The Holy Spirit

John baptized believers with water, but One greater than John would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lu. 3:16; Jn. 1:33). Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified” (Jn. 7:37-39). The promised coming of the Holy Spirit happened when Jesus was exalted at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33).

The resurrected Jesus appeared to many of His followers for forty days and instructed them, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised . . . you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:4,8). The Church age began the moment believers received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Even though they saw the resurrected Christ, they could not be witnesses until the resurrected life of Christ was within them. They were baptized by the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not a cosmic force, He is the third member of the Trinity. God’s Holy Spirit had inspired the Old Testament prophets, moved among God’s people, was present with them in the person of Christ, but is now in them as the Spirit of Christ. The Church or the body of Christ is comprised of those believers who are born-again spiritually with the Holy Spirit bearing witness with their spirit that they are children of God (Rom. 8:16). Every believer upon the simple condition of faith in Christ is reborn (i.e. regenerated, Titus 3:5), baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body (1 Cor. 12:13), indwelt perpetually (Rom. 8:38,39), sealed (Eph. 1:13,14) and given the privilege of being filled by the Holy Spirit continuously (Eph. 5:18).

Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth” (Jn. 14:16). The Holy Spirit is first and foremost the Spirit of truth, and “he will guide you into all truth” (Jn. 16:13), and that truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32). The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to communicate God’s presence to us. Because of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have the power to live a righteous life. The Holy Spirit will also lead those who are born-again, “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). It is extremely important to know this, because the devil will seek to lead you astray. If you know God and His ways, you will not likely be deceived, because the counterfeit will be obvious. We must learn to discern by the Spirit, because the devil is a master deceiver.

Dr. Neil

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