When I first became a Christian and read in the bible about the different encounters with God that men had, I could hardly contain the desire for one myself. I suppose every Christian dreams about walking with God like Adam did in the garden, or meeting with Him face-to-face like Moses did. Of course, if there could have been anything better than this , it would have been to be one of Jesus’ disciples and be close to Him when He walked the earth as a man. However we have been given some thing better than such encounters – the Lord does not just visit us, but He has given us His Holy Spirit to live inside of us. This is what the Lord meant when He made the remarkable statement in John 16: 7
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away: for if I do not go away, the helper shall not come to you: but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
Think about this. The Lord told His disciples that having the Helper, the Holy Spirit, come to them was more to their advantage than having Him walking with them in the flesh! God does not just visit us, He lives in us. How awesome is the gift of the Holy Spirit! Every Christian should be in a continual state of marveling just as Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have been when she knew that God Himself was growing in her.
The Reality Test
Yet, are we walking in this truth? A good test would be to consider how different our day would have been if we had risen out of bed and Jesus would have been standing there physically manifested. The truth is that Jesus was there and is even with us right now by the Holy Spirit. Do we see Him? Do we live in constant fellowship with Him? He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is present with us right now by the Spirit as He ever was with Adam, Moses, or His own disciples when He walked the earth.
Of course, those who are still natural think of seeing as that which they can see with their physical eyes, but those who are maturing spiritually live even more by what they see with the “eyes of their heart” (see Acts 28:27), as Paul called it, or their spiritual eyes. If we are walking by the Spirit what we see with our spiritual eyes will be more real to us than what we see with our natural eyes. Again, even better than having Jesus in the flesh, is having the Holy Spirit living inside of us. This is a truth that will become increasingly manifest in His people.
The God Who Is With Us
We are in the age of the Holy Spirit. Since Jesus ascended, the Holy Spirit is the God who is on this earth during this age. This does not mean that Jesus cannot or does not come to the earth. He obviously makes visitations from time to time, just as we see on at least two occasions in the life of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts, and as He has done for many throughout the church age. However, the work of God in this age is done almost entirely through the Holy Spirit. Therefore to know the Holy Spirit, and to recognize Him and His works, is essential for being used of God in this age.
Some would protest that such a focus on the Spirit is contrary to the Spirit who was not given to reveal Himself, but to lead us to Jesus. This is true, that the purpose of the Spirit is to lead us to Jesus. However, when Jesus or the apostles spoke of the Holy Spirit, were they not speaking by the Holy Spirit?
In a Way, this is more real than many can understand – to have the Holy Spirit is to have the Son and the Father. They are one or in perfect unity. To really understand the Holy Spirit we must begin by understanding His whole intent which is to reveal the Son, just as it was the Son’s whole intent to reveal the Father. Our intent to understand the Spirit better is to be better used by Him to reveal the Son.
The Spirit Moves
In the very first mention of the Holy Spirit in scripture, Genesis 1:2, we are told “—the Spirit of God was moving…..” This is a revelation of the basic nature of the Holy Spirit ---- He moves. He is not static, but kinetic. This is why His great works are referred to as ”moves of the Holy Spirit” Those who are filled with Him will follow Him and abide in Him—likewise ever moving, going somewhere, and doing something. There is only one place in Scripture where the Spirit stops moving --- when He descended and rested upon Jesus. Jesus is our destination. Until we are like Him, and do the works that He did, we need to keep moving, growing, and expending.
The true Christian life is never static, but growing and expanding, ever fresh and exciting. This does not mean that we do not rest, but we find our rest by being yoked with the Lord. A yoke speaks of work and to do His work with Him is the greatest way to find true rest and true refreshment. There is nothing more exciting or invigorating than to have the Spirit of God use us.
Obviously, to be led by the Spirit, we will be going somewhere because someone who is sitting still does not need to be led. Where is He leading you? The manna from heaven is fresh every day. The true Christian life can never be stale or static.
The Spirit Speaks
Acts 2:17-18 gives us another important aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit as we enter the “last days”:
“And it shall be in the last days,” God says, “That I will pour forth of my Spirit upon all mankind: and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon my bond-slaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth my Spirit and they shall prophecy.”
Here we see that when the Spirit is poured out in the last days it will be accompanied by dreams, visions, and prophecy. A good biblical and historical case could be made that every time the Spirit is poured out, the ways that God speaks to His people accompany the outpouring. However, even more basic is our need to understand that God is the ultimate great Communicator. A great part of the Spirit’s work is to communicate to God’s people what is on His heart and mind. When I say “heart” and “mind” it is because God does not only communicate what He is doing, but why He is doing it. His ultimate purpose is not just for obedience, but for us to be of one mind and heart with Him. The ultimate heart of God is Christ, and the ultimate mind of God is Christ. The ultimate purpose of God is for all things to be summed up in Christ, just as we are told in Ephesians 1:9-10.
