Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sermon: The Holy Spirit

The subject of the Holy Ghost or as I like to call him the Holy Spirit is one that has perplexed many for sometime however The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ are not in a state of confusion or misapprehension concerning the Holy Spirit for we have been told all we need to know concerning this personage who sits on the God head with the Father. Let us be clear we are not talking about what the Holy Spirit does or what his function is, there is not confusion about that, we know that he is sent to bear witness of the Father and the Son and also to be a constant companion to those that diligently seek, we read "The gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men…. For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come" (1 Ne. 10:17-19).

As we have said we know the role that the Holy Spirit plays in our lives and the power that he is endowed with, but who is he? It must be stressed that in this dispensation nothing has been revealed as to his origins or his ultimate destiny all we do know is what is written in the scriptures and that details mostly with what he does and not who he is. In the Lectures on Faith, which form an integral part of our doctrine it tells us that the Holy Spirit is the mind of God the Father and that he is the feeling or power of God in all things.

Now let is look at who he is. The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ teach that the Holy Spirit is a man, a man of spirit a personage like the Father but is a personage of spirit separate and distinct from both the Father and the Son. Joseph Smith told us that the Holy Spirit has not a body of Flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Let us be clear that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, a spirit man if you will, but he can only be in one place at one time however his power can be felt all over the world.

So let’s look at what we already know. We know that the Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead and that he is called the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit and that he has been given an authority to express the feeling of God to all men who allow him in their hearts and is therefore called the comforter, all three the Father, Son and Holy Spirit form a Godhead equal in authority and power. In a very real sense, the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of the righteous Saints of all dispensations.

The Prophet Joseph Smith stated in his many teachings that an "everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages…are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator" (TJS, 190). When we examine this wonderful piece of revelation form the Prophet we see that the Holy Spirit was with God from the beginning and that he was a key component in the creation of life and so we proclaim that whatever he covenanted with the God of us all he is now and forever more a God equal in authority with the Father and the Son and had ascended beyond the need for a physical body just as the Father has done. We may never know why he has not had to receive a body; however we know that he has ascended to the role of God and sits at the highest levels of the Kingdom and with the power that he has been endowed with to bare witness of the Father and to send confirmation that Jesus is the Christ. Let us not forget that the creation could not have happened if it were not for the power of the Holy Spirit, for the priesthood works in concert with the Holy Spirit and they work together to magnify their power. And so when we examine the personage of the Holy Spirit and we examine just how little we know concerning him we should always look to the power that he conveys. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the influence of the Holy Ghost, is the convincing power of God of the truth of the gospel, and can be received before baptism; however the gift, or constant companionship, of the Holy Ghost, only comes by the laying-on of hands, and is only obtained only after baptism (TPJ, 199). The prophet went on to say "You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half-that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost" (TPJ, 314).

For us as members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ the most important role that The Holy Spirit fulfils is that of a teacher. All of us at some stage in our lives must be taught by the Holy Ghost. We must remember that the things of the Spirit can only be understood when taught and learned by the Spirit (D&C 50:11-24). Again let us look at what the Father did on behalf of the Saviour, for it was the Father who gave Christ the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). Angels also speak by the power of the Holy Ghost  without it they could not do their work. (2 Ne. 32:3). Such is the standard for all who go forth in Christ's name. "Ye are not sent forth to be taught," The Saviour said to the early church, "but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit; and ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken" (D&C 43:15-16).

My Brothers and Sisters the Holy Spirit, no matter how much we study will always remain in many ways an enigma to us. We do not fully understand what role he fulfilled in the pre-existence and we only know what role he fulfils for us today and it is to that that we must look, for the power of his influence is so powerful that we must remember that without it we would all be alone and without a knowledge of the Father of his love for us. The Holy Spirit is such an uplifting power and source of gospel knowledge that to have his constant companionship and influence is the greatest gift a person can receive. It is this that makes us stand out from any other faith, not only our love of the feelings of the Holy Spirit but our love of the man himself and although our knowledge is limited to what he has done to deserve the awesome privilege of being a God and ascending like the father we love him and all he has done in enriching our lives and love of the father.

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