Holy Spirit

When the Holy Spirit comes

The Holy Spirit comes on Jesus when he is in the passive state of submitting himself to God’s will in baptism and while he is praying.

The effects of the Spirit in the life of Jesus are evident in what follows: the power to resist the wiles of Satan, the power to recall and apply Scripture, the power to see God’s plan and purposes and to proclaim the Word boldly, the power to withstand hostility, and the power to minister to and heal the oppressed. The Spirit in the lives of believers can do the same things.

David E. Garland


167-Steve Smith talks about Spirit powered movements

I interviewed Steve Smith recently on a range of topics. In this live webinar with Nate Vander Stelt, Steve Smith goes deep on the topic of Spirit powered movements.

Thanks to our friends at GACX for making the interview available.


Pursuing Spirit-powered Movements with Steve Smith

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A key for movements is God-empowerment through the Holy Spirit. It is the foundation which allows believers to faithfully and fruitfully obey God. New Testament disciples well understood this ancient path, which has largely been forgotten by our generation.

In his recently released book, Spirit Walk, Steve Smith takes a practical look at what the Bible has to say about living and working out of the fullness of God — whether for personal life transformation or fruitfulness in ministry.

During this live and interactive webinar, Steve will discuss how to move beyond methods and principles to true empowerment by the Spirit with examples from movements around the world.


What's the Point of Pentecost?

El Greco - Pentecost, 1610 at Prado Museum Madrid Spain

El Greco - Pentecost, 1610 at Prado Museum Madrid Spain

Acts is the only historical book in the New Testament that deals with the life of the church.

Normally a church history would focus on the internal life of the church — organization, theological disputes and development, church and culture. They aren't the main story. They stay in the background.

What is the main story? According to Harry Boer,

Acts is governed by one dominant, overriding and all-controlling motif —  the expansion of the faith through missionary witness in the power of the Spirit. 

Restlessly the Spirit drives the Church to witness, and continually churches rise out of the witness.

His book on Pentecost and Missions is a classic. If you're quick you can get a second-hand copy for $2.

There's one more thing . . .

I was in the Leicester Post Office on Saturday and met an Afghan waiting in line. We got talking. Later over a coffee I heard his story and shared the gospel. We've planned to meet again and read some stories from the life of Jesus.

It all seemed so simple and natural. Partly because I've been trained. Mostly because I'm the Holy Spirit had prepared this man's heart and led me to him.

I’m fascinated by the period of time between Jesus’ resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Jesus is laying the foundation for the era in which we still find ourselves between his first a second coming.

Over 40 days he gave convincing proofs that he had risen. He took his disciples from cover to cover of the Old Testament explaining God’s purposes and the meaning of his death. He gave his disciples a clear mandate to take the message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins to the world.

Then before he left, Jesus said there’s one more thing. 

Wait. Gather in Jerusalem and wait. After commissioning them to go, he commands them to stay.

One more thing — the Holy Spirit. 

You’re not going anywhere without the power of God. After all, it’s not their mission, it’s his. The example Jesus set was dependence on the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The early witnesses at his birth were filled with the Holy Spirit.

At his baptism he received the power of the Holy Spirit to launch his ministry. It is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus taught with authority, proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, defeated Satan and expelled demons, healed the sick and performed miracles. 

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
— Acts 4:31

What is the role of the Holy Spirit? The Spirit bears witness to Jesus. 

In Acts the most frequent function of the Holy Spirit is to witness to Jesus through the disciples (see Shelton, Mighty in Word and Deed).

To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be a witness to Jesus. The Spirit who spoke through the prophets is the same Spirit who empowers Jesus and now fills his disciples to take the gospel to the world.

For Luke, the mission of God is all about the spread of the Word, through us, in the power of the Holy Spirit. So next time you're waiting in line at the Post Office, say hi to someone. You never know what God might be up to.

Back to Basics: The Holy Spirit and Mission

Three titles I am finding of great benefit in wresting with the work of the Holy Spirit in mission.

1. Volume 2 of Schnabel's Early Christian Mission: Paul and the Early Church. It's detailed and technical in parts. But there's gold if you're willing to dig for it.

Early Christian Mission (2 Volume Set) (Eckhard J. Schnabel)

2. Donald Bloesch's The Holy Spirit: Works & Gifts. He writes as an evangelical scholar with a warm heart and an openness to what God is saying to the Church through its various traditions—Orthodox, Catholic, Reformed, Wesleyan, Pentecostal.

The Holy Spirit: Works & Gifts (Bloesch, Donald G., Christian Foundations.) (Donald G. Bloesch)

3. Lastly, I continue to work through John Stott's excellent commentary on Acts.

The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church, and the World (Bible Speaks Today) (John R. W. Stott)

Now for the experience to catch up with the learning. . .