In preparation for the next leg of our journey into the Land of Revelation Knowledge, we have visited the first four of the five information booths located here at the Welcome Center of the Word. During these visits, we have:
- Been introduced briefly to the Bible—and learned a little about what it is and what it isn’t;
- Been made aware of, and hopefully eliminated some of, the baggage that each of us has brought along on this trip;
- Been shown the boundaries , or the limitations placed upon, the knowledge that will be made available to us in the land up ahead; and,
- Examined our spiritual vision to be sure that it is functioning properly; thus, making it possible for us to see the Bible in some brand new ways.
Having completed all of this, we now find ourselves at Booth #5—the place where we will be introduced to the real Guide on this, our rocking and rolling tour through the Bible.
This Guide is none other than the Holy Spirit Himself and, although we have learned a little something about Him at each of the previous booths, we must become more intimately acquainted with Him and His ministry, if we are going to stay focused and stay together throughout the remainder of this trip. And, the way in which we will do this is by taking a closer look at Him and…
- His Person—by asking Who is He?
- His Position—by asking What does He do?
- His Power—by asking How does He do it? and,
- His Presence—by asking How does He relate this to each one of us?
Our Guide—the Holy Spirit…
His Person: Who is He?
While some people have mistakenly thought of the Holy Spirit as just an emanation of God’s power, or some impersonal spiritual force from God, in reality, He is a Person—the equal, yet distinctive third Person of the Godhead, or Trinity. This Trinity is actually a community made up of God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit—three separate and unique Persons who are united in purpose, with each one working together to bring about the achievement of that purpose. As a member of this Godhead, the Holy Spirit is every bit as divine as God the Father and God the Son; meaning that He shares in the very same divine attributes which they possess. Like them, He is:
- Omniscient—that is, He is all-knowing (1 Cor. 2: 10-11);
- Omnipresent—that is, He is everywhere present, all at the same time (Ps. 139: 7-10; John 14: 26; John 16: 12-13);
- Omnipotent—that is, He is all-powerful (Luke 1:35);
- Eternal—that is, He is, always has been, and will forever be alive (Heb. 9:14); and,
- Holy—that is, He is pure and totally separate from sin (Rom. 1:4).
Even though He is singular in His Person, the Holy Spirit is known by a number of different names—for at least twenty-five of them are found throughout the Old and New Testaments; with these names giving us some much needed insight into His Person, and into His ministry. The names by which He is known are:
- The Spirit—which is translated as “breath” or “wind.” As breath, He is the “breathing out” of God Who imparts new life (Gen. 2:7, Ps. 104:30), and Who gives divine inspiration to the Word of God (Heb. 4:12); and, as wind, He is invisible and sovereign; and beyond human understanding or control (John 3:6-8).
- The Spirit of God (1 Cor. 3:16), the Spirit of Jehovah (Is. 11:2 1 Cor. 12:11), the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah (Is. 61:1-3), and the Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor. 3:6)—in His relationship to God the Father;
- The Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:6,9), and the Spirit of His Son (Gal.4:6)—in His relationship to God the Son;
- The Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), the Holy Spirit of Promise (Eph. 1:13), the Spirit of Holiness (Rom. 1:4), the Spirit of Judgment (Is. 4:4), the Spirit of Burning (Is. 4:3-4); and the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13);
- The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding (Is. 11:2, 2 Tm. 1:7), the Spirit of Counsel and Might (Acts 1:8, 8:29 16:6-7), the Spirit of Knowledge and the Fear of the Lord (Is. 11:2), and the Spirit of Life (Rom. 8:2);
- The Holy Spirit of Joy (1 Thes. 1:6), the Spirit of Grace (Heb. 10:29), the Spirit of Supplication Zech. 12:10), and the Spirit of Glory (1 Pet. 4:14);
- The Eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14)—all in regards to Himself; and,
- The Comforter (John 14:26). As the Comforter, He is also known as the “Paraclete” (Gk. Paraklētos), or as the “one who is called alongside” of the believer for assistance.
His Position: What does He do?
Because He is a Person, the Holy Spirit does the things that any other personal being does: He thinks (Rom. 8:27), He feels (Rom. 15:30), He wills (1 Cor. 12:11)—and He acts, with some of His actions being described for us in:
- 1 Corinthians 2:10, where the Holy Spirit searches the thoughts and the deep things of God;
- Acts 8:29 and Acts 13:2, where the Holy Spirit speaks;
- Acts 15:28, where the Holy Spirit makes decisions;
- Romans 8:26-27, where the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us before God;
- John 15:26 and John 16:14, where the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus;
- John 14:26 and 1 Corinthians 2:13, where the Holy Spirit teaches us;
- Romans 8:16, where the Holy Spirit reassures believers of their salvation;
- 1 Corinthians 12:11, where the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to believers;
- Ephesians 4:30, where the Holy Spirit grieves over sin; and,
- Acts 16: 6-7, where the Holy Spirit overrules human plans.
