Have you ever read everything the Bible says about the Holy Ghost?
Well, me neither, until recently. I got to thinking about the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit as you may prefer. I knew some of the stories where the Holy Ghost has a key role, but I had never really checked out everything the Bible had to say about it.
So I got out the good old Strong’s Concordance. Hey, I have an app on my iPhone with a Bible concordance, but I still like the weight of that big book in my lap.
As I looked up all the Bible verses where the Holy Ghost is mentioned I started to see a wonderful pattern.
As far as I could tell, the Holy Ghost always figured into a story or event that had to do with Christ: the prophecy of Jesus’ birth, the birth itself, Jesus’ ministry, spiritual baptism with the specific goal of preparing us for preaching Christ’s gospel, leading us to the truth that Jesus taught and lived and expected us to put into practice, and on and on.
The thing that really struck me was that the Holy Ghost never really came to someone just to solve individual problems or meet personal needs. It always came in relation to the appearing of Christ, his ministry and the preaching and acceptance of the Gospel.
So what does this mean to you and me?
Don’t try to invoke the Holy Ghost to solve your personal problems. It comes to lead you and the church forward to promote the Cause of Christ. If it seems that the Holy Ghost is solving your personal problems, it is actually preparing you to share the Gospel in a way that you have not yet done.
When does the Holy Ghost come upon us?
When we are of one mind. When we let go of our pride and repent. When we accept the revelation from God that Jesus is the Messiah (notice I didn’t say, “when we accept that Jesus is the Messiah because someone else told us we had to or should). When God chooses us to do His will–either individually or collectively. These are just a few examples.
Here are a few of the key activities of the Holy Ghost that I gleaned from that research. You can look them up if you want. (And of course, you could get out your concordance and read everything the Bible says about the Holy Ghost, and I totally recommend that at some point.) There are more examples than the few verses I gave in each category. But the main point is: Look at all that ACTION. The Holy Ghost is not passive. It represents the activity of God with the overarching purpose of revealing Christ to the whole world.
What does the Holy Ghost do?
It reveals the Christ and announces its coming. Matt 1:18, Luke 2:25
Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Matt 3:11
It energizes. Luke 1:15
It fills us with inspiration. Luke 1:41,46-55,67-79
It leads into all truth and teaches all things. John14:26,
It abides with us forever. John 14:16
It speaks the words of God. Luke 3:22
It leads us into the wilderness not to tempt us but to make us face temptation head on. Luke 4:1
It puts the words of God in our mouth. Luke 12:2
It commands us to preach the Gospel. Acts 1:2
It causes us to champion Christ’s cause, not our own. Acts 4:31
It bears witness to the mission of Christ. Mark 12:36
It infuriates the carnal mind but gives us boldness. Acts 7:54
It reveals heaven & shows relationship of Christ to God. Acts 7:56
It multiplies the number of believers. Acts 2:41, 9:31
It “falls” on those who hear the Gospel in their hearts. Acts 10:45-47
It assigns tasks to believers and sends them forth. Acts 13:2
It commands us what not to do. Acts 16:6
It makes us overseers of the church. Acts 20:28
It makes us prophets. II Peter 1:21
It enables us to heal through God’s power.
How has the Holy Ghost appeared to you?
Sometimes it comes quietly. Sometimes it’s dramatic. But the Holy Ghost never leaves us the way it found us. It washes us from within. It directs us to do things for God we would never have thought we were capable of. It empowers us to let the Gospel light shine in our hearts so we can share it with others.
We don’t need more of the letter. We need the Spirit. We need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Individually. Collectively.
We can pray to be receive the Holy Ghost. But we can’t force it to appear. We can be obedient when it does appear. When we have the sincere desire to do God’s will, to further the Cause of Christ on Earth and are actively pursuing this desire, the Holy Ghost is more apt to “fall” upon us as it did upon those in the New Testament. If you are just seeking personal gain in your preaching and practice of Christianity, the Holy Ghost will not help you down that path.
Be willing to be about your Father’s business.
How has the Holy Ghost has appeared to you? How did you feel? How did it change you? I’d love to hear your experiences.