Guest Post by Randy Miller
Today we celebrate the gift of the Father and the Son, and the birth of the Church – the coming of the precious Holy Spirit. (Luke 24:49; John 14:26; Acts 1:4; Acts 2:1-13, 38; Gal 4:6).
The Holy Spirit seems to have become all but forgotten in today’s Church. In some churches, Pentecost Sunday is not even mentioned. We hardly hear any teachings or sermons about the Holy Spirit. Where would we be without the gift of the Holy Spirit?
Almost everything seems to be attributed to Jesus. Most of the newer songs and choruses we sing are all about Jesus. We even find some of the distinctive characteristics of the Father and Holy Spirit being attributed to Jesus. How did this happen?
I remember a time when denominations emphasized certain doctrines. The Baptists emphasized God’s grace, mercy and love, stating that no sin we commit would ever separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38, 39). They spoke of our eternal security in Christ, and hereby was coined the phrase, “once saved, always saved.” The Holiness/Pentecostal churches taught the complete opposite – you had to live by very strict (mostly extrabiblical/manmade) standards or you would lose your salvation. Their emphasis was on a second work of grace. For the holiness churches it was “entire sanctification” (probably a better term would have been “entire consecration”). They believed was the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This baptism was twofold – to empower Christians to live a holy life and to serve others. Some Pentecostals believed in this same second work of grace and added a third work of grace – “the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.” Other Pentecostal denominations taught (as well as all Holiness and Baptist churches) that sanctification begins at salvation and continues throughout life, stating that no one is truly “entirely sanctified” until they reach heaven.
Because of these distinctions, there was conflict among the groups. Then came the Charismatic Movement where the Holy Spirit began to move sovereignly among people from all denominations including the Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Lutherans, etc. as well as the denominations mentioned above. A sense of unity began to emerge, but there was also resistance and a loyalty to each group’s distinctives. Then in the late 1980’s – early 1990’s I began to hear a common theme that I think tried to unite the churches even more. That theme was, “It’s all about Jesus.” This was something all denominations could agree on. Through the years, I think this theme has grown to the point that we’ve placed so much emphasis on Jesus that we’re forgetting about the Father and the Holy Spirit.
We know the basic definition of the Trinity – one God, three Persons, but what does that mean? How can one be three? It doesn’t make much sense.
- In The Forgotten Trinity, James White explains,
“Within the one Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
- To help us understand a little better, Nabeel Qureshi explains,
- God is one in Being and three in Persons.
- A being is what you are. A person is who you are.
- I am a human being and my unique person is who I am.
- I am one being with one person. God is one Being with three Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
- For more details see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0JpwOSKRC0
- God is one in Being and three in Persons.
Teachings, Songs and Hymns About the Holy Spirit
There used to be a lot of teachings and sermons about the Holy Spirit. Our hymnals had sections of songs about the Holy Spirit. And there were many choruses sung about the Holy Spirit. There used to be altar calls for people to consecrate (or be “sanctified”) and to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite teachers about the Holy Spirit (whom she called her closest Friend) was Kathryn Kuhlman. Some of the hymns and choruses we used to sing were “Fill Me Now,” “He Abides,” “The Comforter Has Come,” “Breathe on Me,” “Breathe on Me, Breath of God,” “Bring Your Vessels, Not a Few” “Come Holy Spirit,” “Spirit of the Living God,” “Spirit Song,” “There’s A Sweet, Sweet Spirit In This Place,” and so many more.
Some of the lyrics read
“Holy Spirit, breathe on me, Until my heart is clean… Until my will is lost in Thine… Fill me with power divine, Kindle a flame of love and zeal…” (“Breathe on Me”)
“Are you longing for the fullness of the blessing of the Lord In your heart and life today? Claim the promise of your Father; come according to His Word, In the blessed, old-time way, He will fill your heart today to overflowing… With the Holy Ghost and pow’r” (“Bring Your Vessels, Not a Few”)
“Come, Holy Spirit, I need Thee. Come sweet Spirit I pray, Come in Thy strength and Thy power, Come in Thine own special way.” (“Come Holy Spirit”)
“Spirit of the living God, Fall fresh on me… Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me…” (“Spirit of the Living God”)
“Oh, let the Son of God enfold you with his Spirit and his love; Let him fill your heart and satisfy your soul. Oh, let him have the things that hold you, and his Spirit, like a dove, will descend upon your life and make you whole….” (“Spirit Song”)
Let’s not forget the Holy Spirit. He is distinct from the Father and the Son. His role in our lives, in our salvation, in our relationship with God and with others are just as important as the role of the Father and the Son. Without Him there would be no conviction of sin; no spiritual comfort or encouragement, guidance or unity of believers; no spiritual gifts or fruit of the Spirit. There would be no spiritual empowerment, no understanding of spiritual truths, no life in the Spirit and no personal salvation. Great is this precious Gift of the Father, the third Person of the Trinity, who comes to us through Jesus.
We thank you God for the precious gift of the Holy Spirit.