Is the Holy Spirit Working, Retired or Unemployed?
Take a trip to the unemployment office and you will see people out of work. Take a trip to the beach and you’ll see people taking some time off for vacation. Is that what happened to the Holy Spirit? Did He retire after the first century? Did the Father recall Him back to Heaven like a puppy? Does the Son have no further need for Him in His church? There is significant evidence to prove that this thinking is preposterous! Pure foolishness. And even dangerous! One might even consider it pure blasphemy (Matthew 12:22-32, Mark 3:22-30).
As we will see over the next few weeks, the Bible confirms that this is the age of the Spirit's work. In fact, I’m going to give you about 50 things we can KNOW that the Holy Spirit does in the world today. Grab your Bible and a notepad. This should be a great study…
There is no doubt that in the gospels the Holy Spirit was very active. In fact, His work is literally on every page! One of the ways He worked in the disciples was giving them the power to cast out demons (Matthew 12:28, Luke 10:17) and perform other miracles with their own hands (Matthew 10:5-8, Mark 16:20). Clearly, Paul identifies a fact that the miraculous work through the hands of men would soon cease (I Corinthians 13:8-13), but that does not mean the Holy Spirit would stop working.
As we continue to read the gospels we notice that some of the work of the Holy Spirit was meant to be a permanent mark of God’s hand on the disciples of Christ. For instance, the Holy Spirit would empowers God’s people to do His will (Luke 4:14, 24:49, Romans 15:19, Acts 1:8). Along with this empowerment there is a blessing. The Holy Spirit would anoint the Lord’s people for ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). Have any of those things ceased? Are we still making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16)? None of those things have ceased.
To get a strong grasp of the eternal work of the Holy Spirit, read the Gospel of John. A good place to start is when Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born of “water and spirit” in order to be saved (John 3:5-8, Titus 3:5). The Holy Spirit not only regenerates us when we are baptized (Acts 2:38-39) but He can also help with memory issues as He brings things to our remembrance (John 14:26). As we read the holy word of God, the Holy Spirit glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26, 16:14). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit guides people into all truth (John 16:13). And, the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us, and when we are born again, in us (John 16:14-15).
How could someone say the Holy Spirit is bunk, asleep, retired or currently unemployed? May God help us to see the truth. In our next article we will look at the work of the early church and attempt to separate the temporary work of the Holy Spirit from the eternal. Just like Jesus, some of His work was more “visible” at the turning point of history but by no means does that mean He is on vacation!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds
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This is part of an ongoing series on the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned!