Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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GOD: THE HOLY SPIRIT HIS PERSONALITY
Our FATHER We never cease to be amazed that Thou art the Great God of Wonders. You have indeed done for us exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think in so many ways. We thank You most of all for all that You are and for all You have revealed Yourself to be in Your precious Word. We thank You that You are the Great Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Father tonight, as we give special attention to the blessed Holy Spirit, we pray that He shall be our Teacher. We pray in Jesus precious Name. Amen.
Will you open your Bible with me to John chapter fourteen, and I want to read verses sixteen and seventeen. The Lord Jesus in the Upper Room Discourse in which He is instructing His disciples concerning what will come to pass after He has returned to the Father indicates [beginning in verse 16 of John 14] He says, And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall 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.
Now in this first of four messages on the Holy Spirit, I want to center our thinking on the Personality of the Holy Spirit. First, I want to recognize the fact that oftentimes the Personality of the Holy Spirit is questioned. That is, it is questioned whether He really is truly and genuinely a Person. Some teach that He is simply an influence or a power; and therefore, some doubt that He is a Person. In fact, many of the cults deny the Personality of the Holy Spirit. Now there is probably at least three possible reasons why this may be. First, is it whereas you can conceive easily of the Father as a Person and as the Son as of a Person (and especially since He came to earth and demonstrated Himself to us); but it is much more difficult to conceive of a spirit as a Person, and especially since in the old translations of the King James you had the term Ghost, and sometimes that gives almost an eerie feeling about the third Person of the Trinity.....to such an extent that some have questioned or denied His Personal Existence.
Second, there are certain symbols used in the Word of God in relation to the Holy Spirit that are rather impersonal. For example, in John chapter 7 the Lord Jesus refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit in verses 37 and 38, In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [or innermost being] shall flow rivers of living water. Now notice verse 39, (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) So that here He is symbolized as waters rivers of living water. It is also at the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, an accompanying evidence of fire tongues of fire in Acts 2:3, There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Now it is questioned whether that really was the Holy Spirit but for simply a side manifestation. I tend to hold to the second interpretation here, but at least the association here is with fire. When John the Baptist said that One would come and baptize with fire, he undoubtedly did refer to the ministry of the Lord Jesus to be followed by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
In Matthew 25:3 in the parable of the virgins with their lamps, it is usually felt or taught by some that the oil there is also a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Thus, material symbols that are not really personal sometimes give an implication that the Holy Spirit may not be personal.
But probably the most difficult thing from the original is that the word spirit is a neuter word. It is the word from which we get pneumatic. Its the word pneuma, and in the Greek, it is always in the neuter that is, that it has no personality as it were to the word itself; and in addition to that the word pneuma can be and was translated wind. You have that exactly in John chapter three. You have the Spirit referred to, for example in verses 5 and 6, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit [Thats the Greek word pneuma], he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit [Both words for spirit is pneuma.]. When you come down to verse 8, its exactly the same Greek word [and by the way, you ought to beware of the fact, if youve never been cold, that the original Greek writings were all in capitals, so that you didnt have one capital for a particular word, you didnt have words capitalized....they were all capitals....and so you couldnt tell whether it was to be a capitalized Spirit or not as for example, here in verse 6. When you come to verse 8 the word there for wind, The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof.. That word is exactly the same word, spirit, and so it was the word for wind. Therefore, for many it has come to have a meaning of impersonality. I suppose that one thing that may have contributed a little bit to it, to those who have read the King James, is that unfortunately in two places in Romans 8:16 and in Romans 8:26, the Holy Spirit is referred to as itself rather than Himself. You might want to turn to those verses, if you have your King James Bible before you there. Romans 8:16, The Spirit [Notice in the King James] itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And, in Romans 8:26, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now you notice in your Scofield Bible, the old Scofield, they put a note and made it Himself. The revisions all make it Himself, and I think that the New Scofield Bible simply has it Himself in the text as it stands. But all of these things have tended to contribute to a questioning of the Personality of the Holy Spirit.
