Jesus taught about The Indwelling Holy Spirit

The Indwelling Holy Spirit

© 2023 C. O. Bishop

John 14:16-16:15


One of the things Jesus had to do in the few hours he had left with his disciples, was to teach them what to expect regarding the Holy Spirit. He was also preparing them for His own Departure, but, since He was leaving, they needed to know that the Holy Spirit would take the Place of Jesus in their lives, and actually indwell them.

John 14:16, 17

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 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.

This is a key passage, because in it we learn three things:

  1. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter (parakletos) who takes the place of Jesus as our comforter, protector and guide.
  2. The Holy Spirit will remain with us Forever! (No qualifiers, here!)
  3. The Holy Spirit is with us, and (since the day of Pentecost) He is in us.

He is God!

The Holy Spirit is God. We see that in Acts 5:3, 4, where Peter accused Ananias of having lied to the Holy Spirit, and then he clarified the accusation, by declaring, “You lied to God!”

He is a Person

He is a Person; specifically, the third person of the Godhead. In Colossians 2:9, we see that “in Him (Christ) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, bodily.” Paul warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) as He is the one sealing us in Christ until the day of redemption. He is not a “force:” (a force cannot be grieved.) He is not a feeling: Feelings have no authority and they cannot speak to a group of people, as in Acts 13:2, and, as God, send the servants of God out on a mission.

The Indwelling is permanent

In the Old Testament, no one was permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Certain prophets were evidently temporarily indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but He gave no guarantee that He would stay, and David specifically begged that the Holy Spirit would not be taken from him, in Psalm 51:11. The New Testament believer has no need for such a “fear of abandonment.” Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be with us forever.

Also, the Old Testament servants of God were frequently said to have the Holy Spirit upon them. Only in a few cases does the scripture suggest that He was in them. But Jesus made that New Testament distinctive very clear: the Holy Spirit was (already) with the disciples, but He would soon be in them! The New Testament, proper, began on the day of Pentecost, in Acts chapter 2.

John 14:18-21

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

This is another important passage, because, along with verse 23, it underscores the truth of the Trinity. Jesus had just said that he would leave them and that, in His place, the Holy Spirit would come and indwell them. But, in verse 18, He says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. And, in verse 19, He says that He is in the Father, that we are in Him (the position of believers is “In Christ!) and that He is in us! So, in the person of the Holy Spirit, we are also indwelt by Jesus Christ Himself!

John 14:23

And in John 14:23, He states that He and the Father would come and make their abode with the believer. As the Third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit fully includes the entire Godhead, just as we read in Colossians 2:9, that Jesus, (God the Son,) fully included the entire Trinity.

John 14:28

Finally, in John 14:28, Jesus reminds the disciples that the Father is greater than the Son. (Bear in mind that in Isaiah 9:6, we see that the Son shall be called the Everlasting Father!)

Do I understand this? No! I accept it by faith, because God says it is so!

God has the authority to make statements that I cannot understand. I can either accept them as truth, even though I fail to understand them, or I can reject them, claiming that they “don’t make sense!” As a teacher of God’s Word, it is critically important that I teach what the scriptures actually say, and not try to make them palatable by “filtering out the hard things.” I have to be faithful to teach the whole Word of God, even when it seems hard to understand.

John 15:26, 27

26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Something was going to change: when the Holy Spirit came, the disciples would testify about Jesus, because the Holy Spirit would testify about Jesus. Remember Jesus had already told them they would be scattered, and flee, when He was arrested (and they were, and they did!) But now He tells them that when the Holy Spirit finally came, something was going to change.

In Acts 1:8, 9, He told them the same thing, just before he physically ascended, back into Heaven. He said “But ye shall receive power (“dunamis”…strength; ability) after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

We are Called to Speak, and Called to Do, as He Does

The Holy Spirit speaks of Jesus. That is one of His character traits. He glorifies Jesus, in Word and in deed. And as He indwells us, He calls us to do the same. We have a problem, though: we still have our old sin nature, and we have to overcome a lifetime of habitual self-serving, in order to cut loose from our slavery to self and sin, and to freely follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In Galatians 5:16, we are admonished, “Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” That is the only way we can serve God, and be free from our old slavery to sin. Jesus told His disciples, in John 15:5, “Apart from Me ye can do nothing.” It was the literal truth.

