"THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD" The Personality Of The Holy Spirit INTRODUCTION 1. The previous lesson introduced this series and stressed the importance of our study 2. To what was said, I add the following statement: "There is no subject more important in religion than that of the Holy Spirit. Unless this be properly understood, a large portion of the Bible, and especially the NT, must remain unintelligible. On the other hand, a just view of it will do more than a knowledge of any other particular topic to give harmony, clearness, and consistency to what may be learned to all other matters presented in the Word of God." - The Office Of The Holy Spirit, Richardson 3. Despite its importance to understanding the Scriptures as a whole, there is much confusion and superstition in the minds of many people about the Holy Spirit 4. It is my intention in this series of lessons to present my understanding of what the Bible teaches about the subject 5. A good starting place is to consider who or what the Holy Spirit is... a. Is the Holy Spirit a person, one that possesses "personality"? b. Or is the Holy Spirit simply an "influence", or "impersonal force" that emanates from God? 1) Members of the Watchtower Society (who call themselves "Jehovah's Witnesses"), would have us believe such
is the case 2) E.g., "As for the 'Holy Spirit', the so-called 'third person of the trinity', we have already seen that it is, not a person, but God's active force."
- The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life 6. It is my contention, however, that the Bible reveals the Holy Spirit to be... a. A "personal" being, possessing every trait of what we call "personality" b. Not some "impersonal force" that emanates from God [Consider the following evidence for this view of the Holy Spirit...] I. THE HOLY SPIRIT'S WORKS MANIFEST PERSONALITY A. THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS... 1. He "expressly says" that some will depart from the faith - 1 Ti 4:1 2. The Spirit spoke and gave directions to Philip - Ac 8:29 3. He spoke to Peter and gave him charge concerning the Gentiles - Ac 10:19-20 4. He spoke to the brethren at Antioch concerning Paul and Barnabas - Ac 13:1-4 B. THE HOLY SPIRIT TEACHES... 1. He was to teach the apostles all things - Jn 14:26 2. Please note that Jesus consistently refers to the Holy Spirit as "He", not "it" (implying a personal being, not an impersonal force) - cf. Jn 14:16-17 C. THE HOLY SPIRIT BEARS WITNESS... 1. He was to testify of Jesus - Jn 15:26-27 2. Just as the apostles (who were "personal beings") would bear witness, so also the Holy Spirit D. THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES, HEARS, SPEAKS, TELLS... 1. He would carry on and complete the work started by Jesus - Jn 16:12-13 2. Notice again that Jesus consistently refers to the Holy Spirit as "He" E. THE HOLY SPIRIT FORBIDS... 1. He prevented Paul and his companions from going into certain areas of Asia - Ac 16:6-7 2. This He did by "forbidding" them, and "not permitting" them, despite their initial efforts F. THE HOLY SPIRIT INTERCEDES... 1. The "Spirit Himself (note Paul's use of the personal pronoun) makes intercession for us" - Ro 8:26 2. Just as Christ "also makes intercession for us" - Ro 8:34 [All these works of the Holy Spirit manifest personality. But there is more...] II. THE HOLY SPIRIT POSSESSES PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS A. HE HAS A MIND... 1. "the mind of the Spirit" - Ro 8:27 2. This suggests thinking on His own B. HE HAS KNOWLEDGE... 1. He "knows the things of God" - 1Co 2:11 2. Just as the "spirit of man" (a personal being) knows certain things C. HE POSSESSES AFFECTION... 1. Paul speaks of "the love of the Spirit" - Ro 15:30 2. When have you known of an "impersonal force" that could love? D. HE HAS A WILL... 1. "the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" - 1Co 12:11 2. It was the Holy Spirit Who decided what person received which gift [Again, these are all characteristics of a being possessing intelligence and personality. Finally, consider how...] III. THE HOLY SPIRIT SUFFERS PERSONAL SLIGHTS AND INJURIES A. HE CAN BE GRIEVED... 1. "do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God" - Ep 4:30 2. He can be made sorrowful through our willful neglect B. HE CAN BE BLASPHEMED... 1. That is, to be spoken evil of 2. As in attributing His deeds to the works of Satan, the "unforgivable sin" - Mt 12:31-32 C. HE CAN BE INSULTED... 1. One who has "trampled the Son of God underfoot" has also "insulted the Spirit of grace" - He 10:29 2. This is done by sinning "willfully" - He 10:26 D. HE CAN BE LIED TO... 1. As Ananias and his wife Sapphira were guilty of doing 2. "...why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit...?" - Ac 5:3 E. HE CAN BE RESISTED... 1. As Stephen charged the Jewish leaders of doing - Ac 7:51 2. This they did by resisting the message and persecuting the messengers who were inspired by the Holy Spirit - cf. Ac 7: 52-53 CONCLUSION 1. A mere principle or influence cannot sustain these slights, only a personal being; so it is clear... a. The Bible presents the Holy Spirit as a personal being b. We should regard the Holy Spirit as a "He", not an "it"! 2. But is this personal being also a supreme being? a. Angels are personal beings, but not supreme beings b. What does the Bible say about the Holy Spirit? -- We will next study the deity of the Holy Spirit, and how it relates to the concept of God 3. For now, have you considered your personal relationship to the Holy Spirit...? a. How He feels for you? b. What He has done, and is doing, for you in God's scheme of redemption? c. How He reacts to your reception or rejection of the Word He has revealed? 4. Might you even be guilty of "resisting the Holy Spirit"...? a. By resisting the commands of the apostles and prophets? b. "Who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven"? - 1Pe 1:12; cf. Ac 2:36-38