The Work Of The Holy Spirit
John 15:26-27 ASV But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me: (27) and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
Matthew Henry tells us that these two verses tell us more about the Holy Spirit in a short space than any other verses in Scripture! They tell us that:
1. For the apostles the Holy Spirit is primarily a comforter.
2. That in nature the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Truth.
3. That the Holy Spirit bears witness of Christ and empowers them to also bear witness of Christ.
4. That the Spirit's arrival was yet future to this point - that by implication He would come after the cross.
5. That the Holy Spirit would be sent by Jesus.
6. That the Holy Spirit would proceed from the Father.
7. That the Holy Spirit is a definite divine person which can be referred to as being of the masculine gender.
In fact dispute over these verses and the Nicene Creed (whether the Holy Spirit proceed "from the Father and the Son" (Roman Catholic), or "from the Father by the Son" (Orthodox churches) led to the first major split in Christendom.
Point 1 - The Holy Spirit is primarily a Comforter a "parakletos" , one coming alongside the believer, strengtening them in the inner man (Ephesians 3:14-21) and pouring His love into their hearts amidst trials and tribulations (Romans 5:1-5) and revealing to them all that God has prepared for those who love Him, things that eye has not seen nor ear heard nor have entered into the mind of man (1 Corinthians 2:9-16) and as such He is our teacher and guide (1 John 2:20,27) and instructs in all things concerning Christ (John 14:26) and in particular teaches us how to pray in the Spirit (Romans 8:26).
One of the primary tasks of the Holy Spirit is to love us so much we become prayerful and joyful in Christ and full of peace and love and patience and the fruit of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to us so that our joy may be made full and that we may be living examples of anointed humanity.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is the comforting presence of divine love and wisdom to strenthen, encourage and mature the believer in Christ. If this results in tongues or prophecy or miracles, then well and good. But these are secondary to the work of comforting the saints in the inner man.
Point 2 - The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of Truth". People who claim the anointing and then tell lies or ask for money have the wrong anointing! The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth and into both truthful behavior and truthful words. Truly anointed people do not compromise with darkness or commit crimes or cheat others. When the anointing is strong such as it was during the Jerusalem revival in Acts 2-6, then those who "lie to the Spirit" are carried out dead! The Holy Spirit is very serious about the Truth because that is a very deep part of His nature for He is the Spirit of Truth. Truly spiritual people are honest and plain speaking just as Jesus, and all the apostles were.
Point 3 - The Holy Spirit bears witness of Christ and causes other to bear witness to Him also. "Acts 1:8 ASV But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This is not just the apsotles but the 120 in the upper room who glorified God in public when the Spirit came upon them and the countless Christians since who have found the ability to witness comes from the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who helps them to testify of Christ. The Holy Spirit can bear witness because He has been with Christ, since all eternity, as part of the Trinity, and He can speak of Christ to people in dreams and visions and quite a few have been converted in this way. The Spirit also testifies to Christ through the God-breathed Scriptures and works in concert with His Word to bring millions to faith. As well as using dreams, visions, and the Scriptures the Holy Spirit can also use us believers as His witnesses! And to be used as a witness we have to be 'with Jesus' (verse 27) and know Him deeply so we can also testify of Him.
Point 4 - The Holy Spirit was future to this point and would arrive after the cross. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father." All the disciples knew up until this point was external to them, all the demons they had cast out and people healed on their mission trips such as when the twelve and the 72 were sent out, all the teaching and parables and learning, had been without the full "Pentecostal" power of the Holy Spirit who was yet to come. The precise spiritual state of the eleven believing apostles is hard to determine at this point - but we can definitely say that they had not yet received the power from on high - though they had seen and done a great deal of ministry and fervently believed in Jesus. There are deeper and deeper anointings of God and a great blessing known as the "baptism with the Holy Spirit" that brings great boldness and power to witness. All Christians receive the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit at conversion but His fire and His coming upon them is sometimes a second event. If you lack boldness and the power to witness ask God to baptize you with the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Point 5 - The Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus. Now who can send God anywhere but God alone? If Jesus can direct and send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, that hovered over the work of Creation, if Jesus can send the Spirit anywhere - then He is clearly and absolutely God. Neither you nor I nor any prophet or apostle of old can send the Spirit anywhere! Let alone from the side of the Father. Jesus is clearly claiming direct access to God the Father and authority over the Holy Spirit. That makes Jesus God. Now Jesus sends the Spirit at a time and a place of His choosing "in Jerusalem,... not many days from now" (Acts 1:4,5) and not in response to any invocation, act of worship or special ceremony. You may be able to call up a ghost or a demon but you cannot call up God the Holy Spirit! He is not at the beck and call of anyone! He arrives only when He is sovereignly sent by Jesus. The Holy Spirit is sent by God, not called down by man. There is no ceremony, no formula, no magic words anywhere in the New Testament that will ensure that the Holy Spirit will turn up. And when He does turn up it might be in an upper room or in the home of a centurion and not in the Temple.
"Acts 2:33 MKJV Therefore being exalted to the right of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this which you now see and hear."
Point 6 - The Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father" and is the Father's love sent into the Christian heart so that we cry "Abba, Father".
"Galatians 4:6 MKJV And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
The Holy Spirit is "from the Father" and brings us into the Father-son relationship so He is also literally called "the spirit of sonship" or adoption.
Romans 8:14-16 MKJV For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (15) For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba, Father! (16) The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
The Holy Spirit also connects us back to the Father giving us direct spiritual access to Him!
Ephesians 2:18 MKJV For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Point 7 - The Holy Spirit is a definite divine person who Jesus consciously refers to as "He" - and the construction here in the Greek is deliberate and awkward and avoids the easier use of the neuter gender. The Holy Spirit is not a pagan force or power or "like electricity" nor is He a "vibration" or emanation, rather He is a person who can be grieved, lied to, and resisted and who gets jealous when saints become worldly. ( see http://www.aibi.ph/beq/ chapters 4,5,6 and 8) The Holy Spirit is a divine person who brings to us the personal qualities of God such as love, joy, peace and patience and forms the person of Christ within us. The Holy Spirit is the personality and power of God, resident within human personality, with the power to change it. The Holy Spirit is thus not just a power that possesses us but a Person who loves and comforts us, who makes us wise and teaches us, who makes us sons of God, and who transforms us into Christ-like human beings.
Blessings in Jesus,