Cultivating a deep daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit must be based on a firm understanding of to whom we are relating. More than just understanding, we will need to internalize some key perspectives of who is the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the Holy Spirit today which may take changing some of the thoughts we have previously held about the Holy Spirit. We probably know the “Sunday school” answers for “Who is the Holy Spirit?” But let’s take a deeper look at what the Spirit does so we can better cultivate a deep fellowship with the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
Eternal life is more than being born again. It is to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. (Jn. 17:4) This cannot be done except by the revelation of the Spirit of God. (1 Cor. 2:9-11; Jn.16:14) The third person of the Trinity does not have the ‘flesh and bones’ we saw when Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us. (Jn. 1:14; Lk. 24:39)
This difficulty has led to some either ignoring the Spirit completely in their day-to-day Christian lives or keeping him as some kind of ‘spare tire’ for emergencies only. Yet we are born of the Spirit (Jn. 3:6) and our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who indwells us. (Rom. 8:9,11,14-16) His witness gives us assurance that we are children of God. We were baptized by one Spirit into the body of Christ and we have access to God by this same Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:14)
The early church ensured that those who received the Lord and were water-baptized also received the baptism of the Spirit. (Acts 2:4, 38; 8:14-17; 9:15-16; 10:44-47; 19:1-7) We are the habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph. 2:20) What broke through the clouds for me was when I had to do a bible study on the personality of the Holy Spirit.
We say someone has personality when he/she speaks and hears; thinks and reasons; feel and has emotions; and decides, has a will, and self-determination. Let us take a quick look at the Holy Spirit in the scriptures to assure ourselves that he is a personality, not a ‘power’ or a ‘force’ like electricity.
In John 16:13, we read that he both hears and speaks. (e.g. Rev. 2:7; Acts 10:19, 20; Matt. 10:20) His actions include helping us, interceding for us with a mind and will (Rom. 8:26, 27); leading us and giving us commands (Matt. 4:1; Rom. 8:14; Acts 8:29); guiding and comforting us (Jn 16:12, 13; Acts 9:31); appoints people for God’s work (Acts 13:2, 4, 20:28); testifies of Jesus (Jn.51:26; Acts 5:32; Heb. 2:4, 10:15; Rom. 8:16, 9:1; 1 Jn. 5:6-8); teaches believers and reveals things to them (Jn. 14:26; Lk. 12:12; 1 Cor. 1:10); being insulted or blasphemed (Matt. 12:31-32; Heb. 10:29); being lied to, tempted, and resisted (Acts 5:3-4, 9, 7:51); and giving power (Acts 1:8; Lk. 4:14; Matt. 12:28).
The Holy Spirit also has emotions, can be grieved, vexed, or pleased. (Is. 63:10; Eph. 4:30; Acts 15:28) In seeing all of these qualities, we can now understand the Holy Spirit to have personality of His own, not just a power or force.
The last major hurdle to be cleared in the fellowship with the Holy Spirit is how to relate to him. Mainline evangelical Christianity has no problem with the doctrine of the Trinity. Our challenge is relating personally to the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead, co-equal with God the Father and God the Son. Until this is resolved, fellowship with him is bound to be uneven and we cannot give him the place he deserves in our lives. We do not even think it is worth the effort to cultivate any special daily fellowship with him.
The Divinity of the Holy Spirit
The major attributes of divinity are: eternality, sovereignty, omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence. What do the scriptures say of the Holy Spirit? The Scriptures refer to the Holy Spirit as God, stating in Acts that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God, and Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that the temple of God is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 5:3-4, 1 Cor. 3:16) He is coupled in equality with names of God in Christ, as Matthew writes, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19-20; e.g. 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Cor. 12:4-6) The Holy Spirit is eternal, always existing as the writer of Hebrews says, “who through the eternal Spirit.” (e.g. Gen. 1:2; Rev. 22:17)
In Luke, we see that he is omnipotent, having all power. (Lk. 1:35) He is also omniscient which Paul tells us saying, “the Spirit knowing all things, searching even the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10-11) In the Psalms, David speaks of the Spirit being omnipresent because everywhere he goes the Spirit is there. (Psalm 139:7-10) The Spirit also is part of Creation (Creation (Gen. 1:2; Job 33:4); Regeneration (Jn. 3:5-8) and Resurrection (Rom.8:11) and the distribution of spiritual gifts according to his will. (1 Cor.12:4,7,11) Now that we have settled within ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a divine personality, it is time to explore his ministry today.
