06 Sep 2015
2 Corinthians 13:14 Who is the Holy Spirit? Pastor Chee Keen 06 September 2015 Who is the Holy Spirit? This is a very important question to all Christians. We must strive to understand what the Bible teaches on the Holy Spirit because to neglect Him is sad. He is the source of all spiritual blessings applied daily to the believer. He is the One commissioned to change you to be more like Jesus!Your knowledge of the Holy Spirit will directly affect your fellowship with the Holy Spirit. So who is the Holy Spirit to you? Slides
Who is the Holy Spirit?
This is a very important question to all Christians.We must strive to understand what the Bible teaches on the Holy Spirit because to neglect Him is sad. He is the source of all spiritual blessings applied daily to the believer.He is the One commissioned to change you to be more like Jesus!Your knowledge of the Holy Spirit will directly affect your fellowship with the Holy Spirit.So who is the Holy Spirit to you? Slides Audio
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This morning, I’d like to share with you, in the absence of Pastor Jason as he is on leave for two Sundays, two messages on the Holy Spirit. Of course, this cannot be an extensive or exhaustive study on the Holy Spirit but I hope that this would be an introduction for you, that you may know the presence and power of God by His Holy Spirit, in your own Christian life.
The Lord tells us in His Word that He is One God in three persons. So even though there is a lot of controversy and confusion concerning the Holy Spirit, it is our duty as Christians to understand who the Holy Spirit is, because He is the one appointed to bring God's blessing into our lives and to help us know His presence and His blessings intimately, daily. And our church, Gospel Light, has been blessed with the introduction of the truth concerning the Holy Spirit and embracing it, we have seen life and growth and many professions of faith 10 years ago. And if you were there with us, you know, I hope that this series of messages, these couple of messages will be a reminder, a refresher for you. And for those of you who have never considered this truth in this light, I encourage you to begin this journey to ask yourself this question, “Who is the Holy Spirit to you? Who is this third person of the Godhead?” Now, who might these messages benefit? Well, may I suggest that it would benefit those who are curious about who the Holy Spirit is, what He does and how to relate to Him. Curiosity about truth is an excellent thing. We are curious about many things but how many of us are curious about the truth of God's Word? If you have such a curiosity, pursue it that you may know the Lord by His word. How about this - if you are frustrated in your Christian life, maybe you were once zealous, once you were on fire, but now you have a sense of frustration in your soul. But yet you know that there is something more than a well worn routine. You come to church, you read your Bible, you pray, etcetera, but something is missing. If that's you, I pray that these messages will bless your heart. Those who are confused and frustrated by various teachings on the spirit - now, this is an easy excuse for those uninterested in spiritual things. They take confusion and they take all these different thoughts and say, “Oh, there's no truth out there”. That's wrong. It's because there is truth out there that's why there are counterfeits. It's because there is something that's important out there that's why there's confusion. And so if you find yourself confused and frustrated, because everybody's talking about who is right and who is wrong, I don't care, and then you pursue the things of this world. That is sad, because the Bible tells us that the world passes away and all is last thereof. But he who does the will of God abides forever. And so I encourage you, don't let confusion be your excuse. Let it be your motivation to pursue the truth concerning the Holy Spirit.
