The Holy Spirit

Lesson 9

by Jackie Alston

Today, I'm going to talk to you briefly about a very important subject of the Bible. This subject is just as misunderstood as it is important. It's a subject that I have shied away from on numerous occasions for several different reasons. The first reason being, it required lots and lots of reading. The second, it required some serious reading comprehension, and third, how could I make up a story about the third person of the trinity, The Holy Spirit? But, I read about the Holy Spirit, I comprehended what I read about the Holy Spirit, so then, all I had to do was ask the Holy Spirit to lead me. So, here I am.

I'm going to begin my story with a couple of misinterpretations that I had about the Holy Spirit. When we were young , growing up in a family with a grandfather minister, we had to go to church all the time. And back then, most of the churches were very small and very hot. There was no air conditioning in any of the churches we attended, so all the windows were raised and propped up with sticks. The windows were the type that would slam down quickly when the stick was removed.

There was this lady in church who would jump up, throw her head back, flap her arms and jump all around the church, and she'd always end up by one of the open windows. Now the first time we witnessed this, as kids, we thought it was hilarious. But we were quickly told, "Do not make fun of her because she has the Holy Spirit." We didn't know anything about the Holy Spirit and we thought our parents were stupid for believing this woman was doing anything other than clowning. So every time we went to church, we hoped and prayed that this woman would hit one of those sticks and knock the window on her hand. Sure enough, one night it happened. She hit the stick and that window crashed down on her hand. And we just waited to hear the curse words that were coming; but she jerked her hand from under the window, kept her head back, flapped those arms, jumped around the church, and never missed a beat. We were in awe. She really did have the Holy Spirit!

So my first misinterpretation of the Holy Spirit was that it would make you throw your head back, flap your arms and jump all around a church; and if you weren't doing this, then you couldn't possibly have the Holy Spirit. Years later I learned differently, I learned that the Holy Spirit comes upon different people in different ways. Just because a person is jumping around in the church doesn't necessarily mean that he has the Holy Spirit.

My second misinterpretation may not be a misinterpretation so much as it is something that I had just never put together. When the subject of friendship would come up to me, as a Christian, I would quickly say that Jesus Christ is my best friend. And on occasions, I would add, but, Edward is my best earthly friend. I have said that since my mom died, before she died she was my best earthly friend. A couple of years ago I heard a sermon on the Holy Spirit in which the minister said, "The Holy Spirit is your best earthly friend." I had never thought of that before. If Jesus, my best friend, had to leave earth and ascend to heaven but He said He would send another comforter, the Holy Spirit, why wouldn't the Holy Spirit be my best earthly friend? And here I was going around saying some man is my best earthly friend. I know now that my best earthly friend is truly the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is very misunderstood and it's mainly because of what we see, hear, or read. I remember when we were young, we use to go to the wrestling match every Wednesday night. I believed what I saw. Today, you couldn't pay me to go to a wrestling match because I know what I'm seeing is not true. Earlier, it had been seeing a woman's actions in church that gave me a misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit.

On the other hand, we shouldn't believe everything we hear or read. One day while visiting my sister, I saw she had gotten a letter from a minister, and on the front of the envelope in big words was, "God can change everything in your life in forty-eight hours. Your faith is the key." I wanted to rip that letter open so badly to see if he explained to her why God would need forty-eight hours, two full days, just to change things in her life when He created the whole world and everything in it in six days. Who is he to put a time frame on what God can do. Forty-eight hours! I'm no minister, but I know God can change things immediately. When the woman with the bad issue of blood for twelve long years touched the hem of Jesus' garment; Jesus turned and told her, "Be of good comfort; your faith hath made thee whole." That woman was healed immediately. The minister was right about faith being the key, but if you have the key, it won't take forty-eight hours to open the door.

So many of us are being led straight to hell believing everything every minister tell us. Just because a person stands up in a pulpit doesn't necessarily mean that he knows what he's talking about or that he cares what he's talking about. I have heard some decent sermons on the Holy Spirit, but I haven't heard a sermon that has come close to completely satisfying me. Although I realize with finite minds we can never be completely satisfied, because there's just too much to comprehend about the Holy Spirit and our minds are limited.

