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Apostle's Creed 12: Holy Spirit

By Pastor Phillip Howle

web posted August 15, 2013

RELIGION – Imagine I told you that I went away for a week to a fantasy sports camp. The camp was hosted by Michael Jordan. Each day I got to spend time with the greatest basketball player who ever laced up shoes. He would take time with me and coach me and instruct me. In addition to the coaching, Michael Jordan was going to impart to me his very spirit, ability, and power into my life. Then I come back to Edgefield with a bumper sticker on my car that says “Trained with Mike.”

I go around town talking about my awesome week, claiming that Jordan literally put his power and ability inside of me. You may think I had bumped my head or you may say “OK big boy, put up or shut up, lets head to the town gym.”

We arrive at the gym, you have heard me talking and you are expecting to see the brilliance of Jordan be made manifest through me as I now possess his spirit inside of me. You are also wondering if in addition to bumping my head, I might be on drugs. Anyways, we start to play and even though I claim to have Jordan’s spirit in me, I am awful. I can’t make layups; your 8 year-old daughter beats me in HORSE. You skunk me in a game of 21. So you go on Wondering Minds and tell the world I am a nut job who can’t play basketball.

Now as far farfetched as this may sound, the next part of the Apostles’ Creed makes this claim, as we say “I believe in the Holy Spirit.”  By this statement, we are saying that the very presence and power of God now lives and resides in us.  This is a bold claim and a big deal. How we back up this claim with lives that are lived in the power and ability of God will determine whether people are amazed by our lives and drawn to God or repulsed by our living and think Christians are hypocrites.
    How do we speak of the Holy Spirit in a succinct way? First off, the Holy Spirit is God. The Holy Spirit seems to be the most intangible, mysterious, and unreal part of the Trinity. God the Father is described in familiar terms, corresponding to our experience of fatherhood. God the Son became a man corresponding to our experience of humanity. But God the Spirit is not so graphically presented. I have read that trying to see the Holy Spirit is like trying to see your own eye. The instrument of perception is not itself perceived. The eye doesn't see itself, and the Spirit doesn't show himself, but rather he shows us the Father and the Son (John 15:26; 16:14).
The Holy Spirit continually works and moves to bring us closer to God. This is what He does. He brings no glory to Himself, but exists eternally to lift up Jesus and to draw people to the Father.  The Spirit gives us the ability to and unction to live as Jesus did. To this end the Holy Spirit’s work is continual. The Bible shows that God the Father created the world and rested on the seventh day. God the Son redeemed the world and sat down at the right hand of the Father. God the Spirit never rests. He is always at work through believers.
A wonderful local Pastor, John Noblin, describes the work of the Holy Spirit in these terms. He tells how a glove can do nothing by itself, but with the hand inside it can do many things. True, it's not the glove, but the hand of the person in the glove, that works. He explains that the Christian is a glove. The Holy Spirit is the hand that does the work.  This means that a person who professes to be a Christian should be leading a life consistent with this reality.
But will the Holy Spirit overtake and just make you an awesome and humble person all the time? No. Do I or anyone else perfectly exhibit these marks of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” It is as Robert C. Roberts describes “The fruits of the Holy Spirit are largely fruits of sustained interaction with God. Just as a child picks up traits more or less simply by dwelling in the presence of their parent, so the Christian develops tenderheartedness, compassion, humility, forgiveness, joy, and hope through “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” – that is, by dwelling in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. And this means, to a very large extent, living in a community of serious believers. (Christianity Today, Feb. 1987)
This last line “living in a community of serious believers” will lead us to next week’s article on the Apostles’ Creed “I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:”  But I conclude this week by saying, daily we are to seek and ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit. Let us seek by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s power to live as Paul admonished the Philippians in 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ.”
        Pastor Phillip

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