“Jesus’ Promise of the Holy Ghost – Part IV”

     The last time we were looking at the words of Jesus in John 14:17, saying that “He’ [the Holy Ghost] ‘dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” We can clearly see that this was the final declaration of the significant way the God the Holy Spirit's presence is displayed to us in our lives. Not only is it a matter of His eternal presence, which displays itself in true spiritual wisdom. But more to us is the reality that the Spirit of the Living God has His personal residence in our lives as true and believing children of God, who are living as disciples of Christ.

Lets look at two great realities that flow from this wonderful truth:

First, that the Spirit dwells within the Child of God, not because of any good works that they have done, but only because Christ has died for them, and the Holy Ghost has given them eternal life in the new birth, [or by being born again]. Jesus set up a contrast for us to see the work of the Spirit in the Old and New Testaments. The contrast is between “dwells with you” and “will be in you.” The promise isn’t that the Holy Ghost will come in some general way to aid us, but that He would dwell specifically in a real and significant manner in the lives of the Child of God who believes and obeys Him. This is the very same truth that Paul reveals in Romans 8 in relation to our understanding of the Holy Spirit.

Notice how clearly he described the indwelling of the Spirit in verses 9-11:

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

The Holy Spirit has come to us as the ultimate evidence that we are born again, that we ARE children of God, and that we have received eternal life by and through the resurrected Christ. To know Christ…IS…to enjoy the indwelling of the Spirit!

The filling of the Spirit is a very different thing from the indwelling of the Spirit; but it does flow from it. In Eph. 5:18 we read, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” This filling of the Spirit speaks of His control and influence in our lives. Even as the influence of alcohol has control over people for evil, so the Spirit’s presence has influence and control over us as believers for good when we surrender our will to His will. This surrendering of our will does not make us His children, but shows that we are His obedient children. If the Spirit were not indwelling us, there would be no need for His continually filling us with His controlling power. In addition, although the indwelling of the Spirit is a permanent and filling presence, it must be maintained moment-by-moment in our lives as the disciples of Christ Jesus, and as we are still connected by the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

So what’s the implication? Listen to the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 6:19-20, he says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” The presence of the Holy Spirit ought to result in clearly seen holiness in our daily walk, because we are now His temple, where He abides continually…even forever. It is not just the empowering we need to glorify God; but it is our motivation as well. The Holy Spirit lives within us. His presence is evidence of the price Christ paid to redeem us from the consequence of sin and secure us for all eternity. We are not our own! We have been bought with a price! Now we have the Spirit of God indwelling us!
If we are to enjoy the blessings of the joy of the promise that Christ gave us concerning the Holy Ghost we must willingly surrender to the Spirit control over our lives for Him and He will do His work in us, for even as we “can do nothing” without Christ, we can do nothing without the Holy Ghost!” (See John 15:5). The work that He does in our lives is a work we could never do for ourselves. The divine enablement comes by the will of the Father, to the honor of the Son, by the immediate and direct empowering of the Spirit. It’s work that we can prayerfully ask of Him to daily, hourly, and even minute-by-minute have His wonderful way in our lives.

Jesus told His disciples in Acts 1:8 that they would “receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This I believe has direct attachment to the coming of the Spirit to the empowerment of God’s children as they believe and obey His commandments. As they deign themselves and follow Him in discipleship, entering into the visible Church Kingdom of God.

With this thought in mind, let us take out a little bit of time and look at this:

To start with, what is power? The word power used by Jesus in Acts 1:8 is the Greek word dunamis. It is defined variously as “strength, power, or ability.” This refers specifically it to an “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” This spiritual power does not come from the believer. Notice that it is the inherent dwelling of the Holy Spirit, who resides within the believing child of God. However, how does this power manifest itself in our lives? We can see at least three ways that the Holy Spirit expresses His power in the lives of the redeemed.

First, the power of the Holy Ghost that brings about the new birth. Second, as the true followers and disciples of Christ, the power for life of the Spirit causes us to live our lives in a profoundly different way from that of the hopeless world that surrounds us. Paul writes again in Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” The power of the Holy Spirit provides for us the things that human effort and human religion and human righteousness could never achieve. He is there to empower our life and walk with a glorious sense of joy, peace, and hope that can carry us through the trials and hardships that are the inevitable by-products of life in a corrupt and fallen world.

The way of the world is a mad pursuit of mere happiness; i.e. “if it feels good, do it.” However, by the power of the Spirit we can have real and lasting joy and peace. While the world is filled with empty despair and a bleak future, we have a bright hope.

Why? Because the power of the Holy Spirit equips us for life in a way that the world cannot grasp. The power of the Holy Ghost as our “Comforter” enables us to experience the things that the world cannot secure, but which things belong to us by Jesus’ promise of the Spirit. This is the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” This life is full, rich, deep, and lasting. This life is lived by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, we have a personal power of outreach. We are often condemned by others of the religious world for not believing, nor supporting missionary endeavors to save lost souls for God, but we do believe in a personal power of the Holy Ghost that we are able to each out with REAL and TRUE EVANGELISM! This is true because we understand that the scriptures do not support such worldly endeavors as missions. Notice the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” And in 1 Thessalonians 1:5, “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.”

We will pause here until the next time, when we will try to continue with the thought of the Spirits work in evangelism. May God bless you and keep you.

Elder Thomas McDonald