||20/20: Seeing Truth Clearly
||Who Is the Holy Spirit?
Who Is the Holy Spirit? - John 16 - Nate Heitzig
God isn't really something to worship.
He's just waiting to destroy all of us.
I guess there's a God out there somewhere.
I hope there is a God.
God isn't really something to worship.
God is everywhere.
My name is Nate. So glad to be with you this morning. So glad to have the opportunity to teach. My dad sends his greetings and his love. He's taking this weekend off. As many of you know, he had the incredible privilege and honor of joining Franklin Graham in Washington DC for the prayer March as thousands of people gathered together to pray for our country, and what an incredible thing that is to pray and lift up the burdens that this country is experiencing.
Well after that, he was honored with a personal invitation along with a few other pastors to come and pray for the President of the United States. And I want to talk about this very quickly, because this is not a political issue. It's a Christian issue. The Bible commands us in 1 Timothy to pray for the kings and all those who are in high places, and guess what? We don't get to pick and choose who that is. And if someone asks you to pray for them, you say yes.
And my dad said for years that if he gets that same invitation from Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, he would be glad and pleased to take that same opportunity to pray for them. Well after that, as many of you know, he was invited to the Rose Garden for a special event, which turned into a potential super spreader event. Several people tested positive for COVID.
He has taken two tests, and both of them came back negative. So we thank you for your prayers in that. But the New Mexico Department of Health and OSHA requested that he take a 14 day quarantine because of his proximity to those who did test positive.
And so to honor that request and to keep everybody safe, he has chosen to do. So we got a letter actually from the governor's office and the New Mexico Department of Health on Friday saying that there would be an exemption for him to teach on the weekend, but he still chose to quarantine just to make sure that everybody was safe, but he'll be joining us again next weekend for 2020. So again, thank you for your prayers.
Hey, turn in your Bible to John chapter 16. That's where we're going to be starting this morning for a message titled Who is the Holy Spirit. We're in a series right now that we're calling 2020, seeing truth clearly.
And in this series, we're really looking at the basics of the Christian faith, the fundamentals of the Christian faith. And this is so important, because if you don't have a proper foundation, nothing else matters. If you don't know the basics, if you don't know the fundamentals, it doesn't matter what else you really get into.
Because sadly today, many have found that they've lost their faith because they haven't taken the time to learn the basics. 49% of professing Christians agreed that all good people whether they consider Jesus Christ to be their Savior or not will go to heaven when they die. 49% of believers believe that statement. 70% of Americans believe that a good person who isn't of your faith will go to heaven.
Another basic belief that is alarmingly neglected today is the key doctrine of sin. Responding to the statement the whole idea of sin is outdated, 28% of born-again Christians agreed. According to a poll done in 2006 which asked have you personally known people that you think will probably go to hell, the majority said no because-- and I quote-- I don't believe in hell. 62% of Americans believe that Satan is simply an evil symbol rather than a living entity, and shockingly 52% of born-again Christians believe the very same thing.
We as Christians in America have a fundamental misunderstanding of the basic tenets of our Christian faith. We don't know the foundations. We don't know the basic doctrinal truths of what the Bible preaches.
CS Lewis gave this warning many years ago, and I think it's just as apt for us today. If you don't listen to theology, that won't mean that you have no ideas about God, but rather it will mean that you have a lot of wrong ones. And I think we have a lot of people today who it's not that they don't have any ideas about God. They just have a lot of wrong ideas about God.
When we don't study the fundamental basic doctrines of the Christian faith, we will end up with a lot of wrong ideas about who God is, because we end up basing that just off of what we think. Well, I think God would be like this. I think that God wouldn't send anybody to hell.
But it's not based on truth. It's not based on reality. It's not based on the Bible. It's based on what we feel and what we would like to be true.
This is why scripture reminds us in 1 Timothy 4:16, watch your life and your doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do you will save both yourself and your hearers. And needless to say, there is no better place to start in our study of doctrine and the fundamentals of the Christian faith than with God himself, because after all theology is the study of God.
And according to scripture, there is a single God who manifests himself in three distinct personalities, the Trinity. And we've been discussing for the past several weeks in this series as we continue in 2020 who God is. And we've looked at in depth the Father and the Son. And now we're looking at the mysterious and often misunderstood member of the Holy Trinity, and that is the Holy Spirit.
I find the Holy Spirit is so misunderstood. He's so misrepresented. We have so many weird and false ideas about who the Holy Spirit is, what his role is. So today, we're going to be looking at the person of the Holy Spirit-- not looking so much at the gifts of the spirit or the power of the Spirit.
