The Holy Spirit

You, the Holy Spirit, and Life Eternal—

The Spirit indwelling and sealing.

Selected Scripture

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you forever” (John 14:16-17).

These words from the Lord Jesus raised the expectations of His discouraged disciples. Something new and wonderful was about to happen. In just a few days, when the Spirit would come, He would live inside them. Unlike their Master who was about to leave them, the Spirit’s presence would be permanent. This had never happened before. Note even with the greatest leaders of the Old Testament.

Sadly, today many believers are confused by the ministry of the Spirit in their lives. The religious lingo seems so unfamiliar—indwelling, sealing, baptism, gifting, filling. How do you know if any of these have happened? When should I expect it? How will I know.

Dividing the ministries of the Holy Spirit into three primary categories helps us appreciate their importance in our Christian experience:

¨      The Holy Spirit and eternal life—indwelling and sealing.

¨      The Holy Spirit and body life—baptizing and gifting.

¨      The Holy Spirit and everyday life—filling and walking.

At the heart of these ministries lies the work of the Spirit in the divine transaction which initiates and guarantees eternal life to all who believe in the Lord Jesus.

The Spirit Indwelling and Sealing: I have   the Holy Spirit I will ever get!

I. Learning the Truth: When you believed in Christ, God’s Spirit indwelled you and sealed you forever!

A. The Holy Spirit permanently indwells every Christian the moment they believe (Romans 8:9).

1. The Holy Spirit is God who lives in every believer in Jesus Christ (John 14:16, another [allos] Helper of the same kind; Matthew 28:19).

2. The indwelling Spirit is a gift from God to all believers (John 7:37, Acts 11:16-17, Romans 5:5,

1 Corinthians 2:12, 2 Corinthians 5:5).

3. Even sinning believers are indwelled by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 5:5, 6:1ff).

4. The Holy Spirit indwells believers forever (John 14:16).

B. The Holy Spirit permanently seals every believer the moment they believe (Ephesians 1:13).

1. The Holy Spirit seals every believer guaranteeing that they will receive all that God has promised (2 Corinthians 1:22).

2. The Spirit’s sealing is simultaneous to belief (Ephesians 1:13).

3. Even sinning believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 4:30).

4. Sealing cannot be lost. The Spirit seals believers until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

II. Living the Truth: The Spirit’s indwelling and sealing ministries bring security and purity to our Christian experience. 

A. I have all the Holy Spirit I will ever get. Therefore I am secure in my relationship with God!

1. The Spirit cannot leave believers (Romans 8:9). He will indwell every believer forever (John 14:16). Sin affects the effectiveness of the Spirit in the Christian’s life but it does not remove His presence from believers.

2. Since sealing includes the ideas of ownership, authority, and responsibility, sealing assures believers of the security of God’s promises, especially salvation. Sealing is to the day of redemption which will culminate with the reception of resurrection bodies (Romans 8:23). Notice, it is to the day of redemption, not the day of sinning or failure. Sealing is permanent!

B. I have all the Holy Spirit I will ever get. Therefore, I want my life to remain pure.

1. The Spirit’s indwelling makes my body the “temple of the Holy Spirit” bought with a price

(1 Corinthians 6:19). I want to keep God’s blood-bought “house” clean!

2. The Spirit’s sealing marks me as God’s property being assisted by His Spirit. I want to please my Helper rather than grieve Him (Ephesians 4:30). 

Do you want the Holy Spirit?

There is only one way to receive the Holy Spirit. You must be born again with life from above. The Lord Jesus promises to give His life, eternal life to anyone who believes in Him. This new life is empowered by the Spirit. So it’s a package deal. If you wan the power to live a new life, you must first receive a new life to start with. Christ died for your sins and arose. Trust in Him today and He will give you eternal life and power to live that life abundantly through His Spirit.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, anyone who believes in Me has everlasting life.”

–Jesus Christ (John 6:47).

 

You, the Holy Spirit, and Everyday life:

The Spirit filling and living by the Spirit.

Selected Scripture

ThenI will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocateto be with you forever –the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resideswith you and will be in you. 

(John 14:16-17)

These words from the Lord Jesus raised the expectations of His discouraged disciples. Something new and wonderful was about to happen. In just a few days, when the Spirit would come, He would live inside them. Unlike their Master who was about to leave them, the Spirit’s presence would be permanent. This had never happened before. Note even with the greatest leaders of the Old Testament.

The Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives can be confusing. The religious lingo seems so unfamiliar—indwelling, sealing, baptism, gifting, filling, walking. How do you know if any of these have happened? When should I expect it? How will I know?

Dividing the ministries of the Holy Spirit into three primary categories helps us appreciate their importance in our Christian experience:

¨      The Holy Spirit and eternal life—indwelling and sealing.

¨      The Holy Spirit and everyday life—filling by and walking in the Spirit.

¨      The Holy Spirit and body life—baptizing and gifting.

