I was raised an Anglican and heard the words Father Son and Holy Spirit since I was born, yet I never really understood who the Holy Spirit was. I could grasp the idea of Jesus and my Heavenly Father, but the Holy Spirit was a bit of a mystery.
My girlfriend’s mother had read a book called "Nine o'clock in the morning" by Dennis Bennet, and it had a dramatic impact on her life. The book was about a man who had had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. She started to attend Charismatic meetings at local Anglican Church, and my girlfriend (now my wife Sue) said she wanted to go to one of these meetings. I was not interested but went anyway.
As I entered the old Anglican church, the first thing I noticed was they did not have a choir, and instead people were playing guitars and singing choruses, not hymns. I noticed that men were singing with their whole hearts and had their hands lifted. I experienced a feeling I had only felt before when we sang the Gloria during a traditional Anglican service. I did not know what it was, but it was tangible, and I could feel it on my skin. At the end of the service, my girlfriend and I went forward and knelt at the front of the church. I was crying, and I said, “I feel this is what Christ’s church is supposed to be like."
For the next few months, we attended these Charismatic services, and I asked a man, “What is different about you?” I had been around Christians my whole life, but I never met people like you. He said, “We have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I asked, “What’s that?” He replied, “On the day of Pentecost, the apostles were in the upper room and tongues of fire appeared on their heads, and they began to speak with other tongues, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. This has happened to us.” I had never heard of this happening to anybody, but on the first weekend of May 1976 at a Full Gospel Businessmen's breakfast, Christian businessmen laid their hands on my head, and I was filled with the Holy Spirit. It felt like buckets of electricity had been poured all over my body, and I thought I wanted to tell everyone they needed to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
I didn’t know anything, but I was transformed by an impartation of the power of God in my mind and heart.
Over the next two blogs, I will discuss who the Holy Spirit is, and what He does in our lives.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The first time we hear about the Holy Spirit is at the beginning of creation.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Gen 1:2
The word Spirit here is the Hebrew word Ruach: breath, wind, spirit. It is a feminine noun, which is an interesting contrast to the Heavenly Father. It demonstrates that God has both mother and father attributes. The word Ruach describes the power or energy of God.
The Holy Spirit is in the transformation business.
· He transformed the formless void of the earth into the world as we see it today. Gen 1:2.
· He gives us life Job 33:4
· He transforms us into a new creation Titus 3:5.
· He transforms our mortal bodies in the resurrection Romans 8:11
He administers the power of God to accomplish the will of the Father. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Lord and giver of life in the Nicene Creed.
The word Holy Spirit first shows up in Ps 51:11 “do not cast me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me." King David wrote these words, and they describe the cry of the heart of David and the value that he saw in having an intimate relationship with God.
Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter, Helper, and advocate. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26
The Greek word for Comforter is paráklētos. It describes a person who comes to one's side when we need help and gives counsel and advice. It is also often used to describe an advocate in a court of law to who represents you and pleads your case. You may wonder when we need this kind of role; after all, we are forgiven because of Jesus. Unfortunately although our mind knows we are forgiven, our heart sometimes condemns us for our mistakes. Holy Spirit is our advocate when we condemn ourselves. He advises, encourage us, and tells us the truth that we are forgiven; we are worthy of love; we are accepted just as we are.
Jesus says in John 14:16, "He will give you another Counselor." The word "another," in the Greek has two different words, "heteron," = "another of a different kind" and "allos" = "another of exactly the same kind." The Greek word used here is "allos." This means the author is deliberately and clearly stating that the Holy Spirit is exactly like Jesus. If you trust, like and love Jesus, you can trust, like and love the Holy Spirit! In fact in Rom 8:9 the Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Christ “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” The heart and desire of God is to speak to us. He has a deep passion and longing to connect, and He receives great joy from a relationship with us. He is an initiator who comes with grace! The Holy Spirit facilitates that relationship.
Jesus says the Holy Spirit will teach us all things. The Holy Spirit is the part of the God Head that interacts with us, who talks with us, who teaches us, who comforts us. The term Holy Spirit appears at least 90 times in the New Testament.
I have to admit although I have read quite a bit about the Holy Spirit, I was still a bit confused about His role and so I asked the Lord about the Holy Spirit. Below is what I felt He said.
When you see Jesus, you see the Father. The Father imparts His words to Holy Spirit who communicates them to you. Holy Spirit speaks to you the words I speak.
