We Believe in the Holy Spirit
Sunday, April 5, 2009 -
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Birthing Spiritual Life - “We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hades; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen”
Last week we studied two signs of the Holy Spirit’s regenerating work in our hearts. Today we’ll look at four more.
3) IF YOU ARE TRULY BORN OF THE SPIRIT AND THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN YOUR HEART HE WILL FAITHFULLY LEAD YOU INTO PATHS OF HOLINESS THAT ARE PLEASING TO THE LORD
Romans 8:14 - “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
It is interesting to me that Paul doesn’t say the same truth the other way around - “All who are sons of God are led by the Spirit of God.” It’s not that this would be untrue, but Paul chooses to start with the evidence of our sonship and then move on to the fact of our sonship. His intent is to remove any idea of the possibility that the Holy Spirit indwells inactively. He comes with a purpose and He fulfills that purpose. Paul says the Holy Spirit is faithful to direct and guide our lives away from sin and into righteousness.
I’ll tell you if you’re truly a Christian by the way you respond to the faithful, steady, quiet promptings of the Holy Spirit when the world is leading you in a direction that would grieve the Lord. If you listen you will hear Him when you are heading into a disaster made by your own carelessness. He will discomfort your stomach. He will disquiet your mind.
4) THOSE WHO ARE TRULY BORN OF THE SPIRIT DO NOT CONTINUE IN KNOWN SIN
The apostle John is clear in establishing the impossibility of the Christian’s compatibility with ongoing sin - 1 John 3:4-6 - “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.  You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” See also 1 John 3:9 - “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”
All of this leads into one of the move overlooked concepts in the church today. God doesn’t just forgive our sin. He cleanses us from sin: 1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
This is one of the surest signs of the truly regenerate heart. Everyone wants to be forgiven if all forgiveness entails is being let off the hook to continue in sin. But those born of the Spirit aren’t just interested in being forgiven. They want more than anything to be clean. This is why John says those who are truly born of God can’t (what a strong word!) continue in sin. Because they are indwelt and ruled by the Holy Spirit, and because they follow the leading of the Spirit away from sin and into righteousness, and because, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, they now mind the things of the Spirit, they would rather die than continue in willful, persistent sin.
We constantly need this reminder. We can’t be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and continue to live indifferently toward sin. Somehow, there is a whole generation coming up in the church that just doesn’t get this truth. We need to ponder all over again what it means to be cleansed from unrighteousness.
5) THOSE WHO ARE TRULY BORN OF THE SPIRIT APPRECIATE THE BEAUTY IN SPIRITUAL TRUTHS
1 Corinthians 2:9-14 - “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’—  these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
These verses are so frequently used to whet our appetites for the glories that await us in heaven. And I do agree that heaven will be wonderful beyond all our ability to imagine. But that is not what these verses are all about. They’re all about the things God wants to teach and show and instill in our minds and hearts right now - right here on earth.
But apparently we have a huge problem. On our own, Paul says, we don’t properly appraise the worth of spiritual things (14). We get excited about hockey games and movies and superstars and fashion and monetary gain, but would never dream of leaving the house early on Sunday night for prayer time. We love to spend money on cars that rot and rust but hate it if the church service is too long.
All of this is what Paul means when he says we don’t give good spiritual appraisals. Like asking an infant to evaluate a diamond, we don’t know true worth when it slaps us in the face. But for those truly born of the Spirit, Paul says this all begins to change. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the beauty of spiritual things. He gives us taste buds for prayer and the Word and the Church. Other things begin to dim and lose luster as we see them for the trinkets they are.
The Holy Spirit imparts the discernment and power to appreciate God. If that is missing in your heart, again, you need to be born again, regardless of how long you’ve been in the church. Humble yourself and come to Christ to have the eyes of your soul opened.
6) THOSE BORN OF THE SPIRIT ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT INTO SERVICE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
Acts 13:2-4 - “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."  Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.”
Counterfeit worship experiences just end in a mad scramble for selfish blessing. When the Holy Spirit is truly given place - when we truly worship in Spirit and in truth - people feel compelled to serve with passion and thanksgiving. This is what we must constantly keep before us in the current worship renewal in the church. Anyone can sing choruses. Most of us can be moved to tears at times, sometimes with very little content other than fleeting emotional currents. But the Holy Spirit births service as people “minister to the Lord” (2).
Obviously there are many more traits of regenerated hearts than merely these six, but these will provide some guidance to evaluate the state of our hearts before the Lord. It takes a lot of humility and honesty to come to terms with this subject. We all need to heed Paul’s plea to “examine ourselves.” And the fact that he ties this plea into the practice of worship at the Lord’s Table implies that we were to examine ourselves frequently and regularly. Come to terms with where you are actually at spiritually.