Mystery, in fact mysteries exist aplenty for those who claim to follow Jesus. But in my time serious Bible knowledge of God the Holy Spirit may be more lacking than even the subject of angels which one rarely hears mentioned among Christ followers.
It is tragic that due to lack of concern, time given to study, faith in so many (at times good and beneficial) things including various teachings via books, podcasts, blogs and seminars all “float our boat” and bring excitement when rank ignorance of the Holy Spirit is so typical among us.
Frankly, mean, controlling, self-proclaimed “kings”, “queens” and political, positioning, gains-minded professing Christians who “claim” to hear from Him are in my view, largely suspect for part of why ignorance, distrust and even fear of being around the subject exists. What we (rightly or wrongly) consider “just WEIRD” if not false doctrine keeps us often in a rather dull mindset- as in, He does “automatic” stuff, or at least sits far in the background of our conscious concern for life, spiritual growth, even ministry. Just Who gives spiritual gifts to serve? Who produces the character of Jesus in us? Perhaps we’re so intelligent we have no real need of Him?
“Enlightened and educated” people are not only needed, they are at times certainly as ignorant and un-lightened (yes, I left the “e” off on purpose) about Who He IS and what He DOES and seeks to DO in and through the Christian individually and churches/CHURCH corporately that it’s truly a tragic shame.
Right at the opening I confess to be pentecostal or you might say charismatic in my personal theology, doctrine and worship- but what I’m going to say here is not about such an “experience” nor series of them. This post is not about specific gifts nor even fruit of the Spirit but more nuts-and-bolts, issues that many seem to forget, pass over or glibly accept like “Sure, His Spirit works in us and unseen [and as I mentioned a moment ago] near-automatically does His work in us, full stop, thanks, see ya.” Not so fast.
When is the last time you heard a message on Acts 5.32? In fact add verse 33 and then let’s talk.
Acts 5.32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.
The power of the Apostles’ witness of the risen Jesus absolutely hinged on the Holy Spirit working through them with boldness and passion knowing full well it may cost them their very lives -and it did for many martyrs of the Church through the ages.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” indeed, but there is also persecution, rejection and chaos. People get flat-out angry when prophets speak in His power. He’s the Spirit of Truth according to Jesus! I am getting ahead of myself here, please read on.
“WHO OBEY HIM.” Sounds like legalism, like salvation by our “good works”? Not even close. The vast majority of Bible scholars and preachers agree we cannot BE Christ followers, receive saving faith, daily grace to believe and live out a genuine walk with God, with our Lord Jesus except BY the Holy Spirit. That much is rather clear. And yet…
A blog post about the Trinity (Triune God) cannot possibly cover either Father, Son or Spirit with any sufficiency, but here, in extreme brief fashion I accent at least some Bible (and related church) truths as to how absolutely ESSENTIAL the Holy Spirit is -as well as is our cooperation with Him.
Many of you may know I’m an ordained pastor in The Ev. Covenant Church. We have a list of Affirmations. In particular you might benefit from reading through the full version of one of those, “A Conscious Dependence on the Holy Spirit” -a free pdf download that includes it is here: https://covchurch.org/who-we-are/beliefs/affirmations/
Paul states “16. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness 17. so that the man or woman of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy chapter 3
Without directly quoting large bits of John’s Gospel, chapters 14, 15, 16, nor Apostle Paul’s Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14, Romans 12 neither Luke’s writings from the Book of Acts (all, but especially chapters 2, 4, 5) and other texts in both Testaments, consider the following.
According to John (chapter 14) Jesus teaches:
The Holy Spirit will advocate for us
The world cannot receive Him
We will know Him, He will be in us
We need the Spirit in order to obey God’s commands
We need the Spirit to guide us into all truth that is truly true
He will remind us what Jesus taught, commanded
He will testify about Jesus (to and via God’s people, see Acts 2, etc.)
Jesus refers to Him as He and Him, a Person, not mere theory, force or concept
Jesus sent Him
He will convict (Greek = to confute, admonish:—convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove) the world about true sin, righteous, judgment
Here I must quote more fully, then will finish with two more statements from Paul.
John chap. 16 “13. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. 14. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. 15. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.” -Jesus
Paul writes- “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4.30 -“Grieve” Greek = to distress; reflexively or passively, to be sad:—cause grief, grieve, be in heaviness, (be) sorrow(-ful), be (make) sorry
“Do not quench the Spirit” 1 Thessalonians 5.19 –“Quench” Greek = to extinguish (literally or figuratively):—go out, quench
God moved and moves FIRST, always! We respond to Him in faith, hope, love and obedience or we do not. He IS “Authority” in all things, but He clearly has given us the ability to disregard, deny, grieve and quench our relationship to Him, the reception of His calling/s, gifts and even fruit of the Spirit (the very nature, character of God) to be grown in our life.
THAT dear ones, is a tragedy we can only prevent by loving surrender in seeking, interacting and following Jesus Christ by the power and with the help of “The Helper”- the Spirit of our heavenly Father.
God is sovereign, the church is not. But how deeply tragic if we will not in love and relationship to Him, obey Him.
We need sound doctrine, teaching, information, wisdom on Who He is and what He does, often via us. We also need relationship which is something other than mere information. It is a tragedy when we have one without the other. It is worse if the practical fact is we have neither.
You who profess to follow Jesus, I encourage you to thoroughly, carefully meditate on the many passages of Scripture that speak about the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The gifts He gives for service and the fruit He produces in us -the character traits of our Father and our Lord Jesus are in great demand as there is deep need for all both within and beyond the churches. The world may not know it, but that’s another tragedy the love and power of the Holy Spirit can fix.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn