And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)
The Person Of God The Holy Spirit
This message is designed in such a way as to say: Let me introduce you to The Holy Spirit, Who has been called “the forgotten member of the Godhead,” and for good reason. We begin by turning in the Bible with our text verses aqbove. Initially we’re using these verses of Scripture to give us some solid background. The purpose of this work is to introduce you further to the person of the Holy Spirit, and we’ll look at some of the work, or things, that He does. The first thing we need to understand is that God the Holy Spirit is a Person, and not some kind of impersonal force, as for instance is taught by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, also known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
And they aren’t the only non-Christian cult to deny the Personhood of God the Holy Spirit either, as the Way International, the New Spirituality, the Mind Science cults such as the Unity School of Christianity and Christian Science, as well as the Cult of Liberal Theology, all have among them those who teach that the Holy Spirit is a “thing” and not a Person. It seems incredible that people who claim the Bible as their source of doctrine concerning God could come to this conclusion but it is a fact of life that you will run into as you begin to share your faith with others. For instance according to Victor Paul Wierwille, founder of the Way International, the term holy spirit refers to an impersonal force that is given by the Father to empower His believers.
While the Jehovah’s Witnesses say virtually the same thing:
But the holy spirit has no personal name. The reason for this is that the holy spirit is not an intelligent person. It is the impersonal, invisible active force that finds its source and reservoir in Jehovah God and that he uses to accomplish his will even at great distances, over light years of space.
However, in our text it quickly becomes evident that the Holy Spirit is not an “impersonal, invisible active force”; but rather, is an actual Person. Granting that God is beyond anything that we can understand as “person.” Let’s look at verse 17 once more — the [Holy] Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; we clearly begin to sense a theme here. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. Note that as I emphasized the personal pronouns Him and He, which Jesus uses here in talking about the Holy Spirit, it becomes quite obvious the Master is talking about a Person; and notice also that Christ says — He dwells with you. A thing doesn’t have “life” in the first place so an “it” can’t live with you, these are aspects of a Person and not a “force.”
The Personal Work of God The Holy Spirit
Now let’s turn a few pages to the right and go to John chapter 16 verses 7-15. Here Jesus will be talking about the work of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind here that the fact the Holy Spirit even has work to do is in itself further proof that He is a Person. In John 16:7 our Lord says — 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 go, I will send him to you. Here Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Helper”; parakletos in the Greek. Noted translator and editor, Dr. Edwin Blum, points out “this word [parakletos] was used of legal assistants who pleaded a cause or presented a case.”
This pleading of a cause, and presenting of a defense, could hardly be done by a thing or a force; it would have to be done by a person. Romans 8:26-27 — Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Try getting a plant, or a shoe, to do this for you — the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Only a person can intercede; your pet goldfish certainly can’t.
Some of the things we will see in the Bible concerning the Person of the Holy Spirit and the work He performs will cross over. For instance, in both of these passages of John’s Gospel, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as the Counselor—the Helper—so we not only see Him as a Person, but as a Person Who does a work by acting as a counsel in a legal matter. Indeed we also understand that He intercedes for us, He helps us to pray as well; and as we have just seen, these are things that only a person could do. Now let’s go to the Book of Acts and I’ll show you a couple of other places that God the Holy Spirit is clearly shown to be a Person, and we’ll see a bit more of the works He is responsible for.
Acts chapter 5 and verse 3; some may already recognize this as the historical account of Ananias and Sapphira—a first century Real Estate team who wasn’t particularly successful. You may remember that they sold a piece of property, and then tried to sneak a kick-back past the Lord God Almighty of the universe; and God struck them dead. We will want to file this under “Really, Really Bad Ideas.” In itself this is an important lesson no doubt, but there are a couple of other things about the Holy Spirit that can be learned here as well–but oftentimes they are missed by the Christian. We read:
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?” Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)
I draw your attention to the middle of verse 3 — you have lied to the Holy Spirit. You cannot lie to a table; you can’t lie to a force, you can only lie to a person. The other thing we learn here is in relation to these groups who try to deny the doctrine of the Holy Trinity that I mentioned earlier. Verse 3 again – you have lied to the Holy Spirit; and now the last part of verse 4 – You have not lied to men but to God. This is one of the clearest references in the Bible to the Deity of the Holy Spirit; verse 3 – you have lied to the Holy Spirit; and verse 4 – you have not lied to men but to God. Therefore the Holy Spirit is not an object or a “force,” He is a person and more than that, He is God.
