The ministry of the Holy Spirit 1
The topic for today’s message is the Holy Spirit, or better, the Ministry of the Holy Spirit. Derek Prince, who is the founder and president of DEREK PRINCE MINISTRIES, says this; The Holy Spirit is the most difficult aspect of GOD to understand. There is GOD THE FATHER, there is GOD THE SON; but for many people it is difficult to understand the third person of the Triune God. And he is GOD the Holy Spirit. If I understand it correctly GOD the HOLY SPIRIT, is a person without a body; and that is very difficult for our minds to conceive. We know that GOD THE FATHER is a person; we know that GOD THE SON is a person, and therefore it is very important to understand that GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT is in every sense a person just as the FATHER and the SON is. He is just not a theological abstraction. He is not just half a sentence at the end of the Apostles creed. He is a real person. And it will help you tremendously in your Christian walk to relate to the HOLY SPIRIT as a real person.
Now that is what Mister Prince had to say about the Holy Spirit, and I tend to agree with him.
Genesis 1v1-2 teaches us that the very first person we are introduced to is, the third person of the Triune Godhead, and that is none other than the HOLY SPIRIT (God the Holy Spirit). ‘In the beginning GOD (Trinity) created the heavens and the earth (v1); the earth was with out form and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep.
And the SPIRIT OF GOD moved (hovered) upon the face of the waters (v2). The third person of the Triune God is introduced as moving [or hovering], over the face of the waters; suggesting an activity that was birdlike. The Amplified Bible expands a little more on ‘moved on the face of the waters’, suggesting the Spirit of God hovered like a bird upon the face of the waters. The Oxford Dictionary describes ‘hovered’ as birdlike activity; or to hang in the air (over or about); hovering [state of suspense]; hovering with rapidly beating wings.
Ok, turn quickly to Matthew 3v16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the SPIRIT OF GOD (God the Holy Spirit) descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. The word descending is a down- ward motion or coming down. Luke 3v21-22 says, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened (v21), and the HOLY GHOST (God the Holy Spirit) descended (came down) in a bodily shape of a dove upon him (v22). John 1v32 (speaking of John the Baptist) ‘And John bare record, saying, I saw the SPIRIT descending like a dove, and it (The Spirit) abode upon him’.
Ok, that is our introduction to the third person of the Triune Godhead. Let me say this! God created all things by and through the office of the HOLY SPIRIT, as He (THE SPIRIT) was the one who moved (hovered) upon the face of the waters, and also over the earth that was without form, and void. GOD created the world by his SPIRIT as Psalms 33v6 and Job 26v13 suggests.
Moving on with the message, a careful study of the Old Testament will give us a clear understanding of Gods dealings with man, by and through the function of the HOLY SPIRIT. Allow me to use just one example of how GOD through the Holy Spirit can use a man or woman, if that person is willing to be used of God. David, the shepherd boy could play the harp under such an anointing of the SPIRIT; that he would drive away the evil spirit that so troubled King Saul 1Sam 16. David under the anointing of the SPIRIT was able to slay a lion and kill a bear. And David under the anointing of the SPIRIT was able to kill the giant Goliath 1Sam17; it was physically impossible for David to do so in his own strength.
David under the anointing of the HOLY SPIRIT composed 70% of the Psalms, as we read it in the Bible today. Folks please forgive me! I know I said one person, but I feel led of the SPIRIT to name another. The prophet Isaiah; under the powerful anointing of the HOLY SPIRIT wrote in the ninth chapter of the book of Isaiah verses 6+7, of the child that would be born; and a son that is given. In chapter 52v13-15, the prophet goes on to say that the Servant of God would be marred beyond recognition (speaking of Jesus); and in chapter 53 of Isaiah, gives an explicit description of the suffering of the Messiah (Jesus), who will bring forth salvation and righteousness for many. I mean! How were these prophets of old (holy men) able to write about events concerning a coming Messiah? These men of God were all dead by the time Jesus was born.
The answer to the above is found in 2Peter1v20-21(KJV). ‘Knowing this first that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation (v20). For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of men: but holy men of GOD spoke as they were moved (inspired) by the HOLY GHOST (V21)’. The Holy Ghost, being the third person of the Triune Godhead.
Beloved are you starting to understand the function of the HOLY SPIRIT? How that God is speaking and dealing with his creation (mankind) through the HOLY SPIRIT.