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him - with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him ….. Therefore it will always be the Spirit’s basic intent to reveal Christ, to lead us to Him, and to work all things so that we will be conformed to His image. As we read here, the conclusion of all things will be to be summed up in Christ. Everything the Father loves, esteems, and honors is in His Son. The Spirit is the most basic manifestation of the Father’s love for His Son, and the power of that love. If we are truly Spirit-filled people this will also be our focused devotion in all we do because this is the focused devotion of the Holy Spirit.
How does this work practically, considering that we have to work and live in this world with much of our time spent concentrating on such things? We should also consider that Jesus Himself learned a trade, worked and lived a very practical life in this world before beginning His ministry. However, without question, He did everything that he did with godly character. We, too, should consider it a part of our training to do all we do with godly character. This may all seem natural and down to earth, but is that not what Jesus did in coming to the earth? This too is Christ likeness, and is a prerequisite to being used in a more spiritual and supernatural ministry.
In this we see that even Jesus , the Son of God, obviously perfect in character, still had the Holy Spirit come upon Him and empower Him for His ministry. If Jesus, the Son of God, needed the Holy Spirit, how much more do we?
There is no reputable record of Jesus performing a single miracle before the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. Until then He lived a basic human life. He was therefore fully in touch with all our weaknesses and limitations. However, when the Spirit came upon Him, He was no longer limited to the natural laws of this world, but lived and revealed the higher
Laws of the spiritual realm.
Jesus is the Door so that mankind can leap beyond the natural realm to become a part of a new creation. The new creation is a bridge between the spiritual and natural realms, but our calling is to grow in the knowledge of the spiritual until we are actually more at home in the spiritual realm than the natural.
Even the natural man was created to have a hunger for the spiritual because we were created to have a relationship with God who is Spirit. That is why there is such an interest in and even a yearning for the supernatural in every human being, whether we acknowledge it or not. To fallow this pursuit by being led by the Spirit of God will lead to the highest fulfillment we can ever know as a human beings. This is the ultimate quest – the most noble cause.
The atonement of the cross was required because of the fall, but God seekers and theologians have often speculated about whether Jesus would have come to earth and live like as a man and become a Door for the new creation even if the atonement had not been necessary. It does seem that the Lord always intended for mankind to be the bridge between the spiritual and natural creations, but for a Way to be made for mankind to actually take on the divine nature, and become sons and daughters of God, is still an incomprehensible marvel even to the angels.
Obviously, the Lord Jesus could have bound Satan and taken His authority over the earth immediately after His resurrection. He had, as the “last Adam,” purchased mankind, the earth and all it contained with His sacrifice. The atonement was complete and fully accomplished. He has waited this long in order to prepare a spiritual bride who will reign with Him in the age to come.
The fruit of the Spirit is the nature of Christ that is imparted to us through the Spirit. The ministries and gifts of the Spirit are the ministry of Christ imparted to us through the Spirit. Through these we not only identify with Him, but are actually joined to Him in His purpose. The prophecies, dreams, and visions, which result of the pouring out of the Spirit, are also ways in which we begin to see with His eyes and speak what is on His heart.
In a most basic way, the age of the Spirit is when the redemption, reconciliation, and Restoration of the cross are worked out in those who are called, so that in the age to come they can likewise be used to help in the restoration of the rest of the rest of mankind, and the earth, from all the consequences of the Fall. This is no less than the rejoining of heaven and earth. This is the reason the Holy Spirit is given to us – to prepare us for our heavenly home so we can help to bring heaven back to earth, so His kingdom might come and His will be done on the earth just as it is done in heaven.
We will therefore be devoting this year’s articles in the Morning Star Journal especially to understanding the Holy Spirit and the spiritual realm that we most become increasingly at home in. Our prayer is that these not only will help you to discern the Spirit and what He is doing, but also help to impart the faith to follow Him more closely so that you more fully abide in and manifest the Lord.
Rick Joynor is the founder, executive director, and senior pastor of Morning Star Fellowship Church. Rick is a well known author of more than forty books, including his most recent, The Overcoming Life. He also oversees Morning Star’s School of Ministry, Fellowship of Ministries, and Fellowship of Churches. Rick and his wife, Julie, live in South Carolina and have five children: Anna, Aaryn, Amber, Ben, and Sam.