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Doctrine of the Holy Spirit - The Work of the Spirit in the life of the believer Print E-mail
Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

I.  Introduction:

 Over the next three weeks, I want to try and finish up our series on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  We considered the person of the Spirit and His divinity.  Then we looked extensively at the work of the Spirit in the Bible, beginning with the Old Testament and moving through the New.  We have drawn implications all along the way, but I want to spend the next few weeks looking specifically at the Spiritís work in our lives as individual believers and in our corporate life together.  Tonight we will look at the work of the Spirit in the life of the believer.  My goal is to summarize what we have seen in the text about the Spiritís work in our lives and draw out the practical implications of that work.

II.  Overview of the Spiritís work:

A.  The Spirit regenerates us and assures us that we are part of Godís family.  Jesus teaches us in John 3 that we can only enter the kingdom by being born of the Spirit.  Numerous passages point us to the fact that the Spirit gives us life.  We have new life in Christ through the Spirit.  This is what I mean by saying that the Spirit regenerates us.  He brings us into the family of God and without Him we cannot be in Godís family.
Not only does the Spirit give us new life, but the Spirit also bears witness to our spirit that we indeed have new life.  Paul tells us: The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16).  The Spirit assures us that we have been adopted into the family of God and that we are truly sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.  We can also include here the fact that the Spirit is our seal and guarantee of life to come (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Ephesians 1:13-14).  We can be sure about our future inheritance because of the Spiritís presence in our lives.

Thus, it is the Spirit that regenerates us and makes us a part of Godís family.  It is the Spirit that assures us that we are indeed sons and daughters of God.  And it is the Spirit who is our seal and guarantee for the future.

B.  The Spirit sanctifies us into the image of Christ.  The Bible speaks again and again of the work of the Spirit in making us more like Christ.  We often refer to this as sanctification, or being made more holy.  The Spirit convicts us of sin (John 16:5ff) and continually gives us victory over sin in our lives (Romans 8:13, Galatians 5:16ff).  In Galatians 5, Paul commands us to walk by the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the flesh.  The Spirit gives us power to live in victory over sin.  When we live to Him by filling our lives with the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, then we can have victory over the flesh.  So much of the Spiritís work could be included under this heading, but let me just mention a couple more.  First, the Spirit gives us strength to persevere through difficulties and suffering (1 Thessalonians 1:6-7).  These trials are part of what makes us more like Christ.  Likewise, the Spirit intercedes on our behalf (Romans 8:26).  As we go through these difficulties in life, the Spirit intercedes for us.  Again, both of these works of the Spirit play a role in our sanctification, so I think they can be grouped under this heading.

As the Spirit sanctifies us, He is making us more like Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).  Jesus taught us that the Helper would glorify Him (John 16:14) and that is what the Spirit is doing in making us more like Christ.  By being made into the image of Christ, we are making Him known and filling the world with His glory.  We could not do this without the Spiritís work in our lives.  Thus, He sanctifies us and makes us more like Christ that we might bring Christ glory with our lives.

C.  The Spirit illuminates us with the truth of Godís Word.  We have said that the Bible is a Spirit-inspired work.  He led the biblical writers into all truth (John 14:26, 16:13).  The Spirit also helps us in our labors to understand the Word of God.  He is still the Spirit of truth (John 15:26) and He is still leading the followers of Christ into truth.  The caution that we have given before should be restated here: the Spirit will never lead us to any Ďtruthí that contradicts the Word.  No, He leads us to understand and apply the truth that has already been revealed.  Granted, the Spirit gives gifts that are revelatory in one sense, but these gifts do not have the same authority as the Word.  The Bible remains our standard for truth.  The Spirit leads and guides our understanding and application of the standard.  As we study Godís Word, we must continually be looking to the Spirit to enable and empower us.  Yes, we are called to labor and study, but we do so in the Spiritís power and guidance.

D.  The Spirit empowers us to worship the Lord and minister to others.  Once again, this is a heading that covers much of the Spiritís work.  Paul tells us that the Spirit unites together as believers (Ephesians 4:1-6).  As a Church, we are brought together by the Spirit.  The Spirit grants us gifts so that we can love one another by building each other up (1 Corinthians 13, 12-14).  The Spirit empowers us to use these gifts in the service of the local Church.  We preach in the power of the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5), we pray in the power of the Spirit (Jude 20), we sing in the power of the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21).  The Spirit empowers the worship in our community of faith.  Thus, as Jesus taught, may we worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).

Part of the call to worship together is the call to minister to each other.  The Spirit gives us gifts so that we might encourage one another and build one another up (1 Corinthians 12-14).  He empowers us to use these gifts for that purpose.  We will turn our attention to how this is done in the local Church setting next week.  For now, I just want to note that it is the Spirit that empowers our worship and our service to each other.

III.  Conclusion:

It is no small wonder that the Spirit of the Living God is at work in our lives as believers.  Jesus promised that the Spirit would come and that promise has been fulfilled.  The Spirit is at work in the lives of all of those who have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Christ.  He is giving them life and assuring them that they belong to Christ.  He is giving them victory over sin and conforming them to the image of their Savior.  He is giving them understanding of the truth of Godís Word that they might apply it to their lives.  And He is giving them power to worship the One True God and minister to each other.  He is at work in all these ways and more.  May we be ever mindful and ever thankful for the great work of the Spirit in our lives.  Amen.

Last Updated ( Monday, 27 July 2009 )

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