Who Is the Holy Spirit? | John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

A Spirit-Led Church

T.A. invites some friends for a discussion to help us establish a solid foundation regarding the person of the Holy Spirit.

Timothy "TA" Ateek, Oren Martin, Antoinette Davis, Emily Hope, Dave BruskasFeb 11, 2024

In This Series (8)
The Gifts of Tongues, Prophecy, and Healing | 1 Corinthians 14
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 24, 2024
A Spiritual Checkup | 1 Corinthians 12
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 17, 2024
The God Who Unifies | Ephesians 4:1-16
Kylen PerryMar 10, 2024
Is There a Spiritual Power Outage in Our Lives? | Acts 16:6–10
Timothy "TA" AteekMar 3, 2024
How Does the Holy Spirit Minister to Believers? | Galatians 5:16-26
John ElmoreFeb 25, 2024
What Part Does the Holy Spirit Play in Salvation? | John 3 and Romans 8
Timothy "TA" AteekFeb 18, 2024
Who Is the Holy Spirit? | John 14:16-17, 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
Timothy "TA" Ateek, Oren Martin, Antoinette Davis, Emily Hope, Dave BruskasFeb 11, 2024
Why Talk About the Holy Spirit? | John 14:16-26
Timothy "TA" AteekFeb 4, 2024

Our tendency is to just want to talk about the gifts of the Spirit. Before we talk about the gifts of the Spirit, we need to make sure we have a solid foundation regarding the person of the Spirit.

Questions to consider:

  • What common misconceptions about the Holy Spirit should we avoid?
  • What is the Holy Spirit’s place in the Trinity? How should we refer to the Holy Spirit?
  • Do we pray to the Holy Spirit?
  • How do we know that the Holy Spirit is fully and equally God?
  • Where do we see the activity of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament?
  • Why does it matter that the Holy Spirit is a person?
  • What does it look like for you to personally relate to the Holy Spirit?

Additional Resources

Timothy Ateek: Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing today? It's good to see you. This is the second week of our Spirit-Led Church series. I'm really excited about what we are going to get to experience this morning. Before we step into it, I just want to remind you we are a praying church. We're in the middle of 21 days of prayer and fasting. I hope many of you are journeying along with us. This is the eleventh day.

If you're not in with us, it's not too late. You can jump in today. I would encourage you to text the word pray to 40585, and you can journey alongside over 10,000 other people here at Watermark who are praying every single day. We're going to be joining together tomorrow morning from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 in the Chapel for a time of prayer together. Make sure you come and join us. We're a praying church.

On that note, I would encourage you to continue to pray for our friends Blake Holmes and John Elmore who are still on sabbatical. Just pray that it would be a very restful time for them. Okay. This is the second week, as I said, of our Spirit-Led Church series, and here's the whole goal of this series. The goal is that the people of Watermark would be a biblically informed people who can enjoy and experience the Spirit in their lives.

So, I've invited some people who are much smarter than I am to help us have a conversation about the Spirit. My hope is that this will in some ways feel like an invitation into a seminary classroom, that we will in some ways wander down the rabbit hole of the Holy Spirit. If your hand is sore from writing a lot or your head is spinning at the end of this, you can always go back and watch the sermon again online, but that's a really good thing, because we want to go deeper.

Now, when we talk about the Spirit, so often people just want to jump to talking about the gifts of the Spirit. That's a big question. "Well, are all of the gifts still active?" and "Are we going charismatic?" or "It doesn't feel like we're charismatic enough." Look. Before we talk about the gifts of the Spirit, we need to make sure we have a deep understanding of the person of the Spirit. It is not okay to have confidence and clarity on God the Father and God the Son but to be fuzzy or fearful when it comes to the Holy Spirit. So that's what today is about. Let me pray for us, and then we're going to jump in.

Lord, I'm so thankful that you've given us your Word so we can know you, and you've given us your Spirit who lives inside of us, who leads and guides us into all truth. Spirit of God, I just want to ask you right now that you would lead and guide us into understanding truth about you, and I pray that by your power we would all leave here glorifying Christ because of your work in our lives. We praise you, Father, that you loved us so much you would give your Son.

