Acts 1:8 – ” But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”
Theme – The Holy Spirit, through the Bible, gives us direction and purpose for living
God is the righteous authority, author and source of the Bible, His written and Eternal Word. It is a message from God to man rather than a message from man to man. From Genesis to Revelation, the message of the writers focuses on God’s redemption of sinners through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. More than 3,800 times in the Old Testament we find statements such as “God said,” “the word of the Lord came unto me” and “thus saith the Lord.” Jeremiah opened his prophecy with these words, “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, … whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak: (1:4,7) The Bible while sometimes speaking of earthly things and human experience, it also describes with clarity and authority things of both heaven and earth, things seen and unseen, revealing facts about God, about angels, about men, about time and eternity, about life and death, of sin and salvation, of heaven and hell. The Bible, though written by men, is a message from God with the certainty, assurance, and peace that only God can give. Some Scriptural designations of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, as referred to in God’s Eternal Word are:
(1) Spirit of God;
(2) Spirit of Jehovah;
(3) Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. Frequently the term is simply the Spirit, Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of God or Spirit of Jesus Christ.
(4) The Holy Spirit is also called Truth – John 14:17;
(5) Comforter – John 14:26; God – 1 Corinthians 3:16;
(6) Son – Galatians 4:6 and
(7) Christ – 1 Peter 1:11.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 tell us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”. Thus, the Holy Spirit, through the Bible, gives us direction and purpose for living.
A. The Holy Spirit Reveals God’s Word to Us
2 Peter 1:21 states that, “Holy men of God were carried along by the Spirit of God to write the Word of God.” The Holy Spirit not only worked in the process of writing God’s Word, He also participated in delivering the messages to human beings. David, writer of many psalms, began his final words on this earth with the testimony that the Holy Spirit had communicated God’s messages to him, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2). The Holy Spirit gave the prophets prophesies of the coming Messiah. “The Spirit of Christ which was in them … testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” – 1 Peter 1:11. If you look up Psalm 19 you would find that it contains favorite description of God’s Word, such as:
(1) The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
(2) The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
(3) The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
(4) The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
(5) The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever;
(6) The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
The Holy Spirit was active in the revealing of God’s Word and in the writing of God’s Word. He played a vital role in giving us the treasure of precious nuggets found in the Bible. However, the Bible is a locked book for spiritually blind people. In order to see the benefits wrapped inside the Scriptures, a person must be able to understand God’s Word, and correctly apply it to daily life. The Holy Spirit teaches us what Scripture means so we can implement it into our lives.
B. The Holy Spirit’s Teaching of the Apostles
The disciples spent three years with Jesus. He taught them much during that time. However, the disciples didn’t take notes. How well do you remember the morning sermon from three weeks ago? Two weeks ago? Last week? Even if you took notes, you might have forgotten some of the points. The same is true of the disciples. They needed supernatural help to recall Jesus’ messages in order to speak and write them correctly. The Holy Spirit taught them all things and brought to their memory all the things Jesus had said to them (John 14:26). Furthermore, Jesus had not taught the apostles everything He wanted them to know. They could not have understood many of the essential truths of His death and resurrection before He actually died. Again the Holy Spirit acted, guiding them into all truth in things of Christ (John 16:12-15). The Holy Spirit also taught the apostles about future things (John 16:13). This special teaching ministry of the Spirit to the apostles reaches down to us. It provided them with the accurate information of what Jesus said and did, what He wanted to say, and what we need to know about the future. Thus they recorded in the New Testament under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
C. The Holy Spirit’s Teaching of Believers Today
The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit did not end with the apostles. He teaches believers today to understand the Word of God. The apostle John learned that teachers of false doctrine had set their sights on God’s children, hoping to deceive them. However, the readers of John’s epistles had protection from heresy. They had the protection of John’s letter of warning and they had the protection of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who would teach them all they needed to know (1 John 2:20, 27). His teaching was absolutely true and would cause them to remain faithful to Christ. John’s word gives assurance. If God’s children sincerely seek His truth and rely on the Holy Spirit, the Spirit will teach them from the Word all that they need in order to avoid being seduced by false teachers. He will give them an education in correct doctrine to enable them to recognize and reject false doctrine.
In order for a human being to grasp spiritual truth, the Holy Spirit must teach him. Paul explained to the Corinthians that the Spirit of God searches the things of God and reveals them. Believers have received the Spirit in order to know the things of God. An unbeliever, on the other hand, does not accept the things of the Spirit; he considers them foolish. He cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:9-14). Modern cars come equipped with an output terminal to which the dealer can attach a computer and diagnose various malfunctions. If you put your finger into the output terminal, you will learn nothing. Only a computer and the appropriate software can understand the messages directed through that. Without the proper computer, the information cannot be received and known. Likewise, without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot receive and truly understand God’s truth found in His Inspired Word.