There are too many people out there who believe that the Holy Spirit is an "it". There are too many people out there who believe that the Holy Spirit is a whole separate entity from God altogether. They don't believe in the Trinity. But my doctrine teaches me that the Almighty God consists of three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Three distinct personalities that act upon one another to make up one perfect God. The same Father that allowed Elijah and Elisha to raise widows' sons from the dead is the same Jesus that raised Lazarus and Jairus' daughter from the dead; is the same Holy Spirit that allowed Peter to raise Dorcas and Paul to raise Eutychus from the dead. They are one and the same. And what that means is they are all equal in one God. Each is considered God along with the other two. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Upon Jesus' ascension into heaven, He told the disciples, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations; baptizing them in the name, (not names) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I will be with you alway even until the end of the world." Jesus was going up into heaven and the disciples were going to be left on earth but He told them He would be with them always. How was He going to be with them always? We know He can't lie. He was going to be with them in the Holy Spirit........

The same Holy Spirit that was present at the creation of the world. The same Holy Spirit that dominated the Old Testament. Often we've heard a two-part phrase that begins, "Israel was God's chosen people." And oh, how God loved Israel! Time and time again the Israelites were saved by God's grace through the workings of the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit that allowed Moses to lead two to three million people through the wilderness for forty years. It was the Holy Spirit that allowed Joshua to bring down the walls of Jericho. It was the Holy Spirit that allowed Gideon to defeat thousands of soldiers with only three hundred men.

But each time the Israelites were delivered only to sin again; which brings us to the second part of the phrase, "But God was not their chosen God." They rejected God because they had problems worshiping and believing in a God that they could not see. They chose to worship idol gods: golden calves, silver bulls, brown cats, whatever. But this was very displeasing in the sight of God who commanded, "I am a jealous God. Thou shall have no other gods before me." Jehovah was the one and only true God. He was the only God who could turn ferocious lions into playful kittens to deliver Daniel from the lions' den. He was the only God who could save three Hebrew boys from a fiery furnace and have them walk out with nothing burned but the ropes that bound them. He was the only God who could love an Israel that didn't love Him.

I could imagine God thinking, "I have loved them just as much as I love my Son, Jesus. And after all I've done for them, they still reject me. But because of my covenant with Abraham, I will not destroy them. I will give them what they need." So God revealed Himself in the flesh. He sent His Son, (who is the exact representation of Him) as a Savior who would deliver the whole world from sin, which was the only way to be reconciled with Him. So the Trinity acted upon one another to begin man's redemption. The Father sent The Holy Spirit down to come upon a virgin named Mary to conceive and bring forth His son, Jesus, who would give His life a ransom for a world of lost sinners.

Since there isn't much recorded about Jesus' early life or the eighteen silent years of His life, we don't know if the Holy Spirit had to minister to Him during this time or not. But we do know that upon Jesus' baptism, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him, which was a sign of the end of judgment and the beginning of the new age.

And all through Jesus' ministry, the Holy Spirit was there as co-equal to minister to and glorify Him, who in turn glorified the Father. Since my lesson is dealing with the third person of the Trinity, I won't dwell on the works of Jesus, but I will mention that in His life as a Servant of the Father, He was dependent on the Holy Spirit. He was anointed and empowered by the Spirit to exercise His ministry, He was led and energized by the Spirit to overcome the powers of Satan, He was strengthened by the Spirit to offer Himself as a sacrifice for man, and most important of all, He was resurrected by the Spirit to defeat death.

After Jesus completed the job He was sent to do, He returned to His Father. His returning to the Father made it possible for Him to prepare a place for us. He was going to make Heaven available to all who believed. But before His departure, He assured the disciples that they would not be alone. He prayed to the Father to send another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would do for them in the future what He had done while He was with them.

As promised, fifty days after Jesus' resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had been with them before the Pentecost, but not within them. Jesus knew they would need more to be able to do what they were commissioned to do. So the Spirit was sent to reside and preside in them. He was to be in control of their lives. His purpose was to teach, guide, empower, convict, save, and impart gifts. On that very day of Pentecost, Peter, the disciple who denied Jesus three times was empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach a sermon that made three thousand people stop denying who Jesus was, repent, and become baptized in His name.

Thousands of years later, the Holy Spirit is still the most powerful gift given by God to all those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord, and He can do the same things for us that He did for Peter and the others. All we have to do is ask that He indwell within us to make our lives complete and fulfilling. And when we totally submit to the Trinity by hearing the words of the Father, trusting in the Lord Jesus, and receiving the Holy Spirit; we are sealed forever and guaranteed salvation and eternal life with the Almighty God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Providence Family Ministries

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