By the Spirit Whom He Has Given Us

1 John 3:24

24 Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

This message was preached April 21, 2002 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com  

Of all the subjects in Christianity today the subject of the Holy Spirit is one of the most controversial. Most Christians fall into one of two extremes.

On the one end are those who cannot talk about much of anything but the Holy Spirit and then on the other end are those who never talk about the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirt is not a NT phenomenon. But the treatment of the Holy Spirt in the NT is much different that in the OT.

  1. The foundation laid down in the OT
    1. In the OT the Holy Spirit is always special and never routine or ordinary.
      1. When Joseph was recognized as having the Spirit of God upon him.
      2. Only a handful among thousands and even millions had this gift.
    2. To have God's Spirit upon you was recognized as a great possession.
      1. These became the accepted leaders.
      2. These became the priests and the kings.
    3. It was understood as a divine gift bestowed.
      1. It was always something understood as a gift rather than a developed quality.
      2. In 1 Sam. 16:14 God recalled His Spirit from Saul, after he was rejected from being king.
    4. It was a testimony of God's power.
      1. When Sampson went to fight for Israel.
      2. When Elijah stood against the prophets of Baal.
      3. When Elisha stood against the Syrian army.
  2. The fulfilment, a mark of the Messiah.
    1. It was a mark of a future promise.
      1. Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
    2. It was a mark of the Messiah.
      1. John 1:32-33 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
    3. It would validate the Messiah.
      1. John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
  3. Christianity, a faith of experience as well as belief of the truth.
    1. Faith in the birth, life and ministry of Jesus.
      1. We do believe the teaching of Jesus but that is not what makes us a child of God.
      2. Jesus was more than just another religionist with a new twist on metaphysics.
      3. Although we hold to the teachings of Jesus, it was what He claimed to be that distinguished Him from all others.
        1. He claimed to be the Son of God.
        2. He claimed that He and God were one.
        3. He claimed that He did all and only what God wanted.
        4. He claimed that He would die for the sins of others.
        5. He claimed that there was no way to God except through Him.
        6. He claimed to be the long awaited Messiah that the Jewish people were longing for.
        7. He claimed that He would rise from the dead.
        8. He claimed that He would ascend to heaven to be with God.
      4. Whatever else He taught, what He taught concerning Himself with what set Him apart from all others.
    2. Faith in His death on the cross.
      1. Not only is true Christianity based on our faith in the person of Jesus Christ but it is also based on the event of His death on the cross.
      2. I was reading a paper from another denomination yesterday that bemoaned the past generation in their denomination where the sacrificial death of Jesus for the sins of others was considered out of step with our scientific age.
      3. There are still a good number today even in our own denomination who do not hold to the need for a Savior to die for the sins of sinners.
      4. But real effectual Christianity is based on faith not in a creed but in events, one of the being the event of the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross.
    3. Faith in His resurrection.
      1. Another event that is essential to the Christian faith is the resurrection.
      2. I can remember someone telling me that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, it would not make a difference in their faith.
      3. But without a resurrection we only have a dead teacher.
      4. Without the resurrection we have no hope except what we have in this life.
      5. Without a resurrection the Apostles were all either the biggest liars of the century or the most insane people to ever live.
      6. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Bible is a book of lies and we are the world's biggest fools.
      7. But faith in the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are not all we have.
    4. Acts 2
      1. In the text it says that He has given us the Holy Spirit.
      2. This was accomplished primarily on the day of Pentecost and we continue to benefit from it.
        1. As Peter said this was a fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel in the OT.
        2. This was a sign that Jesus' life and sacrifice was accepted.
    5. Every Christian has been given the Holy Spirit
      1. Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 ¶ And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors----not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
      2. V-9 Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
      3. V-14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
      4. V-16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,