The Holy Spirit in the Church

John 14:16, 26.

The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative in the church. After the Lord ascended back into heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to be His representative on the earth and in the Church. His activities in the church may be seen in part from the following:

1. He leads Christians in their worship—Eph. 2:18; Phil. 3:3.

2. He inspires their prayers—Rom. 8:26-27.

3. He empowers their preaching—1 Thess. 1:5.

4. He guides them in their activities—Acts 13:2.

5. He raises up overseers for the church—Acts 20:28.

6. He bestows gifts for its growth and effectiveness—1 Cor. 12.

7. He guides believers into all truth—John 16:13.

Expressing this truth, especially in view of the doctrine of the Headship of Christ, may to some seem an overlap or conflict. Both statements are true. Christ is the head of the Church, but has delegated the Holy Spirit to be His agent or representative on earth. Therefore it behooves every local church to give the Holy Spirit His rightful place.

Some may ask: How can we give the Holy Spirit His rightful place?

1. The assembly should seek His guidance in all its affairs.

    a. Arranging the type of meetings to be held.

    b. Discerning the human instruments to be used in ministering the Word.

    c. Disbursement of funds.

    d. Exercising of godly discipline.

Assembly is the dwelling place of the Spirit—1 Cor. 3. The believer is also the dwelling place of the Spirit—1 Cor. 6.

2. We should recognize the sovereignty of the Spirit. Romans 12:1-2. Each believer and local church must be completely surrendered so that the Holy Spirit will be able to do as He pleases for us, through us, and in us. The working of the Spirit is like the wind. “We know not whither it cometh or wither it goeth”—John 3:8. His movements are unpredictable. He has no prescribed pattern. The symbols used in the Scriptures to describe Him are fire, water, oil and wind. These illustrate the fluidity and mobility with which He works. Every local church and every individual believer would do well to allow Him this Divine prerogative. Quench not…Grieve not the Holy Spirit.

What would an assembly be like if it were controlled by the Holy Spirit?

1. There would be no dull, unprofitable meetings.

2. There would not be the unhallowed intrusion of the human nature or spirit—the flesh.

3. There would be no saving/making of prayers.

4. No talking for taking’s sake. No display of the flesh whatsoever.

5. Each gifted vessel would be filled, fitted and used as the Master planned.

6. Each eye would be directed to the Lord. “Every eye was fastened on Him.”

7. Each heart would be occupied with Christ.

8. When a hymn is sung, our spirits would be lifted up to God in praise, just like sweeping the strings of the heavenly harp, a real “Hallelujah Chorus.”

9. We would feel ourselves in the very presence of God, and enjoy a foretaste of the time when we shall worship in the heavenly courts above.

While we are considering the Presidency of the Holy Spirit it might be profitable to introduce the Scriptural truth of the “Priesthood of Believers.”

All believers are priests of God—1 Peter 2:5, 9; Revelation 1:5-6.

It is the responsibility of each believer to exercise the privileges of this sacred office in private and in public.

1. Peter writing to the “strangers scattered abroad” informs them in chapters 2-5 that they are “living stones built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Col. 1; 1 Tim. 1 and 6.

2. v. 9—“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Acts 22:23.

3. John writes in Revelation 1:5-6, “Unto Him that loved us, and has washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests (a kingdom of priests) unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Explain the difference between the “Holy priesthood” and the “Royal Priesthood.”

Some other important duties of a priest are:

1. The offering of sacrifice.

In the OT the priest offered sacrifices which were usually slain animals. But today the offerings of a believer-priest are:

    a. The sacrifice of his body. Romans 12:1—“A living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.”

    b. The sacrifice of his material resources. Hebrews 13:16—“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

    c. The sacrifice of his praise. Hebrews 13:15—“Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.”

    d. Other duties of the believer-priest include prayer, testimony and a care for God’s people. He is an intercessor.

It is scriptural that all believers are priests. It is also scriptural that every Christian needs a Priest. This need is fully met in our Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews sets Him forth as the Great High Priest, One who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, because He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15.

Every local church should recognize the Lord as the Great High Priest, and should also recognize every believer as a holy and royal priest. Also he should recognize the Presidency of the Holy Spirit at all gatherings of the Church.

The Holy Spirit

The body prepared for the Eternal Son was born of a virgin. The body prepared for the Indwelling Spirit is begotten of faith in the Lord Jesus, the Son of the Living God.

If the Holy Spirit was given His rightful place in any assembly, it would throb with Pentecostal power.

This will never take place corporately, until each individual believer’s life is lived on a Scriptural, spiritual, prayerful, Holy Spirit level, in walk and in service.

The Holy Spirit is the Administrator of the assembly. He is the One who bestows the gifts necessary for its effective functioning. 1 Cor. 12.

When those gifts are used under His direction there is power and blessing.

Our individual and collective witness must be in and through the Spirit. To be effective it must be in demonstration o the Spirit and of power. Paul says, “Our Gospel came not into you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit”—1 Thess. 1:5.

We need the Spirit in our witness and also in our worship.

The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. You may be immature, weak and imperfect—despite this, if you have been truly “born again” of the Spirit, He dwells within you.

It is one thing for you to have the Holy Spirit but does the Holy Spirit have you? Does He fill you with abundant life?

“Be ye filled with the Holy Spirit”—Ephesians 5:8. This is a command.

You are baptized by the Spirit once into the body of Christ. You must be filled over and over again. The apostles that were filled in Acts 2 were filled again in Acts 4.

To be filled with the Spirit one must be Spirit-possessed, Spirit-empowered, Spirit-led, and Spirit-controlled. Acts 8:26-40.

You are filled with the Spirit that you might have joy—Eph. 5:19-20.

You are filled with the Spirit for service—Acts 6:3.

You are filled with the Spirit for power to be a witness—Acts 1:8.

You are filled with the Spirit that you may walk in the Spirit—Gal. 5:16-26.

You are filled with the Spirit that you may be led by the Spirit—Rom. 8:14.

We are commanded by Paul to “be filled with the Spirit”—Eph. 5:18.