THE HOLY SPIRIT'S MINISTRIES TO THE BELIEVER
COMFORT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Lord told the disciples, "But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and
bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto you." Jo.
The term comforter is Strong's 3875, which is the term "parakletos,"
means "an intercessor, counselor". (Strong) The term is only used of the
Spirit in the gospel of John and once in I Jo. 2:1 were it speaks of Christ
as the "advocate".
The Spirit comforts the believer in a number of ways:
1. When we are in tribulation. II Cor. 1:4 mentions, "Who comforteth
us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are
in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of
God." This mentions God but the Holy Spirit is named the comforter in four
texts (John 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7) so this probably speaks of the Spirit.
How do you comfort someone that is in tribulation. Hurt with them, encourage
them, remind them that the Lord is able etc. This is what the Spirit can
do for us if we allow Him to.
This text also gives reason for some of our many and varied tribulations.
They are sent our way so that we will have the ability to relate to others
that come along during our lives that have need of our comfort and help.
Is it any wonder a person going into the ministry has so many trials and
tribulations? No, they are being prepared.
2. When we are cast down. II Cor. 7:6, "Nevertheless God, who comforteth
those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;" The text
is likening the comfort to the comfort that comes when a friend arrives
on the scene. Not only should the Spirit be a welcome comfort for us, He
should be our friend.
3. When we have need of His ministry. This would come from the Word
as He guides us to texts and helps us to understand the ideas set forth.
It is also accomplished through the communion of the Spirit that we will
see. He will encourage us as we pray and He can guide our thoughts along
the proper directions.
He also encourages us and comforts us as He directs other believers
to us for those purposes. This is an indirect work of the Spirit.
TEACHING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
John 14:26 mentions that the Spirit will bring things to the remembrance
of the disciples. This specifically was to the disciples concerning the
revelation that they would record in the future. "But the Comforter, who
is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach
you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have
said unto you." The last phrase is what requires us to limit this specific
promise to those that had heard Christ in person.
The previous text may have been for the disciples however I Cor. 2:9-10
indicates that the Spirit reveals things to us that we could not know otherwise.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered
into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that
love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit
searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
This should point up to us one very glowing fact. The education level
of a person does not relate to the spiritual understanding of the person.
The better the education of the believer the better his understanding will
be if he is truly walking with God. That is understanding in the detail
and knowledge of the specifics of the Word. The uneducated can find, at
times, deeper depth in their spiritual walk than the educated, due to their
desire to know God rather than know about God.
The key is being born again. If you consider the great liberal theologians
and all their education. Education has done nothing for their understanding
of the Word of God. They are not born again and do not have the Holy Spirit
within them to teach them the spiritual truths. This is why they are off
in all sorts of areas of falsehood.
I Jo. 2:27 is a statement, not that the believer needs no human teachers, but is to let the believers John was writing to know that the truth of the preceding statements would be made evident to them through the Spirit. If the text were teaching that there were no need for human teachers then we would not need Bible Institutes, colleges and seminaries, nor teachers at those
institutions of learning. We would not need teachers in our Sunday Schools
and churches. Teachers ARE needed.
The idea of no human teachers is not Biblically acceptable because the
gift of teaching was given so that some might impart knowledge to others
(Eph. 4:11). If there were no need of human teachers there would be no
need for a gift of teaching. (II Tim 2:2 also)
I Jo. 2:20 speaks of the anointing of verse 27. "But ye have an unction
from the Holy One, and ye know all things." We do have a teacher and instructor
in residence! We need to acknowledge and listen to that teacher.
Our physical teachers can teach nothing unless we are receptive to what
they teach, likewise with the heavenly instructor that we have; If we aren't
open to His teaching then we will not learn. (See also Jo. 15:26 which
mentions that the Spirit would testify of the Lord, and Jo. 16:12-15 which
tells us that the Spirit would guide the apostles into all truth. This
was to give them the information that they were to preach and teach to
the church and relay in the revealed word.)
There is one other area in which the Spirit can teach us. The Spirit
has imparted a spiritual gift of teaching for some to use in the ministry
of the Word. Anyone ministering the Word with the gift of teaching is in
a sense being taught by the Spirit and teaching others via the Spirit.
Equally true is the fact that a Spirit filled person teaching the Word
is sharing information to the believer via the Spirit's directions. This
would not necessitate the gift of teaching.
Spirit filled and gifted writers have opportunity as well. They minister
to us, and the Spirit ministers indirectly through them.
PRAYING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We do not know just how the Spirit is involved in our prayer life yet
the scripture is plain that He is. The Spirit is involved in two ways in
our prayer life.
