Friday, March 16, 2012

The Functions of the Holy Spirit

John 14:15-27 and Selected Scriptures

Common, too common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude. They who yield to His influence become good; they who obey His impulses do good, they who live under His power receive good. Let us revere His person; let us hourly seek His aid, and never grieve Him; and let us speak to His praise whenever occasion occur. The church will never prosper until more reverently it believes in the Holy Ghost. – Charles Spurgeon


We desire to encounter God in deep, practical, and meaningful ways. We don’t want our faith to be only a relationship with a Book- but a Person. If we ignore or disbelieve the Book, we will wade into error and ambiguity. If we ignore the Spirit, we will live a dry and at times powerless Christian experience, missing some of His blessings along the way. Bible knowledge must be combined with experiential knowledge gleaned only from walking with God. Lord, help us to both love the Bible and embrace the Spirit.

PURPOSE: The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to manifest Christ in us.

The Spirit’s functions

a) The Holy Spirit glorifies the Son (Jn. 15:26; 16:14)

b) The Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13)

c) The Holy Spirit indwells believers (John 14:17; Eph. 1:13-14)

1) It is a permanent indwelling
2) It is true of every individual believer
3) It occurred at salvation

The Lord desires daily fellowship with us through the Holy Spirit, whom He sent to indwell each of us. The Spirit of Christ remains within you every moment of every day. – Bill Bright

d) The Holy Spirit comes alongside of believers (Jn. 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7)

e) The Holy Spirit produces fruit in and through believers (John 15:1-8; Gal. 5:22-23)

f) The Holy Spirit convicts and motivates toward holiness (Jn. 16:8-11)

g) The Holy Spirit draws lost people to Christ and the Father (Jn. 3:5-8;6:44,63)

h) The Holy Spirit illuminates (Jn. 16:12-15)

In this unique ministry the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the believer so that he or she may understand the things of God as recorded in Scripture. – Charles Stanley

In reference to the Bible, revelation relates to its content, inspiration to the method of recording the material, and illumination to the meaning of the record. – Charles Ryrie

This has been my experience as I have studied the Scriptures. Things I may have known intellectually for years have come alive to me in their fuller spiritual significance almost miraculously. As I have studied the Scriptures, I have also learned that the Spirit always lets more light shine from the Word. Almost every time I read on old, familiar passage I see something new. This happens because the written Word is the living Word. – Billy Graham

i) The Holy Spirit teaches (Jn. 14:26-27; 16:12-15; 2 Kings 6:17)

j) The Holy Spirit counsels (John 14:26)

God is not interested in simple convenience. He wants us to know Him as our Friend and Lord. He desires that we know Him well enough to learn to hear His still, small voice, even when it is as gentle as a whisper. True friendship is never quick or convenient. We must work at it over a long period.
– Bill Bright

I believe that God has related theses somehow: the voice of conviction in the conscience and the Holy Spirit, the point of contact, witnessing within man’s being. A person has not been illuminated until that voice begins to sound within him.

Men and women need to be told that it may be fatal to silence the inner voice. It is always perilous to resist the conscience within; but it may be fatal to silence that voice, to continue to ignore that speaking voice within.
– A. W. Tozer, Echoes from Eden

k) The Holy Spirit directly witnesses to our spirits (Ro. 8:16)

l) The Holy Spirit ushers in peace (John 14:27)

m) The Holy Spirit intercedes and helps us in prayer (Ro. 8:26)

The Spirit prompts us to pray. The Holy Spirit guides our prayers. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us in prayer. The Holy Spirit leads us in prayerful worship. – Bill Bright

n) The Holy Spirit guides (Ro. 8:14; Jn. 15:13)

God is not boxed in by a single method, a certain way, a unique means, an established procedure. There are many ways and many vehicles the Holy Spirit uses to guide us into all truth. Most often, He uses the Scriptures. Sometimes He uses human authorities in their particular area. Sometimes He uses a family member, either a flesh relative or a spiritual brother or sister. In fact, God’s Spirit can and does use a diverse number of ways to speak to us. But, whatever His methods, we need to be able to discern His voice so that Satan will not be able to get to us. – Peter Lord, Hearing God

The Holy Spirit speaks to neutral hearts. I don’t mean passive or indifferent hearts. I mean being consumed with discovering what pleases the Holy Spirit rather than working to convince Him of the wisdom and brilliance of our plans. His ultimate goal is hearts and minds that are in complete harmony with His kingdom agenda. – Charles Stanley

o) The Holy Spirit directs and warns (Acts 20:22-23)

• Through the regular reading of the Word of God.

