We are in a world today that is incredibly intrigued and curious about the supernatural. Despite the rise of education, science and reason over the last few centuries, the vast majority of the world still love the idea of a spiritual realm. We know this to be true by the flood of supernatural themes that are ever-present in today’s movies and tv shows.
I believe a factor to play in this fascination is human natures hunger for something more, something greater, something seemingly “out of this world”.
Sadly, Christianity and a large majority of the church around the world, has neglected perhaps the most important element of our faith, the Holy Spirit. Many believers have distanced themselves from this spiritual and supernatural reality out of fear or misunderstanding.
The truth is, if we don’t embrace the Holy Spirit and allow Him access into our lives and our churches, our faith is powerless and our mission, ineffective. We must pursue the Holy Spirit, we must get past the obstacles that have stopped us embracing Him. Why? Because we are in a world that needs something more, something supernatural, something “out of this world”.
To truly reach and bring Christ to this world, we need to bring real answers to real situations – only the Holy Spirit has this power.
The power to heal the sick.
The power to break bondages.
The power to speak life into dead situations.
Before Jesus ascended into Heaven after His resurrection, He stressed the importance to the disciples of waiting and not going anywhere until thay had received the promised Holy Spirit.
4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:4-5 NIV
Once the disciples had received this gift – it become their priority too, to make sure that every new believer they were reaching, didn’t just receive salvation, but also the Holy Spirit, who would empower them to live this new life in Christ.
14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Acts 8:14-16 NIV
The Holy Spirit is God’s seal and signature on our lives, He represents Heaven on Earth and is the deposit the Father has given to the world, confirming what is to come.
Christ never intended or expected us to live for Him by our own strength and effort.
21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NIV
There are 3 key things it’s important for us to know about the Holy Spirit:
ONE // THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WAY TO US
We gain access to the Holy Spirit by believing in the finished work of Jesus… by acknowledging that we are flawed, broken and in need of saving, by surrendering our hearts and deciding to follow and worship Christ. As we do this, we are forgiven, cleansed and put in right standing before God – setting us up to live a brand new life and opening a gateway for us into God’s spirit.
2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?
Galatians 3:2 NIV
The beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is a gift!
A gift that we simply and purely need to ask for and receive by faith.
11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:11-13 NIV
TWO // THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN US
Once we’ve received the Holy Spirit, we will quickly discover that He is working within us and transforming our lives from the inside out – suddenly, we realise the negative thinking we use to battle daily, has barely entered our minds, our relationships are becoming healthier and stronger and we’ve lost the desire and need to lean on things in order to find comfort.
To preface, everybody’s journey is different, and the work the Holy Spirit does in each of us varies. But there is no doubt, as we live and walk with the Spirit, there will be an obvious transformation that takes place.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26 NIV
The Holy Spirit was referred to by Christ as the “Helper” and “Advocate”, His fundamental function is to support us, encourage us and ultimately empower us to live well! He wants to see the glory and image of Christ displayed in our lives. This process is called ‘sanctification’ – the Holy Spirit guides us and keeps us on track, He reminds us of Christ and the truth of His word, and as a result, the character of Christ which is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) grows and becomes evident all around our lives.
Christ didn’t come to simply set us free, He wants to KEEP us free! This is why the Holy Spirit is so vital and valuable to every believer. His guidance is for our benefit and to keep us from stumbling. His voice is not the voice of condemnation, so do not fear it, embrace it! It’s the voice of conviction, that encourages us to stand when we do stumble… (which we all will!).
In our moments of struggle and mistake, we must know, the Holy Spirit does not leave us, He walks with us, all the way to the depths of darkness if need be, why? Not because He’s ok with us being there, His presence is not His permission, but because He wants to lead us out, back into victory and into the light of Christ.
7 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Psalm 139:7-10 NIV
THREE // THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WITNESS THROUGH US
The second purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to activate spiritual gifts from God that express His love to the world, gifts of healing, gifts of miracles, gifts of wisdom and more! God doesn’t just want to see our lives thrive, but also the lives of everyone around us.
1 Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.
1 Corinthians 12:1 NIV
God’s gifts operate from the platform of love – without this foundation, they will not accurately display Christ’s glory, only our own.
In 1 Corinthians 12 we see an outline of the 9 spiritual gifts, these 9 gifts complement the 9 fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5 – the most common biblical picture of the Holy Spirit is a dove, which has 9 primary feathers in each of it’s wings. This is very important to understand because typically, Christians can focus on the fruit of the Spirit (our character) and yet neglect the gifts of the Spirit (our calling), or visa versa. This neglect for either side, will cause us to be spiritually unbalanced, and not a true representation of Christ.
As we begin to step out with faith and willingness in these gifts, we’ll find God begins to lead us and work with us. He’ll prompt us in the middle of our daily routine and show us the people and places to go. I’ve found it’s the daily small acts of obedience that can create the biggest ripple effect in our cities. The Apostle Peter certainly knew this to be true, this small decision in the below scripture opened up the whole non-Jewish world to Christ and the Holy Spirit.
19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”
Acts 10:19-20 NIV
To finish – it’s important we understand that as we step into the spiritual realm, there will be opposition, but this isn’t something to be fearful of, just aware of. Below are some great scriptures that remind us of the victory and authority we have as we stand under the banner of Jesus Christ.
19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
Luke 10:19 NIV
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV
17 No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.
Isaiah 54:17 NIV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God,so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV
I’m praying we will never be a powerless church, but rather one that has taken a hold of the greatest force on the Earth that can provide real answers to the worlds very real situations.
Hope this has helped!