Jesus said, “there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist” (Lu. 7:28).
Before our Lord’s water baptism, Spirit baptism, and subsequent public ministry, John prophesied, “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Ma. 3:11).
The Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, is the pivotal point of Early Church history. Jesus prophesied it as the major momentum for His Church.
Jesus attended the Festival of Tabernacles, an eight-day celebration that commemorated Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage into the Wilderness of Sinai. The water-drawing ceremony was a highlight of the event. Priests would draw water from the Pool of Siloam and lead a march to the temple, where they poured out the water at the altar. This signified God’s promise that rivers of living water would flow from the temple in the time of restoration. OT Scriptures were read that supported the promise. But those in attendance heard Jesus speak words that were Spirit and life. He rephrased and reinforced the promised waters flowing from Jerusalem, but He told of water coming directly from Him. John made it clear; Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit rather than literal water (adapted and edited content from the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible).
Let’s read John 7:37-39, so we can hear what He says.
What Jesus prophesied became a reality “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come” (Ac. 2:1). Here we are about 2,000 years after that Pentecostal outpouring. Many questions still surround the meaning of that Day and the continued ministry of the Holy Spirit. Confusion abounds because God’s people refuse to study for themselves. We blindly believe what we’ve been taught without reading the Bible. So, my goal is to bring some clarity to these three questions. 1) What is the Holy Spirit’s role in our life? 2) What should Christ-followers expect? 3) What exactly does the Holy Spirit do?
The quick answer is everything. The Holy Spirit is responsible for all that we do to effectively build the Kingdom of God. In this post-Pentecost era, all the works of God can be traced through Him. His works are so plentiful but frequently forgotten. It’s impossible to share them all, but I’ll share five (maybe more) that are plain in Scripture and easily seen in the believer’s life.
1) The Holy Spirit convicts us.
Jesus told us this in John 16:7-11. “Nevertheless 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 depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” Ever since the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been present in our world to convince us of the meaning of sin, what goodness really looks like, and the meaning of judgement.
Conviction means God reveals your personal sin to you. “All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do” (He. 4:13, KJV). We are accountable to God. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Nu. 32:23).
2) The Holy Spirit points to Christ.
He never seeks to exalt His ministry. Instead, He always points us to Jesus. The direction He gives glorifies the Lord. Hear John 16:13-15. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
At times in the past, I’ve been confused by my Spirit-filled peers. Holy Spirit Baptism and spiritual gifts were sometimes emphasized more than Jesus Christ and His salvation. However, the most genuine dynamic of a Spirit-filled Church is He’s pointing us to the saving works of Jesus Christ. This Christ-centered pattern is what we see throughout the Book of Acts.
3) The Holy Spirit teaches truth.
According to Jesus, He is our teacher. In John 14:25-26, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 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 things that I said to you.” He comes alongside us and stands with us. He’s a teacher who lovingly instructs us and causes us to remember the truths we already know.
A lot of homes have dimmer switches. They’re designed to slowly turn up the lights. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual switch. He progressively turns up the light so you can see what you couldn’t see before. However, you must be in tune with His Holy Scriptures. His illumination doesn’t necessarily come with one flip of the switch. But if your current is open and receptive, the dimmer works. Illumination occurs over time; the light comes on gradually as we study God’s Word, and His truths become abundantly clear.
Now, we know Jesus is the only name worthy of fame. Still, we have an unholy habit of making celebrities out of preachers. We can all agree. All true teaching, insight, and revelation are the direct ministry of the Spirit.
4) The Holy Spirit fills with love.
The Bible explains this clearly in Romans 5. The saved are “justified by faith” and “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1). Verse 5 declares, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (5:5). This pouring initiated our justification and continues through our sanctification.
Songwriter George Sebren alluded to this work of the Holy Spirit. He wrote, Fill My Way Everyday with Love. The lyrical refrain says, “Fill my way ev’ry day with love, As I walk with the heav’nly Dove; Let me go all the while, with a song and a smile, Fill my way ev’ry day with love.”
Love is the Holy Spirit’s way, and Harvest Christian Center lives to love people. But know this: Spirit-filled people do not engage in slander, abuse, or violence. The Holy Spirit does not endorse deception, hate speech, or sexual sinfulness. These are not compatible with the “fruit of the Spirit.”
5) The Holy Spirit empowers our witness.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus told His own, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me.” Yes, there are signs of the Spirit’s supernatural arrival. But please don’t mistake the signs for the purpose. There is a purpose for our enduement “with power” (Lu. 24:49). We are called to be Spirit-empowered witnesses of Jesus Christ.
There was a country couple who lived way out in the boondocks. They didn’t have electricity but decided to get it. The power company was called, and arrangements were made so they could enjoy the benefits of electricity. Months later, the company noticed that only one kilowatt had been used. A technician went out to make sure there was no problem. He knocked, and the lady of the house answered. He asked, “Ma’am, are you using your electricity?” She said, “Why yes, I am.” He asked, “May I ask what you’re using it for?” She explained, “Well, when it gets dark, I turn on a light long enough to get my kerosene lamp going.” – You see, they didn’t understand the power. They had all this available power to keep things burning bright, but she was settling for a kerosene existence. – Christians often settle by minimizing God’s great power and only using it to light their own human efforts. They are not maximizing the purpose of His power (cf. Ma. 5:14-16)!
The Holy Spirit is the power behind our Great Commission. Telling others the good news about Jesus, making disciples, and training others to do the works of Christ, is only effectively done by the Spirit’s life-giving power.
I’m not ashamed of these works of the Holy Spirit.
You shouldn’t be either. I’ll share two (bonus) reminders from Ephesians 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” 1) Grieving the Holy Spirit is like corrosion building on a car battery so its power cannot be accessed. When the Holy Spirit is grieved in the Christian’s life, His charge declines, and His power is lost. Persisting in willful sin grieves the Holy Spirit, leaving you in PARK (cf. Jn. 15:5b). 2) The genuinely born again have no need to worry about the mark of the beast. We should not yield to that fear. You’ve been born of the Spirit (cf. Jn. 3:5); you’re sealed (marked) by God’s omnipotence for your final redemption.
My greatest pastoral concern is your personal holiness. You see, the most forgotten work of the Holy Spirit is holiness. His chief objective in all His interactions throughout the Body of Christ is our sanctification (cf. 1 Th. 4:3).
Here’s how the saved should respond today. I beg you to ask the Holy Spirit to help you walk in the holiness that Jesus desires for you. Then, the forever prayer of our Christ-following lives should be to be filled and refilled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Live holy and be filled with the Spirit.