The 7 roles of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Is Our Uniter
The Book of Acts tells us that after the first disciples were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42, emphasis added). The Greek word used for fellowship, koinonia, appears here for the first time in the Bible and then is used 18 times throughout the New Testament.

Koinonia, which also can be translated as “partnership,” is a supernatural grace that causes Christians to love one another deeply. It was not possible before Pentecost because it is a manifestation of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit’s dunamis power enables us to heal the sick or work miracles, His koinonia knits our hearts and binds us together.

After the outpouring of the Spirit in Acts 2, koinonia caused the early disciples to share their possessions unselfishly (vv. 44–45) and to share meals often (v. 46). Many people decided to become Christians when they witnessed this loving community (v. 47).

Koinonia was an essential ingredient in the New Testament church. It is what connected Paul, Timothy, Luke, Titus, and Priscilla and Aquila as a team. It is what held the early Christians together in the face of persecution and caused them to lay down their lives for one another.

We must return to koinonia—but you can’t download it or fake it. We will have to scrap artificial, event-driven programs if we want to have the relational Christianity of the Book of Acts. And we will have to invite the Holy Spirit to do His work of connecting us with our brothers and sisters in Christ with His supernatural bond.

The 7 roles of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Is Our Guide
The Spirit has access to all the wisdom and knowledge of God. When we abide in Him, He leads us continually into truth—causing us to grow and mature spiritually. He is our teacher (1 John 2:27), and those who depend on Him will know where to go and what to do because they are following His heavenly directions.

Romans 8:14 tells us: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” If you are a child of God, you have access to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

He is the best guide ever because He has all the information you need from the past, the present, and the future. I am old enough to remember when people did not have GPS software on their phones (or on anything else!). We actually had to keep maps in the glove boxes of our cars—folded maps made of paper! We’d use them to figure out how to get to a new address. Looking back on those old days of studying maps (and asking for directions at gas stations), I wonder how any of us found our destinations.

The Holy Spirit is like your internal GPS, except that He never gets confused or offers wrong information. But if you want to know the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you must learn to discern His voice and His subtle nudgings.

The 7 role of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Is Our Guide
The Spirit has access to all the wisdom and knowledge of God. When we abide in Him, He leads us continually into truth—causing us to grow and mature spiritually. He is our teacher (1 John 2:27), and those who depend on Him will know where to go and what to do because they are following His heavenly directions.

Romans 8:14 tells us: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” If you are a child of God, you have access to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

He is the best guide ever because He has all the information you need from the past, the present, and the future. I am old enough to remember when people did not have GPS software on their phones (or on anything else!). We actually had to keep maps in the glove boxes of our cars—folded maps made of paper! We’d use them to figure out how to get to a new address. Looking back on those old days of studying maps (and asking for directions at gas stations), I wonder how any of us found our destinations.

The Holy Spirit is like your internal GPS, except that He never gets confused or offers wrong information. But if you want to know the Holy Spirit’s guidance, you must learn to discern His voice and His subtle nudgings.

The 7 roles of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit Is Our Empowerer
Jesus told His early followers that when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they would be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). That sounds noisy and disruptive. It sounds like something that would shake the world! Wherever the Spirit goes, He changes people into radicals. He gives them the power to preach boldly, heal sick people, even raise the dead.

Hundreds of years before the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church on the Day of Pentecost, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, newly anointed as a priest, got a free preview of how God would send the Holy Spirit to empower His people.

The preview came in the form of a Technicolor-like vision that included a stormy wind; a cloud that glowed with fire; flashes of lightning; and strange, four-faced cherubim empowered by God’s divine energy.

What God was sharing with Ezekiel was the miracle of Pentecost, when God would clothe His people with power from on high. The early disciples would not only hear the sound of a rushing wind and see flames of fire descend on every believer’s head but also be infused with untamable qualities: supernatural strength, fierce courage, uncanny boldness, and an unusual ability to see into the invisible realm of God’s mysteries.

I am not suggesting that He brings disorder or chaos. God is not the author of confusion. But too often the American church has tried to confine the Holy Spirit, muzzle Him, constrain Him, or shoot Him with a tranquilizer gun so we can maintain control.

I fear that in some cases we have begged this wild Spirit of God to stay away from us so we can play our tame version of church without His unexpected interruptions. If we are honest, we will admit that the church has become so weak, timid, and compromised with the world that we do not even remotely resemble the powerful Christians in the first century who bravely preached the gospel, worked miracles, and even gave their lives in martyrdom to serve Christ.

Yet the promise remains for us: any Christian daring enough to invite the Spirit to empower him can experience all the manifestations of power that operated in the early church.

What Moves You to Minister?

John Piper

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

Faith has an insatiable appetite for experiencing as much of God’s grace as possible. Therefore, faith presses toward the river where God’s grace flows most freely, namely, the river of love.

What other force will move us out of our contented living rooms to take upon ourselves the inconveniences and suffering that love requires?

What will propel us . . .

  • to greet strangers when we feel shy?
  • to go to an enemy and plead for reconciliation when we feel indignant?
  • to tithe when we’ve never tried it?
  • to speak to our colleagues about Christ?
  • to invite new neighbors to a Bible study?
  • to cross cultures with the gospel?
  • to create a new ministry for alcoholics?
  • to spend an evening driving a van?
  • to invest a morning praying for renewal?

None of these costly acts of love just happens. They are impelled by a new appetite — the appetite of faith for the fullest experience of God’s grace.

Faith loves to rely on God and see him work miracles in us. Therefore, faith pushes us into the current where the power of God’s future grace flows most freely — the current of love.

I think this is what Paul meant when he said that we should “sow to the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8). By faith, we should put the seeds of our energy in the furrows where we know the Spirit is at work to bear fruit — the furrows of love.

Here We Go Again

God's Story For My Life

Day 192: Read today’s devotional on Bible Gateway.

Read Judges 10:6-18

The Ammonites also crossed to the west side of the Jordan and attacked Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim.

The Israelites were in great distress. Finally, they cried out to the Lord for help, saying, “We have sinned against you because we have abandoned you as our God and have served the images of Baal.”

The Lord replied, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites? When they oppressed you, you cried out to me for help, and I rescued you. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. So I will not rescue you anymore. Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen! Let them rescue you in your hour of distress!”

But the Israelites pleaded with the Lord and said, “We have sinned. Punish us as you see fit, only rescue us today from our enemies.”

Then the Israelites put aside their foreign gods and served the Lord. And he was grieved by their misery.
(Judges 10:9-16)

Reflect

Once again the Israelites suffered for many years before they gave up their sinful ways and called out to God for help (see Judges 4:1-3; 6:1-7). Notice that when the Israelites were desperate, they did not look to their pagan gods for help, but to the only One who was actually able to help.

These verses show how difficult it can be to follow God over the long haul. The Israelites always seemed to forget God when all was well. But despite being rejected by his own people, God never failed to rescue them when they called out to him in repentance.

Is God your last resort? We expend so much unnecessary worry and effort because we don’t look to God until we’ve used up all other resources. Rather than waiting until the situation becomes desperate, turn to God first. He will not always solve your problems, but talking with him will bring a new perspective. Instead of seeing God change your circumstances, you may find that he is changing you.

Respond

Are you facing challenges that you can’t see your way out of? God may not take you out of them, but he may go through them with you. Strive to stay close to God rather than see how far you can go on your own. Then you may see just what God can do as you live life by his side.