The Ministry of the Spirit
May 28, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Life In the Spirit, Part 3
What does the Spirit do anyway? Over the past two weeks we have considered the goodness of the gift of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Jesus promised in Acts 1:8 that the Spirit would empower his disciples to be witnesses. On Pentecost the Spirit was poured out on the church, with several signs, by Christ to affirm and apply his redemptive work. Left with only these descriptions, though, the ministry of the Spirit still is vague. He gives power and he applies the work of Christ. But how does this work and how is the Holy Spirit’s ministry connected with the work of Christ? And what difference does the ministry make in our day to day lives?
Over the next few weeks, we will study what the Bible teaches us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, how he practically helps believers. Sinclair Ferguson provides us an excellent summary to center on: “The heart and soul of the Spirit’s ministry is to sustain us ‘in Christ’” (The Holy Spirit, p. 100). Every spiritual blessing is ours in Christ and we have redemption and forgiveness in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 7). The ministry of the Spirit does not add anything to what we have in Christ, nor does the Spirit compete with or replace Christ. The Spirit unites us to Christ and sustains us in that all-satisfying, all-sufficient relationship.
Let’s take a survey of the New Testament passages that highlight this ministry of the Spirit. In the weeks to come, we’ll take a more in depth look at specific aspects of the Spirit’s ministry of sustaining us in Christ.
1. The Spirit magnifies the goodness of Christ for the satisfaction of our souls. Jesus says in John 16:13-14, “The Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth…He will glorify me…”
2. The Spirit begins us into the life of faith in Christ (see John 3:5 & Gal. 3:3).
3. The Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
4. The love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, is poured out into our hearts by the Spirit (Rom. 5:5).
5. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16-17).
6. The Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes for us (Rom. 8:26).
7. The Spirit transforms us into the same image of the Son, from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor. 3:18).
8. The Spirit empowers us to not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16).
9. We are sealed by the Spirit for the final day of redemption, the consummation of our union with Christ (Eph. 1:13, 4:30).
In this small sampling of the NT teaching on the ministry of the Spirit, we see how everything the Spirit does centers on bringing us into and sustaining us in our relationship with Christ. Do you enjoy Christ today? The Spirit is helping you! Do you feel weak in faith and struggle with temptation? The Spirit is eager to help you cling to Christ! In the weeks to come we’ll unpack how the Spirit sustains you in Christ.