When it comes to everyday life, an understanding of the filling of the Spirit is absolutely critical to experiencing the joy and confidence of living by (walking in) the Spirit

The Spirit Filling: Trust and yield to be filled!

I. Learning the Truth: When you have trusted God enough to relinquish control of your life to the Spirit, you are filled!

A. The Holy Spirit fills some believers for some special activity (Luke 1:67) and every believer who in trust yields control of his or her life to God (Ephesians 5:18).

1. There is a special Spirit-filling, which is a sovereign act of God whereby He possesses someone for special activity (Luke 1:15—John the Baptist, 41—Elizabeth, 67—Zacharias; Acts 2:4—the group the Day of Pentecost, 4:8—Peter, 31—the believers, 9:17—Paul, and 13:9—Paul). We’re not told much more about this filling except that it happens. Some feel we should not ask for this type of filling, others feel comfortable asking for this special filling.

2. There is a regular Spirit filling which is the extensive influence and control of the Spirit in a believer’s life. Scripture commands every believer to be filled with the Spirit in this way (Ephesians 5:18).

3. Definition: Spirit-filling is both God’s sovereign empowering of some believers by the Spirit for special activity and the Spirit’s filling yielded believers with His own character.

B. The Spirit’s filling is unique among His ministries in the church age since it requires Christians to yield to His control.

1. The command in Ephesians 5:18 plhrousqe is the present, passive, plural, imperative of plhrow, “to pervade with an influence, to dominate or control behavior.” Imperative: “You be filled!” This is a command; it needs a response. Comparison: Like a drunk who chooses to give control of his or her life to alcohol, believers must choose to give control of their life to God’s Spirit.

2. The contrast with the Holy Spirit’s other ministries tells us that opening our lives to the filling of the Holy Spirit is the personal responsibility of every believer.

Indwelling, Sealing, Baptizing

Filling

Occur only once in each believer’s life

Is a repeated experience

Never happened before the day of Pentecost

Occurred in the Old Testament

True of all believers

Not necessarily experienced by all

Resulted in position and potential

Results in power

Occurred when we believed in Christ

Occurs throughout the Christian life

No prerequisite (except faith in Christ)

Depends on Trust and Yieldedness

II. Living the Truth: The filling of the Holy Spirit unleashes His power into my life. Yield to the Spirit! You must trust God enough to give the Holy Spirit control of your life (Ephesians 5:18).

A. How can I be filled with the Spirit? I need to trust and yield to the Spirit!

1. The issue is control. To be filled with the Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

2. The conflict is inner. Our flesh fights the Spirit for control of our life. The flesh is the capacity to live life independently of God. Its disposition is to sin and oppose God (Romans 7:18, 1 Corinthians 3:3, 2 Corinthians 1:12, Galatians 5:17, Colossians 2:18, 2 Peter 2:10, 1 John 2:16). Like the Spirit, the flesh produces works or fruit (Galatians 5:19). Unlike the Spirit, these works never produce righteousness (Romans 7:18) and will eventually enslave the believer (Romans 7:25). You can never get rid of the flesh on earth, but you can overcome the flesh by walking in the Spirit. That is living in a Spirit-filled state—in dependence on the Holy Spirit, under His control rather than depending on your own strength (Galatians 5:16)

B. What will happen when I am filled with the Spirit and walk in the Spirit? I will not act like my without-Christ self! I will be a joyously worshiping, thankful, and cooperative member of a local church (Ephesians 5:18-21). I will be more like Christ as the Spirit displays His fruit through my yielded life (Galatians 5:22-23). I will bless those around me. The Holy Spirit overflows in the life of Spirit-filled believers, spreading the blessing they have received (John 7:37-39).

The Realities of Spirit-filling:

1. We forget that helplessness is how the Christian life works. We need to be filled with the Spirit because we can’t do life on our own.

2. The issue isn’t how much of the Holy Spirit I have or how much of the Holy Spirit’s power I can get. I have all the Spirit I am ever going to get (indwelling and sealing), and I have all the power I need to glorify Christ on earth (baptizing and gifting). The issue is how much of me does the Holy Spirit have! He will take whatever I give Him and use it to glorify Christ (1 Corinthians 3:18).

3. Instead of trying to be out in front of our lives—manipulating God and others as we design our future, we realize that God is inside of us—moving us toward His design for our future.

 

You, the Holy Spirit, and Body life:

The Spirit baptizing and gifting

Selected Scripture

Then I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocateto be with you forever –the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him.But you know him, because he resideswith you and will be in you. 

(John 14:16-17)

These words from the Lord Jesus raised the expectations of His discouraged disciples. Something new and wonderful was about to happen. In just a few days, when the Spirit would come, He would live inside them. Unlike their Master who was about to leave them, the Spirit’s presence would be permanent. This had never happened before. Note even with the greatest leaders of the Old Testament.

The Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives can be confusing. The religious lingo seems so unfamiliar—indwelling, sealing, baptism, gifting, filling, walking. How do you know if any of these have happened? When should I expect it? How will I know?

Dividing the ministries of the Holy Spirit into three primary categories helps us appreciate their importance in our Christian experience:

¨      The Holy Spirit and eternal life—indwelling and sealing.

¨      The Holy Spirit and everyday life—filling by and walking in the Spirit.

¨      The Holy Spirit and body life—baptizing and gifting.

When it comes to body life, an understanding of the baptism and gifting of the Spirit is absolutely critical to experiencing the joy and confidence of living in community. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s ministries during the church age is to glorify Christ (John 16:14) by building His body—the church.

Baptizing and Gifting: You and your fellow believers have all the spiritual power you will ever need 

to glorify Christ by loving and serving Him and one another in the church!

I. Learning the Truth: When you trusted in Christ, God’s spirit baptized you into the body of Christ and gifted you to love and serve there!

A. The Holy Spirit baptizes every believer into the body of Christ—the church—the moment they believe in Him (1 Corinthians 12:13).

1. The baptism of the Spirit was first predicted by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11). Just prior to His ascension, the Lord Jesus said this baptism would occur “not many days from now” (Acts 1:5). This specific ministry of the Holy Spirit served one purpose that it continues to serve today—adding believers to the body of Christ. I believe that the dramatic events of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:1-13 included the initial baptism of the Spirit, though there was filling and gifting occurring simultaneously. Peter would later call this the initial fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy that His followers would be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:15-16).

2. The central text, 1 Corinthians 12:13, clearly states that all (even the unfaithful Corinthians!) have been baptized. This seems simultaneous with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit—“all made to drink of the one Spirit.” The emphasis of the passage is the unity of believers, just as it is in Ephesians 4:5, which I believe also refers to the “one baptism” of the Spirit that all believers share.

3. Definition: “Spirit baptism is Christ’s work through the agency of the ministry of the Holy Spirit to join those who believe to the church, the body of Christ, with all the privileges and responsibilities that come with that position.” –Charles Ryrie

4. Nowhere in Scripture is there one exhortation to be baptized with the Spirit. In the seven times the phrase “to baptize with, in, or by the Spirit, not one is a command to be baptized. Five predict that it will happen (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5), one looks back to the time it happened the first time to describe its recurrence with new believers (Acts 11:16), and one simply states that it has happened to all believers in the context of an exhortation to unity (1 Corinthians 12:13).

I believe that many who sincerely believe they have been “baptized with the Spirit” as a second work of grace (including the founder of Church of the Open Door, R. A. Torrey) are simply confusing the baptism of the Spirit with an experience of filling (Ephesians 5:18). We believe that water baptism, though an important step of obedience for every believer to identify with the body of Christ, is different from the supernatural ministry of the Spirit to baptize us into the body of Christ.

B. The Holy Spirit gifts every believer for service in the body of Christ—the church—the moment they believe (1 Peter 4:10).

1. The gifting of the Spirit is purpose-oriented rather than person-oriented. The gifts of the Spirit are distributed to believers for the express purpose of building up the body of Christ—the church (Romans 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:4-5; Ephesians 4:12).

2. Definition: A spiritual gift is a God-given capacity to serve the body of Christ wherever and however He dictates.

3. The two lists of gifts in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 seem to be a non-exhaustive catalogue of gifts the Spirit gives to everyday believers to build the church in a unified manner. The ascension gifts described in Ephesians 4:11 seem to be gifts of leaders especially empowered to build the church rather than gifts given to individual believers.

4. I cannot find a passage where we’re told to discover our personal gift, but I do believe that every Christian should live with the expectation and even ask that his or her giftedness will be expressed and used in the local church to build the body of Christ.

II. Living the Truth: The Spirit’s baptism and gifting gather us in redemptive communities to love and serve one another and our world in ways that glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. 

A. I have all the Spiritual power I will ever need to serve Christ in the local church…if I am willing to do what it takes to get along with my partners in the Gospel (Philippians 1:5-7). Experiencing the one baptism serves as the basis for and exhortation to keep the unity of the body (Ephesians 4:5). The diversity of gifts being distributed by God’s sovereign will explains the need for and the plea for cooperation in the body (1 Corinthians 12).

B. I have all the Spiritual power I will ever need to serve Christ in the local church…if I am willing to give what it takes to exercise my gifts in the local church (Romans 12:1-2). The Spirit’s gifting of believers—giving them abilities to serve as He directs—like all of His ministries is designed to glorify Christ, not Himself (John 16:14). We have been given gifts to glorify Christ by serving Him in the local church (Ephesians 4:12). The only way to discover our giftedness is to use our giftedness in service (Romans 12:6).

Discovering Your Gifts Is Only Possible in the Local Church: Examine the word; exercise and train your spiritual muscles through service; expect God to use you powerfully in the local church.