Robert Morris, founding pastor of the 36,000-member Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, discussed the role of the Holy Spirit in a recent sermon and warned that unless believers begin to see the third person of the Godhead as a person, they will never develop a “personal relationship” with Him.
As part of a sermon series titled “A Way in the Wilderness,” Morris emphasized that believers don’t need to live in a wilderness or desert because the Holy Spirit is a “spring of living water inside us.”
“I don’t have to live in a dry land even though I live in a fallen world; I can live in a river of living water,” he said. “Jesus came so that you could have a dynamic, powerful river in you flowing through you and out of you, and His name is the Holy Spirit, and He’s like a spring of water.”
Morris explained that the Bible clearly says that the Holy Spirit “wants to walk alongside you.”
“How many Christians today have a Holy Spirit that’s not for use, He’s just for looks?” the pastor asked. “We have churches where He’s just for looks. We have other churches where He’s not for use."
Scripture also says that the Holy Spirit will “guide you into all truth” because He knows all truth as the third person of the Godhead, Morris said.
“You have someone who is living inside of you who knows everything there is to know about everything, and He has committed Himself to be your teacher. So why don’t you ever talk to Him? Why don’t you ask Him how to raise kids? He knows everything about everything.”
Yet, some people are afraid to talk to the Holy Spirit, the pastor said.
“Here’s the reason I think people don’t talk to the Holy Spirit,” Morris said. “I think that they don’t see Him as a person. And you will never develop a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit if you don’t see Him as a person. Again, think about the word ‘personal.’ You develop a personal relationship with a person.”
“The reason I underlined the word ‘He’ is because the Bible never refers to Him as ‘it,’ and a lot of Christians do. They say, ‘we need it, we need the Holy Spirit.’ No, we don’t need it, we need Him. He’s a person,” the pastor continued.
Everyone can pray in the Holy Spirit, Morris said, adding: “Let the river flow. He came to bring a river to a dry place, and you need to let the river flow through you.”
A 2009 survey of adults’ spiritual beliefs conducted by the Barna Group found that most Christians do not believe the Holy Spirit is a living force. Overall, 38% strongly agreed and 20% agreed somewhat that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” Just one-third of Christians disagreed that the Holy Spirit is not a living force (9% disagreed somewhat, 25% disagreed strongly) while 9% were not sure.
Previously, Harvest Church Pastor Greg Laurie pointed out that the Bible says believers are "sealed with the Spirit, based on Ephesians 1:13-14. Sealed with the Holy Spirit "means God has put a mark on you," a mark of His ownership, he explained. "When the devil comes to wreak havoc in our lives, he is stopped cold."
The Holy Spirit is like a "down payment" that God has given to reassure us that He will keep all the promises He has made, he added.
Still, Laurie warned that it’s possible to resist and even blaspheme the Holy Spirit — the only sin the Bible says is unforgivable.
Mark 3:28-30 says, "'Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin' — because they were saying, 'He has an unclean spirit.'"
But those who are concerned about having blasphemed the Spirit have not blasphemed, the pastor said, explaining that someone who has committed such an act wouldn't care about it.
"It's a sin that only a nonbeliever can commit," he said, as it means "conscious denouncing and rejection of God."