|The Holy Spirit (In the Church Age)
By Pastor Paul Van Noy
Over the past several months we have been studying a few basic teachings from the Bible. We are calling this series “The Fundamentals of the Faith.” For three months we studied the Church. We studied what it is, discovered how one becomes a part of it, looked at its function in the world, and our responsibility for involvement in and commitment to a local church fellowship. This month I want to examine the work of the Holy Spirit in what we refer to as The Church Age.
A Few Basic Points on the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God. In the January 2006 segment of this series we discovered the nature and person of the Holy Spirit. There I wrote, “There is only one God… He has revealed Himself as the personal, transcendent, eternal, sovereign Creator of all things. He is the first and last, the only Savior and Lord; there is no other. He is eternally self-existent and has revealed Himself as a Tri-unity of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons, yet one God.”
As a member of the Trinity we understand that the Holy Spirit is fully God. He like the Father and the Son is eternal, all knowing/omniscient, all present/omnipresent, all powerful/omnipotent, personal, interactive, and as God, transcends all our human and earthy limitations. He is alive in the world today and is active in the affairs of men. In the world, a part of His ministry is to provide conviction for sin, lead man into the truth, reveal the future, and draw people to Jesus. (John 15:26, 16:8, etc.) In the Church He is the One who empowers and transforms us to live a godly life. He seals us unto the day of redemption and equips us to fulfill Jesus’ command to preach the Gospel to the entire world.
His Work in the Church Today.
As mentioned above, we are living in the church age. The period of history after the resurrection of Jesus and the day of Pentecost until the rapture of the Church: the catching away of the body of Christ to heaven before the beginning of what is known as the Tribulation period. (See 1 Cor. 15:51-58.)
After Jesus ascended to heaven He poured out His Spirit upon the believers: His Church. At that time they were filled and empowered for service. (Acts 1-2) The Holy Spirit equips believers to understand the truth of the Scriptures and to develop maturity in Christ. (Titus 3:5, Ephesians 1:13-14, John 14:26, 1 John 2:27, Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:22-25) Jesus said a part of the Spirit’s work in the Church would be blessing the believers with gifts designed for ministry and encouragement. There are referred to as the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit”. (1 Cor. 12) The Holy Spirit develops attributes of Jesus’ character in the believer. These are referred to as the “Fruit of the Spirit”. (Gal. 5) The gifts and fruit of the Spirit are available to every member of the Church. God desires that every member of His Church exercise the gifts to edify the body, to equip us for ministry, and above all to glorify Christ. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to be disciplined as prescribed by the Scriptures. They should never be used to draw attention to or to glorify man, should be practiced in a decent and orderly fashion, and must always be demonstrated in a spirit of love. (1 Corinthians 12-14)
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit provides believers with the nature and character of Jesus. Every Christian is called upon to “earnestly desire the best gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31) and allow the fruit of the Spirit to develop in his or her life. As we “live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:25)
The Christian’s blessing in the Lord is to enjoy a surrendered life in Jesus, out of which will flow the gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
May the Lord richly bless you as you continue to study His Word.
Paul D. Van Noy, Pastor
Candlelight Christian Fellowship