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The Glorious Ministry Of The Holy Spirit

By Rich Carmicheal

    “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit…” (Eph. 5:15-18).

    One of the vital issues in our lives as believers in these last days is that we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Not only do we need His fullness for our own spiritual life and readiness for Christ’s coming, but also to reach out and minister to others in these perilous times.  The devil knows his time is short, and so he is pulling out all stops in order to deceive and destroy as many people as possible.  What the people all around us need is the witness and ministry of Spirit-filled believers.  We obviously do not have adequate resources in and of ourselves for this hour (or any hour), but through the Holy Spirit in us, we can overflow with spiritual life and fruitfulness.  Consider even these few truths regarding the glorious ministry of the Spirit:

    The Holy Spirit fills us with power.   Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and beyond, even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).  They waited and prayed as instructed, and on the Day of Pentecost the Lord filled them with the Holy Spirit as promised.  The Spirit empowered them, emboldened them, and encouraged them and they courageously and effectively spread the Gospel just as Jesus had said.

    Jesus Himself had already experienced the power of the Spirit in His ministry.  He acknowledged from the very outset:  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).  He shared later on that it was by the Spirit of God that He cast out demons (Matt. 12:28).  The Apostle Peter describes it this way:  “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil…” (Acts 10:38).

    Do we not need such power today – supernatural power to share the Gospel boldly and effectively, and to do good and to minister to others who are broken­hearted and oppressed?  Oh that we may be “full of power by the Spirit of the Lord”! (Mic. 3:8).

    The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who guides us into all truth (John 16:13).  The need for truth and spiritual discernment is all the more important in these last days as deception increases.  As the Apostle Paul points out, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).  Jesus warns that “false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24).  We need the Spirit of truth to keep us well-grounded in the truth!  We need to put on the full armor of God, including the belt of truth, that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph. 6:11ff.).  We need to take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 17).

    We need to look to the Holy Spirit as our Teacher (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27).  Spiritual truths and realities cannot be discerned by the natural man, but only by those enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  As the Apostle Paul writes, “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  …No one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Cor. 2:10-12).  Praise the Lord for the revelation that comes through the Spirit that we may know the Lord and His Word and all that He has for us!

    The Holy Spirit is the source of life, joy, peace and hope.  Jesus gives this beautiful word picture of the Spirit’s presence within us:  “‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…” (John 7:37-39).  Similarly, Isaiah prophesied about the day “the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest” (Isa. 32:15).  Do we not need and long for such overflowing life, such fruitfulness in our lives?

    And what about the need for joy and peace in these difficult days?  The fruit of the Spirit includes joy and peace (Gal. 5:22), and the kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).  Even in the midst of much affliction, we can be filled with the “joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thes. 1:6).  How wonderful it is that the God of hope is able to fill us “with all joy and peace in believing, that [we] may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”! (Rom. 15:13).

    The Holy Spirit fills us with the love of God.  In a time when the love of many is growing cold (Matt. 24:12), how we need the Holy Spirit to keep pouring out God’s love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5), and to bear the fruit of love in our lives (Gal. 5:22).  Only by the enabling of the Holy Spirit and “through the love of the Spirit” (Rom. 15:30) are we able to love and minister to others.  Oh that we may be known for our “love in the Spirit”! (Col. 1:8).

    The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4).  In these last days in which sin and lawlessness abound (Matt. 24:12; 2 Tim. 3:1-4), how grateful we can be for the sanctifying work of the Spirit in our lives! (2 Thes. 2:13).  As we walk in Him, we “shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16), but rather by Him we “put to death the deeds of the body” (Rom. 8:13).  He renews us (Titus 3:5) and strengthens us with might in the inner man (Eph. 3:16).  By His glorious ministry we are being transformed into the likeness of the Lord! (2 Cor. 3:18). 

    The Holy Spirit helps in our weaknesses and in prayer.  “…We do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Rom. 8:26).  We are able to pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18).  As Jude points out, our prayer in the Spirit is vital to our faith and life with God:  “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20-21).

    The Holy Spirit directs our lives and equips and empowers us for ministry.  We are absolutely dependent upon the leading of the Spirit, for only those led of the Spirit are the children of God (Rom. 8:14).  What an unbelievable blessing it is to “live in the Spirit” and “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25), and to minister based on the gifts and calling entrusted to us by the Spirit! (1 Cor. 12:11; Acts 13:2; 20:28).  Likewise, what a privilege it is to serve in the newness of the Spirit (Rom. 7:6) and by the empowering of the Spirit! (1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Thes. 1:5; 1 Pet. 1:12).

About This Issue

    We hope the articles in this issue create a deeper longing for, and a greater seeking after, the fullness of the Spirit in your life and ministry!  May He fill each of us to overflowing for the glory of the Lord!

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