THE HOLY SPIRIT: THE CONVICTOR

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “These things I have spoken to you while being present with 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.” – John 14:25-26 (NKJV)

A function of the Holy Spirit is convicting. ‘When He [the Holy Spirit] comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement’ (16:8). Jesus goes on to explain in more detail.

The Holy Spirit will convict of guilt ‘in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me [Jesus Christ]’ (16:19). The Holy Spirit is the goad, the spiritual conscience, bringing sin to conscious awareness.

When the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, He keeps before us the fact that we are sinners. Anyone who downplays the nature of human sin, whether in a secular or spiritual context, is perverting the gospel, because we cannot be redeemed without an awakened consciousness of sin. The Holy Spirit keeps before us the fact that we are sinners except by the grace of God in Jesus Christ. He won’t let us forget that it is God’s grace, not our works, that makes the difference in our lives.

The Holy Spirit will also convict of guilt ‘‘in regard to righteousness, because I [Jesus] am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer’’ (16:10). This is the positive side of His task, constantly convicting us that righteousness is always reflected in the person of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, then keeps before us the model of Christ’s life. Thus, when we come to a career decision, a problem, or an ethical decision, the Holy Spirit brings to mind what Jesus would do as a model for how we should act in given situations.

In addition, the Holy Spirit convicts of guilt ‘in regard to judgement, because the prince of the world now stands condemned’ (16:11). The Holy Spirit keeps before us the fact that the world and all its works are under God’s judgement. This does not excuse us from doing God’s work in the world; we work to redeem, but we must not take ourselves too seriously, because the salvation of the world is not exclusively in our hands.  We work, but always under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer Point: “Pray that everything you do will be under the control of the Holy Spirit.”

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PROCLAIMING THE GOSPEL- THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses. — Acts 1:8

The Holy Spirit not only enabled Jesus to remain sinless, but He also empowered Jesus for His ministry. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, who “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), Jesus said He received the Holy Spirit “to proclaim” good news (Luke 4:18). Jesus told the disciples:You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses. — Acts 1:8

As a result, the book of Acts records numerous instances when believers “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:31). Another aspect of spirituality, then, is that we are inspired, led, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to share the good news about Jesus Christ by ministering to our family and neighbors, to those in our workplaces, and to others around us.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be more effective in our ministry. By contrast, trying to do ministry without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit is like trying to drive a car without an engine.

Prayer Point: “Pray that the Holy Spirit will empower you to proclaim the Gospel.”

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CHARACTER OF A SPIRIT-FILLED PERSON

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” — Romans 8:5

One of the first things that comes to mind when Christians think about Jesus is His morally perfect character. When Jesus overcame the Devil’s temptation, He entered the wilderness “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1), and forty days later He emerged from the wilderness “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). As a result, Jesus “committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22). Likewise, the Holy Spirit helps us today to overcome temptation and sin in our own lives.

The Holy Spirit helps us recognize the anger in our heart and convicts us “concerning sin and righteousness” John 16:8 (NASB). And the Holy Spirit didn’t just leave us unaware of our sin, either. He gives us a “new heart” Ezekiel 36:26. We have a choice to live “according to the flesh” or “in accordance with the Spirit” Romans 8:5. Thus the “fruit of the Spirit” becomes evident in our life.

We can choose to give in to temptation and engage in “sexual immorality… hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition… envy, drunkenness… and the like” Galatians 5:19-21. But the Holy Spirit works to instill… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. — Galatians 5:22–23 NLT

When we exhibit self-control and are kind to someone who stabbed us in the back, we are following the lead of the Holy Spirit. When we are patient with our spouse, even though they are driving us crazy, we show signs of being Spirit-filled. And when we are gentle with those who sin against us, we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and holiness in our character.

Whenever I talk about character, holiness, and avoiding sin, some people automatically get concerned that I’m being legalistic. Legalism usually refers to rules of people, rather than God, set in order to gain God’s approval, as though we are saved by our actions rather than grace. While God certainly does have ethical expectations for us, legalism is problematic because it promotes slavery to law rather than freedom from sin. Another problem with legalism is that rules don’t change us — the Holy Spirit does.

When we are shaped by the Holy Spirit, we don’t do what is right only because those who live according to their sinful nature “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). Instead, as the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us like water to cleanse our hearts, He moves us from having a sense of duty to do what is right, to having delight in obeying God (Psalm 119). Overall, when we exhibit holiness, or the character of Christ, and avoid sin, we are the kind of person that the Bible calls spiritual (Galatians 6:1 NASB).

Prayer Point: “Pray to God to guide you to the path of righteousness.”

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THE HOLY SPIRIT AND PRAYER

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” — Romans 8:26

In Romans 8, the apostle Paul explains that believers have a weakness when it comes to prayer. This involves much more than simply neglecting prayer or praying with wrong motives. Our weakness runs much deeper.

