The Spirit of God in the Mission of God: Implications for Today, Part 1 – Power and Presence

Here’s today’s Installment of “The Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit“:

The Spirit’s Presence and Power in Mission Today

The Spirit gives life (John 6:63). The wind of the Spirit blows where it wishes (3:8). The Spirit must enable people to see and enter the kingdom of God (3:3, 5). Apart from the regenerating work of the Spirit in the new birth, the human flesh hearing the proclamation of the gospel “is of no avail” (6:63). That is, if people are to be born again, if they are to be made alive, if they are to be enabled to see the kingdom, the Spirit must do for them what they are unable to do for themselves: open their eyes that they might behold Jesus and believe in him (cf. John 6:40).

Not only does the Spirit give life, he indwells. Jesus conditions full experience of the indwelling Spirit on obedience: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:15–16). It seems that if we do not love Jesus and obey him, he will not ask the Father to give us the Spirit. There is mystery here. We do not earn the presence of the Spirit in our lives, but we can grieve and quench the Spirit (Eph 4:30; 1 Thess 5:19).[1] Obedience to and love for Jesus is the pathway toward greater enjoyment of God’s presence by the Spirit. This also urges us to protect the purity of the church and foster holiness within it. The indwelling of the Spirit demands that God’s people be holy individually and corporately. It would also seem that just as some were empowered by the Spirit to proclaim God’s word in the book of Acts (instances where pimplemi is used), so today the Spirit empowers God’s people for ministry.

These observations lead to the conclusion that the Spirit gives life to those who hear the gospel proclaimed, and the Spirit resides in individual believers as well as gathered local churches. We can also say from Ephesians 3:14–19 that God mediates his presence to us by means of his word, which we trust as the Spirit strengthens us so that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith (3:16–17).


[1] See Graham Cole’s chapters, “How Do We Quench the Holy Spirit?” 67–81, and “How Do We Grieve the Holy Spirit?” 83–97 in Engaging the Holy Spirit.

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To see all the posts in this series, go to the category “The Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit.”

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