How about those who are afraid of the Holy Spirit? Now, you read the old version of the Bible in English, it is described as the Holy Ghost. Now that many make you feel a bit spooky, because why would you want to do with a ghost? But you see, that's an unfortunate translation. It is talking about the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead. The last thing He is is that He is spooky. He is personal. He is loving. He is wonderful. Don't be afraid of him. Allow these couple of messages to encourage your heart and to get to know him. And those who want to be more like Jesus to experience the truth of the Bible that isn't the result of their own handiwork or natural abilities? So often we strike out in our Christian life, striving in our own strength, trying to do whatever we are commanded to do. And after a while, you burn out and you feel tired. You feel hungry in your soul yet there's no satisfaction within. If that's you today, friends, I hope that this would be like water on parched ground, refreshing your soul and giving you fresh impetus to seek the Lord. Those who have found that programs, techniques, knowledge and experiences do not seem to be sufficient - how often is it that we find our confidence in all these things and yet, forget that the Holy Spirit is here to help us? Those who longed for a closer relationship with God - you see, friends, we are made not to be satisfied by the things of this world. They do give us a bit of joy and happiness, but they do not last and those who have more of the material things of this world will eventually find out to be so. It will be sad if you live to a ripe old age and all you have are things in this world. We are made for a relationship with God. Only He is eternal! But how do we sense that, know that and enjoy that in this life, so much so that we can abound and abase like Paul said in Philippians? Only if you know the presence and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
So I invite you this morning to begin this journey with me over the next two Sundays and allow yourselves to be challenged and refreshed by this truth. You see, in the year 1901, the Pentecostal movement was born. And the Pentecostal movement, for the first time in the history of the church, suggested that the filling of the Holy Spirit is evidenced by speaking in tongues. It is in fact, to them, the necessary evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit. For the season when it was confined within the Pentecostal denomination, it did not disturb many Christians. But in the mid century, the Pentecostal movement spilled over into all the mainline denominations and it became what is known today as the charismatic movement. So you have all denominations now embracing this truth, or this suggestion, this concept, that to be filled with the Spirit means that you must speak in tongues. And towards the late 20th century, there was a new movement among the charismatics called the power movement. And this time round, they suggested that missionary enterprises must be evidenced by demonstrations of supernatural miracles. But the sad thing is, this movement called the power movement, is more characterized by a focus on evil spirits and unholy spirits than on the Holy Spirit. As a result, many Christians began to withdraw from any discussion about the Holy Spirit. And that is very sad because the Holy Spirit is the One appointed within the Triune God to bring the promises of God, to bring the blessings of God into your life and experiences. Any neglect of the Holy Spirit is going to lead to spiritual poverty. And Christians tend to react in the extremes, either one or the other. And so many churches begin to throw out teachings concerning the Holy Spirit. And in fact, it's almost like we know Him, but we don't talk about Him here. And as a result, they become dry, they become very orthodox, and they become critical, and even with a little spiritual pride. We want to avoid that, friends, in Gospel Light. We want to be a church that honors Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and thus, lift up and advance the kingdom of God.
And so, to begin, I’d like to introduce the subject with a video clip we did years ago, with one of our courses that talks about the Holy Spirit. I hope it helps you understand His power and also, notice what it didn't communicate about His person. Let's watch it together.
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...” (Acts 1:8)
The Person of the Holy Spirit
And so, through this little video clip, I hope it communicates to you the fact that yes, you do move along, but very slowly, very frustrating and you hardly achieve those goals that the Bible laid out for us in our Christian life, if you try to do so in your own strength. That's why you need the power of the Holy Spirit! But sad to say, many people, as a result, think of the Holy Spirit as a mere influence, power or energy. And so, they strive to have more of it, forgetting that the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is a person. And that is very important for us to understand. So we need to ask ourselves this question this morning, simply: who is the Holy Spirit and personally, who is the Holy Spirit to you?
Let's look at what Paul says when he wishes to bless the church and pray for the church. In 2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 14, he prayed and said, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”. Evidently, Scripture teaches us that God exists in three persons and here he has named for us, Jesus Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit. So there are three persons within the Godhead. Here is another verse of scripture that tells us that there are three persons within the Godhead, and that is in Matthew chapter 28, verse 19, in the Great Commission, when Jesus Christ said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”. What does this mean? It simply means that the Holy Spirit is God. Now, the Trinity is something we cannot fully understand. It is something that is revealed to us in the scriptures. And so, we embrace it because it is by faith - faith in what the Bible teaches. Although we cannot explain fully the mystery, many theologians and Bible teachers have tried to understand this truth. And here is a diagram that they've come up with, gathering all the biblical data to describe the Trinity. And here is a diagram that is commonly used. You may have come across it but I want to show you the significance of its truth today. I want you to notice with me that according to Scripture, the Father is God, the son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Now, what does this mean about the Holy Spirit? It means that the Holy Spirit is co-equal with God. It means that the Holy Spirit is not a mere influence. He is not mere power and energy. He is not inanimate nor impersonal. Just as God is a person, the sun is a person, the Holy Spirit is also a person. But more than that, the fact of the matter is, not only is He a person, He is a person of the Godhead. He is equally sovereign, all mighty, all knowing, all present, full of love, and holiness. Now, this is who we are talking about. How do we know that this is true of the Holy Spirit?
