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Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit




A video of this teaching can be found HERE


To understand the Holy Spirit thoroughly, we need to start at the beginning, literally. We have to lay some grass roots understanding of how the Holy Spirit fit into things.

Genesis 1:1-3
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.”

Let’s break it down a bit:

“In the beginning, God…”

1)      In Hebrew the word for God, used here, is Elohim. Elohim is a plural form of God. The root name in this form is Eloah, a derivative of the Aramaic Elah, or God in the singular.  The ‘im’ at the end in Hebrew, is the same as our ‘s’ in English – it designates plurality. So, in the very first line of all of scripture, God very intentionally establishes Himself as a plural being, what we come to learn and know through the rest of scripture as the Trinity. If anyone or any religion doubts the concept of the Trinity, they only need look at the Hebrew writing in the opening line of the Bible.

“…created the heavens…”

2)      The Hebrew word for “created” here is ‘Barah’ , which literally means ‘to create out of nothing’. It’s not improving upon something or correcting something, but rather is starting with nothing and ending with something. 

-          Barah is singular, so right off the bat, God is defined as a plural being, but acting (creating) as one. 

“…the Spirit of God was moving…”

3)      This is the first reference to the Holy Spirit in scripture. 

“Then God said, “Let there be light; and there was light.”



Question, when you ‘say’ something what are these things called that spill out of your mouth? Words, right?

4)      Cross reference with John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”

This verse tells us that it was the Word that created everything.

Now look at John 1:14: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Who in the Trinity became flesh? Jesus. So, if the Word is who created everythingand Jesus is the Word, A+B=C  Jesus was the creator in Genesis 1!

Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15-17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Psalm 33:6 says “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.”

-          Again reiterating that it was Jesus that created.

-          Not only is Jesus the word who created ALL things, but all things are for Him and are held together by Him. Jesus is a living part of everything that exists. (Recount the atom story…)

NOTE: This is the first time we get a look at the ‘mystery’ of the Trinity – in the first three verses of scripture. Notice that that although one, each “person” acts independently, but in conjunction with the others.

The creative power of God is channeled through His word (the Son, Jesus) and His Spirit (the Holy Spirit). Here, the Spirit was moving and when Christ said, “Let there be light”, light came into existence.

According to these scriptures, the first person of the Godhead mentioned individually, is the Holy Spirit. Even though in verse 1 it says “God”, this is referring to the plural God, Elohim, the Trinity, all three acting as one. This is significant because it is also the Holy Spirit that we first come into contact with at salvation – not the Father or the Son but it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us and leads us into salvation. In turn, once convicted and surrendered, the Holy Spirit immediately introduces us to the Son, Jesus.

NOTE: In every aspect of redemption or blessing, the three persons of the Trinity are working together, just as they were during creation, for our good – that’s how much God loves us!
(See Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:34; Acts 10:38; Hebrews 9:14 and Romans 1:4)

·         In every case it is 1) From God, the Father (2) By the Spirit and (3) Through the Son.

·         In Hebrews 9:14, Christ the Son offers Himself to God the Father by way of the Holy Spirit.
o   how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

(NOTE:  Hebrew for Holy Spirit is ‘Ruach Hakodesh’, which literally translates to “spirit of holiness”)

·         In Romans 1:4 God the Father raised the Son by the Holy Spirit:

And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead


NOTE: Acts 10:38 defines the ministry of Christ in one verse. After being anointed by God with the Holy Spirit, Jesus sets out ‘doing good’ (loving the people), healing the sick and casting out demons. 


Matthew 10:1 confirms that this is the ministry that Christ gave to His disciples:
 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”

Notice that the disciples had not yet experienced the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” when they were casting out demons and healing the sick. What does this tell you? That this was and is the norm for all followers of Christ! Who is a follower of Christ, you ask? Well, when Jesus walked up to Matthew (Levi) and said “Follow me”, in the original Koine Greek the word used for ‘follow’ there is ‘akoloutheo’ which literally means ‘to walk the same road’. That description doesn't apply to ‘pew potatoes’ but true disciples of Christ.

When Christ sent out the 12 He didn’t tell them to go make church members, He told them to make disciples, or ones that were willing to walk in akoloutheo with Him.

In Acts 2:32 says “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He (Jesus) has poured forth this (the Holy Spirit) which you both see and hear.”

