Ministries of the Holy Spirit

This is a study of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Christian's life. I should note here at the top that this is more of an outline than an essay, I try and bring out the key points, but you will have to fill in some of the connections yourself.

  1. Introduction
    1. The Ultimate Gift
      1. John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

        1. Jesus has been telling His disciples that He is leaving, and they are wondering how on earth they are going to cope without Him.
        2. Undeniably being able to live with and interact with Christ physically was a tremendous privilege.
        3. However, Jesus says that having the Holy Spirit is better (more profitable) than having Him with us in physical form.
        4. Wow!
      2. Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

        1. We often skip the last part.
        2. We know that God gives us the best gifts, but here is says, The Holy Spirit is the best gift.
        3. Luke 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread.

          • This chain of thought leading to verse 13 started with the Lord's prayer.
          • Note that the example prayer asked for God to supply our daily bread, perhaps the Holy Spirit is the means of that supply.
      3. John 14:13-16
        13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
        16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

        1. Comforter is one of the common names for the Holy Spirit.
        2. We can ask anything in Christ's name, and the ultimate promise and response is that Christ will send us the Holy Spirit.
      4. John 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

        1. Before Pentecost the Holy Spirit had been with many (see 1 Samuel 16:13), but never lived in them.
      5. Ecclesiastes 4:1 So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of [such as were] oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors [there was] power; but they had no comforter.

        1. The great sorrow of the oppressed was that they had no one to comfort them.
        2. We however, have The Great Comforter with us always.
        3. In the New Testament age Christians have the privilege of having the Holy Spirit dwell in them — See John 14:17 above.
      6. John 20
        21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
        22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

        1. Jesus has risen at this point and is preparing to leave, His departing gift is the Holy Spirit.
      7. Looking back over these verses, we see that God's gift of the Holy Spirit is very special, and apparently important to us. So that leads to the question, what does He do in our lives, or what is His ministry in our lives?
      8. As we work through these passages, be looking for what your responsibility in all of this is (I will try and mark these to call your attention to them). Being saved is not the end all of the Christian life, it is the beginning. From that point we are expected to be growing and changing.
    2. Trinity
      1. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force. He is part of the Trinity. He is God.
      2. Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

      3. Matthew 12:31-33 — Because He is God, we need to be respectful of what we say about Him.
      4. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all. Amen.

        1. Holy Spirit is also active in our relationship with God
  2. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
    1. Conscience
      1. John 16:8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

        1. The Holy Spirit's work in the World to show us our need for Christ. We will see that below as Jesus expands on this statement.
      2. John 16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

        1. I can see two ways this verse can be taken:
        2. Either not believing in Christ is the greatest or only sin.
        3. Or (I think the better interpretation): the world is still responsible for their many sins, because they have not believed in Jesus (trusted Him to pay their sin debt for them).
      3. John 16:10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

        1. Because we no longer have Jesus with us as a visible example of true righteousness, the Holy Spirit is here to remind us of what true righteousness is,
        2. and to demonstrate it to the world through us.
      4. John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

        1. Holy Spirit warns that Judgment is coming.
      5. 3 Functions of a conscience
        1. Point out sin
        2. Point out right
        3. Warn of coming judgment.

          Those who have not allowed Jesus to deal with their sins will have to answer for them. Christians will also have a judgment where they will receive rewards for how they have used their time and resources.

      6. How do I respond to each of those as the Holy Spirit brings them up in my life? Do I deal with the sin, do what is right, and consider the coming judgment?
      7. This ministry is to the World as a whole, including believers, the rest of these are focused on believers.
    2. Teacher
      1. John 16
        12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
        13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

        1. The Holy Spirit is our guide for finding truth.

          We should be asking God to help us discern truth (James 1:5)

        2. The Holy Spirit helps us understand what God has said.

          For the Apostles the Holy Spirit would reveal new truth as He inspired them to write the New Testament. Now that the cannon is closed, He does not reveal new truth, but helps us understand the truth already revealed in God's Word.

      2. John 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

        1. Spirit of truth - Again the idea of teaching and revelation
        2. Also, note again the Holy Spirit dwelt with them but after Pentecost He would dwell in them.
        3. And finally the World can not receive this, this is a special gift for believers.
      3. John 14
        25 These things have I spoken unto you, being [yet] present with you.
        26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

        1. The Holy Spirit reminds us of what we have already learned and helps us understand it.
        2. That is one reason it is important to study and memorize your Bible: So the Holy Spirit has something to work with.
      4. 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

