“. . . you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses . . .
to the ends of the earth.”
Jesus Christ made this statement to his followers after his resurrection (on the third day after he was crucified), and right before he ascended to Heaven (see Acts 1:1-11), which ended his physical earthly ministry at that time.
Right before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples the following in John 14:1-27 (NIV):
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus the Way to the Father
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid . . . .”
“. . . the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you . . . .” Unfortunately, there is much misunderstanding about the Holy Spirit and how he works in the lives of those who truly trust and believe in Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the very Spirit of God, and he is one of three distinct persons (God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit) that make up the Godhead–the Trinity. The Holy Spirit also has a personality with a mind, will, and emotions (see this article, “Who is the Holy Spirit?” by Mary Fairchild at this link). And his attributes include the following (see page 2 of “Who is the Holy Spirit?” at this link):
- He teaches (John 14:26)
- He testifies (John 15:26)
- He convicts (John 16:8)
- He leads (Romans 8:14)
- He reveals truth (John 16:13)
- He strengthens and encourages (Acts 9:31)
- He comforts (John 14:16)
- He helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:26)
- He intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26)
And the Holy Spirit has gifts for each of us who believe in Jesus Christ, which are stated in I Corinthians 12:
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Brothers and sisters, I want you to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know that at one time you were unbelievers. You were somehow drawn away to worship statues of gods that couldn’t even speak. So I want you to know that no one who is speaking with the help of God’s Spirit says, “May Jesus be cursed.” And without the help of the Holy Spirit no one can say, “Jesus is Lord.”
There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.
The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.
One Body but Many Parts
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.
You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. First, God has placed apostles in the church. Second, he has placed prophets in the church. Third, he has placed teachers in the church. Then he has given to the church miracles and gifts of healing. He also has given the gift of helping others and the gift of guiding the church. God also has given the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages. Is everyone an apostle? Is everyone a prophet? Is everyone a teacher? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages they had not known before? Do all explain what is said in those languages? But above all, you should want the more important gifts.
Love Is Necessary
But now I will show you the best way of all [which is love–the greatest gift of all–see I Corinthians 13].
Often, in our fast paced society, we (who are Christian) are often too busy making a living and trying to squeeze in everything that we can to stop and consider what the Holy Spirit would have us to do. If we acknowledge him at all, it might be in his giving us the abilities that we have to make a living and provide for our families, but if we read the list of “gifts” above, those gifts are not about us what we want to get from him in this life. No . . . those gifts are given to us to expand the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of self on earth. Those gifts include wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophesy, spiritual discernment, the gift of tongues (the ability to speak in unknown languages) and the interpretation of the same. When was the last time we gave any thought to these gifts of the Spirit as we rush through our days in an effort to secure our own place in this world, make a name and a place for ourselves, making more money, and acquiring more “stuff”? Our focus is often on us instead of God, and we need to shift our focus back to the One we claim to follow.
For those of us who truly believe in Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:11-14 states:
In him [Jesus Christ] we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Genuine believers are “marked” with the Holy Spirit living in them; however, as 1 Thessalonians 5:19 states, we can “quench” the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives by running our own lives in our own power and going our own way if we choose to do so. As stated in the answer to the following question on GotQuestions?org, “What does it mean to grieve/quench the Holy Spirit?”:
Both quenching and grieving the Spirit are similar in their effects. Both hinder a godly lifestyle. Both happen when a believer sins against God and follows his or her own worldly desires. The only correct road to follow is the road that leads the believer closer to God and purity, and farther away from the world and sin. Just as we do not like to be grieved, and just as we do not seek to quench what is good—so we should not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit by refusing to follow His leading.(Quote source and full article at this link.)
That is not to say that we can attain “sinless perfection” in this life. “The Bible teaches that, while we are in the flesh, we will always struggle with a sin nature (see Romans 7:14-25). No one will be “perfect” (sinless) until we reach heaven.” (Quote source here.) At it’s core it is about a heart attitude, and who it is we love and want to serve–self or God.
Ephesians 4:30-31 also makes the following statement regarding our ability to grieve the Holy Spirit:
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
So how do we know whether or not we allowing the Holy Spirit’s leading or grieving him by the way we are living our lives? I read a couple of short devotions yesterday regarding the Holy Spirit that I will share in partial answer to this question. They are taken from the book, “Tozer on the Holy Spirit,” compiled from the writings and/or sermons of Dr. A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) by Marilynne E. Foster:
Am I really Converted?
As the body without the spirit is dead,
so faith without works is dead also.
I believe in the deeper Christian life and experience–oh yes! But I believe we are mistaken when we try to add the deeper life to an imperfect salvation, obtained imperfectly by an imperfect concept of the whole thing.
Under the working of the Spirit of God through such men as Finney and Wesley, no one would dare to rise in a meeting and say, “I am a Christian,” if he had not surrendered his whole being to God and had taken Jesus Christ as his Lord. . . .
Today, we let them say they are saved no matter how imperfect and incomplete the transaction, with the provisio that the deeper Christian life can be tacked on at sometime in the future.
Can it be that we really think that we do not owe Jesus Christ our obedience?
We have owed Him obedience ever since the second we cried out to Him for salvation, and if we do not give Him . . . obedience, I have reason to wonder if we are really converted. (Source: “Tozer on the Holy Spirit,” April 13.)
The second reading speaks to how the Holy Spirit becomes one with us:
Who is the Holy Spirit?
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things. . . .
How shall we think of the Holy Spirit? The Bible and Christian theology agree to teach that He is a Person, endowed with every quality of personality, such as emotion, intellect and will. He knows, He wills, He loves; He feels affection, antipathy and compassion. He thinks, sees, hears and speaks and performs any act of which personality is capable.
One quality belonging to the Holy Spirit, of great interest and importance to every seeking heart, is penetrability. He can penetrate mind; He can penetrate another spirit, such as the human spirit. He can achieve complete penetration of and actual intermingling with the human spirit. He can invade the human heart and make room for Himself without expelling anything essentially human. The integrity of the human personality remains unimpaired. Only moral evil is forced to withdraw. (Source: “Tozer on the Holy Spirit,” January 7.)
I’ll end this post with the words from Galatians 5:13-26, which tell us how to live by the Spirit:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness . . .
Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control . . .
Against such things there is no law . . . .
YouTube Video: “Testify to Love” by Avalon: