and theologians have noted that there are 9 possible side effects from the baptism of the Spirit. You may experience love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and/or temperance.
You just consider how mind-blowing it is that the same Holy Spirit who was here at the dawn of creation, moving upon the face of the waters when the Earth was without form and void, THAT same SPIRIT is inside of you. You remember in the Godhead message, we looked at verses that said the Father brought the creation into existence by the Son. And then we looked at Job 33:4 in which Job said The Spirit of God hath made me… Which makes me laugh. Who made everything? The Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit? YES. Everything is from the Father, by Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. And even creation itself was an act of the Godhead operating together. Creation was willed by the Father, commanded by Christ, and physically brought into existence by the Spirit. THAT same HOLY SPIRIT is inside of you, the great creative genius of the Godhead, the one who brought into being the mind-blowing miracle of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh, both fully God and fully man, THAT HOLY SPIRIT is inside of you. This same Spirit who carried out all the miracles in time past, who physically parted the Red Sea, who brought on all those plagues in Egypt, who descended as a dove at the Lord’s baptism, as tongues of fire onto the disciples at Pentecost, who carried Philip away, who will physically give us new heavenly glorified bodies and lift all of us up into the clouds to meet the Lord Jesus Christ at the Rapture of the Church, THAT same HOLY SPIRIT is inside of you.
So you consider that this same Holy Spirit who brought everything into existence, who created the miracle of the incarnate Son of God, this same Holy Spirit, completely transforms you the moment you believe. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost…” (Titus 3:5) Our washing of regeneration is our thorough spiritual regeneration by the Holy Spirit in which we are brought from a state of unrighteousness into a state of perfect righteousness by receiving the life of God. We are cleansed and washed and regenerated into new creatures by of our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ and what He accomplished for us at Calvary. We are regenerated by the Spirit from our death to His life, no longer dead in sins in Adam but alive unto God in Christ. This is the death of our old selves, which is our old man, who has been crucified with Christ, and this is the deliverance from our death into His life. This is our liberation from the consequence of sin, from the dominion of sin, from the power of sin, and the impartation of His divine life to us, which is the new man, created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). The moment we believe, we are washed by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11). We are transformed by the Spirit. We are translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1:13), whereby we became new creatures. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17). We are metamorphosed into a new spiritual reality, into a new state of being with God’s life inside of us. We are now His perfect workmanship (Eph. 2:10). In the Greek, workmanship is poyeema from which we get the modern word poem. We are His poem. We are His great work of art. We are His masterpiece. We are His perfect work as a result of our spiritual washing of regeneration through the Holy Spirit.
I make the point in the book that “Victory in God’s grace is not the power of positive thinking. Victory in God’s grace is the power of accepting God’s truths of who we are now in Christ and we live our lives according to those truths. By studying His Word, the Spirit renews our minds, helps us to learn who we are now in Christ, to know the things freely given to us by God (1 Cor. 2:12), to help us put on the new man, and to live free from the dominion of sin, all of which enables us to align our earthly walk with our new Heavenly identity.”
The Power of the Spirit
Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
I love this verse too much. In this one verse, we have the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit operating in us to make us filled with all joy and peace, abounding in hope. When you study the Word, you will feel more and more peace, peace of mind and heart, the peace that passes all understanding, and you will feel more and more joy while abounding in hope. When you feel that inside you, that is the power of the Spirit working in you. We’ve noted that the charismatic church down the street is starting up again their tent revivals. The last time I walked by, they were saying things like, “This is your moment to experience God. This is your moment to experience the power of the Holy Spirit.” Total lies. If you want to experience God in your life, if you want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit, you come to His Word, you study it, you feel His love being shed abroad in your heart. When we come to understand the sound doctrines of grace through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit, you can’t help but rejoice, because it’s all good news, and you rest in that peace and assurance and joy of hope, and what you are feeling is literally the power of the Spirit at work inside of you. When you study His Word and you feel that peace and that joy, that is a literal firsthand experience with God at work inside of you through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. After you get saved, the Holy Spirit isn’t going to force you to feel a certain way. He isn’t going to betray your free will and make you feel things randomly. Walking down a street and KAPOW – Oh boy, I feel so much love! Doesn’t work that way. You have to let Him work in you by spending time in His Word. You have to yield yourself, give yourself over to His Word and His teachings to feel that love. I think of it as the Process of Empowerment Through the Study of His Word. If you spend time in His Word, you’re going to feel some of those side effects of that baptism of the Spirit.
We know that Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword...” What does it mean that the word of God is quick? Is it quick to convict us? Or change us? Not necessarily. Think quickened. Eph_2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”. What does that word quickened mean? It means we are “made alive.” So when the writer of Hebrews says that the Bible is “quick,” he’s saying that His Word is “alive”. His Word is living. His Word reads you while you read His Word. Because all of this is not the word of some dead philosopher. This is not the word of some dead saint. This is not the doctrine of some dead religion. This is the Word of the eternal, immutable, righteous, holy, living God, which means it is alive, because it has HIS LIFE in it. His Word is power to us, and that power becomes a reality in our walk because the Holy Spirit will take His Word and use His Word to transform our lives into the very image of Christ who is the image of God’s glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
When we take in His Word, the Holy Spirit energizes that Word inside of us, makes His Word effectual, powerful in us - renewing our minds, energizing our hearts, and we become strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. Paul said in 1 Cor. 2:12, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God…” Why? So “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” The instrumentality that God the Holy Spirit uses to give us strength and empowerment is His Word, and His Word reveals not only the means of salvation by His grace but also all the spiritual blessings He’s freely given to us, all the grace that has abounded toward us, which empowers us, so we know that we have all sufficiency in all things, and we know we’re able to serve Him with power. To study His Word is to reckon the strength He has already given us because of what God has made us in Christ, and God wants us to know through His Word who we are in Christ, because He empowers us when we gain that spiritual knowledge. In other words, we’re strengthened by gaining the knowledge of how God has already empowered us by what He has made us in His Son!