John 16:7-11

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 send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Jesus reminded them that it was necessary for him to end His earthly ministry, in order that the Holy Spirit could be completely free to indwell all believers individually. As God, He is omnipresent: He is in all places simultaneously. But Jesus chose to live His earthly life under the same physical rules that restrict each of us. So, while He remained in His earthly body, Jesus was bound to a single place and time at any given moment. He could only be in one place at a time.

Jesus is Omnipresent again, now.

Now, however, He is free to live in every single believer, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is free to act through each of us, and speak through each of us, to Glorify the Father by the Church.

Having finally come, the Holy Spirit has two separate spheres of influence: He lives in us, where He teaches, guides and protects us. But His service toward the World is completely different: He “Reproves the World of Sin, and of Righteousness, and of Judgment.”

By the Holy Spirit, especially as witnessed in His people, the World sees sin for what it really is. They may or may not respond in repentance, but they know sin, and by the same means, they know righteousness, and judgment. They can see that the judgment of God is coming.

John 16:13-15

13 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 shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The rest of the work the Holy Spirit does, is in teaching the believers: Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. He does not speak independently from the Written Word of God, but always within the context of God’s Word. He guides us so that we can see what is ahead. He receives all that Jesus is, and says, and does, and He delivers it to us at a level where we can understand it, or at least put it into practice.

He makes the whole Church to Function as it Should

He is the one who administers the Gifts of the Spirit, and He empowers the teachers and leaders He has given. The Holy Spirit is the one who fills the Body of Christ and makes it functional as a whole, rather than being just a cluttered pile of disconnected parts.

Notice, too, that, if the Holy Spirit is the One who is functioning, then the result will be that the actions and words will glorify Jesus, not the humans involved, nor even calling attention to the Holy Spirit Himself. He works to glorify Jesus. He does not speak of Himself, but of Jesus.

This parallels the story of the Servant in Genesis 24, who spoke only of the Son, and sought the Bride. He continued speaking of the Son, until Rebekah was able to look, for herself, to the bridegroom, and see Isaac. The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus until we see Him face-to-face!

Ministry of the Spirit

In the outworking of the New Testament, we begin to see details of the change Jesus promised: We see the gifts of the Spirit laid out in 1st Corinthians 12. We see the unity of the Spirit, in Ephesians 4:3-5. And we see the Fruit (singular) of the Spirit, described in Galatians 5:22, 23.

We see that there is One Body of Christ with many Members. We see that there is One Holy Spirit, who works differently through each believer, in the various gifts, but they are always in keeping with God’s Word. (If they are not, then it is not the Holy Spirit who is at work.)

We see that the Unity of the Spirit (in that One Body of Christ) is created by the One Holy Spirit, but is to be maintained by the believers, collectively, by walking in obedience to Him.

We see that the Fruit of the Spirit has nine aspects, but that they all are to be there, in season: it is just one fruit, with nine characteristics, all of which have to be there.

Just the Facts!

This is not the “heady, psycho-babble” that typifies much of the foolishness taught today, about the gifts of the Spirit. It is simply the facts, as laid out in the Word of God. And, as we continue walking in the Spirit, the Lord raises us up as His servants and coworkers, so that the Gifts He has given find a place to function, and we rejoice to serve with Him.

Do I have to understand all the things God says about the Holy Spirit, in order to be aware of His leading in my life? No, I do not! If I am willing to obey Him and trust Him to lead me, then He will open doors before me and offer tasks for me to fulfill that will honor Him and please Him. He will direct our paths, if we are willing to follow His leading.

When we know the “general truths,” such as the fact that He has called us to be His witnesses, and that He has called us to leave our old ways of life behind, and commit ourselves to following Him in His Holiness, then we can start doing what we know to do, and looking to Him to lead us into a further walk with Him.

In Closing:

I want to close with one small point, in John 14:26. “26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, 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.

Notice that it says the Holy Spirit will teach us, but it goes on to say, “He will bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

Jesus primarily speaks to us through His written Word. Peter confirmed this, in 2nd Peter 1:19,  saying “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the daystar arise in your hearts.”

If the written word is the primary way Jesus talks to us, and if we are not spending much time in the Word, then He can’t say much to us…and “we aren’t giving the Holy Spirit much to work with,” in terms of bringing it to our remembrance. We can’t remember what we never heard or never read. We need to feed on the Word, to be prepared to follow His leading.

Lord Jesus, empower us by Your Holy Spirit, and raise us up to walk in your footsteps. Teach us to understand Your Will and to obey from the heart.

