I’ve been thinking much lately about the ministry of the Spirit, especially as it’s described by Jesus in John 14-16. Rather than writing a length article (I lack the time to write it, and you probably lack the time to read it), I offer the following short, punchy observations for your consideration:
1. The church should regard Pentecost as it regards the Incarnation. Both were world-shifting, life-changing, God-coming events.
2. It’s as impossible to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit as it is to become a Christian without Christ.
3. As our Paraklete, the Spirit of God is our Advocate on earth, just as the Son of God is our Advocate in heaven.
4. According to Jesus’ shocking statement in John 16:7, the Spirit’s earthly ministry is more advantageous to us than Christ’s. Wow.
5. The church has allowed abuses of the doctrine of the Spirit by some to make us negligent and even wary of His true, biblical works.
6. The mercies of God the Father and God the Son are mediated to the church through God the Spirit.
7. The church’s power to resist sin, reach the lost, apply the Scriptures, grow in Christlikeness, and minister effectively resides in the Spirit, not us. We are impotent without Him. (Yes, that was more than 140 characters.)
This paragraph from E. M. Bounds’ little book Winning the Invisible War (which I’ve enjoyed!) summarizes it well:
“The Church is distinctly, preeminently, and absolutely a spiritual institution. It is an institution created, vitalized, possessed, and directed by the Spirit of God. Her ministers and doctrines have appeal, relevance, and power only when they are channels of the Holy Spirit. It is His indwelling and inspiration which give the Church its divine character and accomplish its divine purposes” (p. 54).
If these things are true—and they are—what difference do they make in your Christian life? In your church?