Bible Study from Calvary Chapel Newberg
with Tom Fuller
The Holy Spirit
If you belong to Jesus by putting your trust and reliance on Him for your salvation?then the ownership of your life has been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Part of that ownership change involves a seal put on you, but it?s more than just a mark of ownership, it (He) is actually making changes, transforming you into someone fit for the coming kingdom.
That?s where we end up in our journey through Paul?s extended praise of God in verses 3 through 14 of Ephesians 1.
What have we seen so far:
- We have been given advantages by God in His dimension (vs 3)
- We have been chosen by Him to become like Him (vs 4)
- We have been adopted into His family to be sons and heirs (vs 5)
- We have been made clean through the purchase of our lives with the blood of Jesus (vs 7)
- We have refocused our lives to come into concert with God?s ultimate plan to sum up everything and point everything to Jesus (vs 9-10)
- We have an incredible inheritance through the work of Jesus: a relationship with God (both Jew and Greek) and we have also become God?s inheritance (vs 11-12).
- He is a gift from Jesus (vs 16)
- He brings truth (vs 16)
- He is in us (vs 17, 23)
- He lives inside of us permanently (gk: abode, home)
- He comes to help us understand who God is and help us to be like Him and accomplish His will (vs 26)
Now in verses 13 ? 14 we see a little of how this works?the process God uses to bring about this great destiny for us.
First came a hearing of a message (gk: logos). Paul wrote: Rom. 10:17 ?So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.?
The message is the ?gospel?, where we get the word ?evangelize? and it means ?good news?. Very simply, someone somewhere said something to you, or you read or overhead someone talk about the work Jesus the Messiah did to ?rescue? us from sin, which separates us from God and everything good.
The first step is hearing. By the way, how is your hearing these days? Jesus said on multiple occasions: ?he who has ears to hear, let him hear.? What happens when you hear the words of Jesus? Do you zone out, get mad, or perhaps have preconceived ideas that crowd out the actual words.
My encouragement to you is to let the ?word of Christ dwell in you richly? (Colossians 3:16). Jesus often says things that are hard to understand but they will change your life!
The second step is not just hearing or knowing of the existence of something, but actually trusting in and acting upon what you hear. Belief here means to ?trust? or ?place confidence? in something. When I take my money down to the bank and deposit it, I have confidence that they will keep my money safe. Now that may be a vain confidence, but when it comes to trusting that Jesus? death, burial, and resurrection actually did wash us from sin and procure a place in heaven for us?that is not a vain hope at all.
But you can?t simply acknowledge that Jesus lived and that He was a good man who taught us how to live. The demons believe in God?they know He exists, but they are not saved (James 2:19). Belief in Jesus means you put your weight down on His claims to be the One True God sent to rescue you. It?s like Peter?s words when Jesus asked if he and the other disciples were going to leave in John 6:68. Peter said ?where will we go, for you have the words of eternal life.? It means realizing you are need of a rescue (I have sinned and fallen short and can?t save myself) and reaching out to Jesus to perform that rescue for you (by washing away sin and creating in you a new nature).
So what actually happens then when you hear the gospel and put your trust in it? Paul says here that we are ?sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.?
The Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead of Father, Son, and Spirit?three in One. They are One, yet distinct. You could say that the Holy Spirit is God?s mind, God?s thoughts. But when God thinks, things happen (like when He spoke the creation into existence, which is the expression of God?s mind).
God spoke about the coming of His Holy Spirit, not just on a special few, but on ?all humanity? in Joel 2:28-29. Jesus spoke often of the Spirit coming, like in John 14:15-26 (turn there).
Some things about the Holy Spirit:
What Paul talks about here is another function of God?s Spirit in the lives of those who trust in Him: as a seal. In Roman days, property like cattle and slaves, were branded to show who owned them. This way, no one could come along and just take them, so it protected the property of the owner. God has ?branded? or ?sealed? you with His Spirit as a way to show that you belong to Him and will be protected until He takes you to be with Him.
Now that doesn?t mean life is trial free. In fact, Jesus promised we?d have trials (John 16:33) but what He does promise is that the Spirit will be ?with us? to take us through the trials to come (2 Timothy 4:18).
There is yet another aspect of the Holy Spirit that we see next:
Remember back in verse 7 when we talked about redemption? The idea there was pf the releasing of something after payment of a ransom. So here, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit is a ?down payment? of a future redemption. In this case it is God taking delivery from Amazon.com, so to speak, of your person into His reality fully.
The word means ?earnest money? on a transaction. When you buy a house you put down earnest money to show you are actually going to go through with the purchase, but it isn?t the entire sum needed to buy the house. So God has given us His Spirit to show that He will come to gather us to be with Himself as His eternal possession.
All this leads to a ?praise of His glory?. We will join the universe in a standing ovation of what God has done?His perfect plan executed perfectly. It?s like God to do this and we will all praise and thank Him for that when it comes to fruition.
Right now, though, we only have the down payment. I thought it would be instructive, though, to talk about what the presence of the Spirit means in our lives, because it can be misunderstood and misapplied by well-meaning believers.
Role of the Holy Spirit
In sum, the Holy Spirit assists us to think, speak, and act like Jesus. To understand a little of what the Spirit does, let?s first look at what He does not do:
- The Spirit is not a toy or a tool in our hands
This is one of the biggest mistakes we make. When you are baptized with the Spirit, the Spirit has you, not the other way around. He cannot be summoned at will to perform tricks.
- The Spirit does not replace your personality
You do not cease to exist as a person. You need to be actively involved in cooperating with the Spirit as He literally changes you from the inside out. You are not a puppet any more than the Holy Spirit is. You have choices and the more you make those choices in line with thinking, speaking and acting like Jesus, the more the Spirit is at work. And you are still fully responsible for what you say and do. You can no more say ?the devil made me do it? as you can say ?God made me do it? or ?it wasn?t me, it was God.? No, it is still you, but more and more the Spirit influences how you think speak and act to mirror His personality.
So what are some of the roles of the Spirit?
John 14:23 ?we will make our home in him?
The word ?Counselor? means ?one who comes alongside to help?
- Truth teller (to yourself and others)
John 14:17 He is the ?Spirit of truth?
John 15:8-11 He convicts of sin
John 14:26 He will teach you about Jesus ?will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.?
- Travel Agent along the path of sanctification and ministry
Sanctification: 2 Thessalonians 2:13 ?God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth.? So you first believe the truth the Spirit reveals through God?s Word, then you obey it more and more.
- 1:22 ?By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart?
Ministry: In Acts 16:6-10 Paul wanted to go to Asia but Luke writes that the ?Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.? Sometimes through circumstances, sometimes through a ?hunch? in your heart, God will direct you to and away from situations. Matthew 10:20 ? the Spirit will speak through you when you need it.
- Translator between what you want and what God wants
Romans 8:26 ?In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit?s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.?
- Is a real person, with real emotions
Ephesians 4:30 ?And don?t grieve God?s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.?