Foundations Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost

Foundations Lesson 5: The Holy Ghost

The Holy Spirit is a Person

In Greek, personal pronouns are used – He, Him, etc. Greek (parakletos) – “One called alongside to help”, Helper, Comforter, Counselor.

The Holy Spirit possesses attributes of personhood

Intellect. Romans 8:26: … the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Intercession requires intellect.

Emotions. Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

A Will. Luke 2:26: And it had been revealed unto him by the Holy Spirit, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. To actively reveal something is an act of the will.

The Holy Spirit does things only a Person can do:

  • teaches and helps us to remember John 14:26
  • calls men to service (He speaks) Acts 13:2
  • convicts us of sin John 16:8
  • leads Romans 8:13,14
  • authors 2 Peter 1:19-21

being a Person, He can be affected by our actions or attitudes.

  • We can lie to Him            Acts 5:1-3
  • We can grieve Him          Ephesians 4:30
  • We can quench Him        1 Thessalonians 5:19
  • We can insult Him           Hebrews 10:29
  • We can resist Him            Acts 7:51
  • We can blaspheme Him   Mark 3:28-29
  • We are convicted by Him  John 16:7-11

The Holy Spirit is God Himself

In possessing the same essential qualities that Jesus does, He possesses all of the attributes of God:

Omnipresent                                  Psalms 139:7-10

Omnipotent                                   Luke 1:35

Omniscient                                    John 14:26; 16:12-13 1 Cor 2:10-11

Eternal                                           Hebrews 9:14

Holy                                     Romans 1:4

Creator                                          Gen 1:2, Job 33:4; Ps 104:30,

He is called God                                              Acts 5:3-4,  2 Cor 3:3, 17

fills                                                         Acts 4:8,  Eph 5:18

empowers  (epi)                                      Rom 8:13,  Gal 5:17,  Zech 4:6,

Acts 1:8

teaches                                                             John 14:26,  John 16:13,  Neh 9:20,

1 John 2:27

 

edifies                                                              Acts 9:31

He does not call attention to Himself and is ever present to glorify and testify of the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 16:13-14: However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will receive of Mine and will announce it to you.

The Spirit of God is active today, convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

John 16:8: And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment.

He regenerates

John 3:6-7: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.

Seals Believers

Ephesians 4:30: And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you are sealed until the day of redemption.

and sets the believer apart to a holy life.

Galatians 5:16: I say, then, Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lusts of flesh.

At the moment of salvation, each believer is baptized with the Spirit into the body of Christ

1 Corinthians 12:13: For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.

To quote Dr. Stanley, at the moment of your salvation, you got all of the Holy Spirit that you are ever going to get.

and at the same moment is permanently indwelt by the Spirit.

John 14:16-17: And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you.

 

At salvation the Holy Spirit sovereignly imparts at least one spiritual gift to every believer for the purpose of edifying and equipping the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:7-8: And to each hath been given the manifestation of the Spirit for profit; for to one through the Spirit hath been given a word of wisdom, and to another a word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit.

As to the charismata (grace gifts/gifts of the Spirit)

The Gift of the Spirit is the Holy Spirit himself, and He is to be desired more than the Grace Gifts which He in His wise counsel bestows upon individual members of the Church to enable them properly to fulfill their function as members of the body of Christ. The gifts of the Spirit, although not always identifiable with natural abilities, function through them for the edification of the whole Church. These gifts are to be exercised in love under the administration of the Lord of the Church, not through human volition. The relative value of the gifts of the Spirit is to be tested by their usefulness in the Church and not by the ecstasy produced in the ones receiving them.

The purpose is to edify the whole Church

Problem (especially for Charismatics):  lack of knowledge of the Person of the Holy Spirit and the proper exercise of His gifts.

The gifts are ALWAYS to focus the believer on Jesus never to focus on the believer himself.

He gifts us by His sovereign will…and takes into account our unique personalities

Gifts complement each other, never compete with each other

The Cessation of the Sign Gifts

The biblical record shows that miracles occurred during particular periods for the specific purpose of authenticating a new message from God.

Moses was enabled to perform miracles to authenticate his ministry before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:1-8). Elijah was given miracles to authenticate his ministry before Ahab (1 Kings 17:118:24). The apostles were given miracles to authenticate their ministry before Israel (Acts 4:1016).

Jesus’ ministry was also marked by miracles, which the Apostle John calls “signs” (John 2:11). John’s point is that the miracles were proofs of the authenticity of Jesus’ message.

After Jesus’ resurrection, as the Church was being established and the New Testament was being written, the apostles demonstrated “signs” such as tongues and the power to heal. “Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Corinthians 14:22), a verse that plainly says the gift was never intended to edify the church.

As the “Gift of Tongues” seems to be the most common gift sought today, we will focus on it for our arguments

Evidence from Scripture

Is there biblical or theological evidence that tongues have ceased? Yes.

First, the gift of tongues was a miraculous, revelatory gift, and the age of miracles and, especially, revelation ended with the apostles. The last recorded miracles in the New Testament occurred around A.D. 58, with the healings on the island of Malta (Acts 28:7-10). From A.D. 58 to 96, when John finished the book of Revelation, no miracle is recorded. Miracle gifts like tongues and healing are mentioned only in 1 Corinthians, an early epistle and possibly one of the first penned by the Apostle Paul. Two later epistles, Ephesians and Romans, both discuss gifts of the Spirit at length—but no mention is made of the miraculous gifts.

By that time miracles were already looked on as something in the past (Heb. 2:3-4). Apostolic authority and the apostolic message needed no further confirmation. Before the first century ended, the entire New Testament had been written and was circulating through the churches.

