Our Lord said, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16). When Christ, through the Father, gives us the Spirit of truth, He intervenes in our lives—and by that Spirit He continues to intervene in ways seen and unseen.
If we turn back the clock to the year our Lord ascended into Heaven, and consider what the apostles must have been experiencing, sensing, and living on—and after—the day of Pentecost, we conclude this: their lives and the lives of those they touched are our examples of right doctrine and practice regarding the Holy Spirit. Why? They fulfilled prophecies spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ which apply to those who “believe”:
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)
And these signs will follow those who believe. (Mark 16:17).
We as the kingdom of Christ deserve more than a dry, academic recounting of interesting historical facts of the early church. Christ’s kingdom is about the power and personal presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is our ever present, eternal spiritual reality within. Thus, when the apostles speak of such matters, our expectations should line up with theirs—which is this: unmistakable divine intervention in our individual lives, transforming us from within, empowering us to demonstrate God’s power.
Where else can we begin but with the prophecies of Christ Himself?
What does it personally mean to us—each of us—to fulfill the actual prophecies spoken by our Lord?
Exactly how does God intervene by the Holy Spirit in ways that are unseen and seen?
This is a practical look at Scriptures that pertain to the Holy Spirit, broken out into seven categories:
1. Christ’s Prophecies
2. Our Standing before God
3. Divine Power
4. Our Empowerment
5. Our Church
6. Paul Romans 8
7. Christ’s Invitation
1. Christ’s Prophecies
John 4: the woman at the well
Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father.You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24)
All prophecies about the Holy Spirit draw from this clear declaration: the Holy Spirit would be central to worshipping God in the New Covenant.
Earlier in His exchange with the woman at the well, Jesus said:
Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13, 14)
Holy Spirit is the “water springing up into everlasting life.” Jesus made this clear in a later declaration:
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)
During the Last Supper, our Lord issued a number of prophecies about the coming Holy Spirit.
If you love Me, keep My commandments. 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. (John 14:15-18)
But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:26, 27)
How does the Holy Spirit testify? This will be answered by Christ Himself by His own prophecies and the revelation He would give to His apostles.
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15)
*He may abide with you forever
*He is the Spirit of truth
*He will be in you
*He shall send to you from the Father
*He will testify of Me
*He will guide you into all truth
*Whatever He hears He will speak
*He will glorify Me
All of these prophecies did come to pass, and continue to come to pass, in ways seen and unseen—and all are ours to embrace.
2. Our Standing before God
1 Cor. 3
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)
By way of the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in us. That is our ever present, eternal spiritual reality.
2 Thess. 2
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 2:13, 14)
Holy Spirit sanctifies, which means “to make holy, “to put into a state corresponding to the nature of God.”1
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Heb. 10:10, 14-17)
All who are sanctified are perfected forever. Perfected forever means perfected forever.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Eph. 1:13, 14)
For through Him [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. (Eph. 2:18)
3. Divine Power
[F]or John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me. (Acts 1:5, 8)
Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:32, 33)
“And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” How? Does the same Lord still empower His kingdom today as He did 2000 years ago? Yes!
4. Our Empowerment
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor. 3:17)
1 Peter 1
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever. (1 Peter 1:22, 23)
For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14-21)
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:4-8)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Gal. 5:22-25)
1 Thess. 1
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. (1 Thess. 1:2-5)
5. Our Church
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph. 4:1-6)
1 Cor. 12
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (1 Cor. 12:1-11)
Many years ago I did as the apostles did, I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I spoke in tongues, and my life changed from that moment on—just like the apostles. They are our examples.
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those whobelieve: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:15-18)
1 Cor. 14
In the law it is written:
“With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people;
And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,”
says the Lord. Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers. (1 Cor. 14:21, 22)
Without question, the Holy Spirit testifies to the risen Christ by divine signs. In the first century A.D., God testified to His salvation—and He continues to testify in the twenty-first century. Any thought to the contrary has no scriptural basis.
Regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Paul said all gifts will remain within the kingdom until Christ is revealed and the kingdom is raptured. Paul’s prophecy is unmistakable:
For in him [Christ] you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. (1 Cor. 1:5–7)
Paul handed us Christ’s revelation. If Paul said, “you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed” then logically, until our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed, His kingdom cannot lack any spiritual gift. Thereby, God continues to demonstrate the grandeur and surpassing greatness of His power by all gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7–11), including the gift of speaking in tongues.
In the first century A.D., the apostles were revolutionary. Never in recorded history had man spoken forth a language inspired by the Holy Spirit born within. In the twenty-first century, it is still revolutionary to speak forth a language inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. (1 Cor. 14:39)
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. 14:1)
God continues to testify through the Spirit by divine power.
This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Heb. 2:3, 4)
2 Peter 1
[K]nowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (1 Peter 1:20, 21)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7)
The Holy Spirit speaks… to us as a church and to us individually.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev. 22:16, 17)
The Holy Spirit cries out to God on our behalf.
Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. (Acts 9:31)
6. Paul Romans 8
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 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.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
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.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ….
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:1-17, 26-35, 37-39)
God’s intervention with the apostles is not just history but also a present day reality—and it is a reality if we do as Jesus instructed us: ask and believe.
7. Christ’s Invitation
Luke 11: Ask
So I [Jesus] say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:9–13)
Rom. 10: Believe
([T]hat is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” (Rom. 10:8-11)
1. E. W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 660.