Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Spirit Was Sent #2

Let us continue our study of the Holy Spirit.

One of the most common descriptors for the Holy Spirit is the name "Comforter." This comes from the Greek word paracletos, which literally means "one who comes alongside." The Holy Spirit is God's way of personally coming alongside each believer (see John 15:26)

The Holy Spirit is referred to as our "guide" in several New Testament passages. This reveals the Spirit's job of leading believers into maturity in Christ. As John 16:13 puts it, "The Spirit of truth...will guide you..."

Romans 8:26-27 describes the Holy Spirit as our intercessor. In that role he will reveal the Father's will, pray with us, and connect us to the Father.

The work of the Holy Spirit is evident in creation (see Gen. 1:2, 26), in the inspiration of Scripture (see 2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21), and in the salvation of humankind (see John 7:38-39).

The Holy Spirit was active in the Old Testament. He empowered Gideon in Judges 6:34, Samson in Judges 14:6, and David in 1 Samuel 16:13.

"Quenching the Spirit" is referred to in several passages of Scripture, including 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Psalm 51, and 1 Samuel 16:14. Sin, particularly secret sin in the life of a believer, will prevent the Spirit from working in one's life.

The Holy Spirit became manifest in the lives of believers on the day of Pentecost, when he came upon the members of the early church and allowed them to speak in other tongues so that everyone in the crowd heard their own language (see Acts 2).

"And be not drunk with wine... but be filled with the Spirit," Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:18. The "filling of the Spirit" is likened to being drunk, since control of our lives is turned over to something else─in this case, God. Some charismatic and Pentecostal groups believe this is a regular event in the lives of believers, while most other believers see the filling of the Spirit as a one-time event, occurring at the moment of salvation.

One if the activities of the Holy Spirit is to provide believers with spiritual gifts. Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 both describe a number of gifts the Spirit gives to believers, including wiadom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, tongues, interpretation, serving, teaching, discerning, and encouraging. While each believer has been given at least one spiritual gift, no one has a right to ask for a particular gift. These gifts blend together in a church to bring unity to the body of Christ.

The Holy Spirit also produces "fruit" in the lives of believers. Galatians 5:22-23 details some of the fruit that is produced: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

"Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is sometimes referred to as "the unpardonable sin." According to Matthew 12:22-32, Mark 3:22-30, and Luke 12:10, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit refers to examining the clear, supernatural work of God and ascribing it to satan.

The Spirit was active all along from the beginning of time, hovering over the waters at creation and inspiring God's messengers throughout the Old Testament history─378 passages in the Hebrew Bible mention the Spirit!

by Bonnie Calhoun