Scriptures

The Holy Spirit Still Speaks To Us Today!

Introduction

At the end of every letter, to each of the churches in Asia Minor, there is a little phrase which says,

‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 2:7 / Revelation 2:11 / Revelation 2:17 / Revelation 2:29 / Revelation 3:6 / Revelation 3:13 / Revelation 3:22

I want us to consider the question, what would the Holy Spirit say to us today? I believe that the first thing the Holy Spirit would say to us is this.

Believe in Him!

Now let me say this, if the Bible didn’t exist, or if you had never read the Bible, you would know nothing at all about the Holy Spirit. And that’s because it’s only through the Scriptures does the Holy Spirit reveal Himself to mankind. You see there’s no denying the existence of the Holy Spirit in Scripture.

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit is mentioned 88 times. 23 books in the Old Testament refer to the Holy Spirit, although the actual expression ‘Holy Spirit’ is used only 3 times.

Psalm 51:11 ‘Do not cast me from your presence or take your holy Spirit from me.’

Isaiah 63:10 ‘Yet they rebelled and grieved his holy Spirit.’

Isaiah 63:11 ‘Where is he who set his holy Spirit among them.’

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit is mentioned 264 times. There are 60 or more references to the Holy Spirit in the Gospels. The Book of Acts has 57 references to the Holy Spirit, which is why some call it

‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit.’

The epistles refer to the Holy Spirit 132 times and there are only 3 epistles that makes no mention of the Holy Spirit, Philemon, 2+3 John. And so there is no denying the existence of the Holy Spirit when we use the Scriptures.

But do you as a Christian believe in the ‘Hagios Pneuma’, the Holy Spirit? You see we talk a lot about God the Father and Jesus the Son but there are times when we neglect the Holy Spirit. And I think part of the reason for neglecting to preach, teach or even talk about the Holy Spirit is because we don’t want to be recognised or be associated with some other religious groups. But the Holy Spirit says to each and everyone one of us today,

‘believe in Me!’

He would tell us that He is not some ‘active force’ like the Jehovah Witnesses believe. He would tell us that He is not some form of ‘electricity’ like the Mormons believe. He would tell us that He is not an ‘it’ but He has a personality and He is as much as the Godhead as the Father and Son are.

When Jesus prepared for His return to heaven, He said to His apostles in John 14:16

‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter to help you and be with you forever’.

Now that term ‘Comforter’ is derived from two Greek words that signify ‘beside’ and ‘to call,’ and so it denotes one who has been called to the side of another for assistance. Could an impersonal ‘active force’ give the apostles help and comfort them? No.

You see the Holy Spirit can do things only a person can do

John 14:26 tells us the Holy Spirit can teach. John 15:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit can testify. John 16:8+13 tells us that the Holy Spirit can convict, guide and speak. A real person has the attributes of personality, which include a mind, will, and emotions.

Does the Holy Spirit have a will?

Yes, He does.

When it comes to the distribution of spiritual gifts Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:11

‘But one and the same Spirit is active in all these, distributing to each person as He wills.’

Does the Holy Spirit have a mind?

Yes, He does.

1 Corinthians 2:10 ‘The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.’

Does the Holy Spirit have emotions?

Yes, He does.

Ephesians 4:30 ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.’

If the Holy Spirit can be grieved, then He has emotions and because the Holy Spirit has a mind, a will, and emotions, we know that He is a Person. You see a real person also has the capacity to have relationships with others. That’s the primary reason we have a mind, will, and emotions.

According to Philippians 2:1, the Spirit is able to have fellowship with us. According to 2 Corinthians 13:14, the Holy Spirit can have communion with us. One who is able to commune and to have fellowship is capable of personal relationships, therefore, the Holy Spirit is a person.

But not only is the Holy Spirit a person, He is also Deity. For example, we all know that God is holy but so is the Holy Spirit, holiness is in His name. Holiness is a basic characteristic of the Spirit, in fact the Spirit is so holy that blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven, although blasphemy against Jesus could be according to Matthew 12:32. Insulting the Spirit is just as sinful as trampling the Son of God under foot according to Hebrews 10:29.

And so not only is He holy like God,

He is also eternal like God

According to John 14:16 the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, will be with us ‘forever’ and Hebrews 9:14 clearly tells us He is eternal. We also know that the Holy Spirit is ‘omnipresence’ which basically means He is present everywhere.

When David is praising God’s greatness, he asked, in Psalm 139:7-8

‘Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.’