1. He is in the business of guiding our prayer life as we allow Him
control. There are times when you are very burdened for someone, and you
just take time to pray for them. This has happened to me a time or two.
I may have shared this illustration in an earlier study. A few years
ago I was studying and suddenly a couple in our church popped into my mind.
They were not well known to us for we had never really gotten together.
They were the picture of health. I just had a burden to pray for them at
that moment. I had no idea what to pray so kept it general - that the Lord
would meet all the needs of their life at that point in time. Two days
later I received news that the man had died of a heart attach and his wife
was being told at about the same time that I had been praying for them.
Only the Spirit of the Lord could prompt such things. At times He may
burden you to pray on a continuing basis for a person. There are times
when I am burdened for a specific missionary or problem, and will pray
for it for a long time. Usually I pray until I know that the problem is
resolved or until another missionary becomes the focus of my prayers.
Eph. 6:18 mentions that we are to pray in the Spirit. This would indicate
that we are to be directed by the Spirit in our prayer life.
2. The Spirit assists us in our prayers at times. Rom. 8:26, "Likewise,
the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray
for as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with
groanings which cannot be uttered." Now, I'm not sure what all this verse
means but I would like to challenge you with a humorous, but serious interpretation
of this verse.
We do not know how to pray as we ought and the Spirt intercedes for
us. May we apply this to the prayer of the saint that absolutely knows
that he needs a new Corvette? And what would the Spirit do upon hearing
such a request. Yes, GROAN! No, this is not the meaning of the verse necessarily,
yet I'm not so sure that the first part isn't partially true.
At times we do not pray as we ought for we are asking amiss as the book
of James tells us (James 4:3). When we are asking amiss, I feel that the
Spirit is interpreting, or converting our message into something usable
for the Father.
In computers there are different languages used. Some computers can
use programs that translate or convert information from another computer
and use it. The conversion makes the information meaningful to the receiving
computer. It seems that the Spirit translates things into language that
the Lord can understand.
A prayer such as, "Oh, Lord I need a new car." can be translated a number
of ways, and the Spirit interprets the statement correctly in light of
the situation and God's will?
The term infirmity may show forth our very basic lack as believers,
and that lack is our prayer life. We need help in that area of our spiritual
life to say the least.
This verse also is a part of the basis for the idea that the Spirit
leads us in our prayers, that is, to the areas in which He desires we pray.
These areas might be those things that we don't know about, or those things
that we wouldn't think of on our own.
Verse 27 of Rom. 8 is also of interest to our thoughts. "And he that
searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he
maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." God knows
the heart of man because the Spirit is making intercession for us ACCORDING
TO THE WILL OF GOD!
LEADING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The leading of the Spirit is not just a New Testament occurrence. There
were people that were led in the Old Testament.
In the account of the servant seeking a bride for Isaac, we see this.
Gen. 24:27, "...I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my
master's brethren." The prophets also mention that they were lead of the
Lord to speak and act.
The New Testament is bold in its statement that the Spirit does lead.
Indeed, the Spirit lead's every believer that will allow Him to lead. Rom.
8:14, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of
Galatians declares that those that are led of the Spirit are not under
the law. Since we know that the church age saint is not under the law,
then all believers must be led by the Spirit. "But if ye be led by the
Spirit, ye are not under the law."
There are some things that the Spirit will not do as He leads the believer.
He will never contradict the revealed Word of God. He will never add to
the Word of God. In essence, the Word is our guide in many many areas.
It was of interest to me in 1992 someone predicted the rapture was going
to occur on October 28. Naturally it did not occur. The news reports mentioned
that many had quit their jobs, some sold their houses and some women had
abortions. Now, if God really was leading in the setting of the date of
the Rapture, why would he lead people to sell homes and quite jobs. The
evidence demands that there was little leading of the Spirit in these lives.
The abortions really bother me. Abortion is the killing of children. How
could a believer rationalize it is better to kill a baby than to be carrying
a child at the time of the rapture? Logic is lacking!
There are some things that the Spirit will do when He is leading. He
will lead and guide in areas that the Word does not cover such as geographical
area of ministry. He will encourage and stimulate toward the Word and it's
clear commands of living and instruction.
The leading of the Spirit is very much determined by our proximity to
the Lord. In other words if we aren't filled with the Spirit then we cannot
really look for guidance from Him.
It is like a car moving down the street. As long as the driver is in
the drivers seat and directing the car he can lead or direct that car as
he desires, however if he crawls into the back seat and releases the wheel
the car is not directed in any sense by the ex-driver.
Please take time to read Acts 16:6-10. Paul was sensitive to the Spirit's
leading and was directed to the places of witness that were on God's mind.
