Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the change in the Christian's life upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit as made available through Christ.
[Message] This morning is on the topic of “The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit,” and so I am going to read from a number of different passages. The first of the ones that I shall read are found in the Gospel of John, so if you will take your Bible and turn to the 3rd chapter of the Gospel of John for our first passage. John chapter 3, and we shall read verses 1 through 8, John 3:1-8. I guess that most of us know the context of John 3 the interview, which Nicodemus, the ruler of the Jews had with the Lord Jesus. John 3, verse 1,
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, 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. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”
Now let’s turn over to John chapter 7 and read three verses, verses 37 through 39 in this chapter. John 7:37-39,
“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 shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Now let’s turn on to the 14th chapter and read verses 16 through 20, John 14:16-20. Remember our Lord spoke these words in the Upper Room Discourse, and in the 16th verse addressing the 11, 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 be in you.”
Now since the Book of the Acts of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Spirit through the apostles is the next book, lets turn to Acts chapter 19, and read a couple of verses here. The first two, Acts chapter 19, verses 1 and two. We are having Bible drill this morning, and the adults are not doing so well. Acts chapter 19, verses 1 and 2,
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.”
Now I want you to notice that in the margin of most of your Bibles in verse 2, the text should not read, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” But rather, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” And then the reminder of that verse which records their answer, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” Is not a denial of the knowledge of the existence of the Holy Spirit, but whether there be any Holy Ghost given at the present time is the point for one of the chief points of the message of John the Baptist was the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and these men were John’s disciples. The next book in the Bible is Romans, and so we are going to read one verse in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans. Romans chapter 8 in verse 3, Romans 8 in verse 3. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.”
Now the very next book after the Epistle of Paul to the Romans is 1 Corinthians, and so lets read two verses in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, and this will conclude our Scripture reading. 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 19 and 20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” May God bless this reading from his Holy Word? Shall we bow together in prayer?
[Prayer] Our gracious and loving Heavenly Father, we are so grateful that we are able to gather in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for the wonderful privilege of addressing Thee in his name. We know that his name is the all-prevailing name and we recognize our Father that it is not through any merit that we have that we come to Thee. It is entirely in the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know, Lord, that we are in ourselves lost an undone and cannot and would not do the things that please Thee. And we know that it is only through the blood and the cross that we can stand in the presence of an infinitely Holy God and call Thee Abba Father and know, Lord, that Thou hast heard our petitions.
And so we come into consciousness of the holiness and the righteousness and the justices of our God, but also in the consciousness of the infinite merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we come with assurance and we come with boldness because Thou hast said in Thy word that the merit of the Lord Jesus is recognized to those who have put their trust in him. Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and so we bless Thee for the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank Thee Lord that Thou hast not only conferred upon us the gift of everlasting life, but with him Thou doest freely give us all things. We thank Thee for the blessings of life that have come because of Jesus Christ, and out of Thine own loving heart. We thank Thee for our daily bread, which Thou hast supplied us with through many a year. We thank Thee for the assurance of the companionship of the Holy Spirit, the blessed possession of all who have believed, and we want to worship and to adore Thee and bless Thee for every provision, many of which we are absolutely unconscious of. And Lord we pray too for those who are unable to be with us. We pray, oh God, that Thou wilt minister to them. May there be the sense of the comfort and of the presence and consultation of the Holy Spirit, and may Lord Thy hand be laid upon them for their good.
We recognize that the trials and sufferings of life also come to us from Thee. For Thou hast said that it is given not only in the behalf of Christ to believe on him, but to suffer for his sake. And so, Lord, make us thankful for all of the blessings, whether they be the positive good or whether it be suffering, which often is that which thou doest desire most that we experience and endure for the glory of God. We pray for every troubled soul in this audience. We pray that the problems of life represented here, may be committed to Thee in faith and trust and in assurance. We pray Thy blessing upon this country in these critical days again we ask, oh God, for wisdom and guidance to be given to our leaders, and may, oh God, there be the continuous opportunity for the proclamation of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Enable us who have put our trust in him to order our lives in the light of the Word and in the light of the situation in which we live. Now Lord may Thy blessing be upon the remainder of this service for the glory of Jesus Christ in whom we make this petition. Amen.