To be honest with you one can spend untold hours, trying to explain the wonderful, compassionate, soft--spoken, gentleman attributes of the Spirit of God. But time and space does not allow us. So lets move forward to the New Testament function (or ministry), of God the Holy Spirit concerning the birth of the Messiah.
We have established that holy men (prophets) of GOD spoke, as they were inspired or moved by the Holy Ghost. God now sends his messenger, the angel Gabriel (Luke1v26) to tell Mary and Joseph who are both descendents of the house of David, Matthew 1, of events that would change their lives forever. I’m sure most of you know this story; but let’s talk about it anyway. Mary, who was espoused (engaged to Joseph), and before they came together Matthew1v18, she was found to be with child. And Joseph (her husband to be), being a just man and not wanting to belittle her in public sought to divorce her (v19). But the angel (messenger) of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying ‘Joseph thou son of David, fear not (be not ashamed) to take MARY (as) thy wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the HOLY GHOST (V20).
And you shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sin (v21). Folks if you understand the Jewish culture and customs of that time, you will also understand the consequences of this situation spoken of in v19+20.
These people (Jews) were so immersed in, and dedicated to living their lives according to the laws of Moses. Now the law says that a woman caught in the act of adultery must be stoned to death. And all indications suggested that Mary had committed this unpardonable
act, and not with the man she was to be married to. Verse 18 says that Mary was espoused (engaged) to Joseph. In other words she was promised to him for marriage that was the custom of the day in the Jewish culture. But because Mary was with child and not from Joseph, and according to the law, and Deut 22v23--24 Mary would be stoned to death. And if that is not bad enough, have a look at Genesis 38v24 and the woman, ‘who has played the harlot, and also, behold she is with child by whoredom (adultery) and Judah said, bring her forth and let her be burnt’. That my friend is the punishment that was meted out to Jewish women, caught out in the act of adultery according to the
Law’s that governed them. But oh…PRAISE THE LORD!! Joseph did not go to the extreme by taking advantage of the law against Mary, because while he was thinking on these things (v20), the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream and spoke: declaring to Joseph, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife (v20), for what is about to happen to you and Mary is planned by GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT (v21) Can you imagine the eternal consequences for all mankind if Joseph had been a stubborn man, and not heeded the voice of GOD. I shudder to even think about it. But Praise the Lord, for the HOLY GHOST who was at work in Joseph’s heart and mind.
If one takes into consideration the above scripture’s concerning the punishment of women, and then the frame of mind that Joseph was in, by him adhering to the message given to him by the angel:
I cannot but come to the conclusion that GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT was truly at work controlling this situation. Let me share with you what I believe to be a very important fact that you and I must understand. I believe the SPIRIT would have it no other way. There are still some dear people who struggle with this. But allow me through the Holy Ghost to say that, Jesus was not always called Jesus. And I’ll prove it to you! Before Christ was born into this world he was with God. John1v1+2 (KJV) says, ‘in the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with GOD, and the word was GOD. And the same (THE WORD) was in the beginning with GOD. Verse 14 of John chapter1, goes on to say, and the WORD was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the FATHER), full of grace and truth.
Turn to Matthew1v21, which says, and she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou (Joseph) shall call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins. The Oxford dictionary defines shall as a future event, or a conditional statement of something that will happen in the future. So speaking of a future condition (shall, will, or stressing the fact of, once or after [in this instance] the child is born you will [future tense] call him JESUS).
Can you see the Holy SPIRIT at work even in the smallest of details such as the name of Jesus? This was orchestrated by God Father and God the Holy Spirit. I cannot but shout... PRAISE GOD!!
Ok, so the HOLY GHOST overshadowed Mary, (the wife of Joseph who was both descendants of the house of David) or in simpler terms, the Holy Spirit impregnated her as confirmed by the angel Matthew1v20. Don’t ask me how that was done, because I can only answer…SUPERNATURALLY!!! The Holy Spirit planted that HOLY SEED within Mary’s womb for her to conceive. Oh saint of GOD, lift up your hands a moment and worship the King of Glory, for He is worthy…Praise the LORD!!! Child of God this should thrill your soul. I sense the presence of the HOLY SPIRIT even as I am writing this…Praise God…Praise God…Praise God!!!
Lets continue with this exciting message, and let me show you by way of Isaiah 40v3 and Malachi 3v1 concerning the messenger of the Lord who will prepare the way of the coming Messiah. Both these prophets under divine inspiration of the Spirit of God had prophesied that a messenger would prepare the way of the Lord. Once again holy men of GOD spoke of, ‘a voice crying in the wilderness Isaiah40v3; and behold I will send my messenger, to prepare the way before me, Malachi3v1.