David says I can’t go anywhere without your Holy Spirit being present.

We also know that

the Holy Spirit is ‘omnipotence’

which basically means He is all powerful.

The works that God does, such as creation, are also ascribed to the Holy Spirit.

Job 33:4 ‘The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.’

Psalm 104:30 ‘When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.’

The miracles of Jesus Christ were done ‘by the Spirit’ according to Matthew 12:28. In Paul’s ministry, the work that

‘Christ has accomplished’ was done ‘through the power of the Spirit’ according to Romans 15:18-19

The Holy Spirit is also ‘omniscience’

which basically means He knows everything.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:10 that

‘The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.’

The very next verse, 1 Corinthians 2:11, tells us that the Spirit of God

‘knows the thoughts of God’.

Holiness, eternality, omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience are attributes of God’s essence, that is, characteristic of the nature of divine existence. The Holy Spirit has all these attributes, which means He is God.

After all, when you think about it, when we baptise someone, according to Matthew 28:19 we baptise people into

‘the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’

In other words, we are baptised into a relationship with what the Bible calls the Godhead. And the Holy Spirit is screaming out to every one of us,

‘believe in Me’.

Use Him!

The Holy Spirit would say to us today, ‘use Me!’ In Acts 2 when the Jews were asking what must they do to be right with God, Peter replied in Acts 2:38

‘Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’

Peter says at our baptism we receive the forgiveness of our sins and we receive the ‘dorea’, the gift, of the Holy Spirit.

Now why has God blessed us with the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself?

Well there are many reason but one reason we have the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself is because He acts like our guarantor.

Ephesians 1:13-14 ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.’

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ‘Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.’

Paul says that the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirs of heaven. And it’s by Him that believers are sealed, that is, separated and set apart for God, and distinguished and marked as belonging to Him.

In other words, the Holy Spirit says, He doesn’t want us worrying about our eternal salvation, because as long as He continues to live in us, He will act as the deposit which guarantees our inheritance to come. You see God could have made a body for the Holy Spirit as He did for Jesus, but He didn’t. God gives us the privilege and the indescribable honour of hosting the Holy Spirit within us.

1 Corinthians 3:16 ‘You know that you are God’s sanctuary and that God’s Spirit lives in you.’

Use His Gifts

But how can we use Him? In what ways can we use Him?

1. Use the gifts He has blessed us with.

Romans 12:6-8 ‘We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.’

The gift of Prophesying

Paul says that we all have different ‘Charisma,’ gifts. And before you start screaming out that the gift of prophesying has ceased think again. Yes, in 1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us that ‘prophesying will cease’ but this is talking about supernatural prophesying, that includes ‘forth telling.’

But here is Romans 12, Paul isn’t talking about supernatural prophesying, after all that was one of the reasons he wanted to go to Rome in the first place remember. Paul says to them in Romans 1:11

‘I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong.’

One of the reasons Paul wanted to go to Rome was to impart some gifts upon them, why? Because no apostle had been to Rome and they didn’t have any supernatural gifts. See the word ‘prophesying’ can also means ‘forth speech’ which simply means preaching.

And notice that your prophesying in according to your grace, which basically means you can preach according to your ability and understanding of the Scriptures. Some people know a lot about the Bible, others don’t, but it doesn’t matter, just teach what you know.

When you think about Moses, he complains that he is slow of speech and of a slow tongue. But notice in that whole story that God doesn’t promise him a new tongue, but He does promise that He will be with him and train his tongue.

And when you read Deuteronomy and listen to Moses forty years after in the Moab plain, it’s as though his brain fired up and his tongue got loosened and trained. And it’s at the end of Deuteronomy he gives that series of farewell talks burning with eloquence.

Here, Paul says that a prophet should use his gift

‘in proportion to his faith’.

A prophet shouldn’t prophesy anything that’s not according to his faith. He shouldn’t speak as a prophet without being certain he’s speaking the words of God. He shouldn’t get carried away with enthusiasm and begin to speak his own words while prophesying. Never feel that you are obliged to prophesy because everybody else is doing it.

Note also, that prophecy must also be in accordance with our faith. It shouldn’t contradict the doctrines and principles of the Word of God. Anyone prophesying something contrary to the Word of God is a false prophet.

The gift of Serving

Another gift the Holy Spirit will help you with is serving. He says

‘use Me, to help you serve.’

