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The Holy Spirit Series: 37 Topics for Further Meditation and Study

June 25, 2021

As mentioned in a recent post, I’m now listening to Alan Cairns sermons, and appreciating the teaching.  One series of particular interest: 37 sermons in all, about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  The sermons were preached in 1986-87, and overall still very relevant now, over 30 years later.  I’m now listening to the 19th in the series, so about halfway through.  

As noted early in this series, and I think still true today, this tends to be a neglected teaching in modern Protestantism / evangelicalism, with relatively few sermon series — and none I’ve found that are of this length, exploring so many aspects of the Holy Spirit.  The 37 lessons are described by Cairns as ‘introductions,’ each of which could be a springboard to further study and meditation. These include a broad range of Old and New Testament scriptures, with teaching on the ‘first mention’ as well as a few interesting word study topics along the way.  The earlier sermons start with the basic, general activities and operations of the Holy Spirit — such as the personality of the Holy Spirit, inspiration of scripture, regeneration, indwelling, sanctification, the fruit of the Spirit, and move on to additional specifics such as Adoption, the Earnest of the Spirit, Assurance in the witness of the Spirit, and later topics such as the Leading of the Holy Spirit.

Among some of the highlights:  

  • Genesis 1:1-5 is the First Mention of the Holy Spirit.  A.W. Pink taught the importance of the first mention, the last mention, and the main mention. Accordingly, the very last in this series, is on the Final Mention of the Holy Spirit.
  • On the leading of the Spirit:  Those who are led by the Spirit must first be indwelled, filled by the Holy Spirit.  In our day (in 1986 and still true), so many people talk about how they want “the Spirit’s leading,” but they are living carnal lives, not walking in the Spirit, not focused on the things of God.  

    Here, Dr. Cairns noted the sequence of Jesus’ ministry.  FIRST, Christ was given the full measure of the Spirit, the public    event of His baptism and the appearance in the form of a dove.  THEN, He was Led by the Spirit — and the leading was into the wilderness, into hardship and physical suffering.

  • Seven Symbols of the Holy Spirit
    • Dove — Ref. Genesis 8.
    • Wind — Speaks to God’s Sovereignty.  Ref. John 3:  the wind blows; we cannot control it
    • Breath — vitality.  Adam’s body that was created, before the breath put into it, can be likened to churches and schools that are without the Spirit
    • Fire — potency.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit with fire — reference Acts 2, Pentecost. 
    • Water — outpouring of the Spirit .  The Spirit overflowing and spontaneous, here especially, what makes Christians useful in service to others.  Reference John chapters 3, 4 and 7, Isaiah 44:3; and Ezekiel 47,  the water that becomes deeper and deeper
    • Oil — anointing oil, authority in service; unity; and necessity of the oil—virgins with oil in their lamps
    • Fury of the Spirit — reference Revelation 4:5, the seven torches of fire; fury of the Spirit.  Old Testament references include the torches of Gideon.
  • Sanctification:  Galatians 5:22-23 lists nine fruits of the Spirit, and we can think of these in three categories of three each.  The first three relate to God:  love, joy, peace; the next three deal with our relationships with others: patience, kindness, and goodness; and the last three have respect to our circumstances of life:  faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

It’s an interesting and helpful study, with many more topics, and each generally a stand-alone topic, yet all within the overall, encompassing truths regarding the Holy Spirit, to help understand more about the role of the Third Person of the Triune God.

  1. Neil Schoch
    June 25, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Greetings Lynda!
    Thanks for another timely reminder of the importance of understanding the Holy Spirit and the way in which He works. It is so sad that more is not taught of these wonderful truths that can really impact our lives and christian walk.
    A pastor this past week spoke of how the Holy Spirit has led him and his family to go to another church which sadly has some serious fundamental false teaching and practice.
    Jesus declared that the Holy Spirit is the “Revealer of all truth.”
    As such, He would not lead anyone to move to a christian gathering that totally refuses to lovingly obey a command of the Lord Jesus, who prayed for us in John 17, that we might be one even as God is one.
    Satan is the great deceiver and imitator as declared in Matthew 24:21-28 and he acts like this even in this church age.
    We are to test the spirits as it says in 1John 4:1-3. Also we must not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit.
    As all true believers are indwelt and sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption, why is there so much false teaching and divisions in the church on so many topics?
    It is certainly not the fault of the Holy Spirit so it is imperative that we all examine what we believe – why we believe it – and how we put it into practice in our Christian pathway. Needless to say, I must begin with myself!
    I think I have touched on this before but reminders are always good!
    Blessings and love to all,

    • June 26, 2021 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Neil, and good to hear from you. Yes, it’s a good reminder, and something that is often twisted, where people make a ‘cult’ of worshipping the Holy Spirit (whereas the Holy Spirit testifies of the work of Jesus Christ), or claim they’re doing something that is contrary to Scripture, because of the ‘Spirit’s leading,’ etc.

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