Holy Spirit is the part of God that imparts the purposes of the Godhead in the affairs of mankind. All interactions with humanity are through the Holy Spirit. All power is imparted through the Holy Spirit, all revelation and gifts are given through the Holy Spirit. My heart is to have a relationship with all My children. Holy Spirit facilitates that relationship. The world is drawn to Me by the Holy Spirit. He draws all men to My heart. He is near to the brokenhearted. He's close to those who are afraid. He imparts life to the broken spirit. Holy Spirit draws believers as well to My desires for their lives. He communicates My heart for them, My destiny, My purpose. He explains to them how to do the work of My kingdom. He teaches them how to administer My gifts and power to this world
This helped me to understand who the Holy Spirit is and what His role is in the Godhead.
Holy Spirit is a person
A person is a being that has specific capacities such as reason, morality, consciousness, or self-consciousness, and is capable of having a relationship. In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is designated as a Person. Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity: the Triune God manifested as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; each entity itself being God.
In John 14:16-17, we see the most precise description of this triune God.
16 And I (Jesus) will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.
Holy Spirit is a person. He is entirely God, co-equal, and co-eternal with God the Father and the Son of God. He differs from the Father and Son in that He proceeds from the Father and the Son to do the work of the Father and to interact with mankind.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus gives us our final charge when he says” make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
Holy Spirit is God. He is a person. He is not just a force. Let’s look at five examples of the evidence of the personhood of the Holy Spirit.
1. Holy Spirit can be grieved
Like a person, the Holy Spirit can be grieved. Ephesians 4:30: states, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Grieving means “to cause to feel grief or sorrow.” The Holy Spirit feels grief or sorrow as a result of our choices. He feels sad when we don't listen to His leading when we choose our way when we don't obey his prompting
2. Holy Spirit can be quenched
Closely related to grieving the Holy Spirit is quenching the Holy Spirit. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, the apostle Paul told believers, "Do not quench the Spirit." The word quench here can also mean extinguish. This particular verse is regarding the gift of prophecy. In verse 20 it says, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt” People often feel quenched by others when their gifts or talents or skills are discounted. The Holy Spirit can feel that way.
3. Holy Spirit can be insulted and resisted
Heb 10:29 states “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Holy Spirit is insulted when we continue to choose to do wrong things. One of the Holy Spirit’s responsibilities is to tell us what is right and wrong. When we willfully choose to ignore His counsel, we insult Him.
Have you ever tried to coach someone to do the right thing and they continually discount your council, your advice, even say it is garbage and not worthy of being listened to? If you have, you have likely felt insulted. This a personal feeling, Holy Spirit feels this way when we ignore His counsel.
In Acts we have a recorded the speech that Stephen made before the Jewish Council. He said, "You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51). The sin of resisting the Holy Spirit is often committed by unbelievers or those who have fallen away from the faith. This act also insults the Holy Spirit.
4. Holy Spirit can be blasphemed
In Matthew, Jesus healed a person who was demon possessed, and the Pharisees said He casts out devils by the power of Satan. Jesus responds to the statement saying that Satan cannot work against himself because a kingdom divided will fall. Then He makes the following powerful statement, "Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and of blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven” (Matthew 12:31).
It is possible to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Blaspheme means to speak irreverently about God or sacred things. In this case, the blasphemy is the Pharisees were attributing to the devil the things that the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do. A force cannot be blasphemed against, only a person.
5. You can talk to the Holy Spirit
Although the Bible does not explicitly encourage us to worship the Holy Spirit, you can speak to Him, and He will talk to you. John 16:13 declares this truth “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.” Acts 13:2 states an example of the Holy Spirit speaking, “While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
Here is an example of a journal where I felt Holy Spirit speaking to me.
Holy Spirit is a person like the Father is, like the Son is. He has a voice. He has desires. He has a heart for my ways and desires. Together We are one voice. We have one purpose, the redemption of man, the instruction of man, the restoration of man’s purpose and destiny.
I empower My people to be strong in the Lord, to walk in strength, not weakness, to defeat the schemes and plans of Satan. I will give wisdom to my people to defeat his plans, his schemes. I give purpose to my people to bring the Father’s kingdom to this world. I draw all men to the Father.
Son, I am the voice of the Father. I instruct His children in His ways, His purpose, His destiny in His kingdom. I am the teacher. I am the guide. I am the counselor. I give all the wisdom of the Father to his children. I instruct his children in the ways and designed for them. I am the wisdom of God.
I will often speak to you when you are ministering to others and give you insight and wisdom in a situation. I will impart power into bodies and heal sick people. I will give you words to say to others, and I will instruct you in the right actions to take in every situation. Trust me.
Only a person has a voice. A force does not.
Our Heavenly Father sent the Son so that we may have relationship with Him. Jesus asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to be with us, to comfort us, to develop a deep personal relationship with us, instruct us, transform us, and to empower us to do the Fathers will.
Next blog in series: How does the Holy Spirit operate in our lives (Located on Bill Dupley's website)
Related Resources:How to Be Empowered by the Holy Spirit!
Related Blogs:Honoring the Holy Spirit