I am often puzzled and amazed by the number of Christians who seem reluctant to acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. It may be one of the best kept secrets in Christendom and that’s unfortunate.
If you pick up the New International Version of The Bible, you will find three references in the Old Testament and 93 references in the New Testament to the “Holy Spirit.” Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit 27 times during His ministry, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The Holy Spirit was actively working in the establishment of the church and is mentioned 42 times in the Book of Acts. The apostle Paul writes about the Holy Spirit 16 times in his letters to the churches. The remaining New Testament authors mention the Holy Spirit eight times.
Rather than muddy the waters by reciting the number of times that scriptures refer to the “Spirit”, “Spirit of God” or “Spirit of the Lord”, I want to share the burden I feel as a Bible school teacher and elder.
I need to reinforce the presence of a triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – whenever I teach a class. I chose the word “presence” and not “concept”, because presence implies a living, breathing, vibrant entity. Concept could imply it is only an idea, a vapor or a piece of fiction.
I am confident that God is no figment of my imagination. Jesus is more than a historical figure. The Holy Spirit is no ghost that can be hunted down by some people on a “reality” show.
My life and its experiences are a testimony to what the Holy Spirit can achieve in a believer and I can find dozens and dozens of other Christians who can share similar testimonies. Personally, I can tell you with full confidence that I felt the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit the moment I was raised from the baptismal waters at University Christian Church in East Lansing, Michigan.
But I find the greatest truths are found in the words of Jesus. Do you remember the Lord’s conversation with Nicodemus in John 3: “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)
It is a brilliant piece of foreshadowing when you consider what happens on the Day of Pentecost. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place,” declares Acts 2:1-12.“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’”
It means that Jesus delivered on a promise He made to His disciples in John 14:15-17. “If you love me, keep my commands,” Jesus tells His disciples. “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”
Jesus reveals more about the Holy Spirit in verses 25 and 26, when He says: “All this I have spoken while still with you. But 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.”
I cannot count the number of times that the Holy Spirit has reminded me that God loves me, He cares for me and He sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue me from sin and death.
God loves and cares about you too. You have at your disposal the greatest electronic gizmos in the world. Use them to search The Bible and reach your own conclusions about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
If you are looking for a Christ-following, Bible-believing church, send an email to [email protected] May the Lord bless you in your daily journey.