[Message] This morning the subject is The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit. You remember in Acts chapter 19 the passage that we read from the Book of Acts, some of John’s disciples had come into contact with the Apostle Paul, and Paul had asked them, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” By the way I guess you have noticed that Paul did not put it as we so often put it in the Christian church. We say, “Do you believe in the Holy Ghost?” With the apostle the question if the Holy Spirit was not just a doctrinal matter. In our great creeds of the Christian faith, we have, “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the giver of life.” I think the Niacine Creed reads something like that. We also say in the apostle’s creed, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.” Paul did not say to these men, “Do you believe in the Holy Ghost?” For you see for him the doctrine of the Holy Spirit was not so much a doctrinal matter as an experiential mater. And so he spoke to them and said, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” And they replied, “Why Paul we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost or not.”
Now they did not mean, as I suggested in the Scripture reading that they were ignorant of the personality of the Holy Spirit. They well knew the doctrine of the Trinity no doubt, for one of the chief points of the preaching of John the Baptist had been the ministry of the Holy Spirit, but what they did not know was that the day of Pentecost had come and that the Holy Spirit had been given in this age, and that he was the blessed possession of all who had believed. I am not so sure that but this ignorance of the disciples of John the Baptist is not a current thing in the Christian church today. We do in our churches Sunday after Sunday say I believe in the Holy Ghost, but I am just wondering if we really understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit, his activity, and his personality in the lives of believers as we ought. It seems to me that with most of us it is simply a doctrinal matter. I believe in the Holy Ghost, of course I do. In olden times, Andrew Murray a used to say, “Believers knew God, met God, came to the conscious assurance that their lives were lives that were lived in the presence and in the will of God.” And I believe that we have lost just a little bit of that, even in our evangelical and fundamental churches.
The Godly Fletcher of Maidly when he used to lecture on the Holy Spirit, after he had concluded his lectures he would say to them, “Now all of you who are interested in learning of these things experimentally follow me into the little room on the side.” And there he would gather with his students, and they would pray for several hours over the application of the truths that the great professor had taught them to their daily lives. I guess if I were to say to most of you in this audience, for you have been exposed to the word of God, “What are the ministries of the Holy Spirit?” Probably some of you would say, “Well I do know that the Spirit is a divine person. He is the third person of the Trinity. He is the executive of the Godhead. He takes of the things of God and applies them to the lives of men.” You probably could go that far. A number of you no doubt could go on and say, “Why the Holy Spirit has ministries to the world. He convicts the world of sin of righteousness and of judgment. He restrains sin in the world, and then probably you could say he also has ministries to the believer. He is the one who prepares them for their salvation experience. He regenerates them. He baptizes them with the Holy Spirit. He indwells them. He seals them.”
Now you see the Holy Spirit has lots of ministries. We are going to concentrate this morning on one of them, one of the most important the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And I want to try to ask and answer three questions in the exposition of this topic. First of all, what is the basis of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Or how is it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell any human being? And then the second question, does the Holy Spirit indwell all believers, or simply the best of us? And finally why does the Holy Spirit indwell us, or how who, and why? And first of all now, how is it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell a man who has been created by God and who has fallen into sin?
