The Work of the Spirit
For many people, the Holy Spirit is the least understood member of the Trinity. Many churches talk about Jesus and the Father, but give little attention to the Holy Spirit. I trust that this series, has given us a better appreciation for the member of the God head that is actively engaged in our lives and in our world today.
Today, our concluding message in the series is entitled “The Work of the Spirit.” We’re going to give an overview about what the Spirit does, so we can get to know Him better. The Spirit has been active in our world since creation.
Genesis 1:2 (NIV) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
The Spirit was the power of God active in creating the physical universe in respond to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit was the power behind the conception of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the womb of the virgin Mary.
Luke 1:35 (NIV) The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Jesus, God’s Son, was born some 2000 years ago, both fully human and fully divine. His human nature coming through Mary and divine nature through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit was the power behind both Jesus’ words and His miracles during His earthly ministry.
Matthew 12:28 (NIV) But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
It was the power of the Spirit working through Jesus that allowed Him to drive demons out of people and set them free. Just as Jesus lived in the power of the Spirit, so we also need to live in that same power. We need the power of the Spirit to be followers of Jesus.
Oftentimes we forget what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The Spirit helps us be more like Jesus, as He transforms our inner being. The Spirit helps us do the same things as Jesus did, through His power. So, as followers of Jesus, we are to be like Jesus and do what Jesus did, through the Holy Spirit.
Today, we’re going to look at ten ways that the Spirit works in our lives and world. The Spirit’s goal today is that you appreciate what He does and you seek Him to be active in your life and our church increasingly in these ten ways.
The Holy Spirit exalts Jesus
John 15:26 (NIV) When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
Jesus here tells us the more important function of the Holy Spirit is to testify or witness concerning who Jesus is. So, the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself, He lifts up Jesus in everything that He does. How does the Spirit exalt Jesus? The Spirit exalts Jesus through believers. The Spirit speaks to believers and encourages them to put Jesus first in their lives.
The prophetic words that the Spirit gives will not exalt spiritual gifts as an end in themselves, but only as a vehicle to draw people to Jesus. Knowing that the Spirit always exalts Jesus gives us a guideline to discern whether a prophetic word or possible activity of the Spirit is from the Holy Spirit or not. Ministries that are faithful to the Spirit will always place their many emphasis on Jesus and leading people to eternal life through Him. Pray that the Holy Spirit would exalt Jesus in and through your life and church.
The Holy Spirit convicts of sin
John 16:8-11 (NIV) When he [Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
The Holy Spirit has come to convict sinners of their sin. He does this in three ways. First of all, the Holy Spirit awakens in a sinner’s heart their guilt for sin, especially the primary sin of not believing in Jesus. Secondly, the Spirit convicts sinners of the righteousness and perfection of Jesus, who is our example. Thirdly, the Spirit convicts sinners of the coming judgment, in which all those who do not believe will be condemned to hell and believers will be granted entrance into heaven.
So often, we try to convince people to believe in Jesus. We try to convince them of their sin and need for God. And yes, our job is to be a witness for Jesus. But the Spirit’s job is to convict people of their sin, so that they can repent and turn in faith to Jesus Christ. Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict sinners of their sin so that they could believe.
The Holy Spirit causes a person to be born again
John 3:5 (NIV) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
In this passage, Jesus is talking about being born again to Nicodemus. It is through the work of the Spirit that a person is born again. Only those who are born again can enter the kingdom of God and have eternal life. It was only after Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead, that the Holy Spirit could not only be with believers, but could live inside of them.
John 20:22 (NIV) And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
At this point, the Spirit was received by the disciples and they were born again. Each and every believer from this point on receives the Spirit and is born again when they believe. As, we’ll talk about in a few minutes, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience for believers who are already born again.
The Holy Spirit lives in you
1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV) Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
In the Old Testament, the presence and glory of God dwelt in the Holy of Holies in the temple. Now, in the New Testament era, the body of the believer is a temple in which God’s presence, through the Holy Spirit, dwells. God Himself lives inside of you, if you are a believer here this morning. When you become a believer, you give up your right to direct your life anymore. You give yourself to Jesus Christ and allow the Spirit to live inside of you. As this verse, says, you are no longer your own, you have been bought with a price, the life of Jesus Christ. The Spirit who lives in you will change you to become more like Jesus every day. Pray that your life would exhibit the character and the power of someone that God Himself, through His Spirit, lives.
