THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
YM Yang — Paris,
KIND OF POWER?
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit
has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
“You shall receive power!” But
what kind of power was the Bible referring to?
In Christendom, many evangelists
that claim to perform wonders define this power as the power to perform signs
and miracles, and this view is also generally accepted.
Nowadays we often hear people say,
“The Holy Spirit is not as powerful as before,” referring to the diminishing
evidence of miracles. But when Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit, He did
not associate its power with miracles as most people would understand it.
To understand the power of Holy
Sprit, we have to recall the courage and the faithfulness of the apostles who
followed Jesus in the three years of His ministry, before they received the
What kind of power did they not
have? The power to perform signs and wonders, heal the sick, and cast out
demons? The power to preach the message of repentance that the kingdom of
heaven is near?
No, Jesus allowed the apostles to
share in these powers with Him long before the descent of the Holy Spirit and
before He was glorified through His death!
So, the power that accompanies the
Holy Spirit must be so unique that without the Holy Spirit we would not be
empowered to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ to the world.
IT UNDERSTANDS THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S WORD
Before the Lord departed from the
world, He taught the disciples devotedly, “There are many things I would tell
you, but you cannot understand now.”
How can this be? The all-knowing
and almighty Lord could not enlighten the twelve apostles in three years? This
was not a matter of pedagogy or aptitude.
To understand mystery requires the
power of the Holy Spirit from above, not simply claiming that “the Lord had
personally taught me” or that “such scholar supports such view.”
The Lord said, “when
He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John
Paul was a Pharisee who gained
repute for his devotion to the Scripture. On the way to Damascus, the Lord called him. Since then, he
was shocked that what he had learned before was rubbish.
Writing about this abrupt turn of
his understanding of God’s word, Paul quoted the Scriptures:
But 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… Now we have received, not the spirit of
the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that
have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words
which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual
things with spiritual. (1 Cor 2:9-13)
Moreover, the descent of the Holy
Spirit on the day of Pentecost fulfilled the words of Prophet Joel, “And also
on My menservants and on my maidservants I will pour
out My Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:29).
They would prophesy, as was
evident in Peter, who testified before the rulers of the Jews with great
spiritual power though he was unschooled. Even scribes were astonished by the
conviction of his statements:
This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you
builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in
any other, for there is no other name under heaven give among men by which we
must be saved. (Acts ,
From the experiences of Paul and Peter,
we see that the Holy Spirit goes beyond inborn talents and education, and it
gives the faithful servants of the Lord the ability to understand the mystery
of the truth.
This power was absent in the Old
Testament and in the disciples before the Lord was glorified through the His
crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
That was why the Lord wanted them
to wait. For if they only preached the message of repentance without imparting
the truth and the Holy Spirit that renew lives, how were those who heard the
message to receive eternal life?
was an eloquent man and well-versed in the Scriptures.
This man had been instructed in the way of the
Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of
the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. (Acts )
This shows that Apollos had not
heard of the Holy Spirit and knew only the baptism of repentance (Acts 19:1-6).
He could call people only to repentance and to return to the Lord, but he could
not teach them about the requisite Holy Spirit and the truth for salvation.
That is why Priscilla and Aquila took him aside and explained to him the way of God
more accurately (Acts 18:26).
IT EMPOWERS THE CHURCH
On the day of Pentecost, the Holy
Spirit descended on the apostles and they received the power that the Lord had
Peter, whom the Lord rebuked for
having disbelieved Christ’s resurrection, stood up and quoted from the
Scriptures after he received the Holy Spirit to expound on how Jesus Christ
overcame death and was raised from death.
The people were cut to the heart
and asked, “What shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every
one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts )
With such simple words, Peter
established the fundamentals of the forgiveness of sins and salvation. If the
Holy Spirit had not directly taught him, where would Peter have received such
revelation about the importance of baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit?
Similarly, the Greeks desired
wisdom and the Jews wanted miracles. But Paul deliberately refused to wow the Greeks with His excellent speech and wisdom nor the
Jews with signs and miracles.
Paul’s preaching was only a
demonstration of the Spirit’s power. In other words, he did not preach with
persuasive words of human wisdom. He spoke in words that the Holy Spirit
taught, comparing spiritual things with the spiritual.
However, the Greeks and the Jews
who were of the flesh could not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for
they were foolishness to them (1 Cor 1, 2). If Paul had not had a profound
understanding of the Holy Spirit and the truth, he would not have such courage
and conviction in the One he has believed.
As the believers of Christ Jesus, we should pursue the fullness
of the Holy Spirit so that we may come to a deeper understanding of His truth
and live a Christ-like life by the renewing of our spirit and mind.
We need to recognize that the work
of the Holy Spirit is the authority given to the true church in the last days
to preach the mystery of God’s words and to empower the workers of God. It is
this precious Holy Spirit that distinguishes the true church from others.
We must comprehend the fact that
preaching the gospel of repentance, casting out demons, and performing wonders
can be done in the name of the Lord Jesus alone—even by those who work
lawlessness (Matt 7:22). Therefore, such authority does not need to be
associated with the Holy Spirit.