We praise you, Son, that you would come and live a perfect life and die the death we all deserve to die. You conquered Satan, sin, and death through your resurrection, and then you asked the Father to send the Spirit, and you, Spirit, have come to live in us and lead us into all truth so we might more fully glorify Christ. We love you. We give this morning to you. In Jesus' name, amen.

I want to introduce you to some friends. I'm actually going to let them introduce themselves. So, Oren, if you'll kick us off.

Oren Martin: My name is Oren Martin. I serve as senior director of equipping here at Watermark and also get the privilege of teaching the Watermark Institute.

Antoinette Davis: I'm Antoinette Davis. My husband Barry and I have been members at Watermark for about 20 years, and I am involved in women's Bible study. That's really where I'm investing these days. Plus, I have four grandsons 4 and under, so they are a big part of my ministry these days.

Emily Hope: My name is Emily Hope. I am the women's equipping director, so I get to spend my time with the women in women's Bible study, and it is a joy and privilege. I also get to serve with our prayer service.

Dave Bruskas: Hey, church family and friends, I'm Dave Bruskas. I serve as the director of re:generation, and I get to work alongside some of those faithful, committed volunteers that we have here at Watermark Church.

Timothy: These people are wild this morning. I'm feeling it. I like it. Let's do this every Sunday. Okay. Here's where I want to start. I just want to ask a couple of you… Why are you excited that we are talking about the Spirit in this series? Antoinette, why don't you kick us off.

Antoinette: I think, for me, I'm excited because the Spirit is kind of mysterious. For most of us, deep down, we would probably say we don't fully understand or know all about the Holy Spirit, so we just don't talk about him much. We focus more on God the Father and God the Son because those seem known and comfortable, and we kind of put the Holy Spirit where we don't have to talk about him because we're not sure.

Timothy: Dave, how about you?

Dave: I think it's such an opportune time to talk about God the Holy Spirit. As you just mentioned, we've been in the midst of a time of prayer and fasting. When we fast, we express our hunger, that we are hungry for the things of God in our hearts, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our city, and all over the world. All of the good things we long for, all of the things we're praying for, only can happen if God the Holy Spirit empowers them to happen. So, I think this is the perfect time to talk about God the Holy Spirit.

Timothy: That's great. Well, before we jump into theology regarding the Holy Spirit, I think it's good for us to identify a few misconceptions we might have regarding the Spirit. Emily, help us identify a few misconceptions.

Emily: One of them is feeling like the Holy Spirit is just about our feelings and to feel a certain way is the only way we feel the Holy Spirit. That's just not true. Another one would be understanding the Spirit's work in our regeneration. A lot of times we feel like we have to do the work to become more like Christ, and that's not true either.

There's a holy tension of man's responsibility and the work of the Spirit. It's ultimately up to the work of the Spirit, and we need to understand how that works, because it frees us from the striving and feeling like we need to do things on our own. Then, lastly, I think it's important to know where the Spirit fits within the Trinity.

Timothy: That's great. We're going to walk through all of those misconceptions today and in the coming weeks. Okay. Oren, you are the PhD on this stage and on our staff, so I'm going to lean heavily on you. I expect a lot from you right now. I'm just going to ask you… Give us a definition of the Holy Spirit that we can put on the screen. People can write it down. They can screenshot it. They can revisit it this week. What do we need to be thinking about when we think about a definition of the Holy Spirit?

Oren: The pressure is on. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who is equal in nature, power, and glory with the Father and the Son. It's really important, because he is to be known and worshiped and glorified along with the Father and the Son. As we think about the Holy Spirit, we can think of the biblical language TA talked about last week as he introduced the sermon series on the Holy Spirit, that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.