Now, this is not a study on the doctrine or the theology of the Holy Spirit. But here, let me give you some verses that shocked me. Now, in 1 Corinthians, chapter two, verse 11, the scripture says, “For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God?” So here, intelligence, thoughts, are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. Electricity doesn't think. Wind power does not think. Nuclear energy does not have consciousness, but not the Holy Spirit. So, it is foolish and wrong to merely think of the Holy Spirit as a power influence, or a form of energy. He is not the force in Star Wars. You get the picture? He is God with us. He is one who thinks! Just because He doesn't have hands, feet, mouth or all that doesn't mean that He's not a person. Those are marks of corporeity or that He has a material body is not the marks of personality because God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Now, notice with me 1 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 11, the scripture now applies volition, the right and the power to choose to the Holy Spirit - “All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills”. In other words, you are dealing with someone, you're relating to someone who is not only co-equal with God the Father and God the Son, you're dealing with someone who is equally sovereign. So when you receive and relate to hHm, do you bring Him in as a junior partner? Do you bring Him in as a subordinate? Obviously not. Do you choose and tell the Holy Spirit what to do? No. When He comes into your life, the only correct relationship to Him is to yield and submit to His decision. But how often, when you think of it as a power, you say, “God, give me power to witness, give me wisdom to make the decision” and you don't sense or feel it because you think of the Spirit as a force or influence. You are connecting in the wrong way with a sovereign God. And so when you understand the volitional powers of the Holy Spirit, that He is a person, it ought to begin to shift your thinking and relating to Him.
Here in Romans chapter eight, verse 27, the Bible tells us “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit”. The original Greek word here means the personality of the Holy Spirit - one who thinks, who feels, who chooses - they're all incorporated in this Greek word that says ‘the mind of the Spirit’. You're dealing with someone who is living, who is alive - more than that, who is eternal, who is incredible. There should be a sense of awe and reverence in our lives when we talk about relating to the Holy Spirit because it's not an influence, not a force, not an energy - He is a person.
Love of the Holy Spirit
How about this - here's an amazing verse and maybe you have not looked at it in that light before. We talk about the love of the Father because he sent the Son. We talk about the love of the Son because He died on the cross for our sins. But have you considered the love of the Holy Spirit? Here, Paul, in Romans 15:30 said, “I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit”. It is the Holy Spirit who wooed you to Himself, who convicted you and I of sin, who when we trusted in Jesus regenerated us and gave us new life in Christ. The father loves you, the Son loves you, we know that! But do you know this - the Holy Spirit loves you too? He longs to draw near to you. He longs to know you and for you to know Him. Do you say, “thank you, dear Holy Spirit of God for your love” as much as you say, “Thank you, God the Father and God the Son”? Do you have such an intimate relationship with Him? You can’t have love from power, influence, energy, electricity, nuclear energy or force. But you can have a loving relationship with the Holy Spirit. And not only is this truth found in the New Testament, it is also found in the Old Testament. It is not a new truth. It is a consistent truth in the Scriptures. Nehemiah 9:20, speaking of the wilderness experience, thanked the Lord God and said, “you gave your good Spirit to instruct”. You'll notice here that the Nehemiah ascribed goodness and intelligence to the Holy Spirit. In other words, they never saw the Spirit of God as a mere inanimate, impersonal object, force or influence. He is a person. Now what does all this boil down to? Friends, if you in your Christian life think of the Holy Spirit merely as power, when you want to grow, when you want to serve, you will ask yourself this simple question, “How can I get more the Holy Spirit?” More means more power? That is true in Star Wars, isn't it? The force is strong in him; so you say the Spirit is strong in me. So you see, it's the same carnal, self-centered, and I'm sorry to say, man-influenced thinking that creeps into your theology and creeps into your understanding of the Scripture, that when you want to live for God, ‘wow, I need more power so that when I speak, when I share, everybody will be moved by me’. No, no, no, no, no, no, my friends! The correct relationship with the Holy Spirit is not ‘how can I get more of him?’. When you understand the person of the Holy Spirit, that He is co-equal with God, then you will ask yourself, “How can the Holy Spirit have more of me? How can he fully influence, control, direct and guide my life?” That is the correct response.
