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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode 120 · 1 month ago

In the Upper Room: A Primer on the Holy Spirit (Part 3)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In the Upper Room: A Primer on the Holy Spirit (Part 3)

John 14:17b

Dax Bryant: Preaching

(FYI: At 14:26 the audio cuts out abruptly and picks back up in a different part of the sermon. The power at the church went off and on during the service, thus interrupting our recording, about 8 minutes is missing.)

Aren't we grateful that, though the storms rage around us, we have a solid rock on which to stand, a mighty fortress in which to seek shelter. Let's bow our heads and pray before we come to God's word here and ask to hear from our God. God, you've not hidden your power and your grace from us. We praise you that you have revealed yourself to us even as we sung this morning, not just in the wonder of your creation, but you've revealed yourself to us in your written word, which further reveals to us your ultimate word, the incarnate word, your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Lord. We ask that you would teach us today by your spirit to know and understand, and love and obey your word. Your word is the only light that discerns the thoughts and intentions and motives of our hearts. Your word reveals our impurities, and it throws a spotlight on your own righteousness. Your word is the only truth that can enlighten our minds and revive our souls. And so speak to us. We pray, individually and as a church the word that we need to hear today. Amen. Well, we are continuing in John fourteen part three of our three part mini series here on the Holy Spirits. So we're in the Upper Room in John fourteen, and among many other eventful scenes that are taking place on this night in the Upper Room, Jesus also for the first time in reduces the Holy Spirit to his disciples. And because the Spirit is such a central character and the rest of the conversation that takes place in the Upper Room, we've spent the last few weeks getting sort of reacquainted, reintroduced to the Holy Spirit. And we've been doing that by asking the question who or what is the Holy Spirit? Just by way of reminder, we learned firstly that he is a person with all the qualities of personhood. Secondly that he is a divine person with all the qualities of godhood. Then thirdly, last Lord's Day, we learned that the Holy Spirit is the communicator of divine truth. Remember this. He he communicates truth to us in two ways. Remember, first of all objectively through the inspired scriptures, but it doesn't stop there. Secondly, he takes that objective truth and he communicates it to us subject actively by taking the word and then applying it personally, experientially, directly to the human heart, and that has the effect of either convicting of sin or causing belief, or causing growth and maturity. So for this morning, we're going to consider a fourth and final answer to that question, who or what is the Holy Spirit? And I'm just gonna give you the answer up front, and then we'll kind of unpack what that means for us here. So who are what is the Holy Spirit? Very simply for today, the Holy Spirit is the permanent presence of God, uniquely in dwelling the life of the believer. The Spirit is the permanent presence of God, uniquely in dwelling the life of the believer. And we're gonna focus just on the last part of verse seventeen. But as...

...we've been doing here this last several weeks, allow me to read just again from verse twelve to kind of establish the broader context of what Jesus is saying here. And we'll be hopefully Lord willing be able to kind of tie all this up when we get to the end verse twelve. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do. Because I am going to the Father, whatever you ask in my name, this I will do that the Father may be glorified in the son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth. And here's our focus for today, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor no is him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. Now we've seen before. I think how in scripture a lot of times little words make a big difference. And that is the case here this morning. We're gonna get to this, but let's just kind of put it on the table up front. There's there's three little words that appear in these couple of verses that make a big difference. If we start in verse sixteen, and I will ask the Father and he will give you another helper to be with you with that's just the word meta in the Greek. It just simply means he will be with you. It doesn't say in that word by itself how or to what extent. It just says that he will be with you, that's the first word. Then in the verse seventeen, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you. Looks like the same word as in verse sixteen, but actually it's not. It's a different word. Uh. This is the word para, which means alongside of or or in your presence. It's a little more specific here on how this with will take place. So in verse sixteen, the Holy Spirit will be with you. In verse seventeen, it's a little more intense. He's he's right alongside you, he's beside you, he's in your presence. But it's even more than that the end of verse seventeen, and he will be in you, within you, inside of you, dwelling within you. So, in other words, Jesus is telling his disciples here, this this Holy Spirit who has been with you all along in some sense, whom you already know. He says, how do they know him? Because he's been right alongside them every moment since he dwells within Jesus, this same Holy Spirit. When I leave, when I go to the Father, he is going to come and take up residence within you. And in fact, we can look in other places of scriptures where we're told that the believer actually will now become the temple of the Living God. Remember when Jesus was crucified and the veil, the thick curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn into from top to bottom, the old covenant system as a means of approaching God was finished in that moment. And just to make it clear, in sev d God sent the Roman armies to level that temple so that not one stone was left on top of another. Why because the temple is not on Mount Zion anymore. The Temple...

