Conversing with the Holy Spirit
In John 14.16, Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would arrive – to “be with you forever” – when Jesus departed to be with God (Psalm 110.1-2). Acts 1.9-11 discusses Jesus’ ascension before the disciples’ eyes and the angels’ reminder to expect His return someday. Then, Acts 2.1-11 tells the amazing story of the arrival of the Holy Spirit, Who immediately proclaimed to the different nationalities gathered in Jerusalem for commerce the “mighty deeds of God”. He continues this proclamation to and through believers within the contexts of our lives. The Apostle Paul summarizes this activity in Romans 8.14 NASB: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” “Being led” implies communication between each of us and the Holy Spirit. Is this intuitive or auditory? How do we discern His voice among the voices we hear?
A. Who is the Holy Spirit?
- John 14.16-17 tells us that He comes from the Father, God. He is the third person of the Trinity. All three are, also, included in Matthew 3.16-17, 28.19, and Luke 3.22. (See Notes A, B, & C below.)
- He is the “Spirit of truth”. The world does not know Him. He “abides with you and will be in you”, which Paul states in Ephesians 1.13-14 as a “pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Jesus discusses “will be in you” in John 17.20-21 as including God the Father and God the Son; note that Jesus includes us in Them! Jesus repeats this perspective in Matthew 28.18-20 where “baptizing them IN the name” is also understood as “baptizing them INTO the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (my emphasis). Likewise, the Holy Spirit “in you” explains Mark 16.20; the Holy Spirit did the “signs that followed”.
- Jesus, also, addressed the Holy Spirit as “the Helper” in John 14.16. “Helper” is Paracletos in the Greek (meaning one who walks alongside) and is explained as “Comforter, Advocate, and Intercessor”. So, we should expect to experience these in our lives. Paul explains “Intercessor” in Romans 8.26-27; His “groanings” express to God needs that we cannot find the best words to express. His “groanings” are according to the will of God, as stated in the Bible except for James 4.13-16.
- Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 2.10-16 that the Holy Spirit knows the will of God, for He “searches all things, even the depths of God”…”even so the thoughts of God”. So, the Holy Spirit knows God’s plans for each of us and, by Romans 8.14, is leading us to fulfill them. Thus, we should walk backwards with our backs against the Holy Spirit’s back, as 19th Century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard observed: “Life is lived forward but understood backward.” Solomon states this conclusion in Proverbs 19.21. Walking backwards will keep you ‘on plan’.
- Jesus discussed the Holy Spirit’s knowledge of “the thoughts of God” in John 16.13. This “Spirit of truth”…“will guide you into all the truth.” Jesus, also, proclaimed the Bible as God’s truth, in John 17.17. We mature in Jesus’ knowledge (Ephesians 4.13) only through the Bible. The Holy Spirit is our guide through the process of “sanctification”, or maturation of our “inner man” (Ephesians 3.16, Romans 7.22, 1 Thessalonians 5.23, 2 Corinthians 5.17, John 3.1-8). Again, Romans 8.14.
- Jesus, also, says that the Holy Spirit will “disclose to you what is to come”, in John 16.13. He knows the future as He does the present as He does the past. Paul states ‘past’ in John 14.26 and ‘future’ in 1 Timothy 4.1 and 2 Timothy 3.1-7. He is Historian and Forecaster. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16.14). As Ronald Nash writes: “In other words, the epistemological Logos is not only the mediator of divine special revelation (John 1.14), He is also the ground of all human knowledge” (Nash).
- In Matthew 10.19-20 and Luke 12.11-12, Jesus reassures that the Holy Spirit, as “Advocate”, will give us answers to the questions of persecutors and inquirers. Peter (1, 3.15) encourages us to be ready; that is, walk with the Holy Spirit so closely that you will repeat what He wants the other person to know, as Paul implies in Romans 8.14 and proclaims to Timothy (2, 4.2). This is the Holy Spirit as Comforter (John 16.7 AMPC).
- Matthew 12.28 and Luke 11.20 are Jesus’ statements that the Spirit of God reveals the Kingdom of God to mankind. Jesus instructs us, in Matthew 6.10, to pray for God’s kingdom to come to Earth.
- Matthew 10.7-8 is Jesus’ instruction carrying out this prayer. I believe that this proceeded from His observation and expressed desire in Matthew 9.35-38 where He describes people unable to fight Spiritual Warfare (2 Corinthians 10.3-6). Luke 10.1-19 repeats Jesus’ instruction and explains it, especially, in verses 8 and 9. Note the result in Luke 10.17. “Jesus” is the name above all other names (Philippians 2.9-11)!
- Jesus encourages us to “seek His kingdom” in Luke 12.31-32. It must be important, since God has “chosen gladly to give you the kingdom”! How do Jesus’ words in Matthew 6.33 help to explain the Kingdom’s importance?