Now the second thing I want to point out however is the Personality of the Holy Spirit is confirmed in the Word of God. First, the primary terminology in regard to the Holy Spirit is personal. In the passage we read for our text this evening, from John 14, the word there used in the original Greek for Comforter is the Greek word, parakletos, and it means literally [taken from two Greek words meaning to call alongside para- beside; kleto- One who is called alongside. Now this is used in a number of portions here in John [We saw it over in verse 26. You find it also in John 15:26. You find again reference to it in John 16:7.]. Now exactly the same word, Paraclete (one called alongside) is used of the Lord Jesus, Who represents us alongside God the Father in heaven; and its found in I John 2:1, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate [Thats exactly the same Greek word as you have there in John 14:16 and 17 translated Comforter. Now there is no question that the Lord Jesus is a Person and Hes called a Paraclete; and theres no question that the Holy Spirit is a Person, for He also is our Paraclete that is, the One called beside to comfort, to counsel, to represent us to the Father in heaven.
Secondly, personal pronouns are constantly and carefully used in the Bible concerning the Holy Spirit. In John 16:7-8 and 13-15 you will find twelve times a Greek word that points out the Holy Spirit as That One. Notice, and Ill point them out to you quickly here, John 16 beginning at verse 7, Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will sent Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment... Then down in verses 13-15, 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 show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. Twelve references there in those verses to the Holy Spirit, referring to Him as He and Him and Himself. Thus, there should be no question that He is a Person. By the way, the same word is used of Christ in almost as many times, and Im not going into that but you want to put it into your notes, I John 2:6; I John 3:3,5,7,16 the same structure of the Greek referring to Christ as He, Him, and Himself indicating again that personal references made to Christ, a Person; also similar personal references made to the Holy Spirit. Thus, you have a Person Title, the Paraclete, the Comforter, Personal Pronouns used of Him.
Third, Person Identification. He is personally identified with the other Persons of the Trinity, in Matthew 28:19, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Theyre personal identified with the other two Persons of the Trinity.
Not only is He personally identified with the Persons of the God-Head, He is also personally identified with Christians. In Acts chapter 15 and verse 28 theres a very specific personal reference to the Holy Spirit in His relationship to believers. Notice Luke writing under inspiration of the Spirit of God says, For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things [This is the report of the great counsel of Jerusalem. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us believers...].
Then fourthly, in confirmation of the personality of the Holy Spirit, Hes involved in personal activity. In the John 14 passage which we read for our scripture tonight and verse 26, it indicates that He is going to teach you all things. Now an influence or a power does not teach, but the Holy Spirit teaches. In I Corinthians 2:10-11 speaks further of this teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit as a searching ministry, But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit [that is, those things that Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man God has 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. So, the Spirit of God teaches, searches, and knows as these two passages indicate.
In Revelation 2 and 3, in speaking to the seven churches at the conclusion it says that when the message has been given they are to heed, take heed, to what the Spirit says to the churches. For example in Revelation 2:7, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches... So, the Spirit of God speaks to the churches. Then in I Corinthians 12 [and were going to get into this to some extent on Saturday evening], the Holy Spirit is involved in the distribution of spiritual gifts. I Corinthians 12, and actually it involves the passage from verses 8 through 11, For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit. To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit. So it is by the Spirit of God Who distributes spiritual gifts. Notice verse 11, But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will. Notice again, the emphasis upon the personality of the Holy Spirit, as He will.
And then in Romans 8:26, it indicates that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for believers, Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit [and it should be Himself] itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. I sometimes like to point out that we are specially privileged as believers, before the throne of God, for we have [as I John 2:1 indicates] an Advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus; and we have an Advocate with us, the Holy Spirit, and He represents us before God. If you ever have occasion to go to court or to be represented in court, you know the attorneys have a language of their own, oftentimes involves Latin phrases. Well, its the language of the court. Now I believe that there is a language of heaven, as it were, that the Holy Spirit understands with the Father and with the Lord Jesus; and He can communicate for us even far more effectively than we ourselves can do. He knows our needs, and He represents us and makes intercession for us before the throne of God. All these and others which we wont go into, give indication of personal activities.
