Rely on the Spirit to live “on mission”

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”

John 15:26-26

We are able to live life “on mission” because the Spirit dwells within us and empowers us.

The degree to which we rely on the Spirit is the degree to which our mission will be successful.

Relying on the Spirit doesn’t look like us sitting on our hands. Rather it looks like us depending on Him to provide us the Words to say in difficult or foreign situations.

It looks like us trusting He will bring people into our paths. A “divine appointment” if you will.

It also looks like us petition the Spirit to change the hearts of those whom we know and asking that He would use us as His instruments to bring about change.

It further looks like us trusting that the Spirit will convict, convince, and regenerate.

Instead of seeking to build the church and make disciples in a man-centered way, we must rely on the Spirit and align ourselves with God’s will found in God’s Word.

Jesus sends the Spirit for a reason, let’s not deny His existence and power. Instead, let’s allow the Spirit to empower us to live life “on mission” for Jesus, making disciple-making disciples of all peoples.

What can God do through you?

I’ve been reading the book of Ephesians devotionally for the last few weeks, slowly working my way through the text in study and prayer. The practice of intentional meditation has fostered a deeper level of praise and worship for what God has done for us in Christ.

This morning I finished reading Ephesians chapter 3, specifically verses 20 and 21,

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3:20–21)

Context

Contextually, Paul has in mind the power of the Holy Spirit to unify both Gentile and Jew in Christ, so that they become one new humanity (Eph 2:15-16). Imagine that, a people who are completely and utterly opposed to and different from one another brought together in harmony and unity, so that they are loving and serving one another. Only God can unify in that way. Only God can break down those barriers.

One new humanity at the foot of the cross

God creates one new humanity at the foot of the cross. We are all sinners who are in need of salvation from God’s wrath (Eph 1 and 2). Those who are Christian (followers of Jesus) have been saved in exactly the same way, through the spilled blood of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in our life who causes us to recognize our need for a Savior and to believe that Jesus is our Savior (Eph 2).

Seeing God work in and through opposing humanity to create one unified group that loves and cares for one another in ways unimaginable causes Paul to break out in praise as he closes chapter 3 with a doxology.

God can and will do far more than we can imagine

Just as God is able to reconcile two opposing groups to Himself and one another, God is also able to do in and through us far more than we could ever imagine. He reconciles us with people who are different, creating a new bond between us and others of different cultures, races, and nationalities, so we will work together for His glory.

Not only will God create bonds where there were divisions, but God will also do in and through us far more than we could ever ask or think. Our God is a powerful God and He will use us in powerful and mighty ways. Ways that will ultimately bring Him glory.

What can God do through you?

He can do the imaginable. Not for your glory, but for His.

Question for Reflection

  1. How has God used you for His glory?

Who is and What are the Works of the Holy Spirit?

If you ask most church members who the Holy Spirit is, you will probably receive puzzled looks, references to an “it”, a force emanating from God, or to your conscience, among other ideas. I think it is safe to say the Holy Spirit is a mystery to most people. Someone that is present and working, but not really understood.

As Christians, however, it’s important we understand who the Holy Spirit is and how He works. We not only need to understand these things for our own theological develop, but also as a protection from heresy.

Who is the Holy Spirit?

TrinityThe Holy Spirit is God. He is the Third Person of the Trinity, who is fully and completely divine, possessing all of the divine attributes of the God-Head. He is equal with the Father and the Son in His deity (Matt. 3:13-17; 28:19-20; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2) [1].

When we say the Holy Spirit is working, we are saying God is working. Jesus attests to this, when He refers to the Holy Spirit as God who is at work in regeneration (Jn 3:5) and rebirth (Jn 3:8).

Also, Paul affirms the Holy Spirit as God when he tells us that “God’s speaking through the prophets is accomplished through the work of the Spirit (Acts 28:25-26)” [2].

Additionally, we know the Holy Spirit is God because “the Bible equates a believer’s relationship to the Spirit and his relationship with God” [3]. To lie to the Holy Spirit is to lie to God. A prime example is when Ananias tells Peter he has given all the proceeds from the sale of his possessions to the church. In Acts 5:3-4, Peter begins by saying that Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit and ends by saying that he has not lied to men but to God.

Other divine attributes attributed to the Holy Spirit are:

  • Eternality – Heb. 9:14
  • Omnipresence – Ps. 139:7-10
  • Omniscience – 1 Cor. 2:10-11
  • Omnipotence – Luke 1:35-37
  • Holiness – Rom. 1:4 [4]

The Holy Spirit is also a person. “He is not merely an impersonal force or an emanation of the power of God” [5]. We know the Holy Spirit is a person based on titles given Him by Jesus. Jesus calls Him a “Comforter” and a “Helper” (Jn 12:26; 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) [6].

The Work of the Holy Spirit

While the Holy Spirit is fully God, He is distinct from the Son and the Father, playing a different role than each. “The distinct roles typically have the Father willing, the Son accomplishing, and the Spirit applying the work of the Son” [7]. As a result, the Spirit does many things, which are highlighted throughout Scripture.

The Spirit’s Work in Jesus’ Ministry

  • Brings about the incarnation (Luke 1:35)
  • Anoints Jesus for His public ministry at His baptism (Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21-22).
  • Fills Jesus (Luke 4:1)
  • Leads and Empowers Jesus through His earthly life (Luke 4:14;18)
  • He participates in Jesus’ atoning work (Heb. 9:14)
  • Raises Jesus from the dead (Rom. 8:11) [8]

The Spirit’s Work in God’s People

  • Brings regeneration (Jn. 3:5-8)
  • Sanctifies (Rom. 8:29; 1 Jn. 3:2)
  • Illumines the Bible (Luke 24:27, 44-48)
  • Empowers gospel preaching (Acts 1:8)
  • Empowers for kingdom advancing work (See the book of Acts)
  • Provides assurance of adoption and future to come (Rom. 8:16; Eph. 1:13; 2 Cor. 1:21-22)
  • Works fruit in our lives known as the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Comforts (Jn 12:26; 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7)
  • Teaches (Jn 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13)
  • Determines distribution of spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:11)
  • Interprets and brings human prayer before the Father (Rom. 8:26-27) [9]

Other works of the Spirit

  • Involved in creation (Gen. 1:2)
  • Inspired the Word of God (2 Pet. 1:21)
  • Makes decisions (Acts 15:28)
  • Grieves over sin (Eph. 4:30)
  • Overrules human actions (Acts 16:6-7)
  • Searches the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10-11)
  • Bears witness to and glorifies Christ (Jn 15:26; 16:14) [10]

Conclusion

As you can see, the Holy Spirit is much more than a life force emanating from God. He is more than an “it”, more than your conscience. He is God, who worked in Jesus’ ministry, works in the world, and works in the life of the believer. He does many things in an effort to apply the work of the Son.

Questions for Reflection

  1. How have you thought of the Holy Spirit?
  2. How do you think of Him now?

Resources

Please note: There may be other works of the Holy Spirit not listed. Providing an exhaustive list of the Spirit’s work is beyond the scope of this post.

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[1] Erik Thoennes, Life’s Biggest Questions101.
[2] Ibid., 103
[3] Ibid., 104
[4] Ibid., 103
[5] Ibid., 101
[6] Ibid., 102
[7] Ibid., 104
[8] Ibid., 104-05
[9] Ibid., 102, 104-106
[10] Ibid., 102, 104