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 (Manna 3)
What You Need To Know About The Holy Spirit
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What Is The Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is God Himself (Jn 4:24; 2 Cor 3:17). In the Bible the Holy Spirit is variously called the:-

Counselor (Jn 14:26)

Spirit of God (1 Cor 3:16)

Spirit of the Lord (Is 11:2; Lk 4:18)

Spirit of the living God (2 Cor 3:3)

Spirit of the Father (Mt 10:20)

Spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9)

Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7)

Spirit of the Son of God (Gal 4:6)

Spirit of truth (1 Jn 4:6)

Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)

Spirit of glory (1 Pet 4:14)

Spirit of wisdom and of revelation (Eph 1:17)

Spirit of judgment (Is 4:34)

Spirit of holiness (Rom 1:4; Neh 9:20)

Spirit of grace (Heb 10:29)

There is only one Spirit (Eph 4:4) and all the names are but titles of the same Spirit.

The Work Of The Holy Spirit In The Old Testament

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26), just as Jesus also came from Him (Jn 13:3). The Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters when the Universe was created. The creation which is sustained by the power of God, is also the work of the Spirit. Man, the most noble among the creatures, is the glorious master-piece of the Spirit (Job 33:4). Clearly, the Holy Spirit is the prime source of the creation.

He endowed the tailors of Aaron’s garment with wisdom and knowledge (Ex 28:3); and vested the Judges with judicial authority and leadership in warfare (Judg 3:10; 6:34).

In the religious sphere, the Spirit inspired Eldad and Medad to prophesy (Num 11:26-29); and David to speak the Word of God (2 Sam 23:2). The prophets in­structed, admonished and saw Visions through the power of the Spirit. (Neh 9:20,30; Eze 11:24-25). Against the rebellious, the Holy Spirit turned Himself to become their enemy, and fought against them (Is 63:10).

The Work Of The Holy Spirit In The New Testament

Christians are born again and sealed as a guarantee of our in­heritance, with the Holy Spirit (in 3:5; Eph 1:13-14). He frees man from the law of sin, sanctifies him and finally resurrects him in the Day of Judgment (Rom 8:2; 15:16; 8:11).

He teaches man, strengthens the weak, empowers the disciples, gives comfort, peace and joy (Jn 14:26; Eph 3:16; Acts 1:8; 9:31; Rom 14:17). He even intercedes for man and bestows gifts upon him (Rom 8:26; 1 Cor 12:4-11).

The Personality Of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit has a personality. He is God and therefore is not merely an ‘influence’ or an ‘active force’ of God. The Bible portrays the Holy Spirit as a ‘person’ having discernment (1 Cor 2:10), a mind (Rom 8:27), a feeling of love (Rom 15:30), the ability to instruct and speak to man (Neh 9:20; Acts 8:29). He bestows grace and yet can be grieved (Heb 10:29; Eph 4:30). With respect to the workers of God, He ordains, sends, guides and occasionally prohibits them if necessary (Acts 20:28; 13:2-3; Rom 8:14; Acts 16:6-7). He also reveal mysteries to His Holy apostles and prophets (Eph 3:5).

The Types And Symbols Of The Holy Spirit

Dove — symbolising the gentle and peaceful nature of the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:16; 10:16).

Guarantee — symbolising the reliability of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:14).

Fire — symbolising the forceful inspiration and the refining work of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:3).

Oil — symbolising the joy of the Spirit’s indwelling (Lk 4:18; Heb 1:9).

Seal — symbolising the reality and power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13; Dan 6:17).

Water — symbolising the abundant life a Christian experiences through the Holy Spirit (in 7:38-39; Rev 22:17).

Wind — symbolising the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit (in 3:8; Acts 2:2; Eze 37:9-10).

The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

Before His Ascension, Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel and baptise those who believe; and to await the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). On the day of Pentecost, ten days after the ascension of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit descended.

God has assured man two great promises; to send us Ills only begotten Son and to send us a Comforter ie. the Holy Spirit. While the Son is given to die for the whole world, the Holy Spirit is given selectively to those who profess Christ through faith (Gal 3:2,14; Eph 1:13; Acts 15:7-8).

John the Baptist testified to the fact that Jesus is the Lamb of God, and that He alone would baptise with the Holy Spirit. This testimony is recorded in all the four Gospels (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33). This means that Jesus has the sole prerogative to baptise with the Spirit. After Jesus had resurrected, He breathed on his disciples saying, “receive the Holy Spirit”. Where­upon the disciples did not receive the Holy Spirit instantly because that was only a promise. Earlier Jesus said, “....if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; hut if I go away, I will send him to you” (Jn 16:7). Hence, the reason Christ told them to wait in Jerusalem.

As promised. the Holy Spirit came on the clay of Pentecost. Peter claimed that the phenomenon on that day was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel and John the Baptist (Acts 2:16-21).

What Is The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit?

