Photo Cred: (1) | Updated: 12/23/2021
For a guy like me who is wired to love those heady knowledge-based sermons, this was a tough one to crack and figure out. As a part of the Grace Talk series from Reunion Church, this message was geared towards the role of the Holy Spirit in the grace process itself. How is the Holy Spirit himself involved in how we access grace? What does that relationship look like? This sermon was meant to answer those sorts of questions before we went into our hour of small groups.
Although from that premise, it should’ve been straight forward and yet when it comes to the topic of the Holy Spirit it’s never straight forward. In hindsight, it was good that I taught this one because I’ve done a lot of digging into this subject several times on this blog. Like one of my more popular posts on the Christian Essentials from a while back. Either way, over the years I’ve chipped away at the mystery that is God and all encompasses that reality.
For this sermon and for the sake of my audience, I had to take the most complicated idea in Christian thought which is the nature of God and break it down into a 15min message. Ha, no pressure. It’s not like making a mistake mid-message could lead the congregation to believing in blasphemy or heresy if I messed up. No big deal, right?
So how did I pull this off? Well, I flipped and paged through several super useful resources. A few of those being multiple key books:
- Forgotten God by Francis Chan
- Systematic Theology 2nd Edition by Wayne Grudem
- Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little
- Biblical Doctrine by John MacArthur & Richard Mayhue
- Christian Theology 6th Edition by Alistair McGrath
- The Mystery of the Trinity by Vern S. Poythress
- Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R. C. Sproul
- The Forgotten Trinity by James White
Now that’s not even mentioning my online research either, but we don’t have time to discuss every footnote in my sermon. The point is I binged on understanding the Holy Spirit, so that my audience could get some key soundbites about him for the Sunday night discussion. My aim was to condense hours of prayer and study into key truths that could be shared in seconds.
I think I did fairly well, but the outcome is always up to God and his audience. I’m just the temporary bridge between both when I’m up there. Regardless of all of that background, here’s what I eventually came up with that night jotted down in my sermon journal:
- Recap last week
- Focus on who is the Holy Spirit and how he initiates grace.
Fax Machine Story
- New job at Staples
- Fax bank info to boss
- Sandy prints floor plans for Texas Longhorns
- Jake faxes info for me.
- No matter how much I tried, I just couldn’t get it.
The Trinity Explained
- God’s nature is similar to a fax machine.
- If you think you know everything about God, then you probably don’t know much.
- Here’s what we know (2):
1) God is three persons.
2) Each person is fully God.
3) There is one God.
- God is greater than us in every way.
- Here’s a quote of God describing himself:
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (3).”
- Even though God is beyond us in scope, the Spirit of God is the soul of the church.
“The fact that the Spirit indwells all believers, and provides the ground of our supernatural unity, results in true Christian fellowship-a sharing that knows no bounds (4).” – James White
- God’s triune nature is the mystery of unity. Likewise, the church is the same.
- When it comes to money, I’m a hard-core saver and hate spending money.
- Ben knows how to do the work, so that the car runs smoothly.
- Like Ben when it comes to cars, God the Spirit does the work because he knows best and we just enjoy the benefits of grace.
The Holy Spirit Powers Grace
- To understand the Holy Spirit, it’s best to know what he does.
- In the grace process God the Father compels us to fascination (i.e. Head + Wonder), God the Son compels us to compassion (i.e. Heart + Will), and God the Spirit compels us to action (i.e. Hands + Works).
- Grace is powered by the Spirit of God and leads to spiritual formation in our lives.
“Through the Holy Spirit we come to know Christ, and by the Holy Spirit’s power we live and grow in Christ, in the service of the king and in the fellowship of his church (5).” – Paul E. Little
- Unlike the law where people hide behind veils of shame, God the Spirit gives us all of his grace all the time.
- Because God does the work, he cares more about who we are and where we are in relation to his grace.
“We focus on what God wants us to do and forget the kind of people he wants us to be (6).” – Francis Chan
- For Christians, where we are in relation to God’s grace matters most.
- For Non-Christians, who you are matters most to God because he doesn’t know you yet.
- All it takes is faith and humility to access all of the Spirit of God’s grace.
- All it takes is humility and faith to know God and be known by him.
Given what had to be covered and the extensive work put into this one, I’m quite proud of the results. For more of my thoughts on this message, make sure to check out the Reunion Church Podcast on YouTube. With that said, Godspeed and Jesus bless.
- Systematic Theology 2nd Edition, P. 273
- Isaiah 55:9 (ESV)
- The Forgotten Trinity, P. 151
- Know What You Believe, P. 128
- Forgotten God, P. 148