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What Do Christians Think About the Holy Spirit?

Four offices of the Holy Spirit
This sermon is part of the sermon series "What Do Christians Think About God?". See series.


In this sermon series we've been trying to look at the basic beliefs of the Christian faith in a way that both irreligious people and Christians can understand. So far we've looked at what Christians believe about God and Jesus. Today we're going to talk about what Christians believe about the Holy Spirit.

A tremendous amount of confusion and controversy exists about the Holy Spirit. You can visit churches were people experience hysterical laughter said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, or you can go places where people fall down on the ground, where they even growl like animals, all in the name of the Holy Spirit. A.W. Tozer wrote that when the average Christian thinks about the Holy Spirit, "he is likely to imagine a nebulous substance like a wisp of invisible smoke which is said to be present in churches and to hover over good people when they die."

Part of our problem is that the Holy Spirit seems so mystical. We can picture God the Father, because we've all seen fathers. We can picture God the Son, because he became human, and we can read about what he did and what he's like. But when we try to picture the Holy Spirit, our minds go blank, and we end up with symbols like a dove or wind or fire.

Different churches tend to emphasize the Holy Spirit in different ways: Charismatic and Pentecostal churches focus on his power, while evangelicals tend to emphasize the Spirit's work in bringing attention to Jesus Christ, and still Roman Catholics focus on the Holy Spirit's work through the church hierarchy. Entire churches have split over how to understand the Holy Spirit.

When we talked about what Christians believe about God, we looked briefly at the Christian idea of God as a trinity. The Trinity is simply a summary ...

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Timothy J. Peck is director of the chapel and a lecturer in the school of theology at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California. He preaches regularly at Christ our King Church in Azusa.

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Sermon Outline:


I. The Holy Spirit as counselor

II. The Holy Spirit as a guarantee

III. The Holy Spirit as a coach

IV. The Holy Spirit as a giver