The activity of the Holy Spirit
Genesis one – the Spirit of God hovered, surveying the scene, then spoke into being the world in which we live. Then God communicated with Adam in the evening breeze.
Genesis six – In Noah's day it was the Spirit that sought to turn the people away from sin.
Genesis fourty one – of Joseph, who retained trust in God despite suffering, of him it was said "a man who is obviously filled with the Spirit of God".
And it continues in the Old Testament – God's Spirit enabling people to speak for Him and do special things for Him.
The sad end of the Old Testament is recorded:
Zechariah 7:12 "They made their hearts hard as stone, so they could not hear the law or the messages that the LORD Almighty had sent to them by His Spirit, through the earlier prophets.".
2 Peter 1:21 " It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God"
In the New Testament, it continues to be the Holy Spirit,that communicates God's truth. In John 16, Jesus said the Holy Spirit would complete the revelation of God the Father revealed in Jesus Christ, using the Apostles and NT prophets. They spoke and wrote the truth as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 2:10. – "But we know these things because God has revealed them to us by His Spirit, and His Spirit searches out everything and shows us(the Apostles) even God's deep secrets." – how blessed we are to be able to read the New Testament, and know it is inspired by God!
Acts 2 This communication of truth was so evident on the day of Pentecost, when the once afraid Peter, stands before a great crowd and delivers (spontaneously) , a brilliant message . Peter had been confused and disappointed, but now by the Holy Spirit he clearly reveals that God was doing something special by the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The people were convicted their sin, and sought forgiveness. Peter boldly issues a promise – "Repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"
This was a very special day, for the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven had sent down to earth the Holy Spirit to fill all believers. They were thus enabled to communicate in many languages the wonderful works of God.
Peter's message was from God, and the effect was by God the Spirit. About three thousand people believed and were baptised in water. What follows in the chapter, shows that they were also immersed by the Holy Spirit (baptised) into one body. Thus began the great work described in the letter to the Ephesians – 'one body by one Spirit '.
But I have missed so much. Let me briefly mention the life of the Lord Jesus.
- Miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit –Matthew 1:18
- Anointed by the Holy Spirit for service – Matthew 3:16
- Led by the Holy Spirit to the place of temptation – Matthew 4:1
- Casting out demons by the Holy Spirit – Matthew 8:16
- He offered Himself, through the eternal Spirit , without blemish to God –Hebrews 9:14
- He is declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of Holiness by His resurrection from the dead – Jesus Christ our Lord! –
- Romans 1:4
- He promised to send the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:8
And so it is that we have the assurance of who Jesus is ,by the Holy Spirit.
In the book called 'Acts', let us trace the continuing activity of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2 – the Spirit gave utterance.
Acts 5 – Peter discerned a hidden lie by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 6,7 Stephen evidently served and spoke by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8 – Phillip was directed by the holy Spirit.
Acts9 - Saul was promised Holy Spirit fullness for his service.
Acts 9.31 The disciples were comforted by the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10.19 The Holy Spirit communicates to Peter.
Acts 10.44 The Holy Spirit came to the Gentile believers as a gift, enabling them to speak in other languages as proof to the visiting Jews that the Gentiles were cleansed by grace as much as Jews (Acts 15.8,9).
Acts 13.2 The Holy Spirit gave directions.
Acts 19.2 The Holy Spirit's presence is directly linked to the Name of the Lord Jesus.( not outside that authority)
Acts 20.28 The Holy Spirit appoints overseers.(Shepherd to care)
Acts 28.25 The Holy Spirit interprets and applies the Old Testament
I pause here and ask you to note the multivaried functions and activity of the Holy Spirit. Note well that the Holy Spirit came from above, communicated and acted through whom He chose. It was always to the glory of God through Jesus Christ. It was not for the glory of men, nor was His presence focused on subjective feelings. Rather as one of the trinity, He was communicating for God.
Next – The Holy Spirit in the teachings of the Apostles.