The Promise of the Spirit

The Promise of the Spirit

© C. O. Bishop 2/14/15 THCF 2/15/15

Galatians 3:14, 5:16, 22, 23; Ephesians 1:13, 14; John 14:16; Hebrews 5:11-14


Last week I had intended to explore the Promise of the Spirit more thoroughly, but we ran out of time; so today we will go on with that same topic, as it is introduced here in Galatians, by the Apostle Paul.

Paul introduced the Promise of the Spirit as a contrast to the Curse of the Law, here in Galatians; primarily because these believers were being harassed and seduced by false teachers who were persuading them to turn away from the pure Grace of the Gospel and depend upon their own ability to keep the Mosaic Law. He showed from the Old Testament that the Law had always been a curse to those who could not or would not keep it. He reminded them that the Jews had never been able to keep it, and that, as we saw elsewhere, the only thing that had ever saved them from the inherent curse in the Law was the Grace of God extended through the sacrifices.

The whole concept of Grace, and how it is intertwined through all the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation is a pretty amazing study. We somehow have gotten the idea that Grace was a new thing at the Cross. There is a reason why, in Revelation 13:8, Jesus is called the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the Earth”. He is the Lamb!  He was the Lamb, pre-figured in the Garden when God clothed Adam and Eve in the blood-stained skins of the first animal sacrifice. He was the Lamb, when Abel came by faith, bringing a blood sacrifice for his own sins. He was all the lambs at that first Passover, when all Israel huddled under the Blood of the Cross, still wet on the lintels and doorposts of their homes. When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and called him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World”, he was pulling together all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, and showing how they were concluded in Christ. Those old sacrifices could only cover sin, not take it away; the Blood of Jesus finished the job, and took away Sin. That is why He is also the Lamb in the account in Revelation 5:8-10.

He provided clean vessels into which he could pour His Holy Spirit. And we embrace that promise by faith, today. Whether the new believer knows it or not, he or she is indwelt by the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes the Gospel, placing his or her trust in Jesus’ finished work at the Cross. This, again, is pure Grace. By the way, this aspect of God’s Grace is new! The Old Testament believer had no such privilege. Only some of the prophets seem to have had the indwelling Spirit, and even for them it seems to have been a temporary arrangement…or, it could have been at least. David prayed and asked that God not take away the Holy Spirit, in his prayer of confession (Psalm 51:11). But, to you, and to me, the Promise is secure: Jesus said that the Holy Spirit “…will be with you forever” (John 14:16.)

There are certain things that are definite results of the indwelling person of the Holy Spirit, and will be true of every believer at all times, regardless of circumstance or behavior. There are other things which simply should be the result of His presence. Let’s look at both.

What Is the Result of the Gift of the Holy Spirit?

  1. He is the Seal of my position in Christ until I get my new body. (Ephesians 1:13)
  2. He is the Earnest of our inheritance—the “down-payment” if you like. He, Himself, is the promise, and yet He is also is God’s guarantee of the eternal promise of redemption. (Ephesians 1:14)
  3. He is my Advocate before the throne, praying for me when I don’t know how to pray. (Romans 8:26)
  4. He (along with the study of His Word) is my Defense against bad teaching, and the traps of Satan, set for unwary believers. (1st John 2:20-28; Galatians 5:16-23)
  5. He is my Guide: the one who leads me into all the truth of God’s Word. (John 16:13)
  6. He is my Comforter: the one who encourages my heart in times of trouble. (John 14:16)
  7. He is my Bodyguard and Commander: he makes the Word of God the “Sword of the Spirit”; He is the one who makes the Written Word function as the Living Word: alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12)

A person with the seal of the Holy, Living, Spirit of God dwelling in him, is permanently free from the guilt of sin before God. He or she need never again fear condemnation from God. But: that believer is also constantly convicted of sin, and reminded of the need for forgiveness and obedience every time he or she falters. We are drawn to confess and renounce our sins, and so to have our fellowship restored, because the Holy Spirit does not abandon us when we sin: He loves us and draws us back to God. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would be with us forever. That is a pretty precious promise all by itself! We need not worry that God will forget his promise and take back His gift.

