The Holy Spirit’s Empowering
[Let’s pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in this study]
Quick review: In the previous Chapter #2 we:
- We listed many reasons why we don’t know much about the Holy Spirit.
- We had solutions for each of those problems.
- We examined why the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for us to live the Christian life.
- We looked carefully at Philippians 2:12 to see what it teaches us about the Holy Spirit.
- We considered the parable of the Sower describing different types of believers.
- [Who is the “Sower”? He is the Holy Spirit sending the Word of God to potential believers]
Key verse: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.” (1 Cor 2:12)
There are three (and possibly four) ways that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit:
- Anointing (baptism in the Holy Spirit)
- Let’s look at each of these:
Sealing: At the moment of salvation, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. He puts His stamp of ownership on our heart and spirit.
- Eph 1:13-14, “…having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
- 2 Cor 1:21-22, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, 22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”
- Eph 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
- What is a seal?
- It is a mark of royal ownership.
- It is a warning to others not to mess with the king’s property under penalty of death.
- It is a down-payment to guarantee future payment in full [salvation and eternal life]
- It is a symbol of delegated authority. [wow! “In Jesus’ name”] “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” 1
- Actually, there are at least eleven rich biblical meanings, all of which apply to believers. I’ll attach a brief paper on “The Seal of God” FYI.
- To learn more about “The Seal of God” click here: The Seal of God.
- Can we lose the sealing of the Spirit? No!
- John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth…”
- Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
- 2 John 1-2, “The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.”
- Rev 22:5, “…the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.”
- Walking/Abiding: This is a continuous action verb. It implies a way of life that is constantly listening to and dependent upon the Holy Spirit. He gives us the power to live the everyday life.
- Gal 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
- Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” [Conditional. It depends on us.]
- Rom 8:3-4, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.“
- John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
- 1 John 2:4, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
- 1 John 3:24, “The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
- 1 John 4:13-14, “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”
Can we lose this blessing? Yes. We can grieve2 or quench3 the Holy Spirit, therefore break fellowship, and fail to walk in the Spirit. However, we are still sealed by the Spirit and He will convict us and try to woo us back into fellowship where we can walk again in the Spirit. Unfortunately, backsliding is a very uncomfortable position!
- Anointing: This is when the Holy Spirit gives a person exceptional power to accomplish some major task or vocation. Numerous examples are in the book “They Found the Secret.” As I mentioned in our first Chapter, this book is a mini-biography of twenty powerful Christians such as Ian Thomas, Hudson Taylor, Dwight Moody, Andrew Murray, Amy Carmichael and others. These all had something in common: after coming to faith in Jesus they dedicated their lives to His service for around 15-20 years with almost zero fruit! Then something powerful happened in their lives (they discovered the Holy Spirit) and suddenly they had amazing fruit—even though they didn’t work any harder.
Our goal is to be used like these ordinary people who became giants of the faith:
- 2 Cor 1:21-22, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.”
- Acts 4:27, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed…”
- Acts 10:38, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power…”
- 1 John 2:19, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One…”
- 1 John 2:27, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you and…His anointing teaches you about all things…”
- 1 John 2:24, “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
Summarizing what we have just examined: There are three (or four) ways the Holy Spirit can empower our lives—
Sealing, Abiding, Anointing, Conforming (see below)
The fascinating thing is that Jesus exemplifies each of these ways that the Holy Spirit fills us:
- Remember the story about how the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and she conceived the baby Jesus.4 5 6 Jesus had no earthly father. Joseph was a surrogate father. 7
- As a result, Jesus was sealed by the Holy Spirit even before birth.
- Obviously Jesus walked in the Spirit.
- He had a hunger for the things of God as demonstrated at age twelve when He debated with the scribes in the Temple.8
- He had every temptation that we have had9 (even as a teenager) yet He remained sinless.10 That is only possible when abiding in the Spirit.11
- He stayed sinless throughout His earthly life. 12 13 14
- Jesus was anointed at John’s baptism: ‘Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”15
- “YOU [Jesus] HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.” 16 [Oil throughout the Scriptures is a symbol of the Holy Spirit]
- Up until this time, Jesus had lived an exemplary life but had done nothing remarkable.17
- That changed when He was anointed by the Holy Spirit. That started His ministry.18
- Why was He anointed? “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.” 19
- This is a possible fourth way the Holy Spirit will change us someday. It is demonstrated in Jesus’ life at His Transfiguration. “He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them.” 20
- I think this is our destiny too (Wow!):
-“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 21
-“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” 22
-“Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.” 23
-“But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments.” 24
-“And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.” 25
- Do you remember Moses after he had met God at Mt. Sinai? His face glowed.26 Ours will too someday.