Fellowship of the Holy Spirit
So friends, this is a simple truth I would like you to bring home today because this is what Paul emphasizes. Notice with me, he says here, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Why? Because it is the most easily neglected truth concerning the Holy Spirit, that you think of Him as a mere thought or an idea or a concept, but you fail to connect and relate to Him as a person, the third person of the Godhead. So Paul says, ‘I want you to understand the grace of Jesus Christ. I want you to understand the love of God. But I want you to also enter into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.’ Now, your knowledge of the Holy Spirit will die. directly affect your fellowship with the Holy Spirit. What do I mean? If your knowledge and thinking of the Holy Spirit is merely theological, then your interaction with the Holy Spirit is merely theological. You only will talk about Him when you have a Bible class or come to church or read about Him somewhere, somehow, or when you have to teach on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, you will have nothing to do with Him because to you, He is mere theology. Why do you fellowship with theology? You think about theology, you reflect on theology, you discuss theology, but you don't fellowship with theology. You fellowship with God. You fellowship with a person. If your knowledge and thinking of the Holy Spirit is merely theoretical, then yes, you will talk about Him, you will pay lip service to His praises, you will think about Him in church, but still in your hearts, there is no communion with Him. But Paul desires that we enter into the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Why do I need to know the Holy Spirit?
Now, some of you may be thinking, ‘Wow pastor, this is very heavy now because you're asking me to do something’. It's always pretty heavy when you have to do something, right? If you are just here and you are happy then you go out and say, “Wow, thank God”. But when you have to do something, you begin to react and I hope you're reacting. Because I don't want you to just hear and go home and be happy. I want you to hear, go home and think, “Do I have communion or fellowship with the Holy Spirit that Paul desires of us?” But one of the objections you may ask yourself is, “Why do I need to know the Holy Spirit?” Isn’t the Christian life cheem enough already? Cheem means very deep, very complex - there is a Father, a Son, and now there is a Holy Spirit. God is already incomprehensible. God the Son - wow, even if I studied Him for a lifetime, I still would not be able to understand (the Bible also says). Now, we add on the Holy Spirit? Wa jialat. How to manage? But friends, have you thought about it? You and I are capable of the most complex relationships on this earth! You know why? Because you and I are made in the image of God! You are made for relationships. Think about it. You are living right now in the midst of all kinds of complex relationships. You are a son, you are a father, if you are married and with children, you are a husband, you are a grandchild if your grandparents are still alive, you have employers, you have leaders and followers if you are in a ministry team, and you're relating to all kinds of different people at the same time! And yet you're managing it, right? You're not going berserk and saying, “Oh, I need a break!” No, you made it, right? You made it through life with so many sets of complex relationships and God knows you can handle one more. You know, with the Holy Spirit, you have to! Why? Because the Holy Spirit is the one assigned and appointed to bring to reality, to lead you into the experiential knowledge of the truth of Scripture. You see, if you have a mere theological understanding of God, you know all these truths but you won’t know it in your heart. So when you hear testimonies and you hear preaching, you say, “Wah, so nice. I wish that is true for me.” And so you wait for your encounter. But what God waits for is for your fellowship with the Holy Spirit to begin, because when that happens, then you begin to walk with God, then you begin to experience all the truths that He promised in His word to you. So friends, you're not cheated. You're not the less loved one. You're not the least favorite of God. You just need to know the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Why do I say that?
