The ministry of the Holy Spirit
As the New Testament is read, it is easy to see the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The early church had confidence in the Holy Spirit and exhibited confidence in its leadership. This confidence grew out of the church’s daily experience, direction and blessing from God by means of the Holy Spirit.
Never forgot the day of Pentecost
The early church never forgot the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was unforgettable because Pentecost was the time of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the first followers of Jesus. This event was and has never been forgotten. This was the day of the birth of Christianity. Some call this day, the “Hub of the Bible” Repentance and baptism in Jesus' name for the remission of sins was first taught and experienced 1
From this outpouring, they could look ahead in the future for the return of Christ. Paul wrote about his expectations toward the end of his life.2
The early Christians in the early church had the hope of seeing Jesus again in their lifetimes, just was we have the hope of His return in our lifetimes. This made them want to more than ever carry out His work, because they had the power of the Holy Spirit within them. This same fervor ought to be ours
The Spirit is still busy
In this age, the 21st century, the Holy Spirit is the One who ministers to the faithful by the power of Jesus. It matters little what name that is affixed, the power is the same. Some know the Spirit as The Spirit of God. Some use the name to address Him as The Spirit of Christ. To others He is called The Spirit of peace. Some address Him as The Spirit of truth, The Spirit of power or The Spirit of grace. Some describe Him as The Spirit of glory. All these describe the same Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the same now as He was in the first Church. His works brings to us the realness of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit and Jesus
It should be noted that the Holy Spirit is distinguished from Jesus as another Comforter.
The Holy Spirit:
- The helper who bears witness to Christ by His teaching. 3
- Is known by the work He empowered early Christians to do 4
- Is sent by the Father and Son to minister to us. 5
- The Holy Spirit knows the deep things of God 6
Direction by the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the director of the church. The Holy Spirit directs the church, and individuals in the church, in the will of God. This action by the Spirit moving on the church and individual, felicitates answers to prayers. We have an example of this in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit directed Philip to an Ethiopian eunuch and Peter to the house of Cornelius. The Holy Spirit gave the church at Antioch directions to send out Paul and Barnabas. Through this action the Church was fulfilling a missionary directive. It was the Holy Spirit the broke down barriers to Gentiles, Including some long standing prejudices against Gentiles being associated with things of God.
Completely Dedicated to God
The dedication to God's service came from dedication to God himself. It is the Holy Spirit that points us to God, and pours out God’s love into our hearts.
The way we live
Christians must live in the Spirit. Christians are to live by the Spirit. These actions in our lives are witness that we are truly in Christ-ones.
Every aspect of our lives should be touched by the Spirit. The things that the Holy Spirit did for individuals in the first church will be done for us also. The early Christians lived in the Spirit. They worked by the power of the Spirit. They worship by power of the Spirit. They were able to withstand suffering for Christ because of the aid of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wants to do the same for us. The Holy Spirit is our helpmate, striving for us to be at one with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is one who walks along side us, with His arm around us to keep us from stumbling and to catch us if we do.
Where is the Spirit?
He is here. He is here now. He is here to guide us. He guides us through special manifestations of His gifts. Sometimes we receive revelations. Sometimes we hear a small still voice directing our pathway. These are wonderful experiences but are not necessary to have them to be in the Spirit. Again we have a prime example in Paul. Paul was forbidden by the Spirit to preach in Asia. He received no further communication on the subject at that time. He did not know why he was forbidden. But he obeyed. It was Paul’s faithfulness to his task made him go on for many days through Mysia to the borders of Bithynia. Finally did he receive further guidance from the Spirit. 7
Lives of early Christians
The life of the early Christians was a matter of faithfully carrying out the work of the Lord. The life of the early Christians was carrying on with business of life without spectacular interventions. Yet, this was no drab existence. The gifts of the Spirit and the presence of Christ made their daily portion in work and worship worship a beautiful, satisfying experience. They experienced a life of growth in grace and in the fruit of the Spirit. It is worth striving for. We need growth in grace. We need development of the fruit of the Spirit. We have these things through our relationship with Christ. Christ is the One who sanctified us through His blood.8
The Holy Spirit is not an abstract concept. The Holy Spirit is our personal helpmate. The Holy Spirit is made personal to us through sanctification. This sanctification separated us from evil. This results in our dedication to God. Now we have a new life. Because of our new life, we are in the Body of Christ. We are now placed in the Body of Christ. 9 This is only one aspect of our sanctification. Paul prays that God will wholly sanctify us 10
Our cooperation is a “must” to participate with the continuing aspect of sanctification. We must present ourselves to God 11
Our cooperation, with the help of the Spirit, is needed to reach for holiness. Our cooperation must happen through striving for dedication of our lives in right relationships to God. Without this it will be impossible to see the Lord. 12
This is a holiness that the Holy Spirit helps us to achieve. 13
It is a “must” that we recognize and put into practice our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. Every day we must account ourselves "to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" 14
Every day we must by faith yield every faculty of our being to God as "instruments of righteousness” 15
We have power available from the Spirit that enables us keep putting to death the impulses of the old life and keep winning victories as we live for Jesus 16
On one hand, we are changed from one degree of glory to another as we behold and serve Jesus 17
The dedication of our lives to God is likely to cause us to suffer for Christ and for the gospel. Especially in these times. Look at the example of Paul. Paul not only considered himself crucified with Christ and living a new life in and by Christ 18.
He did not mind the suffering he experienced for the Church 19
Paul had not yet had to die for the sake of the Church, but until that happened, he was willing to keep on suffering to establish that Body and bring more and more believers into it.
The Work of sanctification
The work of sanctification is the work of the Spirit. This work by the Spirit receives much attention in the New Testament. Sanctification takes precedence over everything else including witnessing, evangelism, giving, and every other form of Christian service.
The aim of God
The aim of God in all of this is that He wants us to” be”. Not to “do”
As we become like Jesus we will be effective in our work. The aim of all this is to bring glory to Him. Our worship is guided by the Spirit and prompted by the Spirit in every aspect encourages us in this very thing.
- Acts 2: 38 Joel 2: 32 Acts 2: 37-42
- Timothy 1:12; 2:10,13; 4:7,8
- John 14:16,26; 16:13,14
- Acts 2:43 Romans 15:18,19
- Galatians 4:6 John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7
- 1 Corinthians 2:10,11
- Act 16:6,7
- Hebrews 13:12
- 1 Corinthians 6:11
- 1 Thessalonian 5:23
- Romans 12:1,2
- Hebrews 12:14
- 1 Peter 1:15,16
- Romans 6:11
- Romans 6:13; 1 Peter 1:5
- Romans 8:1,2,14; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12,13
- 2 Corinthians 3:18
- Galatians 2:20
- Colossians 1:24)