Experiencing the Holy Spirit
Do we all have the same experience of the Holy Spirit? Obviously not. Remember the different testimonies of your friends in our first Chapter. Remember also the different experiences that the Old Testament judges and prophets had. Some were give incredible physical power (Samson27) whereas others were given incredible artistic skills (Bezalel28) or incredible wisdom (Daniel29). The New Testament is equally varied. My point is that we should let the Holy Spirit Himself give us what He deems best rather than us seeking any particular experience. In 1 Cor 12:4 Paul says: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” The Holy Spirit knows what is best; we don’t.
1 Cor 12:4-11, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.“
Do you recollect why the Jews missed seeing their messiah when Jesus came the first time? They expected Him to be a warrior king to set them free from the Romans. Since Jesus wasn’t the kind of king they wanted, they rejected Him. Let’s not make the same mistake concerning the Holy Spirit.
To see the post entitled “Israel’s false messiah” click here:
Let’s not try to tell the Holy Spirit how He should fill us. God gives particular gifts as He chooses. In the passage I just quoted it says: “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.“ 30 But let’s pursue the Holy Spirit vigorously because He promises that if we do we will find Him.31
Since the Holy Spirit is the giver of gifts, here’s what He has to say on the subject:
- “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts.”32
What are these greater gifts Paul refers to? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”33
What are the purposes of these gifts? Eph 4:7-12 says, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, ‘WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.’ … And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;“
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
What is “the baptism of the Holy Spirit”?
- John the Baptist said: “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.“ 34
- This is the same event that was promised by Jesus: “…for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 35
- It was also referenced by Peter later when he went to the Gentiles: “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” 36
Perhaps this is the anointing we discussed above:
- In Joel 2:28-29 it says, “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
- “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 37
- “Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.” 38
Does this occur simultaneously with the sealing of the Holy Spirit? Sometimes but not always:
- “Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.“ 39
- “And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ Therefore if God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”40
- When I walked forward for salvation, Marilyn my wife went too. However, she already had a deep love for Jesus so she went for rededication rather than salvation. She experienced what our Nazarene friends call “the second blessing.” She was totally filled (empowered) by the Holy Spirit. In the next two weeks, she read the entire Bible! And she loved it! She was hungry, starving for the Word of God. She would get up at 4:00 a.m. to read, she’d have the Bible in one hand while she fixed dinner with the other, then she’d stay up very late for more reading. The amazing thing was she understood everything she read! She just couldn’t get enough. She seemed to walk about two inches above the floor! She was so excited that over the next few months she led many young women to faith in Jesus. Later she taught women’s Bible studies in depth. Clearly this was the anointing of the Holy Spirit but it came many years after she believed. For those of us who have not had such an experience, it gives us anticipation. But how He fills us is up to the Holy Spirit and we can’t tell Him how to work.
Summarizing this chapter’s study:
- There are four ways that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit: Sealing, Walking/Abiding, Anointing (baptism in the Holy Spirit) and Completing/Conforming.
- Jesus experienced all four.
- We can’t lose our Sealing—our salvation.
- We can lose Abiding and Anointing by grieving or quenching the Holy Spirit.
- We each experience the Holy Spirit in unique ways.
- We shouldn’t try to tell the Holy Spirit how to work.
- The baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- The “second blessing.”
To go to the next chapter, click here:
These papers are based on a six-week adult Sunday School study at Sisters Community Church in Sisters, Oregon, January 2020, led by Drew Berding. The title of the study was ‘The Holy Spirit Empowering the Life of the Believer.’
Photo Attribution: Morning Brew – unsplash.com
- John 3:31
- Eph 4:30, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
- 1 Thess 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”
- Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”
- Matt 1:20, ‘…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”‘
- Matt 1:18, “His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.”
- Luke 3:23, “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph…”
- Luke 2:46-47, “Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.”
- Heb 2:9, “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
- Heb 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
- Gal 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”1
- 2 Cor 5:21, “He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
- 1 John 3:5, “…in Him there is no sin.”
- Heb 7:28, “For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
- Luke 3:21-22
- Heb 1:9
- Luke 2:52, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”
- Luke 3:23, “When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age…”
- Luke 4:18
- Mark 9:2-3
- 2 Cor 3:18
- Rom 8:29
- 1 Cor 15:49
- Rev 3:4-54
- Rev 19:14
- Ex 34:29-30, “It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses’ hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him. So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.”
- Judg 14:19, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him [Samson] mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle.”
- Ex 31:2-5, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. “I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.”
- Dan 5:11-12, “There is a man in your kingdom in whom is a spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father, illumination, insight and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him. And King Nebuchadnezzar, your father, your father the king, appointed him chief of the magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans and diviners. This was because an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and insight, interpretation of dreams, explanation of enigmas and solving of difficult problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar.”
- 1 Cor 12:2
- Jer 29:11-14, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
- 1 Cor 12:27-31
- Gal 5:22-233
- Mark 1:8
- Acts 1:3
- Acts 11:15-16
- 1 Cor 12:13
- Acts 19:4-6
- Acts 8:14-17
- Acts 11:15-17