So, we are continuing our journey today into a subject that is unchartered territory for so many believers—the Third Person of the Godhead, the mighty Holy Spirit.
Now we made the point that, sadly, the Holy Spirit is not talked about in many churches today. Yes, you can talk to a lot of believers out there about the Holy Spirit, and they would respond like the Ephesians did when Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed, saying, “We have not heard whether there is a Holy Spirit” (See Acts chapter 19). Sure, He is mentioned casually here and there in some churches, but an emphasis is usually not placed on His everyday ministry in our lives. Now I made the point that in some groups, He is talked about a lot, but their emphasis is usually more on what He does, to where He is usually referred to as some force or power.
So, what we are going to do in this series of teachings is emphasize His Person—learning who He is, while also learning what He is here to do in our lives. We are going to do this by teaching on Him and His ministry up one way and down another, learning how to fellowship and partner together with Him. We will also learn of the advantages He provides to us in our everyday lives. We will look at all of the ways in which He is typified in God’s Word. We will also wind up looking at the gifts that He provides to us, the fruit that He produces in us, and how we are to be led by Him on a daily basis.
However, as I expressed last week, my purpose and intent through this series of teachings is not to primarily make you know more about the Holy Spirit; it is to provoke in you a desire to know Him—that is, to know the Holy Spirit personally and in a more intimate way. If what I accomplish through these messages is simply help you to acknowledge Him more in your everyday lives, I will consider this series a success. But if all we do is just file this information away in our memory bank and let it collect dust, then we are missing the point of why we are studying these truths.
So, let’s not do that. Let’s commit to applying these truths into our everyday lives, and I will give you the unconditional guarantee that your life will be much more Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered, and Spirit-filled. Amen.
So, let’s go back over to Second Corinthians chapter 13 and look again at our golden text—the last words that the apostle Paul likely ever uttered to the Church of Corinth—because this prayer Paul prayed over this church contains three powerful truths that will usher us into the importance of the entire Godhead’s ministry in our lives. Amen?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Second Corinthians 13:14
So, again, in this verse, the apostle Paul was concluding his second and last letter to the church of Corinth with this prayer for them. Now I made the point last week that this was the last verse of 29 chapters that Paul wrote to the Corinthians (when you combine both his first and second epistles to them), and again were most likely the last words that he ever spoke to their church. Why is that so significant, you ask? It is because it shows us how important the things contained in this prayer must have been to Paul!
Well likewise, in Paul’s mind, the things that he listed in this prayer must have been three of the most important things that you could pray for someone else or even yourself. On top of that, since all Scripture is inspired by God, we know that this prayer is the express will of God for all men. (This is further verified in that Paul ended his prayer with— “be with you all.”) So, since this prayer in Second Corinthians 13:14 reveals the perfect will of God for every believer for all time, and because it was important enough to the apostle Paul for him to conclude his ministry to the Corinthians with this prayer, shouldn’t we pay close attention to these three things?
Now one thing we looked at last week is that this prayer refers to all three members of the Trinity.
And that is what the apostle Paul is looking to do here—praying that the Church of Corinth would walk in the benefits of the Trinity’s ministry in our lives. But we talked about the fact that most people do not see the Holy Spirit in the light of Him being the Third Person of the Godhead. But He is! However, most believers do not see Him this way; rather, they see Him as something like a servant of God or a force or power that God uses. But the truth is that if He is the Third Person of the Godhead, He is both a Person and He is God. And we saw that because of this so many believers do not experience the life of God today because they have not yet learned to honor the ministry of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
But this is a great time for us to say, “Not us!” Not this church! We are going to learn to both respect and esteem the Holy Spirit in our lives and walk in the benefits of His ministry.” Amen?
Now, regarding Paul’s prayer for the Church of Corinth, we looked at these three things in detail. We asked the question that if you and I were going to pray for only three things for someone very near and dear to our heart, what would those three things be? I would venture to say that our “Top 3” might not mirror Paul’s list. As I said last week, we might ask for “the healing of the Lord Jesus Christ, the prosperity of God, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit be with me and my family. Amen.” But Paul, like in many of His prayers for the church, had different things in mind to pray for his churches. For example, in none of his prayers did he pray for these churches to increase in natural things. They contained requests only for spiritual perception (wisdom, understanding, discernment, and revelation) and for spiritual growth (power, strength, and fruit). And we saw that this prayer at the end of Second Corinthians was no different. Now even though our prayer requests might differ some from Paul’s, it is more likely that the first two items would be things we see as important—grace and love.
