An entire family started attending church after moving into town. They came from a different Christian faith expression and we were delighted to receive them.
At the time, I was preaching a series on the Holy Spirit as the most neglected person of the Godhead. Afterward, they spoke with me in amazement.
“We have heard of the Holy Spirit,” they explained, “but we have never in all our church years heard a sermon on the Holy Spirit.”
How sad when the Bible has so much to say about Him!
Just a quick reading of chapters 14, 15, and 16 of the Gospel of John reveal, in a most beautiful light, the mysterious person and work of the Holy Spirit. And while the Gospels focus on the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, we must remember that His earthly but supernatural ministry did not begin until the Holy Spirit descended upon Him at his baptism. [Matthew 3:16-4:1]
The Lord Jesus Christ had divested Himself of all glory and power to become an ordinary human being until He was endued or anointed with the Holy Spirit. It was by the power and glory of the Holy Spirit that Jesus did great and marvelous things as directed by the Heavenly Father.
In ancient Israel, when someone was chosen for a position of authority, oil was poured on their head to signify his being set apart for God’s service. Consider Luke 4:17-19.
Therefore, the Gospels record the works of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, and the Book of Acts reports on the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit as He worked through the disciples and early believers. In fact, the Book of Acts is often called “The Unfinished Book” because He is still at work doing exploits today. His work on earth will continue even long after Christ returns for the second time.
To never hear any teaching or preaching on the Holy Spirit is to miss out on appreciating the person, and His work including an understanding of God and how He works. It also means missing out on the amazing opportunities afforded for personal experiences with God because it is the Holy Spirit who dwells within the believer to help him live a godly life. [John 14:16-17 cp. Isaiah 63:11; Ezekiel 36:27; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 2 Timothy 1:14]
Who among us would not have wanted to be one of the crowd as we listened to Jesus teach and watched Him heal so many of such diverse and overwhelming problems? Who among us would not have loved to sit around the campfire alongside His disciples and learn from Him in a personal and intimate way? I would venture to say even the most cynical among us would have leaped at the opportunity even if only for one fantastic night.
And so, when it came time for Jesus to return to heaven and take up His throne at the right hand of Majesty on High, He explained God’s elegant solution to the fact that He [Emmanuel – ‘God with us’] would no longer be amongst them to teach and counsel and comfort them.
Instead, He would send the Promise of the Father who would not only be with them as Jesus was with them, but He would ‘in’ them so He could be ‘with’ them everywhere they go until forever.
What a promise!
When Jesus was walking this earth He was limited by space and time. If he was in Capernaum, He could not be in Jerusalem. If He was in Jerusalem, then He could not be in Caeseria-Philippi.
If you wanted to learn from Him, or to be ministered to by Him, or just to be close to Jesus, you had to physically be where He was. That’s why Jesus said it was better that He leaves them and returns to heaven. He would ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit who would then come to live deep inside the hearts of those who believed and desired him.
Known by many names and titles: our Comforter, Teacher, Counsellor, Helper, Strengthener, Advocate and many other names, the Holy Spirit is the divine ‘executor’ who opens our understanding to the Scriptures, reveals God and His truths to us, lends us strength and wisdom, discernment and guidance and applies God’s plan to our lives. Like a personal mentor, He is the Paraclete who lives with us and teaches us and matures us in the things of God. He is the one who makes the good news of the Gospel real in our lives.
And good news he is!
Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. That means God has not withheld the very best of heaven to anyone who would believe and follow Jesus Christ. God has given us His Son and His Spirit. And in doing so has also given Himself. [John 14:10-11; Colossians 2:9]
What amazing generosity!
If you want God’s power operating in your life you need to believe in the Holy Spirit just as you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit is a real person and the third, but equal, partner in the Holy Trinity. Pray to Him just as you do to Jesus and to the Father. Invite him to work in you and allow Him to lead you into deeper personal experiences with God.