Studies on the Work of the Holy Spirit
Studies on the Work of the Holy Spirit
1. The Project for the Edification of the Church (Mark 16:15-18)
1.1. The Lord Jesus has a work to carry out: the edification of the Body of Christ (Matthew 16:18; Mark 16:15-18). The Lord operates through the Church (Matthew 18:18-20). The Lord uses a Church that is made up of servants willing to deny themselves (Matthew 16:24) and faithfully fulfill the revealed will of the Lord (Rev. 2:10).
1.2. Every work of edification is based upon a project. If we want to build a house with security and according to the will of the architect, we have to follow the project faithfully (I Cor. 3:9-11). In order to do the Work of edification of the Body of Christ, likewise, we have to know God’s Project; otherwise we will not be doing His Work, but ours, or the work of our denomination, even the work of our Union of churches.
1.3. The Lord does not accept just any work that believers do for Him. It is not enough to work with a sincere heart. It is necessary to work using the spiritual resources that He put at the disposal of the Church and edify faithfully obeying His project. The Holy Spirit (represented by fire in the Scriptures) will try everything we do and then the Lord will approve or reject our work regardless how sincerely it was done (I Cor. 3:12-15).
1.4. A clear biblical example is the edification of the Temple, figure of the Church, by Solomon (II Cor. 6:16). The construction of the Temple is a figure of the Work of edification of the Church (I Cor. 3:9-10; 16-17). The same way David transmitted all the materials to Solomon (I Chronicles 29:1-2) and the plan (I Chronicles 28:11-19) for the construction of the Temple, the Lord Jesus transmits every instruction and the necessary material for the edification of the Church to the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-15).
1.5. No one can know God’s project for the edification of the Church if not by revelation of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:9-12). The Work of God does not coincide with our “vision”, our understanding, our feeling, our plans, or with the projects of our denomination or Union of churches (Isaiah 55:8-9). The Holy Spirit directs the Church each step of the way, revealing what does not please the Lord (Isa. 30:21; 42:16).
1.6. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s project through the Holy Scriptures (II Tim. 3:15-16) and through the spiritual gifts (Acts 9:10-16; 10:2-5). The church needs to seek the will of the Lord in prayer (Acts 13:2 and Luke 11:9-13).
2. The purpose of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit)
2.1. The Lord Jesus baptizes the believers with the Holy Spirit so that they receive power to testify of the Lord with power (Acts 1:8), that is, with anointing, with signs (Luke 1:20) and operations of the spiritual gifts (I Cor. 14:24-25). Furthermore, He also baptizes with the Spirit in order to counsel the Church, guiding it to all truth (John 14:16; 16:13).
2.2. It is not enough to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is necessary to understand God’s purpose with the baptism with the Spirit so that one can then live according to this purpose. The Holy Spirit was not poured out upon the Church to promote emotional services, or for the Church to receive more blessings, not even to put “great servants of God” in evidence. In other words, the baptism with the Holy Spirit is not to please the Church or to exalt the leaders of the Church.
2.3. The purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus (John 16:14), it is to enable the Church to do the Work of edification of the body (I Cor. 2:14-5, 12) by preaching the Word with authority (I Cor.
2.4. After the baptism with the Spirit, the Lord wants to grant the Church the 5 ministries (Ephesians 4:11) and the 9 spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12:8-10), for all are necessary instruments for the Lord to rule over His Church and confirm the preaching of the Gospel with signs.
3. The Work of the Holy Spirit
3.1. The Holy Spirit Operates based upon the Blood of Jesus
3.1.1. The Lord Jesus fulfilled the work that the Father had trusted upon Him, as after having been born and lived a life without sin, He died on the cross as the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. The Bible refers to His blood as the symbol of His sacrifice for the Church (Rev. 5:9-10).
3.1.2. It is based upon this blood offered as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity that the Holy Spirit now operates the work of Salvation, that is, the Work of edification of the Church. For Jesus, the blood that was shed at the cross represented His death; for us it represents eternal life, salvation (John 6:53-56).