Because usually when you hear somebody is going to do a message on the Holy Spirit, you think they're going to be talking about miracles and speaking in tongues and the power of the Spirit. But today we're looking at the person of the spirit. That is to say who is he.
Who is the Holy Spirit? What are his attributes? What is His character like? What is His role? What is His job within the Trinity?
We're going to be discussing that this morning for our message, Who is the Holy Spirit, and the first point that we see is the person of the Holy Spirit. Some people have wrongly thought that the spirit is more of an it rather than a him, right. When you think of the Holy Spirit, we tend to get really mystical about it. Like it's this weird energy or, perhaps, we think of like the apostles at Pentecost that it's fire and it's this flame that just kind of floats above you or we conjure up these ideas about this power like the force in Star Wars or something. That's what we tend to think of the Holy Spirit as.
And that's probably due in part because of the descriptions of him in scripture as being like the wind, the fire, or coming on Jesus in the form of a dove. But I want to challenge you, because that also has to be balanced with how Jesus refers to himself. Jesus refers to himself as the bread of life. He refers to himself as the door, the good shepherd in the same way God the Father is referred to as a refuge. He's referred to as one who will protect us under his wings. He is also referred to as a consuming fire.
So does this mean that Jesus is a loaf of bread? No. Does this mean that Jesus is a literal door? Does this mean that God the Father is a pile of rocks or a giant blast furnace or some kind of giant bird floating in the sky? Of course not.
In the same way, this doesn't mean that the Holy Spirit is some kind of a force or a power. I told you to turn to John chapter 16. If you look at verses 7 through 8 with me. If you don't have a Bible, it'll be on the back screen behind me. It says this starting in verse 7, "nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away. For if I do not go away, the helper will not come to you. But if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment.
Look at verse 8 again. It says, "when He is come, He will convict." Not when it has come or when the power has come, but it's a definite person with a personality. "When He has come, He will convict."
Sometimes certain things in our lives seem to have a mind of their own, don't they? Like, there's some maybe appliances you have in your house that you're like it has a mind of its own. It doesn't do what I want it to do. My washer never does what I want it to do. It just does what it wants to do.
My toaster oven, my car, my truck has got a mind of its own, especially in our day and age with computers. Computers seem to get smarter and smarter every single day right. And now they kind of have a mind of their own. You can even talk to them, and they have names, Siri and Alexa, and sometimes they talk to you even when you didn't want to talk to them. They just hear your conversations and start talking to you and giving you random facts that you didn't even know you wanted, but that doesn't mean that they're a person, right.
Siri, Alexa, it's not a person. It doesn't have a personality. For a being to be considered a person, he or she has to possess certain characteristics. And there's three important ones that I believe really define what a person is.
Number one, you have to have intelligence. Number two is will. You have to have the ability to make decisions on your own. And third is emotion. All three of these are required if personality is to exist.
Now human beings, you and I, we possess all three of these attributes. Therefore, we can be considered persons with personality. But trees, plants, rocks, cars, and yes even Siri don't care how funny her jokes are do not possess those three attributes. And so, therefore, they cannot be considered persons.
So let's examine each one of these, and we look at the person of the Holy Spirit to see how the Holy Spirit possesses these attributes. Number one, the Holy Spirit has intelligence. 1 Corinthians 2:10-- it's going to be on the back screen here-- says this. "But God has revealed it to us by His spirit. The spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of man except the man's spirit within him. In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the spirit of God."
This really conveys that the spirit has intelligence. He knows things. Not only does he know things, he knows the thoughts of God. Have you ever wished you could just know the thoughts of God, know what God's thinking, know what's going on up there in heaven. Well, according to scripture, you can to a certain extent through the Holy Spirit.
When we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we can to a certain extent know the thoughts of God because the Holy Spirit knows the thoughts of God. Only a person with intelligence can know things. A fire doesn't know things. A plant or a tree doesn't know things, but the Holy Spirit knows things.
Number two, the Holy Spirit has a will. Speaking of the gifts of the spirit, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:11 that the Holy Spirit distributes to each one individually as He wills. That is to say the decision on what gifts you've been given, that decision is made by the Holy Spirit. We don't get to pick and choose what gifts we have, right.
Like, we don't get to say you know I'll take miracles, because that sounds really great, and I think I could make a great practice as a doctor if I could just heal people. I'll take that one. But words of wisdom, now I don't need that one. No. The Holy Spirit decides with his will he dictates which gifts each person receives.
