The Holy Spirit: His Service
The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most misunderstood person of the Godhead. Some teach that He is more of a force or an influence than a person.
This study looks more closely at what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit’s actions and service for God and for Christians.
What does the Holy Spirit do?
“But when they shall lead you away to deliver you up, be not careful beforehand as to what ye shall say, nor prepare your discourse: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak; for ye are not the speakers, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13v11).
“For ye are not the speakers, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you.” (Matthew 10v20).
The Holy Spirit gives us words to speak in the testimony. When we speak to others we have to remember that it is the Holy Spirit who is to speak through us to others and not be dependent on our own intellect or ability to speak well.
“But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you” (John 14v26).
He teaches us and helps us to remember things when we need them.
“For our glad tidings were not with you in word only, but also in power, and in [the] Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; even as ye know what we were among you for your sakes” (1 Thessalonians 1v5).
He empowers the gospel and the glad tidings. He will add miracles and signs as is necessary.
“To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves but to you they ministered those things, which have now been announced to you by those who have declared to you the glad tidings by [the] Holy Spirit, sent from heaven, which angels desire to look into.” (1 Peter 1v12).
He is the one who is organising and directing the spread of the Gospel.
“For to one, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; and to a different one faith, in the power of the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healing in the power of the same Spirit; and to another operations of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; and to a different one kinds of tongues; and to another interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12v8-10).
He personally gives gifts that will strengthen the testimony and edify the Church.
“And hope does not make ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by [the] Holy Spirit which has been given to us” (Romans 5v5).
He puts the love of God in our hearts (see also Galatians 5 for the fruit of His presence).
“Not on the principle of works which [have been done] in righteousness which we had done, but according to his own mercy he saved us through [the] washing of regeneration and renewal of [the] Holy Spirit” (Titus 3v5).
He washes us and gives us new life so that we might live as Christians.
"Who also has sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1v22).
The Spirit is the earnest (or guarantor), the surety and the seal by which we are marked out as being God’s and by which we know we have been claimed by Him. Someone who has the Holy Spirit is belongs to God.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, but where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3v17-18).
He transforms us, spiritually, to become the same as the Lord Himself and to appreciate the glories and person of the blessed Son of God.
“And in like manner the Spirit joins also its help to our weakness; for we do not know what we should pray for as is fitting, but the Spirit itself makes intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8v26).
The Spirit intercedes for us. How could we ever make prayers suitable to the presence of God? So God has given His Holy Spirit who makes our prayer suitable to the ears of God and conveys them into His presence.
“But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, that God has chosen you from the beginning to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2v13).
The Spirit sanctifies us, separating us out from the world to be for God. He does this both to us individually and to the Church.
“But because ye are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4v6).
He enables us to appreciate the relationship of Father and son which the Lord has now opened up to mankind (see John 20v17). He gives us the strength to address God Himself as Father and reveals his glories in that relationship, uniting us to Him in a closeness never before possible.
“For through him we have both access by one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2v18).
He opens up the way, giving us strength to enter the Father’s presence. This has been opened up through the work of Christ so that, having the Spirit, we can enter the very presence of the Father.
“As it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in [the power of the] Spirit, that [they who are of] the nations should be joint heirs, and a joint body, and joint partakers of [his] promise in Christ Jesus by the glad tidings” (Ephesians 3v5-6).
The Holy Spirit is the uniting power of the Church, overcoming every natural barrier which might hold Christians apart. He has made both Jew and Gentile joint heirs together, one body and equal partakers together of the salvation in Christ Jesus.
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these things are opposed one to the other, that ye should not do those things which ye desire” (Galatians 5v17)
The Holy Spirit opposes the flesh, which would fight against the Spirit’s work in us. He gives us the power to resist the flesh which we would otherwise be unable to do. God has saved us through the giving of His Son and now enables us to resist the old man through the power of His Holy Spirit. We can attribute nothing to ourselves for we are His by His sovereign, divine will alone. He has done everything and in reality we can do nothing without His power (see Philippians 2v13).
“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God, and boast in Christ Jesus, and do not trust in flesh.” (Philippians 3v3).
We can only worship acceptably by the Holy Spirit (see John 4v23). It is He that causes our hearts to worship, making our spirits and will subject to the will of God.