Relationship within the Godhead
Let's go back to 2 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 14, it says here that I wish that you know the “grace of Jesus Christ”. What was the grace of Jesus Christ? The fact that though we are sinners, no concern for the things of God, even after we are saved, we still love the world more than we love Jesus, yet he loved us and died for us. What amazing grace! Not by works of righteousness that you and I have done. According to His mercy, He saved us. It is most powerfully communicated at the cross. So He said, ;I want you to understand and be blessed by the grace of Jesus Christ’. That's what He did for us. He fulfilled the will of the Father; that's our Lord Jesus. Then He said, ‘I want you to know the love of God’. You see, God the Father, he sent the Son. He ordained this, He appointed this, He brought it all to pass, He desired this and He accomplished it through the Lord Jesus. He loves us with a love that we could not imagine or fathom. But then He moves on and says, ‘but I want you to know the fellowship of the Holy Spirit’. You see, in theology, as I show you in that diagram - now I want you to focus on the circle. The circle tells us that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father. There are three distinct and separate persons. You know what that means? That means that they have three distinct and separate functions too. They operate differently in the economy of the Godhead. It works like this: the Father sends, the Son fulfills and the Spirit applies. Let me repeat that one more time, can I? The father sends or He wills; the Son fulfills, He accomplished it at the cross for us, all the power and blessings in high places; and the Spirit applies. You see what happens to you and I as Christians is this: we understand the Father that he sends, so we worship and we honor Him; we understand the Son fulfills, so we thank Him and we receive Him; but we forget the Holy Spirit so we don't apply all these truths. So it is not real to you and I. It remains true in the books, in the Bible, in someone else's lips, but not in my life. You can't replace the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. You can’t. So what does the Holy Spirit do? How will He perform it? You see, He doesn't deliver by email or SMS. When the Bible tells us that the Spirit applies truth into our lives and brings us into His reality, the picture is that of the mailman who brings the parcel right to your doorstep and more than that. So it's not an impersonal application; it's a personal application. He personally comes to you. And that's why you need to have a fellowship and communion with Him. So what does He do? What does He deliver? Look with me in John chapter 14, verse 26, where he says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things.” I understand that, you know, in our English congregation here, we have young folks, you know, great minds who are, you know, very blessed by the teachings of men like Tim Keller, like John Piper and John McCarter. These are good men of God who taught the word and they have great ideas and concepts of the Bible. Now imagine one day if you're at a kopitiam, having your coffee, reading your Bible, doing your devotion before you go to work. 7 am in the morning, nice air-conditioned environment, and suddenly the door opens and Tim Keller walks in - is that him? Yeah, this is the book I'm reading with my devotions and it is Tim Keller. And not only does he walk into the kopitiam, he walks right up to you and says, “Hi, can I sit beside you?” You say, “Whoa, can I take a picture with you? A selfie? I put on Facebook, on Instagram so that everybody knows I had coffee with Tim Keller. Wow, this is cool. Now, let me imagine if that is true, I doubt that you will sit quietly beside Dr. Tim Keller and read your Bible. You know why? Because here is a great teacher right beside you. What would you do? I know what you will do. You will think about the hardest questions and start asking him when he can get his wife; what fruit was on the tree - not that he has an answer but you will ask him. You will ask him a ton of Bible questions. Why? Because a great teacher has walked in and sat right by you. You are not going to miss that opportunity. But you know what, friends? You and I, we miss opportunities every day when we don't ask the Holy Spirit to teach us. You read our Bible in vain. You get confused, you get contradicted, you get frustrated in your daily devotion. You think its dry and sad and you think is useless. Why? Because you never asked the teacher. So he couldn't handle it. He is waiting at the door - ding dong. But why? Why God? Why you don’t want to explain it to me? Why? You know why? Because you never opened the door. You never entered into the communion of the Holy Spirit. You read your Bible, you pray, but you never ask the One who will teach you all things.
What else will He do for you? The Scripture tells us in Romans chapter eight, verse 14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”. You see, the Bible tells us that when you enter into the communion of the Holy Spirit, one of the other things He does is that He will lead you in your life, in all areas of your life. Have you ever lost a credit card? And then you have to call the bank? And the moment you are put through, you should explain to him the situation, the breach, you know, the money that could be lost and all that to someone who hears but first thing you hear is, “Welcome to so-and-so bank. If you wish to speak to our officer, press one. Concerning your account, press two. If it is credit card-related matters, press three.” and then it goes on and on and on and on. And finally, after two minutes when you're dying of panic already, it says, “press star zero if you want to speak to one of our operators.” and then you press it and it goes, “Sorry, all our operators are engaged for the moment. We will attend to you shortly.” You know what? You want to tear your hair out! Why? Because you want to talk to someone when you are in need. You need guidance. You need reassurance. You need help. You need professional expertise. And yet, all you have is an automated response. Doesn't that drive you up the wall? It drives me up the wall. And you know what I found out? Every bank has a different style of star, hex or zero, so you can't even guess it. You press also no use! No response. Aiyo, I don't know why they come up with these kinds of things. But you know what? God never did that with you and I. He never asked you to wait to the end, to press star zero. He says, ‘I will guide you. I will lead you.’ But you know what? The sad thing is that although God is willing to guide you and I, we want to press our Bible buttons every day. We want to come up with new formulas so that we can somehow make the Christian life work for us, whether it's health or wealth or blessing or healings. And then we get frustrated with God because it didn't work. I press the number but you never give me the answer - what's the use of believing in You? You know what, you have not entered into the communion of the Holy Spirit. You have not told Him your troubles and let Him guide you.