So, these first two things—the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God—mentioned by the Apostle Paul in his prayer are fairly obvious to most of us. Most churches would not object to these as being two out of the three final things that we were going to pray for someone, but the last thing probably wouldn’t even cross the minds of most of the church— the communion of the Holy Spirit.
So, we saw that if the apostle Paul included the communion of the Holy Spirit in his “Top 3 things to pray for those we love” then it must be just as vital to our success in the Christian life as the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God is. Yes, they all three work together and are of equal importance. And can you understand why? It is because all three of these things represent the three predominant and present-day ministries of the Godhead in our lives! God the Father manifested and continues to manifest His love toward us! Jesus Christ provided all the grace we will ever need through His death, burial, and resurrection! And the Holy Spirit’s ministry on the earth is to have “communion” with us. Praise God!
So, we began a couple of weeks ago defining this word “communion” and we saw that it comes from the Greek word koinonia. We also saw that in the New Testament, this word is translated as “fellowship” more times than as any other word, likely being the best translation of this word. This is also substantiated by the fact that the majority of translations translating this phrase “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.”
So, we looked at a couple of verses in the New Testament where this word koinonia is used, one of them being Galatians 2:9 where we are told how Peter, James and John gave Paul and Barnabas the “right hand of fellowship.” So, we saw that what the apostles in Jerusalem were doing here was they were inviting Paul and Barnabas into their inner circle. Yes, they were associating themselves with Paul and Barnabas and considering them their friends and co-laborers in the gospel. Therefore, this word “fellowship” refers to “closeness and intimacy.” Therefore, we saw that just as we would be supremely blessed if we were to be invited into fellowship with someone on this earth that we highly respect and look up to, we should go around glowing all the days of our life because GOD has invited us into fellowship with Himself through the Person of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Finally, we looked at how we enter into this “fellowship” with the Holy Spirit; and we saw that we do so by first understanding in our hearts that being invited into fellowship with the Spirit is far more valuable than our fellowship with any other man or woman. And then we saw that once we esteem our opportunity to commune with Him like so, then we simply begin a “monologue” with Him—that is, we begin talking to Him, saying things like, “Good morning, Holy Spirit … Thank You for being a part of my life today … I’m so grateful that you are going to work with me today to lead, guide and teach me … I love You … I value all of the help you give me … etc. etc. etc.” And then as you and I begin talking to Him like this, you open the door to begin a “dialogue” with Him. In other words, the more He hears your voice, the better you will hear His voice.
But we wound up our first teaching by seeing that He is a perfect gentleman and does not force Himself into our lives. In fact, this idea is where the old King James translation of “Holy Ghost” came from. In their day, a ghost was not something spooky or scary; a ghost was just another way of describing a “guest.” So, we could call Him in the “Holy Guest”—meaning, He is abiding with us as Jesus promised, but He will only do what we invite Him to do. And this is why the Holy Spirit is not to be feared. He is not going to force Himself on us. He will only perform in us what we invite Him to perform. Let’s invite Him today! Amen.
WHAT IS COMMUNION?
Now last week, we looked at this English word “communion” to see if we can find some more clues to what Paul was praying for this church and what the Lord desires for us as well.
Now when you hear this word “communion,” what is the first thing you think of? I would suppose that the first thing most people would think of when they heard this word would be the Lord’s Supper. Yes, when most of us hear “communion” used they likely think of crackers and grape juice or bread and wine.
So, what is communion? It is an act where we remember the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave His life as a ransom for whoever believes, and through His shed blood and broken body, we have been redeemed, healed, and saved. Glory to God!
Now the elements in themselves are not the issue. It is not about the bread and wine; it is about the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. No, it is not about the ritual or the method; it is about love and honor. It is a simple act of obedience to both solemnly remember His passion and to joyfully celebrate His and our victory. Amen! Yes, communion celebrates the Gospel of our salvation: Jesus was broken for us so that we can be fixed by Him. He suffered so we don’t have to. He became our sin and sickness so that we can become His righteousness and peace.
Therefore, communion is when either any one of us chooses to remember what He did for us in our own home by ourselves, or when we all assemble together to fellowship (like today) and remember Jesus Christ's sacrifice together. This is something that we are privileged to do as much as we would like.