So, when we say he's the third person of the Trinity, we don't mean he's third in terms of, like, the Father is up here and he's really God, and the Son is 80 percent God, and the Spirit is 50 percent God or maybe lower if you just reject him or ignore him. No. Each person is fully God, yet there's only one God. What we mean by he's the third person of the Trinity is both in his order of his relation to the Father and the Son…

So, he's the Spirit from the Father and the Son, as John 14-16 says, but we also see that played out in history in the mission of the Spirit at Pentecost. After Jesus goes… Like TA said last week, Jesus said, "When I go away, it's to your advantage, because when I go away I'll send you another Helper. The Spirit will indwell you. He will guide you. He will lead you in the truth. He'll convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment and do all of these things."

That's why Christians in the past 2,000 years have confessed there is one and only one God, and this God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We also recognize what the Spirit does, as Emily was talking about. He grants us life. He gives us the ability to believe. He unites us to Christ. He sanctifies us. He helps us persevere in the Christian life, and one day he will glorify us as we follow Christ to the end.

Timothy: Great. Okay. Simple enough. Right? Let's keep going. Oren, I'm going to stick with you for a little bit longer.

Oren: Does that mean I didn't do a good job?

Timothy: We'll see. No, you're doing great. I'm doing fine. People have been talking about the Spirit for a long time. Right?

Oren: Yes. That is correct. Yes, they have been talking about the Holy Spirit as long as there have been Christians. There were a lot of debates in the early church regarding who Christ is as fully God and fully man. That was codified in the Nicene Creed, and then the church kind of turned its attention now that they confessed what the disciples in the early church had always confessed. They praised and prayed to the Son as the one who's fully God and fully man.

Well, then came a lot of controversies and errant teaching and heresies regarding who the Holy Spirit is. So, what became the Nicene Creed in AD 381 confessed this: "We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified."

They also spoke of one of his works, that he spoke through the prophets, as the Spirit prophesied, as 1 Peter 1 says, of the Christ, the Messiah who would come and accomplish salvation for us. We read that also in the Apostles' Creed written around the same time. We read that as a church when we take Communion, the Lord's Supper. We read that last week as a church as we gathered together. It simply says, "I believe in the Holy Spirit."

But it's good to slow down a little bit and just remember and recognize and acknowledge who it is we're believing in. We are not commanded to believe in man for salvation, so it clearly places the Holy Spirit on the side of God, because the Holy Spirit is God. So, the object of our faith is in the triune God who has come to us from the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit for us and for our salvation.

Timothy: Okay. Oren, you're on a roll, so let's go a little bit longer. You just spoke about the Spirit in the triune God. This is where we have to get our theology right. So, I just want to ask you to place the Spirit in the Trinity for us and just unpack how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all work together. The reason I'm asking this question is because it helps us know how to even refer to the Holy Spirit. Do we refer to the Holy Spirit as an it or as a he or as a force? So, help us think about the Spirit in the context of the Trinity.

Oren: First, I feel compelled to just say if your brain hurts a little bit, that's okay. It actually should, because it's God we're talking about. In fact, one of my favorite quotes from Augustine, one of the early church fathers, who wrote a massive work on the Holy Spirit in the fourth century… He essentially said, "We are speaking of God. Is it any wonder, then, that we don't comprehend him?" The answer is no, it shouldn't be any wonder that we don't fully comprehend God.

That word is meant to… Do we grasp him? Can we fully wrap our minds around God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? We say, "No." Why? Because the uncreated can never be grasped or fully comprehended by those he has created. So, even though that may sound weird, it's good for us. That's why we worship God…for who he is, how glorious he is. He's unlike us, and we need him to be unlike us so he can actually save us from our sins. Even though we can't comprehend him fully, we still can understand him truly because of God's revelation to us through his Word.

So, with that said, we say things like, "With the Father and the Son, Christians praise the Holy Spirit." This is with good, biblical reasons. You think about Romans 8:9, for example, that tells us if you are trusting in Christ, you have received the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son, which are not two different things. They're actually the same person, because he's the Spirit who is from the Father and the Son, as John 14-16 teaches.