- So, what is the “Kingdom of God”? Easton’s Bible Dictionary definition of ‘Kingdom of God’: “(Matt 6:33; Mark 1:14, 15; Luke 4:43) = “kingdom of Christ”(Matt 13:41; 20:21) = “kingdom of Christ and of God” (Eph 5:5 = “kingdom of David” (Mark 11:10) = “the kingdom” (Matt 8:12; 13:19) = “kingdom of heaven” (Matt 3:2 4:17; Matt 3:2), all denote the same thing under different aspects, viz.: (1) Christ’s mediatorial authority, or his rule on the earth; (2) the blessings and advantages of all kinds that flow from this rule; (3) the subjects of this kingdom taken collectively, or the Church.”
- But, the Kingdom of God existed in the Old Testament, didn’t it? The Decalogue of Exodus 20.1-17 expressed the ‘righteousness of God’ (Hosea 14.9) to His chosen people. Jesus used the Decalogue to emphasize the difficulty of wealthy people to enter the kingdom; Matthew 19.16-23 and Mark 10.17-23 and to emphasize Christian responsibility (Matthew 22.36-40). It is impossible to serve God and money (Matthew 6.24, Romans 6.16)! God, speaking about His chosen people, says, in Ezekiel 36.26, that He will replace their rebellious “heart of stone” (Jeremiah 13.10; 2 Corinthians 4.4) with a “heart of flesh” (“I desire mercy!”; Hosea 6.6, Matthew 9:13). Notice what role He gives the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel 36.27. Is this His role today, to “cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (1 John 2.27)? Jeremiah 31.31-34 (Hebrews 8.10-11, 16) states that God has written His requirements upon our minds! Thus, the Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17.20-21) and enlightened by the Holy Spirit!
- Jesus had cast out blind and mute demons from a man in Matthew 12.22. In Luke 11.20, He says that the “finger of God” did this. A new title for the Holy Spirit?
- Jesus had given the same instruction to the Apostles in Matthew 10.7-8: Preach that the Kingdom is present wherever you are, and prove it by healing and casting out demons!
- In 1 Corinthians 2.4-5, Paul states his preference for demonstration by the Spirit doing miracles rather than the orations of man. Likewise, the Spirit was present to heal the Pharisees who would not accept this gift, so He healed a paralytic with faith enough to be let down by four ropes through the roof; see Luke 5.17-25.
- The Holy Spirit does the works that reveal Jesus, Whose works revealed God (John 15.24, 18, 14.7-11, Exodus 34.10, Deuteronomy 18.18, Isaiah 7.14)!
- Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Power at work through us to reveal God to mankind, as Jesus said is our job (John 17.18; Matthew 28.18-20). The Holy Spirit takes authority and power from Jesus and gives to us to do God’s “good works” (John 16.14; Ephesians 2.10; John 10.37-38).
- The Holy Spirit reveals the Kingdom of Heaven to man so that it becomes the Kingdom of God on Earth, just as Jesus instructed us to pray (Matthew 6.10)! May His will be done through us, His servants (Philippians 2.7). Note how David received strength, in Psalm 119.97-104.
- Jesus says that Paracletos will “teach you all things, AND bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”; John 14.26 (my emphasis). The two points are connected. Jesus pointed this out in Matthew 6.33; all the things we might worry about become ours when we inject His principles into our contexts. Paul repeats this in Philippians 4.6-7. How does God’s solicitation in Jeremiah 29.11-13 & 33.3 state this confluence?
- The importance of John 14.26 is gained from John 16.15, where Jesus said the Holy Spirit would reveal to believers everything that God the Father had given to Jesus the Son. This includes the establishment of the Kingdom of God on Earth. Remember that Jesus spoke in His Model Prayer the desire that the “Kingdom come”; i.e., the Kingdom of Heaven becoming the Kingdom of God on Earth (Matthew 6.10).
- The Holy Spirit, thus, reveals the Kingdom of God as mankind becomes capable of understanding it. Dr. Ron Nash (A.6) divides “all human knowledge” into two types – cosmological logos, using John 1.3, and epistemological logos, using John 1.9 (Nash). God’s cosmological wonders have become clearer and more abundant with ever-increasing technological capabilities, evidenced by the Hubble Telescope revealing an expanding universe, whose increasing speed is calculated using Christian Doppler’s theory, basically rate = distance/time. Likewise, epistemological knowledge continues to advance with revelation driven by discovery and adaptation. Consider, for example, the advances in medicine, nanoscience, economics, and other sciences recognized by annual Nobel Prizes.
- All these things are among those included in John 14.26. The Holy Spirit continues to bring to light (John 1.9) the knowledge of the Kingdom of God as it becomes increasingly like the Kingdom of Heaven. I believe that Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3.14-21 explains this. For, he prays that the Anointing (1 John 2.27) may “root and ground” us and enable us to “comprehend” the expanse of God’s “love” and “fullness”!
- This advancement can, also, be envisioned as upward stair steps, where the horizontal step is knowledge acquired and understood leading to the vertical advance of wisdom for its use; leading the next horizontals and verticals successively.
- The warning, of course, is to remember that the Source is God, not man (Isaiah 13.10; 1 John 2.15-17). Man has only discovered what God has seen fit to reveal, as in Proverbs 3.19 and Jeremiah 32.17 & 27. Our response can only be David’s questions of Psalm 8.1-9. Answered in Isaiah 43.10.
