Chapter 27: Holy Spirit
In the Amplified Bible we find Jesus telling his disciples,
“But the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.” John 14:26 AMP
In a regular dictionary we find the following definitions of these adjectives describing our Holy Spirit:
1. Comforter: A person or thing that provides consolation
2. Counsellor: A person trained to give guidance on personal, social, or psychological problems
3. Helper: a person who contributes to the fulfillment of a need or furtherance of an effort or purpose
4. Intercessor: (mediator) a negotiator who acts as a link between parties
5. Advocate: A person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy
6. Strengthener: a device designed to provide additional strength
7. Standby: Readiness for duty or immediate deployment
Even in this simple way we can see the immediate kinds of help that the Spirit of God brings to us.
There is much to say about the Holy Spirit. Too much for this simple study, so let’s look at just a few of the marks of the Holy Spirit, how we can recognize the Spirit of God in our lives.
The very first place where we find the Spirit is in our salvation. When we come to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we are told that the Spirit seals us in him.
1. The Spirit Marks us and Seals us in Christ
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 ESV
This is important because when we first come to the Lord we are immature in our faith.
Sometimes it takes years to mature and to grow to our full stature in Christ, and God understands this.
God knows that growth is a process and that while we go from immaturity to maturity, even in that process, we are marked as belonging to God by the Holy Spirit.
“Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 ESV (footnote below)
Because of the intercession of the Spirit, one of the first ways that we experience the Holy Spirit is in the inner sanctum of our hearts. Paul in Romans gives this blessing:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV
And it is in the inner experience of joy and peace and hope that we are assured of God’s presence in our lives. We all know that we cannot conjure these things on our own.
Rather, joy and peace and hope are gifts from God and come to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And it is out of this joy and peace and hope that we are healed.
2. The Spirit Heals us
Isaiah records it this way,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit, that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV (Read all of Isaiah 61)
Consider how the Psalmist describes it:
“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Psalm 30:11-12 ESV
God in his power and majesty and by the work of the Holy Spirit enters into the depths of our hearts with comfort and joy and dancing.
In the power of God we are given back celebration and worship. We are enabled to praise him and to experience in that praise a deep gladness of heart that transcends all that we know and understand.
I am convinced that when Peter says, “always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 1 Peter 3:15b ESV, that we are to answer the basic question, “how has God made you glad?”
We might know all scripture, understand the ancient texts and languages, but if we do not know how the Lord has brought gladness to our hearts, if we do not know where our mourning has been turned to dancing, then perhaps we are missing an elemental component of walking with God.
If nothing else, know this day the impact and the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart.
It is from this touch of the Spirit to the depths of our hearts that we then walk in wisdom and understanding.
3. The Spirit Teaches us and Gives us Wisdom
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV
*Read 1 Corinthians 6:6-16
Life is complicated and fraught with confusion. It is therefore good to know that we do not have to do life on our own understanding. Rather we have access to the wisdom of
God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah in his foretelling of the coming of Christ said this,
“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2-3a ESV (Read 11:1-10)
We come to reverence in the Spirit of God. Our understanding is opened to the might and majesty of God and we are never the same. We learn obedience and how to walk in sync with the living God.
How God moves we move. What God is concerned about concerns us. The manner of compassion and grace of our Lord becomes our own. There is something different about those who walk in the Spirit. We find in Galatians,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Our very manner of being takes on the mark of our Lord. In this we give tangible evidence to the Holy Spirit in our lives. This depth of the Spirit in our lives is important to God. Consider the words found in 1 Corinthians,
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV
We may have good deeds, prophecy, knowledge, and even faith, but if we are not walking in the manner of the Holy Spirit, the place where our hearts reveal the fruit of the Spirit as Galatians teaches us, then we are missing the greatest point of walking with God – change within our inner person.
Christ didn’t die on the cross to get us to heaven. He died and rose again so that our entire life might be redeemed and restored to the original vision of God, and this begins with the infilling of the Holy Spirit, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit one to another.
I’ll leave off with Peter’s blessing:
“According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” 1 Peter 1:2 ESV
Consider this diagram (on the next page) about the covering of Jesus Christ. Note that as we mature in Christ there are subtleties to being ‘right with God’. Our discernment and our ability to hear and to obey the spirit must therefore become greater.
While there are many actions and deeds that are outside of the covering of Christ, as leaders and pastors in the Kingdom of God we must begin looking at our own hearts and seeing deeper than just actions. We must take sins of the heart seriously and this is where the Holy Spirit is particularly equipped to teach us and to equip us.
Consider the small differences of our hearts before God when we are under the covering of Christ, to those same things of the heart without the right motive or without obedience to the Lord — Where is your life? Are you fully under the covering of Christ or is there a habit of thought and action that would be outside of Jesus’ covering?
Use the listening prayer process to confess and repent of what the Holy Spirit shows you.
Summary – Holy Spirit
The Spirit seals us in Christ. Ephesians 1:13-14
The Spirit brings peace, joy, and hope. Romans 15:13
The Spirit heals us. Psalm 30:11-12
The Spirit teaches us. 1 Corinthians 2:13
We live out the fruit of the spirit (as evidence of the spirit in us). Galatians 5:22-23
Footnote: God is very okay with our growth and the time it takes to mature. We must not condemn others for their growth process. Rather, we rest in the work that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are doing in our lives and we trust that this same work is happening in the lives of others. It is okay to serve God while we are still maturing, for he is growing us.