Friday, January 30, 2009
When we receive Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit comes and resides in our hearts as a guest - a guest who is with us forever (John 14:16-17), available to help us when we face difficuloties. He fulfils this ministry in a number of ways:
1. The Holy testifies of our relationship with God
''Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us'' 1 John 3:24 (see also 4:13; Galatians 4:6).
When we were born into God's family as His sons, the Holy Spirit came and fused with our spirit in an everlasting relationship. Now the Holy Spirit ''testifies with our spirit" (Romans 8:16) concerning our new relationship with God. Even when we go through difficult times, we still have God's Spirit as a ''guarantee'' (Ephesians 1:14).
''This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything" 1 John 3:19-20.
2. The Holy Spirit teaches
''But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" John 14:26.
God has sent into our hearts His very own Spirit - the Spirit who ''knows everything'' (1 John 3:20; Hebrews 4:13) and who "searches all things, EVEN THE DEEP THINGS OF GOD'' (1 Corinthians 2:10). Thus the Holy Spirit helps us by teaching us - and in times of spiritual attack, He helps us recall parts of His own Word, making it alive to our hearts (see Luke 12:11-12; Nehemiah 9:20).
''This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit... ' 1 Corinthians 2:13 (read also verses 9-16; 1 John 2:27).
3. The Holy Spirit guides
''... because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God" Romans 8: 14.
As an expression of the Father's loving heart, the Holy Spirit is ever-present to help God's children follow the right path. The Book of Acts gives many accounts of, the direct guidances of the Holy Spirit (see 10:19-20;13:2; 16:6). Whenever we are faced with a decision that we can't handle by ourselves, we can ask for help from the Holy Spirit - for He is in us to express the mind of Christ so that we can fulfil the will of God.
''O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you . . . Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it' '' Isaiah 30: 19,21 (see also 42:16; 48:17).
4. The Holy Spirit helps us live a life pleasing to God
''So l say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature . . . Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit'' Galatians 5:16-17,25.
The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to live a righteous life. If we strive to do this in our own strength, we will fail - but with the Spirit's help, backed by the full legal work of the Cross, we have a God-given formula for success. This success is described as the ''fruit'' of the Holy Spirit's own character, and that fruit can begin to grow in our lives only when the Holy Spirit is allowed to express Himself.
''But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" Galatians 5:22-23.
5. The Holy Spirit helps us in prayer
''In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express" Romans 8:26.
Because of our human limitations, we often don't know exactly how to pray, but the Holy Spirit knows exactly what needs to be expressed. When we lean on the Holy Spirit in prayer, we can have full confidence that our prayer will be answered - because we are in teamwork with God Himself!
"And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God's own will'' Romans 8:27 (TLB).
6. The Holy Spirit gives power to witness
''But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses . . . to the ends of the earth'' Acts 1:8.
The Holy Spirit is not only our power to live the Christian life, but is the power to tell others about the Good News of what God has done for us! God has given us a Commission (Matthew 28:18-19) that is far too big for us to fulfil in our own strength, but when we allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate His power through us, we are enabled to fulfil the call.
'' . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly . . . With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all'' Acts 4: 31,33 (see also 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
7. The Holy Spirit gives life
''And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you'' Romans 8:11.
The Holy Spirit works on every level of our lives. He has brought life to our:
''Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit'' John 3:5-6.
• SOUL: MIND, EMOTIONS AND CHARACTER
''And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" 2 Corinthians 3:18.
And now the marvellous truth is that the Holy Spirit is also the agent for bringing life and dynamic power into our physical bodies. We can look to the Holy Spirit for physical strength when we have to face situations that would normally wear us down (see Ephesians 3:16; John 6:63).
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations for ever and ever! Amen'' Ephesians 3:20-21.
The Holy Spirit's work is not limited solely to the believer; He is also very much at work in the world, and His ministry is fulfilled in five ways:
"We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him'' Acts 5:32 (see also 1 John 5:6-12).
It was through God's Spirit that Jesus was baptised with power to fulfil His ministry (Luke 3:21-22; 4:14,17-21), and it was through the Holy Spirit that Jesus was raised from the dead (Romans 1:4). From the beginning to the end, the Holy Spirit was involved in the work of Jesus, and He has now been given to the believer to bear witness to the fact that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and is alive today !
"When the Counsellor comes . . . he will testify about me, but you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning" John 15:26-27.
"When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUDGMENT" John 16:8.
Because the world has rejected God, the Holy Spirit's aim in people's lives is to bring conviction in three areas:
"... in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me . . . '' v.9.
The world has rejected God and sinned against Him. People try to cover up their sin and justify themselves, but the Holy Spirit's work is to expose sin for what it is and show the need for God's help (see Acts 24:25).
'' ... in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer . . . " v.10.
Jesus was the only true standard of the righteousness of God. Without Him, people would only have themselves to measure by (2 Corinthians 10:12; Romans 2:23). When Jesus returned to the Throne, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer- and now the Holy Spirit reveals the standard of God's righteousness, desiring that that standard would be clearly demonstrated in the believer for all the world to see.