The Ministries of the Holy Spirit (Part 3)
After a person has come to faith in Christ during the Church age (from Pentecost until Christ comes to take His bride to heaven), which seven ministries of the Holy Spirit help the believer to grow in Christ? Looking to the time after the Church age, what work will the Holy Spirit do in the future during the Tribulation Period and the millennium? This is the third instalment of a partial summary of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s article called The ministries of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit performs the following works to enable believers to grow spiritually:
1. The ministry of Spirit-filling: To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit, meaning the believer has yielded an aspect of his or her life so that the Holy Spirit has control over that area in the believer’s life (cf. Ephesians 5:18). While believers are commanded to be filled by the Holy Spirit, the actual filling is done by the Holy Spirit. Spirit-filling is to be repeated frequently as more aspects of the believer’s life come under the control of the Holy Spirit. What are the conditions for Spirit-filling? The believer must have dedicated his of her life to Christ (Romans 12:1-2), not grieve the Holy Spirit by sinning (Ephesians 4:30), remain dependent upon the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and by being obedient to the Law of Christ. Ten results of a Spirit-filled life are noted, namely to become more like Christ (Galatians 5:22-23), worshipping and praising God (Ephesians 5:19-20), submissiveness, service (2 Corinthians 3:6), liberation (Romans 8:2), spiritual strength (Ephesians 3:16), divine empowerment and enablement (Acts 1:8), witnessing (Acts 4:8-12; 11:23-24), fellowship with God and other saints (Philippians 2:1-4) and progressive sanctification.
2. Teaching: The Holy Spirit teaches the believer not only Biblical truth in general, but also prophecy in particular (John 16:12-15). The result of this ministry is to glorify Jesus Christ. How does the Holy Spirit teach the believer? By illuminating the mind of the believer (1 Corinthians 2:9-16), by using gifted men to teach other believers (1 Corinthians 12:29; Ephesians 4:11) and through anointing (1 John 2:27).
3. The ministry of leading or guiding: All believers are led by the Spirit of God because all believers are children of God (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18). The Holy Spirit leads the believer into conformity with the Word of God and the Law of Christ.
4. Assurance: Another ministry of the Holy Spirit to enable the believer to grow is assurance: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). Another relevant verse is 1 John 3:24: “And he that keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He gave us.” The believer knows that God abides in him or her, and that he or she abides in God, because God has given His Spirit to the believer.
5. Praying and interceding: The Holy Spirit prays and intercedes for the believer (Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; Jude 20).
6. The ministry of witness of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit makes the believer conscious of his or her salvation in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16; cf. Galatians 4:6). He also witnesses that the believer has the mind of Christ to understand Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:9-16) and to affirm the Lordship of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:3). Another witness of the Holy Spirit to the believer concerns final redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22). Other texts teaching about the Holy Spirit’s witness in the believer include 2 Corinthians 3:1-8, Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:17-21; 3:16-17; 6:17 and 1 John 2:20-27; 3:24; 5:7-12.
7. Fellowship: The fellowship of the Holy Spirit with believers is mentioned in 2 Corinthians 13:14 as well as Philippians 2:1. This ministry of the Holy Spirit makes fellowship among believers possible. There are two aspects to the fellowship of the Holy Spirit: the vertical aspect of the believer in Christ’s fellowship with God the Father through the Holy Spirit, which requires a personal walk with God as well as Spirit-filling. There is also the horizontal aspect of fellowship with other believers, through somewhat structured meetings at the local church that encourages communication and fellowship.
Which ministries will the Holy Spirit perform during the Tribulation Period, i.e. the seven years immediately preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to the earth? Many people will be saved during the Tribulation Period (Revelation 7:1-17) and this comes via the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration. The Holy Spirit will also seal these believers (Revelation 7:3-4; 9:4) and indwell them. During the Tribulation Period, some people will again be given direct revelation by God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. An example of this ministry of prophecy is the two witnesses of Revelation 11:3-6 (cf. Zechariah 4:11-14). Another major work of the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation Period will be the national regeneration of Israel. We see this not only in numerous Old Testament passages (Isaiah 32:9-20; 44:1-5; Ezekiel 39:25-29; Joel 2:28-29; Zechariah 4:1-14; 12:10; 13:1), but also in the New Testament (Romans 11:25-27). At the end of the Great Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will perform a work in the lives of those Jews then still physically alive so that the whole nation will turn in faith to Jesus the Messiah. This, in turn, will bring about the Second Coming of the Jesus Christ to the earth (Hosea 5:15-6:1; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 23:39).
After Christ’s second coming to the earth, He will establish the Messianic kingdom, reign for a 1 000 years on earth before the final revolt will be dealt with through fire from heaven, after which Christ will continue to reign forever in the Eternal order. When the restored Davidic kingdom is established, only believers will enter it but some will be the physical survivors of the Tribulation Period. These believers will populate the earth during the millennium. Some of their children will become believers via the work of regeneration of the Holy Spirit, who will also indwell them (Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 36:27; 37:14).
As we finish this three-part series of the ministries of the Holy Spirit, think about the fact that the fullness of the Holy Spirit rests upon Christ and that this will still be the case during the millennium. “And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah; and His delight shall be in the fear of Jehovah; and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears” (Isaiah 11:2-3).
To God be the glory, great things He has done, great things He is doing and great things He shall yet do!
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