In Psalm 51:11, when David prayed “…take not thy Holy Spirit from me”, he was speaking from the perspective of one not living in the Church Age. He did not have a permanent promise of the indwelling Holy Spirit (as we have), and, because of the sins he had committed as God’s servant, he feared losing that special, spiritual privilege he treasured as a prophet of God.

fear the loss of fellowship, because of sin. I fear displeasing the God who saved me. I fear displeasing the God who has become my true Father, through re-birth. But I know by His promises that I do not need to fear abandonment. His promise stands on record: (Hebrews 13:5), “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you.” That’s the promise of God, through the Spirit.

All the things listed above are simply facts: they are true of every believer whether or not he or she is in fellowship with God, whether or not there is unconfessed sin in his or her life. They are positional truths, true about you because you are in Christ. But there is so much more available on a moment-by-moment basis, which is not just positional—it is also conditional. It is conditional upon being in fellowship with God, obedient to his Word and His leading. It requires confessing and turning away from sin. These are things that should be the direct result of the Gift of the Holy Spirit, but which are tragically lacking, much of the time, in most believers’ lives.

What Should be the Result of the Gift of the Holy Spirit?

In 1st Corinthians 3:1-3, Paul told the church at Corinth that they were carnal Christians—not spiritual people— and babies, though no longer mere natural men, either. In Hebrews 5:11-14, he told the recipients that they had become babes, needing again to be fed milk—baby-food— instead of adult fare. Why? What had happened, there, that left those believers in such a shameful state? Were they not indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Certainly they were! But, as he succinctly pointed out to the Hebrews readers, “…strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who, by reason of use (practice), have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14) So, there is a matter of practice, exercise and experience, here…A person who is indwelt, but not filled with the Spirit of God, is behaving (and thinking) exactly as if he were not saved at all. And even when we are walking with Him, it still requires practice—exercise, as Paul called it—to gain strength and maturity in one’s walk with God.

The Holy Spirit can only guide someone who is actively walking with Him. And, over a period of months and years of daily choosing to walk with God, applying the Word of God to your life, and being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, one can actually grow stronger. It gets easier to walk. Is that a surprise? It shouldn’t be.

Walking, for an infant, is nearly impossible, but within a few months, crawling has begun, and a few months later, walking is not only possible but expected. There comes a time, very soon, when, if a child is not walking, then the parents will be very worried, and will consult a physician. Paul is reminding the Hebrew Christians that they are long past the time when learning to walk should be an issue…he says that they should have mastered walking a long time ago and be teaching others. Instead, he says, they have again become babes, and have to have someone spoon-feed them the scriptures. They are not able to feed themselves, let alone feed others. That is a very sad statement …and still completely applicable today.

Led by the Spirit

In Romans 8 we see that if we are indwelt by the Spirit of God, then we are expected to be led by Him. That is the normal Christian life. We are not supposed to be wallowing in sin and self-pity, amidst all the usual baggage that seems to follow us today. We are supposed to be led by the Spirit.

Give some thought to how a baby human learns to walk: he or she does so primarily by instinct, but also by encouragement from those around him or her. Each one is different. Some learn quickly, some more slowly. But each learns by doing, and success only means getting up and walking again, each and every time we fall. How different that is, from the life of a baby antelope, for example: In the case of the antelope kid, it only has a few minutes to a few hours, at most, to gain enough strength and coordination to not only walk, but to move quickly enough to keep up with the herd. It learns to walk instinctively, and likewise learns to feed instinctively. Predators follow the herds, hoping for an exposed or weak baby. Survival is entirely dependent upon the individual’s ability to become strong and fast, in the shortest time possible.

In the case of a human baby, most parents will continue to support a weak or developmentally disabled child regardless of cost, and will not abandon that child to predators of any kind. In the case of the baby Christian, Jesus will never abandon you; but you are in danger of harassment and damage from enemies, so long as you neglect to walk with the shepherd. If you hope to have a happy, fruitful walk with your Savior, you need to be doing just that: walking with Him!

What Happens if We Do Walk with Him?

I don’t like to jump ahead, but in this case it seems right: the answer, spelled out by Paul in Galatians 5:16, is that “If you walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.”

Let’s take a sample problem:

Let’s say I am out of fellowship with God because of sin, and I know it: Let’s say that anger is the issue, because of how someone at work is treating me. So, eventually, I come to the realization that my anger is not helping the matter, and, in fact, is feeding on itself, and I am getting worse; I am beginning to curse under my breath, and am hating my tormentors. What solution is there? I am not being led by the Spirit, and am not walking with God. I am not being obedient (Jesus said “love your enemies and pray for them that despitefully use you…”), so I am not experiencing His Grace and blessing. How can I change?

