Jurong Outreach

"whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ."

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The Holy Spirit is Deity

Previously we look at some characteristics of the Holy Spirit revealed in the scriptures that show us His personhood. The Holy Spirit is not a mindless power to be harnessed and used for either good or evil.

The scriptures tell us more than the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person. It tells us that He is actually deity—in other words, God Himself.

For some, this Bible truth is hard to accept. The rejection of the Bible doctrine of the Trinitarian nature of God has long been held for many years in many quarters.

What we do have is irrefutable Bible revelation of the deity of the Holy Spirit, just as we have irrefutable Bible revelation of the deity of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Holy Spirit is Eternal

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God (Hebrews 9:14)?”

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews plainly states an attribute of God for the Holy Spirit—He is eternal.

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God (Psa 90:2).”

“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1Ti 1:17).”

The Holy Spirit is All-Knowing

Being eternal is not the only attribute of the Holy Spirit that speaks of His deity. Paul reveals that the Spirit is all-knowing.

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God (1Co 2:10-11).”

Again, omniscience is an attribute exclusive to God.

“Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high (Job 21:22).”

The Holy Spirit is All-Powerful

God is recognised as the Creator of the universe. The same creative power and activity are ascribed to the Holy Spirit as well.

“The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life (Job 33:4).”

“Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth (Psa 104:30).”

The Lord Jesus performed His great signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you (Mat 12:28).”

Paul explained that the power by which he performed miracles in his ministry among the Gentiles was the power of the Holy Spirit.

“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ (Rom 15:18-19).”

The Holy Spirit is All-Present

Another divine attribute of the Holy Spirit is His omnipresence.

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?…Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psa 139:7, 10).”

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD (Jer 23:24).”

The Holy Spirit is God, the third person in the eternal Godhead. Denial of His deity will lead anyone down the path of terrible errors. How we respond to His inspired word, then, is of utmost importance.

Are we taking His word seriously? Let each of us approach the scriptures with fear and humility.

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The Holy Spirit is a Person

The movie franchise Star Wars popularizes the idea of a ‘force’, powerful but impersonal. It could be harnessed and used to one’s advantage for good or for bad. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on—good or evil.

There have been well-intentioned folks using Star Wars as an analogy for the Holy Spirit and His operations. Well, aside from other errors, the analogy paints the Holy Spirit as an impersonal power.

When we look into the Bible and study what it reveals to us about the third person of the Godhead, we see that far from being an impersonal force neutral to good and evil, the Holy Spirit is a personal being, with accompanying characteristics only an actual person can have.

The Holy Speaks

In writing to his young protégé, Timothy, the apostle Paul said, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1Tim 4:1).”

“The Spirit speaketh expressly.” Speaking is a characteristic of personhood. An impersonal force does not and cannot speak. Speaking is a form of verbal communication with the means of language. Only a mind, whether embodied or unembodied, can do so.

The Holy Spirit Testifies

On the night He was betrayed, the Lord gave the promise to His apostles sans Judas that He would send the Comforter.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (John 15:26).”

To testify is ‘to be a witness, to bear witness, i.e. to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something’ (Thayer). Apparently only a person can do so. An impersonal force, say, gravity, cannot possibly bear witness.

The Holy Spirit Teaches

We can learn much about the personhood of the Holy Spirit from the promise of the Lord to His apostles. Another proof of His personhood is that He is a Teacher.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you (John 14:26).”

Not only did He teach the apostles, He helped them recall what they have learnt. We may learn much from an impersonal force, but only a person can actually teach us. This the Holy Spirit did for the apostles as Jesus promised.

The Holy Spirit Guides

More than merely a Teacher, the Holy Spirit guided the apostles in their ministry to spread the gospel throughout the world.

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:12-13).”

The time of His earthly ministry was up. Jesus was about to fulfil His mission to bear the sins of the world on the cross. The apostles were to continue the work of seeking and saving the lost.