In the Bible, to be ‘baptised by the Spirit’ is to be fully immersed in the Spirit as baptism of water means to be immersed in water. Though the Holy Spirit is invisible, when He infills a person His presence and power can be felt. Different phraseologies have been used in the Bible to describe it: “I send the promise of the Father upon you’ (Lk 24:49). “the Holy Spirit fell on them” (Acts 11:15; 8:15-16), “the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8), “you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38), “the Holy Spirit came on them” (Acts 19:6), “the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out” (Acts 10:45), “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph 1:13), “receive the promise of the Holy Spirit” (Gal 3:14) and “the Holy Spirit which he poured upon us richly” (Tit 3:6).

A person who has been baptised with the Holy Spirit exhibits outward physical manifestations whilst praying. This physical experience of his is both visible and audible to those around him at that time. Peter said, “... and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear” (Acts 2:33). It appears from the records in the Acts of the Apostles that every instance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was accompanied by such physical manifestations. In that book there are five instances where people received the Holy Spirit:-


On the day of Pentecost, ….. they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4).


When the Apostles laid their hands on the believers in Samaria, they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered to buy that power. (Acts 8:17-18). Though here there is no mention of the “speaking of tongues”, it is nonetheless implicit because Simon ‘saw’ the Holy Spirit being given. There must at least be some physical manifestations before it can be seen.


When Ananjas laid his hand on Paul, he said, “... the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit”. And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he arose and was baptised. Presumably he received the Holy Spirit then. Again there was no explicit mention of Paul speaking in tongue. But there was also no explicit mention of him receiving the Holy Spirit. It is indisputable however, that Paul did speak in tongues: I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all  (1 Cor 14:18).


As Peter was delivering a message in the house of Cornelius the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles; for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God (Acts 10:44-46).


When Paul had laid his hand upon the Christians at Ephesus, the Holy Spirit came on them: and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve of them in all. (Acts 19:6-7).

The baptism of the Holy Spirit then, contrary to popular belief, is not a mere feeling of joy or a conviction of guilt: or just a purely emotional episode urging the sinner to accept Christ. Since the day of Pentecost, the Spirit has revealed Himself vividly through physical manifestations in the believers. In no uncertain terms, one can safely assert that the speaking of tongues is the only sure evidence that one has received the Holy Spirit.

In the book of Joel, second chapter, verse twenty-eight, the Holy Spirit is said to be ‘poured’ upon man. The same verb is used to denote the descent of the Holy Spirit in the third chapter, the sixth verse of Titus, which reads,”…. the renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly ...” The Holy Spirit does not descend upon a believer in trickles but in a downpour. Hence, when a believer receives the Spirit, he experiences a dynamic force in him which is evinced by outward manifestations. This shows itself in the ‘speaking of tongues’ or even bodily vibratory movements.

The Importance Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit sets a seal on a Christian guaranteeing him of eternal salvation (Eph 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:22; 2 Tim 2:19). At the Council of Jerusalem, Peter related how the Gentiles heard the gospel and believed, and that God who knows the heart bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:8). Peter was, of course, referring to the incident in the house of Cornelius at Caesarea. He maintained that by this God had affirmed their salvation. He was absolutely certain that the Holy Spirit which had fallen on them was God’s assurance of salvation for them (Acts 15:11).

The Spirit joins with our spirit in testifying that we are God’s children; and if children, then heirs. We are God’s heirs and Christ fellow-heirs, if we share his sufferings now in order to share his splendour hereafter (Rom 5:16, NEB). If a man does not possess the Spirit of Christ, he is no Christian (Rom 5:9, NEB).

The Effects Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

While water baptism revives our spiritual lives, the Spirit baptism imbues our spiritual lives with continued strength from above. Through the ministry of the Spirit our lives arc being renewed continuously and we grow in spiritual maturity, conforming more and more to the image of Christ. So then water baptism is a once in a lifetime experience whereas the baptism of the Spirit continues as a long-term process.

Paul exhorted the Christians at Ephesus saying, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). Wine intoxicates and is capable of turning a man into a profligate. But he in whom the Holy Spirit constantly dwells, finds strength to lead a wholesome spiritual life in Christ —a life that is totally changed.

In A Christian’s Life

A baby is born helpless and weak and therefore needs care and protection. Paul referred to the new converts as ‘newborn babies’ (1 Pet 2:2), who are young and weak spiritually. The Holy Spirit then works within them in four successive stages:-

Renews the spiritual life

‘Renewal’ means to discard the former self and to take on a new nature. The Bible says; “….leaving your former way of life, you must lay aside the old human nature which, deluded by its lusts, is sinking towards death. You must be made new in mind and spirit, and put on the new nature of God’s creating. which shows itself in the just and devout life called for by the truth” (Eph 4:22-24, NEB). “Do not be conformed to this world but he transformed by the renewal of your mind  (Rom 12:2). The renewal begins with the newborn life of a Christian, and gradually it proceeds to the renewal of the mind, the conduct and the behaviour until he is changed by a total spiritual metamorphosis.