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit Today
The Old Testament reports the work of the Spirit extensively, but promises that in these last days God will pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh,
“So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6 NKJV
“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.” – Joel 2:28-29 NKJV
We see Jesus anointed with the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38) and led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan and returning in the power of the Spirit. (Lk. 4:1-2,14) Jesus cast out evil spirits by the Holy Spirit, Matt. 12:28. In fact, the whole ministry of our Lord was based upon the anointing of the Spirit. (Lk. 4:18)
Further, Jesus charged his apostles to wait in Jerusalem until they have been clothed with power from heaven. (Lk. 24:49) He promised that this power will make them effective witnesses of his to the world’s uttermost parts. (Acts 1:8)
Here is a short list of the supernatural ability that the Spirit of God gives to the believer today.
1. He gives supernatural power to be a witness for Jesus, Acts 1:8; Lk. 24:48; Rom. 15:13,19.
2. He gives supernatural ability to pray, Rom. 8:26,27; 1 Cor. 14:14,15; Eph. 6:18; Jude 20
3. He pours supernatural love into our hearts, Rom. 5:5; 15:30
4. He gives supernatural anointing to recognize truth, 1 Jn. 2:20,27; 2 Cor. 1:21
5. He is the supernatural sealing for eternal life, Eph. 1:13; 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 4:30
6. He gives supernatural ability to cope with life, and endurance in trial and persecution, Matt. 10:20; Jn. 16:12,13. Acts 4:8,31; 7:55-60.
7. He is the gateway to the supernatural (Charismatic gifts, 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Heb. 6:4; and Revelations, 1 Cor. 2:10,11)
8. He is the supernatural Teacher and “Remembrancer” of all things, Lk. 12:12; Jn. 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:13
9. He is the supernatural Comforter (Gk. Parakletos – helper, intercessor, stand-by advocate, counselor, instructor, patron, Jn. 14:16,17; Acts 9:31)
10. He is God’s supernatural pledge, earnest, guarantee until we receive our heavenly possession, 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13,14.
11. He gives supernatural leadership, supernatural guidance, Lk. 4:1; Rom. 8:14,16; 9:1; Acts 16:6-10
12. He gives supernatural (physical) health, Rom. 8:11
13. He gives supernatural sanctification=making us holy, Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11,19; 3:16; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1Thess. 3:16
14. He gives supernatural boldness to glorify and exalt Jesus, Jn. 16:14; 7:39; 15:26; Acts 2:32-35
15. He is the constant abiding presence and power of God in our lives, Jn.14:16,17; 1 Jn.2:27; Lk. 12:12
16. He gives supernatural power for preaching – 1 Pet. 1:12 and demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power – 1 Cor. 2:1-5; 1 Thess. 1:5
17. He gives supernatural insight and interpretation of scripture – 2 Pet. 1:20,21 and spirit of prophecy – Rev. 19:10
18. He is instrumental in conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment – Jn. 16:7-10
This is by no means an exhaustive list. The Holy Spirit does much more than all these today in the life of the believer, the local church and the world.
By seeing that the Holy Spirit has a personality and a role in ministry in and through the life of the believer, we understand in a greater dimension the third part of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not a force. He is a real personality that wants to be in fellowship with us. In the next part of this study, we will look at the Holy Spirit’s desire to be in fellowship with us and how we can cultivate fellowship with the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.