The Power Of The Holy Spirit
by Rev. Dr. Howard D. Van Orden
Presented by
Saint Luke Evangelical School Of Biblical Studies
Used by Permission

Introduction: Many questions come to our minds when there is mention of the Holy Spirit. Did the Holy Spirit exist from all eternity? What is He, in Himself and in the Holy Trinity? What relationship do we have with Him? What is His role in regards to our supernatural life? What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?

I. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

A. The Holy Trinity consists of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All three Persons are God.

a. In the Old Testament, the Triune God at the time of creation is revealed vaguely, by the plural tense of “us” and “our”. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” (Genesis 1:26a ASV)

b. In the New Testament, the Triune God is revealed more explicitly, both in the relationship among the three Persons and to the universe. In relation to the Holy Trinity, the New Testament recorded the saying of Jesus Christ at the time He sent His disciples on their new ministry to baptize the people; “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:” (Matthew 28:19 ASV)

c. The Apostle Paul pronounces a Benediction with the words: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 ASV)

d. The unity of essence of the Holy Trinity is declared in 1 John 5:8 “For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one.” di.

II. The Holy Spirit is God.

A. In Acts 5:3 we read: But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit ... thou has not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts 5:3,4b ASV)

a. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:2 ASV) The Holy Spirit energizes our renewed spirit.

b. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth.” (John 16:13a ASV)

c. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of holiness. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 ASV)

d. The Holy Spirit is the Eternal Spirit. “ much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14 ASV)

e. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent. In Psalm 139:7 we read: “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (ASV)

f. The Holy Spirit is omniscient. “But the one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing separately to each one as He desires.” (1 Corinthians 12:11 MKJV)

III. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father only.

A. This part of the Nicene Creed has been a problem and in fact, was a major reason for the Great Schism in 1054 A.D. The Ancient Church accepted the Biblical teaching regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit. “When the Counselor has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.” (John 15:26 WEB) The “procession of the Holy Spirit” cannot be made any clearer than Jesus' own words, yet the Council of Toledo decided to change the Creed by inserting the infamous “filioque clause” to the original, which now reads: “Who proceeds from the Father AND the Son”. This is totally unacceptable to Orthodox Christians who take Scripture seriously. Other Christian Churches became like robots and followed the lead of Rome by changing the Nicene Creed. In Byzantine churches under Rome they have the option of leaving out the “filioque” (“and of the Son”). How nice of them!!

a. The first official rejection of “filioque” phrase was made in a Synod in Constantinople in 879, at the time of Patriarch Photius.

b. Efforts were made to change the wording by using the words “and through the Son” instead of “from the Son” in the hope that both East and West would favorably receive it. However, this effort failed on two counts. In substance, the word “through” is no different from the word “from”. The preposition DIA, “through”, in Greek does not differ in substance from the word EK, “from”, in Greek, because both words lead to the cause. The former asserts the cause by which something becomes; the latter, the cause from which something comes. It was also forbidden for anything to be added to the Creed.

IV. The Person of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son.

A. In Matthew 3:16, we read: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him”. (KJV) The Person of the Holy Spirit was present at Jesus' baptism. This is also recorded in Luke 3:21,22.

B. The Holy Spirit was present at the Anointing of Jesus recorded in Acts 10:38a: “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”.

C. The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11 ASV)

V. The Holy Spirit guides the Church

A. The Apostles were immersed in the Spirit who gave them power; power even to perform miracles including the raising of the dead. “But you shall receive power, the Holy Spirit coming upon you. And you shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 MKJV)

a. This is why we still have a Church today. The Holy Spirit guides the Church. After receiving this power from the Holy Spirit, the Apostles were no longer fearful as they had been earlier. They went out boldly and preached the Good News of Salvation. This is also how we came to have martyrs. These Apostles shed their blood for the faith. Is anyone willing to do so today?

B. The Holy Spirit offered stability to the infant Church by providing nine different spiritual gifts:

1. Wisdom
2. Knowledge
3. Faith
4. Healings
5. Working of Miracles
6. Prophecy
7. Discerning of Spirits
8. Different kinds of tongues
9. Interpretation of tongues

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (1 Corinthians 12:11 KJV)

The Holy Spirit indwells the Christian.