So, the Spirit of the Father and the Son is one with God the Father and the Son, and that is who we have received when we trust in Jesus. Upon believing, Ephesians 1 says, you received the gift of the Holy Spirit who's the down payment of our salvation, of our inheritance to come. It's the Spirit, therefore, that is the crowning agent, or person, of God's undivided, saving purpose and power.

You think about the fact that if you're a Christian, that's not by your doing; that's by the triune God's doing. The Father has saved you, as Paul says in Ephesians 1. He has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose you in Christ before the foundation of the world, and Christ has redeemed you by the price of his own blood, and the Spirit now indwells you, after believing in Christ, and sealed you for your salvation, your full salvation to come.

So, for 2,000 years, Christians have believed and confessed that there is one and only one God who eternally exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person is fully, equally, and eternally God, yet there's only one God. So, here are a couple of passages to give you some metaphorical hooks to hang your hats on.

You think about Matthew 28 when Jesus says to his disciples, "Go into all the nations and make disciples…" How? "…by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and by teaching them all that I have commanded you to obey," with the promise that Jesus will be with us to the end of the age.

That baptism is really significant. If you noticed, it says, "…baptizing them into the name…" Singular. There is no other name. There's one God, one name. It signifies who he is. Yet who belongs to that name? That name is threefold. "…baptizing them into the name [singular] of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." So, one God, one name, three persons.

Similarly, when we think about the Holy Spirit specifically, you may remember that story in Acts, chapter 5, after Jesus ascends to be with the Father and sits at his right hand, as he's the seated, enthroned Davidic King, and he pours out his Spirit at Pentecost in fulfillment of God's saving promises, and the Lord is building his church upon the preaching of Christ.

We have that little curious story in there where there's a couple named Ananias and Sapphira who were being dishonest in the early days of the church and were keeping back money. They were being selfish and greedy. Peter the apostle comes to them and says, "Why have you lied to the Holy Spirit?" Then he turns around and says, "You've lied to God." As readers, we should think, "Well, which is it? Have you lied to the Holy Spirit or have you lied to God?" The answer is, "Yes," because the Holy Spirit is God.

As we go along in Scripture, we see more fully that the Holy Spirit displays the attributes of God…the divine life, he's everywhere present, he is all-powerful, and on and on and on. But also we see that in his personal actions. He's a distinct person of the Trinity as he saves, as he sanctifies, as he fills, as he leads, as he guides, as he seals, and so on and so forth.

Timothy: That's great. One of the things that has been really helpful for me is to notice the personal language and activity regarding the Spirit. You just mentioned Acts 5 where the Spirit of God can be lied to. Isn't that interesting? That's personal language. The Spirit can be lied to. You can grieve the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is said to speak or to think or to will or to act. The Spirit gives. These are all activities of a person.

So, we've placed the Spirit in the context of the Trinity, so now we're talking about the fact that you have three persons who are fully, equally, and eternally God. Emily, my question to you is…Who do we pray to? Do we pray to the Father? Do we pray to the Son? Do we pray to the Spirit? Is it wrong to pray to the Holy Spirit? Help us think through that.

Emily: It's not wrong to pray to the Spirit, but it's what you said. We want to pray with a Trinitarian view. We want to pray to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son by the Holy Spirit. We want to know their roles and how they work to be able to rightly attribute that to it. We can ask for help in that.

I think about a season in my life where I was in a season of waiting, and I didn't know how God was moving, but the Scripture I clung to was Psalm 119:68, which says, "You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees." In that season, my prayers looked like, "God, you are good, and what you do is good. I know your character. Even though I'm not sure how you're working right now, I am clinging to that.

So, Jesus, while I'm waiting, teach me your decrees. Teach me what your Word says. Holy Spirit, help me to take that. Illuminate it. Help me to live it out day and day when I'm doubting or I'm fearful, that I can remember the words and I can trust in that." So, we don't want to exclusively pray to the Holy Spirit, because our God is three in one. We want to pray to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all at once.

Timothy: That's great. Antoinette, what has been your experience with praying to the Holy Spirit?