How does the Holy Spirit guide you? We have examples in the book of Acts. Acts 16, verses six to seven tells us, “And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. Think about this with me folks. This is so graphic and dramatic. Here we don't have some lem bek, you know, movement - by lem bek I just mean very passive and lethargic, whereby you are like, “Okay, you want to go there? Go la.”
You know, sometimes within a Christian life, it is like that? Just float along and flow along. Here we have apostles and missionaries charging ahead, and the Spirit of God is equally active in saying ‘No, don't go there! No, don't do that. You know, this is like war. This is a battle and the Holy Spirit is actively directing. Do you know of such leadership of the Holy Spirit in your life, in your marriage, in the training of your children? Have you thought about that - that he wants to lead you there too? In your career, in your finances, in our elections, who to vote for? Have you thought about that? He wants to lead you. He wants to direct you in all of life.
Look at this other passage in Acts chapter 13, verse two, “while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them”.” Oh, it gets a bit spooky here now - get ready for this. He said, ‘you know, there are Christians who say that He cannot talk?’ How does he talk? You mean the Holy Spirit talks? Is it in an audible voice? Can I hear? How can I get ready for it? You know why we ask all these questions? I'll tell you why. Because you don't think there is a God who really exists, who is wiser than you, greater than you, who seeks to communicate with you. You know, if your dad says, “you know, when you travel, you can travel, don't worry, I'll call you.” Do you ask your dad, “How are you going to call me? SMS, email, Skype?” How is he going to call me? You know, if your father can have the wisdom and power to connect with you wherever you are, why not the Holy Spirit? But you see, we get all tripped up because we want to know whether it's an audible voice. Sometimes, God does use an audible voice. Sometimes, God uses closed and open doors. Sometimes, God uses the Word of God when you read it. Sometimes, through prayer. Sometimes, He just leads you and you look back and say, “God, thank you for guiding me”. You see, God is not inadequate. He is sufficient for our leadership. But you see, because we have no fellowship and communion with Him, we don't hear his voice. It's just like, if you go out later to have conversations, you know, you could all be talking and all of you are able to express your views - “Wow. Vote for PAP!”, “No, no, vote for this one.”, and “this one is no good”. While you're all talking, someone could be standing there and you're missing your circle. But you never asked him! And being the gentleman that he is, being the polite man that he is, or a lady that she is, she never offered her opinion because nobody asked. So you thought that he or she is dumb or stupid, or just devoid of opinions, or maybe a foreigner! So you imagine all kinds of things about him or her? Because you never asked. And he or she could be someone very significant. How about our Prime Minister himself, Lee Hsien Loong, standing right there but you never engaged him, so he never broached the subject. Why? Not because he is dumb but because you never asked. The same is true of the Holy Spirit, my friends. He's right here. He's not dumb. He's not devoid of intelligence. He doesn't have no opinions. In fact, He has His sovereign will for your life. But you see, you never asked and so you never hear and you'll never know. And Paul says, “I would that you enter into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” And this is what he is talking about. I don't mean that you go all spooky and you know, mysterious or mystical, but I'm saying, enter into what the Bible promises. Not only that, John chapter 14, verse 16 to 17 says, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever”. He is going to be always with us. Have you thought about this? If you are a child of God today, he's going to be here forever; “even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him (believers), for he dwells with you and will be in you”.
