Jesus, our Savior and the Champion of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), is the one we are called to be like. Isn’t that what the word “Christian” means? To be ‘like Christ?’ Yet, in all my years in the church, I have never seen anyone raising the dead, healing the sick or even teaching to thousands who are hungry for truth. What is it that he had that we don’t have? What are we missing? Through this series, we will take a look at the life of Christ in connection to His closeness with the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit Gives Life. In Luke 1 and Matthew 1, Mary (and Joseph) are told that Jesus’ birth is caused by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ birth was special, since there was no father, just a life planted inside of Mary’s womb. This is the reason that Jesus could take our place and bring justice to the wrongs we have done against God. However, Jesus later says, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” In the Old Testament, Job says that “the Spirit of God created me (Job 33:4),” while the psalmist says “When you send your Spirit, they (humans) are created (Psalm 104:30).” Have you ever stopped to think that every birth is supernatural? Okay, most of will say that God gives life, but here, we see that Jesus says the Spirit gives ALL life, not just His birth to a virgin mother. What is more, it is the Holy Spirit in us that gives us spiritual live. When Nicodemus came to Jesus, wanting a conversation about how to follow Jesus, the first thing Jesus said was, “Nick – you need to be born again.” When Nicodemus didn’t understand, Jesus clarified by saying, “…no one can enter the kingdom of God, unless they are born of water and the Spirit (John 3:5).” Jesus, of course, is talking about our second birth, when we become alive spiritually and begin following God’s ways. The Bible goes so far as to say that no one can even declare Jesus as Lord without the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3). Although there are many debates and even entire religious groups devoted to how God’s Spirit is manifested, I believe that this simple test is all that is required to know if the Holy Spirit is changing your heart. Are you able to say that Jesus is Lord? If so, then you know that the Spirit of God has revealed this to you and is working in your life.
- The Holy Spirit Sealed Jesus for Ministry. As we see in Luke 1:35 when the angel announces Jesus’ conception, not only does the Holy Spirit create life, it is also His job to ‘seal’ those that God will use (2 Cor 1:22).. This phrase is the idea of king’s signet ring sealing a document to show that it truly came from the king and that the bearer came on the authority of the king. Another way of thinking of this is that God chose Jesus to be the Savior, and the Holy Spirit is the anointing to show God’s favor on someone’s life. For instance, Saul (in 1 Samuel 10:6-10) was told that God had chosen him to be king, and that the Spirit of God would be on him to help him prophesy and to lead the people as he needed to. Other examples include Gideon (Judges 6:34) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:1). Obviously, Jesus’ calling was much greater than these men (Isaiah 61), but the principle of the Holy Spirit being sent to seal people for ministry is standard throughout the Bible. This means that every Christian has been set apart for a great ministry by God, since all of us have been “sealed by the Spirit since the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).” It is very important as Christians that we realize that ministry and outreach is not an option, but rather the calling that God put on us when we accept Christ as our payment. Most of us would like to think that God can’t use us or won’t use us, but it is just the opposite – God has anointed and sealed each of us to make a difference just like He did those of the Bible. It is time we start living in the calling that God has given us.
- The Holy Spirit Is God’s Power. The angel told Mary that the Holy Spirit on her and her child would cause her child to be great. Jesus, as an adult, realized that the miracles He performed were by the Spirit of God, and He prayed that they would bring glory of God (John 17:4-5). In Acts, Peter says that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and…He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” Notice, again, the connection between the Holy Spirit and the power that Jesus. One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:6, where it says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but (the Spirit) of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Now do not be confused here, the Holy Spirit is not a genie in the bottle or a magic show. No, the power of God is only released to bring glory to God. Why would God chose to use us to bring Himself glory? Habakkuk 2:14 gives this answer, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” In the commissioning of the disciples, Jesus told them that they would ”…will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).”
Remember, that as people who have sinned against God, but have changed because of His love, we are the only one equipped in all of creation and the supernatural to bear witness of God. Yes, the rest of the universe brings Him glory too, but, in the true understanding of His love and mercy, we are the only witnesses He has. The Holy Spirit gives power to our testimony, because it is God’s insurance (or seal) that our testimony will make a difference. Just like Jesus, the Holy Spirit created us, both physically and spiritually, then sealed us to the calling we have been given… which is to bring God glory as witnesses to our family, our neighborhoods and on around the world until every person knows how much God loves us and wants a relationship with us.