Antoinette: I think the Holy Spirit, when I am in prayer, speaks to me. I may be praying… For example, recently, I was praying for a friend who's going through some heavy illness in the family. As I'm praying for God to surround this family with help and the support they need, hearing the Holy Spirit just say, "That's what I have you there for. You are my hands and feet. This is what I want you to do." So, really moving me, answering and nudging me to say, "Go do. Go be what I've put you there to be."

Friday I was at Cane's, picking up chicken to take to a school, and as I was walking out with this young girl who was very pregnant, I got a wave of "You need to take some time with this girl." I was in a hurry to drop this off. I just spoke to her, and because the Spirit prompted me, I was able to pray with her.

I mean, she hugged me and held on to me for a long time in the Cane's parking lot. It was all just… You know that voice that says, "Slow down and do something." So often, we just rush by and don't listen, but I had the opportunity to be kind and give her something the Holy Spirit knew she needed that I would never have noticed in my busy life on a busy day. So, he definitely speaks to me frequently.

Timothy: Cane's is sounding good for lunch. Am I right? Hey, I want to double click on what Antoinette just said, because this is very, very important. Don't miss it. I shouldn't have made a joke right there, because I don't want you to miss what we're talking about right here. When we hear language like Antoinette was listening to the Spirit or hearing from the Spirit or being moved or prompted by the Spirit, what she's saying… This is so good. What she's articulating is that the Spirit of God was leading her to apply the Word of God in her life.

So often, the Spirit of God is working in our lives, and we just don't know to attribute that work to the Spirit. You just need to know, if you're going about your day and a verse comes to mind and it causes you to think more highly of God or if you're going about your day and you're in the Cane's parking lot and you sense, "You know what? I think God wants me to minister to this person or say something, a word of encouragement" or "God wants me to text this person," that's not you being a really strategic or creative person; that's the Spirit of God leading you, speaking to you, prompting you.

So often, we go throughout our days, and the Spirit is leading us and prompting us, showing us how to apply God's Word, and we just don't realize it's the Spirit. So, I'd encourage you, even over the next 24 hours, or just when you get to the end of the day today, think back. "What are all of the ways the Spirit was at work in my life, prompting me to apply God's Word?" We need to be clear. The Spirit of God will never lead you to contradict God's Word, but I would encourage you to become more aware to the Spirit's activity in your life.

Dave, I want to go to you now. We're talking about this idea of the Spirit being God. Help us more fully understand how the Holy Spirit is fully and equally God.

Dave: One of the ways the Bible presents the Holy Spirit as God is based on his activity. In other words, he does things recorded in the Scripture that only God can do. You mentioned last week (I think this is super important) that he's the author of Scripture. He inspired the human authors to write the Word of God. He's the one who illuminates the Bible for us so when we read it we understand it, but there's so much about him in Scripture.

Think in terms of the Bible this way. The Bible is not a collection of hundreds of stories; it's a singular story about all that God is doing for his glory through Jesus, really in four acts, in four chapters. The first one we see is the act of creation. God created all the world, and he created us to worship him and enjoy him forever, and he declared it was good. Then our common parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against God and all was lost. Everything, every aspect of creation, was corrupted. We were condemned and separated from God.

The third act is what God is doing redemptively. God in his mercy and kindness sent his Son to live the life we couldn't live, to die the death we deserved to die, and he has risen from the dead. One day he'll rule forever. That's act 3. Then act 4 is restoration. We get this amazing picture that, through Jesus, God is restoring everything to its original intent and, ultimately, we'll be with him forever. So, let me give you some examples of how the Holy Spirit is involved in each one of these four acts that we see in Scripture.

First, in creation we see him in Genesis 1:2. This is what the text says: "The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." Even in the context of the fall, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to condemn the world of sin and judgment. In other words, he confirms for us the corruption of the world we live in and our condemned status before God apart from Jesus. Jesus says this about the Holy Spirit in John 16:

"And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."

When we get to act 3, God's great work of redemption in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is active in the life of Jesus. We see that Jesus was conceived by God the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit."

