The Work of the Holy Spirit Today
He Gives the Believer Gifts (1 Cor. 12:7-11; Rom. 12:3-8; Eph. 4:3-13; 1 Pet. 4:7-11)
The Holy Spirit gives every believer something to do. He distributes spiritual gifts so each believer can be involved in building up, binding up, and beautifying the body of Christ. Some gifts were only for the apostolic era and ceased at the end of that period. Others remain and today are distributed by the Holy Spirit to believers upon their conversion. No one possesses all the gifts. This is why believers need one another. The gifts are distributed so the body of Christ will learn to work and function together under the headship of Christ.
He Fills the Believer With Christ (Eph. 5:18)
To help the believer grow, the Holy Spirit desires to fill the believer’s life, because God wishes to govern their lives. Before salvation sin was in control. The will of sinful man was in rebellion against God and self was on the throne. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life filled our lives and the world was our source of satisfaction.
Believers desire to be saved from sin. God can change us so that the desire for sin and love for this world is replaced with a desire for holiness and a love for Christ. The Holy Spirit has a role in this change. And one of His roles is to fill the believer with Christ, so instead of being saturated with the world and characterized by sin, the believer is saturated with Christ and characterized by Christ-likeness. This is one of the themes of the letter to the Ephesians. Christ is to fill the church (Eph. 1:22-23). Christ is to fill the believer’s life (Eph. 3:18-19). Christ is to fill all things (Eph. 4:10). In Ephesians 5, Paul tells us to live wisely. It is not wise to be sinful, to walk in darkness, to live deceptively, or to be drunk on the things of the world. But it is wise to allow the Holy Spirit to fill you so much with Christ, that others will see the power of holy living that flows from Christ-likeness.
He Teaches (Neh. 9:20; Jn. 14:26; 15:26)
After the resurrection, the Lord met two disciples on the road to Emmaus and opened their understanding of the Scriptures (Lk. 24:27,32). The Lord earlier promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would do the same (Jn. 16:12-15). He reveals the things of God (Isa. 40:13,14; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; Eph. 3:5; Heb. 9:8). He will make it clear when something is false (1 Jn. 2:27; 4:1-6). He will make clear what needs to be said at the right moment (Lk. 12:12).
He Speaks (Isa. 30:21; Rev. 2:7)
Our Shepherd goes on ahead and the believer follows Him, because they recognize His voice (Jn. 10:4). He speaks to us through the Holy Spirit as we read the living Word of God. He spoke to believers like Philip (Acts 8:29) and Peter (Acts 10:19). Concerning the Holy Spirit, Isaiah writes, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘this is the way, walk in it’” (Isa. 30:21). He speaks through believers as well (Mt. 10:20; Acts 21:11) and also speaks through the Word of God (Heb. 3:7; 1 Pet. 1:11-12; Rev. 2:7).
He Testifies that Jesus is the Christ (Jn. 15:26)
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit bore witness of what Christ would do when He came (Heb. 10:15). During the earthly life of Christ, the Holy Spirit testified that Jesus was the Christ (Jn. 1:32-34). Since the resurrection the Holy Spirit continues to bear witness that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 5:32; Heb. 10:14-17; 1 Jn. 4:2). The Holy Spirit also bears witness that we are the children of God through Christ (Rom. 8:16,17; 1 Jn. 3:24; 4:13).
He Leads, Guides, and Directs Believers (Mt. 4:1; Jn. 16:13; Rom. 8:14)
He guides the believer into all truth (Jn 16:13; Acts 8:29,39). He will never lead in a way that goes against the Word of God. He will also direct their steps (Acts 10:19-20; 11:12; 16:6-7). He also raises up Christian leaders (Acts 13:2,4; 20:28). One of the characteristics of a genuine believer is that they are led by the Spirit (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18).
He Comforts (Jn. 14:16-17, 26; Acts 9:31)
In times of deep distress, the Holy Spirit knows how to comfort those that belong to Christ. He comforts the weary, the lonely, the sorrowful, and the sick.
He Empowers God’s Servants (Acts 1:8)
This was the promise of the Lord Jesus, and when the Holy Spirit came, the power of God was seen in ordinary lives (Acts 1:8; 4:31, 33). He emboldened the disciples to preach the resurrection of Jesus, whom God had made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). He gives strength to the believer (Rom. 15:19; Eph 3:16) empowering them to proclaim God’s truth (1 Cor. 2:4; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Pet 1:12). His power in believers’ lives manifests itself in those living a holy life, walking as a believer ought to walk (Eph. 4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15; 6:1-20).
He Prays (Rom. 8:26-27)
Just as Christ prays for believers (Rom. 8:34), so also does the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26). He will support the believer in prayer. And when moments of life bring great distress, causing the believer to not even know what to pray, the Spirit of God knows what to say.
He Sanctifies (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2)
Christ is involved in sanctification (1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 5:25-26). The Father is involved in sanctification (Jn. 15:1-2; Heb. 12:3-11). The Word of God is involved in sanctification (Jn. 17:17, 19; Ps. 119:11). The Holy Spirit is also involved in sanctification (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11). He is the power that is working in the believer to produce Christ-likeness.
He Produces Fruit in the Believer’s life (Gal. 5:22-23)
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” This is the character of Christ. This is the result of God working in the believer’s life. Instead of a life filled with hatred, sadness, restlessness, impatience, meanness, deception, unfaithfulness, roughness in character and an out of control life, the Spirit of God works to see the transformation of the sinner into a precious jewel.
He Abides with the Believer Forever (Jn. 14:16; 1 Jn. 3:24)
The Holy Spirit, given to the believer on the day of salvation, is a gift that the believer will enjoy forever. For all eternity, the believer will bring joy to the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will be joy to the believer. The purpose of God in saving people is to enjoy a wondrous fellowship with men, a fellowship that will be full of joy, and never end.
These twenty things that the Holy Spirit is doing today remind us of the great care God has for His own as well as the great love God has for this world. God has not left his people alone. The work He began in us on the day that He saved us, will one day be complete. And similarly, God has not ceased His work in this world. He is still striving with men, bringing conviction of sin and pointing sinners to the Savior. He is as active today as He was on the day of Pentecost. And He is still seeing and enjoying fruit from His labor.