The Holy Spirit, Your Best Friend
By Minister Dimeji Ibidunni
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Genesis 1:2-3; Luke 1:34-35
Sunday 24th January 2016
My message today is a simple reminder of the importance of the Holy Spirit to every believer. We tend to talk repeatedly about God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, we pray to the Father in Jesus name regularly, but inadvertently we take for granted the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Oftentimes, He is referred to as the ‘Holy Ghost’, which we often shy away from, because it sounds oxymoronic.
By introduction, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity – the Godhead. God, the father created all we see in our natural world today. Jesus Christ is usually referred to as our Saviour. The Holy Spirit is our present Guide here on earth, in the physical absence of God, the Father and Son who reside in Heaven. He is equal to both God the Father and Son and his major role is to guide us as we navigate our journey through life, and in keeping at bay the activities of the enemy in achieving our God-given destinies.
The Holy Spirit was present at creation. Here is Genesis 1:2-3: ‘The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light’. He was also at work in the conception of Jesus. Here is Luke 1:34-35: ‘Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God’. The Holy Spirit was also present at the baptism of Jesus. Here is Matthew 3:16: ‘After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him’ (NLT). The Spirit also led Jesus into the wilderness for his trial and confirmation (Luke 4:1). Acts 10:38 reveals to us the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ ministry, while on earth: ‘How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him’.
Now, if the Holy Spirit was actively involved in creation and was an indispensable helper in Jesus life and ministry, how much more do we need Him in our lives? Here is Romans 8:11 to buttress this point. ‘But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you’. Matthew 12:32 gives us an insight into the possibility of grieving the Holy Spirit: ‘Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come’. He is a person with a unique personality, and as important in the Godhead as God, the Father and Jesus. Jesus points this out in Matthew 28:19; ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’.
Jesus promised us that the Holy Spirit will be us till the end of time, playing the role that Jesus played with his disciples while he was on earth. John 14:16-18 highlights this: ‘And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you’.
The disciples relied heavily on Jesus’ ministry in rescuing them from precarious situations – in the boat when the storm arose on the Sea of Galilee, during the feeding of the five thousand and four thousand and other such occasions. When it became imminent that Jesus was going back to Heaven, the disciples became unsettled. The role of the Holy Spirit was simply to replace that which Jesus vacated. Jesus alluded to the position of the devil in this world in John 14:30 when he said: ‘I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me’. However, with the guidance and the guard of our ultimate Guide, the Holy Spirit, we have a superior advantage over the enemy. It is vital then, that we communicate regularly with the Holy Spirit.
Here is John 14:26 from the Amplified, Classic edition: ‘But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you’. This passage highlights the roles that the Spirit plays in our lives, as mentioned by Jesus. Besides the roles mentioned in this verse, let me zero in on the role of the Holy Spirit in teaching. From aerodynamics to medicine and zoology, the Spirit is adequately informed to teach us all things. You may wonder how feasible this is. As He was present at creation, He has all the vital information pertinent to all the various inventions of humankind. Here is Job 32:8; ‘But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding’. However, we need to ask Him for the insight we need for the various scenarios in our lives. The answers we need to the various questions we have are already with us in the person of the Holy Spirit, and this can be received by asking Him. Ignoring Him will not only deny us of what we need but disrespect him. His roles including bringing to our remembrance those things we have forgotten, including dreams, visions and aspirations.
Let’s look closely at the role of the Holy Spirit as explained in John 14:26. Let’s start with His role as an advocate. An advocate is a person who pleads the case of another in the court of law. As Satan the accuser is working ferociously to charge us before God, as implied in Revelation 12:10, the Holy Spirit is also pleading our case and neutralizing the activities of the devil. We can ask the Spirit to advocate on our behalf at various occasions, especially when life’s challenges are set up against us. Acts 5 reveals to us the role that Gamaliel played in advancing the work of the gospel in spite of the stiff opposition by the ruling council: ‘And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” Just like God raised an advocate for the disciples, He can also do the same for us, by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our counsellor. A counsellor is a confidential adviser – an expert in a particular field. If in need of financial or marital advice, we normally would approach a financial or marriage counsellor respectively. The Holy Spirit however has the right advice for every field of endeavour in life, simply because He is God (See again Job 32:8). John 14:16-18 reads: ‘And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you’. In Acts 11:12, Peter was given the approval to visit Cornelius. As believers, we have been reassured of our Sonship in Christ, as highlighted in Romans 8:16.