But there is a reason that this word “communion” is the word used to describe this holy and sacred service. Yes, one possible meaning is that when we partake together as a “fellowship” of believers, we are participating together as a body in remembering what Christ has done for us. But I believe another wonderful benefit of “communion” is how we are called to remember our “fellowship” with Christ in His body.
You see, the word “communion” comes from two words—the prefix “com” and the word “union.” Now the word “com” means “with, together, or in association with.” So, in other words, “com” denotes bringing two or more people, things, etc. “together.” This is clear when you look at words such as “combine” or “compare.” What these words mean by having the prefix “com” is “to bring together a couple of things” (i.e. combine) and “to set two or more things side by side and differentiate” (i.e. compare). But then notice that the other word used in “communion” is the word “union,” which obviously describes a “uniting or joining together.” Therefore, the English word “communion” literally means “to unite two or more things or people together.” In fact, when you look up some synonyms for this word “communion” you will find words like “intimacy, closeness, and togetherness.”
So, this is gives us another way of looking at The Lord’s Supper, doesn’t it? “Communion” is not just us coming together and remembering His sacrifice together; “Communion” is us remembering and identifying with the fact that we are united together with Him. You see, this is why we physically partake of these elements! It is because when we partake of His body and His blood, in our hearts, we are remembering our union together with Him and identifying together with everything He has accomplished for us. And the way we are uniting with Him is by symbolically having Him enter us.
Now then, I think we can now see a little deeper what is meant by the phrase— “the communion of the Holy Spirit.” Like the Lord’s Supper, the “communion” of the Holy Spirit is us uniting together with Him—coming into fellowship with Him and finding our friendship with Him—as He has entered our temples. Therefore, we have literally partaken of Him, and He now lives on the inside of us that we may feed on the myriad of benefits that He has to offer! Yes, the communion of the Holy Spirit is us remembering that He is with us and all that He is willing to perform in our lives. Hallelujah!
So, when it comes to Paul’s prayer for the Church of Corinth that “the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” we could translate that phrase— “and the union and intimacy of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
WE HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON
Now let’s look again at this word “communion” in its original language because there are several other ways in which it is described:
Again, as we have seen this word “communion”—the Greek word koinonia—literally means “fellowship,” fellowship being the most common translation of it. And it is interesting that I use the word “common” there because the root word for koinonia is koinos which literally means just that— “common.” In fact, koinos is the word that was used in the Book of Acts to describe the community and fellowship that the young church in Jerusalem experienced when they sold all of their possessions and lived in a communal type fellowship. The passage I am referring to is Acts 4:32, which says, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” And, you see, it is of no coincidence that this great grace that came upon the Early Church to walk in this self-sacrificing level of community with one another was prefaced with the Holy Spirit filling them afresh and anew after they gathered together and prayed in one accord (see Acts 4:23-31). The reason I say this is because when one is filled with the Holy Spirit, they will imitate the nature of the Holy Spirit—which in the case we are talking about is “communion” (i.e. fellowship and having things in common).
You see, the Holy Spirit will always lead you into fellowship—both with Christ and with Christ’s body. I say this because how many people in the Body of Christ have said, “Well, I just don’t feel led to go to church today. I just believe the Holy Spirit is leading me to be by myself.” Church, those things we hear Christians say that lean more towards isolation rather than fellowship are usually not the Lord’s leading. They are being “led” alright, but it ain’t the Holy Ghost!
Now don’t get me wrong—this is not to say that the Holy Spirit will not ever lead you and I to get alone with Him or to withdraw ourselves for short periods of time. Jesus did this, withdrawing from the crowds and getting away and alone with His Father. But what I am referring to are those who say the Holy Ghost has led them away from the fellowship of the Body of Christ for prolonged periods of time and even permanently. Friends, that is not the Holy Spirit leading them. Why? Because the Holy Spirit is not going to contradict the very Word of God which He inspired that strictly warns us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (see Hebrews 10:25). That would be, as Jesus said, a house divided against itself that cannot stand. Well, we know the Holy Spirit most certainly is standing strong, and there are no contradictions in Him! Amen? Therefore, He is not “leading” these people to forsake fellowship with the Body of Christ. They are being led by either their flesh or soul, not by their spirit.
But my point is that at the very root of the word for “communion” is the word “common.” So, when we look at the word “communion” we should see it as “having something in common with someone or having a common goal.” Praise God, that is what it means to have fellowship with the Spirit of God.
