Confusion is the issue
My attitude toward this is an attitude of grief. I have to borrow the words of Psalm 69:9, words that came out of the lips of our Lord when He first assaulted the temple, “The reproaches that fall on you are fallen on Me, zeal for your house has eaten Me up.”
One of the marks of loving God is that you feel the pain when He’s dishonoured. And I feel the pain in the dishonouring of the Holy Spirit. I have to tell you that. And it is not a light burden for me to bear, it is a deep pain and I know what this misrepresentation of the Holy Spirit has done to damage the church, to completely confuse people about what Christianity is, as well as to ignore the realities of the person and work in particular of the Holy Spirit.
There is very little interest in the Holy Spirit in our time, even in evangelicalism. There seems to be very little recognition of His majesty. The majestic deity of the Father we understand. Even the majestic deity of the Son we understand. But the Holy Spirit’s majesty seems to be lost on us.
The names of the Holy Spirit
Have we forgotten that He is called in Scripture the breath of the Almighty? That He is called the eternal Spirit, the generous Spirit, the Good Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit of life, the Spirit of Grace, the Spirit of wisdom, counsel, might, understanding, knowledge, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of glory, the seven-fold Spirit, the Comforter? And in Luke 1:35 He is called the Power of the Most High, a panoply of identifications that help us to see the glory of His nature.
The Blast of God
The New Testament word for…for the Spirit is pneuma…pneuma, an onomatopoetic word which means it means like it sounds, or it sounds like its meaning. It means air in motion. The Old Testament word is ruach, air in motion. The fundamental meaning of the Spirit when we identify God the Spirit, the fundamental meaning of the Spirit is not immateriality, it is energy, it is power, it is motion. He is the power of the Most High. When you think of the Holy Spirit, it’s not enough to think of Him as immaterial, He must be understood as the very breath of the Almighty. As Sinclair Ferguson calls Him, “The Blast of God.” That’s the Holy Spirit.
In Micah 3:8 we read, “I am filled with power with the ruach of God.” One third of the uses of ruach in the Old Testament refer to God. And in the Hebrew language, this ruach is a violent force. Yahweh’s ruach is the irresistible power by which He accomplishes His purpose, whether for creation or destruction. Psalm 33:6 says, “By ruach, God created everything. Judges 3 says, “By ruach He dispenses His power to men.”
The Charismatic movement
…do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God – Ephesians 4:30
Now let me just give you a perspective. It’s the fasting growing form of religion in the last hundred years anywhere in the west. There were no Pentecostals and Charismatics in the year 1900. There are now currently, latest statistic a couple of weeks ago, half a billion and that’s a low estimate in a hundred years. And in particular since 1960 where it launched itself in a new way in mainline denominations in an Episcopalian church just down the road here, Van Nuys, California, it has exploded in the last 25 years. No Movement in the last hundred years has grown faster or done more damage to the church of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the Cause of Christ, the true interpretation of Scripture than this Movement.
The Pentecostal Charismatic Movement ignores the truth with reckless license and no restraint and is guilty of doing something that I think you need to think of in these terms. Jesus in Matthew chapter 12 condemned the Pharisees because they attributed the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan. Remember? They attributed the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan. And I think the Modern Movement is attributing the works of Satan to the Holy Spirit. They flipped that.
The nonsense of the Charismatic movement
There is a new Movement, just to give you an up-to-date illustration, called The NAR, The New Apostolic Reformation, I don’t know if you’ve read anything about the New Apostolic Reformation. A rapidly expanding new emphasis by some of the same ole troubling charismatic leaders who have been wrong on everything all through their whole careers.
They’re back and they’re going global, people like the Kansas City Prophets, Peter Wagner, Mike Vickel, Lou Engels, Cindy Jacobs and a lot of lesser lights. They claim that we are now in the second apostolic age and it began with them in 2001 when the long-lost office of Prophet and especially Apostle was restored and that they now have equal authority, a power and ability to do miracles with the Apostles.
One of them recently claimed that He stopped Mad Cow disease in Germany by Holy Spirit power. The Movement is marked by ecstatic emotion and bizarre behavior, really bizarre.
And where this becomes kind of a big issue is not too many months ago, Governor Rick Perry from Texas was in the running for the Republican nomination for the Presidency and he held a Houston Prayer Breakfast that was sponsored by the NAR.
That’s right, it was sponsored by the New Apostolic Reformation, two pastors who are Apostles called Rick Parry’s office to tell him that God had told them that Texas was going to be the state God had chosen to lead the United States into revival and Godly government, and Rick Parry was the key guy.
At the prayer breakfast, Rick Parry had the two Apostles lay hands on him. They claim that God speaks directly to them in visions and specific revelations and they all come by the Holy Spirit. And, they claim, that if you fail to listen and obey, catastrophe will come like earthquakes, terrorist assaults and economic collapse.