        1. This passage has an interesting self-application to me. When I came to this verse in the study I was stuck for a while, I knew that the ministry of preachers and teachers was very important (Romans 12:6-7, Ephesians 4:11-13), so how does that balance with ye need not that any man teach you. As I was thinking on this, I was reminded of the verses we have already covered. So I prayed and asked God to help me understand this passage. This is what He showed me:
        2. The context of this passage is dealing with false teachers.
        3. We must not put our trust in what other men say. We need to search the scriptures for ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to help us understand. Acts 17:11
        4. However, this is not to say that preachers are not important. Rather we accept what they say because it aligns with what the Bible says, as the Holy Spirit is our guide to understanding the Bible.
        5. So the ministry of teaching is important, and we must pay attention to what God has given our pastor to teach, but ultimately we are responsible to compare that with scripture. This is not an excuse to skip church, but rather a call to deeper personal Bible study.
      5. It is important to realize that the World does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, so they can not be expected to understand the Bible. They can understand enough to be saved (with the Holy Spirit's help), but don't expect them to understand all of the Bible.
      6. Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

        1. It is also important to realize that the Holy Spirit is not just teaching head knowledge.
        2. He is working a change in our lives, to make us like Christ. - See Ephesians 1:11-12 referenced under Glorify God
    3. His purpose is to Glorify God
      1. John 16
        14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.
        15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

        1. Notice the transparency here: All things belong to God the Father, who has given them to Jesus, and Jesus passes it on to the Holy Spirit.
        2. Holy Spirit seeks to glorify Jesus, not Himself.
        3. shall shew [it] unto you
          • Holy Spirit shows us truth from Jesus.
          • Holy Spirit also shows us the wealth and power that Jesus has.
      2. John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

      3. The Holy Spirit does not point to Himself, He always points to Jesus.

        1. He shows us God's power.
        2. He teaches us God's wisdom.
        3. He is always showing us how great Jesus is.
        4. John 15:27We are to do the same for the World
      4. Ephesians 1:11-12 — God's purpose in working in us is that we should be to the praise of his glory
      5. God getting the glory is a key thread in the Bible, it is all about God's glory.
    4. He is the Seal of Salvation
      1. Ephesians 1
        13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
        14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

        1. sealed — Seals were used for 2 purposes

          • They marked ownership, they were a proof that an item belonged to some person
          • They were protection, no one was allowed to break the seal except the recipient
        2. The Holy Spirit is the mark in us that we belong to God. Presumably this is a mark the World should see.
        3. 'earnest' — down payment, deposit, pledge
        4. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us, is our guarantee of the coming glory, when Jesus comes to make the final redemption of His own.
        5. Again this is to God's praise and glory
      2. Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

        1. These things — This is Jesus' death/burial/resurrection & the forgiveness of sin
        2. The Holy Spirit was a wittiness to these things in 2 ways

          • He works the repentance in our hearts. Acts 5:31
          • And He brings conviction to the unsaved. Acts 5:33
    5. He administers Spiritual Gifts
      1. 1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

        1. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit
        2. Also every Christian has some spiritual gift through the Holy Spirit
        3. The gifts are given to profit withal — to profit the whole body of Christ

      2. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 — List of Spiritual gifts
      3. 1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

        1. Again it is all by the Holy Spirit.
        2. He chooses what gifts we have.
      4. 1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.

        1. The common Biblical analogy for gifts is to body.
        2. The body as a whole is one entity, but it is made of many different parts
        3. The key thrust of this passage is that there is great diversity in the Church, but it is all through God and for God's service.
      5. Ephesians 2
        21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
        22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

        1. The purpose of that body is to be a Temple for God.
        2. In the O.T. the Temple was the place where the World interfaced with God.
        3. Now the Church is how the World sees and comes to know about God.
      6. Summary
        1. Spiritual gifts are given to us, but we are responsible to use them.
        2. The gifts are given specifically to be used to benefit the Body of Christ, not ourselves.
        3. It is important that we fulfill the function God has given us. If any part of the body, doesn't do its job, the whole body suffers.
  3. What are my responsibilities
    1. To obey the Holy Spirit's guidance and correction
    2. To be studying and learning
    3. To Glorify God
    4. To use the gifts God has given me for the purpose they were given
  4. Conclusion
    1. Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

      1. This is right after Saul's conversion.
      2. Notice that the Church grew as they feared God,
      3. and were ministered to by the Holy Spirit (The Comforter)
        1. The word for comfort here might be literally translated Called along side.
        2. In the picture of comfort or coming along side, I can see two ideas: the Holy Spirit living with us daily, and Him guiding us.
      4. walking in - The Church's response

        1. Tied into the idea of the Holy Spirit coming along side of us, is that we must choose to walk with Him. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3)
        2. This idea of walking in the spirit is expanded on in Romans 8 and Colossians 3.
    2. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all. Amen.

      1. This is Paul's closing blessing to the Corinthian Church spell out what they need to meet each day.
      2. Grace of Jesus — Jesus giving us what we do not deserve. In this case the strength and power we need every day.
      3. Love of God — We can have great peace and face each trial, because we know that God loves us and will act accordingly.
      4. Communion of the Holy Spirit — The fellowship with the Holy Spirit is also necessary to meet our daily needs.
    3. In conclusion then, we have many great promises of what the Holy Spirit can and will do in our lives. The only question then is am I meeting my responsibility to walk with and respond to the Holy Spirit each day?