The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit
Dear folks, lets continue with this very exciting message of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit [Part 2]. Remember the Matthew Henry Commentary on page 2014; Christ promises the disciples the great and unspeakable blessing of a Comforter to them [John 14v16+17]. This is the great New Testament promise of Acts 1v4, as that of the Messiah was of the Old Testament; a promise adapted to the present distress of the disciples, who were in sorrow and needed a comforter. The blessing promised [Greek= allon paraklèton] is a word used only here in the discourses of Christ], where in 1John2v1 it is translated as ‘an advocate’. In Acts 9v31 it speaks of the ‘comfort of the Holy Ghost’ [Greek= paraklèsis tou hagiou pneumatos]. The office of the Spirit was and still is today, to be Christ’s advocate with them [disciples], and others, to plead his[Christ’s] cause, and take care of His concerns here on earth. In other words, the Holy Spirit [in the absence of Jesus bodily on the earth] will be operating on behalf of Christ, in and through the disciples. This applies to us today as well, because on the day of Pentecost, Peter addressing the crowds said this: ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [Acts 2v38] .
And Peter continues to say in the following verse, ‘For the promise is unto you, and unto your children, and to all who are afar off [v39]’. Peter preached exactly that which the prophet Joel prophesied about [Joel 2v28+29] under the unction of the HOLY SPIRIT several hundred years earlier. What more do you need as proof that the HOLY SPIRIT has come as promised by Jesus to his disciples. HALLELUJAH…PRAISE GOD!!
Now, there is a school out there, that is teaching their followers; that the outpouring of the Spirit was only for the first century church and that it stopped there. But I ask the question; why would God the Father go to so much trouble by informing us by way of scripture concerning the Spirit? Why did God allow the writing of these books of the New Testament concerning the Holy Spirit; and the out pouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and on who- so-ever would desire to receive Him? Why did Jesus himself make this promise of a Comforter who will be with us always? See what the following scriptures have to say about the promise of the SPIRIT, and His ministry to the church. [Acts 1v1-6, Acts2, Acts4, Acts5].
How can the disciples of Jesus, and even the Church of Jesus Christ these past 2005 years have done all those miracles, signs and wonders, prophesied, be bold, be persecuted and so much more, if the HOLY SPIRIT was not operating in their lives? How could Stephen stand and be stoned to death, [and being full of the Holy Ghost, beheld the glory of God - Acts 7V55+56] if it was not for the anointing of the Holy Spirit operating in his life? Can one still doubt that the promise is: ‘unto you, and unto your children, and unto them that are afar off.’
Lets slow down and see what Matthew Henry says about the Book of Acts. Otherwise known as the Acts of the Apostles, which with all probability was written by Luke the Evangelist. On page 2061 it states that it is the history of the apostles, and yet in it is the history of Stephen, Barnabas, and some other apostolical men. Who, although not of the twelve [disciples], were endued with the same Spirit, and employed in the same work; and, of those that were apostles, it is the history of Peter and Paul. Peter the apostle of the circumcision, and Paul the apostle of the Gentiles [Gal 2v7+8].
In other words saints of God: what was promised then to the disciples is also applicable to the child of God today. God the Father through His Son, kept the promise that He made over 2000 years ago. The promised Holy Spirit that was active then, is the same Spirit that is working in the heart and life of the child of God today.
And He [Spirit] will continue to work in the life of the child of God right until the Second Coming Of Jesus Christ. This great promise is found in John 14v16+17, ‘and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener] that He may abide with you for ever [v16], The Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you [v17]. This is the promise made by Jesus to the disciples, and to us for that matter, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ [Hebrews 13v8], that the Spirit of the Lord will always be with us.
The ministry of the Spirit is also to introduce the sinner to Jesus the Savior; when that hungry seeking soul comes for salvation. The Spirit convicts the sinner of their sin, and the need of a Redeemer. John 16v8-11 says it so well, and when He [Spirit] is come, He will reprove the word of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment [v8]; of sin, because they believe not on me [v9]; of righteousness because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more [v10]; of judgment because the prince [Satan] of this world is judged [v11].
Lets for a moment see what Matthew Henry has to say about the departure of Jesus to the Father, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. On page 2022, we find that Christ’s departure was absolutely necessary to the Comforters coming [John16v7]; ‘it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you’.
