Study 6 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND OUR SERVICE
THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: 1 Corinthians 12:4-21)
In this study we shall see that the Holy Spirit is not only the author of life within the believer, but He is also the accomplisher of service through the believer. The same Holy Spirit who imparts spiritual life to us, making us children of God, waits to communicate the divine life through us, making us servants of God. When He indwells us we are constituted children of God; when He infills, empowers and works through us we are constituted servants of God. Therefore, a Christian servant is a Christian through whose cleansed and yielded life the Holy Spirit may accomplish the will and work of God in the evangelisation of the world and in the building up of the Church.
Here is the two-fold Nature and Objective of all true Christian service:-
- (1) Evangelising the World – the salvation of SINNERS.
- (2) Building up the Church – the sanctification of SAINTS.
Any religious activity, even so-called Christian activity, that does not have these two objectives is not truly Christian service at all, for it is not the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the divine plan, the Holy Spirit is the Author and the Accomplisher of all true service for God, and every truly born again person IS ALREADY a servant of God. Look up 2 Corinthians 5:20 and notice – ‘We ARE…’ and compare Ephesians 2:10.
Now notice five aspects of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to Christian service:-
1. HE EQUIPS WITH THE GIFTS FOR SERVICE
When a soldier goes to battle he needs equipment; when an ambassador goes to a foreign country he needs equipment. We all have natural gifts, but for the specific service to which the Holy Spirit calls us these are inadequate, for the warfare in which we are engaged is a spiritual conflict (Ephesians 6:12); thus He gives us spiritual gifts. These are enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12 to 14. Study carefully 1 Corinthians 12:4-21, and note the following:-
- In verses 4-6, we learn that there are a variety of spiritual gifts.
- In verse 7, we learn that every Christian has some gift.
- In verses 8-10 (and 28), we learn what the gifts are.
- In verse 11, we learn that the Holy Spirit is sovereign in His giving of spiritual gifts.
- In verses 14-21, we learn that all the gifts are necessary for the healthy functioning of the Body.
No believer has all these gifts, and no-one has any of them apart from the Holy Spirit.
2. HE DIRECTS TO THE SPHERE OF SERVICE
God’s true servants are not self-appointed servants, going just where they think they will! Study carefully the following references, and notice that in each case it is the Holy Spirit who calls and thrusts forth His servants:-
(1) Acts 8:5,26,29,30; (2) Acts 13:1-4; (3) Acts 16:6-7; (4) Acts 21:4.
How certain we must be before taking up any service that we have His clear call to that sphere of service!
3. HE ANOINTS WITH THE POWER FOR SERVICE
Study Acts 1:8. Without the anointing of the power of the Holy Spirit our service can only be accomplished in the energy and wisdom of the flesh, and must therefore be fruitless and useless. The power of the Holy Spirit resting upon the servant is:-
- Power to speak (Acts 2:4).
- Power to speak fearlessly (Acts 4:13).
- Power to discern the true from the false (Acts 5:3).
- Power to give needed help (Acts 5:16).
- Power to obey God regardless of consequences (Acts 5:20-21,29)
- Power to do first things first (Acts 6:4).
- Power to perform miracles (Acts 6:8), etc.
4. HE SUSTAINS IN THE MIDST OF SERVICE
The true servant of God is exposed to terrific dangers and to fierce opposition and persecution. He is not fighting in an earthly warfare, but in a deadly spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12). What happens when as a result of faithful service the believer is persecuted and suffers hardship? God gives a special supply of His Spirit to fortify and strengthen His servant.
We see this wonderfully illustrated in the Book of Acts, in the life of Paul, in the experience of many Christians in recent days, in prison camps etc. Look up Acts 5:41. How is this possible? By the Holy Spirit. Compare Acts 7:54-60 and 16:22-25. The key verse here is 1 Peter 4:14.
5. HE PREPARES FOR AN ETERNITY OF SERVICE
We often take a very short view of Christian service, and we imagine that when we die, or when the Lord comes, all our service will be over! All our service down here is a preparation for service up there! Look up Revelation 22:3.
Our first and ‘logical’ service is Romans 12:1.