Also in Acts 15:28, the disciples answered a question of church doctrine by saying it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. And I find that God often works in this way. As he reveals truth, he often does so as he speaks to us, and then we can then speak and share to others.
See God has the power that if he wanted to he could individually teach every single person exactly what they wanted instantly. He could just talk to you and tell you exactly what he wants to tell you, but he doesn't do that. Rather God has chosen to use us to work in and through us to be part of his tools and vessels in accomplishing his plan, and we're going to get to that in a little bit as we look at the profession of the Holy Spirit and how he works and what he does in this world today.
Showing his will, the Holy Spirit also set apart certain people for service. Acts 13:2 says, "while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Set them apart. He chose them specifically for the task that he had.
Just a note as we're on that. I believe that the Holy Spirit has chosen each and every one of us for a task. This is part of the reason why he chooses what gifts he gives to some and not to others, because he gives us the gifts that we need to accomplish the tasks for which he has called us out to.
And I would challenge you do you know what God has called you to. Do you know what the Holy Spirit has called you to? Do you know the giftings that the Holy Spirit has given to you?
I find the best way to tell what you're called is to start with your giftings, because I could say all day that I'm called to do something. But if I'm not gifted to do it, then I'm probably not called to it. So I challenge you learn the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Matt mentioned LifeTrack, and one of the things we do in LifeTrack is we take a spiritual gifts assessment so you can discover what gifts the Holy Spirit has naturally given you. You can learn how to hone those gifts, and then you can begin to find out and discover specifically what God has called you to within his kingdom. But it's so important that we learn what the Holy Spirit has called us to.
Third and finally, the last thing that dictates emotion, and this one might surprise you the Holy Spirit has emotion. He has emotion.
There's things that make him sad. There's things that make him angry. There's things that make him joyful. He has emotion.
In the Bible, there's certain offenses against the Holy Spirit that are mentioned in The New Testament. The Holy Spirit can be grieved. The Holy Spirit can be quenched. The Holy Spirit can be resisted. He can be blasphemed, and the Holy Spirit can even be lied to.
In the story of an Ananias and Sapphira we find that their sin was lying to the Spirit. Some of these sins apply specifically to unbelievers, and others applies specifically to believers. And for some, there might be a little overlapping either way. One of the sins that a believer can commit against the Holy Spirit, which shows his emotion, is grieving him. To grieve means to make sad or sorrowful.
We read in Ephesians 4:30-31 exactly what it is that makes God sad. It says and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you are sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
Can I just ask us to look a little introspectively for a second in this very divided season that we're in in this current state of the United States of America. Can I just ask you personally for the church if the Holy Spirit might be grieved because of the way that we're treating our brothers and sisters in Christ at time? If the Holy Spirit were to look at your social media comments sections and some of the things that you're saying or believers are saying to one another, do you think he would be grieved because of the bitterness, the rage, the anger, the brawling, the slander, the malice that exists in this world today?
And I remember as a kid when I would do something wrong, oftentimes-- most times I would get disciplined for it. When I was younger, I'd get a spanking. As I got older, I'd be grounded. I'd have things taken away.
But I remember a few times when I did something so bad, when I did something that was so deserving of punishment, I remember my dad would come into the room only a couple of times that I can remember and he would look at me and he would pause for a second. He would say, I just want you to know that you broke my heart. You made me sad. You hurt me. And that was the worst thing you could ever hear, wasn't it?
In that moment, you're like just hit me. Spank me. Take my car away. Ground me.
Do something. Because I want to feel the physical pain for the thing that I've done. I don't want to know that I've hurt you.
In the same way that's true with God. I wonder how hurt God is at times just looking at the state of the church today and looking at the divisiveness and the bitterness. I wonder how that grieves the Spirit of God. When we allow bitterness to poison our lives or slander others, we are grieving the Holy Spirit.
The second thing we see about the Holy Spirit, we've seen the person of the Holy Spirit. Now let's look and examine the profession of the Holy Spirit. That is to say, what is the job of the Holy Spirit in this day and age? What is he doing here on Earth?
One of the aspects of the Holy Spirit is that he has a job, which is keeping a lid on things. His job is to keep a lid on the things that are ultimately going to happen and erupt within our society.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 says "for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way." Or as the NIV says, "but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawlessness one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. Part of the profession of the Holy Spirit is to keep the whole sales spread of destruction and evil within the world."
And if you're like me, you might look around at society today and say I'm not sure he's doing that great of a job. Like, can we be honest? It's OK to doubt God sometimes, and when we read certain scriptures we're like, man, if this is keeping a lid on things. I don't want to know what it's like when the lid is off. And that's exactly the point.