Now obviously you can say immediately, well there are two sides to this question, Dr. Johnson, from the standpoint of God and from the standpoint of man. And that is true. For you see there is a God ward answer to this question and there is also a man ward answer to this question. How is it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell a human being? Let’s look at it from the divine standpoint first. And do you remember the text in Romans chapter 8, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh. God sending his own son in the likeliness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” Think about this for just a moment. We say the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead. What is the Holy Spirit’s name? Well now you would immediately reply, “Oh the Holy Spirit that is his name.” But Holy Spirit is not a name. Jesus of Nazareth was the name of the eternal Son. Has it ever occurred to you that the Holy Spirit does not have a name? He is given a title, Holy Spirit. That is his title, but we do not know his name. He is the unnamed member of the Godhead in that sense, but the thing I want you to notice is that in this title, great stress is laid upon the fact that he is the Holy Spirit.
Now this is extremely important. For if we just think for a moment, that the third person of the godhead has as a title the Holy Spirit, then we can see the problem of indwelling an unholy human being for every single one of us is unholy. How is it possible for the Holy Spirit of God?
Now it would be a puzzle and a problem if we should posit the indwelling of an angelic being a without sin being, but the Holy Spirit of God, how is it possible for him to indwell us? For remember God put men in the Garden of Eden, and he gave them one simple prohibition. “Of all the trees of the garden thou mayest freely eat.” You see there was no limitation in the goodness of God. He gave them the maximum of freedom, and the minimum of responsibility. “Of all the trees of the garden thou mayest freely eat, but of the tree which is in the midst of the garden thou shalt not eat of it for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” And of course they did exactly what you might expect knowing me to be what they are. They ate of the forbidden tree. And then remember God had to drive Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. From that time on man has been a sinful being and has been also propagating sinful beings. Man has been creating men in his own image from that time on and men have sinned.
In the 6th chapter of the Book of Genesis, God said to man at the time of the flood that he could no longer strive with man for that he was flesh. In the Book of Habakkuk years later the prophet speaks of God and says of him, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity.” So here we have men who are sinners. Men who have gone away from God, men who are separated from God, men who are ignorant of God, men who are unlike God, and yet we have also the Holy Spirit.
Now I read in the passage in John chapter 14 this morning, these words, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter that he may abide with you forever even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive. The world cannot receive.” So here we have a magnificent perplexing problem. How is it possible for an unholy individual to receive within his bosom the Holy Spirit of God?
Now this is a problem. In the Old Testament we find some indications of its solution in the types. Do you remember the instructions that were given with reference to the anointing of the son’s of Aaron? And remember Aaron is an illustration of the Lord Jesus Christ, the high priest, and the sons of Aaron are illustrations of the priest? Today we of course are a holy priesthood. The church of Jesus Christ has over its head our great high priest the Lord Jesus, and every single one of us are priests before God. I am not your priest. No preacher is ever the priest of his people. I have often heard ministers get up and speak to other ministers along this line. “Now men we must priests for the people.” That is utterly unscriptural and utterly a denial of the truth of the New Testament, which is that every single believer is a priest of God and may approach God in the same merit and in the same efficacy that any preacher of the Word may approach God. In the Old Testament Aaron was the high priest and his sons were priests, and when they were consecrated in office it is very interesting to notice the order in which the applications of the oil and the blood were made.
In the case of Aaron who stands as the illustration of the Lord Jesus, the Old Testament said that in his case he was anointed with the oil and then he was sprinkled with the blood for he stands as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, who does not need to have any application of the blood for his sins so that Aaron is anointed with oil, that which is suggestive of the Holy Spirit, and then he is sprinkled with the blood to suggest for him that he must in the priestly office carry out his office even unto death. So in the a case of Aaron, who is like our Lord, we have the application of the ministry of the oil, suggestive the Holy Spirit, before the blood is suggestive of the cross. But in the case of the sons of Aaron, in Leviticus chapter 8 there is a very interesting change of order. In the case of them, we find that when the sons were brought forward they were first sprinkled with the blood, and then they were anointed with the oil because you see in the case of the sons who are illustrative of the individual priests of God there is first the application of the blood because there must be remission of sins. There must be pardon. There must be forgiveness. There must be justification, and then on the basis of that, there is the anointing of the oil of the Holy Spirit, so even in the Old Testament, we find something of an inkling of a solution to the problem, how is it possible for an unholy individual to have the Holy Spirit of God come and indwell them.