You see, in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit doesn't dwell within us because our sin hasn't been dealt with. So the Spirit comes upon believers and then they have power, then they have wisdom, direction and guidance. But in the New Testament because Jesus died on the cross and He has removed the barrier of sin, the veil in the temple is torn in two, He has opened away through His blood through His body. And so, the Spirit of God now can dwell in us - that speaks of an intimate relationship. I mean, even if you get married, the most your wife can do is live with you. And for most of us, that is the challenge, right? The most your husband can do is live with you. And that is like, you know, sometimes you wonder, “why did I make that choice and say, ‘I do.’?” I should have said, “I don't, I don't know what to say.”. You know, you get all confused. But now, my friends, it is not ‘with you’ alone; Jesus says ‘in’. You know what that means? Whatever you read, whatever you think, whatever you feel, whatever you say, He knows, just like your spouse would even though you don't talk to him or her. Alright? And you know what, we need to have great sensitivity to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul says, In Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”. Don't grieve him. You can only grieve a person. You can only grieve a person who loves you deeply. You can only grieve a person when a person is dwelling with you and in you. And so my friends, when you don’t understand this, you neglect the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; and no wonder you do not hear His voice, and you do not know His leadership, and to you, God, the faith, the Scriptures are all far and away. Why? Because you are not in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
So friends, here's a thought for you. We must not focus so much on theology (that's what Bible-believing Christians love to do), or the gifts (that's what the charismatic Christians they embrace richly - what gifts and what form and what kind and all of it, that we neglect the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. You see, God wants a relationship with you. He has made it possible through Jesus Christ but He has made it real and applicable in our daily life by the Holy Spirit. And that's why we cannot neglect the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. I hope that you understand this because more than 100 years ago, there was a man by the name of Dr. Walter Wilson. For seven years he labored long and hard to serve God because he loved him. But he had a futile, fruitless and frustrating ministry. In 1913, there was a French missionary who asked him this question when he shared his struggles and his pain. He asked him this question, “Who is the Holy Spirit to you?” And immediately Dr. Walter Wilson replied and said, “He's the third person of the Godhead”. The French missionary said, “No, that's not what I meant, Dr. Wilson. I asked you, what is or who is the Holy Spirit to you personally?” And at that point, Dr. Wilson paused for a moment and he thought and then replied, “He means nothing to me. I know He's in the Bible. I know that theology and orthodoxy requires that I understand Him to be within the Triune Godhead, but He means nothing to me personally.”, to which the French missionary replied, “that is the source of your woes and your problems”. A year later, he heard another visiting preacher by the name of James M. Gray, who spoke on Romans 12, one and two and said, “You know, friends, to whom are you to present your bodies a living sacrifice?” You do not present it to God the Father because He sits upon a throne. You don't present to the Lord Jesus Christ because He has His own body. You present it to the Holy Spirit because you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Now at that point, after a year, Dr. Wilson, he was deeply stirred and convicted in his heart. So he went back to his home, went into his room, knelt by his bed and he prayed and said, “Lord, for all these years, I've ignored you. I have neglected you. But today, I present my body to you. Feel me, use me, lead me, guide me, I am yours.” In other words, that night, he entered intentionally and consciously into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The next day, in the morning, he woke up and told his wife that something is different for him that day. And his wife said, “call and tell me the moment something unusual happens”. And true enough, at about lunchtime, there were a couple of visiting sisters who were there to do some sales and Dr. Wilson had the opportunity and privilege, after seven or eight long years, to lead these two young ladies to Christ, and thereafter to move on to a fruitful evangelistic ministry, founding churches, Bible schools and other ministries. Why? Because he entered into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
My friends, it is good that you love God. It's good that you know your Bible. It is good that you honor him as the Lord of your life and you want to follow him. But remember this - all that God promises, all that Jesus Christ fulfilled, is going to be applied and become real in your life and mind when we enter into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. So what is your knowledge of the Holy Spirit? Is it just theological, good for discussion? Is it merely theoretical, good for answering questions, but impractical and impersonal? I pray that this morning, you will begin to engage the Lord and the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, in a personal, practical, daily, intimate level. Welcome Him into your heart. Say, “Lord, come, I want to fellowship with you. Teach me your Word. Show me the way. Guide me in my paths. Lead me and may the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Shall we bow our heads for a word of prayer? Our Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for your word. Father, it is so easy for us to hear and not do. It is so easy for us to just be tickled in our minds and write off the faith as a religion or ritual, and imagine that Christianity is just a creed or set of rituals that has no bearing on our daily life and thus, be robbed of its power and reality. I pray that for my brethren here this morning, it will not be so. For those who know that it's not so, encourage their hearts and let them enter into a deeper fellowship with the Holy Spirit, that they may honor Christ more greatly and see and understand the love of God more fully. But I believe that many of us here have not even thought of this subject. We just go through the motions of our life and our faith, thinking that as long as we have a few checks here and there, we are okay. But through it all, we missed a whole point of eternal life, which is to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. And we missed it all because we failed to enter into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, who is here to make all this real and true.
