CRĒDŌ : We Believe in The Holy Spirit and The Church

CRĒDŌ : We Believe in The Holy Spirit and The Church

We Believe in The Holy Spirit and The Church

Introduction : Apostles Creed

 

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
      creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
      who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
      and born of the Virgin Mary.
      He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
      was crucified, died, and was buried;
      he descended to hell.

The third day he rose again from the dead.
      He ascended to heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.
      From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the holy catholic* church,
      the communion of saints,
      the forgiveness of sins,
      the resurrection of the body,
      and the life everlasting. Amen.

*that is, the true Christian church of all times and all places

One of the most debated issues within the contemporary church is the role the Holy Spirit plays in the life of the individual believer and in the corporate body of Christ.

The beliefs are extremely varied- form those who readily dismiss the continued work of the Holy Spirit, to those who require a special encounter with the Holy Spirit for one to be a complete Christian.

 

The Person of the Holy Spirit

One of the issues that have been debated among scholars and ordinary people alike is the nature of the Holy Spirit. Is the Holy Spirit a force, a wind, fire or a person? How then should we therefore refer to the Holy Spirit – as it or as He?

One of the facts that is clear from scriptures is that the Holy Spirit is a person. As a person, the Holy Spirit is presented as possessing special attributes of a living being such as:

 

Discernment – The Holy Spirit Knows

The Holy Spirit knows all things and alone knows the mind of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10-11 “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”

The Holy Spirit knows what is in our hearts and mind and prays in accordance with the will of God.

Romans 8:27 “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

NB:  Because innate objects cannot think or know, the Holy Spirit must therefore be a living being – a personality with intelligence.

Because he has the capacity to know, the spirit can therefore discern our thoughts and desires and link them with God’s will. In this way, He helps us to act in accordance with God’s will.

 

Discretion – The Holy Spirit Has a Will

Unlike innate objects which cannot make decisions or posses a will or desire, the Holy Spirit has a personal volition and can act according to His own will.

John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

This means that the Holy Spirit can choose where to go, where to be, what to do, and how to do it. This implies a freedom of the will.

Acts 13:2 “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

One of the key implications here is that we cannot command the Holy Spirit to act according to our own wishes. He acts according to His own pleasure.

 

Deeds – The Holy Spirit Acts

The Holy Spirit is presented as having the ability to act in and of His own. The Holy Spirit can reprove, help, glorify, intercede etc.

John 16:13-14 “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. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

Luke 12:11-12 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

These are activities that can only be attributed to a person.  We can therefore conclude that the Holy Spirit is not just a ghost, force, spirit, but a person.

Consequently, the Holy Spirit is able to act on behalf of those who seek his help in any circumstances. He is our helper.

 

Disappointment – The Holy Spirit Can Be Quenched

As a person, the Holy Spirit can be denied opportunity to operate freely in one’s life. When this happens, the Holy Spirit is grieved and therefore hindered from helping the individual in their walk with God.

Paul therefore warns in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit”

When human beings persisted in sin, God was grieved and shortened their lifespan.

Genesis 6:3 “And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” 

Likewise, when we persist in disobedience, the Holy Spirit as a living being will not contend or strive with us endlessly. He can get frustrated and give up on us.

When the Holy Spirit draws our attention to issues in our lives, we should act quickly in obedience. Otherwise we risk the danger of being abandoned to our own ways which may lead to destruction or death.

 

Summary

The Holy Spirit is a person with discernment- he knows; with discretion – He wills; carries out deeds- he acts freely and independently and can experience disappointment- he gives up when denied opportunity to operate freely in one’s life.

The Holy Spirit as a key member of the Godhead plays a critical role in our journey with the Lord. It follows therefore that as believers we cannot ignore the person and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and yet expect to live victorious Christian lives.

This would be like trying to drive a vehicle without fuel in the tank and oil in the engine. It simply will not happen no matter how expensive the car or how new it may be. Let us allow the Holy Spirit his rightful place in our lives.

 

The Work of the Holy Spirit

It is the obvious desire of every individual to be effective in their work. Every employer expects their employees to deliver at the highest level. Ministries similarly look up to their ministers to deliver superior results in various aspects of ministry. How can these expectations be realized?

(Effectiveness in one’s work is purely a factor of inborn talents, acquired skills, and accumulated experience. To what extent would you agree or disagree with this statement?)

Throughout scripture there is every evidence that men and women who made a difference in their work and ministry were endued with special divine power. Through this supernatural enablement they administered justice, shut the mouths of lions, had their weakness turned to strength, were powerful in battle and became bold witnesses of their faith.

