Understanding the Holy Spirit:
1. The Holy Spirit is a Person – the third member of the Trinity.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19).
“For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7).
When we are talking about the Holy Spirit, we are talking about a person. He is not a force or a power, but a person. The Holy Spirit is not a bird! When Jesus was baptized, Matthew tells us that the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove. Notice that word like – it is not saying that the Holy Spirit is a dove; it is merely saying that He descended, perhaps gracefully, like a dove. Another reason why many think of the Holy Spirit more of a force than a person is because of some of the word pictures the Bible uses to describe Him. He is referred to as a mighty wind, a consuming fire, and refreshing rain. But the Holy Spirit is not any of those things – those are just words used to describe His nature. If you use the good old King James Version of 1611, you will notice that he is referred to as the Holy Ghost. This was a poor translation, because He is not a ghost. He is a person. Because He is a person, we can have a relationship with Him, just like we do with the Father and the Son.
2. He Helps and Comforts us.
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16).
When Jesus walked on the Earth as a human being two thousand years ago, He was a Helper. He helped people, blessed people, and encouraged people. Then when Jesus got ready to return to Heaven, He promised to send another Helper, who would come alongside of us as we journey through our lives on Planet Earth. The Holy Spirit is always with us, to comfort us when we go through difficult times. In one of the most beloved Psalms of all time, King David writes, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4).
3. He reveals God’s Love to us.
“Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5).
Do you know how much God loves you? If you do, then you should say, “Thank you, Holy Spirit.” He is the one who reveals God’s love to us. Not only does He share with us the information that God loves us, He actually pours out that love into our hearts so that we can experience it personally. “See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children!” (1 John 3:1, cjb).
4. He makes us more like Jesus.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Holy Spirit helps us to become more like Jesus. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives when we become more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. When we walk in the Spirit, we become more Christ-like.
5. He leads and guides us.
Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-14).
There are two parts of the will of God for every person’s life. There is the general will of God, and the specific will of God. The general will of God for our lives is in the Bible. It is the same for you as it is for me. God wants us to be kind and loving and forgiving. That’s the general will of God for everyone’s life. But there is also a specific will of God for every individual’s life. Who does God want you to marry? Where does He want you to work? Where does He want you to live? What gifts has He given you, and how does He want you to serve Him? The specific will of God for everyone’s life is different, and we need to learn how to tap into the Holy Spirit to discover God’s wonderful plans and purposes for our lives.
Thank God for the wonderful person of the Holy Spirit, God in us, who helps us, reveals God’s love to us, makes us more like Jesus, and guides our lives.
The Holy Spirit in Acts:
Although the Book of Acts is called the Acts of the Apostles, it could also be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit. If you read through Acts, almost every single chapter records the Holy Spirit being directly involved in the lives of the people of the church. In the very first chapter of Acts, Peter stood up and gave a message that referenced the working of the Holy Spirit: “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke…” (Acts 1:16). Look at this sampling of Scriptures and see how often the people of God heard His voice:
- Acts 8:29: “Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near and overtake this chariot.” Because Philip heard the Spirit’s voice and responded in obedience, an Ethiopian encountered Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
- Acts 10:19: “While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, Behold, three men are seeking you.” Because of Peter’s obedience to the Holy Spirit, the doors were opened for the church to begin ministering to the Gentile world.
- Acts 13:2: “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Because the church heard the voice of the Holy Spirit, two men of God were called to go out as missionaries, preaching the Gospel.
- Acts 15:28: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” In this story, the church was praying for God’s wisdom in a situation that could have been potentially divisive. The Holy Spirit gave them wisdom, and the result was “they rejoiced over its encouragement.” (verse 31). We need to hear the Spirit’s voice in the church today.
- Acts 16:6-7: “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” Not only did the Holy Spirit tell them where to go, He also told them where not to go. As a result of the disciples following God’s voice, they were given an opportunity to minister in Macedonia, where a merchant named Lydia and her family were saved. All because they learned to follow the Spirit’s leading.
The key phrase in Acts 13:2 is: “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit spoke.” The believers heard the voice of the Lord during worship, prayer and fasting. One of the places we most clearly hear the Spirit speaking to us is during times of prayer or worship. When we focus on the Lord and shut the door to all of the distractions in our lives, we can more clearly hear His voice.
Jesus gave us a wonderful promise in John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Jesus didn’t say that only pastors and prophets would hear His voice, but rather that all of His sheep – all Christians – would be able to recognize His voice. Why? He said, “I know them.” That speaks of an intimate, personal relationship. This is the first and most important reason for us to learn to hear the voice of the Spirit – to get to know Jesus better. But secondly, Jesus said, “They follow me.” Not only does God want us to obey what is written in the Bible, but He wants us to learn how to hear His voice and follow His leading in our day to day lives. Jesus himself said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19). We need to learn how to do what we see the Father doing, and say only what we hear the Father saying. When we do this, we will become more effective in our ministry, and see more lives transformed.
Over and over, we see the church in Acts following the leading of the Spirit. It was a normal, every-day occurrence for them to hear the Spirit speak. God is a God who is always speaking. It’s time for us to start listening!
The Fullness of the Holy Spirit is a sample chapter from “Supernatural: Contending for Signs and Wonders Today” copyright © 2010 Chris Jordan. All Rights Reserved.
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There’s more to Christianity than just going to church to sing songs and hear stories about what God did in the past. Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can experience His supernatural power in our lives today. In Supernatural, Pastor Chris takes readers on an experiential journey through Acts. In addition to the story of the early church, it also contains testimonies of how God is moving supernaturally in the world. This message will inspire you to contend for the supernatural realm of signs, wonders and healings, and help you to walk in the miraculous realm in your life.