The best way to understand it is to compare it to the work the Spirit does to help us. We need the Holy Spirit to pray on our behalf because “we do not know what we ought to pray for.”

This does not mean we never know what to pray for. Many of us have long lists of valid prayer concerns. Our weakness, though, is that we do not understand how the things we pray for fit into the mysterious, sovereign will of God. It’s best understood as a spiritual disability.

So, as Paul describes it, “the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Though there is much we do not understand, the Spirit understands completely. The Spirit situates the weakness of our prayers within the strength of God’s intentions. Our broken prayers are taken up and incorporated into divine purposes that we know nothing about.

We can trust the mystery of prayer! God is at work. As we pray, the Spirit is also praying. There is much we do not know, but we can know this: “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

Prayer: “Thank You, Lord, for strengthening the weakness of my prayers by the power of the Holy Spirit. As I pray to You, help me to trust Your good will for my life and for all the concerns I pray about”. Amen.

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SOURCE: TODAY DAILY DEVOTIONAL

THE COMFORTER AND TEACHER

SCRIPTURE TEXT:“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” — John 14:26

In some translations such as the King James Version, the Holy Spirit is called Comforter. The origin of this word denotes someone who enables those who are dispirited to be brave enough to cope with their particular circumstances – that is exactly what Jesus is telling us what the Holy Spirit will do.

He is the One who lives in us and with us turning our inadequacies into strengths that enable us to cope with the struggles in the Christian life.  Indeed, Jesus has not left us as orphans without hope but has given us His Spirit to help us, guide us and enable us to live to please God.

Significantly, Jesus says that those who live as if there is no God will not recognize the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This indicates that the Holy Spirit reveals Himself only to those who are willing to believe in and receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Savior and Lord. Only then can they experience God’s presence with them: helping, guiding, comforting and advising. Our success in life, from God’s perspective, depends on how much we obey Him.

Obedience only comes when we allow the Holy Spirit to come alongside us to help us.  In John 14:26 Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things. The Christian life is progressive, in the sense that we are always learning. The more we know, the more revelation we have and it is the Holy Spirit who leads us deeper and deeper into the Truth of God.

Jesus also says that the Holy Spirit will remind us of all the things that He Jesus has taught us.  That is, the Holy Spirit will help us to understand the truths taught by Jesus, thus enabling us to apply these truths in our daily lives. Think of the many times you and I have been tempted to do something wrong when in comes for the Holy Spirit to remind us about the right conduct.  Many times we say “I was going to do so and so and something told me not to.”  Well is it not something but Someone – the Holy Spirit.

Prayer point: Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you understand the truths taught by Jesus.

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THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses telling people about Me everywhere — in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth” –Acts 1:8 (NLT).

Have you ever felt inadequate to live the Christian life? If so, then you are exactly where God wants you to be, because you have discovered a vital truth: No one has the power in him- or herself to live a holy life. We are all in the same boat, but there is someone else with us who has the power we need—the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus gave His disciples the task of preaching the gospel to the entire world, they had absolutely no ability to carry it out. That’s why He told them to wait until the Holy Spirit came. In the same way, if we hope to accomplish what God desires in our life, we need to live with full dependence on the third Person of the Godhead.

The power of the Spirit is God’s divine energy and authority released in believers’ lives for the purpose of righteous living and fruitful service. When we walk in the Spirit, we’re relying on His strength to accomplish God’s will. As a result, we experience the following benefits:

• We may get tired, but we won’t burn out.
• We’ll trust God instead of trying to manipulate our circumstances.
• We may experience distress, but we won’t become desperate.
• We won’t become overwhelmed with discouragement or obstacles, knowing the Spirit within us will enable us to do what He’s called us to accomplish.

When we do God’s work by His strength, in His way, and with His wisdom, we’ll be blessed no matter what goes on around us. Walking in the Spirit doesn’t mean life will be easy—but we never have to walk through it alone, because our Helper is always with us.

Prayer point: Pray for the strength to accomplish God’s will.
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SOURCE: IN TOUCH.ORG

THE PROMISED GIFT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as the Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from Heaven” –Luke 24:49 (NLT).

The Holy Spirit was promised as a gift to believers – Luke 24:49; John 14:16; Acts 1:5.  Part of His ministry is to seal believers at the moment they receive saving faith in Christ.
The term “seal” includes four truths;

He is a provision of security;

a mark of ownership;

a certification of genuineness;

and a sign of approval – Ephesians. 4:30.

Indeed, the Holy Spirit’s presence in a believer’s life is the final evidence, both to us and to others, of the truth of what we have believed.  Further, He is the down payment, providing both a foretaste of the believer’s spiritual inheritance and a legal claim to the fullness of that inheritance in the future.