...of God is now within every believer who, since he or she is united to Christ, has unhindered access to God. Because of the new and living way that Jesus has opened through the curtain by his sacrifice, that holy simp, that same Holy Spirit whom Jesus is speaking of here in John fourteen, has now come to dwell within you if you are a believer. In fact, it's the presence of the Spirit within you that makes you a Christian. Now, if you're like me, even though you're a Christian. You may not always be conscious of the Holy spirits presence within you, But the fact is you would not even be a Christian in his absence. Who or what is the Holy Spirit? He is the permanent presence of God, uniquely in dwelling the life of the believer. That's a big statement. Let me let me say it again. He is the permanent presence of God, uniquely in dwelling the life of the believer. Shouldn't a statement like that have some implications for us how you ought to live. The fact that the God of the universe has come to dwell and make his presence within you. We see this all over scripture Paul. Paul gets very practical about this in First Corinthians, chapter six, verse eighteen. He begins, he says, flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body. But the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know the at your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. Then he says, you are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. That's a that's a real life application of what it means to have the Holy Spirit within you and your body as His temple. Your your body is now the Holy of Holies, as it were. So then think about what you're doing when you drag along the Holy Spirit with you into your sin. It's absolutely despicable that the Holy Spirit would be subjected to that kind of thing. Will come back to that. This this fourth answer to this question, who are? What is the Holy Spirit? It's worded very carefully. Allow me to say it one more time, probably won't be the last time. The Holy Spirit is the permanent presence of God, uniquely in dwelling the life of the believer. Because the Holy Spirit does not occupy the soul of everyone, does he? And in this passage Jesus draws a very sharp line between those who will receive the spirit and those who won't. Who who will? Who will receive the Holy Spirit? Here? Well, who's he talking to? He's he's talking of course to his first disciples on this night in the Upper Room. But this is also for all believers of all times. And we can deduce that because we've seen the same thing just a couple of verses earlier in this passage in verse fifteen, where the Holy Spirit is given to genuine believers whose relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is characterized by their obedient love to him.

Not just these disciples, but the rest of us too. Now, most immediately it is going to be these men who are given the Holy Spirit. But not the world, not the the cosmos, the world system that is in active rebellion against its creator. What does Jesus say verse sixteen, And I will ask the Father, and he will give you. Speaking to his disciples, he will give you another helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive. Notice that word. It doesn't say that the world will not receive the Holy Spirit, as if the world simply resists the wooing of the Holy Spirit. It's not just that the world refuses to receive him. It's that the world has no inherent ability as things stand, to receive him. That's what that word means. The world cannot, it says, receive the Spirit. Why not keep reading because it meaning the world, because the world neither sees him nor knows him. That word sees there Oh means to behold or to perceive something spiritually. It's got some other uses in the New Testament too, but it often circles back to this, to to behold something, to to see something with spiritual clarity, and that word knows gnosco means, among other things, to know something personally and intimately and and experientially. So so if you're tracking with this, what it says here is that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit because it can't see him. The world has no capability to perceive spiritual truth. And the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit because it does not know him, meaning the world has no personal experiential relationship with him. The world doesn't see him. The world doesn't know him, and therefore it has no relationship and cannot receive him. Bos to advance the Kingdom of God like never before, But it won't happen without effort, or sacrifice or cost. When when these men go out and preach the Gospel, it will arouse such anger and hostility that every single one of them will suffer extreme persecution, and tradition tells us that all but one of them will die for their efforts in accomplishing the greater works. Because when light invades the darkness. The darkness doesn't embrace and welcome and tolerate the light. It hates the light. It seeks to extinguish the light. And Jesus doesn't want his men to move out with the delusion that this work is going to be easy. Can you imagine, filled with confidence going out to proclaim the gospel? How then their faith might be undercut after they've received the Holy Spirit, that they would instantly encounter rejection, resistance. What if they were to be beaten and arrested and thrown into prison. What if they saw people around them even die because of their commitment to Christ. But of course that's exactly what happens, isn't it, And that would be devastating. I think if they had the wrong idea about the task they've been assigned. But the truth is, the Holy Spirit is going to come, greater works will be done, yet there will still be conflict and hostility.

