Purpose of this Session
The Holy Spirit is not an addition that juts appears in the New Testament. From beginning to end He is clearly shown to be at work as the third Person of the Godhead. Both old and new testaments are packed with references to Him, His personality, and His work.
The Holy Spirit at Work in the Old Testament
Though not available to all, the Holy Spirit nevertheless is seen actively at work in Old Testament times. He is mentioned over 90 times in the Old Testament books.
Creation of the Heavens and the earth (Job 26:13, Isaiah 40:12-14)
The life giving breath of man and beast (Psalms 104:30, Job 33:4)
He strove with man in the days of Noah (Genesis 6:3)
He has spoken through the prophets throughout history (Acts 7:51-52)
The Spirit moved upon the prophets, giving them revelation, and inspiration, causing them to write the sacred scriptures. Through them He foretold the suffering and glory of Christ and the Church.
(2 Peter 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Peter 1:11-12, 2 Samuel 23:2, Acts 1:16)
The only nation in which we see distinctive operations of the Spirit in the Old Testament is Israel. He equips, inspires and energizes men, clothing them with Himself. The work of the Spirit in men before the cross is temporary compared with His abiding presence and power in New Testament saints.
- The Spirit enabled Joseph to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh (Genesis 41:38)
- The Spirit gave wisdom for the building of the Tabernacle of Moses according to the divine pattern (Exodus 31:1-6)
- The Judges were equipped by the Spirit to deliver Israel (Judges 3:9-10; 6:34; 14:6)
- The King and psalmist David was anointed by God (2 Samuel 23:1-2)
- The Spirit was upon the priests of the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:14, Luke 1:5,67)
- The prophets had the Spirit upon them in various measures; Balaam (Num 24:2), Elijah (1 Kings 18:12), Ezekiel (Ezek 3:12-14), Daniel (Dan 4:8-9), Isaiah (Act 28:25)
- Judges, Priests, Kings and Prophets all experienced the Lord’s anointing. In their offices, all pointed to the Anointed One, Jesus Christ, who would have the fullness of the Spirit upon Him.
- The anointing of the Spirit came only upon a select few chosen men and women during OT times to equip them for divine service.
- At the close of the OT age special manifestations of the Spirit took place such as John the Baptist’s infilling even from the womb (Luke 1:15-17), and, of course, Mary’s unique experience when she was overshadowed by the Spirit of God and Messiah was conceived (Luke 1:46-55)
The Holy Spirit at Work in the New Testament
We have seen that in the OT although the Holy Spirit was active in many ways, and especially the affairs of the people of Israel, His presence was temporary – for specific events or tasks. What we see in the NT is the possibility of people experiencing a fullness of the Spirit never before known to mankind. As Perfect Man, Christ Jesus could receive the fullness of the indwelling Spirit, and after His resurrection, as the Anointed One, send the Holy Spirit to those who believe upon Him. The gift is available to all who accept the finished work of Christ on the cross. (Matthew 3:11).
John 1:33 says “upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptises with the Holy Spirit”.
One of the differences then between Old and New Testaments is the availability of the Holy Spirit to ‘remain’ on believers much as He remained ‘on’ Christ. This indwelling of the Spirit is pivotal to the believer being able to live the life of Christ here and now, in a mortal body.
The prophets under the OT clearly foretold of a day when the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all mankind:
“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.
Also Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26-27; Isaiah 44:3
This could only be achieved by the death, burial, resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ. As the perfect man He received the fullness of the Spirit, which He poured out upon us.
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39 NKJV)
As we believe in Jesus’ finished work, the Holy Spirit in all His power and grace is made available to us. He works in us what was accomplished by Christ on the cross, making the legal possession a living reality.
Jesus, Our Example of a Man Filled and Reliant on the Holy Spirit
Jesus Himself gave the perfect example of a man governed by the Spirit. Consider in small groups the following statements and connect them with the appropriate scriptures:
Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 4:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 1:5,8; Revelation 2:7,11; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 3:18; John 3:34; Acts 1:2; 1 Timothy 3:16; Luke 4:14; Luke 4:18; Matthew 12:28; Acts 10:38
1. Born of the Spirit Ref:_______________
2. Filled with the Spirit Ref:_______________
3. Led by the Spirit Ref:_______________
4. Empowered by the Spirit Ref:_______________
5. Anointed by the Spirit Ref:_______________
6. Spoke by the Spirit Ref:_______________
7. Healed the sick by the Spirit Ref:_____________
8. Cast out devils by the power of the Spirit Ref:_______________
9. Justified (vindicated) by the Spirit Ref:_______________
10. Offered up on Calvary by the eternal Spirit Ref:_______________
11. Resurrected by the Spirit Ref:_______________
12. Gave commandments to His disciples by the Spirit Ref:____________
13. Baptised and empowered the Church by the Spirit Ref:____________
14. Directs & governs the Church by the Spirit Ref:_______________
We can see that all Jesus did was governed not only by what He saw and heard from the Father, but by the Spirit. That’s why it is important for us to open our hearts to the way of the Spirit – there can be no other true way to be followers of Jesus. The devil would love us to live the Christian life by the flesh – and how often we try to do this!