If you want to know what the Holy Spirit thinks about something, read the Bible. You will never be able to accurately identify the peace of God or the voice of God without some understanding of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will never lead you where the Word of God forbids you to go. – Charles Stanley

• Through the lack of or the presence of His peace.

“The absence or presence of peace is often the first indicator that the Holy Spirit is up to something in your life. God is not going to violate our free will and force us to do the right thing. We will never lose our freedom to make mistakes. Therefore, it is that much more important for us to develop moment-by-moment sensitivity to the presence or absence of God’s peace in our lives. ” - Charles Stanley

• Through inner promptings.

Once the truth regarding the absolute and final authority of the Scriptures is established, it is surprising to me that anyone would resist the idea that God still speaks to people in other ways today. God has been speaking to people from the beginning of human history, both directly and indirectly. God still speaks in all the same ways He has: He is the changeless God, and His reach to humanity continually extends by every communicative means, including intimately speaking by the Holy Spirit with His own sons and daughters in Christ.

Sometimes He speaks instructively, correctively, directively or protectively. Sometimes He speaks with thoughts we sense are His, as the Holy Spirit ignites what we are reading from the pages of the Bible. Sometimes He speaks with inner promptings that come as divinely given intuition, insight or warning. Sometimes He speaks with prophetic words which draw our attention to a larger, clearer understanding of His will as revealed in His eternal Word.
– Jack Hayford, Living the Spirit-Formed Life

• Through checks in your spirit.

I do believe God, through the Holy Spirit, communicates directly with believers. No, I don’t write these revelations in the back of my Bible and call them inspired. Neither do I run around telling everybody what God told me. My experience (as well as the experience of many godly men and women) is that the Holy Spirit, at the prompting of the Heavenly Father, still communicates with believers today. The Holy Spirit indwells me. He doesn’t need my ears. What He needs is a listening heart and a renewed mind. – Charles Stanley

• Through the use of our conscience.

The conscience is one of the Holy Spirit’s primary tools through which He communicates with believers. Don’t ignore the warnings and promptings of the conscience. To do so is to run the risk of missing God. – Charles Stanley

The conscience is an inner voice of God (Ro. 2:14,15). Conscience may be smothered and silenced – even seared or burned – but it cannot be escaped. – Jack Hayford

• Through prophetic words (Scripture, other Christians, preaching)

Real devotion to Him is having a consistent Bible reading plan and getting regular teaching. - R. T. Kendall

The Lord still speaks to people through the prophetic prompting of the Spirit. Prophetic utterance, while not equated with Scripture, must be supported by Scripture. - Hayford

p) The Holy Spirit places people (Acts 20:28)

q) The Holy Spirit gives spiritual (grace) gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-11)

A spiritual gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work in and through a person’s life for the common good of the body of Christ. – Henry Blackaby

r) The Holy Spirit anoints and equips people for tasks (Is. 61:1-3)

s) The Holy Spirit personifies truth (John 14:17; 15:13

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth. He guides believers into truth and according to what is true. That makes Him a trustworthy guide. The Holy Spirit helps believers discern between what is true and what is not; what is wise and what is foolish; what is best and what is simply OK. – Charles Stanley

The mystery of God’s inner promptings: a few examples . . .

1. In times of loneliness and desperation, the Spirit prompts hope and encouragement (1 Kings 19).

There are times in my life when the Lord’s promptings have been just as real to me as Elijah’s experience, when in difficult situations, the Lord whispers to my spirit, I have everything under control. Trust Me. Depend on Me. Wait patiently for Me to work.

2. In times of threatening fears, the Spirit prompts calm determination and courage (Acts 20:22-24).

3. In times of sorrow and pain, the Spirit prompts inner reassurance and ministers grace to us (2 Cor. 12:7-8).

Sources Used: Experiencing God Together by Henry and Melvin Blackaby, The Holy Spirit by Billy Graham, His Intimate Presence by Bill Bright, Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, Manifest Presence by Jack Hayford, The Spirit-Formed Life by Jack Hayford, Sensitivity to the Spirit by R. T. Kendall, Hearing God by Peter Lord, The Sacred Anointing by Tony Sargent, The Wonderful, Spirit-Filled Life by Charles Stanley, Baptism and Fullness by John Stott, Flying Closer to the Flame by Charles Swindoll, Echoes from Eden by A. W. Tozer

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