Now Paul states it right in Romans chapter 8, the basis of the whole thing. He says, “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh.” So the Lord Jesus came from heaven as the Son of God and as the sacrifice for our sins, and he not only died for our sins, but he died for sin itself, not only the acts, which we commit, but the nature, which is at the root and heart of all of our actions. Our Lord died for that so that God gained a judgment against sin and against the sin nature, so that believe it or not, Christians, sin has no more right in the body of a believer right now than it will have when we are in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, through the finished work of the Lord Jesus. Right now we are not debtors to the flesh to live after the flesh. For our sins have been taken away in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, so from the divine standpoint, the answer to the question, how can a Holy Spirit indwell and unholy human being from the divine standpoint? It is through the ministry of the blood and cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has wiped away the sin of men.
Now from the human standpoint, how is it possible for the Holy Spirit to indwell an unholy being? After all Jesus Christ died for all men, but the Holy Spirit does not indwell all men. What is the human condition? Will you turn with me now to John chapter 7? John chapter 7 in verse 37 through 39, John chapter 7 in verse 37 through 39. Here the Lord Jesus says,
“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 shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
The important words of course are the words “Which they that believe on him should receive.” You see the human condition for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. From the divine standpoint it is the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. From the human standpoint it is trust by the individual in that which God has done.
Now you notice that the Lord does not say there, “Which they that pray for him, which they that tarry for him, which they that believe and are baptized should receive.” But simply, “Which they that believe on him should receive.” No where in the New Testament are we told that the coming of the Holy Spirit is upon any other basis than simply faith and trust and that which God has done through Jesus Christ, and furthermore you can see from this that the reception of the Holy Spirit is not some second blessing, which believers may receive at a later time. We, when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ at that very moment the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us. He does not come after we have believed because we urge him to, because we beseech him to, because we pray for him to come. He, the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, he comes and he indwells us. There is no such thing as a second blessing other than the way in which we might speak of all of the many blessings that Christians have.
You remember the humorous story of the person who was approached by someone and asked, “Have you ever had the second blessing?” He said, “No, I haven’t. I’ve had the first, and I’ve had the third, and I’ve had the third, and I’ve had the fifth, and I’ve had many others.” But he said, “I’ll tell you the truth, I skipped that second blessing because I saw that it made such fools of people.” And it has. Any kind of seeking of a second blessing is utterly contrary to the teaching of the word of God. How is it possible then for the Holy Spirit to indwell an unholy human being? From the divine standpoint the saving work of the blood and the cross, from the human standpoint the acceptance in grace and through faith of that which God has done.
Now our second question is this. What is the extent of the Spirit’s indwelling? Now you can see that I have already answered this question in the remarks that I have made, but I want to expand on it for just a moment. Who are indwelt, just the best of us? Is it true that only the preachers are indwelt? Is it true that only the members of the ladies auxiliary are indwelt? God forbid no. Good heavens no, as Luti would translate it. Is it true that only the elders are indwelt by the Holy Spirit? No. The deacons? No. What does the Bible say about eh indwelling of the Spirit?
Well now let me give you just briefly three reasons why it is absolutely essential for us to recognize that every single believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, in the first place to counteract some objections. Let me say that this question, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is settled if we just remember this, that the presence of the Holy Spirit is the test of Christianity.