We see the Holy Spirit at the baptism of Jesus. You remember the scene we have in Luke 3 where the Father's voice comes from heaven and declares his pleasure in the Son and the Spirit descends on the Son like a dove. In the temptation of Jesus in Luke, chapter 4, this is how Luke begins the story: "And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness…"

Maybe one of the most profound acts of God the Holy Spirit ever recorded in Scripture is in Romans 8:11. Listen to this. "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." It's the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.

Then even for you and me who have a faith relationship with God through Jesus, it was the work of the Holy Spirit that brought us to that point. Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, "Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, "You must be born again."'"

Then when we think of that final act of restoration… We're not quite there yet. We live in a dark world that's still broken. We are redeemed people. We're longing for that day when we will be without Satan, sin, and death. Look at this beautiful promise we see, the work of the Holy Spirit confirming to us that we can rely on and trust in God.

This is from Ephesians 1:13-14. "In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." When you and I experience on the darkest of days, maybe a day like today… It's dreary. It's dark in Dallas. Just another reminder the Dallas Cowboys aren't in the Super Bowl. Another year. Much more serious things like that, for sure, going on in our lives.

When we begin to lose hope, we begin to despair, through our communion with God the Holy Spirit we are reminded, practically, that God is going to come through on every promise he makes for us in Jesus. There will be a day when we are without sin and suffering and death are no more and we will be with Jesus forever. That is the work of the Holy Spirit to give us hope for that day today.

Timothy: That's really good. Dave, I'm really grateful for how you traced the Spirit through Scripture. That's so important for us. One thing I really want for the people of Watermark is I want us to be a gospel-saturated church. When I talk about being a gospel-saturated church, I'm talking about us not having too small of an understanding of the gospel.

When we talk about the gospel that Jesus Christ has come and lived a perfect life, died a death that was sufficient to make payment for our sins, and conquered sin and death through his resurrection, we need to make sure the gospel isn't just about eternity with God in heaven one day, that the gospel is about today.

Jesus didn't just go to the cross to save us from sin. He went to the cross and conquered the grave so he could ask the Father to send the Spirit that God would live in us now and he would live through us now. So, we need to make sure we have a fuller understanding of the gospel. That's what you're speaking to, Dave. The Spirit has been working, and the Spirit is at work in us today and will carry us today and into eternity.

You talked about the work of the Spirit at creation. Oren, I'm going to ask you to double click for a minute on the Spirit's work in the Old Testament, because I think that can be a fuzzy concept for us sometimes. Very briefly, how do we need to think about the Spirit in the Old Testament?

Oren: I love that you said, "Very briefly," because it indicates I'm talking too long. I really appreciate how Dave traced out the Holy Spirit's work from Old Testament to New. When I teach on the Holy Spirit, there are basically three things I say about the Holy Spirit's work in the Old Testament. First, it was temporary. Second, it was task-oriented. Third, it was temple-focused.

What I mean by that is it was temporary in that the Spirit would come upon kings and prophets to lead God's people, to speak God's authoritative revelation to God's people. As Moses said, "There will be prophets who come and speak to you God's Word." We see the Spirit's work in the Old Testament doing that.

So, it was temporary, but it was also task-oriented. Meaning… You think about the workers in the temple, which is a really important connection between the Spirit and the temple. The Spirit would come upon the workers of the temple as they did their creative and beautifying work, making things in the temple.

Then, lastly, we see the work of the Holy Spirit that's temple-focused, which, again, is really important, because it was the Spirit, technically, that indwelled the temple. He did not indwell believers permanently in the same way he will do in the New Testament. There's a reason for that. The reason is Jesus' work on the cross, his obedient life, his suffering, his death, his burial, and his resurrection.

In the Old Testament, as it moved along, whereas it was predominately under the age of sin, under the age of Adam, and God gave his law to his people to believe and to obey, the problem was they couldn't do it because they had hard hearts. They had hearts of stone. We see that all the time throughout the New Testament. "You stiff-necked people. You resist the Holy Spirit." "You need to be circumcised of heart," Deuteronomy says. It exposed their need for a Savior because it exposed their sin because they couldn't do it.