But the kind of serving He has in mind here, is the kind where you don’t want to serve or can’t be bothered to serve. We don’t know what it means to be a servant until we get treated like one. The Holy Spirit will help you serve in areas where you don’t really want to serve in.

Doing God’s work by humbly serving His people is an important gift. Personally serving others has a great positive impact on the world’s view of Christians and Christianity. It has much more impact than the work of great speakers or expositors.

Those who serve by doing menial, low profile work shouldn’t feel that they are less valuable to God. God honours those who responsibly and diligently carry out what He has called them to do, whether it be leading a congregation or waxing its floors.

The gift of Teaching

Another gift the Holy Spirit will help you with is teaching. He says

‘use Me, to help you teach.’

This is much like the gift of preaching but without the pulpit. He will help you prepare and deliver a lesson if you allow Him to guide your thoughts using His Word. And again you can teach one person or a thousand people, it makes no difference. And when you’re sharing the Gospel with others He will remind you of Scripture, so that you can be a more effective teacher.

Teaching is different from prophecy. Teaching mainly entails the interpretation, exposition and explanation of the Bible. Teachers shouldn’t feel that they must be speaking words directly from God, as do prophets, however, teachers should seek the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit as they prepare to teach.

The gift of Encouraging

Another gift the Holy Spirit will help you with is encouraging. He says

‘use Me, to help you encourage others.’

Who encourages the encourager? We all need encouragement, don’t we? A simple phone call, text message, a visit or kind word all help make our Christian journey a little more bearable.

We all appreciate a word of encouragement. Encouragement is a valuable gift that can be given to all, for the Christian in his service of God, for the downtrodden and persecuted to trust and depend on the Lord, for the sinner to repent and turn to Jesus. I dare say that we can all serve the Lord at one time or another using the gift of encouragement.

The gift of Giving

Another gift the Holy Spirit will help you with is giving. He says

‘use Me, to help you give generously.’

Now please don’t think just about monitory giving, we can give in so many ways. We can give of our time, our energy, our ears, our council, our strength, our love and the Holy Spirit will help us give generously in all these areas.

Some are endowed by God the talent and ability to make money in this world. These are the ones who are prime candidates to cultivate the gift of giving! However, the gift of giving isn’t limited to financial giving. As Peter, you can say,

‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you’, Acts 3:6

You can give services, talents, time, etc. And when you give, do it as Jesus commanded,

‘Freely you have received, freely give’, Matthew 10:8

Also, Paul in these verses encourages the giver to

‘give generously’. Romans 12:8

The gift of Leading

Another gift the Holy Spirit will help you with is leading. He says

‘use Me, to help you lead diligently.’

Now Paul doesn’t just have leading like the men each Lord’s Day do in mind here. He’s telling us that the Holy Spirit will help us lead by example. And we all should be doing that in our homes, in our workplaces, in the supermarket, wherever we find ourselves. We should be leading by example and showing the world that we are Christians.

The gift of leadership is, indeed, a gift from God

Very few are given the ability to be good leaders. Leadership is an important gift specifically in the organization of a church and its ministries. Every activity and service of a church needs a leader. Leaders shouldn’t take their role lightly, but, as Paul says, they should

‘govern diligently’.

The gift of showing mercy

Another gift the Holy Spirit will help you with is showing mercy. He says

‘use Me, to help you show mercy cheerfully.’

The Holy Spirit wants us all to be like the Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37, He wants us to help those who have been or are being afflicted by others. He wants us to help the helpless, He wants us to feed the hungry and visit the sick.

Mercy is a Godly trait

Our God is characterised by His mercy. When one truly shows mercy, he is being a true representative of God. However, as Paul says, when you show mercy, do it ‘cheerfully’, not grudgingly, not because you ‘have to’, but sincerely and from the heart.

Use Me for Intercession

2. I personally believe that the second area where the Holy Spirit asks us to use Him, is in our moments of weakness.

Romans 8:26 ‘In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.’

There are two intercessors for the Christian

1. Christ at the right hand of the Majesty on High, Hebrews 7:25, and

2. The Holy Spirit within the Christian himself. Thus, there are two sources of encouragement open to the Christian.

a. The blessed hope within himself, and

b. The help of the Holy Spirit. This entire arrangement supplies both human and divine encouragement to the child of God.