Now fifthly in confirmation of His personality, He is subject to personal treatment. Subject to personal treatment. In Acts chapter 5, you may remember the account of Ananias and Sapphira and in verse 3 Peter said to Ananias, Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Now, I dont conceive of how you can lie to an influence or to a power, but you can lie to a Person and thus since He can be lied to, this is personal treatment and indicates that He is a Person.
In Ephesians 4:30 it indicates that the Holy Spirit can be grieved. Ephesians 4:30, And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. You can grieve the Spirit of God because He is a Person, and only persons can be grieved. In Hebrews 10:29 there is indication that the Holy Spirit can be insulted, indeed the reading of the Greek there in verse 29 says, Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? Really a better translation there and a number of revisions have it, and have insulted the Spirit of grace. So that the Holy Spirit can be lied to, grieved, and insulted. These all give evidence of personal treatment and indicate that the Holy Spirit is indeed, without question, a Person!
Now thirdly, I want to go into the matter of the Personality of the Holy Spirit, Clarified. Weve seen it Questioned, Confirmed, now Clarified. Five things under this. First and foremost, behind all of these, I want to emphasize that we referred to Him properly as the Third Person of the Holy Trinity; and that in itself indicates that historically and in orthodox fashion, the right teaching is that He is a Person. Number one, because of His Divine Association. Now we referred to this previously in Matthew 28:19 in regard to the baptismal formula baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. This is repeated again in II Corinthians 13:14, in what we call the Apostolic Benediction, in which Paul in concluding this Second Epistle to the Corinthians says, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion [or the fellowship] of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. So here is Divine association, and even in the passage which I read for our scripture this evening in John chapter 14, I [the Lord Jesus] will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter... Now I want you to look at that passage, and I want to point some things out concerning this. The word another there in the Greek does not mean another of a different kind, but another of the same kind. Greek is a very precise language; and they have in the Greek a word for another, a different kind. But, this is another of the same kind. That indicates more than one thing therefore to me. It indicates that He is the same substance, that is that He is God! It also indicates that since the other Two: the Father and the Lord Jesus are Persons; He, another, of the same kind is also a Person that He may abide with you for ever [which indicates the eternal nature of the Holy Spirit as well]; Even the Spirit of truth [indicating that He is dependable as are also the Father and the Son]; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him [that is believers]; for He dwelleth with you [This was prior to Pentecost], and shall be in you [which is the blessed privilege of the children of God in the Age of Grace to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit]. So, Divine Association.
Secondly is the Divine Affirmation, that is the very affirming of this in that the things equally to the same thing or equal to each other. In Acts chapter 5 weve already referred to the fact that the Holy Spirit can be lied to Acts 5:3 Peter says, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit? Now notice verse 4, at the end of the verse it says, ...thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Now what does that prove then? ...thou hast lied....unto God! This therefore indicates that the Holy Spirit is God! Divine Affirmation!
Then thirdly, Divine Attributes the Holy Spirit is the Eternal Spirit! In Hebrews 9:14, 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? So, He is Eternal. He is also Omnipresent. In the passage in Psalm 139, verses 7-10, Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? Then the psalmist indicates that no matter where I go, I cannot get away from the Spirit of God. Then He is Omnipotent. In Luke 1 verse 35 the Angel answered Mary and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest [that is, Gods power, the God of Power] shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And then, He is Omniscient. In the I Corinthians 2 passage, which weve looked at, this is clear indication that the Spirit of God searches all things and knows all things. I Corinthians 2:10-11, ...for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. And then, ...even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. And verse 12, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. So, the Holy Spirit clearly is Eternal, Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient all these unique attributes of God!
Fourthly, the Holy Spirit has been and is involved in Divine Activity. In Genesis 1:2 at the very outset of our Bible, having said in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Here the Spirit of God, moving in creation. Then in John 3 beginning in verse 5, there is indication that the Holy Spirit moves in regeneration, that is, bringing about the new birth. Jesus answered [Nicodemus], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. So, regeneration is the work of the Spirit. And then in Romans 8 verse 11, it indicates that the Holy Spirit is the One Who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. Romans 8:11, If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. So the Holy Spirit exercised Divine Activity in Creation, Regeneration, and Resurrection.