You know, brethren, I invite you this morning to spend some time communing with the Lord. I know that for some of you, theologically, this is a stretch. So that's why I say commune with the Lord. Commune with God. But for those of you who are willing to take that step, then ask the Holy Spirit to lead you. Ask him to comfort you because that's what he's here to do, my friends. Ask him to help you to teach you, to rule and reign in your life, and to bring to life the glorious truth of Christ in you. Ask him because He's here to do that.
But for those of you who struggle with that theologically, then ask God, as all three persons of the Godhead is a Triune God. Don't be robbed of the fullness of God's blessing. Jesus came to fulfill our redemption but the Spirit came to lead us into the fullness of our salvation in Christ.
I pray that you will know that even as we remember the Lord this morning even further, by the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. So I invite our ushers, I invite our deacons to come forward now with the sacraments. If you are a believer today, you have known and trusted the Lord as your personal Savior, and if you have been baptized, we welcome you to partake of the Lord's table. The bread is to bring to our remembrance that Jesus came in his body to be broken, to be hung up on the cross. And he wants us to remember how eminently practical and real His love for you is. And the cup is to remind us of the covenant that we are in, by his blood and not by works of righteousness that we have done. And so when we hold the cup, it should humble us. It is not our Bible knowledge, our years of Christian experience and all that. It is all by the grace of Jesus Christ that we have hope of eternal life.
So Jesus said that when you hold the cup, do this in remembrance of me. We have to remember that he came, we have to remember why he came, and we are to remember the life that he wants us to lead because he came. A life that is apart from sin, apart from that temporary material draw this world; to seek that which is higher and better. And that's why he said, ‘Do this till I come.’ because one day we will give a reckoning, no matter what you may think today, my friends, or what you may feel, what controversies you may have with the Scriptures, Jesus is coming again and to Him, we will give an accounting.
And so when we hold this bread and this cup, we are thankful and grateful for his love; but at the same time, we are responsible and humbled by his grace. Responsible because we know - we know that we have to live for Him.
And so as you commune with the Lord this morning, if there is sin in your life, I want to encourage you to confess it and get right with God. If you feel that you are distant from God, I want you to ask God, holding this cup and this bread, and say, “Lord, bring me back to yourself. You didn't die for me that I live an empty, distant life from you. Draw me back to yourself.” The Psalmist says, “in your light, I see light”. May the light of God's countenance be upon you. So draw near to this time of worship and communion. And perhaps you're convicted by the message this morning. And I encourage you to take whatever truths the Lord has convicted you of and pray it back to him and say, “God, help me right here to be a doer of your word because you loved me so much that you died for me, and you rose again, and you sent the Holy Spirit as the promise of the Father, that I might live the life you meant for me to live, and helped me to live in.”.
I invite all of you to rise with me to partake of the Lord's Supper in honor of God. Please rise with me, holding the cup and the bread in your hands. And Jesus broke bread and he said, “Do this in remembrance of me” - take and eat it now in remembrance of the Lord. And then, the Lord Jesus said, “This cup is a new covenant with my blood. As often as you drink it, do this in remembrance of me.”. I invite you now to take on this cup in remembrance of the Lord.
Let us pray, shall we? Our Heavenly Father, we thank you. We thank you for your love, your goodness, your kindness and your mercy. Lord, there are times when we think great thoughts of ourselves but the fact of the matter is that the glory of man is but the flower that fades away. You know it. You see the withered fruits of our life, the damaged works in our journey and yet you loved us and you gave us life and you pursued us. And we want to remember you who loved us so. We pray that Lord, as we have partaken of the bread and the cup, as we have remembered who you are and why you came, that this day we will resolve to live for you. To live for you a holy life apart from sin, to live for you, unworthy though we may be. Yet, simply because of your grace, we are confident that we are accepted in Christ Jesus. Bless us now, we ask in Jesus’ name, amen.
More Episodes from Pastor Chee Keen Seethor:
28 May 2023
04 Dec 2022
27 Oct 2019
25 Dec 2018
09 Dec 2018
02 Dec 2018
30 Mar 2018
24 Dec 2017
Episodes from other sermons:
03 Dec 2023
26 Nov 2023
23 Jul 2023
18 Jun 2023
28 May 2023
07 Apr 2023
12 Mar 2023
25 Dec 2022