The Holy Spirit: His Person and Work

This is only the briefest outline. Before we start, write down a list of what comes to mind when you hear the words 'Holy Spirit'.

This study concentrates on the central features of the Holy Sprit's person and work.

The Holy Spirit's Person

He is a person, God, the third person of the Trinity, proceeding forth from the Father and the Son. Let's look at each of these ideas in turn.

The Holy Spirit is a person

It is most important not to think of him as a 'force' or energy. Six biblical reasons for believing he is a person:

a) He is referred to as a person.

John 15:26 [John 16:13-14; Hebrews 3:7]

Look up the others later:

b) He is affected by the actions of others.

Acts 5:3 [Ephesians 4:30]

c) He performs acts proper to a person.

Luke 12:12 [Genesis 1:2-3]

d) His name is mentioned alongside other people.

John 16:14

e) He has personal characteristics.

1 Corinthians 2:10-11

f) He is distinguished from his power.

Luke 4:14

 

The Holy Spirit is a divine person

[Again just look up (a) and leave the rest for personal study]

a) Spoken of as God.

Acts 5:3-4 [1 Corinthians 3:16; 12:3-6]

b) Divine actions associated with him.

Genesis 1:2-3

c) Divine attributes.

1 Corinthians 2:11-12; Psalm 139:7; Romans 8:2; John 16:13; Romans 15:30

d) Associated with other persons of the Godhead.

Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2

['Trinitarian formula' frequently found in Paul's letters, e.g. 1 Corinthians 12:3-6; Ephesians 1:13-14, 2:18, 3:14-19, 4:1-6etc.]

[The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son]

- Not one or the other.

John 15:26 [Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6]

The Holy Spirit's work

The Holy Spirit was promised to believers by Christ

John 14:16-26 [John 15:26, 16:7]

He was specifically and historically poured out as promised at Pentecost.

Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:1-13

The work of the Holy Spirit is presented like this in Scripture:

The Father plans

The Son carries out the plan,

The Spirit applies the work of Christ.

Yet because God is one, each is involved in the others activities. There is an inter-penetration of role, e.g. Romans 8:9-11.

Aspects of the Holy Spirit's work

a) His work in creation.

Genesis 1:2-3

b) His work in communicating God's truth.

His main work is to testify to (point to) Christ.

2 Timothy 3:15-16 [2 Peter 1:19-21 John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13-14],John 16:13-14

c) He is involved in Christ's work.

Luke 1:35; Matthew 3:16

d) His work in human beings is extensive.

- The new birth

John 3:1-8; Ephesians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 12:13

- Giving understanding

1 Corinthians 2:4 [John 14:26, 15:26]

- Producing fruit (holiness)

Galatians 5:22-26; 1 Peter 1:2

- Fills believers

Ephesians 5:18

-.Gives gifts to believers

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 [Ephesians 4:7-14; 1 Peter 4:10-11; Romans 12:6-8]

- Helps in prayer

Ephesians 2:18; Romans 8:26

He applies the work of Christ to believers.

He seals and sanctifies believers in Christ.

Questions to consider

1) Can you be a Christian and not have the Holy Spirit?

No (without the Spirit there is no life and you cannot please God.

Romans 8:9

2) Does the Spirit of God live within Christians?

Yes, he does.

1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:18-20

3) How can you tell the Holy Spirit has produced the new birth in you?

He produces faith in Christ.

John 3:1-15

4) Are all Christians baptised in the Holy Spirit?

Yes, see 1 Corinthians 12:13. The Holy Spirit is also received by faith.

Galatians 3:2,3,14

5) How can we tell we have the Holy Spirit?

It is not a matter of feelings or power (see 1 Corinthians 13:1-3) but of having faith in Christ which produces a changed life.

Galatians 3:14, 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:3-11

6) Do all Christians have the same gifts?

No (gifts are not primarily for the individual's benefit, but for the benefit of the church community and therefore need to be varied and used for the good of the community.

Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:10,11,27

Summary

The Holy Spirit gives new life and brings a person to faith in Christ, uniting them to Christ and all his benefits. He makes the believer part of Christ's body. He indwells and seals the believer. As the Holy Spirit lives in the believer, he produces growth in grace and holiness of life. He empowers the Christian for service by giving different gifts.