It should be remembered also that all of the places Paul went were also
due to the leading of the Spirit. The Spirit may use different methods
of leading in different situations.
Paul was headed to different destinations and the Lord intervened in
a real sense in this text, yet He at times just placed some towns on Paul's
mind and gave him a burden for them. The Spirit does not always use the
dramatic methods of leading, or He may, it is His choice.
You may find that the Lord will be very dramatic in some leading. If
you lose your job then you may assume that the Lord is leading you to something
new. At other times you will only have a burden in your life to do a certain
thing and the Lord will give you continuing peace as you press forward
in that direction.
Acts 13:4 in speaking of the first missionary journey mentions that
Saul and Barnabas were sent forth by the Holy Spirit. Earlier in the text
the Spirit is active in bringing this about. Please read Acts 13:1-4. A
BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD LEADING AND GUIDING IN THE SENDING
(Some Miscellaneous texts: Acts 8:29 mentions that the Spirit told Philip
to go; Acts 10:19-20 records the account of Peter being sent to the house
of Cornelius; Acts 20:22,23 shows that the Spirit was leading Paul to Jerusalem.)
COMMUNION WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
II Cor. 13:14 states, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love
of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen." The
term communion is of interest to us especially since it is between the
Spirit and ourselves. This is the Greek term koinonia or fellowship. How
can the Spirit and the believer have fellowship? Good sermon material for
you to develop! At the very least we can know that we can.
FUTURE OF THE SPIRIT
Walvoord has a lengthy discussion of this on pp 227-234. We will only
touch on the subject today.
In the Tribulation:
Rev. 7:14 mentions that many will be saved during the Tribulation period.
It is assumed that the Spirit will be the agent of regeneration as He has
been in the church age. "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he
said to me, These are they who came out of the great tribulation, and have
washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
We are not told that He will indwell the saints as He did in the Church
age. We might assume that He will, based on the line of thinking that has
been presented in previous lessons. If He did not indwell in the Old Testament,
because of the lack of regeneration, but does indwell in the New Testament
because regeneration is completed, then we might assume that the Tribulation
saint will also be indwelt. All Tribulation saints and new Millennial saints
will be regenerated as were the New Testament saints. It is logical that
they will be indwelt.
The aspect of the Spirits ministry to the lost world may be missing
after the Church age however. His conviction that was mentioned in John
(16:7-11) will probably not be in effect. Thessalonians (II Thess. 2:5-12)
indicates that His special presence will be removed at the rapture.
The tribulation saints will be martyred from the looks of the book of
Revelation so they may die shortly after salvation. If they die then this
question may be irrelevant.
There are prophecies of the Spirit being poured out upon the Jews in
the end times so the Spirit will be active on earth in some manner. (Joel
2; Zech. 12:10, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the
inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications; and
they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for
him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him,
as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.")
The following texts will show that there is an indwelling of some sort
in the kingdom age. Whether it is the same indwelling of the church age
or not we aren't told.
During the Millennial kingdom there will be an indwelling of the Spirit
that seems to be a general indwelling. Ezek. 36:27, "And I will put my
Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep
mine ordinances, and do them." verse 26 also relates.
The Spirit will be upon the Lord during His reign in the kingdom. Isa.
11:2-3, "And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of
wisdom, and understanding,...."
We, the Church age believers, will be in heaven during the tribulation
and reigning with Christ in the Millennial kingdom. The saints of the Tribulation
will probably be with us as well. The Kingdom saints will live throughout
the kingdom age, unless they are unnaturally killed. In these cases, we
are not told of their determination. Some feel that they will be at the
Great White Throne, and others feel that they will be raised at the end
of the kingdom.
Since Christ is going to be there on earth, and since we know He has
power over death, He may raise them from the dead on the spot. We just
are not told.
If you hurt - He comforts you.
If you need knowledge of the Word - He gives it.
If you need to know where to go - He leads.
What more do we need?
Some believers need much more. I knew a man that knew that he was living
in sin, he knew that the Lord was caring for him, he knew that the Lord
wanted him to change his lifestyle, yet, he was confused and didn't know
what to do. He knew what to do, he just didn't want to do it. HE NEEDED
TO GET OUT OF SIN.
God has perfectly equipped us for something. What? The work of the Lord!
He equipped us with a Leader to guide us to our place in the church ministry,
a Teacher to help us understand the Word, and a Comforter in case we hit
We have it all, yet we want more - all that the World system can offer.
It doesn't compute. We should be satisfied with His provision! His provision
of Himself to draw us, to save us, to indwell us, to comfort us, to teach
us, to lead us, etc.