My challenge to you is if this is keeping a lid on things, can you imagine what the world is going to look like when the Holy Spirit removes himself, when he allows the fullness of sin, destruction, lust, greed, anger, violence to erupt upon this world? Can you imagine what that will look like if this is what this looks like right now? It's terrifying, isn't it to think about what will ultimately become of the world? The work of the Holy Spirit through the church is a restraining force in the world today.
And we're going to talk about this. The primary way that the Holy Spirit restrains the forces of darkness and evil within this world is through the church. It is through us being salt and light. It is through us being indwelled and filled with the Holy Spirit, standing against evil, standing against what is wrong, standing against what is untrue. We are a preservative nature within this world through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now as we look at the world today in 2020, just this year it's crazy to think about what has happened. We see senseless violence and disregard for human life that is truly unprecedented and terrifying. Just this year in 2020, we saw the murder of George Floyd and so many others in the ensuing polarization and violence that broke out because of it. We saw a blast in Beirut, Lebanon that took many people's lives and displaced even many more.
We hear of terrorism continuing in places like Israel. We saw how fragile our own cities were when riots broke out within our streets. And on top of all of that, we have the legalized murder of 125,000 babies every single day, and some even want to extend that timeline all the way to the very moment of birth.
Now these are not inanimate objects. These are babies that cry. Babies that move. Babies that feel pain. Babies that have souls and plans and purposes for their lives that have been given to them by their creator, and that doesn't even begin to discuss the natural disasters we're seeing today.
When we look around again at 2020, we have a pandemic that's running rampant through the world. We have wildfires and earthquakes. We have hurricanes. We literally have birds falling out of the sky. We have locust swarms.
I'm not reading the plagues of Exodus to you. This happened this year. In 2020, all of that happened this year.
I have some good news, and I have some bad news. First the bad news, it's going to get worse. It's going to get worse.
You know I think it's good that we have hope. We talk a lot about hope, and every one of us always looks at the next year of next year's gotta be better. 2021 has got to be better than 2020. Maybe. Maybe it will.
We have ebbs and flows. It might get a little bit better, but understand this. Ultimately, it's just going to get worse. Ultimately everything is just trending downwards, not upwards. Ultimately things aren't going to get that much better.
And when the Holy Spirit finally removes himself, things are really going to get bad. Things are really going to start this downward spiral. As we read of life in this world in the book of Revelation, we know that the worst days are ahead with the emergence of the Antichrist and demonic powers running amok. It's bad news.
Now the good news Jesus Christ will come back for His church. Jesus Christ will come back for you and for me, and not only that He will remove us from this earth before the worst happens. Now that should cause you and me to look at the state of the world today and say, man, this feels pretty bad.
This feels like the worst that I've ever seen America. This feels like the worst I've ever seen the world. That should cause us to say if this isn't the worst, then I can't imagine anybody that I know having to live through the worst.
That should cause us as Christians to want to preach the gospel with such a fervency and a desire so as to not have to have anybody, no matter how bad they are live through the worst. And then ultimately after the worst, be punished and judged for their sin and spend an eternity in hell. That should cause us as Christians to rise up and preach the gospel recognizing that the gospel is the only thing that can change the world, that the love and the blood of Christ is the only thing that can purify sins and make people righteous. It should cause us to rise up as the church, be filled with the Holy Spirit, be the salt and light in this world and realize that we're not home but we're headed there.
The Holy Spirit is the one restraining the complete outbreak of the mystery of lawlessness. He's holding the lid on this world's boiling keg of violence, and once he's removed and no longer restrains evil the power of darkness will take over. I mentioned this before, but one of the ways the Holy Spirit does this is through you and me.
Again, God has chosen to use us as his vessels to accomplish his will. So if the Holy Spirit's job on this Earth is to keep things from boiling over in bitterness and anger and malice and discord, it means that one of the ways he has chosen to do that is through you and through me. Jesus has told us as his children to act as both salt and light within this world.
Salt in ancient times was a preservative. That is to say God uses us to preserve what is righteous and true. He uses us to stand against what is unrighteous. To stand against sin. And he uses us as a preservative nature to stop the ultimate decay and spread of the disease of sin within this world. We are to be salt within this world.
He uses us to stand up and preserve what is right and true, to stop the wholesale spread of evil within our culture, but he's also called us to be light. And to be light means that we are to let others know of our faith in Christ. Jesus said let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
We're to be salt and light preserving. Stand against the evil. Stand against what is untrue but also be light and love one another. The Bible says that we are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mine, and the second commandment is like it. And that is love your neighbor as yourself.
