The Holy Spirit
Based on the Erased sermon series.
Here is the “For Further Study” I promised last Sunday on the Holy Spirit series called “Erased.” At the risk of not repeating everything that has already been said during the series, here I will just hit the highpoints of the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer and answer a couple of questions I was asked during the series by some of you.
The Work of the Holy Spirit in a Believer’s life…
• The Spirit helps us speak when we are in precarious situations and need to bear witness (Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12).
• The Counselor teaches and reminds us of what we need to know and remember. He is our comforter, our advisor, our encourager, and our strength. He guides us in the way we should go (Ps. 143:10; John 14–16; Acts 9:31; 13:2; 15:28; 1 Cor. 2:9–10; 1 John 5:6–8).
• From the Spirit we receive power to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth. It is the Spirit who draws people to the gospel, the Spirit who equips us with the strength we need to accomplish God’s purposes. The Holy Spirit not only initially draws people to God, He also draws believers closer to Jesus (Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:26; Eph. 3:16–19).
• By the power of the Spirit we put to death the misdeeds of the body. The Spirit sets us free from the sins we cannot get rid of on our own. This is a lifelong process we entered into, in partnership with the Spirit, when we first believed (e.g., Rom. 8:2).
• Through the Spirit we have received a spirit of adoption as children, which leads us into intimacy with the Father, instead of a relationship based on fear and slavery. The Spirit bears witness to us that we are His children (Rom. 8:15–16).
• The Holy Spirit convicts people of sin. He does this both before we initially enter into right relationship with God and as we journey through this life as believers (John 16:7– 11; 1 Thess. 1:5).
• The Spirit brings us life and freedom. Where the Spirit is, there is freedom, not bondage or slavery. In our world that is plagued with death, this is a profound truth that points to real hope (Rom. 8:10–11; 2 Cor. 3:17).
• By the power of the Holy Spirit we abound with hope because our God is a God of hope, who fills His children with all joy and peace (Rom. 15:13).
• As members of God’s kingdom community, each of us is given a manifestation of the Spirit in our lives for the purpose of the common good. We all have something to offer because of what the Spirit gives to us (1 Cor. 12:7).
• The fruit of being led by the Spirit of God includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Questions Asked By You…
What is the Laying on of Hands and anointing with Oil? Laying on of the hands is like anointing with oil, much confusion can orbit around these outward signs which the New Testament has very little (but something) to say. Like fasting, the laying on of hands and anointing with oil go hand in hand with prayer. Because of the way God has made the world, and wired our own hearts, on certain special occasions we reach for something tangible, physical, and visible to complement, or serve as a sign of, what is happening invisibly and what we’re capturing with invisible words. In the Old Testament there was a totally different intent by the term “laying on of hands.” It had a positive and negative intent. In the New Testament, we find a noticeable shift in the typical use of “the laying on of hands.” A small sampling still conveys the general/negative sense (to harm or seize, related to the scribes and priests seeking to arrest Jesus, Luke 20:19; 21:12; 22:53), but now with the Son of God himself among us, we find a new positive use of the phrase, as Jesus lays his hands on people to bless and to heal. Jesus’s most common practice in healing is touch, often described as “laying his hands on” the one to be healed (Matthew 9:18; Mark 5:23; 6:5; 7:32; 8:22–25; Luke 13:13).
Commission to Ministry In 1 Timothy 4:14, Paul charges Timothy, his official delegate in Ephesus, "Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you." For our purposes here, the point is not precisely what gift Timothy received (though both the previous and following verses mention teaching), but how the elders commissioned him into his formal role. When the elders lay their hands on a candidate for ministry, they both commission him to a particular role of service and they commend him to those among whom he will serve.
God Gives the Grace With both the laying on of hands and anointing with oil, the elders come before God, in special circumstances, with a spirit of prayer and particular requests, but whereas anointing with oil asks for healing, the laying on of hands asks for blessing on forthcoming ministry. Anointing with oil in James 5:14 privately commends the sick to God for healing; the laying on of hands in 1 Timothy 5:22 publicly commends the candidate to the church for an official ministry. Anointing sets the sick apart and expresses the need for God’s special care. Laying on of hands sets apart a qualified leader for specific ministry and signals fitness to bless others. Laying on of hands, then — like anointing or fasting or other external rituals for the church — is not magic and does not, as some claim, automatically confer grace. Rather, it is a “means of grace,” and accompanies words of commendation and corporate prayer, for those who believe. Like baptism, the laying on of hands is a kind of inaugural sign and ceremony, an initiating rite — a way of making an invisible reality visible, public, and memorable, both for the candidate and for the congregation, and then through the candidate and congregation to the world. It serves as a means of grace to the candidate in affirming God’s call through the church and in providing a tangible, physical moment to remember when ministry gets hard. It’s also a means of God’s grace to the commissioning leaders, who extend and expand their heart and work through a faithful candidate. And it’s a means of God’s grace to the congregation, and beyond, in clarifying who are the official leaders to whom they will seek to submit to (Hebrews 13:7, 17).
Do you practice the Laying on of Hands and anointing with Oil? Absolutely within the context of what you read above. I do not believe there is power in the actual laying on of hands or in the oil used for anointing. The only power is in the God who honors the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. My ministry was inaugurated with elders laying on of hands and a group of godly women who God lead to anoint me with oil as I began ministry. I have done these practices all over the world. They are special and powerful moments.
Do you believe in the 2nd baptism of the Holy Spirit? I do not think the essence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit is new birth or conversion or being united to the body of Christ. What then is it? And why do I not think it is the same as what Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 12:13? Without getting too deep into it, I think the essence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit is when a person, who is already a believer, receives extraordinary spiritual power for Christ-exalting ministry.
• This is true because Luke says that being baptized with the Spirit is being filled with the Spirit, and being filled with the Spirit is always for extraordinary power in ministry.
• It is true because Luke says that being baptized with the Spirit is a fulfillment of the promise of Joel 2, and Joel 2 promises an upsurge of prophetic power among God’s people.
• It is true because Luke describes being baptized with the Spirit as receiving power for witness when the Holy Spirit comes upon you (Acts 1:8).
• And it is true because Luke says that being baptized in the Spirit is being clothed with power from on high so that message of Christ can be taken effectively to all the nations of the world (Luke 24:49).