Fivefold Ministry of the Holy Spirit
There has always been a lot of confusion over the ministry of the Holy Spirit. There are usually two extremes. One where there is an over emphasis concerning manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and another where the manifestations are completely thrown out of the church today. Both extremes are equally wrong.
I was saved in the mid seventies in the midst of the charismatic movement. There were a lot of extremes in the church at that time. I saw so many extremes concerning the manifestations of the Spirit that I nearly ignored their validity altogether. I am thankful for two men of God (Dr. Paul E. Paino and Pastor Chuck Smith) who found a proper balance in most extremes of that era. Much of what I will be sharing on this subject I have gleaned from them.
There is so much concerning the ministry of the Holy Spirit that it is impossible to expound on it in one message or lesson. This is a general overview of His ministry. Most of the Holy Spirit’s ministry can easily fall under these categories. It’s interesting to note the different prepositions in relation to the Holy Spirit and us. These prepositions differentiate the Holy Spirit’s different ministries to God’s people.
The Holy Spirit With Us (John 14:15-18)
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was with the people of God. He didn’t begin to indwell believers until after the day of Pentecost. Before you came to Jesus the Holy Spirit was with you and not in you. He was with you drawing you to Christ. It was this part of His ministry that brought you to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him” (John 6:44). The word draw literally means to drag. How many of us had to be dragged to a relationship with Christ, fighting and kicking all the way? I know we have a free will but I also know we tend to take the path of least resistance. It is probably because you had someone earnestly praying for you. If you haven’t gotten saved yet and you have someone praying for your salvation, give up. He will win!
The Holy Spirit in Us (1 Corinthians 3:16; Titus 3:5)
This has to do with regeneration or the new birth. Your human spirit is dead in trespasses and sins prior to coming to Jesus (Ephesians 2:1). The moment you trusted Jesus as your only hope of salvation the Holy Spirit came into your heart, quickened (brought to life) your spirit and you were born again (John 3:3-16). This is the Holy Spirit’s ministry of regeneration.
Filled With the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19)
This has to do primarily with character and fruit. This ministry of the Spirit is crucial. No one is constantly filled with the Spirit. This is in the present continual since and means be being filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit. We are to constantly be being filled with God’s Spirit. We need this because being in the world and the flesh we tend to have so many leaks. Any time we sin we are at that point no longer filled with His Spirit. We must confess our sin and ask God to refill us. As we notice from the context, praise flows out of us as a result of being filled with the Spirit. Therefore, whenever we find ourselves complaining (Philippians 2:14) we have just sprung another leak and must be refilled.
As we look at the context of this passage and compare scripture with scripture, we see the main key to being filled with God’s Spirit is communion with Him and His word. Compare Ephesians 5:18-19 with Colossians 3:16. When we compare the two we see one says to be filled with the Spirit and the other says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Both of which have nearly the same context. Therefore, one of the ways to keep ourselves filled with His Spirit is to saturate ourselves with His word. This and communing with Jesus is the way to allow His Spirit to fill our life. There is no easy short cut. Read also John 7:37-39.
The Holy Spirit Upon Us (Acts 1:8)
This is an anointing for service. The Holy Spirit comes upon us in power whenever we step out to serve the Lord. There is no anointing without service. If you will step out and serve Jesus in any capacity you will find God anointing you with His Spirit. There is nothing more wonderful than when you experience the Holy Spirit coming upon you for service. The context here is referring to being witnesses. As you share the gospel by witnessing to someone or through acts of selfless service to God, His people and a lost world the Holy Spirit will come upon you empowering you for the task. I dare you, find some way to serve him each and every week.
Elisha received a double portion of the anointing Elijah had because he was willing to serve. He first served behind twelve pair of oxen (what a dirty job that must have been) and then in faithful service to Elijah (1 Kings 19:19-21 and 2 Kings 2:1-14). If you want to be used mightily of God you must first be a faithful servant under another person’s ministry (Luke 16:12).
Baptized With or In the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11-12; Acts 1:4-5)
This has to do with the gifts (spirituals or manifestations) of the Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit means to be immersed (dunked) in His Spirit. Many teach that this is one and the same as the Holy Spirit baptizing us into the body of Christ at conversion but there is a clear distinction between the two. As you read the above verses you see Jesus is doing the baptizing and He is placing us into the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 you have the Holy Spirit doing the baptizing and He is placing us into the body of Christ. The distinction is clear. In the one we are being placed into the Holy Spirit and in the other we are being placed into the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13 takes place at conversion whereas Matthew 3:11-12 and Acts 1:4-5 is an experience we can have in the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation.
This experience opens us up to the manifestations (spirituals or gifts) of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-7). This experience had as it’s initial evidence that of speaking in tongues (Acts 2:1-4; 10:44-48; 19:1-6). It is important to note that this has nothing to do with salvation and that we receive all of the Holy Spirit at conversion. One cannot be saved without receiving the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). This is an experience separate from or subsequent to salvation that we can enjoy with the Holy Spirit who already dwells within us as believers.
Prayer: “Father God I ask you right now to give me an open spirit to all that you might have for me. I pray that you will pour your Spirit out on me like you did those in the beginning without restraint. In Jesus name, Amen!”