Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Work of the Holy Spirit - Indwelling

Another aspect of the Holy Spirit's work is that He indwells believers. While I attempted to make each of these sermons an expository sermon, that is, examining one main pericope of Scripture, the rest of these sermons on the Holy Spirit are more like topical sermons. The remaining sermons are biblical and they are theologically sound but are pulled from various passages throughout Scripture.

The Spirit's indwelling is an amazing part of the Spirit's work in the believer's life and is important to understand. Here is the outline I used for this sermon.

I. What is Indwelling? (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim 1:14)

II. What does indwelling provide?

          A. Indwelling makes God’s presence possible. (John 14:16-17)
                  1. The new presence would be their advocate.
                  2. The new presence would bring new knowledge.
                  3. The new presence had not been experience before (John 7:37-39)

         B. Indwelling makes eternal life possible (Rom. 8:9-11)
                  1. The Spirit shows ownership (9)
                  2. The Spirit brings life after death (10-11)

         C. Indwelling makes holiness possible (1 Cor. 6:18-20)
                  1. The temple
                      a. There was great care in the design of the temple
                      b. Great wealth in the construction of the temple.
                      c. The people knew the temple is where God resided.
                  2. Believer’s are the temple of God
                  3. Strength for holiness comes from the Spirit (Eph. 3:16)

This study begins with understanding indwelling. Indwelling is a separate act than that of regeneration even thought it occurs as the same time. Like regeneration, the minute one places their trust in Christ, that person becomes indwelt by the Holy Spirit. "Dwell" in the 1 Corinthians passage is a word which means "to occupy a house, to reside" and by implication it means "to cohabit" with someone. In the 2 Timothy passage "dwell" is made up to two words. The first word is the preposition which denotes a fixed location. It would be the word "in." The second is the word we just discussed: "to reside, occupy, dwell." The Holy Spirit indwells us. When we accept Christ, the Spirit of God comes down and takes up residence within us. He occupies, sets up house, within us.

The word "dwell" or "indwell" in Scripture has a permanency to it. In our culture, there is such a transitory nature of the word "residency." We hear something about occupying a house, we think in a temporary nature. That is not the case for the Ancient Near East. "Dwelling" means permanency we will talk about that more in a moment. My point is that indwelling occurs and it occurs for each and every believer, it happens at the moment of salvation, and it is permanent. There is never an evacuation or expulsion of the Spirit from the believer’s life.

The second part of this study delves into the result of the Spirit's indwelling in the believer's life. The first amazing provision of indwelling is that God is presence is possible. This new presence would be their advocate, or paraklete, a word that It literally means "someone who is called along side" and has the connotation of someone comes along aside to help you through. This new presence would also bring new knowledge. Jesus promises the disciples they will know things they did not really know before. The point is Christ said that He will love and disclose Himself to those who have the Spirit, the paraklete. Finally, the new presence had not been experience before. This presence of the Spirit would be different than anyone had experienced before because Jesus had not been sacrificed and had not been risen from the dead. This means the indwelling we have right now as believers is something Abraham did not have, Moses did not have it. David did not have it. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel did not have it. Even John the Baptist did not have it. It is a new presence which was brought by the glorification of Jesus. The indwelling provides believers with a unique presence of God in our lives.

The second provision of the Spirit's indwelling is that it makes eternal life possible. Being indwelt by the Spirit means we have eternal life. This is because the Spirit shows ownership. When one receives Christ, the Spirit regenerates that person, and He is poured out upon that person. But this also means the Spirit of God comes and makes His residence within them. This means that person belong to Christ. Therefore, if you have the Spirit, you belong to Christ. If you do not have the Spirit, you do not belong to Christ. Additionally, the Spirit brings life after death. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead dwells in believers and doesn’t do death. This fleshly body may fade and die. But first, believers' spirits are alive because of the Holy Spirit in them. But in addition to that, it is not just a Spirit resurrection. The Spirit will raise our mortal bodies from the dead. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit guarantees us eternal life.

The final provision of the Spirit's indwelling covered in this study is that it is only through the Spirit's indwelling that the believer can be holy. By comparing believers and the Old Testament temple, Paul utilized this powerful image to show that God provides holiness to the believer. Like the temple in the Old Testament was holy ground because God indwelt it, the believer is holy because that same God indwells them (please note: I do not hold to sinless perfection or that the believer lives in perfect holiness. Only that God sees Christ's sinlessness in those who have trusted in Christ). The point is that the Spirit is the one who strengthens our inner man for the holiness needed as the temple of God. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit leads us to a holy life.

Once again, this is not an exhaustive discussion on the indwelling of the Spirit but is a nice introduction to the study of indwelling of the Spirit. It is an amazing and awesome idea that the God of Creation and the Sustainer of Life resides in believers and gives them the power needed to live in a way that glorifies him. And if you are believer, all of this is available. You have the presence of God within you. You have eternal life. And you have the power through the Holy Spirit for holiness. If you are not a believer, surrender to Him today.