THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BELIEVER
Although Jesus breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit after His resurrection, (John 20: 22) and before He finally left them, He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of the Spirit in power. The powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit in the disciples was yet to come and would be twofold:
- He would be their internal power source, guiding and transforming them through the Word of Jesus and His sanctifying work.
- He would be their power source for being Jesus’s witnesses in the world. Whatever equipment they needed for Him to convince the world through them who Jesus was, He would supply. Gifts, ministries, miracles, and supernatural protection were all in Him and from Him.
He said to them: ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people and they will get well. (Mark 16: 15-18)
When the Holy Spirit fell on the believers on the Day of Pentecost, His coming was the final and complete fulfilment of the prophetic word of the prophet Joel (Joel 2: 28-32) and Jesus’s promise to His disciples and for all His future followers all over the world. There is no need ever, for God’s people to beg Him to pour out His Spirit on us again. He has done it, once for all. The Holy Spirit has never left. And He never will.
Why is the church in many places so cold and ineffective? Is it not because God’s people have been led astray by false prophets or have wandered from the way of Yahweh because of sin and self-will. God’s call is for us to return – shuv – repent, change our minds and get back to His way and His Word. He has provided everything we need for godly living (2 Peter 1: 3-4). It is up to us to obey His Spirit, to believe and take hold of His “very great and precious promises” through which we participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
It is time for us to stop waiting for God to “rescue” us from our sinful and disobedient ways. He has done it all through Jesus and given us His Spirit to empower us to obey. Jesus said, “Follow me!” and He has given us all the equipment we need to do it. Now we must “just do it!”
Three words keep recurring in Jesus’s final words to His disciples before His death – love, joy and peace. He not only spoke about love, joy and peace but He also claimed ownership; “my” love, “my” joy and “my” peace. These qualities were very important to Him; they were the very energy supplied by the Holy Spirit that sustained Him through the rigours of His earthly life.
Now it was time to impart these same gifts as a legacy of love to His disciples before He died. He left no earthly inheritance, except His clothing for which the soldiers gambled, but what He gave His disciples was of far greater value than material goods. He promised to send them the Holy Spirit who would be in them and would impart to them the love, the joy and the peace that energised and sustained Him through trials, tests and suffering.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love. (John 15: 9-10)
The secret of living in the love of Jesus is simple – just do what He tells you. The outcome is a life without fear. According to the Apostle John, it is the fear of punishment that cancels out our experience of God’s perfect love (1 John 4: 18). It is fear that steals our joy and our peace and makes us uncertain of the love of God. The Holy Spirit reassures us that we are the children of God (Rom. 8: 15-16).
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15: 11)
Jesus was a man of joy, anointed with the oil of joy above His companions (Heb. 1: 9). His steadfast vision of the goal enabled Him to rise above His circumstances, no matter how tough they were, secure in the Father’s love and unfazed by what happened around Him and to Him.
His promise of joy arises first from their union with Him and obedience to His commands.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be compete. (John 15: 9-11)
As they lived in union with Jesus, experiencing His love and doing what He wanted them to do, His joy would sustain them through every trial because they would see, not the trouble they were experiencing but the end result – just as He was sustained by His expectation of the glory that would follow the cross.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world give. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14: 27)
He left His disciples in no doubt about the inner energy of His life. As His followers, the Holy Spirit would nurture in them the very same strengths which carried Him through His deepest, darkest valleys if they remained Him as branches in the vine. He left them His legacy but it was up to them to walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit so that the fruit of the Spirit would be nurtured in them.
Jesus’s disciples were to be no less dependent on the Holy Spirit than He was. The Spirit would be exactly the same to them as He was to Jesus.
And if the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to you mortal bodies through the Spirit who lives in you. (Rom. 8:11)
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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