In most records of scripture, both in the old and new testaments, this extraordinary power is attributed to the Holy Spirit of God. It therefore follows that believers must of necessity be endued with the power of the Holy Spirit if they are to be successful in all spheres of service and ministry.

From the Scriptures, there seems to be two main purposes for the power of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.

  1. Power unto holiness
  2. Power unto service

 

Power unto Holiness

The Holy Spirit Sanctifies the Recipient

The life of a believer is often a civil war between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Holy Spirit that dwells within. This battle can only be won through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Gal 5:16-17 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

Paul also exhorted the Ephesians in 5:18 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,”

To be filled with the Holy Spirit as commanded here connotes the idea of being completely controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is comparable to a person who is drunk with beer or wine-completely controlled by the power of the alcohol.

Similarly, the more the Holy Spirit takes control of an individual, the less that person is likely to fulfill the sinful desires of the flesh. This is what we can call the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. It is the power to holiness. It comes about by being filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit Brings Transformation

It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that brings about change in the life of a person when they become Christians. The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers the believer for victorious Christian living.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

One cannot claim to be walking in the Spirit and yet not display any visible evidence of transformation in their lives. Old ways, old habits, or addictions must give way to a new life of righteousness and holiness as evidence of transformation.

 

Power unto Service

This is the anointing power that comes upon all those who get filled with the Holy Spirit that then enables them to serve as empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The Unction to Function

When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit empowers them to accomplish tasks that they would otherwise not do in their own human strength. This is the power for service.

This Holy Spirit enablement is found in various scriptures, the Spirit is said to have come upon certain individuals for various purposes.

1 Chronicles 12:18 “Then the Spirit came upon Amasai, chief of the captains, and he said: “We are yours, O David; We are on your side, O son of Jesse! Peace, peace to you, And peace to your helpers! For your God helps you.”

Deut 34:9 “Now Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him; so the children of Israel heeded him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

Judges 14:5-6 “So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, a young lion came roaring against him. 6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.”

Luke 4:1-2 “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days, He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.”

 

The Holy Spirit Empowers for the Work of Ministry

Even though He was the Son of God, Jesus was filled with the Spiirt and thus divinely enabled for the work He came to do.

Acts 10:38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

 

The Holy Spirit Emboldens Believers to Confront Opposition

When faced with opposition against the gospel, the disciples were given power to deal with the opposition.

Acts 4:8 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:”

Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

 

The Holy Spirit Enables Discernment of Deceitful Spirits

In the course of ministry, the apostles came across lying spirits. The Holy Spirit helped the apostles to recognize and deal with them.

Acts 5:3 “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”

Acts 13:9-10 “Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”

 

The Holy Spirit Sharpens Skills for Professional Work.

When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, the anointing is available to extraordinarily sharpen that person’s skills and abilities.

Ex 31:1-5 “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4 to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, 5 in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.”

If one chooses to be a spirit filled doctor, engineer, secretary, businessman, administrator etc; they can be enabled to do an extra-ordinary work through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit Anoints for Battle

When a believer calls on God when confronted with warfare, the Holy Spirit will anoint them for war.

Judges 6:34 “But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; then he blew the trumpet, and the Abiezrites gathered behind him.”

As Spirit filled Christians, we can depend on the Holy Spirit to help us in fighting all kinds of battles.

Luke 12:11-12 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

 

The Holy Spirit Bestows Ministry Gifts

The Holy Spirit continues to bestow special gifts upon individual believers as He pleases.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 “7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by [f]the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

None of us should boast of the ministry gift that we have, since it is the Holy Spirit that has chosen to bestow that gift. Whatever gift you have is not private and personal, but for the good of the entire body of Christ.

 

The Holy Spirit Convicts the World and Exposes Sin

The Holy Spirit makes the world aware of sin and of righteousness. He does also reveal the hidden secrets and deceitful acts of men (both believers and non-believers).

John 16:8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”

Acts 13:9-10 “Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?”

The work of evangelism can be done effectively only with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is always a witness within every heart about sin and righteousness. And nothing can be hidden from the Spirit of God.

 

Conclusion

It seems clear that the infilling of the Holy Spirit brings dual blessing in the life of a believer – the sanctifying power unto holiness and the anointing power unto service.

It follows therefore that if we want to be effective in our lives, in our work, and in our service to the Lord, we must seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We should pursue a life that is under His total control, just like a drunk us under the control if alcohol.

“To function without unction is tiring action” – Bishop Oginde

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Lead Pastor, Nairobi Chapel, Karen