Acts 1:8;Acts 2:4
What a roller-coaster of emotions the disciples had experienced over the the days before and after the crucifixion. They had undergone all the emotions of bereavement, interwoven with fear, and then Jesus appeared among them in the upper room – suddenly they are filled with hope! But now that that hope was restored he says to them that they must go out and preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. They were the church and must not forever live in the upper room but must go out to take these tidings of joy to all men. To be his witnesses and preach the gospel and heal the sick. The great commission.
This applies to all who love and live for Christ. They must have found this mission scary stuff! Especially as being followers of Jesus would expose them to possible life threatening danger. But Jesus says in effect have no fear because I am going to send you what my father has promised. What was that promise. John 14:16 reads “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever – “
This is the Holy Spirit. The promise is that the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor, is available to all who believe [John 14:17b].
So how does the Holy Spirit help us in our walk with God?.
S-trength. [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”] When we are called to do scary things for God the Holy Spirit gives us strength. Whether this be physical [as with Samson] or emotional and mental to produce courage. Is God calling you to be a witness in a particular way for him. Are you doubting that calling because you feel God is appealing to your weakness rather than your strength. Have faith move forward in obedience to God’s call because can turn your weakness into strength!
The Holy Spirit will empower those who receive him to do his will, he will strengthen those areas where we already feel we are strong and strengthen those areas where we are weak. The Holy Spirit also develops in us abilities we did not previously have so that we can become better witnesses for Christ. These we sometimes call gifts of the Spirit. Through these the Spirit inspires confident witness to Jesus.
Jesus is telling the disciples don’t be afraid to move out in obedience to my word, my Father will give you a companion for your soul so that you are not alone and can derive courage to do my will.
P-rotection. [Ephes.1:13-14 ‘ And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth , the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are in God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.’]. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and the judgement to come as we ponder the righteousness of Jesus hanging on the Cross. However, the Holy Spirit convinces us that it is this very event that is willed by God to give us eternal protection – for it is through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that we are forgiven and saved from judgement. This is the hope to which we are called.
The Spirit also powerfully convicts unbelievers through the work of the spirit in believers. The Spirit is partner to believers in their evangelistic mission by doing what they cannot do –enabling unbelievers to see their sin and their need for Jesus.
Also as we walk in obedience to God and his calling and in partnership with the Holy Spirit we will receive protection from spiritual attack. He gives the protection of spiritual peace amid the turmoil of life’s bumpy road.
Are you feeling anxious and worried about the future? Be assured of God’s love for you, even amid your doubts, and his care for your well being, which he activates through the work of the spirit. I began to doubt in the 90’s when my business began to flounder in the midst of a recession and I got dangerously into debt. But initiated through the partnership of prayer with others, the Holy Spirit moved in a miraculous way and I was protected from financial ruin.
I-nspiration. [Jn. 16:13 “But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will only speak what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come].
As we study and pray, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit will show us and teach us what is true and in accordance with God’s will about the way we personally should lead our lives for Christ. He will teach us all things and bring them to our remembrance, Jn.14:26. He promises that if we remain in him appropriate words will come when faced with the need to inspire and comfort others, or indeed as a comfort for ourselves.
The spirit also inspires and encourages through signs and wonders as part of the evangelism undertaken by believers. This was clearly the case in the early church and is still present today and practised in the ministries of Healing and Prophesy. For example, during a visit to Halifax to attend a Healing Rooms Conference I and other members of the healing prayer team were asked by the young Receptionist at the Hotel where we were staying to pray away the tumour on her pituitary gland which was affecting her peripheral vision. We invited the Holy Spirit to heal her. Her peripheral vision was retested and found to be perfect! A miracle had occurred through the healing power of the Holy Spirit. Thus God spoke to her, a Sikh, powerfully through this event and she became a Christian!
R-evealing. [1Cor.2: 12-13 ‘We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.]. The Holy Spirit is always active – He is always revealing himself. Truth is not man’s discovery ; it is God’s gift. It is not something we create; it is something waiting to be discovered. At the back of all truth is God. At the back of untruth is satan. It is the Holy Spirit that reveals it to us. The Holy Spirit takes the things of Jesus and reveals there significance to us. Knowledge of Jesus, being God, is inexhaustible. NO man has ever grasped all he came to say. No man has fully worked out the significance of all his teaching for life and belief, for the individual, for society, for the nation and for the world. Revelation is the continual opening out of the meaning of Jesus. The Holy Spirit encourages our hearts to be teachable and open to such revelations and to rule over our minds when we harbour doubts. If we listen to God and to what the spirit is revealing to us through scripture and prayer we develop a deeper knowledge of God, ourselves and others which can develop into the gift of prophecy.
I-ntimacy.[Rom.5:5 ‘And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.’]. The work of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to live nearer to Jesus – to know him better. As the Holy Spirit reveals more of God to us we open the gates of our hearts for the Holy Spirit to pour the love of God for us into it. We realise we are so loved by God that the only way we can respond with our love for him is to have a growing and increasingly closer intimacy with him. We talk with him and he talks with us through the channel of the Holy Spirit. Who may do so also worshipfully and prayerfully through a heavenly language.
T-ransformation. [Acts 15:8-9 ‘ God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us’]. This is perhaps the key work of the Holy Spirit for all the others flow from it. He comes to purify us, to purge us of all unrighteousness. The more we become like him, the more he will be able to tell us. He acts to reveal, teach, inspire, protect and empower us to the point that where we are so intimate with God that we cannot help but share our faith with others to continue the great commission for then, as indicated in Jn.7:38, streams of living water will flow from us into others bringing healing, inspiration, protection and revelation to them.
We can all walk in this resurrection power of Jesus as we obey his command to go and spread the good news of God’s love for us to all around us. In this he promises to be with us [through the Holy Spirit] even to the end of the age [Matt.28:20].
We are all mightily blessed because Jesus ascended into Heaven and sent to us the promised Holy Spirit to counsel, guide and empower us, not only to have a closer relationship with him but to build his church of love bringing his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
However, the holy spirit does not force himself into our lives, he is a gentle spirit, who needs to be accepted freely and willingly by all who love Jesus and want to serve him. We need to reaffirm this daily and our walk with God.
Dear reader I suggest that through prayer you now invite the Holy Spirit to visit you in your heart and in your church. Let us invite him to purge us of all unrighteousness and heal us of all bgive us revelation and knoitterness, anxieties and pain. Let us invite him to be with us, to wledge. Let us invite the Holy Spirit to transform strengthen and empower us to become agents for revival so that his Kingdom is built here on earth and the great commission fulfilled. Amen.