John MacArthur makes an excellent point and adds a powerful question:

Charismatic believers insist that none of the gifts have ceased and non-charismatics insist that tongues have already ceased. Who is right and what is the implication?

By the time the apostolic age ended with the death of the Apostle John, the signs that identified the apostles had already become moot (cf. 2 Cor. 12:12).

Secondly, tongues were intended as a sign to unbelieving Israel (1 Cor. 14:21-22; cf. Is. 28:11-12). They signified that God had begun a new work that encompassed the Gentiles. The Lord would now speak to all nations in all languages. The barriers were down. And so the gift of languages symbolized not only the curse of God on a disobedient nation, but also the blessing of God on the whole world. (Here, in a sense, God reversed, or rather superceded, for a time, what He did at the Tower of Babel by confusing humanity’s languages.)

Tongues were therefore a sign of transition between the Old and New Covenants. With the establishment of the church, a new day had dawned for the people of God. God would speak in all languages. But once the period of transition was past, the sign would no longer be necessary.

Third, the gift of tongues was inferior to other gifts. It was given primarily as a sign (1 Cor. 14:22) and was also easily misused to edify self (1 Cor. 14:4). Case in point, the number of people who foolishly claim that all believers should expect this gift, or the even more dangerous teaching that one cannot truly be saved if He does not speak in tongues. The church meets for the edification of the body, not self-gratification or personal experience-seeking. Therefore, tongues had limited usefulness in the church, and so it was never intended to be a permanent gift.

Evidence from History

The evidence of history indicates that tongues have ceased. It is significant that tongues are mentioned only in the earliest books of the New Testament. Paul wrote at least twelve epistles after 1 Corinthians and never mentioned tongues again. Peter never mentioned tongues; James never mentioned tongues; John never mentioned tongues; neither did Jude. Tongues appeared only briefly in Acts and 1 Corinthians as the new message of the gospel was being spread. But once the church was established, tongues were gone. They stopped. The later books of the New Testament do not mention tongues again, and neither did anyone in the post-apostolic age.

Chrysostom and Augustine—the greatest theologians of the eastern and western churches—considered tongues obsolete. Writing in the fourth century, Chrysostom stated categorically that tongues had ceased by his time and described the gift as an obscure practice. Augustine referred to tongues as a sign that was adapted to the apostolic age. In fact, during the first five hundred years of the church, the only people who claimed to have spoken in tongues were followers of Montanus, who was branded as a heretic.

The Apostle Paul predicted that the gift of tongues would cease (1 Corinthians 13:8). To repeat and reinforce the point, here are six proofs {gotquestions.org} that it has already ceased:

1) The apostles, through whom tongues came, were unique in the history of the church. Once their ministry was accomplished, the need for authenticating signs ceased to exist.

2) The miracle (or sign) gifts are only mentioned in the earliest epistles, such as 1 Corinthians. Later books, such as Ephesians and Romans, contain detailed passages on the gifts of the Spirit, but the miracle gifts are not mentioned, although Romans does mention the gift of prophecy. The Greek word translated “prophecy” means “speaking forth” and does not necessarily include prediction of the future.

3) The gift of tongues was a sign to unbelieving Israel that God’s salvation was now available to other nations. See 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 and Isaiah 28:11-12.

4) Tongues was an inferior gift to prophecy (preaching). Preaching the Word of God edifies (builds up/trains/molds) believers, whereas tongues does not. Believers are told to seek prophesying over speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:1-3).

5) History indicates that tongues did cease. Tongues are not mentioned at all by the Post-Apostolic Fathers. Other writers such as Justin Martyr, Origen, Chrysostom, and Augustine considered tongues something that happened only in the earliest days of the Church.

6) Current observation confirms that the miracle of tongues has ceased. If the gift were still available today, there would be no need for missionaries to attend language school. Missionaries would be able to travel to any country and speak any language fluently, just as the apostles were able to speak in Acts 2. As for the miracle gift of healing, we see in Scripture that healing was associated with the ministry of Jesus and the apostles (Luke 9:1-2). And we see that as the era of the apostles drew to a close, healing, like tongues, became less frequent. The Apostle Paul, who raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:9-12), did not heal Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-27), Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23), or even himself (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The reasons for Paul’s “failures to heal” are 1) the gift was never intended to make every Christian well, but to authenticate apostleship; and 2) the authority of the apostles had been sufficiently proved, making further miracles unnecessary.

EQUALITY OF THE THREE PERSONS

We’ve studied Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One more of our claims needs to be addressed; that of the equality of the three:

“[God] is infinite and perfect, eternally existing in three equal persons.”

In what sense are they equal? They are all equally endowed with all of the attributes of Personhood and Deity. Matthew 28:19: Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Unity of the One Being of Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Accordingly, therefore, there is that in the Father which constitutes him the Father and not the Son; there is that in the Son which constitutes Him the Son and not the Father; and there is that in the Holy Spirit which constitutes Him the Holy Spirit and not either the Father or the Son. Wherefore the Father is the Begetter, the Son is the Begotten, and the Holy Spirit is the one proceeding from the Father and the Son. Therefore, because these three persons in the Godhead are in a state of unity, there is but one Lord God Almighty and His name one.

John 1:18, John 15:26, John 17:11, John 17:21,  Zechariah 14:9

Identity and Cooperation in the Godhead

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are never identical as to Person; nor confused as to relation; nor divided in respect to the Godhead; nor opposed as to cooperation. The Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son as to relationship. The Son is with the Father and the Father is with the Son, as to fellowship. The Father is not from the Son, but the Son is from the Father, as to authority. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son proceeding, as to nature, relationship, cooperation and authority. Hence, neither Person in the Godhead either exists or works separately or independently of the others. (John 5:17-30, John 5:32, John 5:37, John 8:17,18)

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