Posted by: Veroni Kruger | June 5, 2011

Pentecost – Cause for Celebration

THE HOLY SPIRIT – GOD WORKING IN US AND THROUGH US

The Internal Work Of The Holy Spirit

Sunday, June 12, the church will be celebrating Pentecost, that is, the day the Holy Spirit was “poured out” in the church. That means He came to be present in the church in all his fullness.

By far the largest part of the church in the world agrees on basic Pneumatology (the teaching about the Holy Spirit). It is when we talk about the practical manifestations of the Holy Spirit that we differ. I believe that distinguishing between what the Holy Spirit does internally in believers and the externalization of that internal work, is helpful in clarifying many of the issues.

Jesus Himself talks about the Holy Spirit in two distinct ways. In John 20, He “breathed” on them, and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Although we do not read of any outward manifestations, we have to believe that that was exactly what happened. They received the Holy Spirit. This was the internal work of the Holy Spirit.

After the event described in John 20, Jesus promised more! He spoke of “the gift my Father promised” (Acts 1.4). He used a similar expression in Luke 24.49: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” This refers to the dramatic events that occurred on the day of Pentecost.

This heralds the beginning of what I call the externalization of the work of the Holy Spirit.

While the internal work of the Holy Spirit is going on, our role is merely that of submitting to Him. We open our hearts and say, ‘Lord, I want to receive it!’ and that is what happens. In the second, our role is much more active, because God wants to empower us to be participants in what God wants to do through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What does the internal work of the Holy Spirit encompass?

Jesus says in John 16.8 that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and righteousness and judgment. This is manifested in an inner conviction of what is wrong and what is right. It also manifests in the conviction of how we can receive forgiveness by faith in Jesus Christ, and the certainty that there is going to be a day of judgment. All of this comes by the Spirit of God working in us.

There is still more to the inner working of the Holy Spirit. Paul says one cannot call Jesus the Lord except through the Holy Spirit. “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12.3). It is the Spirit of God that convinces us that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of God.

The Holy Spirit works the miracle of being born again in us. Titus 3.5 speaks of “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”. This is the greatest miracle possible. It is a psychological impossibility to effect radical change in the inner person; yet that is what the Holy Spirit does.

The Holy Spirit makes the word of God to be alive and real. Before one comes to know the Lord, the Bible is a dusty old book full of stories and traditions and laws and legalisms. When one comes to know the Lord, suddenly Scripture seems to have been written yesterday to be read today. That is because the Holy Spirit has come to live in us. It is the Holy Spirit that quickens the word of God. Paul says, “The letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” That’s the internal work in us that the Holy Spirit does.

The Holy Spirit is God dwelling in us. That is, after all, the big difference between the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament when He came upon people from time to time anointing them for a specific task. Now, in the New Testament, Jesus, talking about the Holy Spirit, says to his disciples: “The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14.17).

This indwelling of the Holy Spirit became part of the experience of the first disciples in the events described in John 20. Just after they recognized Christ for who He was and they accepted Him after He had been raised from the dead, Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to them. I firmly believe it happens to all of us: when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we receive the Holy Spirit as the indwelling person of God Himself.

In this internal work of the Holy Spirit, God comes to live in the believer through the Holy Spirit.

NEXT WEEK: THE EXTERNALIZATION OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

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