The good news is, as the Old Testament rolled along, in Joel, chapter 2, he prophesies of a day… "There's going to be a day when it's not going to be known by the age of sin; it's going to be known by the age of the Spirit." "In those days," Joel says, "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, old, young, men, women, and all of my people who call on the name of the Lord will have my Spirit."

That becomes even more clarified in passages like Jeremiah 31 that speaks of the new covenant where God says, "I'm going to make a new covenant, not like the old covenant I made with your fathers, Israel at Sinai." Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36 says, "In this new covenant, I will remove your heart of stone. I will give you a heart of flesh. I will write my law on your heart." That's amazing. Formerly, his Word was written on tablets of stone. Now, in the new covenant, his Word will be written on our hearts.

Ezekiel 36 says, "I will give you a heart of flesh, and I will cause you to walk in my statutes, because my Spirit will be in you." That is one of the definitive marks of the new covenant. He gives us a new heart so that we want to believe and obey the very Word of God in Christ. Not only that we want to but we can. We now have a new power because we've died to sin, because we've died with Christ. We've been buried with him into his baptism, into his death; we've been raised to walk in newness of life; and we've been seated with him in the heavenly places.

So, we now have the Spirit who gives us new life, so not only we can but we will obey him. We will believe in him. We will persevere to the end, because the Spirit unites us to Jesus and is so committed to our finishing the race that God has given us the Spirit as a down payment, as a guarantee of our inheritance to come.

Timothy: That's so good. This is why we're doing this series on the Spirit: so that we're not fearful. What a miss it would be if we only talked about who the Spirit isn't and what the Spirit doesn't do. Antoinette, I want to go to you now. We've established that the Spirit is God, that he's not an impersonal force. Why is that important? Why is it important that we are clear that he is a person and personal?

Antoinette: I think it goes back to John 16 where Jesus is leading the disciples and says, "When I leave, I'm going to send you…" Really, someone better. "…a helper and a comforter to live in you and help you." You know, we're not a quarter filled with the Spirit or partially filled; we're all filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. We've got it all.

We need to be free to live in that, to do what Oren was saying, to hear his voice, to allow him to work through us in our sanctification process. Emily talked about how it isn't us who does it; it's turning it over and letting the Holy Spirit through us change us and help us see things through God's eyes, do things through Jesus' hands, but be what God wants us to be. That's the abundant life we get here when we can let go of ourselves and let him live through us.

Timothy: That's great. Emily, what does it look like for you to relate to the Holy Spirit?

Emily: For me, it's through seeing the Spirit illuminate Scripture. Even this week in women's Bible study, we were looking at the Day of Atonement and the high priest making the sacrifice to go before the presence of God, and to see that parallel in a new way, that Jesus made that atonement so I can go before him. He made the way. There was just a new depth to that. I'm not coming up with that conclusion on my own. That was the Holy Spirit working through Jesus' words to bring life to me.

I can also see the Spirit convicting me of sin. This week, there was a moment where I probably should have held my tongue, and I did not. The Spirit showed me that, and I was able to ask for forgiveness and grace. But also to bring comfort. I know when I moved here seven years ago, I knew nobody. The Spirit brought comfort through the Word to remind me of who Jesus is, what he had called me to to live here, and that I wasn't on my own. So, so many different ways, and I'm so thankful, because how individual and how alone would I be in life if we didn't have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Timothy: That's great. Dave, how about you? What does it look like for you to interact with the Holy Spirit?

Dave: There are so many experiences I could probably draw from, but the most profound experience I ever had with the Holy Spirit, as a follower of Jesus, was… My wife and I lost a little boy. He passed. For two months and four days he was in the… He was born with a congenital heart defect, and he never recovered.

I remember the day we had his funeral and buried him. It was a day I was dreading. It was a day that was dark in so many ways, yet I just remember from that experience the presence of God. I remember how sweet he was and is to me in that moment. My mind was filled with all of the things Jesus said about eternal life. "I go to prepare a place for you. I am the resurrection and the life."

