Recently the Church Universal celebrated Pentecost Day. The day of Pentecost is noted in the Christian Church as the day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, and on which, under Peter’s preaching, so many thousands were converted in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-41).
God had long before promised through the Prophet Joel that:
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”Joel 2:28-29.
When the day of Pentecost came after the resurrection of Jesus, this prophecy was fulfilled. The inhabitants of Jerusalem who saw the manifestation of the Spirit on that day, evidenced by the gift of speaking in other tongues by the disciples, supposed that they were drunk. Peter stood up, addressed the crowd of onlookers and explained what was happening. He confirmed that what they witnessed was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:14-21).
Because the manifestation of the Spirit in the lives of the believers on that day was through the gift of speaking in other languages, many in today’s church are satisfied with tongues being the beginning and the end of the evidence of the Spirit in their lives. But is that supposed to be so? Is all that the Spirit does in the life of a believer the enablement to speak in other languages? As we have just come out of another Pentecost Day, what should we, as Spirit-filled believers expect to see as the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives? That is the focus of these meditations.
WHAT IS THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
The very act of faith to believe in Jesus and decide to commit one’s life to him, is the work of the Spirit (Jn. 16:8). As someone has said, “The preached word is heard with conviction and power only when the effectual call of God lays hold on the hearers.” The new life in the believer is a gift from the Spirit: “The Spirit gives life” (Jn.6:63; 2Cor.3:6). When the believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, what work does the Spirit do in such a life? Here are a few answers from scripture:
- The Holy Spirit sanctifies the believer – 2Thess. 2:13
- “The Spirit himself testifies that we are God’s children.” – Rom. 8:16; Gal.4:6; 1Jn.3:24.
- “The Spirit helps us in our weaknesses” and empowers us – Rom. 8:26-27; Acts1:8; Lk.1:35.
- The Spirit helps us to set our minds on the things of the Spirit – Rom. 8:5.
- The Spirit leads and guides believers in all truth – Mt. 4:1; Jn. 16:13; Acts 8:29; 28:25; Rom. 8:14.
- The Spirit creates in the believer the willingness to do the will of God – Mt. 26:41.
- The Holy Spirit restrains the believer – Acts 16:16.
- The Holy Spirit pours the love of God into the hearts of believers – Rom. 5:5.
- The Holy Spirit gives different kinds of gifts to believers – 1Cor. 12:4.
GOING BEYOND FORMS
Why is it important to know and be reminded of the work that the Holy Spirit does in the life of a believer? It is so that we would know what we have and what to expect. Many times either because we have not known, have forgotten or have laid an unbalanced emphasis, we have failed to maximize the presence of God’s Spirit and power in our lives. Emphasis has been laid on mannerisms, forms and appearances to the detriment of substance. Many a believer has received the gift of the Spirit but has been contented with tongue-talking. In church meetings, we have been told to be “in the spirit”. That has meant that people then switch into a mood that fits into a certain understanding of what it means to be in the Spirit. The keyboardist also switches into a particular genre of soft music. But we all know that the sound of the keyboard (piano) is not the presence or move of the Spirit. For many, Pentecost has been reduced to an annual commemorative event on the church calendar. The daily, continual work that the Holy Spirit does in our lives, they have failed to yield to. The result is that many have stunted lives. There has been no life and character transformation, no shining the light, which are some of the out workings of the inner work of the Spirit.
THE SPIRIT AND THE FRUIT
My prayer and desire therefore, is that we would know what God has deposited in our lives by giving us His very own Spirit, learn to submit to His work and show by our lives that He resides in us. When the Bible talks about the fruit of the Spirit, it is actually the visible product of an invisible, internal work. Who sees the process that leads to the formation of an orange fruit, when it is filled with fluid and vitamins and sweetened? All we know is that there is a work that goes on within the plant that results in the fruit we so cherish. So is the work of the Spirit. The world doesn’t see when he works, but when the fruit mentioned in Gal. 5:22-24 is borne, the world sees and enjoys it. Religion has a form (1Tim. 3:5). Unfortunately, in many church circles, being filled with the Spirit also has its forms. Don’t settle for a form. Yield to the power that produces fruit.