Now let me read a passage. Romans chapter 8 in verse 9. Will you take a look at passage, and notice the last sentence. Romans chapter 8 in verse 9, Paul says, “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Don’t you see from this statement that if a man does not have the Holy Spirit he does not belong to Jesus Christ? He therefore cannot be a Christian. The test of spiritual life is the possession of the Holy Spirit. If I were talking to you about your Christianity, and you were talking to me about mine, the ultimate test of the possession of spiritual life on the part of both of us is the possession of the Holy Spirit. Do we have him? In having him we have life. In having him we are Christians. Therefore it is obvious that if this is the universal possession of Christians because it is the test of spiritual life, surely then all believers must have the Holy Spirit. This is why in Galatians chapter 4 in verse 6 Paul says, “And because ye are sons God has sent forth the spirit of his son into his hearts crying Abba Father.” Every son of the Heavenly Father has the Spirit of the son, the Lord Jesus Christ. So you see the test of life is the possession of the Spirit.
Now the test of spirituality is submission to that spirit, once he has come to dwell within us, but the test of life is the possession of the Spirit. Therefore every Christian must have the Holy Spirit. Secondly even the carnal in the New Testament are said to possess the Holy Spirit. Do you remember Paul writhing in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 to the Corinthians? And I have always thought you know that we loose an awful lot by having any kind of chapter or verse divisions in the Bible. Some time it would be good of us just to get a hold of a New Testament without any chapter or verse divisions at all, and read these books. For so often we miss the meaning because we have some method of reading, which prevents us from seeing the truth. In the third chapter Paul wrote to the Corinthians in the first three verses, and he called them carnal Christians. He said, remember in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 in verse 1,
“And I brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with meat, for hitherto ye were not able to bear it. Neither yet now are ye able for ye are still carnal for whereas there is among you envying and strife and divisions. Are ye not carnal fleshly and walk as men?”
And yet in the 6th chapter the apostle will say to this same group of striving divided fleshly Corinthian Christians, “What know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God and ye are not your own?” So it obvious that even the Christians who are divided and fighting and squabbling with one another over the greatness of their leaders even if they themselves have the Holy Spirit it is obvious that all Christians have the Holy Spirit. But then finally let me also say this, that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is universal, not only because it is the test of life, and not only because even carnal Christians possess the Holy Spirit, but because the conduct standard of the New Testament demands the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is absolutely essential for any man in the flesh to please God. This is the whole trouble with our Christian lives today. We come to see the Lord Jesus Christ as one who has died for us, and we see that we are saved by grace through faith, and that we do nothing ourselves, and then we become Christians by believing in the Lord Jesus, and immediately we set out to please God in our strength and in our own power.
Why the conduct standard of the New Testament demands that we have divine ennoblement. “Why out of the belly of the believer the Lord Jesus said shall flow rivers of living water.” Can we do that in our own strength and in our own power? Of course not. In order to please God we must have divine ennoblement. “It is not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit saith the Lord.” And that is why every single Christian must have the Holy Spirit if he is to fulfill the obligations that rest upon him because he is a Christian in the New Testament. Our relationship to God in the New Testament in a practical way is the responsibility of walking by the Spirit, and we cannot possibly walk according to the dictates of the Spirit if we do not possess the Holy Spirit. So the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is universal. Every Christian possesses the Holy Spirit. Even these youngsters on the front row here, if they have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells them. And mothers, don’t you listen boys, mothers this is the greatest appeal that you could ever make to them too.
Finally, why does the Holy Spirit indwell us? After all God usually does things with a purpose and for a definite end and aim. Why is it that we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? To be more specific than the living of the Christian life, let me just select a few things. We don’t have time to look at all of them, but turn to John chapter 14, John chapter 14, verses 16 and 17. The Lord Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” Will you look at that text carefully? A comforter, one who will abide with us forever, an ever-present advocate.
Now the word comforter is the word in Greek parakletos. Parakaleo means “to console,” “to encourage, to exhort.” Parakletos is one who consoles, one who encourages, one who exhorts. The primary force of this word is on the force of strengthening because he is the encourager. In fact you know this old word, which we have used to translate it in the King James Version, is a word that really meant strengthen with it was first written in this text. It does not mean a comforter in the sense of a blanket. It does not mean a comforter in the sense of one who is just called along side of us to console us, but it means one who is called along said in order to strengthen us. In fact in the version of Wycliffe, Philippians chapter 4 in verse 13, reads like this. “Not I can do all things through Christ, which strengthening me, but I can do all things through Christ which comforteth me.” Because you see the word comfort meant to strengthening in these day, so this particular passage means he shall give you another strengthener that he may abide with you forever. An advocate, one who will really help us.