I don't know that I've experienced since… There were ways in which on that dark, dark day the Holy Spirit poured out in my heart the love of God. I think each person in this room who knows Jesus could tell a story like that. The Holy Spirit takes the love of God and takes what we understand about that from our head and presses it down into our hearts in ways that we profoundly enjoy him through even hard and difficult times.

Timothy: So good. Last question. It's for anyone who wants to answer. What's one realization you've had about the Spirit over the years that has been very meaningful for you?

Oren: Some of you know my story. My father passed when I was 18 years old, and I was not a Christian. My life for three years spiraled downward. I was hopeless. I was in despair. I was alone. My family kind of fell apart after that. When the Lord saved me when I was 21 through the preaching of the gospel and I came to know my sin and how I'd sinned against an infinitely holy God and that Jesus came to die the death I deserved and to pay the penalty I couldn't pay, that through trusting in his life, death, and resurrection I could be forgiven and have the hope of eternal life…

The Spirit has helped me to understand more and more what a precious gift it is to call God my Father, because I lost my earthly father when I was 18, and I loved him. God has taught me more and more for the past 25 years of being a Christian how precious it is to be able to call God our Father. It's actually how Jesus instructs us to pray. Right? "Our Father in heaven…"

I want to encourage you to never, never get over those words "Our Father." God has given us that gift. He sent his Son to redeem us from the curse of the law, Galatians 4:4 says, in the fullness of time, but that's not all he did. He also sent his Spirit into our hearts so we might call God our Father. The Spirit, as he works in our lives, works to, as Jesus said, glorify the Son. He helps fix our eyes on Jesus.

I'm reminded that the Son who was son by nature has made me a son by grace. I'm no longer a slave, Galatians 4:6 says, but I'm a son, and if a son, then an heir. So, it is such a wonderful privilege to call God my Father. I hope you never forget the privilege it is, because it's not something we've earned. It's not something we deserve. It's something that has been freely given by God in Christ.

Timothy: That's so good. Well, this is the second week, and we have several more weeks of this series. The reason we are devoting the amount of time we are to the Spirit is we want you to have a great understanding, first, of who the Spirit is; secondly, we want you to be awakened to his presence in you; and then we want you to be able to understand and acknowledge and identify his activity in your life.

So, we are really just getting going, and I hope you're going to continue to journey with us through this series. Before we end today, Antoinette, I want to ask you… We have the privilege today of having you, a Watermark member, on the stage with us. I think it's so helpful for our people to hear the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, from someone other than me. So, would you share the gospel with our friends today?

Antoinette: Sure. I would be happy to. For those of us who are believers, some of this is familiar, but if you're sitting in here and you're not a believer and this is all new to you, I hope you're thinking, "How do I get some of that? How do I get that Father Oren is talking about? How do I get that Holy Spirit to comfort me and to walk with me and to be with me in those deepest, darkest moments?"

God created our world, and he created it to be beautiful and harmonious, and he created us, his children, to live in harmony with him and with each other. That was his plan, but he also gave us free will. With that free will, we chose to turn away from God and to try to do things on our own, because we think we can do it better or different. That has brought sin into the world, and sin separates us from God. The consequence of sin is death. It just brings death into the world.

God's solution was to send his perfect Son to live with us and to die on the cross, to be sacrificed for us as the perfect Savior, as the perfect sacrifice for our sin, to bring us back into relationship with God and to bring us into not just eternal life but abundant life here and now, which is the work of the Holy Spirit to give us that abundant life.

So, that is the good news. If you've never accepted Christ for yourself, accepted that gift, asked for forgiveness of doing things your own way, of turning away from God, you have to make a choice to turn back to him and ask him to take over your life for you. So, we just invite you to do that. We'd love to see that happen.

Timothy: That's awesome. Thanks, Antoinette.

About 'A Spirit-Led Church'

We study the work and person of the Holy Spirit so that we can more fully understand and experience the Spirit in our lives.