What Jesus Taught on Living in the Spirit

Continuing the series on the ministry of the Spirit during the life of Jesus and the teachings of Jesus about the Spirit, this post will focus on what Jesus taught about living in the Spirit. Having concluded the portion on the ministry of the Spirit, we introduced this section last time by looking at what the Gospel writers included in their books on this important subject. Throughout the Gospels, we see a number of references that Jesus makes to the Spirit and His coming. He presents a number of teachings on the Spirit, but the main one is how a person is to live in the Spirit. Through that dependence on the Spirit, we are able to worship, minister, and follow God in the Spirit. By living, we are to depend on the Spirit. In a culture where our independence is celebrated, Christianity stands apart. It calls for one to live a life of dependence on God. In fact, we boast in how much we need Jesus. 

In our own lives, think today of how is independence showing up. What are ways that you can depend on the Spirit. Ask God for wisdom to show you those areas.


 

Christ’s statement in Luke 11:13 to His disciples “How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him,” shows not only had the disciples not asked for the Spirit, but characterizes a forward step in the progressive relationship of the Spirit with men during the Gospel period.[1] The disciples were now granted this privilege of asking for the Spirit. Jesus prayed to the Father that “the Spirit Who was then with them might be in them and abide. He then breathed on them and they received the indwelling Spirit; yet they were commanded not to depart out of Jerusalem. No service could be undertaken and no ministry performed until the Spirit had come upon them for power.”[2] In the confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus in Matthew 12:25-32, Jesus condemned the Pharisees and warns them that “anyone who speaks (blasphemes) against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (v. 32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10) gives evidence of what He had just done was done by the power of the Holy Spirit.[3] This blasphemy refers to people who become enemies of God (Isa 63:10). The awful sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, attributing the work of the Holy Spirit to Satan, has no forgiveness. Failing to recognize the Spirit at work in Jesus’ ministry is to therefore considered to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.[4]

Jesus Himself is the bearer of the Spirit.[5] Being baptized with the Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19; Luke 24:48-49) identifies the believer with God and clothes them with power from God to preach and teach to all nations. Jesus had told the disciples that the Holy Spirit “will be in you” (John 14:17) and adds in John 16:12-15 a great and momentous truth that the indwelling “Spirit of truth” will guide them and lead them into a “measureless ministry” that will glorify Jesus.[6] The Spirit bears “witness” of Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:14) and reveals God’s will and truth to the Christian. As God breathed life into Adam (Gen 2:7), so Jesus “breathed” on the disciples, imparting the Spirit upon them (John 20-22-23). This indicated that they were being prepared and empowered (Acts 1:4-5; 2:1-4) for the new movement they will lead.[7] Jesus also taught that the disciples (and believers) should not worry about what to say, specifically when on trial, because the Spirit would give them the words to say “for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit” (Matt 10:20; Mark 13:11).

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, He that is Spiritual, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1918), 11.

[2] Ibid, 12.

[3] Erickson, Christian Theology, 793-795.

[4] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts.”

[5] D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 301.

[6] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 223.

[7] E. A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, eds. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985), 343.

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