Summary: The Holy Spirit is not a feeling, a ghost or an evil spirit. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and had a radiant and balanced personality. The Holy Spirit will make you like Jesus.
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
There’s something significant about Luke writing that the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Paul and Barnabas were sent out as missionaries by the church in Antioch – Acts 13:1-4. The Holy Spirit guided them in their travel first to Seleucia and then they sailed on to the Island of Cyprus and stopped at Salamis to preach the Gospel in a Jewish meeting place. Young John Mark traveled with Paul and Barnabas and Luke the personal medical doctor for the team of disciples.
They traveled the length of the Island and at Paphos they met the governor of the Island, Sergius Paulus. The governor invited Paul and Barnabas to tell him about the Good news of Jesus, but a Sorcerer named Elymas or Bar-Jesus was a false prophet. He was a wizard and Fortuneteller. He did all he could to keep the governor from becoming a believer. But Paul full of the Holy Spirit looked the false prophet in the eye and said, “You bag of wind, you parody of a devil-why are you staying up nights to think of ways to scheme up ways to cheat people out of knowing God. Now you have met the true God and His hand is against you and you are going blind and for a time you will not see any light. He immediately started stumbling around and asked for people to help him. When the governor saw that happened he became a believer full of enthusiasm over what they were saying about Jesus.
From Paphos they put out to sea and sailed to Perga in Pamphylia and then on to Antioch in Pisidia. Paul went to the Jewish synagogue and preached God’s plan of salvation telling how moved in history using prophets to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus the Messiah.
The following Sabbath the people of the city crowed the meeting place and when some of the Jewish leaders saw how many people turned out to hear Paul they were jealous and stirred up the crows to shout out with so much noise Paul could not be heard. Paul continued to preach and declared that he would take the good news next to all Gentiles. Non-Jewish people rejoiced at the news but the so called religious Jews turned on Paul and Barnabas and forced them to leave. Paul and Barnabas went on to Iconium to preach the good news there. Verse 52: “And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
In spite of opposition and hardships Paul and Barnabas did not walk around flatfooted bemoaning the resistance they faced in preaching the Gospel. They moved forward empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Joy is not something static. Joy is dynamic. Joy is a by-produce of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not some spooky ghost or a scary presence. The Holy Spirit only seems scary and spooky to those who are not acquainted with the miracle work and power of God. I like to refer to the third person of the Godhead as the Holy Spirit and not the Holy Ghost.
I. The Holy Spirit is a Person.
The Holy Spirit has personality. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the trinity. During the times of the Old Testament God the Father was at work, during the time of Jesus, The Son of God was prominent. At Pentecost and following Pentecost the Holy Spirit became prominent.
The Holy Spirit was involved in Creation: Genesis 1:1,2, 2:7
The Holy Spirit “Thinks.” Acts 15:28
The Holy Spirit “Speaks” Acts 1:16
The Holy Spirit “Leads” Romans 8:14
The Holy Spirit “Grieves” Ephesians 4:30
The Holy Spirit is not a strange manifestation. Acts chapter 2 on the Day of Pentecost the various signs and symbols communicated the Divine Presence of God. They were a one time appearance – Sound of wind – tongues of fire and languages. All described the divine presence of God. The word for wind in Hebrew and Greek is the same word used for Spirit with a capital S. Fire was symbolic of cleaning and God’s presence. Everyone present heard the good news in his/her own language. It may have been a gift of hearing. They did not have headsets with translators. The Holy Spirit did all the translations so regardless of your native language you understood what Peter was saying. Today you don’t need to hear a wind, or have fire on your head or speak a different language to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is not a feeling. Emotion is okay but emotions come and go.