A Conclusion to The Holy Spirit: His Work and Ministry in the Gospels

This post brings to an end the series on: “The Holy Spirit: His Work and Ministry in the Gospels.” As we started this series we focused our attention to how the Spirit worked in the life and ministry of Jesus. From there, we moved on to what Jesus specifically taught about the Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is vast in a believer’s life. It is one that empowers us to live, work, minister and worship. He enables us to do more things that we could ever imagine. It is a reminder that every single breath we take is a gift of our Father. The Spirit helps us in every aspect of our lives. He encourages us and will lift our prayers up to be in perfect harmony with the Father.

As we conclude this series, I posed this question earlier and will restate it: Think of the the ways you not living dependently on the Spirit. Ask God for wisdom to lead you and reveal those areas. But also ask for wisdom to start living a more dependent life on the only thing that can truly help us.


 

It is only by this Holy Spirit that Christians can conduct their ministry of witnessing to all people about Jesus. Just as the disciples received the Holy Spirit, so believers receive “power from on high” (Luke 24:49) to spread the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel writers show the Holy Spirit is the identifier in both Christ and believers, is vital for proclaiming and understanding the gospel, is given on faith in Christ, and will guide believers into all truth. His ministry to unbelievers includes conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. Luke emphasizes the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ ministry more sharply than the other Gospels; in it, Luke “reveals the reality of the Spirit’s power and presence as he is poured upon Jesus. He traces the Spirit of Christ in his public ministry: from his baptism to the cross; from his transfiguration to his resurrection; to the glorious portrait of Christ ascending into heaven.”[1] John provides evidence of the Spirit’s filling by bringing the one in whom He abides to an ever increasing understanding of the Scriptures with all their sanctifying power (John 17:17).[2]

The Gospel writers show that the Holy Spirit was involved in Jesus’ life from conception, while in the womb, in others like Simeon, Zechariah, and Elizabeth, and in His baptism. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. The Spirit empowered Jesus for His earthly ministry to preach, teach and do the miraculous signs and wonders.

The Gospels provide the reader with Jesus’ own teaching on the divine Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit empowered Jesus for ministry, Jesus taught that the Spirit will empower the believers to preach the good news to all nations and baptize them. He taught that the Counselor will guide believers into all truth and strengthen them to speak in times of trial. The Spirit will reveal the Scriptures and remind the believers of Christ’s teachings. Jesus taught them that the Spirit will indwell the believer as Jesus goes to the Father to intercede for them. The Spirit will make known the message to the believer that originated with Christ. Jesus told us that the Spirit’s work is in glorifying the Son and will lead believers to greater worship of the Father. The Gospels show that the Spirit is an answer to Jesus’ prayer and reveal how the believer needs the Holy Spirit every day, in every way, and in everything.


[1] R. C. Sproul, A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke, (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999), 14-15.

[2] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 222.


Bibliography

Blum, E. A. “John.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2, 266-348. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. He that is Spiritual. Moody Press: Chicago, 1918.

______. Systematic Theology, vol. 5. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

______. Systematic Theology, vol. 6. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

Constable, Thomas. “Notes on John.” Sonic Light. 2015. Accessed 25 January 2015. http://soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/john.pdf.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.

Harris, W. Hall “A Theology of John’s Writings.” In A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, edited by Roy B. Zuck, 167-242. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

Huffman, D. S. “Luke, Gospel of.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Barry et al., section “The Holy Spirit.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014. Logos Bible Software.

Manser, Martin. “Holy Spirit,” Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, section 3200. London: Martin Manser, 2009. Logos Bible Software

Martin, J. A. “Luke,” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, vol. 2., 198–266. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Mathews, S. H. “The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John.” American Journal of Biblical Theology. Accessed 25 January 2015, http://www.biblicaltheology.com/Research/MathewsSH01.pdf.

Schweizer, Eduard. The Holy Spirit. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980.

Sproul, R. C. A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke. Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999.

White, J. E. “John.” In Holman Concise Bible Commentary, edited by D. S. Dockery, 463-492. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.

Wiersbe, W. W. “John.” In The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996.

Zoccali, C. “Spiritual Gifts.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Barry et al., section “Gospel Accounts.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014. Logos Bible Software

The Holy Spirit in the Gospels: Worshipping in the Spirit

What does it look like to worship in the Spirit? How does one worship in the Spirit? How does one worship God? Is there something that I must do? 

As we look at what Jesus taught on the Spirit, what the Gospel writers included, we are left with what do we do with this information? We are reminded that when Jesus went away, He sent the Holy Spirit. Believers are indwelt by the Spirit. The Spirit is seen as the Comforter or Advocate. The teachings and advantages of the Spirit and what He does is numerous. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are some of the incalculable riches of God’s mercy and grace. As we finish this section of what Jesus taught on the Spirit in the Gospels, we conclude this section by looking at what it means to worship the Father, living for His glory, all in the power of the Spirit. This section is to think about what it looks like to depend on the Spirit. What a beautiful thing it is to live dependently on the Holy Spirit. 


