Evangelism: Defend The Faith: Your Comforter

Matthew 28:19
Go into all the world and make disciples of every nation.

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Evangelism is the promotion or act of publicly preaching the Gospel with the intention of spreading the message and teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians who specialize in evangelism are often known as evangelists, whether they are in their home communities or living as missionaries in the field. 

We Christians have the gift of eternal life and can share that gift with our relatives, our friends, and our neighbors. May the Lord Jesus fill us with His great love as we pray for people and witness to them about our wonderful Lord and Savior.

Is the Holy Spirit God?

The short answer to this question is, yes, the Holy Spirit as described in the Bible is fully God. Along with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus Christ), God the Spirit is the third member of the Godhead or the Trinity.

Those who challenge the idea that the Holy Spirit is God suggest that the Holy Spirit may simply be an impersonal force of some kind, a source of power controlled by God but not fully a person Himself. Others suggest that perhaps the Holy Spirit is just another name for Jesus, in spirit form, apart from His body.

These ideas do not line up with what the Bible actually says about the Holy Spirit, though. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a person who has been present with the Father and the Son since before time began. The Spirit is integral to all of the things that God is described as doing in the Bible.

The Spirit of God was present at and involved in creation (Genesis 1:2; Psalm 33:6). The Holy Spirit moved the prophets of God with the words of God (2 Peter 1:21). The bodies of those in Christ are described as temples of God because the Holy Spirit is in us (1 Corinthians 6:19). Jesus was clear that to be “born again,” to become a Christian, one must be born “of the Spirit” (John 3:5).

One of the most convincing statements in the Bible about the Holy Spirit being God is found in Acts 5. When Ananias lied about the price of a piece of property, Peter said that Satan had filled Ananias’s heart to “lie to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3) and concluded by saying that Ananias had “lied to God” (verse 4). Peter reveals that the Holy Spirit is God. Lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God.

Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit, the Helper, was different from Himself. The Father would send the Helper, the Spirit of truth, after Christ departed. The Spirit would speak through the disciples about Jesus (John 14:25–26; 15:26–27; 16:7–15). All three Persons Jesus mentions—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—are God while being distinct from each other within the Trinity.

The three members of the Trinity show up, together yet distinct, at Jesus’ baptism. As Jesus comes up from the water, the Spirit descends on Him like a dove while the voice of the Father is heard from heaven saying that He is pleased with His beloved Son (Mark 1:10–11).

Finally, the Bible describes the Holy Spirit as a person, not a mere force. He can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). He has a will (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). He uses His mind to search the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). And He has fellowship with believers (2 Corinthians 13:14). Clearly, the Spirit is a person, just as the Father and the Son are persons.

Indeed, the Bible is unequivocal that the Holy Spirit is, in fact, God, just as Jesus Christ and the Father are God.

What does the Holy Spirit do?

The Bible is quite clear that the Holy Spirit is active in our world. The book of Acts, which sometimes goes by the longer title of “The Acts of the Apostles,” could just as accurately be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.” After the apostolic age, there have been some changes—the Spirit does not inspire further Scripture, for example—but He continues to do His work in the world.

First, the Holy Spirit does many things in the lives of believers. He is the believers’ Helper (John 14:26). He indwells believers and seals them until the day of redemption—this indicates that the Holy Spirit’s presence in the believer is irreversible. He guards and guarantees the salvation of the ones He indwells (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). The Holy Spirit assists believers in prayer (Jude 1:20) and “intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26–27).

The Holy Spirit regenerates and renews the believer (Titus 3:5). At the moment of salvation, the Spirit baptizes the believer into the Body of Christ (Romans 6:3). Believers receive the new birth by the power of the Spirit (John 3:5–8). The Spirit comforts believers with fellowship and joy as they go through a hostile world (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). The Spirit, in His mighty power, fills believers with “all joy and peace” as they trust the Lord, causing believers to “overflow with hope” (Romans 15:13).

Sanctification is another work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The Spirit sets Himself against the desires of the flesh and leads the believer into righteousness (Galatians 5:16–18). The works of the flesh become less evident, and the fruit of the Spirit becomes more evident (Galatians 5:19–26). Believers are commanded to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), which means they are to yield themselves to the Spirit’s full control.

The Holy Spirit is also a gift-giver. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them” (1 Corinthians 12:4). The spiritual gifts that believers possess are given by the Holy Spirit as He determines in His wisdom (verse 11).

The Holy Spirit also does work among unbelievers. Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8, ESV). The Spirit testifies of Christ (John 15:26), pointing people to the Lord. Currently, the Holy Spirit is also restraining sin and combatting “the secret power of lawlessness” in the world. This action keeps the rise of the Antichrist at bay (2 Thessalonians 2:6–10).

The Holy Spirit has one other important role, and that is to give believers wisdom by which we can understand God. “These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11). Since we have been given the amazing gift of God’s Spirit inside ourselves, we can comprehend the thoughts of God, as revealed in the Scripture. The Spirit helps us understand. This is wisdom from God, rather than wisdom from man. No amount of human knowledge can ever replace the Holy Spirit’s teaching (1 Corinthians 2:12–13).

Where is the Holy Spirit?

Scripture tells us that the Father is in heaven and the Son is at His right hand (Matthew 6:9; 23:9; Romans 8:34). But where is the Holy Spirit? Can we assign Him a location?