To do so, the Spirit guided them into all truth, which before the death and resurrection of the Lord they were unable to understand. Providing guidance is personal trait.

The Holy Spirit Has a Mind

“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom 8:27).”

Perhaps the most obvious trait of personhood is having a mind. Paul pointed out that the Holy Spirit has a mind. All the above—speaking, testifying, teaching and guiding, helping with recollection—must be the work of an active mind. An impersonal force, which is not a mind, cannot perform these actions.

God is a Spirit (John 4:24), and the Holy Spirit is doubtless a Spirit. This simply means He is unembodied, i.e. without a physical, material body. Humans are material creatures existing in space and time. We have bodies. We are embodied minds.

The Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force. Star Wars is fiction. It may be fun entertainment but it isn’t real. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is real.

There is so much more we can learn from the word of God about the personality of the Holy Spirit, such as His emotional side (Eph 4:30) and His deity (Acts 5:1-4).

Many of the errors in the religious world are the results of misunderstanding what the Bible says about the third person of the Godhead.

As with everything else the Bible reveals to us, we must approach the subject of the Holy Spirit with humility and reverence.

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Despising the Church

“What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not (1Co 11:22).”

The Corinthian Christians had committed the terrible folly of a wrongful approach to the Lord’s Supper, for which the apostle sternly rebuked them. By their behaviour they had looked down upon worship and held the Lord in contempt, regarding the remembrance of His sacrifice as worthless.

A wrongful approach to any act of worship is to despise the church of Christ. As the church is His body (Eph 1:22-23), if we should despise the church, we are in fact despising Him. Let the saints of God keep a watchful eye for other ways we might intentionally or unintentionally despise Him and His church.

How may the church be despised?

Forsaking the assembly.

A common way Christians despise the church is by forsaking the assembly.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Heb 10:25).”

Forsaking the assembly is declaring to the world that worship is not important. It is good to go to church only when we have no other engagement. This is despising the church because we would be treating it lightly, giving more importance to other things in our lives.

Accepting benefits without accepting responsibilities.

We partake of the Lord’s Supper in memorial of His blood shed for us, so let’s seek to tell the lost of Him. We may own copies of the Bible so let’s not neglect to study the Word. As we conduct ourselves as Christians on Sundays, so for the rest of the week we shall let our light shine for Him.

Failing to prepare for worship.

We expect the preacher to be prepared to preach, in the same sense let’s prepare ourselves to worship and serve. Getting to bed late on Saturday night and feeling drowsy throughout worship on Sunday morning isn’t a good plan, is it?

Irreverence during worship.

Let’s challenge ourselves to stop fiddling on smart phones and tablets, chatting with friends, walking in and out of the auditorium to answer or make phone calls, and other such like activities that distract from worship.

Not taking doctrine seriously.

Christian living must be based on sound doctrine. Doctrines do matter as much as living a good life. The careful and industrious study of doctrines is not easy but it’s also not a painful chore.

Unworthy giving to the church.

The ancient Israelites kept the best for themselves and offered the lame, blind, sick and blemished to the Lord (Mal 1:6-8). May we learn the painful lesson from history (cf. Rom 15:4; 1Co 10:11). If every member gives as the Lord has prospered us, there would be so much more we could do for evangelistic outreach and benevolence.

A critical attitude.

It is incredibly easy to find faults among the church. That is only so because the church is made up of imperfect people! There is wisdom in an old joke: if you think you have found a perfect congregation, please don’t go there. If you do, they will no longer be perfect.

Results of Despising the Church

The results are serious. We grieve the Lord when we despise the church (cf. Eph 4:30). Our spiritual lives weaken, as the Corinthians’ were when they held the Lord’s Supper in contempt. We might also become stumbling blocks to other Christians and visitors who might be considering obedience to the gospel.

We must remain ever vigilant and mindful against any potential action that might cause us to despise the Lord and His church, and recognise how we might have despised the church and then repent earnestly. Thereafter, let us resolve not to commit the error again and to serve with humility, joy and gratitude.