The world in large part will continue to refuse and not receive the spirit. So why does Jesus mention this that the world cannot receive the Holy Spirit? I think, first of all, to minimize any delusions these disciples might have about what it looks like to go out and accomplish these greater works. But secondly, and probably even more important to this context, Jesus mentions the distinction between these men and the world to emphasize the uniqueness of the Spirit's in dwelling presence. The world cannot receive the Holy Spirit because it neither sees him nor knows him. But then he says to his disciples, you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I mean he. He couldn't make this anymore clear, I don't think right. The helper whom he will send the Holy Spirit is not given to the world. He is given to you. So let's let's think first of all, what that meant for them before we consider what it might mean for us. You know him, Jesus tells his disciples, for he dwells with you and will be in you. What does this mean? First of all, he tells his men that they already know the Holy Spirit. How is that possible that they already know the Spirit? Well? While the picture of the Holy Spirit is a lot murkier in the Old Testament compared to what we learned about the Holy Spirit and the New Testament, there is much revealed about the Holy Spirit that these men would have known or should have known right, just the fact that the Spirit was present at creation, That he gives people abilities to lead, that he endows people with gifts to serve, that the Spirit was recognized as holy, that he guided people, lad people, empowered people to perform unique tasks. And I would say that the Spirit's activity even involved in the Old Testament moral and spiritual renewal of people. And we see that more fully developed in the New Testament, of course, But there's no denying the way the New Testament looks back and portrays the life the lives of believers in the Old Testament, that we see the fruit of the Spirit show up in the lives of these people. Abraham is presented as an example of justification by faith in Romans four. Hebrews Chapter eleven is full of Old Testament believers who exemplify what it means to live by faith. What did we say in our catechism, since we are redeemed by grace alone, through faith alone, where does this faith come from from the Holy Spirit? I would say these people were given hearts to believe in God and and trust in the coming Messiah to live lives of faith, but not in the fullest sense of what we experience yet I'll say more about that. Maybe my point here I'm trying to make is the disciples already knew of the spirit. Jesus says, they already know of the Spirit. Isn't that what Jesus implies, Remember when he's speaking with Nicodemus in John three, that that he should have understood that the Spirit must come, the...

Spirit must renew and usher in a new Covenant. He should have known that by reading his scriptures. So although there is disagreement on this point, I would say there was there was something of a reality of new life, of of inner work from the spirit already present, even if it pointed ahead to the greater, clearly distinct ultimate fulfillment of that in the work of the New Covenant, where the Spirit now comes to permanently endwell the lives of believers. And he's done that following Jesus's death and glorification. Up until this present day, i've heard it said this way, under the Old Covenant, the Spirit gave spiritual life. Right because one of the cries of the Reformation, one the summaries of reform thought is that regeneration proceeds faith. Right you, you must be born again to have faith. So the the Spirit gay spiritual life and was with people as he dwelt among them in the temple. But now under the New Covenant, the spirit gives spiritual life and dwells in God's people, who are now His temple. And when we look at the Old Testament, we see God made promises there that that pointed towards this New Covenant, right there in plain sight for everyone to see. Give you a few of them, Jeremiah. Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant that they broke, A new covenant, one that fulfills the old covenant with Moses and and the Israelites at Mount Sinai, where God gave the people the law. And if you remember, that arrangement was very simple, wasn't it. Obey God's law and live, disobey God's law and die here's the problem. The people didn't actually have the ability to keep the law. So what was the point of the law then, Well, amongst other things, the law serves to showcase God's uncompromising standard of righteousness and to make people aware of how woefully short they fall of that standard of righteousness. The law of the old Covenant, it demands holiness. But the old Covenant could do nothing to produce the holiness that it demanded. So God promises people that one day he would make a new covenant. He's still in Jeremiah thirty one. He says, but this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, declares the Lord, I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts, not on tablets of stone, but on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. So let's let's keep putting this together. Here, the new covenant comes. This is an important distinction between the new and the old. The new Covenant comes with the grace and the strength and the power and the motivation to obey it. God's going to write his law on the hearts of his people. He's going to put it within them. But but you have to think, how will writing the law on their hearts help them obey? So we keep looking at what the Old Testament, says Ezekiel. God says, I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the...

...heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. That's why Jesus can tell his disciples that the spirit whom they already know, dwells with you and will be in you. The Holy Spirit has been living among them because Jesus is right there with them, and and the Father has given Jesus the spirit without measure. But the time was soon coming after Jesus's glorification, when the Holy Spirit would come to dwell within the disciples themselves. He dwelt with them, but very soon he would dwell in them in a new capacity as the spirit of the risen and glorified Christ. So God's going to establish this new covenant, he says, a new co it with with standards of righteousness and holiness for living just like the Old Covenant, except perhaps you could argue even that the standards even seem to have been elevated in the New. But the difference is in the New Covenant. God will give his people the capacity, the ability to live up to it through the empowerment of his own spirit dwelling within them to desire to obey his commands. That's that's part of what it means to be a New Covenant believer. Listen to Joel two verse, and it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions, even on the male and female servants. In those days, I will pour out out my spirit, God saying I'm going to do something new on a larger scale than what's been done. This isn't just for a few people. This isn't just for a specific task or a specific time. He's going to do something for all believers, regardless of their their age, or race, or gender, or socio economic background. He's going to pour out his Holy Spirit on all believers for this reason among many that they can live up to the holy and righteous standard that he requires. And of course this is exactly what Peter quotes in Acts chapter two. On the day of Pentecost, he stands up and declares, this is what's happening now, this is what you're seeing. This is just like what God promised, and now even today we're living under this same covenant. It's a better way where we both have the desire and the ability, with the Spirit's help, to joyfully carry out Christ's commands. Believers, that makes you different than those people who are not Christians. You're different not because you're better, not because there's anything special or unique or particularly lovely about you, not because you're such a nice and friendly person, not because you show up to church on Sunday for an hour or two, but because God has set his love upon you, and He has initiated something that began outside of you and put it within you to transform you at the very core of your being. Because of that, there is now a radical difference in your identity. You are a new creature in Christ. You have new passions, new goals, new...

...desires, new ambitions, and new holy hatred for sin. That's why Paul can say what he says in First Corinthian six about fleeing sexual immorality. We read that earlier. What's the motivation to obey that command to flee sexual immorality? The motivation is the gospel. He says, you are not your own, but you were bought with the price. What price was paid, So glorify God in your body. That's the motivation. But how can you do that? How can you carry that out? To glorify God in your body by fleeing from pentempation? Because Paul says, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You're not just given the command, you're given the empowerment to obey the command. The only reason you can obey those commands is because the Holy Spirit it resides within you. You've been given a new heart that has made God's law not a burden but a delight to you, and you want to obey. That's the essence of the New Covenant in terms of obedience. And so to treat disobedience like it's no big deal is to mock the work that the spirit does in the New Covenant. Remember what John the Baptist said, there's one who's coming, who's greater than me. I baptize with water, but he will baptize with what or who the Holy Spirit. And Jesus says the same thing in Acts chapter one, just before he ascends to Heaven. He says, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And we want to be clear about this too, when we when we talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we're not talking about a second experience, a second work after salvation that creates a higher and better class of Christians. Okay, that's one of the errors of Pentecostalism. In scripture, the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at the moment when you trust Jesus Christ and he places you into his body. The church, it's it's the realization of the New Covenant. I'll never forget. This was some years ago. It wasn't at this church, obviously, but a visitor came and asked me if I was a spirit filled preacher. You know what they were asking to right, the same thing people ask when they ask you if you've received a second baptism of the Holy Spirit, as if there's some secondary experience that comes after salvation. But if you're a Christian, your answer to the question are you spirit filled or or have you been baptized with this spirit? Is absolutely, It happened at the moment I believed and trusted in Jesus Christ's my savior. Receiving the Spirit is the essence of your salvation, not something that happens after your salvation. If you're a believer, you've received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it's it's because you're under the New Covenant. But notice here too, this isn't just a temporary thing. Jesus says they're at the end of verse sixteen that the Spirit will be with you forever. And that's why this is part of the answer to our question who are What is the Holy Spirit? He is the permanent presence of God uniquely in dwelling the life of the believer. That is an incredible, irrevocable gift that God has given to his people. But we have to also say this is a gift that is not given to everyone, because not everyone is saved. So we have to ask on what...