Who is your neighbor? Everyone. Your neighbor is the people in this room. Your neighbor is your physical neighbors at home. Your neighbor is the person on Fox News or CNN that you just can't stand hearing talk, because it just grades.
Your neighbor is the president or the presidential candidate that you just can't imagine having to live under. Your neighbor is all of us. And the first and greatest commandment is to love God, and the second is to love your neighbor, to be salt and light. How are we doing at loving our neighbor?
I'm going to tell you right now-- and I know this isn't going to be popular-- that to be both salt and light within this world you must first and foremost identify with Jesus before any political candidate. We are in the midst right now of possibly the most divided time in our country's history. And can I just let you know that I couldn't imagine defining my political worldview simply in terms of Democrat or Republican ideals, especially in such hyper partisan culture and climate as today.
What I think about any given issue has to, first and foremost, be informed by my ideals that transcend what either of these parties has to offer. I have to base my beliefs, I have to base my ideologies on what the Bible says, not off of what a political candidate says. What the Bible says, that's what I determine what I believe. My political views should be informed by what the Bible says. I shouldn't change my biblical views based on what a political candidate has said, and I found many of us do this.
We are being transformed more and more into a political party rather than into the image of God, and so we begin to change things that the Bible says because we want to reconcile it with our political views rather than changing our political views based on what the Bible has already told us. I'm to be salt and light, not Republican or Democrat. Christian shouldn't place any faith in conservative or progressivism.
Every assertion for both ideologies must first fall as a Christian under biblical scrutiny. What does the Bible say about this issue? Now, however, we also shouldn't be deterred from what's right because it's commonly associated with conservative or progressivism. That is to say if you consider yourself conservative or progressive, you shouldn't turn away from what is right because you consider yourself that. You shouldn't try to reconcile your political views by destroying what is right and what is good.
Again, God uses us to stand up for what is right and true regardless of which party that might offend to try and stop the wholesale spread of evil within our culture. Basically simply that means this. I believe that you can be both a Democrat or a Republican and be a Christian, but what that means is that as a Christian Democrat you should still stand against abortion, because it's wrong. It's a sin. It's murder, and your biblical worldview should alter your political worldview.
That also means that as a Christian republican, you should still stand for racial justice and against racism and against oppression, because your biblical worldview and your love of your neighbor and your love of people should dictate and change your political view. When in conflict, our faith must always control our sociopolitical positions regardless of which party we identify with. Maybe you feel like me, but recently as I've looked at the world I just feel homeless.
Politically, I feel without a home. Politically, I feel that I have nowhere to rest my head. I can't live completely under the elephant, and I can't live completely under the donkey. And that's why I've chosen to simply lay at the feet of a lamb.
Church could some of us do with a little bit more of simply laying at the feet of the lamb, simply being in the presence of God? As you look back at the past nine months, how much time have you spent standing on a soapbox fighting for your cause rather than just being in the presence of Jesus, just loving God with all your heart, soul and mind and then in turn loving your neighbor as yourself? We need to spend more time laying at the feet of the lamb, not following an elephant or a donkey.
I don't have a home, and you know what? You don't have a home. And God is saying that's exactly right, because this world isn't your home. Your home is the kingdom of God. And as long as you're on this earth, as your long as you're on this world, you shouldn't feel at home.
You shouldn't feel at home in a political party. You shouldn't feel at home watching a certain news station. You shouldn't feel at home, because this isn't home. You're headed home. Keep your eyes on home. Let's go home.
My allegiance is to the kingdom, not to a party. And to be salt and light, I need to identify with the lamb not the elephant or the donkey. As salt and light, there are times when I'm going to have to oppose the popular thinking of the party that I choose to vote for.
We're Christians, and as Christians we stand together. As Christians, Republican and Democrat, we stand against the thinking of this world. We stand together for biblical values and biblical truth. We stand together trying to be a good and godly influence to those around us.
And it breaks my heart to see the amount of hatred and anger perpetuated by both sides, to see Christians who are United by the blood of Jesus Christ divide on the basis of Republican and Democrat is the antithesis of the gospel. This is the same blood church that Galatians 3:26 says united Jew and Gentile, slaves and free, male and female, but you're telling me it's not enough to unite Republican and Democrat. For us to say to one another, well, if you don't agree with me and my political views, then I won't fellowship with you has got to be the most Antichrist thing that I can think of.