On Pentecost, the Son receives from the Father the Holy Spirit and pours it out on His disciples. Jesus bestowed the Spirit on His disciples – this also proves His statement in Matthew 28:20 when He told the disciples that He would be with them until the end of the age.

ESTABLISHED PATTERN: In every major stage in the plan of redemption, it’s Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the triune Godhead, working together in one accord for the good of man. God is totally on our side!! This pattern repeats itself many, many times in scripture. Do you know how much God loves you?!?


The Holy Spirit, the Church and Accessing the Father

Ephesians 2:18 tells us that we access the Father, through the Son, by way of the Holy Spirit.
“…for through Him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”

It isn’t doctrine that gives us access to the Father, it’s the Holy Spirit. This is why churches without the Holy Spirit don’t see miracles – they don’t have access to the Father! 

One of my favorite Derek Prince quotes says “We can say all the right words but if the Holy Spirit isn’t there, our prayers go no further than the ceiling of the church. Jesus is Lord over the church, but the Holy Spirit is Lord in the church” 

Ephesians 2:22 says “you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”

Our Access To God


Notice the vertical relationship and chain of command, so to speak, in accessing God the Father; from us through Jesus (the Son), by the Holy Spirit, to the Father. The returned blessings come from the Father, by the Spirit to the Son and to us. This displays, in graphic form, what Jesus was saying in John 14:6, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” 

As you can see, the entire process is dependent upon the Holy Spirit. This has nothing to do with ‘religion’ or doctrine – we must have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. This is one of the most major issues with the condition of the church today – no relationship with the Holy Spirit. And, if the church has no relationship with the Holy Spirit, their prayers aren’t heard by the Father; God isn’t personally a living reality to them because the Holy Spirit is shut down.



The Holy Spirit is a Person!

John 16:6-8 Here, Jesus is saying farewell to His disciples and they were very upset at the news. He goes on to explain to them that it is better for them if He goes, so that the Holy Spirit could come. He goes as far as to say that as long as He was on earth, the Holy Spirit could not come. 

 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment

NOTE: Notice that Jesus didn’t say ‘I will send it to you’. We don’t ever refer to a person as an ‘it’ or an it as a ‘him’ do we? Of course not. The word ‘He’ then is in reference to a person and not an ‘it’. Just as Jesus is a person, so too is the Holy Spirit.
(Helper in the Greek is ‘Parakletos’, which means ‘someone called in alongside’, an advocate)

Further, this scripture defines an exchange of persons – Jesus for the Holy Spirit. Notice that Jesus instructs His disciples that is was to their advantage that He leave them so that the Holy Spirit would come. This is because Jesus’ mission on earth was done. On the cross He stated this, “It is finished”. Further, Jesus knew that without the Holy Spirit alive and activated in the disciples, they would not be endowed with power and therefore not prepared to complete their ministry missions on earth. 

NOTE: This scripture also tells us that the power that Jesus had (to heal, cast out demons, etc) did not come from Him but from the Holy Spirit. This was depicted as the dove that descended from heaven when Jesus was baptized and it also marked the beginning of His ministry. In turn, Jesus knew that the disciples absolutely must have the Holy Spirit in order to enter into their own ministries. 


QUESTION: Who are we to second guess the very process that Christ set forth as the model for entering ministry? If it applied to the first century disciples it applies to us as well.
This scripture also tells us that we all can know the Father better and have a closer relationship with Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, than having Jesus sitting in the room with us! Jesus Himself said this in so many words. The Holy Spirit is the personal representative of God on earth and He is the only authorized representative of God on earth. No one can take His place. 


In 2 Corinthians 3:17 it tells us “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (freedom).”

Here where it says “the Lord” it refers to Jehovah  or Yahweh, the same as the OT but in NT terms. It means the ‘divine person’, the triune God. So, not only is the Father Lord, the Son is also Lord and the Holy Spirit is also Lord. Jesus is Lord over the church but the Holy Spirit is Lord in the church! The Lordship of Jesus is dependent on the Lordship of the Holy Spirit! If we want to have Jesus as Lord, we must also have the Holy Spirit as Lord!

In the church today, we will confess Jesus as Lord, but until we make the Holy Spirit Lord in our lives, in our meetings and in the church all we have is a label. Without the Holy Spirit we do not have the seal of God’s approval – the very same approval that He gave to the disciples on Pentecost.