D. The Holy Spirit’s Work in Our Lives
Acts 1:8 – Receive power to be witnesses; Romans 8:16 – Bears witness with our Spirit; Luke 12:12 – Teaches us; John 14:26 – Teach us all things; John 16:13-14 – Guides us into all truth; John 6:63 – Giveth life; Ephesians 4:30 – Sealed by the Spirit; John 16:7-8 – Reproves the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment; 1 Corinthians 3:5 – Can’t enter the kingdom of God; 1 Corinthians 2:12 – To know the things of God; Romans 8:11 – Gives life to the believer; Romans 8:26 – Is an intercessor when we pray; John 3:6 – the Spirit regenerates; Ephesians 58 – the Spirit fills; Genesis 6:3 – The Spirit strives with men, and the Spirit comforts believers – John 16:13; John 3:5; 14:16; 1 Peter 1:2. The Spirit also appoints and exercises guidance in the ministration of the Church, calling men to various offices and endowing them with qualifications for their specific service. “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” … (Acts 13:2; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11). The Holy Spirit remains available to teach believers for their entire life on earth. Both His indwelling and His anointing are permanent. “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” – 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22. God has anointed us, and that anointing continues to abide in us throughout life.
E. The Holy Spirit’s Guidance and Extent of it
The Holy Spirit guides believers by applying the truths of Scripture to everyday life and by giving direction in those areas that Scripture does not address specifically. Romans 8:14, and Galatians 5:18 speak directly of the Holy Spirit’s guidance or leading. In Romans 8, Paul contrasts the saved and unsaved. The unsaved are in slavery, and the saved have freedom. If someone lives after the flesh (the unsaved), he will perish; but if he mortifies the deeds of the body through the Spirit (the saved), he will live. Paul explains, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” – Romans 8:14. Paul defines all who are led by the Spirit as the “sons of God.” This verse says that all Christians are led by the Spirit. The leading of the Spirit characterizes Christians. Galatians 5:18 mentions the Spirit’s guidance: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The leading of the Spirit gives evidence that one has experienced redemption from the curse of the law. The Spirit leads away from the flesh and its works and into His fruit. The goal of the Spirit’s leading is to produce good works or the fruit of the Spirit.
F. The Holy Spirit’s Nature
My brethren, the Holy Spirit is a person, not just an influence. Ephesians 5:18 states this, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” That should be our goal as believers in Christ. Added to that we should be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10). Little eyes were looking over my shoulder at the gas gauge. Running out of fuel on an interstate highway was no one’s idea of fun. There had been plenty of places to stop and get a fill-up. If we ran out of gas, it would only be because of my own foolishness. So we pulled into a gas station at the next exit. However, getting a full tank of gas didn’t solve all our problems. We became irritable and impatient with one another. Tempers flared. It didn’t take long till we sensed that our lives were not being controlled by the Spirit’s power. Only after apologies and a quiet prayer of submission to the Lord was our inner spiritual strength restored. It was as if we had stopped to fill our hearts and minds with renewed energy. Unlike my experience of running low on gas, as born-again-believers in Christ we can’t run out of the source of our strength. We have the Holy Spirit in our hearts; however, it is possible for us to grieve Him and block the flow of His strength in our lives – Ephesians 4:30. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” As you travel the road of life, do you sometimes face a power crisis? Don’t try to see how far you can go without yielding to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit does His work in our lives as we read the Word of God and obey what we have learned. We can be certain that as we allow Him to control our lives, he will never lead us astray. I submit to you that the Holy Spirit is the best influence and is our unlimited source of spiritual power.
Even though I believe that God has been moving individuals and nations down through history to accomplish His purposes, sometimes I get the idea that God stopped working in people’s lives when He finished writing the Bible. But that’s not true. Even though God has finished His book, He hasn’t finished telling the story; He’s simply using a different form of media to tell it. In Bible times, God often communicated in tangible, visible, and audible ways such as tablets of stone, a pillar of fire, a still small voice, to name a few. However, when Jesus came, that changed. He told His followers that God’s Spirit would live not only among them but also within them (John 14:17). When I long for God to communicate in ways I can see, hear and feel, I need to remember that He is doing something even better. He is living in me, so that through my life the world will be able to see, hear and feel Him. God speaks to us primarily through His Word, the Bible. However, sometimes He directs in ways we do not expect.
The story has been told regarding Gary a worker at RBC Ministries who was walking home from church one evening when he saw a young man coming from the opposite direction. A strong urge came over Gary to talk with him about becoming a Christian. He hesitated at first, but then he said to this total stranger, “Pardon me, but I believe God wants me to tell you how to become a Christian. “I just asked my girlfriend’s mother that same question,” said the man, “but she didn’t know.” “You mean you want to become a Christian?” Gary asked, “Yes, I do!” he replied. Still incredulous, Gary asked him again and then shared the plan of salvation with him. That night a young man met Jesus as his Savior. Not all believers have equally dramatic experiences. But if God’s Word, prayer, and obedience are a daily part of our lives, we will be tuned in to the Spirit’s leading and be ready to convey God’s message of love and redemption to others.
Father, thank you for another day and for Your beautiful creation. Thank You for Your love, peace, joy and especially your precious and Eternal Word, which the psalmist declared “is settled in heaven”, and for Your Spirit that gives life, that comforts, teaches, intercedes in prayer, regenerates, that fills and that guides us into all truth. Fill us with Your Spirit, Your power, and change us into Christ’s own image day by day and hour by hour … Amen.
God’s Spirit lives in us in order to work through us.