This was a strange doctrine to the disciples and they were in sorrow [Grieving, sadness, mourning]. But Christ showed them it was to their advantage [expedient] that He go-eth away. And though they did not understand fully what He meant then, the disciples later learnt how important it was for Christ to return to the Father. Firstly, it was settled in the divine counsels concerning this matter. Secondly, it was congruous enough that the ‘ambassador extraordinary’ [Jesus], should be recalled [to heaven], before the envoy [Spirit] come, and is to constantly reside. Thirdly, the sending of the Spirit was to be the fruit of Christ’s purchase; and that purchase was to be made by His death, which was His going away. Fourthly, it was to be an answer to His intercession within the veil [John 14v16]. Thus must this gift be both paid for, and prayed for, by our Lord Jesus, that we might learn to put the greater value on it. Fifthly, the great argument the Spirit was to use in convincing the world; must be Christ’s ascension into heaven, and His welcome here. See verse 10, and [John7v39]. Lastly, the disciples must be weaned from His bodily presence, which they were to apt to dote on; before they were duly prepared to receive the spiritual aids and comforts of a new dispensation.
OK, that is something you can chew on what Matthew Henry is saying to us. Do you get the message church, what God the Father is saying; how important it is for us to receive this ‘great promise and blessing’ known as Comforter, Helper, Intercessor and Advocate.
As I mentioned earlier in the message, that the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts us of our sin, and draws us to the Redeemer of the world. I recall some 20 years ago, it was the Holy Spirit who convicted me of my backslidden state, and drew me into the arms of my Savior. What a day that was! I’ll never forget it because you see, I had as a young teenager, come to know Jesus as my Savior. But as always the devil comes with his lies and deceit, and before I knew it, I had made some wrong choices. For ten years I served another master [with regret]. I got married to the wrong woman, [She was not God’s choice for my life] had two children [daughters] who now have made me a granddad [a very proud grandpa]. Through ten years of marriage I still had a yearning in my heart to serve God. It was in April of 1985 that I found myself in a service with my first wife. That evening God the Holy Spirit got a hold of my life, and that night I decided I was going to serve the Lord Jesus. Well! It cost me my marriage, my house, separation from my two little girls. That my friend; is heart- breaking stuff.
My ex-wife tried everything to keep me from my kids, but I fought her all the way [not physically]. By the grace of God, and with lots of determination to have a relationship with my girls, I today have a wonderful relationship with my girls; and am a proud grandpa to their kids. But let me assure you it hasn’t been an easy road. I also have stumbled; and have sinned. I have not always been obedient to the voice of God. I have bumped my head countless times. But you know! God is still busy with me. I’m still in the oven and God is still cooking on me. And one of these days, He is going to open the oven door and pull me out and say; ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant [Matthew 25v21].
You see saints, everything that the enemy stole; God the Father by the office of the Holy Spirit gave me back everything and more that which the devil stole from me. Isn’t God a good God?
Now! would that not make you want to serve the Lord even more?
But hold on there; don’t think for one moment everything is all roses and candy. Far from it! What I have learnt, is to lean on the strength of the Spirit, not on the arm of the flesh. The Spirit is teaching me, guiding and leading me each day, instructing me to operate in the fruits of the Spirit. All this comes down to you and I dying to the [sinful] things of the flesh. Allowing the Spirit to convict us, and reprimand us of sinful things in our lives. Allowing the Spirit to take control of our tongue, our mind, and our thoughts.
Turn to 1Peter 5v6-11, and see what the apostle Peter has to say about our adversary [Satan, Lucifer], who will relentlessly pursue you as a roaring lion, hungry, fierce, strong and cruel, the fierce and greedy pursuer of our souls. The design of Satan in raising persecutions against the faithful servants of God; is to bring them to apostasy, by reason of their sufferings, and so to destroy their souls.
Listen to our friend Matthew Henry as he encourages us. ‘Sobriety and watchfulness are necessary virtues at all times, but especially in times of suffering and persecution. You must moderate your affection to worldly things, or else Satan will soon overcome you. If you would overcome Satan, as a tempter, an accuser, or a persecutor, you must resist him steadfast in the faith; if your faith give way you are gone; therefore above all take the shield of faith [Ephesians 6v16]’.
Saints, the only way to conquer Satan [apart from the blood of the lamb], is when you put on the whole armor of God so that you may overcome [Ephesians 6v 17+18]. Can you see that it all comes back to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, operating in strength, and power, and the anointing in the life of the child of God? PRAISE THE LORD!!!
Ok folks, concluding this message for today; I want to say that I believe it has given us a deeper understanding, and also an appreciation of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. I trust that you have learnt much. Let me encourage you to die to the sins of the flesh, so you can be reborn in the Spirit. As we have only scratched the surface of this exciting subject, I will trust the Lord, and seek His permission to continue this message. So till next time, enjoy the fellowship that we experience every day, knowing that we have a Comforter to call on.
Blessing in Christ Jesus.
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