The Blessing of the Holy Sprit

The only way to be blessed is to do what the Spirit tells you in that moment! Some think that if they dance or clap or raise their hands or shout every time they go to church they will be blessed. This is based solely on a previous experience that they had with the Spirit so they repeat the activity over and over again, hoping for the same result, without ever consulting the Holy Spirit on what He wants them to be doing. Those that repeat praise and worship movements over and over without ever consulting the Holy Spirit on what He wants are as much in bondage as those that are stuck in doctrine and dogma – and they don’t even realize it.
We have to relate to the Holy Spirit as a person, not a set of rules or a theology or a doctrine. The Holy Spirit, as a person, He is sensitive and He wants us to be sensitive about Him.  Like the dove that came down when Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit is looking for the person that is of the same nature as He is. When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he called Him the Lamb of God.

The biblical lamb speaks to us of sacrifice – a laid down life. It speaks of purity and meekness and gentleness. This is what the dove is looking for. Meekness is not weakness; being meek means to be confident in your weakness. Paul says that in your weakness God’s strength will be revealed in a way that will never be revealed in the lives of selfish, self indulgent people. 

LESSON: We won’t be blessed if the Holy Spirit is looking for a lamb and we’re acting like a tiger or a donkey or an elephant! Listen to the Holy Spirit, become the lamb! Lay yourself down for Jesus and the Holy Spirit will bless you!


The Mission of the Holy Spirit 

The primary mission of the Holy Spirit is to complete the ministry of Christ through us. When Christ left the earth, His disciples were in no shape to carry on His ministry. They were not in accord with the heart of Christ or His mission. They were argumentative and full of ego, even fighting amongst themselves over who was the greatest, etc. But Jesus says, not to worry, I’m sending you the Holy Spirit to help you get your act together in order to complete the mission I started. 

In John 14:16-18, Jesus tells His disciples “ I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”
 
If we try to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit, we are like orphans. Jesus provided the Holy Spirit so that we would not be alone in walking the Christian existence – but it is up to us to welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives. Further, we must listen to Him when He speaks.

Jesus goes on to say in John 14:25-26,These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

Now get this. Jesus never wrote a word down a record of His ministry, not one word. He left it to His disciples to do for Him. This could never have been done without the help from the Holy Spirit.  The accuracy of the NT doesn’t depend on the memories of the disciples, but on the supernatural memory of the Holy Spirit. In addition, the Holy Spirit is our teacher. The Holy Spirit completes our education and maturity as Christians. 

In John 16:12-13, Jesus is still speaking with His disciples when He instructs them “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” 

The Holy Spirit isn’t just a teacher He is our guide into truth. It is He that “discloses what is to come”. He reveals hidden truths to us through revelation. He shares knowledge that we cannot come by any other way – words of knowledge and wisdom and prophecy. He shares things that are spoken in heaven. Noah was warned about things unseen that were coming his way and Jesus said ‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days when I come back’. We are currently living in a most prolific time of prophecy. The prophetic word is coming from all directions.

This is also why it is important to pray about everything! I used to think my parents were nuts, praying about mundane things like which car to buy, etc. but they were seeking the voice of the Lord in absolutely every phase of their lives and that is how we must approach it as well. God loves us and wants the very best for us, but we have to learn to listen to His voice of guidance spoken through the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit in Relation to the Father and the Son

John 16:14-15 goes on to say, “He (the Holy Spirit) will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

Supernatural revelation isn’t a luxury, it is something that is vital and needed in the church today. Jesus said ‘as it was in the time of Noah, so shall it be when I return’. Noah was given a supernatural revelation about what was coming his way and was told by God to prepare an ark in order to survive it. In these end times we need the same kind of supernatural revelation in order to prepare the way of the Lord. 

Another thing is this, the Holy Spirit will always glorify the Son. If you’re ever in doubt as to whether something is from the Holy Spirit or not, you need simply to ask yourself one question, ‘does it glorify Jesus’. The very first test of faith that I ever had happened when I was driving down the road and the voice of the Lord told me to go back and talk with a homeless man named Karl…(recount the four rules to tell if it is the Lord’s voice)

1)      Is it something Jesus would do?
2)      Does it glorify God?
3)      Does it go against anything in scripture? – is it scripturally sound
4)      Does it put you in sever danger?