Now John you know tells us something about an advocate too, in his first epistle. In 1 John chapter 2 in verse 1 he says, “These things I write unto to you my little children that ye send not, but if any man sin, we have an advocate. (The same word that is used here.) A comforter, a strengthener with the Father.”
Now isn’t it interesting. There the Lord through the apostle says we have an advocate with the Father. Here the Lord Jesus side, I am going to pray the Father, and he will give you another comforter down here, so we have an advocate with the Father, one who represents us before God, the Lord Jesus Christ. And then we also have an advocate in our hearts, one who represents God toward us. You know it’s an interesting thing, but a believer possessed of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cannot possibly do any thing except the Holy Spirit is present. He cannot possibly say any thing, but that the Holy Spirit does not hear it. He cannot possibly go anywhere but there the Holy Spirit is with him. We cannot go. We cannot do. We cannot say anything except in the presence of the Lord through the Holy Spirit, so to have an ever-present advocate.
You know I have often said this, and I really believe it that some hymn writers are going to get to heaven so as by fire because so often they have missed the point of the New Testament in their hymns. Have you ever sung this hymn? I have. It has a stanza that goes like this. “Holy Spirit, faithful guide ever near the Christian side.” Well now that’s a wonderful thought and a good sentiment, but that’s a long ways from the whole of the New Testament teaching. Would you like to hear how I sing that hymn when I sing it? I don’t sing it the say the rest of the brethren sing it. I always sing it like this. “Holy Spirit, faithful guide who ever in us doth abide.” And if your ever in an audience, and we have this hymn to sing and you seem to hear a man out of step with the tune and with the words it is I, I assure you because you see the New Testament teaching is not that the Holy Spirit is ever near the Christian side. He always abides within us, not only near us, in us and that is why the Lord Jesus says in this 17th verse, “For he dwelleth with you before the cross and shall be in you when the day of Pentecost comes to pass.” So first of all the Holy Spirit has been given to be an ever-present advocate. By the way did you notice that he is to abide with us forever?
Now we are not talking on eternal security, but that just sort of gives me a little thrill when I read it because I know that I am eternally secure. But then secondly in the 20th verse, we read these words, “At that day, that is when the Holy Spirit has come on the Day of Pentecost, ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you.” The Holy Spirit has been given in order to consummate an ever-precious union between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I can still remember dear old, Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer telling us in theology class one day, “Now men notice the seven words at then of 20. “Ye in me and I in you.” He said, “You know I think they are the most important words in all of the New Testament.” And there is a sense of course in which they are not only the most important words in the New Testament, but they also are the heart of the theology of the Apostle Paul. I can also remember Dr. Chafer years ago preaching in the Scofield Memorial church when it was downtown. And he went into the pulpit that morning a man about seventy-two years of age, and I didn’t notice he was just a little fellow, a very dignified man. He could just barely get over this pulpit desk here, and he stood and preached and he was not the kind who flailed the pulpit when he preached, but rather very quite, dignified. He would say wonderful things.
I noticed that his arms were hanging this way, but I didn’t not really pay that much attention to them until he began to talk about John 14 verse 20, and he said, “Ye in me and I in you.” And with that, he had entered the pulpit, and I am not going to it, but he had entered the pulpit with his arm on the inside of his coat, so that the sleeve of the coat was flapping loose, and with that he raised it up like this and he said, “You know men or audience.” He said, “Doctors have never yet been able to take an arm and graft it into a human being.” But he said, “You know the New Testament uses this as an illustration, for the New Testament speaks about the fact that we are the body of Christ, and members in particular, some are arms. Some are eyes. Some are feet.” And he said, “You know this is used in the Bible to express the relationship that we have to the Lord Jesus Christ, and then he went on to say this. He said, “Let’s just suppose for a moment that is a possible thing.”