A. The Bible is very clear about this fact. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit indwell the Christian. In John 4:12-16, we read: “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:12-16 KJV)

B. The Apostle Paul taught that the Christian is to be “filled with the Spirit”. (Ephesians 5:18)

a. To be filled is a step beyond the sealing of the Holy Spirit. Sealing is an action taken by God at the point of our new birth. The tense of the Greek word translated filled indicates that filling is a moment-by-moment, repeatable action. It is something Paul commands the believers at Ephesius to do. Not all Christians are Spirit-filled. However, all have been sealed. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you are sealed until the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30 MKJV)

VII. In the Sacrament of Chrismation/Confirmation in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, a person is “sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. “Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ASV)

A. Chrismation is not to be confused with Baptism. The Apostles applied chrismation to already baptized Christians as a sacred act by which the Grace of God is bestowed.

a. Newly-baptized persons in the Early Church who had not yet received the seal of the Grace of the Holy Spirit were called to do so: “And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:5-6 ASV) The Apostles laid hands on the baptized person with the authorization of Christ.

B. There are two forms of Chrismation/Confirmation.

a. Chrismation/Confirmation was originally practiced in two forms; one, by using only oil; the other, by the laying on of hands. Scripture acknowledges both forms: “And as for you, the anointing which ye received of him abideth in you.” (1 John 2:27a ASV) “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:17 ASV)

b. Regardless of the form used, the purpose remains that of transmitting the Grace of God to the baptized person.

c. The Fathers of the Church and many Canons refer to the practices of Chrismation as being derived from the Apostles themselves. (Canon 7 of the Synod of Laodicaea)

VIII. The Perceptible Signs in Chrismation/Confirmation

A. Chrismation (as it is called in the Orthodox Churches) or Confirmation (as it is called in the Western Catholic Churches) is bestowed on the baptized person through holy, myron, which consists of many substances symbolizing the various charismata or gifts of the Holy Spirit. The oil is placed in the form of a cross on various parts of the body in the Byzantine Rite or only on the forehead in the Western Rite, with the words, “The seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

a. The indispensable elements of the perceptible sign and act of chrismation are the myron and the invocation of the Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit. This practice existed from the very beginning of the Church and is acknowledged by the Church Fathers.

b. Chrismation is inseparably united with Baptism for the redemptive Grace bestowed on the recipient, as shown in Scripture, as we saw earlier in Acts 19:5,6. This is verified by the 48th Canon of the Synod of Laodicaea: “Those illuminated should after their Baptism be anointed.”

IX. The Holy Spirit brings conviction.

A. In John 16:8-11, we read: “And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. Concerning sin, because they do not believe on Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (MKJV)

a. After Christ's departure, the Holy Spirit would convict the world of the nature of righteousness and the need for righteousness. Jesus' work on the Cross was completely righteousness. This is demonstrated by the Father's emptying of the tomb, signifying His satisfaction with the righteous payment and His acceptance of Christ into His presence.

b. The “rule of this world” is Satan. He rules in the hearts of the unregenerate people and binds their minds.

X. Praying in the Spirit

A. In Romans 8:26, we read: “Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (MKJV) No language is in view here, only the inner groanings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit not only brings us strength, He empowers us in our weaknesses, especially helping us to pray.

a. Prayer in the spirit, also referred to as prayer without words, is the highest form of prayer. The Church Fathers identify three stages:

1. saying the words of the prayers
2. saying the words with meaning and full concentration
3. praying without words, when one is so filled with the Holy Spirit and so in union with God that words are inadequate.

XI. A true Christian bears the Fruit of the Sprit.

A. Galations 5:22-23 tells us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (WEB)

XII. The Holy Spirit has come.

A. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” (Acts 2:17-18 KJV) This was the prophecy of Joel who proclaimed God's sovereign Lordship and judgment in the last days. On Pentecost, this prophecy was fulfilled with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion: Today, we have two groups of Christians. One group will tell you that baptism with the Holy Spirit along with speaking in tongues passed with the Apostles, while another group vehemently disagrees and argues that unless you have an experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaing in tongues you really aren't born-again and may not even be a Christian in the “real”sense...

The bottom line answer is found in Scripture - “The Spirit breathes where He desires, and you hear His voice, but you do not know from where He comes, and where He goes; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8 MKJV)

The Greek word pneuma can mean either wind or Spirit. The working of the Holy Spirit in the new birth is as mysterious as the source or destination of the blowing wind. Birth from above is of water and the Spirit. While the workings of the Holy Spirit are mysterious, nevertheless spiritual birth is integrated with baptism: “Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5 MKJV)

Copyright 2018