The issue though is: do you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you?  Do you have the new birth?  Have you invited Christ by an act of your own will, to be your Savior and Lord?  If not please do it today.  Tomorrow may be too late!

Prayer point: Pray for the Holy Spirit indwelling.
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WITNESSING IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” – Acts 1:8 (NKJV).

The prime purpose of the coming of the Spirit of God upon the disciples was to equip them to witness.  The Comforter does not come in order to allow men to be comfortable, but to make them witnesses for Jesus – Acts 1:8.  This is not a word only for the ‘big guns’ of evangelism with their structure and organization.  It is the promise to all believers who will open their lives to the operation of the Holy Spirit in fullness.  We have been called to be witnesses of the Kingdom of God.  The secret of personal witness is not the intensity and often the unreality of sallying forth armed with a bunch of tracts ready to run every unsuspecting soul into the ground: but the real power of personal witness is felt where the reality of the love and power of Jesus through someone raises the sort of questions in others that require an answer.  Christians, in the main, have lost the art of being ‘naturally supernatural’ in their daily relationships and involvements with other people.

As witnesses for Jesus, our lives do need to be different and not contradict what we say God can do.  But more than this, we need the empowering of the Holy Spirit within us.  Middle class decency does not take the place of the power of the Holy Spirit.  We also need to lose our reticence about witnessing for Jesus publicly, even if we are labeled as extremists or nuts.

Prayer point: Pray to God to help you draw people closer to Him through witnessing.
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HOW TO LIVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT:
“…But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you” – John 14:17.

One thing above all distinguishes us from a non-Christian or from ourselves before we became Christians is the in-dwelling life of Christ that the Holy Spirit brings to us.

This is not simply an idea.  It is a reality.  We can know that Christ is our Savior and have perfectly orthodox ideas about Him, but that is different from having His living presence within us.  As Christians, we have two natures perfectly united within ourselves: our human nature and the living presence of Christ. To live in the Spirit means the living presence of Christ has the authority.  To live in the flesh means we have taken over the rulership of our lives, and Christ does not have freedom to operate in us.

So how do we learn to live in the Spirit and to activate the presence of Christ within us?  We must take two basic steps.

First, we must say yes to the Spirit.  We must recognize Him and ask for His help.  The most natural way to do this is in daily prayer.  It seems as if the Holy Spirit thrives on recognition.  As we recognize His presence, He makes that presence effectual.

Second, we need to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit day by day, so that He will freely work in us.  Then, as we go about the activities of our daily lives, we just say, ‘Lord, we are going through these outward acts, and we are trusting you to work out their eternal dimension.  The results both in our inner lives and in the lives of the people we touch are up to you Lord.”

Prayer point: Pray to God to make you more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and obey Him.
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LIVING BY THE SPIRIT

SCRIPTURE TEXT:
“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” – Galatians 5:16.

Paul says, “Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” – Galatians 5:16.  Paul didn’t say, ‘Don’t have the desires of the flesh.”  Everyone has those desires, and it would be hypocritical to deny them.  We are still of the flesh, and there is nothing wrong with the flesh – so long as it is not in the driver’s seat, and we constantly tell the flesh, “No, you cannot have the steering wheel.”  Even though we have the desires of the flesh, we don’t have to act them out.  And when we say no to the flesh, we free the Spirit to act on our behalf by making us do the right thing.

The story is told of a Pastor who had a disagreement with his wife one morning while they were traveling together in Europe.  He was really angry with her.  He felt she had been completely off base.  They were going to take a train ride, and he was thinking, “If we get a compartment all to ourselves, I am going to really straighten her out.”

As they were riding down the hotel elevator, ready to check out, he sensed the Holy Spirit saying, “Don’t talk about it.”  The message was very clear.  This irritated him, and he mentally started to argue. “No,” the Holy Spirit said, “don’t bother.  It’s not worth the time.”  He recognized the Holy Spirit speaking, and so he didn’t say any more.

The whole thing was resolved in a far different way from what he had expected.  They did get a compartment all to themselves on the train.  He said nothing to his wife about their disagreement.  She had a real burden to pray about one of their children, and so they had a good prayer time together.  When they walked off a couple of hours later, the little thing he had been concerned about had just vanished.  It had no more importance at all.

The Spirit, you see, had really wanted them to intercede for their child.  All the Pastor had to do to release the Spirit was to decline to gratify the desire of the flesh to set his wife straight.  The rest just happened; the Spirit took over.

Too many of us today allow our egos to hold sway individualistic mentally.  We may have social relationships, but we think of ourselves primarily as solitary individuals.  This should not be true of Christians.  What makes the Christian life so exciting is that we have been removed from a life of solitariness into a life of being united with another.  This union needs to be quickened everyday.  Day by day we need to become more aware of the presence of Christ living within us.  We can do this if we say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit.

Prayer point: Pray to hear the Holy Spirit when He speaks.
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