One of them says the Democratic Party is controlled by Jezebel and three lessor demons and they see these demons in public places so they engage in elaborate rituals with branding irons, stakes and plumb lines and they’ve done that in every county in Texas. God told them to take over the government, they say.
Another quote, “We’re called to World Dominion, they have a 50-state network of apostles and prophets. Their representatives visited every Masonic Lodge in Texas to cast out the demon Baal who controls, they say, Free Masonry.
A book came out which sounded like a kind of a reasonable book. I looked at it, called Bridging the Racial and Political Divide. It sounds pretty sensible, published in 2010. In that book it says they were at a convention and they saw Jezebel, the demon Jezebel with her skirt lifted up to expose little Baal, Ashtoreth and a whole bunch of other demons hovering around Jezebel’s skinny legs.
You know, these people are on the level of someone who thinks he’s a poached egg. You know, it’s one thing to laugh about this and you would say this is the kind of insanity that you put away. But this is all supposedly the work of the Holy Spirit. So what do you think the average guy who just watches all of this and sees all this thinks about Christianity?
The two great works of the Holy Spirit
The two great works of the Holy Spirit for believers, sanctification and security to glorification. These are two, the two greatest works; the two most precious things going on in your life now are the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and the securing work of the Holy Spirit. Those are the two greatest things happening in your life now.
The Father planned your salvation. The Son provided for your salvation. But the Holy Spirit produces your salvation.
Think about it. One day you and I came to the conviction of sin, why? Jesus said, “When the Spirit comes, He’ll do—what?—John 16, He’ll convict the world of sin and righteousness and judgment.
The reason that one day you saw your sin so differently, the one day that you began to see a dramatic difference in how you viewed the wretchedness of your own heart was the work of the Holy Spirit. Light in your darkness, life in your deadness. And then He gave you life. You must be born of the Spirit; you must be born from above, John 3.
Ezekiel 36:27 says that when we’re saved, God puts His Spirit within us. He enables us to do things that we would never be able to do otherwise. First Corinthians 12 says, “He dispenses gifts to us.” We heard Tom talk about that. Galatians 5 says, “He gives us the fruit of His presence; love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.” First Corinthians 2 says, “He illuminates the Word to us.” He is the anointing, in 1 John 2:27, so that we don’t need a man to teach us because we have an anointing from God who teaches us all things.
The Spirit points to the Son, but here’s the one time that Christ pointed to the Spirit
You want to know how much honor the Son gave the Spirit?
I know we all say He points to the Son, He points to the Son.
But listen to the time when the Son pointed to Him, John 16:7, He said this, “It is better for you if I go away.”
What? “Because if I go away, the Holy Spirit will come.” Better than the Son? Better to have the Spirit than the Son? Do you ever thank Him for that? Do you ever thank the Son…the Spirit for all the ministries that He carries on endlessly in your life? He said, “Better for you, He’ll lead you into all truth, He’ll show you all the things concerning Me. He’ll do His work.
…Romans 8 is the Holy Spirit’s chapter….
Do you know why there’s no condemnation for you? Because the Spirit has gone into action on your behalf. He set you free from the law of sin and death. He set you free from the Law of sin and death. He is even called the Spirit of Life. That’s that ruach, that blast of God, that energy, that power, freed you from the dominating principle of sin and death. Paul talked about that in Romans 6, you were slaves of sin, you’re not servants or slaves of righteousness.
The 1st and 2nd Objective of our glory
What is the objective of our glory? …Go down to verses 29 and 30…verses 29 and 30 (Romans 8). “For those whom He foreknew He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son so that He would be the prototokos, the premier one among many brother.”
The primary purpose is so that once we are conformed to the image of His Son, He would be the premiere one among many who had been made like Him. So the primary objective of our salvation is the glory of Christ. The secondary is our glorification for the primary purpose of glorifying Him.
Am I being sanctified? How you can tell?
So you can look at your life and ask the question, “Am I being sanctified?” and you can answer it by saying, “Am I more like Jesus? Am I more like Jesus? Am I more like Jesus?” That’s what the Holy Spirit does.
Everything Christ done was empowered by the Holy Spirit
And then in Mark 1:12 it was the Holy Spirit who impelled Him to go out into the wilderness for His temptation. And then when the temptation was over, the baptism was over and it was time to launch His public ministry, and begin to do what He had come to do after all the years of waiting, it says in Luke 4:14, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, His ministry was Spirit empowered, read Acts 10:38. Everything He did He did by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then He came to the time of the cross and time to die. And it says this in Hebrews 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God.” The Holy Spirit empowered Him on the cross. Romans 1:4 says, “The Spirit raised Him from the dead.” Everything in His life was Spirit empowered. Everything in His life was Spirit empowered.
Why? Why? Because the Holy Spirit was going to give us the prototype of what a Spirit-powered human being looks like.