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Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
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-- Proclaiming His Gospel

 

Jesus & The Holy Spirit

Jesus Baptized

by Dennis Pollock

Jesus was a Spirit-filled man. I know that sounds a little strange, but it is easily proven from the Bible. Although He was (and is) God, He was also a man, and as a man it was necessary for Him to minister in the same way that God's servants always have, and that is through the anointing and filling of the Holy Spirit. In Luke's gospel we read, "Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…" (Luke 4:1). After His time in the wilderness being tempted by the devil, Luke tells us, "Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee" (Luke 4:14).

To be filled with the Spirit is to be empowered by the Spirit. Jesus told the disciples, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." Some have defined the filling of the Spirit as being under the Spirit's control. That is certainly part of it, but it is not the whole story. Sometimes these folks seem to be suggesting that to be filled with the Spirit is to have your personality controlled by the Spirit, so that you are a nice, gentle, patient, sort of person. These attributes are the fruit of the Spirit, but the filling of the Spirit is more properly the power of the Spirit given to us to help us fulfill our ministries. When Peter got up to defend himself before the Jewish leaders in Acts 4, the Bible says, "Peter, filled with the Spirit, said to them…" This is not telling us that Peter got up and became a nice guy. It is saying that Peter was empowered by the Spirit to give a forceful declaration that Jesus is risen.

Jesus Christ lived His life as an anointed, Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered man. He taught and preached by the Spirit, He healed by the Spirit, drove out demons by the Spirit, and answered His critics by the power of the Holy Spirit. When He announced His ministry at Nazareth, He stated: "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor…" Had He functioned purely as God, He would have needed no anointing. The anointing of the Holy Spirit is for men. You never read of God being anointed. But because our Lord humbled Himself and became a man, He took on human limitations. He had to learn how to talk and how to read. He must grow in wisdom and stature. He must read the Scriptures and learn the laws given to Moses. And He must be filled with the Holy Spirit, just as Isaiah was, just as David was, and just as John the Baptist was.

The Healing Anointing

John the Baptist declared, "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'" In the waters of the Jordan River the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, and His ministry took off with a bang. There was an amazing healing anointing on Him. In Acts we read, "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." This anointing was so strong that even touching the hem of His robe brought instant healing to any and all. This power had attributes similar to electricity, in that it would flow out of Him and into others upon contact. When the woman with the issue of blood touched His garment, He told His disciples, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me." In Luke's gospel we read, "And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all."

The Holy Spirit was central to Jesus’ mission to bring the kingdom of God to earth. He declared, "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you." Why did the demons have to leave immediately at Jesus' command? It was not because He was God. He had laid aside His divine privileges and was operating as a man full of the Holy Spirit. The demons must leave because He issued His commands in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our Lord made it plain that He lived in total dependence upon God, saying, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do." And His Liaison that kept Him in contact with the Father was the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit of God who showed the Son what the Father was wanting done, and then gave Him the power to do it. In describing Jesus' ministry, Matthew quotes Isaiah's messianic prophecy, which says, "Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him…" (Matthew 12:18).

Jesus' gift to us

Jesus not only demonstrated the Spirit-filled life, but He promised the Holy Spirit to all who would believe on Him. He promised that the same Holy Spirit that empowered Him to preach the good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, deliver the captives, and release the oppressed would rest upon us, too. The fourteenth through the sixteenth chapters of John are especially precious, as they reveal Jesus' final words of instruction to His disciples before going to Gethsemane where He would be arrested and then crucified. In these final remarks our Lord seemed especially eager to emphasize this special gift He had for them.

He tells them, "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" (John 14:16,17). Notice the idea of "another Helper." When we say that we are receiving another, we imply that we have already had one. So if Jesus is sending the disciples another Helper, who was the first Helper? That would be Jesus, of course. For the last three years Jesus had always with there for them. When the storms raged He was there to still them. When the critics accused, He always had the perfect reply. When the disciples had a question or a worry, His loving wisdom provided answers and calmed their fears. And now He was telling them that He was going to leave them. But He gives the encouragement: "I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth." Not to worry – the Holy Spirit would be there for them, doing all that Jesus had done for them. And they would never have to worry about Him leaving them – He would be with them forever!

DoveLater on Jesus goes further still. He tells them that His leaving and the Holy Spirit coming will be to their benefit: "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you" (John 16:7). How valuable must this new Helper be for Jesus to say such a thing! As Jesus tells of the various roles that the Holy Spirit will exercise in our lives He constantly uses the pronoun "He." "He will lead you into all truth." "He will testify of Me." "He will tell you things to come." "He will bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." So many Christians think of the Holy Spirit as an "it." They think of Him as a force or a power emanating from God, but not a distinct personality, with a mind, feelings, and will. Yet our Lord Jesus made it plain that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person. He speaks, He can become grieved, and He is our personal tutor in the things of God. The reason it is to our advantage that Jesus left and the Holy Spirit came is that He is able to give each one of us personal attention, as though we were the only Christian on earth. Were Jesus here today we would need to put our names on a huge list to be able to get even a few minutes of His time. And most of us wouldn't even be able to get that, considering how many billions would want an interview with Him. But the Holy Spirit is with us all the time, every day to counsel us, comfort us, encourage us, direct us, and answer our questions.

One of the greatest tragedies in the church is how Christians have ignored and neglected our wonderful Comforter! How many believers have grieved the Holy Spirit by acting as though He did not even exist. Imagine a man who married a wife, and then refused to even acknowledge her presence. He goes about his business without ever talking to her or appreciating her for all the things she does for him. How grieved she would be! Charles Spurgeon wrote, "What a grievous thing it will be if we do not pay that loving homage and reverence to the Holy Spirit which is so justly His due. May it not be the fact that we enjoy less of His power and see less of His working in the world because the church of God has not been sufficiently mindful of Him?”  D. L. Moody wrote, "How we have dishonored Him in the past! How ignorant of His grace, love, and presence we have been. True, we have heard of Him and read of Him, but we have had little intelligent knowledge of His attributes, His offices, and His relations to us."

Indwelt by God

To be a Christian is far more than merely avoiding the big sins and trying to be good little boys and girls. To be a child of God is to be indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, to be empowered by Him for the particular tasks and calling God has placed on our lives. Without the Holy Spirit Christianity would be a dead religion. Imagine someone giving you a beautiful gleaming white Cadillac and then discovering that the car will not start. When you look under the hood you find it has no engine. You could still park the car out in your driveway and impress your neighbors, but they would soon wonder why you never drive it anywhere. The car has beauty and elegance, it looks great and impresses people, but it has no power. It can never take you anywhere. So it is with all our attempts at morality and religion when they are minus the power and Person of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus believed in the Holy Spirit. In His last instructions to His disciples He was eager for them to know the incredible blessing they were about to receive when He came into their lives. Before Jesus ascended to heaven He gave His disciples strict instructions not to go out and preach or attempt to win souls just yet. They must first wait in prayer until He arrives. He declared, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." In the second chapter of Acts we read of the Holy Spirit's advent upon the church. All through the rest of the book we see the mighty things those early followers of Christ were able to accomplish through the power of the Spirit.

It was the cross of Jesus that has made Him available to every Christian, young or old, male or female, rich or poor. The Holy Spirit can never come into an unclean vessel, because He is the HOLY Spirit. It was the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for us for the remission of our sins, that has made our bodies fit temples for His indwelling. And when He arrives He comes with gifts. He multiplies our meager talents, encourages us in our darkest nights, gives perfect wisdom in our times of confusion, and brings comfort in our greatest sorrows. He will be to us everything Jesus said He would be. May we never forget the Master's words, "It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you."

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