The first step has already happened: I am recognizing that there is a problem in me, not just in those who are mistreating me. But the next thing is to do what God said to do: confess my sin. (“What? I’m not sinning, they are!”) Until I confess that I am sinning, and see it the way God sees it, there is no cure. God has a solution for sin, not “problems”. What was God’s solution for sin for the whole human race? It was Jesus’ blood at the Cross. And all I had to do to appropriate that Grace to my own life was to confess my need for a savior and place my trust in his finished work, at Calvary.

But now, though I have already been washed clean at Calvary, I am again looking at a pair of very dirty feet attached to my own already-washed self. They need to be cleansed, through confession. What sin am I confessing? First, I am confessing the anger. God commands that I put aside anger. He calls it by several different names, but all with the same root cause. In the Old Testament, in Psalm 37:8, He commands “Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” My anger had already begun to fester into a desire to return evil for evil, even if only in words. So the anger is beginning to bear the fruit of evil. In the New Testament, Ephesians 4:31, he says “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice”. Notice how he uses a whole nest of ideas, all in the family of anger, to point out a weakness in my character. I can’t say, “Well, that wasn’t anger, it was frustration.” Sorry…that is just a euphemism for anger. Things aren’t going my way, so I am frustrated…angry and distressed, perhaps, but still angry. Irritated? Annoyed? Miffed?  Hey, how about this one: Righteously indignant! Really? In this condition I want to call myself righteous? No, I need to see that the anger itself is sin, and that it has already resulted in evil thoughts and hurtful words.

So, I confess my sins, placing my trust in his promise to forgive, and God is faithful (just as he promised) to forgive my sins, and cleanse me…again.

Then I set out to walk with him. I obey Him by praying for those who I think are mistreating me, and asking for God’s mercy in their lives. I focus my attention on His blessing and his command to bless them. I look for ways to be a blessing to them. So there is a practical outworking of His Love and Grace toward them. If there are people I have hurt with my words, then I go to them and confess as well… “I said things I had no right to say. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

Will I stumble again? You can count on it! But perhaps next time I will get up a little more quickly and toddle on, rather than wallowing for so long in self-pity. Meanwhile, there is much to be done.

Jesus told Peter, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” I can seek to do that. He says we are to serve our employers as if we were serving him (which we are.) I can seek to do that as well. He commands, “Husbands, love your wives….” so I can give attention to that. He gives many commands in the New Testament that contribute to a walk with Him, and none that cause me to fear his rejection. “Love one another…Let not your heart be troubled…Be anxious for nothing….” Etc. We are given the Holy Spirit to enable us to serve, as well as to give us the will to serve.

Although we will spend more time on it at some later date, it would be well to examine the Fruit of the Spirit while we are talking about the Promise of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22,23 is stating a contrast to the works (plural) of the Flesh. Paul states that “the fruit (singular) of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance; against such there is no law.”

I would only point out two things, here, in closing:

  1. The contrast, here, is between “works” (things we do by choice) and “fruit” (things borne out by virtue of character). An apple tree does not bear apples because it tries to do so, but because it is its nature to do so. We would be astonished if it bore any other fruit. So the fruit of the Spirit is what normally results when a believer is in fellowship with God.
  2. The other is that the works are plural, while the fruit is singular. Though all the works of the flesh came from the same corrupt source, the list is interminable—in fact, the list ends with a catch-all phrase to indicate there are many more: it says, “and such like”. If you think your pet sin is not mentioned in the Bible, think again. That is where it is listed. All unrighteousness is sin, whether it is specifically named or not. There are things we may reject as a culture, that God does not condemn, but there are principles by which we can recognize a specific practice as falling within the wider scope of sin, and a work of the flesh.

Meanwhile, the Fruit is singular, though nine aspects are listed. Each of the nine aspects of the fruit of the Spirit is only a part of the whole. The whole fruit is either there or it is not. This is not a “fruit smorgasbord” from which we are to take our pick. We are to walk in the Spirit and the result should be the fruit of the Spirit, not the works of the flesh.

Lord God, help us to recognize our sins, and confess them. Fill us with your Spirit, and rule in our hearts. Make us the Men and Women of God you have chosen us to be. We ask these things in order that we my honor your Son, Jesus. It is for His sake and His glory we ask these things in His Name. Amen