Even though I have valued the Holy Spirit and his work for many years, my research for Miracles and the Supernatural Throughout Church History has greatly reinforced my realization of our absolute need to rely on him completely and entirely. Reinhard Bonnke, the famed German evangelist whose ministry so powerfully impacted Africa, eloquently said:
Christianity is either supernatural, or nothing at all. We had—and still have—a supernatural Jesus with a supernatural ministry, creating a supernatural church, with a supernatural gospel, and a supernatural Bible. Take the miraculous away, and you have taken Christianity’s life away. The church becomes an ethical society, or a social club, when it is intended to be the grid system for transmitting the power of God into this powerless world. You and I are conductors of God’s power to the world!
A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance succinctly asserts the same idea: “The religion of the Bible is wholly supernatural.”
There are many moral, ethical, and practical implications in what the Bible teaches, but at the core of God’s involvement in our lives is the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. There are descriptions in the New Testament of how the Holy Spirit works in the life of a believer—a work that actually starts before we even come into faith. Here is a listing of just some of what the Holy Spirit does:
He Brings Conviction – “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11).
He Brings the New Birth – “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6).
He Provides Assurance – “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16).
He Brings Illumination and Guides Us Into Truth – “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13).
He Provides Sanctification (Cleansing, Separation) – “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
He Indwells and Abides With Us – “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
He Teaches Us – “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26).
He Glorifies Jesus – “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14).
He Places Us in the Body of Christ – “We have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians12:13, NLT).
He Empowers Believers for Service – “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8).
He Fills Believers – “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). “And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52).
The Holy Spirit so permeates the events in the book of Acts that some have suggested over the years that a better title might be The Acts of The Holy Spirit, rather than The Acts of the Apostles. Here are just a few examples of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the church of the first century:
The Holy Spirit is poured out on the Day of Pentecost. The disciples are “all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
The Holy Spirit speaks to Philip and gives him direction regarding his ministry (Acts 8:29). Afterwards, the Holy Spirit catches Philip away, and he ends up in a different locations (Acts 8:39-40).
In Acts 11:12, the Holy Spirit speaks to Peter and tells him to go to the home of Cornelius (Acts 11:12). There, Peter preached the very first gospel sermon to a Gentile audience.
Agabus makes a prediction “by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world” (Acts 11:28, NLT). Agabus later prophesies to Paul by the Spirit (Acts 21:11).
The Holy Spirit speaks in Antioch and says, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2, NLT). The Holy Spirit then sends these two men out on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:4). Paul and Barnabas are later directed regarding their ministry by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6-7).
Paul is “compelled by the Spirit” to travel to Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem, and Rome (Acts 19:21; 20:22).
Paul tells the Ephesian Elders that it was the Holy Spirit who appointed them to their ministerial positions (Acts 20:28).
Paul tells the Corinthian church, “My message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:4, NLT).
The Holy Spirit was not just given for the first century. He still works in the lives of believers, and he still empowers ministers.
Charles Spurgeon, known as the Prince of Preachers, gave this outstanding description:
We have felt the Spirit of God operating upon our hearts, we have known and perceived the power that He wields over human spirits, and we know Him by frequent, conscious, personal contact. By the sensitiveness of our spirit we are as much made conscious of the presence of the Spirit of God as we are made cognizant of the existence of the souls of our fellowmen by their action upon our souls, or as we are certified of the existence of matter by its action upon our senses… We know that there is a Holy Ghost, for we feel Him operating upon our spirits. If it were not so, we should certainly have no right to be in the ministry of Christ’s church.
Dwight L. Moody is another minister who knew and understood the importance of relying upon the Holy Spirit. He said, “God is a supernatural God, and you’ve got to have supernatural power to do His work.” Early in his ministry, Moody sensed a need for greater spiritual power, and he went through a season of seeking God. Moody’s associate, R. A. Torrey describes what happened to Moody as a result.
In the midst of the bustle and hurry of that city his prayer was answered; the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him, filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold his hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy. He went out from that place with the power of the Holy Ghost upon him.
Moody notes that the effects of his preaching after this encounter were significantly enhanced, that hundreds now began to be saved.
A. J. Gordon, the pastor of the Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston in the latter part of the 1800’s spoke of the Holy Spirit’s role in his ministry:
If the Holy Ghost can only have men and women who are willing to be used, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. Let me publicly say that when I awoke to this fact, and began to preach it, and called you to pray about it, and put myself into the power of the Holy Ghost—then began the real progress in this church.
We are living in a glorious age. The Holy Spirit has been freely given to us. May we yield to him and cooperate with him, never grieving, quenching, or resisting him. He will lead us into every good thing that God has planned for us.
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