Teaching concerning the Holy Spirit is so important, and in many Christian circles is neglected because of misunderstanding or ignorance. Like Paul, when he arrived in Ephesus asking the question, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” the answer all too often is, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost!”
Jesus Himself made it clear how significant the Holy Spirit would be in the life of His disciples. He first said that it would be much better for them if He went away, because that would allow Him to send the Holy Spirit to them:
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”John 16:7 KJV
then proceeded to inform them that they were to attempt nothing until He, the Holy Spirit, had come:
“And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”Luke 24:46-49 KJV
When this great event took place on the day of Pentecost, the one-time timid crowd of disciples became a fearless force that turned the then known world upside down!
The history of the early church is one driven by an uncompromised belief in, and obedience to, the Lordship of the Spirit over the affairs of the Body of Christ. Decisions were made in consultation with Him as the Head, He directed the action with astounding results, empowering His people to be witnesses to every sector of society, and confirming the words He inspired them to speak with mighty signs and wonders in the name of Jesus.
This ‘formula’ has never changed. We still need His empowering Presence. Bill Johnson in his book “When Heaven Invades Earth” makes a very provocative statement which is pertinent as we approach this study of the Holy Spirit:
“Any revelation from God’s Word that does not lead to an encounter with God only serves to make us more religious. The church cannot afford “form without power”, for it creates Christians without purpose.”
Watchman Nee says something similar in his collected sermons on “The Breaking of the Outer Man Release of the Spirit”:
“Doctrine [alone] does not have much use, nor does theology. What is the use of mere mental knowledge of the Bible if the outward man remains unbroken? Only the person through whom God can come forth is useful.”
Our study here would be unfruitful if it failed to whet the student’s appetite to know intimately and personally the One whom they are reading about.
As Benny Hinn enquires in his brilliant book “Good Morning, Holy Spirit”:
“Are you ready to meet the Holy Spirit intimately and personally? Do you want to hear His voice? Are you prepared to know Him as a Person? That’s exactly what happened to me, and it drastically transformed my life. It was an intensely personal experience, and it is based on God’s Word.”
The book of James reminds us that the Holy Spirit hungers for such intimacy with His people:
“Or do you suppose that the Scripture is speaking to no purpose that says, The Spirit Whom He has caused to dwell in us yearns over us and He yearns for the Spirit [to be welcome] with a jealous love?”James 4:5 AMPLIFIED
Let us keep in mind then as we consider what the Scriptures tell us regarding this great subject, that we are considering a Person, not a mere doctrine to be consumed and relegated to our school files. For some it may be the entry point to a brand new life of power and love, in fellowship with the most awesome Person on the earth today – The Holy Spirit!
The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is:
- The 3rd Divine Person of the Trinity.
- Co-equal, co-eternal and co-existent with the Father and Son.
His Ministry is:
- To convict and convert men, introducing them to the Father and the Son.
- To reveal the Father and Son to the Believer in ever deepening relationship.
- To direct and empower the Body of Christ to continue and fulfil the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Since the glorification of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit is working in and through the Believer. This present era is known as the age of the Holy Spirit.
The Importance of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit
Between Genesis 1:2 and Rev 22:17, there is a vast Biblical revelation of the Holy Spirit’s ministry. The Holy Spirit gets 90 mentions in the Old Testament with at least 18 different titles and 260 mentions in the New Testament with 39 names and titles. The operation of the Holy Spirit is seen throughout scripture from Genesis to Revelation and the significance of His place in Biblical doctrine and a proper understanding of Christian belief cannot be overemphasized.
This present age has been given over to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We must know Him personally just as we must know Jesus Christ personally in order to experience the fullness of our salvation.
Jesus worked and accomplished salvation FOR us through the cross and resurrection. The Holy Spirit is presently working and accomplishing salvation IN us through His indwelling power and influence.