3.1.3. Today the Holy Spirit has the power to transmit eternal life to men and women because the Lord Jesus fulfilled the mission that the Father entrusted Him with for salvation of humanity when he shed His blood at the cross (John 19:30). This is the “material” that Jesus transmitted to the Holy Spirit for the edification of the Church. If the Lord Jesus had not died for the Church and had not resurrected, the Spirit could not transmit eternal life to us, nor could it operate salvation in us (I Cor. 15:17, 20-21).
3.2. The Holy Spirit Connects the Head to the Body
3.2.1. It is up to the Holy Spirit to receive the instructions from the Lord Jesus and transmit them to the Church (John 16:13-14). When the Church hears what the Spirit transmits, it receives the orientations from the Head of the Church that are necessary for its edification.
3.2.2. The Holy Spirit receives the Lord and transmits to the Church not only the words of comfort and encouragement (John 14:25-26), but also every type of instructions that are necessary for the edification of the Church (“every truth”, John 16:13). The Lord Jesus fulfills, then, His promise of always be with His Church (Matthew 23:20) and manifests his dominion upon the Church (Isaiah 9:6, 7).
3.2.3. Every general orientation that the Lord Jesus has for His Church, including every doctrine, is included in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (I Timothy 3:15-17). An example of general orientation is the orientation referring to go to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).
3.2.4. As for particular orientations, the Lord transmits them through the spiritual gifts (I Cor. 14:1-6, 24-31). A particular orientation pertinent to the preaching of the Gospel is given to Paulo prohibiting him to preach in Asia and in Bithynia, and telling him to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10).
3.3. The Holy Spirit testifies of the Lord Jesus and glorifies only Him
3.3.1. When the Holy Spirit speaks through the spiritual gifts (prophecy, interpretation of tongues, and word of knowledge – through visions, dreams and revelations), He does not exalt faithful servants, nor member of Jesus’ human family, but only the Lord Jesus (John 16:14)
3.3.2. The Spirit glorifies only Jesus. All Its operation through the 5 ministries or the 9 spiritual gifts aims at proclaiming that Jesus is alive (the living Bread), present in the midst of His Church (Emmanuel), is Lord of His Church (the Head), loves His people (the Groom) and takes care of the Church (the Shepard). Read Acts 4:8-12.
3.4. The Holy Spirit reveals what is beyond the letter in the Word of God
3.4.1. There are parts of the Word whose profound meaning is not evident (Matthew 13:10-17). The Lord wants, through His Holy Spirit, reveal (or illuminate) the meaning of these passages and the hidden richness in other Scriptures, so that the Church be edified by every Word of God (I Cor 2:10-13). For example, the teaching contained in parts of the books of Daniel, Song of Songs and Revelation, as well as the meaning of all the parables of Jesus, can only be fully understood with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
3.4.2. To the Church it is given to know what is beyond the letter in the Word of God by the operation of the Holy Spirit (II Cor. 3:5-6); Dan. 2:19-23). If this does not happen, the Church would be limited on depending upon scholars of the Bible, whose interpretations are divergent, and would end up cynical in relation to the possibility of understanding the real meaning of the Scriptures. Actually this is what happens to many scholars in Seminaries where the Holy Spirit is not operating fully.
3.4.3. The reason for this difficulty in understanding many passages of the Word of God is that without revelation (illumination) of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to penetrate the mysteries of the Word of God. “I thank you, Father, because … you revealed them to the babes” (Matthew 11:25-26).
3.4.4. Jesus opened the understanding of the disciples to understand what is beyond the letter while He was with them (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47). This mission today is up to the Holy Spirit, commissioned by the Lord to guide us to all truth (John 16:13).
3.5. The Holy Spirit and Salvation
3.5.1. The Spirit operates salvation applying the Word of God to man’s heart, convincing him of sin (every man is a sinner), of righteousness (Jesus Christ is our righteousness) and of judgment (the Lord will judge the living and the dead) (John 16:7-11). The new birth is the result of the operation of the Holy Spirit (John 3: 5-8).
3.5.2. The spiritual gifts are instruments of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of men. Through the gifts the Lord reveals the secrets of the hearts of men, so that they may believe, and confirms the preaching of the Word (I Cor. 14: 24-25), convincing men that Jesus is Lord, is alive, loves the sinner and one day will return to rapture His Church.