Now fifthly and this is a final confirmation as it were of His Person and His Association with the Triune God, He is called Lord. In II Corinthians chapter 3, Having spoken of the hiding of the glory that Moses had done when he covered his face, and how that Jews even to this day have a cloud or veil over them when it comes to the reading of the Old Testament, begin in verse 16, Nevertheless when it [that is, when it the remnant or the remainder of Israel] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: [Notice the Lord is that Spirit]: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass [or a mirror] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Now the revision is almost invariably translates that last expression by the Lord the Spirit. You have in verse 17, ...the Lord is that Spirit... and then here, ...the Lord the Spirit. Thus being called, Lord He is One with the Jehovah God of the Old Testament, He is a Person.
Now in conclusion, just two remarks. First, the Holy Spirit is only resident in those who belong to the Lord Jesus. In Romans 8 it indicates this in verse 9, speaking to believers Paul says, Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. To receive the Holy Spirit, you do not wait or tarry or pray or seek. You simply receive the Lord Jesus. And, when you receive the Lord Jesus, you receive the Holy Spirit. But if you have never received the Lord Jesus, you have not received the Holy Spirit. Now I know there are some who go over to the Acts passage in Acts 19:2 where it says, ...Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? Well, what the Greek really says is not since but when ye believe. Did you really understand what was taking place, did ye really believe the Lord Jesus? And if you believed and received Him, then you did receive the Holy Spirit. So, only believers in Christ, those who believe He died for their sins and paid in full the price for their redemption, accepted the gospel message they have received, not only Christ, but the Holy Spirit and the Father Who is represented by the Spirit and by the Son we have received contact with and fellowship with the Triune God.
Now secondly, and I must say that there are some of my good friends who disagree with me on the point that Im going to make here. In fact in my first year of Bible School I was warned that you dont pray to the Holy Spirit. In fact, we were even told that we were wrong if we did that....in a fundamental Bible School. Now frankly friends, Im convinced that they were wrong. Now you say, Why? Because of the whole point of the message I sought to make tonight that the Holy Spirit is a Person. And since He is a Person, He can be prayed to, He can be spoken to. Now I do want to say immediately that the natural and normal form of prayer is to the Father, in the Name of the Lord Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. But, that does not rule out the possibility and the privilege of talking to the Father and talking to the Lord Jesus and talking to the Holy Spirit. Some of my dear profs, in that first year of Bible School, if they had their way, they would rip out of the hymnal such hymns as Holy Spirit, Faithful Guide and other hymns like that which are directed to the Holy Spirit; and I believe rightly so because He is a Person. Now do you say, Do you have any Bible verses for that? Yes, I have a Bible verse for that. We already referred to it this evening, and Im going to take you back to it. Its in II Corinthians 13 and verse 14, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [which would be the Father], and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. What does that word communion mean? Simply this fellowship fellowship! Now I know it is possible to have fellowship without talking to someone, but I would say this. It is highly unusual. If you have the means to talk, and that person has the means to hear, that you dont ever talk to that person. Thus, I believe that it is not only right and proper and our privilege to personally address the Holy Spirit in prayer. And I must confess that if its heresy, then I have practiced heresy and many of my friends have practiced heresy. And I often, and I confess that I have prayed to the Holy Spirit, as my Teacher, to guide me into all truth. Even as the Word of God indicates the Lord Jesus expect Him to do for us, and I thank Him for revealing the things of the Lord Jesus to me and hopefully through me.
Now this final remark in regard to the Holy Spirit, He does not speak of Himself, and whenever you hear someone only talking about the Holy Spirit, you just chalk it up that there is something wrong somewhere because the Holy Spirit, while He is a Person, His delight is to take the things of the Lord Jesus and reveal them to us; and He honors and exalts the Lord Jesus even as the Lord Jesus honors and exalts the Father. Remember from the beginning, we pointed out the blessed order in the Holy Trinity that the Father is the One in charge, the Lord Jesus exalts Him, and the Holy Spirit exalts the Lord Jesus, and the Father has sent Them both into the world. What a glorious privilege it is to belong to, to pray to, to have fellowship with The Triune God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and to have fellowship with all Three in One!
Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 15, 1974 pm
Ocean City Baptist Church, Ocean City, NJ
Ocean City Summer Bible Conference