‘We do know what we ought to pray for’ doesn’t mean that Christians have no knowledge of prayer, but, as someone noted, ‘Our weakness and ignorance in this life are so great that in many respects, possibly as a rule, we know not what we should pray for as we ought. We want many things, and it may be praying for them, which, were they granted, would prove our greatest rots. Fortune; while, we do not want, and never ask, for many things which would be our greatest blessings. Here then is ignorance of what we should pray for; and, as to how we should pray, I imagine we are equally at a loss. Confessedly then, we are weak and need aid.’

With groaning’s that cannot be uttered is a reference to the dimly perceived and partially understood longings of the redeemed soul which are impossible for the Christian to frame into articulated petitions to the Father, but which needs, though inadequately understood, are nevertheless understood by the Spirit of God who transfers such inexpressible yearnings of the soul to the Throne itself.

This identification of the groanings mentioned here with the believer’s inadequacy, rather than with any insufficiency of the Holy Spirit, follows the thought of this paraphrase,

‘Such therefore, are our groans, which the Spirit, in aid to our infirmity, makes use of. For we know not what prayers to make, as we ought, but the Spirit Him lays for us our requests before God.’ Romans 8:26

Therefore, when the Christian’s prayers have reached the boundary of language as a vehicle for the conveyance of thought, when such prayers become more of a heavenward sigh than a formal utterance, then the Christian may know that the inward Intercessor is fully able to convey the soul’s true desire to the throne.

Have you ever had moments where you just feel burdened with all sorts of worries and cares? I don’t know about you but there have been times in my Christian life when pain and confusion have set in, and I simply don’t know what to pray for or how to pray to God. Paul says when you get to the point when you just don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us.

In other words, He will speak to the Father on our behalf, He will express our deepest needs to the Father. And so the Holy Spirit says, when you get that low, when you get to the point you want to pray but don’t know how to pray, then don’t worry. He says, use Me, He will speak on our behalf to our heavenly Father.

Let Him Use You!

3. The Holy Spirit would say to us today,

‘let Me use you!’

When we come to the Lord Jesus He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us live as He would have us live, and the more the Holy Spirit controls our lives, the more like Him we become.

Romans 8:29 ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.’

Conformed to the image of his Son is another expression that means ‘becoming a Christian,’ but there is a specific reference also to the Christian’s being transformed into the image or likeness of Christ, in mind, character, obedience, and all other qualities and virtues of the soul, but it doesn’t end there. Finally, the children of God will be raised from the dead in the true likeness of the risen Saviour.

As John wrote,

‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.’ 1 John 3:2

God wants us to become like His Son and the Holy Spirit says,

‘let me use you, to look more like Jesus’.

2 Corinthians 3:18 ‘And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.’

That word, ‘transformed’ is the Greek word ‘Metamorphoo’, and it’s where we get our word ‘morph’.

God didn’t give us the gift of the Holy Spirit just for the fun of it, He gave us the gift because He wants to change us, and He wants to morph us into the image of Jesus. Let the world see that He is using you, and how will the world see that your life is being influenced by the Holy Spirit?

Romans 8:14 ‘For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.’

People will know we are children of God because we allow His Spirit to lead our lives.

Galatians 5:22-23 ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’

The Holy Spirit wants to use us, not only to show the world Jesus in our lives but also to bring others to Christ. I believe we rely too much on ourselves sometimes rather than relying on the Holy Spirit when it comes to reaching the lost. For example, when you think about the Lord with Nicodemus in John 3.

Wasn’t that a case of the right man, in the right place, saying the right thing, at the right time?

Here was a man who came already prepared and we know today, sometimes when someone comes to us with a religious question, we can be almost certain they are a prepared person.

Look at John 4 with Jesus and the Samaritan women.

When you think about that story, wasn’t that the case of the right person, in the right place, at the right time?

Here was a woman completely prepared and Jesus was so responsive to her, He was responsive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit within Him and He immediately recognised from the way she responded that here was a woman who was ready.

Look at Acts 8 and the case of Philip and the Eunuch and we can see that once again, the right man, in the right place, at the right time. Here is a man riding in his chariot reading the Gospel and the obvious question to ask was

‘do you understand what you are reading?’ Acts 8:30

It’s a clear indication of the leading of the Holy Spirit that his answer was, he was reading Isaiah 53. But who had put it in his heart to read that? Obviously again it’s the right person, at the right time. We need to allow the Holy Spirit do what He does best and that is prepare people’s hearts.

And when we allow Him to do that, He speaks through you, to say the right thing, to a prepared person, at the right time.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

1 John 3:16

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