The Direction Of God The Holy Spirit
We head to one more place here in the Book of Acts, chapter 13, where we’ll see the Personhood of the Holy Spirit and we get another glimpse of His work. Acts chapter 13 and verse 2 where the prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch were having a meeting:
While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabus and Saul for the work to which I called them.” (Acts 13:2)
Notice here; that the Holy Spirit spoke; and we also see that He made a decision to “call” Barnabus and Saul for work He wanted them to do. As Bible commentator Stanley Toussaint, has pointed out, “Frequently in Acts the Holy Spirit gave directives to God’s leaders (eg., 8:29; 10:19; 13:4).” And a force does not “speak”, or “direct” anyone who is going to work anywhere. Electricity is a powerful “force”, but it must be directed somewhere by a person, as it cannot speak or make decisions independently. To sum up this teaching on the Person, and work of the Holy Spirit; in the Bible the Holy Spirit is given all the attributes of a person, He can feel (Eph. 4:30), He wills (1 Cor. 12:11), and He has a mind (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:11).
Let’s turn to this last Scripture for a moment–Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 30; I want to point out something about the Holy Spirit that you may not have thought about, and that being that He loves you. And this can seen right here from Ephesians 4:30 — And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with WHOM you were sealed for the day of redemption. You’ll notice in this verse that we are told not to grieve the Holy Spirit. If we look closely we can see a couple of things: 1) Only a person can grieve, as this expresses emotion, something a force is not capable of. This brings us to our second point: Only someone who loves you would “grieve” over you. While I don’t agree with everything he taught, A.W. Tozer did put it well when he said:
suppose your teenage son got tangled up with another young man, and this other kid enticed your son to do something against the law. One night you get a call that the two of them are in the local jail. Now you might feel some sympathy for the other boy, but your heart would break, you would grieve for your son—because you love him—He belongs to you.
The Love of God the Holy Spirit
And so, before one can grieve, one must first love. It seems as if so many people are afraid of God the Holy Spirit, and treat Him like He is some eerie, weird, and strange entity. I even heard one Christian say: “Well, if you have a hard time God just gives you that Holy Spirit to fall back on.” However, we’ve now seen that the Holy Spirit is not a safety net, nor is He some strange and mystical force; no, He is a Person. And we see here in Ephesians 4:30 that He loves you–just the same as God the Father and God the Son do–because the Holy Spirit Himself is God. As the great theologian from Princeton Theological Seminary, the highly esteemed Dr. Charles Hodge, concludes in his classic Systematic Theology:
All the elements of personality, namely, intelligence, will and individual [awareness] in which [we human beings have as a part of] us…are all distinctly attributed to [God the Holy] Spirit…[He is said to know, to will, and to act…[logically; if] He can be loved, reverenced, and obeyed, or offended and sinned against, [the Holy Spirit] must be a Person.
As we now wrap up this teaching on the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, it was pointed out elsewhere that “[clearly] the Holy Spirit does things that only a person can do, such as teach, command (Acts 16:6), know and search (1 Cor. 2:11), and pray (Rom. 8:26)…[while] the work of the Holy Spirit can [basically] be placed in two broad categories: His work in Creation and His work in redemption.” And finally we quickly look at one of His acts of Creation that we will be eternally grateful for, and one we will certainly have to know very well as this apostasy continues its rapid growth—the Holy Bible.
The Bible Is A Creative Act Of God the Holy Spirit
We quickly turn to 2 Peter chapter 1 and verses 20 – knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. In other words, we didn’t just make this stuff up, and write it down, and then try to pass it off as “our” view of God. The inspired Apostle Peter will now tell us how the Bible was written—verse 21 — For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. The King James Version says — but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. In fact, in the Greek this phrase carried along/moved by has the idea of wind—the Holy Spirit—blowing into a ship’s sails and thus steering it in the desired direction.
This apostasy within evangelicalism continues to darken so this is an extremely important thing to remember; as here we categorically learn that God the Holy Spirit is the Author of the Bible, and this is why we refer to these sacred Scriptures as God’s Words—because that is exactly what they are! And awakening to the light of Scripture is what Apprising Ministries stands for because the attacks on the Bible, which are being marshaled by Satan as this Age comes to an end have already begun, and they are aimed right at the evangelical community. His main weapon being the emerging rebellion against the Bible referred to as the Emerging Church aka the Emergent Church—with its postmodern version of liberalism i.e. “big tent” Emergence Christianity.
 Victor Wierwille, Receiving the Holy Spirit Today [New Knoxville: American Christian Press, 1977], 1-5.
 Let Your Name Be Sanctified [NY: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, 1961], 269, emphasis mine.