The Power of the Holy Spirit
And when he has come, he will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement; of sin, because they do not believe in me; of righteousness because I go to my Father and you see me no more; of judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged.(John 16:8-11)
The Holy Spirit is the Person who imparts to believers the power that “belongs to God.”(Psalm 62:11) The Holy Spirit’s work in believers is to take what belongs to God and make it theirs. All the manifold power of God belongs to the children of God as their birthright in Christ: “For all things are yours”(1 Corinthians 3:21). But all that belongs to believers as their birthright in Christ becomes theirs in actual possession through the Holy Spirit’s work in them as individuals.
We obtain the fullness of power that God has provided fo us in Christ to the same extent that we understand and claim the Holy Spirit’s work for ourselves. Many in the church claim for the,selves only a small part of what God has made possible for them in Christ because they know so little of what the Holy Spirit can do-and longs to do- for us.
As Jesus introduces the disciples and us to the Holy Spirit, He uses the words gift and promise. In Luke we find Him comparing this gift to the gifts that a human father would give.
11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you, then, being evil [that is, sinful by nature], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”
Often when we read the preceding words in which we are instructed to ask, seek, and knock, we interpret them as though whatever we ask, we get; whatever we seek, we find;and whenever we knock, the door will be open. Yet we know that God doesn’t give us everything we ask for, we do not always find exactly what we seek for and not every door we knock on opens for us. How then can we make these verses make sense. The summation of Jesus is that the Father gives to us the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit exceeds God merely meeting an immediate need in our lives for there are times when we don’t know how to ask and Paul tells us in Romans that when we are in that situation, the Holy Spirit asks the Father on our behalf.
In the same way the Spirit [comes to us and] helps us in our weakness. We do not know what prayer to offer or how to offer it as we should, but the Spirit Himself [knows our need and at the right time] intercedes on our behalf with sighs and groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because the Spirit intercedes [before God] on behalf of God’s people in accordance with God’s will.
Quite often in my own life I have begun a request, thinking that I knew just what I needed only to have the Holy Spirit mold that initial request into something more that I had not even considered. There have been times when I simply did not have the words to speak and I have found that the Holy Spirit interprets my groans and tears and intercedes for me to the Father.
What an incredible gift we have in the Holy Spirit. Of all the things that the Father could give us, He gave us the Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is immeasurable for it is the Spirit that convicts us of sin helping us to see that we need Christ as our Savior. Most of us have had that moment when we became aware of our sinful state of being. We might have been at church or at home or in the car or some where else. Many of us had heard the gospel many times over, but there came that moment when the Holy Spirit spoke to us and we became aware of our sins. Not only does the Holy Spirit work in conviction but He works in sanctification. Sanctification is nothing more that the work of God of cleansing our hearts from sin and replacing our desires for sinful things with the delight of being with God. He works to separate us from the old way of living by showing us a new and better way.
If this were all the gift of the Holy Spirit brings it would be more than sufficient, but when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit He brings additional gifts with Him and works them in our lives. What an amazing God that would give us freely the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. What an amazing Savior who would then give to us the gift of the Holy Spirit. And what an amazing Spirit who would further give us even more gifts. We are truly the beloved children of God to be the beneficiaries of all that God has. No wonder Jesus said, “If you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give you the gift of the Holy Spirit!”
We have considered the power of the Word and the power of the blood of Jesus. When they are combined with the power of the Holy Spirit, we find that the Spirit reveals to us what the Word is saying to us. Paul writing in 1 Corinthians gives us this promise:
“but just as it is written [in Scripture], “ Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man , All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].” For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
Many when reading these verses stop with “eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man” as though we can never know what God has in store for us. If we continue to read we discover something quite different for is says, “For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the Holy Spirit.” Double wow!! Even those things which are beyond our comprehension, the Holy Spirit makes known to us. What a gift!
Without taking time for great details, we must also see that the Holy Spirit is the giver and the controller of a multitude of gifts given as He chooses to the individual child of God but for the benefit of the church to build it up and bless it.
“Now there are [distinctive] varieties of spiritual gifts [special abilities given by the grace and extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit operating in believers], but it is the same Spirit [who grants them and empowers believers]. And there are [distinctive] varieties of ministries and service, but it is the same Lord [who is served]. And there are [distinctive] ways of working [to accomplish things], but it is the same God who produces all things in all believers [inspiring, energizing, and empowering them]. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit [the spiritual illumination and the enabling of the Holy Spirit] for the common good. To one is given through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] the message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] the word of knowledge and understanding according to the same Spirit; to another [wonder-working] faith [is given] by the same [Holy] Spirit, and to another the [extraordinary] gifts of healings by the one Spirit; and to another the working of miracles, and to another prophecy [foretelling the future, speaking a new message from God to the people], and to another discernment of spirits [the ability to distinguish sound, godly doctrine from the deceptive doctrine of man-made religions and cults], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, and to another interpretation of tongues. All these things [the gifts, the achievements, the abilities, the empowering] are brought about by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, distributing to each one individually just as He chooses.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-11
So I invite you today to ask, seek, and knock so that you might be given the gift of gifts, the Holy Spirit who will bring with Him every gift that you may need.
Dr. John Thompson