by Dr. Ray Self
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Ministry
The Holy Spirit gives power for the service of the Lord. One of the key works of the Holy Spirit is to empower believers to truly perform their ministry. Every believer needs to remember that Christ is his model and that a ministry of Christ is truly a supernatural ministry which requires supernatural power. This power which is a reflection of Christ is therefore much greater than our own. Zechariah 4:6b reads, "This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' saith the Lord of hosts."
We see Jesus passing this same message onto His followers in Jerusalem, after His resurrection. Jesus gave them a commandment to go but also a commandment to wait before they went. Mark 16:15 tells us, "And He said unto them, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'" And in Luke 24:49 He explained, "And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." He was telling them that before they went to do His work, they were to wait for His power (through the Holy Spirit) to do it. The Lord wanted His work done but He wanted it done right and the only way to do it His way, the right way, was in His power. This reminds me of my own parents who would often say, "Any job worth doing is worth doing right." The ministry of service for the Lord could not be accomplished in the natural ability of man and it still can’t be today. Christian ministry must be supernatural if it is to be an accurate reflection of Christ.
We are to be a witness after and only after the Holy Spirit has come upon us as written in Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This verse gives us a divine order for ministry. Step one; receive the power of the Holy Spirit. Step two; be a witness everywhere. The Holy Spirit gives power to carry on the ministry that has been committed to us.
The Holy Spirit reveals and gives understanding of the word. He reveals the truth of God’s word to the heart of the believer. The Bible truly becomes a living word touching the heart of the believer under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. The author of the book is He one who is best able to explain the contents of the book. II Timothy 3:16 shares that, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." The Holy Spirit inspired scripture and then inspires the Christian with the revelation of the message that the Lord is communicating in His word.
The Holy Spirit helps the believer to pray. There are things within our hearts that are difficult to express, or even understand. Because we cannot know entirely in the flesh how to pray or even what to pray, the Holy Spirit helps us: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). This is commonly known as praying in the Spirit. Some believe that this is always speaking in tongues. I believe that we can certainly pray in tongues but sometimes our inner man just pours out to God and that this type of prayer may be a verbal or non-verbal expression. The Spirit resides within our heart and He communicates from our heart to the heart of God. The Holy Spirit within us intercedes for us according to God’s will: "And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (Romans 8:27).
As the Spirit lifts us up; the things of the Spirit become more real than the burdens of the world. Our natural world driven circumstances can be almost too much to bear sometimes. The Holy Spirit reality of our circumstances is a much lighter burden. As we pray in the Spirit our burdens can be lifted. This type of Spirit lead prayer is so important that God made it into a command. In Ephesians 6:18 we are told to pray "always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints." As we mature spiritually we become more and more aware that God’s view point is all that we need and that.God’s truth really does set us free from the stress of this world. Praying in the Spirit builds (encourages, edifies) us in Christ. Jude 1:20 explains, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." Everyone needs to be built up after life seems to beat us down. Why not allow the Spirit to pour out from your heart to the Lord today?
The Holy Spirit gives power for preaching and teaching the word of God. In I Corinthians 2:4 the apostle Paul tells us, "And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power," while I Thessalonians 1:5 he goes on to explain, "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost." Effective preaching and teaching must be under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Nothing will convict and persuade a person about Jesus except the Holy Spirit. There are teachers that I call "head" teachers. They communicate facts of the Bible. Then there are teachers that I call "heart" teachers. They communicate from God’s heart touching and imparting revelation of Christ and His word into the hearts of their students. This can only be done by a work of the Holy Spirit.
Nothing will convict and persuade a person about Jesus except the Holy Spirit. The intellectual approach, which is often seen when trying to argue someone into the kingdom, is rarely effective, unless the Holy Spirit is anointing the spoken words as demonstrated by the Apostle Paul in his ministry. The Spirit gives a witness when spoken words are from the Lord. We see this in the Acts 5:32 account of Peter speaking to the High Priests who had arrested him: "And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him." A Spirit-filled believer knows when a message is from God because the Holy Spirit within recognizes the truth and confirms it in his spirit. You could say in an unusual way that the Spirit recognizes Himself.
The Holy Spirit gives the believer spiritual gifts in order to minister to others: "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (I Corinthians 12:7). The manifestation gifts are not to be fully explored here; however, the student needs to understand that the gifts are one of many important works of the Spirit. Some wrongfully believe that the gifts are the only work of the Holy Spirit. I hope and pray that this course dispels that belief. The gifts are not for salvation directly but they are faith builders that lead a person to the reality of God. The gifts are for the building up of the body of Christ. In order for the body to mature we will always need spiritual gifts. Gifts are for healing, direction, wisdom, hearing the voice of God, signs of the authority of the Holy Spirit and more.
The most important gift of the Spirit will always be the gift that is needed most at any given time. However, there is one particular gift that we are commanded to earnestly desire (see I Corinthians 14:1) and that is the gift of prophesy. Prophesy builds up the entire church: "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church" (I Corinthians 14:4). The Bible is not saying here, to never speak in tongues, it simply says that prophecy helps everyone in the church while tongues only benefits the one speaking unless an interpretation is given to the church. This is just a practical teaching but some have taken this scripture out of context saying that tongues are not for today or should not be spoken in church. In verse 39 of the same chapter Paul says clearly, "do not forbid to speak in tongues." However, prophesy is more valuable to the church because it typically is a message from God that benefits everyone.
As long as the body of Christ is in a growth and maturing process we will have need of the spiritual gifts. Please do not fall for a misleading teaching that the gifts have stopped with the completion of scripture or after all of the original apostles passes away. In reading and studying the entire word one sees that there is no valid scriptural support for these teachings. The New Covenant is true and we can believe it in its entirety. It is dangerous to pick certain scriptures out of context and say that some of the New Testament is no longer applicable. No one has the authority to make that call but the Lord God Himself. We can always rely on the integrity of the word and in the word we see that the spiritual gifts are needed for the building up of the body. As long as the body is in a maturing process, we will need the Spiritual gifts (see Ephesians 4:11-13).
The gifts are also a sign to the unbeliever as well as the believer. I Corinthians 14:22 tells us, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe." Many times the supernatural gifts can easily convict an unbeliever about the reality of God. The evidence of the Holy Spirit through the gifts has caused many a person to repent of their unbelief resulting in salvation. I personally believe that all evangelism should be confirmed with signs and wonders as a witness to the unbeliever that God is present and that He wants a relationship with him or her.
Chapter Four Review – The Holy Spirit - Lesson 4
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