The Holy Spirit continues to work in the here & now just like he did there & then.
The teaching & example of both Jesus and the 1st century church clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit continues to empower & edify God’s people just like he did in the 1st century until Jesus returns and makes his church fully mature in his presence.
How do we respond to this?
Embrace the doctrine of the Holy Spirit—here & now as true. Say, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Something is true even if you haven’t experienced it. Experience isn’t our guide—Scripture is. What you have experienced if you are a disciple of Jesus is the greatest miracle of the Holy Spirit—you have been born again (regenerated). You were dead but now you are alive! Let that stir your faith to believe that if that extraordinary event has taken place then nothing is impossible for the Holy Spirit to make much of Jesus for the glory of the Father.
The Holy Spirit is your helper in the here & now. God’s heavenly power continues to break through into our lives by the person and work of the Holy Spirit to make much of Jesus for the glory of the Father. We don’t celebrate the mighty work of the Holy Spirit like we nostalgically remember the good old days of the past. We celebrate the mighty work of the Spirit as an active Helper in the present. The Holy Spirit’s presence & power is available to you today. Let this move you to celebration and humble confidence as you follow Jesus day by day.
Expect the Holy Spirit to manifest his presence and power in your life each day and especially when you gather with the church or the needy.
Expect Help. Do you need help from God in any way right now? Pray and anticipate that the Holy Spirit will come and help.
Expect Change. Do you need to change in any way that you are aware of? Pray and anticipate that the Holy Spirit will come renew your life making you more like Jesus.
Expect Conversions. Are you building a relationship with someone who needs to start following Jesus? Pray and anticipate that the Holy Spirit will embolden you to share the gospel and that He loves to give the gift of regeneration.
Expect Healings & Deliverances. Do you or someone you know need to be healed today? Do you need or someone you know need to be delivered from a life dominating sin? Pray and anticipate that the Holy Spirit may heal and deliver. Ask others to pray for you in expectation that it may be that God in his love will demonstrate his powerful mercy.
Expect the Prophetic. Do you expect to hear from God personally through subjective impressions? Do you need his wisdom and leading? Pray and anticipate that the Holy Spirit will give you personal and practical ways of applying Scripture to your life and your community.
I agree with missiologist Roger Greenway when he says,
“Many Christians in the West seem to lack the expectation that God can save, heal, change lives, and circumstances and set people free NOW.”
Do you believe that God can save, heal, change lives, circumstances and set people free right here and right now? If you believe, that faith should lead you to expect and that expectation should lead you to pursue the Holy Spirit to work mightily to make much of Jesus for the glory of God the Father.
We often have not because we ask not. And we ask not because we don’t believe. In Mark 6:1-6 Jesus didn’t do many miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief. May the healing in our lives begin with the healing of our unbelief! When we start believing, we’ll start pursuing. And when we start pursuing, I believe God will start answering more and more. God has sovereignly chosen to work in proportion to our faith.
Pursue the Spirit’s work in public. The Spirit is always up to something when we gather and it’s not just limited to the leaders of the church. Read the entirety of 1 Corinthians 14 and pursue it, submit it to your leaders, and see what God does. Pursuing it also looks like praying for others to pursue it for your good, the good of the entire church, and the good of those who aren’t following Jesus yet.
Pursue the Spirit’s work in private. The Spirit’s work is not limited to Sunday gatherings and small group meetings. Go after God in the privacy of your home, in your car, in your cubical and on the job site. The life of discipleship should be characterized by walking in the Spirit.
What functions of the Holy Spirit do you feel confused and unsure of? Study them out. First and foremost read the Bible. I came to the continuationist position over time sitting in my dorm room reading the book of Acts believing that the Scriptures were sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. My reformed conviction of Sola Scriptura actually lead me to become a charismatic with a seat belt! From there read other books, blogs and articles. I also believe study and doctrinal formation is a community effort. This means that you should talk about these things with other disciples and learn together
Here are some helpful resources outside the Bible for your study.
Most importantly—DO NOT FORGET—it’s all about Jesus! The Holy Spirit works in all his wonderful ways to make much of Jesus for the glory of God the Father. When the Spirit is working we are more aware of Jesus then we are anything else. We see the Savior—sense the Savior—celebrate the Savior—become more like the Savior—share the good news of the Savior—and experience foretastes in the present of what the Savior has secured in the future for all who follow Him.
Jesus himself said about the Holy Spirit, “He will glorify me…” John 16:14
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