Do you realize that Jesus died so that we could all-- all of us be reconciled to him. And when you hate your brother or sister, you're saying that his sacrifice wasn't enough. Don't let an elephant or a donkey rip apart what the lamb has brought together. I'll say it again for the people in the back, don't let an elephant or a donkey rip apart what the lamb has brought together. The lamb, the blood of Christ has brought us together.
I realized the other day that in just the past five months in this very church we've experienced both praise and anger from both sides of the political aisle for stances and positions that we've taken. Understand this. Cancel culture is not a partisan issue. It happens on both sides of the aisle.
That is to say, if we do a weekend at Calvary to address the racism that exists within our backyard, we have Republicans write in and accuse us of being liberal and racist and tell us that they're going to leave the church. Then if we take a weekend to think and honor and pray for police officers, we have Democrats who get angry, call us racist, and they threaten to leave the church. And what's crazy is the same ones who praised us for talking about racial injustice, then curse us for supporting police officers. Then the same ones who cursed us for standing for racial equality, then bless us when we talk about police officers.
George Schultz said, he who walks in the middle of the road gets hit from both sides. The blood of Christ that unites us is stronger than the political ideologies that divide us. Can't we just realized that and love each other? To be salt and light, there's times where you can't be Republican or Democrat. You have to just be a child of the King.
Tragically far too many today are being squeezed into this world's mold, and they're being told I have to identify completely with this political ideology. And then others are telling them if you don't do that, if you don't make a choice, you've already chosen. We are being transformed not by the spirit but rather a party. We're looking less and less like the lamb every day and more and more like a donkey or an elephant.
And before you say, well, if they would change, then I would change remember that your public witness has to be more than a bitter or fearful response of what your opponent is saying. We are to be salt and light, and when we lead with that argument it's no longer about being right. It's about being able to say that we're not worse than they are.
We're letting the world diminish our flavor. We're letting the world diminish our brightness and our role upon this earth that God has put us here for. Don't allow your opponent to control and dim your witness. Jesus said, if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Can I challenge you-- and this is a personal call that I've taken. I realized that at times I've lost my flavor, and I've lost my light for the sake of standing for a political party. And that's not right.
Because if we as the church do that, we will have lost our flavor, and God would throw us out because we're good for nothing but to be trampled underfoot. And I really think that's the signal when the Holy Spirit will remove himself from the culture today and just let it all happen. We need to take a stand filled with the Holy Spirit to be salt and light, to stand for good, stand for righteousness, but to love our neighbor.
The most effective defensive and offensive weapon in our spiritual arsenal isn't our proclamation of political views. It's the proclamation of the gospel. Now having looked at the Holy Spirit's work within the world and within the non-believer, how he uses us within this world to preserve this world, let's now look at his individual work within the life of the Christian. What has God the spirit done for us?
Number one, part of the profession of the Holy Spirit is he brings about the work of conversion. Jesus said except a man is born of the spirit. John chapter 6 says, it is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
The Holy Spirit works about this process of conversion within our lives, first convicting us of sin and drawing us to him, and then part of this conversion is he seals us. He personally gives us the assurance that Jesus Christ has come into our lives. Romans 8:16 says the spirit itself bears witness with our spirit. That we are the children of God.
Isn't that wonderful, that inner conviction, the witness of the Spirit, that feeling that you just know that you know? Do you remember when you first came to Christ, when you first came to faith and you said that prayer and immediately you felt that assurance that your sins were forgiven, that your eternal destination was heaven, that you were bound for the kingdom? Do you remember how that felt?
It felt like a great weight had been removed. It felt like a release. You could finally breathe. It's hard to explain, but it's as real as the breath you breathe in right now. As the spirit bears witness with your spirit.
One of the things that I love when we do altar calls is seeing people come forward, and often as they walk down the aisles and as they stand here they come so with tears. They're weeping. Their face is contorted. They're crying. They're in anguish.
Often I believe that's because they're convicted of the sin in their lives. They realize that they're sinners, and they're separated from God and that breaks their heart as they think about all the things that they've done, the weight and the burden they've been carrying. It breaks their heart, the shame, the guilt.
But it's remarkable, what happens 99% of the time as they say that prayer and as the final word, amen, comes from their lips, their countenance changes. No longer is it tears. No longer is it sadness, but it's joy.
And they have a smile that could light up the moon. They are so joyful as the spirit bears witness with their spirit that they're forgiven and that when they die, they're going to go to heaven. That is the work of the Holy Spirit, the work of conversion.
As a part of this wonderful process of conversion, the Holy Spirit then indwells us. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple, and God lives in you. Church, can I just remind you that the Holy Spirit lives in you, and that same feeling of assurance and satisfaction and peace that you had when you first came to Christ, you should continue to have as you walk with Christ.
