Hey Everyone my name Cody and I am a Ministry Director for Shepherds Heart Ministries,
This is a podcast channel that is designed to supplement our weekly Sonrise Café gatherings we have conversations about the bible and how to apply it our daily lives. If you are not a part of the Sonrise Cafe gathering, we definitely want to welcome you to the podcast channel and we hope that you are blessed by the teachings found here.
We are about to start an 8-week discussion based series that we are calling More Like Jesus. The intent of this particular series is to discuss some of foundational concepts and disciplines that will help us walk more closely in the way of Jesus.
Before we jump into the series we thought it would be important and necessary to spend time discussing the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Each week you will hear references to Holy Spirit and his role in forming us into the likeness of Christ based on that week’s topic. If we don’t begin this discussion with the Holy Spirit, then it will be easy to take the disciplines that we discuss and turn them into legalistic, moralistic, or ritualistic regulations.
For example, if we talk about obeying God’s word without discussing how the Holy Spirit empowers us to do so, we will feel a sense of hopelessness when we fall short of God’s ideal rather than thinking about the gracious, life-giving, and convicting influence of the Spirit in our walk with Jesus.
For me personally, growing in my knowledge and understanding the Holy Spirit has definitely been a journey. I was introduced to Jesus in a church that emphasized on nothing but the Holy Spirit. Looking back, it seemed as if the Spirit was treated as a mystical and strange force. If you didn’t have some explosive encounter that resulted in various manifestations, then you were missing something. After stepping away from my faith for several years and coming back to a place of active trust in Jesus, I attended a church that barely spoke about the Holy Spirit and his role in my life. The Holy Spirit was treated as if we were embarrassed by and uncomfortable with His presence. The Holy Spirit is often the most neglected out of the Father, Son, and Spirit, what we call the Trinity. Perhaps you have experienced some of this and have some hesitations or questions about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, however, according to the Bible is God and we should not be skeptical of his power and presence. Hopefully, this conversation will be beneficial.
We will frame this episode in three parts: the Holy Spirit in the Old & New Testament, the Person of the Holy Spirit, and the work of the Holy Spirit. With that said, let’s jump into it.
The Holy Spirit is present in the Old Testament from the very beginning. In Genesis 1 & 2 he is the agent of and over creation, and is the means by which God intimately formed and breathed physical life into humanity making us unique among the rest of creation as we are made in the image of God.
As we read the Old Testament, we notice that the Holy Spirit, who is the very presence of God, becomes more prophetically desired and proximate among God’s people. The work of the Spirit is evident in the Old Testament and God’s leaders knew it and yearned for all to experience it. In Numbers 11:29 Moses wishes that all of God’s people could encounter the Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 32, the prophet who writes in the context of oppression says that only when the Spirit is poured out on God’s people will there be a renewing work of justice, righteousness, peace, flourishing, and rest…individually and corporately. In Ezekiel 36, we are told that when God places his Spirit within his people that our hearts and desires will change and we will carefully follow him more closely.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit comes and goes as he empowers certain people to accomplish and move forward the work and purposes of God. What are the work and purpose moving to? The whole OT is moving history closer and closer to the time of God’s Chosen One, Jesus, which is where we come to the New Testament. But, the anticipation of the Old Testament was about salvation through God’s chosen One, who is Jesus, and a yearning for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a result of the coming King.
The Holy Spirit is seen in the life and ministry of Jesus in the Gospels, which is where we see the power and presence of through the signs, wonders, wisdom, and ultimately the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus tells his followers before and after his death the Spirit is coming. And then He does. Finally, the yearning of God’s people throughout history has been fulfilled. In Acts 2 the Spirit arrives and breathes new life into the God’s people.
So that is a brief snapshot of the Spirit throughout the Old and New Testament leading up to the birth of the Church, so let’s move on to who He is.
The Person of the Holy Spirit
For the sake of brevity, we only look at one text in this section. Jesus, trying to prepare his disciples for his departure, says,[trx_quote title=”John 14:15-17 ESV”]If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.[/trx_quote]
This is text is packed with some rich content that we cannot fully get into, but what I want you to see is that Jesus tells us exactly who the Holy Spirit is…he is another Helper. Your translation of this text may say Advocate, Counselor, or Comforter, all of which are right. Probably the most accurate, however, is Advocate because the word means to have help beside you as a legal advocate would in court. According to 1 John 2:1, Jesus is our Advocate in heaven securing our position before God as we have been justified and made right because of what Jesus has done by his life, death, burial, and resurrection. Here, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is another Advocate. And if you dive into the original language and structure of the text, you will find that what Jesus is saying is that he is sending someone who is exactly like him. Not a foreign mystical power, but rather someone just like Jesus. So, the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus and having the Spirit is to have the Spirit of Jesus within us.