A Helper is a person who gives assistance to another, making it easier to for the assisted to achieve their goals. The Holy Spirit is our helper here on earth. Many atimes, human help could fail or fall through, but God never disappoints us. He provides relief when we need it. Romans 8:26 reads: ‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’.
The Holy Spirit role as our intercessor as underscored in Romans 8:26-27, which reads: ‘‘Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God’. So then, the prayer for financial provision could simply be answered by being financially disciplined. God’s spiritual intelligence has the potential to make a difference to our lives, if we allow him. He is always contending for our higher good even when it seems inconvenient.
The Holy Spirit also strengthens us. Ephesians 3:16 reads: ‘May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality] (AMP). Also see Romans 8:11. The Spirit is always eager to strengthen us whenever we ask Him to.
As our Standby, the Spirit is our ever waiting waiter. If we ignore Him though and instead decide to work on our difficulties on our own, He will simply stand by until He is invited to work on the issue. He intends to dwell with us all through our days; hence He is not going to vacate His position in our lives. The Holy Spirit is our comforter during times of crisis and difficulties, especially during bereavement. During those difficult times, it is only God’s Spirit that can give comfort.
The Spirit also helps and gives us the grace to walk in love, particularly with those that are vexatious. Romans 5:5 reads: ‘Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us’. As our teacher, Jesus promised that the Spirit will teach us all things. Sometimes, there are portions of scripture that are difficult to understand. His role in our lives includes elucidating such knotty passages to us. Besides scriptures, he can also teach us other disciplines of life, provided we play our part in studying and applying our minds to the subject.
The Spirit also endows us with all we need. Here is Isaiah 11:2; ‘The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord’. He intends to reveal all that is necessary for our success in life to us. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 reads: ‘But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. The story of Daniel is a classic example of a man who enjoyed the revelation of secrets by God. He became a successful diplomat in a foreign land due to this. Daniel 4 and 5 unfolds the story of which he had to interact with men who dabbled with and possibly took seriously the field of occultism. Nebuchadnezzar turned to Daniel in verse 18: “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.” Darius, another Babylonian king had an unusual handwriting on the wall that needed interpretation. His mother referred him to Daniel. Here is Daniel 5:10-12; ‘The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”
The Spirit also leads us towards our assignment. Acts 13:2 reveals this. ‘As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Hence, we must always ask Him: ‘How, where and what do you want me to do, and who do you want me to work with?’ He also decides those we are assigned to. See Acts 8:29 and 39.
So can I encourage you as I begin to round up to cherish and desire the friendship of the Holy Spirit? Daniel as we have read earlier was a man of the word and prayer. Ask God for the gifts of the Spirit, the power, revelation and utterance gifts. These gifts will enable us to live our lives successfully. However, we must also desire holiness – He is called the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:31 puts it this way: ‘But earnestly desire the best gifts’. Besides the gifts of the Spirit, we ought to daily work on our character, or as the bible put it, the fruit of the Spirit.
Our obedience is also important to God. Acts 5:32 reads; ‘ And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him” (NLT). The fulfilment of our destiny is tied to obedience.
Finally, the comfort of the Holy Spirit is primarily to assist us in navigating successfully through life. In this world, as Jesus said, there would be tribulations but we must always be of good cheer as the victory has already been assured us. Like Jesus and Apostle Paul were tested and tried, God will sometimes orchestrate events to try us and in the process strengthen us – with the comfort and leading of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is always beside us, let’s learn to lean on Him and ask for His help more than ever before.
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