The Work of the Holy Spirit in our Lives
The Holy Spirit today plays a major role in the application of salvation to the individual.
- It is the Spirit who brings conviction to the unbeliever and causes him to see the truth of the gospel in a clear light.
- Those who respond to this conviction and place their faith in Jesus Christ receive eternal life and a new nature.
- The Holy Spirit unites the believer with Christ and places him in the body of Christ, the church.
- He also unites the believer with Christ in His death, enabling him to live victoriously over sin.
- The Holy Spirit controls the believer who yields to God and submits himself to God’s Word.
- When these conditions are met, the believer lives in the power of the Spirit and produces the fruit of the Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit indwells the believer permanently. While the child of God may sin and grieve the Spirit, the Spirit will never leave the true believer.
- Absence of the Holy Spirit is the mark of the unsaved.
- The Holy Spirit seals the believer.
- This ministry guarantees the security of the believer “until the day of redemption.”
- The Holy Spirit sovereignly bestows spiritual gifts or abilities for service to every believer.
- Although His restraint of evil in the world today will cease with the rapture,
- He will continue to be present in the earth. In the tribulation period the Spirit will be involved in salvation and filling.
- In the coming kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Spirit will be in God’s people and the Spirit will be upon the King.
Be Filled With the Spirit
Not yielded to God, the worldly believer is usually a miserable person — even more miserable than the non-Christian. He is in a period of stunted spiritual growth because he is not confessing and repenting of his sins, and Satan has succeeded in influencing and controlling him through the flesh.
The worldly or carnal Christian certainly experiences the conviction of the Holy Spirit and will not continue in his sins indefinitely; otherwise, he is possibly not a Christian at all. But defeated and fruitless, he depends on self-effort to live the Christian life instead of drawing on the supernatural, inexhaustible resources of the Holy Spirit. Grasping self-interest in one hand and groping for God’s blessing with the other, this person fails again and again to live the Christian life in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.
Having experienced the joy and blessing of fellowship with God, he has lost present contact and does not know how to recapture that lost fellowship. Yet, the worldly believer can never be satisfied with that old way of life again, and in search of happiness and fulfillment, this person has become self-centered instead of Christ-centered.
As a result, he has become increasingly confused and frustrated and does not know what to do about it. He does not know how to live by faith, and instead he lives by feeling. The worldly Christian tries rather than trusts. He does not know how to stop being worldly nor how to become a spiritual Christian. The only one who can enable him to change is, of course, the Holy Spirit.
The Christian life is a miraculous and supernatural life. Christianity is not what you do for God, but what He does for you. Apart from faith in Christ, you cannot become a Christian, and apart from moment by moment faith or dependence on Him, you cannot live the Christian life. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ lives His supernatural life in and through you.
But the average Christian does not understand how to draw upon the resurrection resources of Christ by faith. As a result, the worldly believer lives in spiritual poverty, not knowing or experiencing his great riches and resources, which are his heritage in Christ.
Lack of knowledge is not the only reason that Christians are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Many of them basically do not believe in God’s trustworthiness and are afraid to relinquish control of their lives to the Holy Spirit for fear that God will require the impossible from them — that He will change their plans, ask them to give away their wealth, take all the fun from their lives, make them endure tragedies or something similar.
Though you are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith and faith alone, it is important to recognize that several factors contribute to preparing your heart for the filling of the Spirit.
- First, you must desire to live a life that will please the Lord. You have the promise of our Savior: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
- Second, be willing to surrender your life totally and irrevocably to our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul admonishes in Romans 12:1-2, “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
- Third, confess every known sin which the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and experience the cleansing and forgiveness that God promises in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, however, is not a once-and-for-all experience. There are many fillings, as is made clear in Ephesians 5:18. In the Greek language, in which this command was originally written, the meaning is clearer than that in most English translations. This command of God means to be constantly and continually filled, controlled and empowered with the Holy Spirit as a way of life.
I cannot control myself and be controlled by the Holy Spirit at the same time. Christ cannot be in control if I am on the throne. So I must abdicate. This involves faith. As an expression of my will, in prayer, I surrender the throne of my life to Him, and by faith I draw upon His resources to live a holy and fruitful life.
Develop Dependency by Listening to the Holy Spirit
Dependency is continuous walking in the Spirit. Just as Jesus lived in continuous inward fellowship with His Father, so we are to be continuously dependent on God. As we do this, the Holy Spirit changes us.
Living in constant inward fellowship with God means living minute by minute in the inward presence of the Lord Jesus by His Spirit. This does not necessarily involve emotions and feelings, but it is a spiritual consciousness of the presence of God, a lifestyle of drawing life, wisdom, peace, and strength from His life. A total dependence on God continuously looks at Him with the eyes of our hearts.
Jesus gave us a wonderful promise of abiding fellowship with God (John 14:21-23):..… He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him … My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
This is a promise of the manifestation (“show Myself”) and continuous presence (“Our home”) of God in our hearts. We can live in this continuous inward fellowship with Jesus by His Spirit. As we do this, we will draw from His strength and His wisdom in order to fulfill His purposes (John 15:4-5).
Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must abide in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.Jesus lived in continuous fellowship with His Father, and through that fellowship He drew from, and lived by, His Father’s life
What Does It Mean to Abide in Christ?
Connection with Jesus Abiding in Jesus first of all means having a life-giving connection to him. A branch is connected to the vine, and a vine to the branch. This is what theologians frequently describe as “union with Christ.” Notice that this connection, this union, is mutual. We abide in him and he abides in us (John 15:4). If there is no connection, there is no life, no fruit.
Dependence on Jesus But abiding also implies dependence. This aspect of abiding, unlike connection, is not reciprocal. The branch is dependent on the vine, but the vine is not dependent on the branch. The branch derives its life and power from the vine. Without the vine, the branch is useless, lifeless, powerless. Sap flows from the vine to the branch, supplying it with water, minerals, and nutrients that make it grow. And believers receive the “sap” of Christ’s grace through our life-giving connection to him. We are completely dependent upon Jesus for everything that counts as spiritual fruit (John 15:4). Apart from him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
Continuance with Jesus Abiding also involves continuance. In fact, “abide” (Greek, meno) means to remain, or stay, or continue. For example, in John 1:38-39, two of the disciples who first encountered Jesus asked him “Where are you staying?” They wanted to know where Jesus made his residence. The word “staying” is the same word translated “abide” in John 15. To abide is to reside. To abide is to continue, to stay, to remain.
Chapter 29 Questions
- After having read Chapter 29, please share one “take away “ thought/insight that will be helpful in your daily walk.
- Pg 222: Discuss what it means to have an openness to the Holy Spirit’s control . What fears do you have that could be thwarting your openness?
- Pg 223: Discuss what it looks like to be dependent upon His control. What is Thrasher saying with “ You cannot trust God for something that has not been surrendered to Him.” Discuss Thrasher’s statement “Dependence on the Spirit does not mean inactivity, but it does mean activating our faith before we activate our wills “.
- Pg 225: Discuss what it looks like to be responsive to His control.
- Pg 226: “ It is God’s Word that explains to us how to be open, dependent, and responsive to God’s Spirit” (Thrasher). Share how God’s Word is helping you abide in the Lord. Give specifics from your daily time in the Word.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”