Remind to kill that fly after this service is over. [Laughter] As I was saying the other day when we were talking about Genesis chapter 7, 8 and 9. Why didn’t Noah swat those two flies when he had a chance? [Laughter] But any way Dr. Chafer went on to say, “Let’s just imagine that this is possible, and let’s just imagine that a call goes out in a nation whose king has lost his arm. For anyone who would be willing to supply an arm, and let’s suppose that this offer is given to men who are in prison, and an amnesty or forgiveness of all of their sins against t the state is offered if they will sacrifice an arm, and let’s suppose that someone comes forward and says, ‘I will sacrifice my arm for the king.’ And so doctors perform the graft and the arm of the criminal becomes the arm of the president of the country.”
He said, “You know the arm before was the arm of a criminal. And arm perhaps that was stained perhaps by the blood of a wicked crime, stained by all of the notorious character of that deed, stained by all that was associated by crime, but the moment that arm is taken out of the criminal. And grafted into the king. Then it partakes of all of the dignity of all of the honor. All of the nobility of the office of kind, and he went on to say you know we are just like this, for we have been taken out of told Adam and grafted into the last Adam our Lord Jesus Christ and on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came, this wonderful union that exists between the believer and the Lord Jesus Christ was consummated, so that now we can say we are in him that is our position, and he is in us that is our power. This is the language of an element you know. A bird name may be in the air, and the air, and the air is in the bird. A plant may be in the earth and the minerals of the earth are in the plant. A fish may be in water, and the water is in the fish. A poker may be placed in the firs and soon fire is in the poker, isn’t it, the language of an element.”
Now that is what our Lord is speaking about here when he says that ye in me and I in you. This wonderful union that exists, this is the reason. I suppose one of the greatest of the reasons why the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. He was to unite us with the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful thinking it is to be united to the Lord Jesus. And then finally also Paul say sin Romans chapter 5 in verse 5, that the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us, so you see the Holy Spirit has come to indwell us in order that we might have an ever present advocate in order that we might have an ever present advocate in order that there might be an ever precious union and finally in order that there might be an ever outward interest among those who are believers in Christ. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts, but the Holy Spirit who has been given unto us.
Men you know these things but let me repeat them. You know that lawyer for example doesn’t have to love his clients in order to be a successful lawyer. You know that a businessman doesn’t have to love his customers in order to be a successful businessman. You know that a physician doesn’t have to love his patients in order to be a success physician.
Now we know that love helps, but it is not necessary. No one can ever possibly be a successful representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, who does not have the love of God flowing out through him. I remember the story of a conversion of a blacksmith. He was a very ungodly man. But he had a good Christian friend. Who attempted to witness to him day after day and finally became so discouraged that he felt it was absolutely impossible to convert this man. Some days or months afterwards he was lying on his bed late at night, and he couldn’t sleep. And the Lord brought again that blacksmith to him and seemed to impress upon his heart that he must go to see him just one more time. The next day he walked into the blacksmith’s shop and he stood before him fully intending to say something and just as he looked at that man, the blacksmith looked up at him, he couldn’t say a word. And tears began to stream down his cheeks, and what words could not do, love did and that man was one to Jesus Christ.
One of the reasons God has given us the Holy Spirit of God is that his one love my flow out through us toward others. Well we’ve answered the questions I hope. The Holy Spirit indwells all Christians on the basis of the finished work of the Lord Jesus, and our trust in him. The Holy Spirit indwells us in order that we might have an advocate, a strengthener, in order that there might be consummated this wonderful union of Jesus Christ and finally that there might be this ever outward interest toward those who are lost. You know we get up in our churches don’t we and say Sunday after Sunday at least some of us, “Glory be to God the Father, and to his Son and to the Holy Ghost.” But do we really mean what we are saying? Some of us stand up in our churches, and we say I believe in the Holy Ghost, but the question is have you received him when you believed in him.