THE ACTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Now do you know who truly walked in this kind of fellowship with the Holy Spirit? The First Century church did! They not only had all things in common with one another, but they walked in this communion with the Holy Spirit—that is, they had such a relationship with and reverence for Him that few have in the church today. And through understanding this, compare the results of the early church with the results of the church today. It would be an understatement to say that they had more of an impact on their world then than we are having on ours today. Amen?
So, what is the difference? Why was their known world being “turned upside down” (or, more accurately, “right side up”) and ours is (at best) staying relatively the same? I believe the main reason is because of the church’s lack of respect for the ministry of the Holy Spirit today.
Throughout the one major historical book that chronicles the beginning of the church age—the Book of Acts—we can clearly see the fellowship of the Holy Spirit at work in the Body of Christ. Yes, by studying the Book of Acts, we can see how important the Holy Spirit was to the early church.
Now, in my opinion, the Book of Acts has been incorrectly titled in many of our Bibles: If you look in the beginning of the Book, most of our Bibles call it—the Acts of the Apostles. But that is not all it consists of. For example, you don’t just see Peter, John, Paul, etc. healing people and being used by God in various ways. No, you have evangelists doing mighty acts. You even have folk’s daughters prophesying. For example, consider Stephen, who was simply a deacon in the church, but because he was “full of the Holy Spirit” (among other things), he did great signs and wonders. He was not considered an apostle, yet the Holy Spirit worked through him in a mighty way. So, the bottom line is that there were more than just apostles being used by God in the Book chronicling the history of the Early Church. We see all kinds of people in the Early Church performing these “Acts.” So, I think a better title would be— “The Acts of Jesus’ Church.” However, as we are about to see, perhaps an even more accurate title would be this— “The Acts of the Holy Ghost through His Church.”
Yes, if you take a close look at the Book of Acts you will find that the early church had great respect for the ministry of the Holy Spirit and walked in close communion with Him. In these various passages that we will wind up looking at over the next few weeks, Luke makes mention of the Holy Spirit like He is another member of the church. These verses also show us how He bore witness to certain things almost like He was physically in their midst. Luke paints the picture of the Holy Spirit being someone who played a key role in the church (imagine that). So, it is rather clear that they were in tune with Him and heavily relied on His direction and guidance. And why were they so close to and dependent upon Him? It was because He was pretty much all they had:
THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD AGREE
You see, they did not have their own personal copies of the Bible then. In fact, the New Testament, for the most part, had not even been written yet. The only “Word” they heard from time to time was from the public reading of the law and the prophets, known to us as the Old Testament. Certainly, they made the most of the Word of God that they had as evidenced by the Old Testament Scriptures that were quoted from in the Book of Acts, but they did not have nearly the privileges we have today of having the complete Word of God in almost every home. No, they had to rely heavily on the Holy Spirit to speak to them and lead them in the way they should go every day.
You know, the church today predominantly prides itself on the Word of God: Some (definitely not all, but some) see the Word as the all-inclusive solution to the world’s problems, and as important as the Word of God is, it is only half of the answer to a relatively ineffective and slumbering church. The Holy Spirit is that missing ingredient!
Please understand me, I am not trying to lower our estimation and perception of God’s Holy Word. I am just attempting to raise our estimation and perception of God’s Holy Spirit! No, we do not need to honor the Word less, but simply need to honor the Spirit more because they both work together for the edification of the church and are of equal importance. Therefore, we must lift the fellowship of God’s Spirit to the same level that we have placed on the written Word.
I would liken their equal and dual importance to that of a child needing both of their parents—their mother and father. While I do understand that God can supernaturally fill any void in our lives to where we will not suffer any disadvantages if we did not have both our parents involved in our life, the natural law that God put into motion is that a child needs both a father-figure and a mother-figure in order to be completely nurtured and correctly raised. If God is taken out of the picture, the child who only has one (or, no) parent figures in his or her life will have an uphill road to climb.
This is how I see the importance of both the Word and the Spirit in the life of a child of God: When one of them is absent, we are at a disadvantage, but if both of them are active in our lives, then we are more likely to become a mature and complete child of God.
