The last of the initial series on the basics deals with one of my favorite subjects. It deals with the Holy Spirit which I believe is not well understood by many but it deals with something very essential and important to the life of the Christian. In the Trinity we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (or Spirit). We can grasp the relationship of Father as being God Himself, or the Son, His son Jesus Christ. But when we get into the realm of the Holy Spirit, it becomes somewhat less clear what is really being referred to. One way that might help, is to think of the Father as the one who thinks up the plan, the Son as the one who implements the plan, and the Holy Spirit as the one who empowers the plan. I believe that Jesus, in speaking to the disciples, as related by the Gospel of John, understood that we would have a problem understanding the Holy Spirit, which is why He does not always refer to the Spirit in those terms. Note in the passage below, the phrase, another Helper.
John 14:16 "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever, 17 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, and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. 19 "After a little while the world will behold Me no more, but you will behold Me, because I live you shall live also. 23 "In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you... 26 "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 that I said to you...
Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit when He speaks of the Helper, and one notices that the reference is not to it but He. One can assume from this a character, a personality, in the Holy Spirit as has Jesus and God.
Jesus speaks of:
- the eternality of the Holy Spirit, and how the Spirit conveys truths to believers, and dwells in them (v16,17)
- coming to know God through the workings of the Spirit (v17)
- the comfort of a permanent Parent that you should never feel alone (v18)
- a oneness between Himself and the Father and includes you because of your relationship with Jesus as a believing Christian (v20)
-the Holy Spirit will teach you all things and will even remind you of the things Jesus has said, even when you have no scripture in front of you! (v26)
Psalm 139 is a beautiful description of the nature of the Holy Spirit, God's omnipresence and omniscience:
1 O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. 2 Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up.Thou dost understand my thought from afar. 3 Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, thou dost know it all. 5 Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, And laid Thy hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is too high, I cannot attain to it. 7 Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there, if I make my bed in Sheol, behold Thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, 10 Even there, Thy right hand will lay hold of me... 17 How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God? How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake I am still with Thee...
In the word omnipresence I would like to use an illustration of something we are familiar with. When we say how can God be everywhere? How can this be? Immediately it comes to my mind, how in the world can we turn on a television set and see the same image everyone else does who has a turned-on TV within the range of the same channel TV transmitter? But we are familiar with it, in that we have come to take it for granted that because we have experienced it we know it works. The prefix omni to mean radiating out equally in all directions as in omindirectional. It is a fact that you put a TV receiver anywhere within the receiving radius of the transmitting antenna and you will pick up the signal. It is true that in our limited technology the range is limited to line-of-sight. I like to think of God's line-of-sight as being infinitely long rather than just to the horizon. I believe that it is equally true that you put a "turned-on" Christian within God's line-of-sight and he will pick up the message. What an incredible amount of power that would require, one would say. Sure it would, but is God's infinite power any more hard to accept than the amount of thermo-nuclear energy we see constantly expended in the sun right before our very eyes? And for eons of time?
I like to picture the Holy Spirit as God's radiant energy. I also picture that inverse case as a corollary. Namely, that just as God radiates to us the Holy Spirit, that we as tiny transmitters radiate by the medium of the Holy Spirit what we are and what we think constantly back to a listening God, all the time and everywhere. In communication parlance it's called multiplexing. It is that ability to scan for tiny time samples an enormous number of information sources interleaved into a single information stream which is reverse processed by the Recipient, demultiplexed, condensed into what's important, and stored in memory. Too complicated? Not for God. If man can develop a scanner radio which stops for a listen on an active channel, if that's not too complicated for man it's certainly not too complicated for God. Well, enough of the illustrations.
It is mind boggling to me to think about the Holy Spirit with such multifaceted characteristics:
- He conveys the energy you need to do the things you never thought possible in your walk with Christ
- He conveys God's truths to you even when you do not perceive them directly from Scripture
- The Spirit is the channel by which the Father knows all about you. I believe He listens much of the time
- The Spirit is the channel by which the Father guides you into being the kind of Christian He created you to be
There are just two prerequisites for you to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. Firstly, you must believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Secondly, you must ask Him in prayer to fill you with the Holy Spirit.
John 14:13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
The verse is telling us we may pray for what is needed, and it will come to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, but God gets the credit. Remember, it is done to His glory. Ask it in Jesus name, and it shall be done...