The Ministry of the Holy Spirit


Last week we saw in the Word of God that the Holy Spirit is God with us and in us. The Holy Spirit is quiet and gentle. He speaks to us with a still, small voice. He glorifies God the Father and God the Son. He does this by performing miraculous deeds on earth and in us that only God can do. We will look at what He does for a couple weeks.

1. The Holy Spirit is the author of our new birth.

John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Unbelievers are spiritually dead. They cannot understand spiritual things. To enter the Kingdom of God, a person must have grace from the Holy Spirit to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as their Savior. They act on that belief by confessing their faith with their mouth, repenting of sin, and following Jesus in baptism. If their faith is genuine, then during baptism they are born again of water and the Spirit, and thus they become children of God. Their spirit is now alive and they begin a transformation whereby their minds are renewed and they begin to walk by the Spirit instead of their flesh.

2. The Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit

After Jesus’ work on the Cross was finished, He gave up the Spirit and His body of human flesh died. On the third day following His crucifixion, the Holy Spirit once again gave Jesus life and transformed His body. In this resurrection state, Jesus could pass through the grave and appear anywhere suddenly by the power of the Holy Spirit. The grave was opened by angels, not to let Jesus out, but to let the disciples see He had risen.

3. The Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.

2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is not the product of human will. In fact, the prophets sometimes wrote what they could not fully understand, but they were faithful to write what the Holy Spirit revealed to them.

4. The Holy Spirit is the source of wisdom.

Isaiah 11:1-4 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him--the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.

Here we see the Spirit-imparted abilities that will enable the Messiah to rule justly and effectively. The same wisdom is given to Spirit-filled children of God.

Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

We are to take every burden and concern to our Father. We are to pray continually. We may not know how to pray according to His will, but the Holy Spirit wisely helps us. No human words are necessary because the Father understands and agrees with what the Spirit thinks and is saying.

5. The Holy Spirit is the source of miraculous power.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:28 But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Acts 10:37-38 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached--how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

Without Christ, we have no power to do anything except sin. However, with Christ, we can do everything He wants us to do because He strengthens us with the power of the Holy Spirit.

6. The Holy Spirit appoints and sends ministers. There are several examples:

Acts 13:2-4 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.

There is an amazing story in Acts 8 that you should read. For the sake of time, I will only share 3 verses of the story to illustrate the Holy Spirit’s ministry.

Acts 8:29, 38-39 The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 10:19-20 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them."

Acts 16:6-10 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

If we walk by the Spirit and listen to His voice, each day He will orchestrate circumstances and put us where we can witness and share the Gospel with people. Do not be anxious about this. He will tell us what to do and what to say. We will be amazed how the Holy Spirit will use us to minister to others, even when they persecute us.

7. The Holy Spirit dwells in the children of God.

John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

The indwelling Holy Spirit is essential to our salvation, adoption, sanctification, and eternal destination. If God, the Holy Spirit, does not dwell in you, you are not saved.

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

8. The Holy Spirit sanctifies the children of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

If we truly believe and give our life to Jesus Christ, our baptism is where we are washed spiritually and born again as a new creation by the Holy Spirit. We are sanctified (set apart for God). We are to identify with the righteousness of Christ, who is our justification, and not the sins of our past. We are to yield to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to renew our minds with the Word of God and transform us into the image of Christ, which is a life-long process.

9. The Holy Spirit is the witness of God and of our salvation. Without that witness, without His presence, we are not saved.

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Jesus said in John 16:7-15 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

Not only does the Holy Spirit witness about Jesus, but He convicts men of sin, turning their hearts away from rebellion against God and giving them faith regarding Jesus as Savior and Lord. After conversion, the Holy Spirit guides the believer into all truth.

10. The Holy Spirit strives with sinners. He calls them to repentance and righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is patient, but He will not always strive with sinners if they choose to go to Hell. They make this choice when they are given the opportunity to respond to the Holy Spirit’s call but they reject the Spirit’s messengers and the message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Is the Holy Spirit calling you to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who atoned for your sin on the cross? Do you hear His call to repent and to give your life to Christ? If so, don’t reject His call. Respond to it today, for you may not have another opportunity.

Here is how you can respond. If you believe Jesus is the Son of God, who went to the cross to atone for your sin with His own blood and rose again on the third day, then publicly confess your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Repent of your sin and follow Jesus in baptism so that you can be born again of water and Spirit. The Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you in a new way of thinking and living. We will learn more about this from the Word of God next week.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.