Worshipping in the Spirit

In order to worship the Father, the teachings of Christ in the Gospels not only show the deity of the Spirit, but that the Spirit is worthy of worship because He is just like the Father and Son. At numerous times throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches remarkable concepts about the Spirit, including His deity, His Personhood, and His procession. It is important to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person and the third member of the Trinity as Jesus teaches throughout the Gospels. Jesus in fact referred to the Spirit as “He” and not “it” thereby insinuating the Spirit was some type of force. The Holy Spirit has a mind (Rom 8:27), a will (1 Cor 12:11), and emotional feelings (Gal 5:22–23).[1] The Spirit is also linked with the Father and the Son in various events of Jesus’s ministry. All three persons of the Trinity were present at Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:16–17). Jesus said his casting out of demons was related to the Father and the Spirit (Matt 12:28). In the two blasphemy passages (Matt 12:32; Luke 12:10), the deity of the Holy Spirit is once again taught by Jesus. The conjunction of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son in these events is an indication that He is personal, just as they are.[2] It is also important to notice that in John 14-17, the Spirit is sent by both the Father (John 14:16, 26) and by the Son (John 16:7). This section of John “records the central truth relative to the Person and work of the Spirit in this age.”[3]

The new Advocate was to be to men more than the bodily presence of Christ had been. It was better that Christ should go away and that the Spirit should come.[4] The Spirit would come on believers in a new way, namely: to baptize, seal and indwell them.[5] Apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot live the Christian life as God would have us live it. He is the “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17; 15:26) and the “Comforter” (parakletos). As “Comforter,” a term only used by John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), meaning to come “alongside to assist,” shows that the Spirit works in and through the believer.[6] The presence of the Spirit in this world is actually an indictment against the world, for the world rejected Jesus Christ.[7] The Spirit replaced Jesus’ physical presence and mediated God to believers providing a much more intimate relationship than before.[8] The Holy Spirit reveals the Savior in the Word and in this way glorifies Jesus (John 16:13-14).[9] The Spirit teaches, encourages and reminds the believer of the words of Jesus so that they may obey and have peace in times of trial (John 14:25-27; 16:13). John 4:23-24 not only asserts the full divinity of the Spirit (“God is Spirit”), but shows that the human spirit is able to have meaningful communication with God as spirit.


 

[1] W. W. Wiersbe, “John,” in The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996), 359.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 785-86.

[3] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 5, 151-155.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 151.

[5] Constable, “Notes on John.”

[6] Wiersbe, “John,” 352.

[7] Ibid, 353.

[8] Blum, “John”, 323.

[9] Wiersbe, “John,” 362.

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.

Jesus Living by the Spirit

Continuing the study on the ministry of the Spirit in the life of Christ and what Jesus taught on the Spirit, this post will focus on the life and ministry of Christ and how He lived in the Spirit. Right after Jesus was baptized, He was led into the wilderness by the Spirit. From there, we see how the Spirit was active in the life of Christ as He walked this earth fully human, yet fully divine. We see how Jesus depended on the Spirit during the wilderness temptations, which gives modern believers an amazing example we are to follow during our times of trials and temptations.


 

Jesus Living by the Spirit

Jesus’ ministry was conducted through the Spirit’s power and direction. The immediate result of Jesus being filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) after His baptism was the series of temptations at the inception of His ministry.[1] Jesus is described as being led (Matt 4:1; Luke 4:1-2) or sent (Mark 1:12) by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where the temptation took place. What is noteworthy here is that the presence of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life brings him into direct and immediate conflict with the forces of evil.[2] Being led by the Spirit into the desert, and through His victory over temptation, Jesus was now ministering “in the power of the Spirit.” The Spirit’s power was the source of Jesus’ authority, which Luke describes in chapter 4-6.[3]

Luke introduces Jesus’ ministry as a fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1-2, which affirms Jesus will be empowered by the Spirit to fulfill His role as God’s agent of deliverance.[4] Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1–2, and asserted that it was now fulfilled in him (Luke 4:18–21), thus claiming that this ministry was a result of the working of the Holy Spirit in and upon Him.[5] Through His teachings and miracles, Jesus’ whole life was “in the Holy Spirit.” “Jesus was ‘full of joy through the Holy Spirit’ (Luke 10:21) when the seventy-two returned from their mission. Even his emotions were ‘in the Holy Spirit.’ This is a description of someone completely filled with the Spirit.”[6] The Gospel narratives show Jesus and His disciples performing activities that are empowered by the Spirit, such as exorcism (Matt 12:28) and healing (Matt 11:2-5; see also Acts 2:22, 43).

John 3:34 says, “For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit.” This describes that the Father gave the Son the Spirit without limit which is different from the Old Testament prophets where the Spirit came on them for a limited time and purpose (cf. 1 Cor 12:4-11).[7] There is no evidence of growth of the Holy Spirit’s presence in Jesus’ life. “Other than the conception and the baptism, there is no series of experiences of the coming of the Holy Spirit. However, there is a growing implementation of the Spirit’s presence.”[8] The Spirit-led ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke foreshadows the activity of the Holy Spirit initiating and empowering the Church for ministry in the book of Acts.[9] “The New Testament Gospels attest to the activity of the Spirit surrounding the advent and activity of the messianic movement of Jesus of Nazareth.”[10]


 

[1] Eduard Schweizer, The Holy Spirit, (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980), 51.

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

[3] J. A. Martin, “Luke,” 214.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Erickson, Christian Theology, 794.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Thomas Constable, “Notes on John,” Sonic Light, 2015, accessed 25 January 2015, http://soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/john.pdf.

[8] Erickson, Christian Theology, 785-86.

[9] D. S. Huffman, “Luke, Gospel of.”

[10] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts.”

The Work of the Spirit in the Conception of Christ

As we continue to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, today we start with the conception of Christ and how the Spirit was involved in that event.


 

Jesus Christ Conceived by the Holy Spirit

The very beginning of Jesus’ incarnate existence was a work of the Holy Spirit as described in the conception narrative (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35).[1] “The one great generating act of the Holy Spirit occurred when He brought the humanity of Christ into being…. The Spirit caused the humanity of Christ to originate and that is His act of generation.”[2] Luke’s narratives of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus contain many references to the Spirit’s work (Luke 1:15, 35, 41, 67, 80; 2:25–26). Luke details the inspired Spirit filled statements of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Simeon (Luke 1:41-42, 67; 2:25-28). Both, Luke and Matthew, emphasize the Spirit’s role in the virgin conception of Jesus (Matt 1:20; Luke 1:35). Jesus is proclaimed to be the fulfillment of the Davidic messianic hope (Matt 3:17; Luke 1:31–33; John 1:34; see also Mark 8:27–30; Matt 16:13–16; Luke 9:18–21), and will be the agent of Israel’s promised deliverance and restoration (Mark 1:15; Matt 1:21; Luke 1:67–79; 2:30–32).[3]


[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 793.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 33.

[3] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts”, in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Barry et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), under sec., “Gospel Accounts,” Logos Bible Software.

The Holy Spirit’s Work During the Ministry of Christ – An Intro

As we look deeper into the ministry of the Holy Spirit that is described in the Gospels, this post provides a brief introduction into how the Spirit was involved in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. We will look further into what Christ said and taught about the Spirit in future posts but we first will examine how the Spirit was involved in the conception and baptism of Jesus, as well as how He empowered Jesus. The life of Christ is an example of the powerful presence of living in the Spirit and prompts the modern believer to live with that dependence.


The Holy Spirit’s Work During the Ministry of Christ

“From the moment of his conception Jesus Christ was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Christ’s possession of the Holy Spirit was demonstrated publicly at several points in his ministry. After his resurrection the Holy Spirit demonstrated him to be the Son of God.”[1] Luke portrays the Holy Spirit as active in initiating and empowering the life and ministry of Jesus.[2] While the Spirit was active from the start of Jesus’ life (John 1:32), the Spirit’s full work was to begin at the consummation of Jesus’ own ministry (John 7:37–39). The Spirit brings life (John 3:1–8), a life of the highest quality (John 10:10), and leads believers in the way of truth (John 16:13).[3] Jesus’ life exhibits the pervasive and powerful presence and activity of the Spirit. Both the prediction and the record of Jesus’s birth point to a special working of the Spirit.[4]


[1] Martin Manser, “Holy Spirit,” Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, (London: Martin Manser, 2009), under chap. 3, sec., “3269 Holy Spirit, in the life of Jesus Christ,” Logos Bible Software.

[2] D. S. Huffman, “Luke, Gospel of,” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Barry et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), under sec., “The Holy Spirit,” Logos Bible Software.

[3] J. E. White, “John,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. D. S. Dockery, (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 491.

[4] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 793.

May 15 – The Habit of Rising to the Occasion

What does it mean to “achieve everything your election as a child of God provides?” How do I direct that power? God help me to depend on your Spirit that by your power I can rise to every occasion. I want to exhibit the salvation I didn’t earn. I need God’s help to work out or live out my salvation that Christ may be evidenced. I don’t want to be some grouchy, miserable person who is and acts like an idiot when doesn’t get his way. God doesn’t shield us from trials but allows them so that we can jump over that wall or rise to the occasion. We will rise because that is what is demanded. No matter the hurt, pain, length or even the odds (thinking of Jericho or Gideon), it is an opportunity for God to manifest Christ and be glorified. God help us not complain but be willing to face whatever adversity comes our way. “The only proper goal of life is that we manifest the Son of God;” our demands don’t matter. Jesus didn’t demand, so neither should we demand. May we submit that God may work through us what He wants. Then in our submission, He can use us to feed others.