A couple of weeks ago I used this text for the evening message. The Galatian believers had been drawn into thinking that they could live the Christian life in the flesh. Paul reminds us of the foolishness of such a notion. And yet that is exactly what many Christians are doing. The last resort is to turn to God. The Holy Spirit and His power in our lives is ignored by many while they turn to the teachings of men and their own power to solve problems.
Over the next few weeks I want to redirect our attention to the One who dwells within each believer to guide and direct us into all truth. The Holy Spirit of God. Much confusion exists because of the crowd that will over-emphasize and misrepresent the true ministry of the Spirit. The Spirit of God has a very important ministry in the lives of believers and should not be over-looked.
I. The Holy Spirit Saves and Sanctifies.
A. The Holy Spirit is the Agent of salvation.
1. He produces conviction.
a. Conviction is an awareness of guilt regarding one's own sins.
b. Only God can produce that awareness.
c. Note: John 16:8
2. He produces repentance.
a. Repentance is a desire to turn from our sins once we have been convicted of them.
b. Men are incapable of repenting on their own; it is God who grants repentance.
c. Note: 2 Timothy 2:25
3. He empowers preaching.
a. The Holy Spirit empowers God's truth so that it penetrates the unbeliever's mind and begins to do its saving work.
b. He empowers both the preacher and the hearer, and both are necessary works of the Spirit of God.
c. Note: 1 Thess. 2:13
4. He regenerates hearts.
a. Example of Nicodemus in John 3:3-8
b. Note: Titus 3:5-6
B. The Holy Spirit is the Agent of sanctification.
1. He indwells believers at the moment of salvation.
a. Acts 2:38
b. 1Co. 12:13
c. Romans 8:9
d. 1Co. 6:19
2. He baptizes believers into the Body of Christ.
a. The "body of Christ" refers to all who are saved in this age.
b. The Spirit of God places us into this body at the moment of Salvation.
3. He gives spiritual gifts to believers.
a. Spiritual gifts allow us to do spiritual service such as preaching, teaching, helps, etc.
b. Each believer has a unique combination of gifts especially suited to them by the Holy Spirit.
c. The spiritual gifts are to be exercised in the believer's local church.
4. He secures every believer's eternal inheritance.
a. Note: Ephesians 1:13-14
b. We are sealed and we have the earnest of the Spirit to assure us of God's love and guarantee to keep His promises to us.
5. He sanctifies believers.
a. Note: 2Thess. 2:13 & 2Co. 3:18
b. The Christian life begins in the power of the Spirit that's why we should never try to reach spiritual maturity apart from His power.
II. The Holy Spirit Provides Access to God.
A. The importance of access.
1. Access to God implies intimacy with God.
2. God is the provider of all spiritual resources, our needs can't be satisfied by natural commoditites.
3. Only God can supply those needs, and He's available to us through the Holy Spirit.
4. Note: Gal. 4:5-9
B. The means of access.
1. Through prayer we have direct access to God.
2. Through God's written Word we have access to God also.
3. Note the following passages:
a. Psalm 16:11
b. Psalm 27:4
c. Psalm 42:1-3, 5-7, & 9-11
d. Psalm 73:25-26
C. The benefits of access to God.
1. We have fellowship with God, and as we pursue that fellowship we experience all the provisions we need for a healthy Christian life.
2. We have resources for every need.
a. Mt. 6:11-13
b. Phil. 4:19
3. We have wisdom for every circumstance.
a. James 1:5
b. Proverbs 3:5-6
III. The Holy Spirit Illuminates Scripture.
A. Illumination is necessary.
1. Having intimacy with God is wonderful, but it must be a two-way conversation.
2. We speak to Him in prayer, but He speaks to us through His Word.
3. It is the Spirit of God who opens our minds to God's Word and makes it come alive to us as God speaks through its pages.
B. Note these Scripture passages:
1. 1 John 2:20-27
2. 2 Corinthians 1:21
3. 1 Corinthians 2:9-14
4. Scripture is sufficient to supply all God wants us to know about Himself and His will for our lives.
5. But Scripture must be illuminated by the Holy Spirit if we are to understand it.
6. The Spirit works through the Word of God to accomplish His purposes in our lives.
When we became Christians, God's Spirit convicted us of our sins, brought us to repentance, and regenerated us. He then indwelt, baptized, sealed, gifted, and separated us from sin. He gives us access to God, who supplies all we need for physical and spiritual life. He illuminates our understanding of God's Word so that we are transformed by its principles as He applies them to our lives.
He is our source of spiritual power. Unfortunately, many Christians have been drawn away from depending on the Spirit's ministry and focused on some quick and easy answer to their problems. But there are no shortcuts to godliness. We must allow the Spirit of God to transform us through God's Word and His ministry. That is how we grow as Christians.