Study 4 WHAT HE IS DOING TODAY
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Psalm 87)
The period of time from Pentecost to the Return of the Lord Jesus is known as the Dispensation of the Spirit. It is also known as the Day of Grace, and the Church Age. In this study we will ask and answer the question: What is the specific ministry of the Holy Spirit in this Age or Dispensation? What is He doing today? The answer is that He has a special three-fold ministry: (1) in relation to the SINNER; (2) in relation to the SAINT; (3) in relation to the SAVIOUR.
1. HIS MINISTRY IN RELATION TO THE SINNER
That is, to the unsaved, the lost, to those who are spiritually dead (John 5:40; Ephesians 2:1; 1 John 5:11-12).
- First: He CONVICTS the Sinner. Look up John 16:8-11. He convicts the sinner of the paramount sin of rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ - for there is no greater sin than the sin of unbelief; He convicts the sinner of his own unrighteousness (Isaiah 64:6) and of the righteousness offered in the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 1:30); and He convicts the sinner of the perfect victory accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary’s Cross where He defeated Satan.
- Second: He SEPARATES the Sinner. Look up Acts 15:13-14. The divine purpose in this age is not the conversion of the world, not the building of the Kingdom of God by human effort, but the calling out, or separating from the world, of an elect company of people to the Name of Christ. It is essential for those of us who are servants of God to understand what God’s purpose in this age is, so that we can co-operate with Him for the fulfilment of His purpose.
- Third: He REGENERATES the Sinner. Look up John 3:3-7. The Holy Spirit gives new life to the sinner, making him a partaker of the divine nature, a child of God. Look up John 1:12-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17. Psalm 87 gives us a beautiful word-picture of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in calling out ’born again’ ones and making them members of Zion, the true Church of God.
2. HIS MINISTRY IN RELATION TO THE SAINT
That is, to the sinner who has repented of his sin and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his own personal Saviour (Acts 5:31), to the Christian.
- First: He BAPTISES the Saint. Look up Luke 3:16, and compare Acts 1:4; 2:4. The moment a sinner is saved, that one is baptised with the Holy Spirit and made a member of the Body of Christ. Look up 1 Corinthians 12:13, and note the tense. Every believer is baptised with the Holy Spirit and thereby constituted a member of the True Church which is His Body (Colossians 1:24).
- Second: He INDWELLS the Saint. Look up John 14:16-17, and compare Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19. He indwells to give assurance (Romans 8:16); to guide (Romans 8:14); to comfort (John 14:16,18,26); to lead us in prayer (Romans 8:26); to make us fruitful (Galatians 5:22-23) - to make us like the Lord Jesus.
- Third: He EMPOWERS the Saint. Look up Acts 1:8. The Lord Jesus not only promised that the Holy Spirit would indwell every believer, but He promised that He would come upon believers to empower them for service – Acts 1:8. This anointing with power is available to every believer and necessary for effective and God-glorifying service.
3. HIS MINISTRY IN RELATION TO THE SAVIOUR
What is the Holy Spirit doing for the Saviour now, in this age and dispensation?
- First: He REPRESENTS His PERSON. Look up and compare Hebrews 9:24; Matthew 18:20; Hebrews 13:5. The Lord Jesus is in Heaven, and yet He is in the midst of every company of His people and with each one individually. How can this be? The Lord Jesus is in Heaven, and He is with His people in the Person of the Holy Spirit, who is His representative on earth. How wonderful that this divine Representative dwells within us as Christians, and is ever present with us! How wonderful that He is ‘with us’ in every service of worship, prayer and praise!
- Second: He EXECUTES His BUSINESS. Look up John 14:12, and notice that the ‘greater things’ were dependent upon the Lord Jesus going to Heaven. In other words, the ‘greater things’ would only be accomplished when Christ had ascended, been exalted, and when the Holy Spirit had come at Pentecost. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Agent of the Godhead who is abroad in the world today to execute the divine programme.
- Third: He PREPARES His BRIDE. The Holy Spirit is preparing the Bride for the Bridegroom. The Bride is the Church, composed of every born again and blood-washed man and woman. He is getting us ready for the great day of UNION, when we shall see Him, and be like Him (1 John 3:2)!