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The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

By Zac Poonen

Luke speaks much about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the two books that he wrote. In fact, this is one of his major emphases. Look at these examples in this gospel:

John the Baptist would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb (Luke 1:15). Mary would have the Holy Spirit come upon her (Luke 1:35). Elizabeth and Zachariah were filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41, 67). Simeon had the Holy Spirit upon him, he got revelation from the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit to the temple (Luke 2:25-27). Jesus baptises in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16). Jesus was praying when He was baptised (obviously for the anointing of the Holy Spirit) and the Spirit came upon Him immediately (Luke 3:21, 22). Jesus was full of the Spirit and led by the Spirit into the wilderness and returned in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14). Jesus proclaims that theHoly Spirit was upon Him (Luke 4:18). The Holy Spirit is given to those who ask for Him (Luke 11:13). Jesus commands His disciples to wait for the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).

In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke mentions the Holy Spirit more than 50 times. Luke was undoubtedly a Spirit-filled man and was excited about this new-covenant life that was made possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit. I wonder how many Christians are as excited as he was. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is mentioned at the beginning of each of the first five books of the New Testament. This teaches us the tremendous importance of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in this new covenant age. So, if there is one thing that the devil will seek to counterfeit, it will be the baptism in the Holy Spirit; and we see plenty of those counterfeits today.

How does the devil ensure that believers will never get baptised in the Holy Spirit? First of all, by giving some of them a physical or emotional experience. They lack the power to overcome sin and to serve the Lord. But Satan assures them that they have been baptised in the Holy Spirit. Such believers will never again seek for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, because they are convinced that they have already received it. There are millions of Christians like this everywhere. They are defeated by sin, they love money and they live for the world. But they speak some gibberish which they call “tongues” and claim to be getting unusual physical and visual experiences. Secondly, Satan gets some other believers (who are at the opposite pole doctrinally on the baptism of the Spirit) to react against these obvious counterfeits and to stay away from the baptism of the Spirit altogether. Thus he succeeds in ensuring that both groups of believers (and that constitutes the vast majority of believers) never receive the genuine power of God and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Be careful and avoid both these groups.

How was John filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb? Did he tarry for the Spirit in his mother’s womb as a foetus? Did somebody exhort him inside the womb to pray? No. God filled him. It is God’s work to fill you with the Holy Spirit. If we submit to Him, He will fill us. Here is something that will stimulate your faith: If God can fill a helpless foetus in a mother’s womb with the Holy Spirit, why can’t He fill you? Don’t be satisfied with any cheap counterfeit. I told the Lord when I was a young man that I would never be satisfied with a counterfeit and would be willing to wait ten years if necessary to get the genuine experience. It was worth waiting. When you are genuinely baptised in the Spirit, it will change your whole way of life. When John was filled with the Holy Spirit, he became great in the sight of the Lord (Luke 1:15). This is what the Spirit wants to make us too – great in God’s sight, not man’s.

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