This is why the Holy Spirit Himself is so vitally important to the Christian’s life: Without Him we are doing everything on our own. We are limited to being guided by our own finite understanding. We are limited to being doers of God’s Word through our own strength. We are limited to praying according to our inferior understanding. And the list could go on and on. The bottom line is that we are up the creek without a paddle without the help of the Holy Spirit.
So, if our Christian walk is doomed without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives then how glorious do you think our lives would be if we walked in a deeper and a more intimate relationship with Him? How much richer would our Christian walks be if we learned to take more advantage of His ministry unto us? You see, apart from Him we can do nothing, but through Him we can do all things! The communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all, indeed!
So, let’s begin this week going through the Book of Acts and look at many examples that we have of the Spirit’s ACTivity in the First Century Church:
HOW JESUS ACTED
But I want you to notice that the first thing we will find is that Jesus likewise lived in this union with the Holy Spirit. Notice that at the beginning of Acts, Dr. Luke says— “The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:1-3).
So, we see here that after Jesus’ resurrection, Dr. Luke explains how Jesus “through the Holy Spirit” ministered the truths of God’s kingdom to His disciples. And this often-overlooked phrase provides an important point for us to understand:
You see, many in the church today incorrectly assume that Jesus did the miraculous things that He did because He was the Son of God, but that’s simply not true. In fact, we are told by the Lord Himself that the Son can do nothing of Himself—for He only did what He saw the Father doing. This was His own confession throughout His ministry.
In fact, you never see Jesus doing one miracle in the Bible until after the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove at His baptism. This is when, as the Bible says, He, being filled with the Holy Spirit was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:1). And then, after successfully resisting the devil’s temptations for 40 days, Luke 4:14 says that He returned to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit.”
You see, these things all point towards the fact that Jesus did the miraculous things He did, not because He was the Son of God, but because of His union with the Spirit of God.
Let me show you one instance in Jesus’ ministry where Jesus validates this: In Matthew 12:22-32, we have the account of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. And in this event, Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of casting out this demon(s) by Beelzebub, the ruler of demons.
Now the obvious point that Jesus was making here was that it was completely irrational for them to accuse Him of using the “ruler of demons” to cast out demons because that would be Satan pitting his kingdom against itself. Well, how many of God’s people say basically the same thing about Him today? They say that God is putting a sickness & disease on one of His children to teach them something, to perfect them or to discipline them. Well, since God has clearly revealed Himself in the Word as our healer and Jesus went about healing everyone who came to Him in faith, would it make sense for Him to be healing in one moment and then to put sickness on someone in another? Not at all! No, this would be as Jesus described it, a kingdom or house divided against itself. Another example is when Jesus stilled the storm. How many people equate all of these natural disasters to being “acts of God?” Well, Jesus stilled the storm—proving to us that not all storms or acts of nature are of God because Jesus would have been acting against His Father there and they would have been a divided kingdom.
But the point I want you to see today is that in verse 28, Jesus said, “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” So, what we can clearly see here is that Jesus just told us how He had the power to cast out demons: It was not because He was the Son of God, but because He had the Spirit of God.
Then notice at the end of verse 28, Jesus went on to say, “surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Again, when demons are expelled and driven out, this is a manifestation of the kingdom of God. You could say it this way—the kingdom of God is ruling when evil spirits are no longer controlling and ruling a person or place and the Holy Spirit is. Amen!
And in verse 31 Jesus reiterates this point that it was the Holy Spirit who was the supernatural power that was doing the “exorcising,” not Jesus, because he went on to address the “blasphemy against the Spirit.”
You see, notice that Jesus said here that people accusing Him of casting out demons by Beelzebub was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What this shows us is that Jesus equated His ability to cast out demons to the Holy Spirit working through Him. Therefore, if the Holy Spirit was the agent by which Jesus cast out devils, then He did not do it simply because He was the Son of God. Amen!
HE IS A DIVINE PERSON
Then notice what Dr. Luke was inspired to go on to say in Acts chapter 1—that as they were assembled together the Lord commanded them to not depart from Jerusalem but to stay there and wait for the Promise of the Father, “which…you have heard from Me.” (see Acts 1:4)
Now the Lord did not just go about doing things through the power of the Holy Spirit and not tell His disciples about Him. No, He absolutely taught His disciples about the person of the Holy Spirit throughout His ministry. Notice here how Jesus went on to say, “…you have heard from Me.”
Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit A LOT! As we’ve seen already, He talked about the Holy Spirit in regard to Him being the power by which He performed His miracles. He talked to Nicodemus about how the Holy Spirit is the agent by which one is born again (see John 3:6-8). But the most concentrated teaching on the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ ministry was on the eve of His Crucifixion. And that leads me to my next point:
Notice that Jesus is quoted here in Acts 1:4 as saying, “which…you have heard from Me.” Now the word “which” here—the Greek word “hos”— can and has been translated several ways. It can be translated “which, whom, that, what, whose, who, etc.” And it is my opinion, that a better translation here would be “who or whom,” and I’ll tell you why: It is because if you look at John chapters 14-16, where Jesus taught much on the Holy Spirit, you will notice that not one time does He refer to Him with the word “which”; He refers to Him as “whom.”
You see, as you have heard me say already, the Holy Spirit is one of the most disrespected people that has ever been on the earth. I refer to Him as a person because this is one of the main areas where people tend to disrespect Him the most.
You see, many in the church today do not see Him this way. So many see Him as an “it” rather than as a real person. We sing songs that, although they have catchy beats and appeal to our emotions, disrespect the Holy Spirit by referring to Him as something rather than somebody.
Let me explain it this way: Say, during the time that I receive new members to our church, I pointed one of them out and said, “I am so glad it has decided to join our church today. Let’s give it a big hand.” We just might not retain that new member, wouldn’t you think? And why? Because they are a person and not an “it!” They are people and not a thing. Well, how do you think the Holy Spirit feels? Now, of course, He wouldn’t have the same reaction as we would, being perfect love and all, but I’m sure it grieves Him for us to have such a misunderstanding and unfamiliarity with Him. But this is exactly what the majority of the church does today.
No, the Holy Spirit is not a goose bump! Nor is He a cloud, a vapor, or a feeling! Yet if you asked certain believers who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, this is exactly how they see Him. They relate to Him through these physical manifestations that He gives us—such as the goose bumps they sense, the cloud of glory they see, or the emotions they feel. But the truth is this: He is a person with a personality and emotions. The Holy Spirit is as much of a divine person as God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ because He is, in fact, the Third Person of the Godhead.
But in order to have communion with the Holy Spirit we must understand one very important thing: We must understand that He is not an “it!” He is a divine person! He is not a vapor! He is not a goose bump! He is not a feeling! He is as much a divine person as God the Father and Jesus Christ! There is a lack of respect, due to a lack of understanding, in so many Pentecostal circles of the personality of the Holy Spirit. So many only relate to Him through His physical manifestations, such as the goose bumps they feel, the cloud of glory they can see, or the emotions they experience. But in order for us to experience “the communion of the Holy Spirit” we must see Him as a person and not as a phantom. The reason is, you cannot fellowship with a feeling; you can only fellowship with a person. The Holy Spirit has a personality that we can learn and become familiar with.
Let’s see how Jesus referred to Him in the Gospel of John:
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”
(You see, some of you are already tired of hearing all of these personal pronouns being emphasized, but how do you think He feels when the majority of what He’s heard for the past 2,000 years is “it, it, it”?)
Notice that in these nine verses we just read, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit with a personal pronoun 22 times! Now when something is repeated in the Word of God so many times like this it is because it is an important principle for us to understand. And Jesus is making the point that the Helper who is about to take His place is a person.
Dr. R.A. Torrey once said, “If the Holy Spirit is a divine person and we know it not, we are robbing a divine Being of the love and adoration which are due Him. It is of the highest practical importance whether the Holy Spirit is a power that we, in our ignorance and weakness, are somehow to get hold of and use, or whether the Holy Spirit is a personal Being who is to get hold of us and use us...”
Church, it is time for us to recognize the latter—that He is indeed a Person who stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, desiring to use us.
So, we can clearly see that Jesus did the mighty “Acts” that he did, not because He was the Son of God, but because of His union with the Spirit of God. And we can also see that the Early Church did the mighty “Acts” that they did, not because they were “apostles,” but because of their union with the Holy Spirit. So, if both the Son of God and His disciples did all that they did through the communion of the Holy Spirit, then how on God’s green earth could we ever dream that we are going to be able to do anything apart from the Holy Spirit? The truth is—we can’t.
However, when we decide to invite Him into all of the rooms of our life and give this perfect Gentleman full access, it is then that we, like both the Head of the Church and Early Church itself, will turn our world “right-side up.” Amen!