Every now and again a book will come along that causes you to stop and rethink your approach to faith. For me, Forgotten God was one of those books. The premise of this book is to explore and evaluate the work and nature of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We talk about God the Father and Christ the Son, a LOT! That is great, we should. But we also believe in the Trinity, or as the beautiful hymn Holy, Holy, Holy states it, “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.”
I know that I have preached sermons on the Holy Spirit in my three years at FBC Fairburn. Outside of that (and this is not to pat myself on the back), how often do you hear the Holy Spirit included in sermons or prayer? How many sermons just on the person and work of the Holy Spirit do you remember? What about prayer? We pray to God, the Father through Christ, the Son, but how many times do we include the Holy Spirit in prayer? These are the types of questions that Forgotten God will cause you to explore as you read with an open heart.
I am going to piece together a few observations that Francis Chan makes in this book in order to demonstrate WHY we need to reevaluate our approach to the Holy Spirit:
“If you or I had never been to a church and had only read the Old and New Testaments, we would have significant expectations of the Holy Spirit in our lives…Jesus comforts the disciples by telling them that ‘another Counselor’ is coming (John 14.16, NIV). In John 16.7 He goes as far as to say it is for their advantage that He leave so the Counselor could come. And in Acts 1:4-5, after His death and resurrection, He tells His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit…Jesus’ disciples had no idea what or whom they were waiting for, or what it would be like. But the were expectant and trusting because Jesus had instructed them to wait for this good gift…The Epistles tell us of the Holy Spirit’s amazing power at work in us, our Spirit-enabled ability to put our sin to death through Him, and the supernatural gifts He gives us.
If we read and believe these accounts, we would expect a great deal of the Holy Spirit. He would not be a mostly forgotten member of the Godhead whom we occasionally give a nod of recognition to, which is what He has become in most American churches…We don’t live this way. For some reason, we don’t think we need the Holy Spirit. We don’t expect the Holy Spirit to act. Or if we do, our expectations are often misguided or self-serving. Given our talent set, experience, and education, many of us are fairly capable of living rather successfully (according to the world’s standards) without any strength from the Holy Spirit.”
Think about how that approach to the Christian life may look different than yours or mine. I know, we are Baptist and we love the Holy Spirit and all, but let’s not get carried away. We don’t want to be Pentecostal. We don’t want to start swinging from the chandeliers, faith healing people by smacking their heads, or tossing snakes around, right? It is easy to look at extreme “ventures” of being led by the Holy Spirit and try to negate living a Spirit filled life.
However, Paul demonstrates that this is the most essential part of life in Christ in Acts 19. Remember when he got to Ephesus and met some believers who had been baptized? What was his first question to them? “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19.2). Acts 19 goes on to tell of how Paul explained to the Ephesians what the Gospel truly was and then the received the Holy Spirit. It was important enough to the first century church that true faith in Christ Jesus is only possible because of the Holy Spirit in us!
How can we expect to live in Christ we do not follow the Guide He sent us? Remember John 16.7 from above? “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Jesus makes this promise and when we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
This indwelling Holy Spirit shapes who we are to be as Christians. I love this statement that Chan makes in the book:
“the truth is that the Spirit of the Living God, as our guide, is guaranteed to ask you to go somewhere or do something you normally would not ant or choose to do. The Spirit will lead you the way of the Cross, as He led Jesus to the Cross. And that is definitely not a safe, or pretty, or comfortable place to be. The Holy Spirit of god will mold you into the person you were made to be. This often incredibly painful process strips you of your selfishness, pride, and fear. The Holy Spirit does not seek to harm us, but He does seek to make us Christlike.”
I could offer many other snippets of this book to encourage you to read it. I could offer many other biblical or discipleship reasons why you should take it on. Let me suggest that you find a copy of this book and allow the words of Francis Chan take you to a new place where the Holy Spirit and Scripture build you as a believer.
Years ago I was an associate pastor and lent out a book to a church member. I never got the book back. I asked them about the book and they were ready to defend to the death their position that the book had been returned. Well, I changed my process. I started writing down the book and the person when I lent them out and would scratch it through in the presence of the borrower when returned. Uber dorky, right? Well, would you believe that it happened again! I lent out my copy of Forgotten God just a couple of years ago and I have not seen it since! All of that to say, I am getting myself a new copy to read again. Why don’t you join me in reading?
Find it on Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/yd4ddqj8
 Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2009), 30-31.
 Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation, 1995. www.lockman.org