And if you don't feel that assurance, if you don't feel that feeling that if I was going to die today I'd go to heaven, you need to look circumspectly at your life and ask yourself are the sins that I once repented of, the sins that once grieved me, the sins that I once wept over have they begun to creep back into my life? Because it's a daily process walking with Jesus. It's a big step to come forward and say a prayer, but walking with God isn't about one step. It's about daily taking a step towards Him. And if you're not walking with him, you're walking away from him.
And so can I challenge-- this has been a crazy year. Drug addiction is on the rise. Alcoholism is on the rise. Anger and domestic violence is on the rise. Depression and anxiety is on the rise.
Have you let this year begin to harden your heart and remove that peace and that assurance that the Holy Spirit once brought? And is it time for you to come back to him and say, Lord soften my heart and give me that same assurance and peace that I once had?
Second, as a part of that great work of conversion, he seals us. Ephesians 1: 13-14 says, "in Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation in whom also having believed you were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory. What does this mean?
Well, simply it means that once God has converted you, once the Holy Spirit has converted you, he has a mark and a seal upon your life that again, as I said before, this is not your home, but you have an address pointing somewhere else. And that until that day comes, he is a seal that you do not belong here but you belong there.
In ancient times when goods would be shipped from one place to another, they'd often be stamped with a wax seal, and a signet ring would bear a unique mark of ownership. Same with an important document say from a king. It would be sealed in wax and imprinted with the royal seal, and that would let anyone else know don't open that because it doesn't belong here. It needs to get to its final address.
And if it got to his final address, and it had been opened, that seal had been broken, the receiver knew that it had been tampered with on its way. This is what it means to be sealed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a seal upon your life from the King. It's a signet ring, a royal seal that says you do not belong here. And it lets the world, it let's Satan know don't open until you arrive at your final destination.
It reminds us every day that we're on a journey. We're not bunking down here. This isn't our permanent place. We're on a journey to our permanent place. God has put his royal seal on us. It is the presence and the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our lives.
He's here to remind you like that wax seal, you're headed for a new address. It's like I said before, sometimes I feel like I don't have a home. Sometimes I feel homeless within this current world system, and God is saying that's exactly the point. Because this world isn't your home. Your home is the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit reminds us this isn't our home
God wants you to know he's sincere about redeeming your life. He wants to complete his transaction that he began with you the day that you said a prayer to accept Christ within your life. He won't back down. He won't change his mind. He's committed to you. His Holy Spirit is a seal upon you.
It's basically like him saying, hey, even though I know that it's going to be a while till you're in heaven with me, I'm going to give you part of me that will walk with you every single day until you finally come to be with me permanently forever in complete union and fellowship. He's a seal. He's a deposit, a down payment of the Holy Spirit to show you that he means business.
Our third and final point and this is where we'll close, not only does the Holy Spirit bring about the work of conversion and as a result seal us. The Holy Spirit also teaches us. John 14:26 says, but the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you.
Part of the role of the Holy Spirit is that as you open your Bible, the Holy Spirit teaches you things. He helps you understand. He gives you new eyes to read the word of God, to allow it to change your life in an incredible way. I've seen people that prior to being Christians, they would read the Bible and it didn't make any sense to them.
But once they were believers and they had the Holy Spirit, all of a sudden the same words they read before have new meaning in life, and it changes them. Because the Holy Spirit is teaching them. It comes through our daily reading of Scripture. This is why it's so important to regularly spend time in Bible study so that you are opening the door for the Holy Spirit to illuminate God's word to you.
Can I ask you, have you read one of those versus in the morning in your quiet time and then something happened that day, a struggle, some kind of a temptation, some kind of an issue and exactly what you read that morning was exactly what you needed to get through that very confrontation or struggle that day? Have you ever had that happen? It's incredible.
Guess what? That's not coincidence. That's the Holy Spirit teaching you. He knows exactly what you need for everything in your pursuit of godliness, and he gives you what you need as you faithfully read his scripture.
Now let me take the adverse that. That means that if you've been neglecting your time reading the word of God, there could be certain circumstances, there could be certain things that have happened in your life that you faced that you weren't able to get through the way that God wanted you to get through, because you had failed to study the scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to teach you. That means that the things that maybe happened in your life this year might have turned out a little bit differently if you would have been faithfully reading the word of God and letting it change and transform you.
