(From the series: “Walking by the Spirit”)
To live by, to keep in step with, to walk by the Spirit is what every believer is called to. That means, as followers of Christ, we cannot do it in our power or wisdom. We need supernatural help. We need help to live our own lives of growth and maturity in Christ. AND we need supernatural strength to help others follow Christ. That’s what the Holy Spirit provides – supernatural power to be and to do what Christ has called us to.
We are completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit to live gospel-centered lives and to do the work Christ has given us to do.
1. The Spirit’s Saving Work
The most amazing miracle that we will ever witness in this lifetime is the Spirit’s work of regeneration.
Ephesians 2:5 – “even when we were dead in our trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—“
We know the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit is to point people to Christ. And He does this through the miracle of regeneration (which means to live again, to be given new life). Before Jesus saved us, we were dead in our sin. But in an act completely initiated and fulfilled by God, the Holy Spirit came to us, took our dead, lifeless, sinful heart, and made it alive in Christ.
If you’re saved, it’s because God saved you. When you responded to the good news of the gospel, even that response was a result of the Spirit at work in you, causing you to be able to say “yes” to Christ.
2. The Spirit’s Cleansing Work
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…” (Titus 3:4-6)
The Holy Spirit is at also work in sanctification – which means He is purifying us daily. What that means is that as a Christian grows in maturity, we also grow in awareness and recognition our own sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us – which means when we sin, He pricks our hearts and reminds us that is not pleasing to God. And He does that to lead us to repentance.
The Holy Spirit does a cleansing work in us by removing our desire for sin and increases our desire for God, for His word, and for the things of God. God places His Spirit in us and causes our hearts to daily turn from sin and turn TO Christ, to grow in maturity and to be more like Him.
3. The Spirit’s Empowering Work
The Holy Spirit is not some intangible force. He is God. But through the work of the Holy Spirit, God’s people receive power. And that power is given for two major purposes:
Evangelism of the Lost
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His disciples this in Acts 1:8…
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
The Holy Spirit empowers us with boldness, with faith, with love, the discernment, the words, the Bible verses, to share the gospel with those who don’t know Christ. And because God is sovereign in salvation, we can be assured that some will be saved.
Edification of the Church
We are “continuationist”, which means we believe the gifts of the Spirit continue to function in the church today. Scripture teaches that every Christian has been given a spiritual gift to edify (build up) the church, and to glorify God. (We will unpack specific spiritual gifts later in the series. For now, consider the lists in 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, and 1 Peter 4.)
To be a gospel-centered people, we must be a Spirit-filled, Spirit-dependent people. We want to learn to be attentive to the Spirit, to listen to his voice, to be sensitive to His leading. When that happens, we will see Jesus more clearly, and others will too.