The Holy Spirit seals you
Ephesians 1:13 (NIV) 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,
The presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, in the life of a believer, is a mark that you belong to God. The seal of the Holy Spirit, is an indication that God has an inheritance for you in eternity. The seal of the Holy Spirit protects you from anything that would take you away from God. Nothing external can separate you from the love of God poured out in your heart by the Spirit. As long as you keep believing, you are safe underneath the Spirit’s seal. Pray that the knowledge of the seal of the Spirit in your life would keep you in God’s will.
The Holy Spirit guides you
John 16:13 (NIV) But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
The Holy Spirit was sent to guide you, not just in certain areas of your life, not just in spiritual matters, but He will guide you into all truth. What this verse means is that in every decision you have to make in life, the Spirit will be there to help you make the right decision. There is no area of your life, that the Holy Spirit does not want to guide you. The Holy Spirit can guide you, because not only does He know the past and the present, but He alone knows the future. Pray that you will better be able to hear and follow the guidance of the Spirit in your life.
The Holy Spirit leads you to worship
John 4:24 (NIV2011) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
As the Spirit exalts Jesus, so must we, as believers worship God. Worship is not something external. Worship is not first and foremost what we do with our bodies. True worship, Jesus says here, is worship in the Holy Spirit and in truth. True worship engages your mind and your spirit, through the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit fills and baptizes people, they are opened up to a new dimension of worship. Pray that the Holy Spirit would help you grow in worship, each and every day.
The Holy Spirit empowers you for witnessing
Acts 1:8 (NIV) 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.”
Jesus instructed His disciples not to do anything, but wait and pray, until they were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the power to be an effective witness for Jesus comes through the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives the courage and boldness to speak in pressure situations.
The Spirit gives the power to move in spiritual gifts, such as gifts of healing or words of knowledge. The Spirit gives the guidance to know when and what to say in every circumstance. Being an effective witness for Jesus isn’t easy. We definitely need the Spirit’s power to help us lead others to Jesus. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you the power to be a witness for Jesus.
The Holy Spirit enables you to understand and apply God’s Word
John 14:26 (NIV) But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
Other Scriptures tell us that is was the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of Scripture to write down the very words of God. But not only is the Holy Spirit the author of Scripture, He is also the one who can teach us what it means and how to apply it to our lives. Jesus tells us in this verse that the Holy Spirit can bring back to our memory the part of God’s Word that applies to any particular situation that you may be in. Now the Spirit uses many different means to help us understand God’s Word.
First of all, we must take the time to read it regularly. Then, we must be open to those that God has placed in the church to teach us more about God’s Word. Finally, we must have ears to hear and a heart to obey what the Spirit reveals to about the Bible. The Bible is not just a book to be understood, it must be applied to our lives.
That is why you shouldn’t go to a lot of Bible studies. What you hear on Sunday morning and in your Life Group, along with your daily Bible reading is plenty. You can spend too much time studying the Bible and not enough doing it. There is no blessing in studying the Bible, you are only blessed when you put it into practice. Pray that the Spirit would help you understand and apply God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit will transform our mortal bodies
Romans 8:11 (NIV) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
This is the hope of every believer. That one day, when Jesus returns, these mortal bodies, subject to pain and death, will be transformed. The Spirit will give us glorified, immortal bodies, designed to spend eternity with Jesus. So, whenever, you get an ache or pain or something goes wrong with your body. Remember, that better things are coming. One day, you’ll be able to trade-in your present body to receive a brand new glorified body that will never wear out, courtesy of the Holy Spirit. Pray that this promise of a glorified body through the Spirit would be an encouragement.
The Bible talks about the Holy Spirit from Genesis through Revelation. Today, we’ve talked about ten different works of the Holy Spirit. This week, I’d encourage you to look over this list and ask the Spirit to show you which aspects of His work are important to your life right now. Then began to pray over those Scriptures that apply to those points. Perhaps you need the Spirit’s help to be a witness and see a lost relative saved. Or maybe you need the Spirit’s help to resist temptation and live a holy life. Or possibly you need the Spirit’s wisdom to make an important decision. Whatever it may be, whatever you may need, the Spirit is there to give you what you need to carry out His plan for your life.