Summary: Some of the attributes of the Holy Spirit as described in the New Testament.
The attributes of the Holy Spirit
Interestingly last week we talked about the festival of Pentecost and referred to some experiences people had had of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. If we look into the work and attributes of the Holy Spirit we see that the Holy Spirit does not work alone that the person of the Holy Sprit is not distinct from God but he is God and through our relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are made whole.
Then on Monday we had another 6.3 on the Richter scale shake up. This is a good time for us all to remember that God is with us, in his word and through his Holy Spirit.
I know that some people have a fear that with the Holy Spirit doing His thing in their lives that they might loose control of their own destiny. As we look into this person of God we will see that He empowers followers of Jesus that He leads and guides, that He does not remove free will but assists in living and leads followers to an enriched life, living in Gods grace.
Today we are going to refer to a fair number of scriptures; these will be on power point so please keep your eyes on the screen, particularly if you are a visual learner. When we read scripture if Spirit is spelt with a capital ‘S’ it is referring to the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, a small‘s’ either references a spirit that is evil or human. This is not a complete list of the Holy Spirit’s attributes, I would encourage you to look into your bibles to discover more.
Let’s have a look at what the Holy Spirit did and does. I’m going to be referring to New Testament references, but let’s remember that the Holy Spirit, inspired and lead great people through out the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit spoke to the Old Testament prophets, Paul states that, “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet:” (Acts 28:25b). This was very much addressed to the Jewish people at this time, but still some people prophesy when the Holy Spirit is at work in their lives. We have the example of Zechariah the son of John the Baptist, “His Father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.” (Luke 1:67) The thing to remember with prophesy, is that it is much if not more forth telling as it is foretelling. Forth telling being about getting it right in the here and now rather than foretelling about what may happen down the track, often the two things are linked however.
There are a number of Biblical accounts of the Holy Spirit being upon people, Simeon for example “who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation (relief that the messiah would bring to) of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Also the account of Peter at the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:44, “while Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came (by way of descending) on all who heard the message.”
The Holy Spirit brought joy to Jesus we read in Luke 10:21, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you Father, Lord of heaven…’”.
So further to the attributes of the Holy Spirit, how is he described?
Jesus calls him the Counselor! This is what he said to his disciples before his death. ”But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26). Counselor in this case from the Greek means comforter and encourager, you will also see from what Jesus said, that the Holy Spirit was to teach and remind the disciples what Jesus had said, those things that are now what we call gospel. We see too that the Holy Spirit was sent by the Father in Jesus name!
We also will find if we look at Acts 1: 1-2; That Luke in writing to Theophilus he says this, “In my former book (Luke’s gospel) I wrote about all that Jesus had began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instruction through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” What Luke is saying there is that after Jesus resurrection, his instruction to the disciples was through the Holy Spirit. Jesus had instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they had received the promised Holy Spirit, which we know occurred at Pentecost. The teaching continued through the Holy Spirit, as did the doing, signs and wonders in Jesus name continued, by the power of the Holy Spirit.