So, how does the Spirit Advocate, Help, Counsel, or comfort? That brings us to his work.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The ministry of the Holy Spirit is massive. He teaches, guides, convict, comforts, prays, intercedes, empowers, counsels, and cultivates fruitfulness in our lives. His work is almost as immeasurable as his greatness, being that He is God. To simplify, with the hope of not oversimplifying, let’s look at five primary aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Revealing, Indwelling, Equipping, Filling, and Sanctifying.
Revealing. God initiates salvation through the Holy Spirit revealing our need for Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the one who opens our eyes and patiently persuades our hearts to follow Jesus. We only know Jesus because the Spirit showed us Jesus. In John 1. John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, only knew that Jesus was the Messiah because of the Holy Spirit’s presence. The same goes for us. New Testament scholar Craig Koester says, “No one – not even John the Baptist – has any inherent way of knowing the one whom God sends to take away the world’s sin. Apart from God’s action, the identity of Jesus remains hidden.”
Indwelling. Jesus says that the Spirit is within us. Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit seals us for the day of redemption. These go hand-in-hand. The Holy Spirit has taken up permeant residence in the believer. The image of a seal represents the finality of an agreement, marking something or someone as valid or present within a community, and represents the authority of the King over the subject at hand. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus says that he will always be with us. The word always in the Greek means always. I checked. He is with us in the person of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:9, Paul says that the Spirit of God dwells in the believer and that if we don’t have the Spirit, then we do not belong to God. The word dwell literally means to remain or reside in, which reveals a deep level of commitment. When we look at the world around us, it is clear the commitment is lacking, yet deeply craves. In a culture that craves faithful commitment but is continually let down, the commitment of God to his people through the Spirit is a breath of fresh-air.
Equipping. In Romans 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12-14 Paul discusses the various gifts that believers are given in order to build the church and advance the Kingdom. All believers possess gifts of the Spirit and not all have the same gifts. If we all had the same gifts it would not be beneficial for building up. It is like everyone showing up to a job site with hammer…we would need other tools and equipment to get anything accomplished. There is a lot of debate about the gifts of the Spirit, so I would encourage you to either ask your local church leaders about your church’s persuasions regarding the gifts of the Spirit if you are unaware. You can also feel free to email me and I will send you my thoughts.
Filling. Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-21, Paul says that believers are to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Being filled with the Spirit means that we surrender our wills and desires daily to the Holy Spirit and we allow Him to have the influence in the way we live day-to-day. Becoming empty of ourselves to be filled with the Spirit. This is a command by Paul. “be filled and keep being filled.” The result, according to Ephesians 5:15-21, is clarity, wisdom, and a lifestyle centered on Jesus and living self-sacrificially for the sake of others through love and service.
Sanctifying. Through his teaching, leading, counseling, convicting, comforting, and all other implications of his presence (and as we obey his leading) the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. This word sanctify means to set apart and make holy for a particular purpose, God’s purpose. We are called to be different to make a difference. People are to look at the life of the believer and see something unique. Simply put, sanctification is the life-long process of becoming more like Jesus as we follow the Spirit’s leading. He shapes us in the image of Christ, as we surrender his will.
The culmination of all of these things, the Spirit’s presence, power, and work in our lives, leads to the fruit of the Spirit, which is found in Galatians 5:16-22. We will discuss those in another conversation. Just know that fruit has to be intentionally cultivated and takes time, grit, patience, obedience, cooperation, and dependency on the Lord.
To close this conversation out, it is only through the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives that we are able to live like Jesus because the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus, and will lead us and direct our steps as we walk in the way of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit shapes us to become More Like Jesus in every way. We hope that you join us as we dive into this 8-week series.
Related SHM Posts:
What We Believe by Shepherd’s Heart Ministries
Growing in Grace by Cody Whittington
Reputation Transformation by Doug Hartzheim
Book: The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything by Fred Sanders
Article: What Does the Holy Spirit Do? by Christianity Today
Video: The Spirit by R.T. Kendall