Just what is doctrine anyway? Isn’t that something that applies either to foreign policy, medical practice, or legal theory? Isn’t it to a historical thing that relates to one of our early presidents? Or, I know, it is dusty, musty teaching from the archaic church documents decided thousands of years ago?
Actually, none of that is really helpful. The dictionary definition of doctrine is as follows: “that which is taught; teachings collectively; a body or system of teachings related to a particular subject; a system of beliefs advocated; a particular principle taught or advocated”. It gives us a coherent view of the world. We all organize our world in accordance with a worldview or perspective on things. It allows us to discern truth from error. For example, if I said I had “fallen up”, you would know that I had either misspoken or simply was confused (perhaps due to the impact of the fall…).
When we talk about doctrine from the Biblical standpoint, we are referring to an understanding about what the Bible teaches on a particular subject. Doctrine gives you a framework of right teaching about God’s truths and principles. Jesus said that if we knew the truth, the truth would set us free. Rather than live our lives under the bondage of false beliefs and false teaching, we can live our lives in the freedom of God’s truth about life. This series then is about “doctrine that makes a difference” in the way we live.
Our first installment in our series is the topic for today: “The Holy Spirit”. Who is He? What is He all about? How does knowing this stuff make a difference in our lives? And, how are we to learn about all this anyway?
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.(II Timothy 3:16-17)
The Bible is our sourcebook for what God has to say about life in a way that makes sense of the issues we face. Let’s begin with a foundational truth:
The Holy Spirit is God: He has equal attributes, personage, and power
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” Acts 5:3-4
The Holy Spirit has two primary roles in the pre-Christian world in which we live:
1) The Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning sin
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment(John 16:7-8)
2) The Holy Spirit restrains evil in the world
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.(II Thessalonians 2:7)
The Holy Spirit also has several roles in lives of believers in Christ:
1) He is the helper promised by Jesus(John 14:16-17)
2) He baptizes us into the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13)
God’s game plan is not only to get people into heaven, but to also get Himself
into people on earth!
3) He is received by faith in Christ(Galatians 3:14, 26-28)
4) He seals our salvation(Ephesians 1:13)
5) He fills us (Ephesians 5:18, 3:16,19)
“To be filled with the Spirit means to let the
Spirit possess and control you.
It means you let Him take your mind and think
It means you let Him take your heart and feel
It means you let Him take your conscience and
judge through it.
It means you let Him take your tongue and
speak through it.
It means you let Him take your will and act
It means you let Him take your total personality
and use it as He may please.”(William Scroggie, Pastor of Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh Scotland in early 1900’s)
6) He gifts us for ministry (1 Cor. 12:7)
7) He gives us power to witness(I Cor. 2:12-13)
8) He intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27)
E. Stanley Jones, a former great of Christian literature…What Type of Boat is Your Christian Life? Rowboat(work real hard), Sailboat(okay with the wind of circumstances), Speedboat(power of the Holy Spirit inside)
As Jones pointed out, we determine how we would like to navigate the Christian life. God has placed a huge inboard motor in us once we receive Christ. We determine whether to rely upon that, our to get out the oars, or set the sails.
How the Holy Spirit Works in a Christian:
The Holy Spirit seals our position in Christ
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.(Colossians 3:2-3)
The Holy Spirit establishes our principles in Christ
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17:17-19)
The Holy Spirit gives us power to live in Christ
You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.(Romans 8:9-14)
So What? 5 Faith Filled Steps To Take Now….
1) Respond to Christ by faith
2) Receive the Holy Spirit as God’s free Gift
3) Recognize the role of the Holy Spirit in your new life in Christ
4) Resist the temptation to sin by dependence on God’s Spirit
5) Rely upon God’s Spirit for power and strength
You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit on a permanent basis!
The parchment of your soul cannot be soothed, the thirsting of your spirit cannot be quenched, that a casual or occasional sipping of the Spirit cannot quiet vague, diffused, uneasy feeling that something is missing from your Christian life.
You must drink, and drink and keep on drinking.
You must receive and receive and keep on receiving.
You must believe and believe and keep on believing.
You must rejoice and rejoice and keep on rejoicing.
You must develop a passion for fullness! An eagerness to drink in—to satiate your soul in—the refreshing water of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is to us what Christ would be if He were here Himself, so
that we can be to the world what Christ would be if He were here Himself!