Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA On October 11, 2015
Last week we began our journey in unpacking the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Before we begin, I want to speak briefly about the preaching of a sermon series. As I prepare each sermon, I do so with the general assumption that all of you will hear all of the sermons within a series. That assumption allows me to build upon each sermon, without having to rehash things over and over again. So with that said, if you do miss a Sunday, I encourage you to go back and watch or read the sermon you missed so that you can have a fuller understanding of the topic. You can find these sermons, and all sermons, on our website www.cornerstonecascade.com.
The second thing I want to say briefly, is something I said before, but what to remind everyone. When I preach, I fully recognize that I am preaching to a wide range of people. My role as a Pastor is to edify the immature Christian and the mature Christian. My goal for all of you is that you will all grow in your knowledge of God. In light of that some sermons are not theologically difficult, but others are. Today may be one of those days that some of you really struggle with the sermon for you will see it as too deep. But I do want to remind you that someday it won't be, and you will be the ones in the seats longing for meat instead of milk
With that said, last Sunday, in the short time that we had we established two foundational truths 1) God is one, in three Persons and 2) the Holy Spirit is one of those persons. As I said last time, many of you have always believed this, but your belief was not because you discovered it in God’s Word, but because you were taught it through a song, or through a pastor or teacher. There is nothing wrong with listening to music or being taught, but we must always be mindful to hold everything up against the Bible, for it is our standard of truth. I want you to believe in the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Trinity because you see it on the pages of Scripture.
With that said, today we are going to examine the role of the Holy Spirit. Last Sunday I stated that we would be looking at the Holy Spirit as he is revealed in the Old Testament, and we will do that to some extent today, but I have chosen to be more intentional about understanding the general function of the Spirit.
Our Relational God
As I stated last time, the Holy Spirit makes his debut in scene 1 of God’s Story.
The first thing I want us to be encouraged by this morning is that God is a relational God, not only in the sense of relational to things outside of himself, but also relational within himself. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always existed in perfect harmony within themselves, as divine community.
Why should this truth encourage us? Because we have a God who at his core, longs for relationship, not that God needs us to fill a void in his life, for God is perfectly satisfied within himself, but that God's orientation is relational, therefore as he engages with us, it is not a distant engagement, but an intimate one. He longs to sweep us up into the perfect love of the Trinity, and how he sweeps us up and binds us into this heavenly relationship is largely the role of the Holy Spirit, and we will talk more about that next week.
Operation of the Trinity
But for now, how does this relationship of the Trinity operate? This is going to get heavy for a second. This is how John Piper explains it, “the Son is the eternal image that the Father has of his own perfections, and the Holy Spirit is the eternal love that flows between the Father and the Son as they delight in each other.”
So what does that mean? God the father, who is all knowing and all powerful, has a perfect and complete view of himself, and this view of himself is so perfect and so complete that his image stands forth as a second God, a duplicate. This is Jesus. In this image of God there is nothing lacking.
Louis Berkhof, a renowned theologian in the early 20th century said this, “It is that eternal and necessary act of the first person in the Trinity, whereby He, within the divine Being, is the ground of a second personal subsistence like His own, and puts this second person in possession of the whole divine essence, without any division, alienation, or change. (Systematic Theology, pg. 94)
So where does the Holy Spirit fit in? Let me first say that words fail us in describing this, but words are all we have, so bare with me. The Holy Spirit is all that God is proceeding, or going forth, from the Father to the Son, and all that Jesus is proceeding, or going forth, from himself. The text that supports the procession of the Spirit is John 15:26.
This is how Jonathan Edwards explains the person of the Holy Spirit, “The Holy Ghost is the deity subsisting in act, or the divine essence flowing out and breathed forth in God's infinite love to and delight in Himself.”
Is this hard to understand? Absolutely. The Holy Spirit is “other.” But I think this discussion will help us in wrapping our heads around the Holy Spirit’s manifestation in the World, and role as it relates to our lives. I also think it will help us in illumine certain text regarding the work of the Spirit. For now, if I lost you during that explanation, I want you to think of the Holy Spirit's role as the bond that holds the Trinity together. The Holy Spirit is what unifies the Father and the Son in such supernatural way that God exists as one in three persons.
The Name of the Holy Spirit
With that under our belt, I want to get back to Genesis 1:2 and talk about the name that God chose to describe His Spirit.
In the New Testament we also see the Spirit of God in scene 1.
What is interesting is this is exactly how Jesus describes the Spirit in John 3. If you will, turn with me there so you can see it for yourselves.
So we see a consistency throughout Scripture of God using this idea, or understanding, of wind to reveal to us the Holy Spirit.
Every good bible student is equipped with one thing, curiosity. If you want to go deep in studying the Bible you should always be asking why? So let us take a moment and ask why. Why does God give the name of wind (ruwach and pnuema) to the third person of the trinity? What is God telling us about Himself?
What is wind? It is unseen force that comes from one place and pushes into another. It is power manifested, not in a tangible way, but in an effectual way. It is an invisible force moving from one place to the other. When we measure the velocity of wind we are not examining the wind, but we are measure the effect of wind upon an object. So what is God telling us about the role of the Holy Spirit? Wayne Grudem describes his role as the active manifestation of God’s power.
When you think about it, this fits into what we talked about earlier regarding the Trinity. The Father pushes forth all that he is, and likewise the Son pushes forth all that he is. This pushing forth is of their beings, which is omnipotent power. In between the Father and the Son, it takes no tangible form, but it exists, and when this power breaks forth into the world, you do not see it, but only its effect. Let's briefly look at some examples.
When we read stories like these it causes us to want these things, and I think this is one of the reasons God reveals these stories to us, to produce this longing for the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives. And for those who believe in Christ the presence of God does dwell in us. The same Spirit of the Trinity has been given to us. The same Spirit that came upon Bezalel, Moses, Sampson and David dwell ins us, and God wants us to depend, to live by this Spirit.
How do we do this? We must walk by the power of God, we must walk by the Holy Spirit. So let us do today what Jesus encouraged and pray for the Spirit of God to lavish us with his Spirit.