Living as a Christian
WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?
IN THE BEGINNING
1. God is one and yet more than just one. He is made up of three persons (the Trinity): God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit is a person. In older versions of the Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as the "Holy Ghost".
2. The Bible tells us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, was present when God created the earth by His Word (Genesis Chapter 1 verses 2 and 3).
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
3. In the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible, God inspired and empowered certain people by the Holy Spirit. Bezalel (Exodus 31:2-3), Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:9), Gideon (Judges 6:34) and David (2 Samuel 23:1-2) are examples. These people were specially chosen by God to act for Him or to do certain tasks and so were given the Holy Spirit to enable them to accomplish these. Prophets called by God were given their words of prophecy by the Holy Spirit acting through them (2 Peter 1:21). In Old Testament days, therefore, God gave the Holy Spirit in a very limited way, for special reasons.
IN THE TIME OF JESUS
4. John the Baptist, whose task was to introduce Jesus to the Jewish people of his time, said of Jesus: "He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). Before John the Baptist baptised Jesus, Jesus had never healed anyone or performed any miracles. Immediately after his baptism Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17)and was tempted in many ways by the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11). It was the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus that empowered him for all the amazing things he later did (Acts 10:38). Jesus did nothing apart from the Holy Spirit.
IN HIS DISCIPLES
5. Before he died, Jesus promised that God the Father would send the same Holy Spirit ("the Spirit of truth") to empower his disciples (John 14: 15-18). The Holy Spirit would be with all of Jesus' followers forever. His role would be to reveal God's word (the Bible) to us, to teach us the truth about God and to enable us to live holy lives.
IN OUR DAILY LIVES
6. All who become Christians are born of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit actually comes and takes up residence within us. To grow and become mature as Christians we must be continually led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). He helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26-27). We are warned not to grieve the Holy Spirit by our actions (Ephesians 4:30). He will sometimes give us words to say to other believers, to encourage them, to enable them to mature and be obedient to God. Jesus told us to go on asking for the Holy Spirit - read the lovely story of "A Friend At Midnight" (Luke 11:5-13). When we ask in simple faith for more of the Holy Spirit we will receive what we ask for.
IN OTHER WAYS TOO
7. God shows His love for us through the Holy Spirit. He heals us - in body and in spirit - through the Holy Spirit. He enables our character to be changed to be more like Jesus, through the work of the Holy Spirit. He may give us a spiritual gift through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12).
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