Now before you say, well, I haven't done that so it's all lost now, no. Don't let it be a discouragement. Rather let it be an encouragement to start doing it now, to realize that here in this moment. You're going to rise up and say I'm going to begin reading the Bible and letting the Holy Spirit teach me so I can be equipped for whatever it is that he has for me. Because the Bible says that God can restore the years the locusts have destroyed. So if this year has been destroyed because you haven't been sitting with the lamb, you haven't been spending time with your Savior and letting the Holy Spirit teach you, know God can restore next year if you begin today faithfully doing what he has called you to do.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "it is written eye has not seen, nor has ear heard nor has entered the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love him. But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
He teaches us. This can also happen through the listening of a message being given, to the listening of a sermon. Some point or series of truths can cause us at times to think, man, that person has got to be the greatest preacher ever.
Have you ever been in one of those messages where you feel like the pastor has followed you around all week, and he knows exactly what's been going on in your life? And you're like, bro, you're a stalker. How did you know that I was doing that? And it's kind of creepy. And it feels kind of strange, and you feel like that message was handmade for you.
That wasn't the pastor. We're not all detectives following you around. That was the Holy Spirit knowing what you needed to hear and teaching you something, because the very truths that might have just hit you in between the eyes might not necessarily be the same ones that the spirit really brought home for someone else.
And then finally, there's those times when you're ministering to a fellow believer or sharing the gospel with somebody when suddenly a verse just starts coming to mind that you didn't even know you knew. Again, that passage says that he will cause us to bring to remembrance all things. Have you ever had that happen, and you share a verse and you almost have to question yourself. Is that even in the Bible?
And so later you look, and you're like it is in the Bible. I didn't even know that. I just said it. That's the Holy Spirit bringing it to your knowledge, teaching you, and using to be salt and light.
So as we close, rejoice. Because the Holy Spirit has converted. He assures, and he has sealed you. And even in this moment, he continues to teach you.
And in closing, it could be that right now the Holy Spirit is doing another one of his jobs within the life of believers and non-believers, and that is convicting us and leading us to repentance. If you're here this morning and you're not yet a believer, keep in mind God's spirit today is seeking to convince you of your need for Jesus. And I'll close with this verse from Revelation 22:17, "and the Spirit and the bride say come. And let him who hears say come. And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely."
Lord, we thank you for your word. We thank you for the truth that it reveals. We thank you that your Holy Spirit is there to convert, to assure, to teach us, to guide us. Lord I pray that we would be submissive to the spirit, and we would listen to your call.
And as we're praying right now, perhaps the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. Maybe this year has taken a big toll on your life and you're feeling here in this moment lost, alone. You don't have that same peace or assurance. Your heart has maybe you've been hardened this past year. But here in this moment as the Holy Spirit is doing his job, you feel it soften just a little bit.
If that's the case and you're here and you want to know that when you die you're going to go to heaven, perhaps, you've never said a prayer to accept Christ or maybe you once did but you found yourself walking back into the sins of your old life and you realize that in this season you're angry, you're bitter, you're frustrated, you're depressed, you have anxiety, if you want to have Jesus Christ in your life, you want have the power of the Holy Spirit to assure you so that when you die you're going to go to heaven, would you just raise your hand? You're saying, Nate, pray for me. I need Jesus in my life.
Right here in the front, a couple of you. In the back to my left. The back to my right. Anyone else just raise up your hand.
You're saying, I need Jesus. I can't do this on my own anymore. I can't go through this life on my own. I need something else. Just raise your hand up.
Several of you on the balcony, five or six you. Praise the Lord. Anyone else?
Well for those of you who raised your hand here to the left, in the family room, if you're in the amphitheater, someone will be there to acknowledge you. If you just raised your hand, will you say this prayer after me. Just say it out loud, but mean it from your heart.
Say Lord I know that I'm a sinner. I know that I've done many things that have hurt you, but Lord I believe you died for those things and I believe you rose from the dead. So I ask you to come into my life. Forgive me of my sin.
I turn from my old life and I turn to you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to live for you, and give me the assurance that when I die I'll go to heaven. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
Let's give those who pray that prayer a round of applause. Hey, if you said that prayer, after the service don't leave. We're going to have some pastors and counselors up here in the front. We would love to talk to you, pray for you, and get you a resource. So don't leave before that happens.
But right now, let's stand as we all leave let's sing and give God some praises. God bless you guys. We'll see you next weekend.
We hope you enjoyed this special service from Calvary Church. We'd love to know how this message impacted you. Email us at email@example.com. And just a reminder, you can support this ministry with a financial gift at calvarynm.church/give. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Calvary Church.