If you can answer in the negative sense to any of these, then it is not the voice of the Lord. If anything you’re thinking about doing glorifies a person, a doctrine, a movement or a denomination, it is not from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always glorify the Son.

By the same token, if you want to attract the Holy Spirit in your life, start glorifying Jesus and He will show up. If you want the anointing in your life, in your meetings and in your services, glorify Jesus. Lift Him up, proclaim Him King and shout of His greatness and you will be blessed.

This scripture states that everything the Father has Jesus has also. But everything is under the Holy Spirit, He is the administrator over it all. The Holy Spirit is the key to all the treasures in heaven. In Ephesians 3:14-19 Paul prays that ‘of all the riches of His glory, that we be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit’. He goes on to say that the only way that we can experience the fullness of God is by way of the Holy Spirit. 

We can have everything in theory, but if we don’t have the Holy Spirit in practice (read experience) then all is for naught. 


Five Assignments of the Holy Spirit

In the church, the Holy Spirit functions in two phases:

Phase One
1)      To teach
2)      To remind
3)      To guide
4)      To reveal
5)      To administrator the Kingdom

               For these functions we need a working relationship with the Holy Spirit. 

Phase Two:  To empower the body of Christ

In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells us that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. It is this power that enables us to witness to the world and to do the work of the Kingdom on earth. It is also the power of the Holy Spirit that will enable us to withstand the upcoming persecution that is surely coming. Without the power of God, how could we stand up to torture or the threat of death without giving in and renouncing Jesus? The physical body can only withstand so much before it breaks; the Holy Spirit can withstand anything. If we have the Holy Spirit activated in us, we can go to the cross singing and skipping joyfully as Andrew did. Andrew hung on an ‘X-shaped’ cross for two days, preaching the Gospel to everyone within earshot. Andrew is actually a Greek name which means “manly” or “of valor” – valiant.  Using Andrew as an example, the Holy Spirit makes us ‘cheerfully valiant’ in the face of death.

In Acts we have the perfect illustration of how the Holy Spirit works. When the disciples were in wait in the upper room nobody in Jerusalem knew what was going on. But within hours of them receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit, everyone knew. There were 3,000 that came to Christ within hours of the Holy Spirit being activated in the disciples! Amen? The Holy Spirit stirs things up, He stirs people up. He makes things happen! 

One of the issues facing the church today is that there are a lot of folks riding the fence when it comes to the Holy Spirit. They’re trying to please the world and please God at the same time, without making a full commitment to the ways of the Father. Jesus said in Matthew 12:30You’re either for me or against me” or in the Message Bible version “This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side, you’re the enemy”. There is no riding the fence, no grey area and no middle ground when it comes to God. You’re either all in or you’re folding your hand. When the Holy Spirit comes into full activation in your life He electrifies the fence! You have to get off it and go to one side or the other! This is why some churches reject the Holy Spirit all together. They are very comfortable in their neutrality, their grey area. As a ministry partner says ‘They’re comfortable in their squishy diapers’. 

In Hebrews 2:4 it says, “God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.”

Through the Holy Spirit, God bears testimony to the truth of the Gospel. Mark tells us in Mark 16:17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;”

We have no right to preach a Gospel that isn’t witnessed supernaturally! Christ set the example and who are we to change it?

Supernatural Quality of the Holy Spirit

If you take away the supernatural aspect from the book of Acts the entire book would not exist. The book used to be called The Acts of the Apostles, now just Acts. It really should be called The Acts of the Holy Spirit because the supernatural aspect of the Holy Spirit runs throughout.

There are four areas where we specifically need this supernatural power:

1)      Prayer
2)      Ministry of the Gospel
3)      Victory over sin
4)      Building Christian character

               Apart from the Holy Spirit none of these can be accomplished.


            In Closing

 As we have seen, according to the word of God throughout the Gospel, when God sends someone with a message there is always supernatural testimony to that message. We in ministry are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit. Without Him we cannot get the job done, plain and simple.

Hebrews 6:4 says “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

It was the Glory of the Father, the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus didn’t raise Himself but instead trusted in the Father to raise Him by the Spirit. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead so shall we walk in newness of life – by the Holy Spirit. We need to be as dependent on the Holy Spirit as Jesus was for His own resurrection. We cannot do it ourselves. 

Having the Holy Spirit active in our lives is the only way we can fully live the Christian walk. Anything less and we are deceiving ourselves.

God bless you.
 

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