The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years. Over the course of those three years, they saw amazing things – cleansing of lepers, sight restored to the blind, the lame walking, even the dead raised. During that time, they had built a friendship with their Teacher – the One who Peter declared to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It’s no wonder they were upset when the One they loved revealed that He wasn’t going to be on the earth with them much longer. Of course, Jesus knew their pain. He knew all things. And so he chose the moment of their grief to reveal something astounding. He said, “You are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
The disciples, who seemed to understand that their teacher was God Himself, had to be thinking, “What could be better than encountering God like this – walking with us, talking with us, living with us? What could be better than being able to look Him in the eye, listen to His words, embrace Him?” But Jesus was clear – it is better that I go. Why? Because if he went, then another would come – the Advocate, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, who would not just walk with them, but would live inside of them. Then, in Acts, Chapter 2, after Jesus had been crucified, resurrected, and ascended back to the Father, His promise came true. Luke records:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:1-4).
After we encounter God the Father through God the Son, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we continue to encounter God through His Holy Spirit who comes to dwell within us. Just as God’s Spirit did at Pentecost, He empowers us from the inside to do the will of God the Father. This is one of the most important encounters that Christians have, so it’s important that we understand who the Holy Spirit is and His purpose for living within us.
The first truth is that the Holy Spirit is a part of the triune God – just as important as the Father and the Son. God exists in three persons, although God is One. Our minds cannot fully comprehend this truth about God, but Scripture is clear that He is Father, Son, and Spirit. While our focus much of the time is on Father and Son (Jesus), the Spirit is an integral part of our faith as He is the One who lives inside of every believer, keeping us and guiding us as we grow in our faith and become more like Christ.
The second truth is that the Holy Spirit is not just an idea, an influence, or an object; He is a person. Remember that God created you and me in His image. He created us with personalities, minds, emotions, and wills. The Bible shows us that God’s Spirit has all of this and more. He has a mind with intellect and knowledge. In fact, He has insider knowledge into the very mind and thoughts of God. He has emotions and is grieved by our sin. He has a will just as God has a will and will exercise that will in order to accomplish the plans that God has. In every sense, the Holy Spirit is a person.
The Holy Spirit also has a specific purpose (or purposes) that are often described by the names He is given in Scripture. He is described as the Author of Scripture, Comforter, Teacher, Intercessor, Witness, Counselor, Advocate, Guide, and Deposit, among other names. God accomplishes so much more than we can imagine in the lives of those who love Him through His Holy Spirit. But, to me, one of the greatest ways that the Bible describes the Holy Spirit is as the Seal of our Salvation. Paul writes:
And you were also included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14).
A seal in the first century was used to mark something as a means of identification (think of the modern practice of cattle branding). If something had your seal, then it belonged to you and you would do everything to protect it as yours. The Holy Spirit dwells within all believers. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you have God’s Spirit – His Seal is on you. That means that you are His and you have His full protection, and there is nothing that can take you away from Him. What a promise for those who have the Holy Spirit inside of them!
There is so much for us to unpack this weekend. I pray that you will be with us so that you can leave with God’s promise and assurance that you are His. Join us Saturday at 5:30 PM or Sunday at 10:30 AM.