His Power: How Does He Do It?
Although no one has ever been able to adequately explain the Trinity, one thing that seems to be apparent about it is that:
- God the Father is the One who wills and plans;
- God the Son is the One who does the Father’s will and carries out His plans; and,
- God the Holy Spirit is the One who provides the power (Gk. Dunamis, or dynamic power) needed to apply the work done by the Son.
In other words, the role of the Holy Spirit is to see that the will of the Father and the work of the Son are carried out to completion.
Although we cannot actually see the Spirit’s power as He is working, we can see the evidences of that power, not only throughout the Scriptures but throughout our world, as well. Even as He, in Genesis 1:2, was busy hovering over the darkness and chaos preceding the first coming of life—waiting in anticipation for the Word of God to be spoken so that He could perform or empower that Word into reality—He is constantly, yet invisibly, at work, bringing light and life to those who are living in darkness. For, from the creation of the world until now, the power of the Holy Spirit has been at work: convicting men of their sins; performing miracles; inspiring the prophets and the preachers; protecting God’s people; maintaining life as we know it on this planet; and most importantly, magnifying Jesus, and shining the light of God upon the Truth.
Speaking of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit was also clearly seen in every aspect of His life, including His incarnation; His anointing for ministry at His baptism; His ministry to His disciples and to the crowds which followed Him; His transfiguration; His sacrificial death on the cross; His resurrection; and, the empowerment of Jesus’ disciples on the Day of Pentecost.
His Presence: How does He apply the will of God and the work of Christ to us?
Since it was the will of God that:
- No one should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 2:9);
- We believe on the One (Jesus) whom He has sent (John 6:29);
- We be sanctified, or made like Jesus, and be set apart for the His holy purposes (1 Thes. 4:3);
It became the work of the Son to:
- Provide the redemption and forgiveness of sins needed to save us from perishing (Eph. 1:5-7);
- Be sent to earth, to live a sinless and righteous life before men, to die an agonizing death on the cross in order to make atonement for the sins of all men, and to overcome death through His own resurrection; and,
- Go back to the Father, and ask that the Holy Spirit be sent to apply the work that He had accomplished.
As for the way in which the Holy Spirit applies both the will of God and the work of the Son in our lives, He does this through the on-going work of His Eternal, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Holy Presence, as He:
- Convinces of us of our sins, the righteousness of Christ, and the judgment waiting for us in the future (John 16:8-11)—so that we can be brought to repentance;
- Regenerates, or brings back to life, our long dead spirits, thus reconnecting our spirits with God’s (Titus 3:4-7);
- Comes to live within us—writing the laws of God upon our hearts, and teaching us to live lives that are pleasing to God—reproducing the very character of Christ in us as a result (James 4:5, Heb. 10:16, Gal. 6:22-23);
- Baptizes us and places us into the Body of Christ, giving us gifts of service, and then empowering us to use those gifts to carry on the work of the Son (1 Cor. 12:4-11, 1 Pet. 4:10); and,
- Guarantees our inheritance by His seal, until we can take possession of it ourselves when we get to Glory, (Eph. 1:13).
As you can see, the Holy Spirit is a very busy and a very important Person in our lives; for, in the plan of God, it is His work to birth us as the spiritual children of God, and then, to help us mature into sons and daughters of God who can carry on the work of Christ in this world, and prepare us for His coming Kingdom in the next.
So what does all of this mean for us, as we prepare ourselves for our upcoming study of God’s Word? It means that the Holy Spirit will be with us every step of the way, leading and guiding us into all Truth, and revealing God to us in ways we never thought possible. For us to stay on track, though, and not get lost by wandering off in a lot of different directions, we need to be sure that we are always connected to Him through His SPS—or His Spirit’s Positioning System. It’s a very simple system, really, and one that each of us can easily operate; for all we have to do to stay connected is to:
- Pray for wisdom, because…”If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to you (James 1:5)”; and,
- Submit all study to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, because…”When the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:13-15)”.
Instead of the musical selection I usually include at this point, here is a little video that I put together to summarize what we have learned so far while here at the Welcome Center of the Word. Once you have viewed it, and in anticipation of any questions or comments you may have, I think that this may be a good place for me to hold up my sign saying, “Now what did you hear me say?”