May I close with a story? It’s a true story, but it illustrates so wonderfully the significance of the Holy Spirit. There was once a man, who had a mother who loved him very much. When he was young, his father died and it was necessary for his mother to support him, and she did. She labored constantly for him, managed to get him through grammar school, high school, college. The young man then told him mother he wanted to physician, and so she worked and worked, and managed to get him through medical school. And then he went off to intern somewhere. Began to practice, and married a lovely young girl, but she was from a rather wealthy family. A very well known family in the community and he was just a little ashamed to let her know the homely background that he had had, and so he had never told his wife about his mother. But he loved his mother, and ultimately he couldn’t stand it. So he went to his wife, and he said to her something like this. He said, “You know back in the country it isn’t exactly like it used to be back in cities. Back in the country we used to have people who would come to work and be maids in our homes, and they would live with us and serve us, and we had a lovely maid whose name was Mary. And she used to come and when I was sick she would stay with me and nurse me, and I wonder if it’s possible for us now that we have this lovely home, and we have that room in the attic. I wonder if it’s possible for us to invite dear old Mary to come and live with us. The young girl was a very lovely person, and she said, “Of course.”
And so he wrote his mother a letter, “Dear mother, I have been ashamed to tell my wife that you are my mother, because of the homely background that we had, but I do want you to come and stay, and we do have this room up above, and would you mind coming and being introduced as the maid who used to work in our family?”
Now I know what a father would do in a situation like this, but this woman loved her son, and so she agreed to come, and she came. She went in the house. She was introduced to the wife. They took her up to the room in the attic, and there she lived. Day after day when the wife would be gone and the doctor would be home, he would go upstairs to talk with his mother because he loved his mother, and he loved to sit and discuss the things of the old life with her, but finally the young wife discovered the secret as young wives do. They talk about women’s intuition, and she had it. And soon the secret was discovered and she spoke to her husband and she said, “How could you ever think that I would be the kind of person who wouldn’t want your person to come and have the loveliest room in this house, and so together they went upstairs and they walked to little old Mary, and the little wife went over to her. Took her hand. Put her cheek against the cheek of the cheek of the elderly woman and said, “Mother” to her. And they brought her down and gave her the loveliest room in the house.
You know this is a true story. But it’s not nearly so significant as the spiritual reality that it might illustrate. Do you know, and I want to say this very carefully and with reverence. The Bible says this, “The wind bloweth where it listeth and Thou hearest the sounds thereof, and canst not tell whence it cometh or whether it goeth the so is everyone who is born of the Spirit. Born of the Spirit.”
Now I want to say it very reverently Christians, but the Holy Spirit is our mother in the Christian faith, and I want to ask you a question. What place does he have in your life? Have you taken him in like that young man took his mother in and given him that room in the attic? Once in the house as a whole ever afterward in a corner of the house or have you brought him into your life as the one who has consummated union with Jesus Christ and crowned him Lord of your life. This is what God expects, and this is what he desires. God have mercy upon us who are Christians for treating the Holy Spirit as we have. Our time is up. Shall we stand for the benediction?
[Prayer] Our gracious God and Heavenly Father, we want to confess to Thee the sin of possessing the Holy Spirit of God and not giving him the preeminent place in our lives. We know God that it is his place to glorify Jesus Christ. And so, oh Father, we pray that he may have so much of us that others may see the Lord Jesus Christ through us. And then Lord if there should be some in this audience who have not yet believed in Jesus Christ, give them no rest nor peace until they rest in him until they too have the sign of the Christian life, the possession of the Holy Spirit of God. Now Lord may Thy blessing go with us as we go. May the love of God the fellowship and communion of the Holy Spirit, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us ‘til we meet again. In Jesus’ name. Amen.