...basis, then, does the Holy Spirit come to dwell in anyone? Why would the Holy Spirit come to dwell within a believer? And not within someone who is in the world. What makes the difference, And the answer is very simple. Jesus said it on this very night in the Upper room. He said, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. On what basis does the Holy Spirit dwell within some and not others. It's on the basis of the finished work of the Sun. The work of the Spirit is hand in hand with the work of the Sun. In other words, for those whom the Son died and shed his blood, those are the same people whom the Spirit will endwell in the in the Hebrew Tabernacle and later the Temple. But before God placed his presence in the Holy of Holies, what had to happen. The blood of an animal sacrifice had to be spilled, and in a very similar way, before the Spirit of God places his presence in your heart the new Holy of Holies, he had to spill his blood for you. Listen to how Hebrews nine describes this, and then we're almost home. Hebrews nine, starting in verse eleven might be worth turning there if you're into following along. M Hebrews nine, verse eleven. But when Christ appeared as a high priest, skipping down a little bit. He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Following that, and then and then look at verse fifteen. Therefore, on the basis of Christ's shed blood, therefore he Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant. That's what we've been talking about. Look at this part. So that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. According to this verse, who is it that receives the promised eternal inheritance of the new covenant on the basis of Christ's shed blood, those who are called? That's that's not me saying that, That's what the text says. And how do you know if you're called? That's often the question, how do you know because you respond to the call by repenting of your sin and placing your trust in Jesus Christ. You cannot do that on your own. The call must proceed that and the Spirit of the Living God must come and...

...en dwell your soul and regenerates your heart to give you the ability and the desire to answer the call. So all of this fits together. The Son dies for those whom the Father calls, The Spirit regenerates and dwells those for whom the Son died. It's the same group of people. So if the Holy Spirit is within you, it is because Jesus Christ died for you. And as is so often the case that brings us right back to the cross again, it's on the basis of the blood shed at Jesus's sacrificial death that God established the New Covenant. And now, believer, God has made you his temple. He's given you the wholely Spirit to dwell within you. He's made you a new creation. He's written the law on your heart and he causes you to obey it. But remember this is the main thing. I think in the New Covenant, everything that God requires from you is on the basis of what He has first done for you. And when you think on what God has done and and who He has made you to be, then that should have the result of causing your heart to overflow with love and service and obedience to Him. And now you're ready to be about the business of the greater works. In the immediate context of John fourteen, that's the primary reason here why Jesus is promising the permanent presence of the indwelling Spirit to his disciples so that they can accomplish the greater works. But it's not just for them. This includes you if you are a believer. And now that we've been re reminded of who the Spirit is and what he does, then it's time to get to work. Let's pray, and to close with a Puritan prayer from Robert Hawker. Blessed, Promise, Holy Spirit, and make it happen in and upon my soul day by day. Bring me under the continued washings of your sovereign influence, and cause me to feel all the sweet anointings of the Spirit sent down upon the hearts and minds of your redeemed These are the fruits and effects of Jesus, the promise of God the Father. Yes blessed spirit caused me to know you in your person, work, and power. I need you day by day as my comforter. I need you as the spirit of truth to guide me into all truth. I need you as the one who reminds me of the Lord Jesus to bring to my forgetful heart all the blessed things He has revealed to me. I need you as the witness of Jesus to testify of my wants and of His fullness to supply. I need you as my advocate and helper in all my infirmities in prayer. I need you as the deposit of the promised inheritance that I may not faint or lack faith to hold on and hold out in every dark season. I need you, Lord. I cannot do a moment without you, nor act in faith, nor believe a promise, nor exercise of grace without your constant hand on my poor soul. Come, then, Lord, I beg you,...

...and let me be brought under your unceasing washings. Shed abroad the love of God, my Father and my heart, and direct me into the patient waiting for Jesus Christ. Amen.

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