As God, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent. At the same time, He is present in a special way in God’s people. According to 1 Corinthians 6:19–20, the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer in Jesus Christ. The bodies of Christians are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16).

We know that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father. Jesus comforted His followers before He was crucified by saying, “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 that I have said to you” (John 14:26); and, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16). Jesus’ promise was fulfilled in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit indwelled and empowered the disciples in Jerusalem.

The Holy Spirit did not always indwell God’s people. The Holy Spirit appeared only sporadically in the Old Testament. Rather than dwell within the hearts of people as He would do after the ministry of Christ, the Holy Spirit temporarily came upon certain men in the Old Testament to enable them to carry out God’s plan. He came upon Moses and then upon the seventy leaders Moses chose to help him (Numbers 11:16–17, 25). He came upon King Saul (1 Samuel 10:6; 19:23). He came upon David when Samuel anointed him as the next king (1 Samuel 16:13). He came upon Balaam to give him a prophecy (Numbers 24:2).

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit would come and go. After God’s work had been accomplished on a specific occasion, or when people began to disobey the Lord, the Spirit would depart. He departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16:14). He departed from Samson (Judges 16:20). His filling, empowering presence was not permanent in any individual at that time; rather, the Spirit “rested on” or “came upon” individuals who had a divine task to accomplish. God worked differently with humanity before the coming of His Son, Jesus (John 3:16–18). When God had an earthly temple, that was the place where His Spirit dwelt among His people (Exodus 25:8; 2 Chronicles 7:16). But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn in two (Mark 15:38). God ushered in a new “temple” for His Spirit—the body and soul of every believer who receives Jesus as Lord and Savior (John 1:12; Romans 10:9–10).

Because He dwells in us, the Holy Spirit helps us pray (Romans 8:26). He comforts us (Psalm 34:18; 2 Corinthians 1:4). And He gives us words to say when we speak on His behalf (Luke 12:12). The Holy Spirit is everywhere that believers go. That’s one reason Christians must remain aware of their actions and attitudes. Because He lives in us, we are warned not to grieve or quench Him (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19). We take Him with us wherever we go, and He is a part of everything we are doing. We develop a healthy fear of the Lord when we live with the continual awareness that the Holy Spirit is watching and evaluating everything we think, say, and do (Job 28:28; Proverbs 9:10; 16:6).

Should we worship the Holy Spirit?

We know that only God should be worshiped (see Exodus 34:14 and Revelation 22:9). Only God deserves worship. The question of whether we should worship the Holy Spirit is answered simply by determining whether the Spirit is God. If the Holy Spirit is God, then He can and should be worshiped.

Scripture presents the Holy Spirit as not merely a “force” but as a Person. The Spirit is referred to in personal terms (John 15:26; 16:7–8, 13–14). He speaks (1 Timothy 4:1), He loves (Romans 15:30), He chooses (Acts 13:2), He teaches (John 14:26), and He guides (Acts 16:7). He can be lied to (Acts 5:3–4) and grieved (Ephesians 4:30).

The Holy Spirit possesses the nature of deity—He shares the attributes of God. He is eternal (Hebrews 9:14). He is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7–10) and omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10–11). He was involved in the creation of the world (Genesis 1:2). The Holy Spirit enjoys intimate association with both the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19; John 14:16). When we compare Exodus 16:7 with Hebrews 3:7–9, we see that the Holy Spirit and Yahweh are the same (see also Isaiah 6:8 as compared to Acts 28:25).

Since the Holy Spirit is God, and God is “worthy of praise” (Psalm 18:3), then the Spirit is worthy of worship. Jesus, the Son of God, received worship (Matthew 28:9), so it stands to reason that the Spirit of God would also receive worship. Philippians 3:3 tells us that believers “worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus.” There is one God who eternally exists in three Persons. When we worship God, we naturally worship all three members of the Godhead.

How do we worship the Holy Spirit? The same way we worship the Father and the Son. Christian worship is spiritual, flowing from the inward workings of the Holy Spirit to which we respond by offering our lives to Him (Romans 12:1). We worship the Spirit by obedience to His commands. Referring to Christ, the apostle John explains that “those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us” (1 John 3:24). We see here the link between obeying Christ and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, convicting us of our need to worship by obedience and empowering us to worship.

When / How do we receive the Holy Spirit?

The apostle Paul clearly taught that we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

These three passages make it clear that the Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation. Paul could not say that we all were baptized by one Spirit and all given one Spirit to drink if not all of the Corinthian believers possessed the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 is even stronger, stating that if a person does not have the Spirit, he does not belong to Christ. Therefore, the possession of the Spirit is an identifying factor of the possession of salvation. Further, the Holy Spirit could not be the “seal of salvation” (Ephesians 1:13-14) if He is not received at the moment of salvation. Many scriptures make it abundantly clear that our salvation is secured the moment we receive Christ as Savior.

This discussion is controversial because the ministries of the Holy Spirit are often confused. The receiving/indwelling of the Spirit occurs at the moment of salvation. The filling of the Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life. While we hold that the baptism of the Spirit also occurs at the moment of salvation, some Christians do not. This sometimes results in the baptism of the Spirit being confused with “receiving the Spirit” as an act subsequent to salvation.

In conclusion, how do we receive the Holy Spirit? We receive the Holy Spirit by simply receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:5-16). When do we receive the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit becomes our permanent possession the moment we believe.

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