The Gospel of John records many of Jesus’ last words spoken not long before his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. During this time, Jesus spoke frequently about the fact that he would be leaving his disciples but that another One just like him, the Holy Spirit, would come in his place (see John 14:15-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7). Instead of simply being with them, the Holy Spirit would live within them, filling them and empowering them to live as disciples of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a person, not just a force, power or influence. God has revealed himself as one God existing in three persons - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - equal as persons yet different in their role and ministry. We need to know each person of the Godhead in an intimate way so that the fullness of God can touch our lives.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the parakletos
, a Greek word that is very rich and complex. It essentially means “one who is called to stand alongside in order to help or assist”. In English, this name is translated into words such as Advocate, Comforter, Helper or Friend. We can’t live the Christian life by ourselves. We need the help of the Holy Spirit. We are “born again” through the Spirit (John 3:5-8). But this is just the beginning. There is now a new life to be lived “in the Spirit”. We are to be filled with the Spirit and led by the Spirit. We are to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit - His nature and character. We are to be empowered by the Spirit both to overcome the enemy and be witnesses to the life that is in Jesus Christ.The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit
The book of Acts – the first chapter records the promise of the Spirit (1:4-5, 8); the second chapter describes the descent of the Spirit, and the rest of the book the Spirit’s work in and through the church. Acts 2:1-4… When the Day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (NIV)
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his infilling the disciples’ lives was the key to their power and effectiveness in fulfilling their purpose. We see this pattern unfold throughout the book of Acts. The disciples were continually being filled with the Holy Spirit as they began to extend the Kingdom of God. All the New Testament churches were Spirit filled and the Spirit’s activity amongst God’s people included; spiritual language, prophecy, bold evangelistic outreach, healing and miracles, spiritual warfare and city impact.
The Spirit was being poured out regardless of gender, age or social status.The Empowerment of the Holy Spirit
We see that when the Holy Spirit comes upon our lives He empower us in some of the following ways: 1. He instils boldness within us
The early church disciples became bold and fearless as the Holy Spirit empowered them.
(Acts 4:13) : People who saw their courage and boldness exclaimed ‘aren’t these the unschooled, untrained men’ but they had been with Jesus…
Fear on the other hand will limit us and hinder us from fulfilling our God-given destiny.
Fear, timidity, insecurity and inferiority have to be broken. Holy Spirit desires to empower us with a fresh confidence, an assurance and a faith inside of us that we are who God says we are and we can do what He says we can do. That is why we need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit and remain under His influence so we can consistently stir up courage and confidence. (Ep 5:18).2. He activates or gives us power to use our spiritual gifts
The Holy Spirit activated the spiritual gifts in the lives of the early church disciples for effective ministry. Likewise He gives us the power and ability to do the will of God. The Greek word for “power” is dunamis and it means supernatural ability or strength. It is a power that equips us to do the works of God – to make our service effective; a power that provides grace and strength in difficult times; a power that releases gifts to help us minister to others; and a power that imparts passion, fervency and enthusiasm into our spirits.(Acts 13) Paul in Cyprus is about to speak and he is filled with the Holy Spirit and he has extraordinary power to deal with this magician on the island.
Be in that state of expectancy that God wants to release His power through your life. Be open to doing new things as the Spirit leads.3. He energises our prayer
The Holy Spirit inspired and empowered the early church disciples to pray effective prayers.
(Acts 13:2) As the church at Antioch spent time praying and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke to them about separating Paul and Barnabas to the task of mission The Holy Spirit longs to help us pray the perfect will of God in our lives too.
(Rom 8:26-28.) When we do not know how to pray the Holy Spirit becomes our helper. He knows the perfect will of God concerning your life, your future, your family, your job, your relationships. As our Helper He takes the hidden aspects, concealed aspects of the will and constructs things around us as we partner with Him in prayer which can be using your spiritual language, using the Word of God in prayer, waiting and listening intently to the Holy Spirit’s whisper and writing down what He says.
The Holy Spirit wants to give us the mind and thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:6-16); to guide us into God’s will; to help us make wise decisions; and to teach us all the things we need to know.Our Relationship to the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a person who lives within us (John 14:16-17. Romans 8:9. 2 Timothy 1:14. 1 Corinthians 6:9). We are to have fellowship with Him on a daily basis (2 Corinthians 13:14). Fellowship involves sharing, association, partnership and friendship. We are to live in the presence, company, help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit only helps us when we ask Him to. He comes to our assistance … when we call on Him. When we think we can do it by ourselves, He lets us. Surrender daily to God and allow the Holy Spirit to be your Helper. Live in dependence upon Him as your “Stronger Partner”.Discussion Questions
1. Share about the time you first heard of the “Holy Spirit.” What were your first impressions?
2. Discuss the difference between Jesus being with the disciples and the Holy Spirit living within them. Compare their life before and after the coming of the Spirit.
3. Share about a time when the Holy Spirit helped you to overcome some sort of fear.
4. Share about a time when you felt the activation of your spiritual gifts that enabled you to minister to someone effectively.
5. Share about your experience when the Holy Spirit energised your prayer through: praying in your spiritual language, waiting and receiving a Rhema word, praying the word over your circumstances.
6. What are some practical steps we can take to be more in tune and sensitive to the promptings or whispers of the Spirit on a daily basis, wherever we may be?
7. Would anyone be open to receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, if they have not yet come into the experience?Resources
Daily Devotionals To help us go deeper into the Word of God and the book of Acts over this season, our teaching team has put together daily online reflections on the book of Acts and related scriptures. These will be available on our website, Facebook and Instagram from Wednesday, 20 May, we pray that they will also be a valuable devotional resource to you.
Join Andrew Chisholm and his guests in The Conversation as they unpack each week’s message. Watch now.