The Holy Spirit in the New Testament (2)
In the study ‘The beginning and the end of the O.T. and the N.T.’ we explained that the New Testament is named after the ‘new covenant’ in the blood of Jesus. The New Testament begins in principle with the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
The working of the Holy Spirit in the Gospels falls, as such, under the ‘old covenant’, of the Old Testament.
In this study we examine the working of the Holy Spirit under the ‘new covenant’, as it is described in the Book of Acts and the letters.
This is the working of the Holy Spirit since the outpouring on the Day of Pentecost and until today.
The working of the Holy Spirit for the world.
Jesus promised a new working of the Holy Spirit, different for ‘the world’ than for the disciples.
The Holy Spirit convinces the world.
… it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment … (John 16:7-8)
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. (John 15:26)
As the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus, so Jesus also gave His disciples the commission:
… you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:27)
A disciple must only testify. The Holy Spirit will convince, for:
… no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
The working of the Holy Spirit for the disciple.
Jesus promised His disciples a special working of the Holy Spirit, which derives from His glorification in heaven.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38)
John remarked with respect to this:
By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:39)
This special working of the Holy Spirit is reserved for the disciples of Jesus.
If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – 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. (John 14:15-17)
The Holy Spirit will convince the world, but will be active in the life of the disciple in two ways:
- He will be with the disciple,
- He will also be in him.
He will be in the disciple:
This is the Holy Spirit, who dwells in the heart of the disciple and pours the love of God out into it, as a result of which the heart is completely renewed.
This is elaborated on in the study ‘Discipleship (2)’.
He will be with the disciple:
This is the Holy Spirit, of Whom Jesus said:
If you then … know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:13)
This is the Holy Spirit who works with power, as Jesus promised:
For John baptized with (immersed in) water, but in a few days you will be baptized (immersed) with (in) the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5)
… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. (Acts 1:8)
The Holy Spirit confirms the preaching.
As a result of Peter’s preaching on the Day of Pentecost the bystanders asked him:
Brothers, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37)
And Peter answered them:
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift (the present) of the Holy Spirit … (Acts 2:38)
With, as a result:
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:41-42)
Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers. (Acts 9:31)
The Holy Spirit inspires speech:
The Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. (Luke 12:12)
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! … (Acts 4:8)
It is written about Stephen:
But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. (Acts 6:10)
The Holy Spirit teaches.
(Jesus said) I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 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. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. (John 16:12-14)
It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. (1 John 5:6)
The Holy Spirit helps with praying:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26)
The Holy Spirit works through gifts of grace.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. (1 Corinthians 12:4)
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
All of them (the disciples) were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:4)
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter … heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. (Acts 10:44-46)
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. (Acts 13:2)
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)
A prophet named Agabus … said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” (Acts 21:10-11)
The Holy Spirit performs miracles, in Jesus’ Name.
Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. (Acts 3:6-7)
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. … Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed. (Acts 5:12 and 16)
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)
When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:6-8)
Paul … said to the spirit (in the slavegirl with a spirit of divination), “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:18)
Jesus said about the work of the Holy Spirit:
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 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.
He will glorify me (also: honour me) because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. (John 16:12-14)
The Holy Spirit is poured out in the heart of the disciple so that he/she will live to Jesus’ honour.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Honouring Jesus Christ has everything to do with the disciple’s charisma. A visible sign of the love that is poured out in his heart by the Holy Spirit.
As Paul writes:
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
Holiness means: purification, purification of heart and life.
A disciple who has become a ‘slave of God’ and stands under the authority of Jesus, will bring his use of language, behaviour in his relationships with people, and even his clothing into conformity with the character of God.
As Paul writes:
… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
The fruit of the Spirit is love, (Galatians 5:22a)
This is recognised in the life of the disciple by:
- forbearance (also: patience, perseverance, persistence)
- kindness (also: integrity)
- goodness (also: uprightness of heart and life)
- faithfulness (also: trust, faith)
- self-control. (Galatians 5:22b)
Living like this is only possible through a close relationship with Jesus, under His authority.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
A life with Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, will result in God, the Father, receiving all honour, as Jesus intended.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8)
See too the studie ‘Spiritual Gifts’.
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The Holy Spirit in the New Testament (2).