And so the Holy Spirit energizes us with those truths, and those grace truths become a practical reality in our lives. We build up that edifice of grace doctrines in our souls. His grace works in us, takes root in us, builds us up in Him, establishes us in the faith, and transforms us into the image of Christ in our walk. The Holy Spirit produces holiness in us. He writes Christ onto our hearts. He produces life inside of us, a never-ending newness of life, the life of Christ built-up in our souls. He produces peace in our hearts and holiness in our walks. We have God’s spiritual life growing within us and flowing out of us. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” When you feel peace and joy, abounding in hope, that is the power of the Spirit at work inside of you. You can feel that power at work inside of you. I also cannot help but think of Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. What’s the difference between being strong in the Lord vs. being strong in the power of His might? To be strong in the Lord is to be strong in what God has made you in Christ but being strong in the power of His might is a deep dive into the strengthening of the inner man by the Spirit. But the only way we can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might is through the study of His Word.
I'd like to share one of my favorite paragraphs from Baker’s Dispensational Theology - "The Bible is a Hammer (Jer. 23:29) with which to break the hard heart; it is a Critic/Discerner (Heb. 4:12) of the "thoughts and intents of the heart"; it is a Mirror (2 Cor. 3:18; Jas. 1:25) to reveal the true condition of man; it is a Laver (Eph. 5:26; Ps. 119:11; John 15:3) for the washing of the defiled; it is Seed (Luke 8:11; 1 Pet. 1:23) for the soil; it is the Sun (Ps. 19:1-6) for the seed sown; it is the Rain and the Snow (Isa. 55:10,11) for the seed sown; it is Food (Job 23:12) for the hungry,--milk for babes (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12, 13) bread for the more mature (Deut. 8:3; Isa. 55:1, 2), strong meat for the full grown (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5: 12-14), and Honey for all (Ps. 19:10); it is Gold (Ps. 19:10; 119:72) for the poor; it is a Lamp (Ps. 119:105; Prov. 6:23; 2 Cor. 4:6; 2 Pet. 1:19) for the traveler; it is a Sword (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 19:15) for the soldier; and it is Fire (Jer. 20:9; 23:29; Ps. 39:3) to impel the believer to service."
Strengthened with Might
We cannot fight the Lord’s battles if the flesh is at work. We must rely on His strength and His Spirit in us to achieve any sort of victory on the battlefield. And here in Eph. 3, we have the great prayer request for spiritual strength.
Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Eph 3:17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Notice the connection between knowledge of His will and being filled with all the fullness of God. Paul tells us here that if we are rooted and grounded in love and if we can somewhat comprehend together in our studies with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, then we all can be filled with all the fulness of God. Well, you might think, Christ died for us so obviously He loves us lots. That’s easy enough. But, see, God’s love for us isn’t just expressed in His death. His love for us is also expressed to us in the entire package of His gift of grace. His love is also expressed in everything He made us in Christ. His love is expressed in everything He has given us, all the spiritual blessings of Heaven in this life and as co-inheritors with Christ, all of Heaven and Earth in the life to come. If we wrap our heads around the fullness of His love in the entire gift of the grace of God, then we can be filled with all the fulness of God, to be under the full influence of God the Father, His will and His grace and His love, because we are immeasurably empowered by the knowledge of just how much God has shown that He loves us. It’s when you study the entirety of His gift of grace that you find yourself swimming in the deep ocean of the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of God in Christ Jesus. All of that love shown to us in His grace truly passes all human knowledge because we cannot comprehend it all. It’s when we study His Word and gain enough depth of understanding about His love shown in His gift of grace that we may say as Paul said, Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… for when I am weak, then am I strong. We access His strength though the study of His Word, through prayer, and meditation of His Word. Because of that, Paul says when he suffers, Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities (he is boasting about the sufficiency of His grace during all of his times of weakness. Why? So), that the power of Christ may rest upon me (If you glorify Christ in your time of weakness, then you are exhibiting the attribute of His power in you, which becomes visible to everyone around you. You glorying about Christ and the sufficiency of His grace and His strength at work in your weakness makes His power visible to everyone including demons and angels. The evidence of that fact that His power is at work in you is seen when you glory in your infirmities!).
The application here is simple. When we go through hard times, we MUST glory in our infirmities – praising God for all the He is and all that He’s accomplished in us by His grace – because that glorying has a psychological and emotional impact on those around us, but it has the greatest impact on each one of us. You want to get a handle on how these overwhelming feelings you’re having while you’re going through suffering? Start by praising God in prayer. Just praise Him.
And in all of this love we discover when we study His Word, all of this knowledge about His grace which gives us power, as well as all of this peace of mind and heart, we can have no fear. No fear. No reason to fear anything in this life. We may be killed all the day long. We may be counted as sheep for the slaughter, but we fear not because in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Because of that gift of grace, we have no reason to fear anything. Because of that gift of grace, we were transformed by His Spirit and God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Because of that gift of grace, we have the love of God shed abroad in our hearts and our comprehension of the fullness of His love for us enables us, empowers us to be filled with all the fulness of God.