The Word of GOD is speaking of none other than John the Baptist according to Mark 1v2-7. John came preaching Christ, and the need for men everywhere to repent of their sins: to be baptized in water for the remission of sins. John also preached of one that was coming who will baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
I want to continue with the ministry of the SPIRIT, first pertaining to Christ and then secondly to the child of God. Mark 1v12 teaches us that after the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus; he is now led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Just the setting for this event [forty days of fasting and praying, tempted of the devil, in the wilderness, with wild beasts] is an indication that this is no picnic. But Mark observes these circumstances, as an instance of the Father’s care for his Son. The mere fact of wild beasts not tearing the Saviour to pieces, and Satan and the evil spirits with him, tempting JESUS, is in my mind confirmation that the FATHER through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT was also at work to protect Jesus. Because the Father sent the good angels to minister to his Son, when Satan lost this battle in the wilderness. AMEN!!
Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost overcame this part of the battle against Lucifer (dragon, serpent, Devil, Satan). Now He begins his ministry, anointed of God, preaching the good news of salvation, healing the sick, and all those who were afflicted of the devil. Jesus under the anointing of the HOLY SPIRIT did the will of his Father. Doing absolutely nothing if the Spirit did not tell him do it. In other words folks, GOD the Father, and God the Spirit were both dwelling within the Son. Jesus when he walked those dusty roads of Jericho, Samaria, or in Nazareth, was very much God according to John 1v14. Concluding that the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Christ Col 2v9.
Friends, everything that Christ did here on earth; you and I can and will be able to do John 14 v12-14. Because Jesus promised the disciples that He would send another called the Comforter and the Spirit of Truth, v16+17. Jesus promises them that after he returns to the Father, they (disciples) will not be left alone. He will send the Holy Spirit who will teach them all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, everything that I have taught you John 14v26 Jesus now ends his earthly ministry and send the third person of the Triune God to come and dwell within us.
In the Matthew Henry Commentary of the Bible, on page 2014, Christ promises the disciples this great and unspeakable blessing of a Comforter to them John 14v16+17. This is the great New Testament promise of Acts 1v4, similar to that of the Old Testament promise of the Messiah; a promise adapted to the present distress of the disciples, who were in sorrow and needed a comforter. The blessing promised [Greek=allon paraklęton] is a word used only here in these discourses of Christ, and where in 1John 2v1 it is translated ‘an advocate’. We read in Acts 9v31, of the [Greek = paraklësis tou hagiou pneumatos], the comfort of the Holy Ghost. Also the office of the Spirit was to be Christ’s advocate with them (disciples) and others, to plead His cause, and take care of His concerns here on earth; to be vicarious Christi- Christ’s Vicar, and to be their advocate with their opposers. Because when Christ was with them (disciples), He spoke for them as there was occasion; but now that He is leaving them they shall not be run down, as the Spirit of the Father will now speak in them.
Matthew 10v19+20 For the Father will send one who shall do exactly as Jesus has been doing, just as effectually, though silently. One of the names of the Messiah amongst the Jews was Menahem- meaning the Comforter. The Targum calls the days of the Messiah…the years of consolation. Christ comforted and consoled his disciples, but now that He was leaving them, in their greatest need He promises them another. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
In other words folks, we now have the third person of the Triune Godhead, the HOLY SPIRIT who dwells within us. The ministry of the SPIRIT for 2005 years has been to comfort God’s children, He (Holy Spirit) has always been near, never far, always teaching, always guiding the child of God in paths of righteousness, and always convicting of sin that sinner who needs a Saviour.
Always gently tugging at the heart of that wayward child of God, always healing that wounded soul, and always healing the sick in body.
Always restoring that broken marriage, lifting up that one who has stumbled and is to weak to get up, always bringing victory to the one who needs victory, always turning sorrow into joy, always delivering those held captive by the devil. There is so much more that can be said about the third person of the Triune God, but I believe we have learnt much about Him as a person, and His ministry.
Obviously folks, we haven’t scratched the surface on this exciting subject. There is so much more concerning this; “the baptism in the Holy Spirit and with fire, speaking in other tongues, fruit of the Spirit”, etc. But we’ll allow the HOLY SPIRIT to lead us at a later time for that. In the meantime, let’s enjoy the fellowship that we are experiencing each day, knowing we have a Comforter.