Strengthens The Spiritual Life

Ephesians 3:16 says, “That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man”. The ‘inner man’ here refers to the new life a Christian has through the washing of regeneration. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can the regenerated life be strengthened.

Enriches The Spiritual Life

John 7:38 states, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of flowing water” and “… the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (Jn 4:14). The holy Spirit in a Christian who has undergone the baptism of the Spirit, becomes a fountain of spiritual life — a perpetual fountain not only in this present age but also in the age to come. Furthermore, he experiences a fuller and richer life. This enriched life is the product of the fruition of spiritual virtues (Phil 2:15-16).

Culminates The Spiritual Life

Having gone through the initial stage of renewal, the spiritual life undergoes a series of change until Christ is formed in that Christian (Gal 4:19). This remarkable change is achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). Ultimately, on the Last Day, our lowly body will be changed into the glorious body like that of our Lord (Phil 3:21).

In The Church

In Witnessing

Jesus said, “…. you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses …. to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Spirit gave them the power and courage to preach Christ and to witness for Him. Before the day of Pentecost, the disciples were timid and weak; unbelieving and faithless: selfish and ignorant; and even contended for high position. Although Peter boasted of his loyalty towards Christ, in the face of adversity, he faltered and thrice denied the Master. But there came a complete change in their attitude after the day of Pentecost when they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave them strength and courage to witness for Christ (Acts 4:13, 33); and eloquence to preach Jesus Christ (Acts 6:10).

In Working Miracles

During the Apostolic era, many signs and wonders followed the apostles’ witness for Christ, so much so that they were asked, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” (Acts 4:7; 6:8). Miracles, signs and wonders are means to testify to man the truth of the gospel and the reality of the salvation of God (Mk 16:20; Heb 2:3-4). This same power resides in God’s church even today.

In Service To The Church

The administrative work of the church must supplement the evangelistic work. The Bible says,  pick out from among you. men.... full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty” (Acts 6:3). Those so entrusted must be full of the Spirit and wisdom so that they can carry out everything in an orderly manner according to the will of God (1 Cor 14:40; Rom 12:7-8; ref Zech 4:6; Ex 28:3; 31:3).

    The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit

In Corinthians it is written, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor 12:7). The ‘manifestation’ refers to the nine spiritual gifts listed in verses eight to ten. In a narrower sense, gifts are bestowed to edify the individual Christian. And in a wider sense, such gifts are for the edification of the entire church. When each member is edified, the whole church becomes edified as well.

The speaking in tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit and also the evidence of having received the Spirit. The ‘speaking of ton­gues’ serves two functions:-

To edify the individual “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself ....” (1 Cor 14:4). “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays ….” (1 Cor 14:14). He who prays in tongues speaks to God. It does not matter if others do not understand him because he is speaking only to God. lie who speaks in tongues in prayers utters mysteries in the Spirit and such prayers edifies him spiritually, increase his spiritual knowledge and enhance his virtues. So Paul said, “I want you all to speak in tongues.” (1 Cor 14:18).

To edify the church One who speaks (delivers a message of sermon) in tongues, must have someone to interpret the message or sermon into a known language so that the congregation can understand and be edified. If there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church. This ‘gift’ is to be distinguished from the tongues used in prayers. Much confusion arises from failure to clearly distinguish the two. On the one hand, Paul said the “one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God …. and on the other, he said, “… if I come to you speaking in tongues ....“ (1 Cor 14:2,6) In prayer, we always come to God alone and NEVER to men! (ref Mt 4:10). However, God needs no preaching, only men do. Anybody who assert that the ‘speaking of tongues’ serves only one purpose and that it must always be interpreted, will find himself entangled in a self-contradiction which can never be reconciled. How can he come to God and to men all at the same time?!

Again contrast verse fourteen and verse nineteen. In the former, a person is said to “pray in a tongue”, whereas in the latter that person is said to “instruct others …. in a tongue”. The dual function of the tongue is once more brought into relief. Clearly then, if a person prays in a tongue, he edifies himself (he knows that he has the Holy Spirit who will intercede for him — Rom 8:26) (1 Cor 14:4). He comes to God in prayer and therefore needs no interpreter. But if he were to instruct others in a tongue, unless he interprets (or let another interpret — vs 27), the church may not receive edifying (1 Cor 14:5). In short, an interpreter is only needed when a person so gifted delivers a sermon in tongues for the benefit of the congregation. Otherwise, he may pray in tongues to God without an interpreter.

One final word regarding gifts; they are all given by one and the same Spirit and should therefore be held in equal esteem. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor the hand to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’. (1 Cor 12:21). Although certain parts may be weaker and less significant, they are certainly indispensable (1 Cor 12:22). 11 this fact is well understood in the church, there will never be any jealousies, divisions or strife.

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