- This warning is defensed by the second part of Jesus’ description of the Holy Spirit in John 14.26: He will remind you of what I have said. For example, how does Jesus instruction in Matthew 6.33 remind man to consider the Source first? This instruction, seems, to have been given earlier by God to Jeremiah (9.23-24): strive to know and understand God, from Whom you will be better able to acquire wisdom, strength, and wealth. Oh, how we have sold ourselves short by striving for the result apart from the Cause! And, our wicked imaginations have only further separated us by Edging God Out – EGO! This is illustrated by the Rich Young Ruler in Mark 10.17-22. How much more could he have gained from God, since He seems to have given him ability to enlist and deploy money?
- Mankind’s question should always be: how do I know and understand God better through my study and practice of (fill in the blank with your passionate interest or school or work discipline)? All work and study can be, ultimately, traced back to the Source of “all human knowledge” (Nash).
- Hence, we can use John 14.26 as a means for accomplishing Acts 26.16-18. This will be the turning on of the light switch for those in the darkness of satan’s deceptions (2 Corinthians 4.4) and for introducing them to the Kingdom of God, to be explained to them by the Holy Spirit. A rationale for this view is found in the Psalmist (119.89-91) contemplation: verse 91b: “For all things are Your servants.” Consequently, again, how does the doctor (lawyer, teacher, entrepreneur, engineer, scientist, economist, accountant, salesman, pastor, craftsman, and all other laborers) know God better through the practice of the work for which He has equipped and in which He has engaged them? And, what greater understanding of God is gained through the practice of such knowledge? Is this a part of Ephesians 2.10? What are God’s planned “good works”? Do everything as unto Him; Colossians 3.23.
- Each person’s plan is meant to serve the common good. Are ‘all things’ “manifestations of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12.7)? This is readily understood from Exodus 31.1-6. God chose Moses’ technicians and taught and empowered them by His Spirit. God did the same for Jeremiah (1.5, 10) and John the Baptist (John 3.27). God imbues in us abilities needed to carry out His plans.
- How is Isaiah 30.21 the same as Romans 8.14? Notice that there is ‘purposeful movement’ in both verses, which might be vocational or avocational activity; Deuteronomy 6.7. How can John 10.27 be a ‘work’ application of Matthew 6.33? How does Isaiah 59.21 explain this consistency?
- Regarding Spiritual warfare, I believe Mark understood this when writing Mark 16.20 as a fulfillment of verses 15-18. Obviously, Jesus would not go with the disciples to do the miracles, since He was departing for Heaven. The Holy Spirit would go with them to work miracles through them; the Kingdom of Heaven coming to mankind as the Kingdom of God (A.8.10, above). It is just so with us. We don’t heal or cast out demons. The Holy Spirit does through us when we use the name ‘Jesus’ (Luke 10.17; Philippians 2.9-11; Acts 13.9-11)! He gives the right ‘sword’ (Ephesians 6.17; Matthew 4.1-11) and gives understanding to strengthen our ‘shields of faith’ (Ephesians 6.16). He overcomes the enemies we face individually; 2 Corinthians 10.4-6; 1 John 4.4.
- Was Joshua’s pride the cause of the problem in Joshua 9.1-27, especially verse 14? Thus, does the Holy Spirit want to be a “Counselor” to us in our contracts, purchases, and other relational dealings? How should Joshua have sought His counsel? How can we? Ask Him to remind you in your next opportunity.
- From another perspective, how, then, is ‘faith-connected-to-work’ (John 14.26) an accomplishment of Acts 26.16-18? Does the Holy Spirit give employment to Spiritual warriors in organizations for this purpose? Is the connection in John 14.26 His means for distinguishing Christian workers, so as to reveal the Kingdom of God to mankind? How does Daniel 2.21 (4.32, 36) apply to this?
- Consider Jeremiah 32.17 and Proverbs 3.19. Worship in Colossians 1.16-17. Be in awe through Hebrews 11.3! Rest in Psalm 127.1. The Holy Spirit of God dwells in you who believe John 3.16 and 14.6 (John 14.17; 1 Corinthians 3.16)! Consequently, do everything in Jesus’ name (Colossians 3.17), as unto Him (Colossians 3.23), and for His glory (1 Corinthians 10.31)!
- The result will be Isaiah 26.12 (Common English Bible): “Lord, grant us peace, because all that we have done has been your doing” (similar in HCSB). Paul agrees in Philippians 4.6-7. This will always be true as we walk backwards (A.4, above) and view John 14.26 in our experience!
- God birthed you to accomplish His task; like in Jeremiah 1.5 (10).
- The Holy Spirit continues to teach you this task’s particular “all things” (John 14.26; 1 John 2.27).
- This same Holy Spirit has iterated the understandings of “all things” to our predecessors’, even back past the time Jesus walked the Earth, even to Genesis 1.1.
- The Bible tells these stories (knowledge) from which the Holy Spirit reveals the principles to use (understanding) as we apply the principles within our current contexts. This leads to greater knowledge, which He helps us to understand and apply again and again.
- Thus, which Bible stories relate to your profession? What principle do you learn from the stories with the help of the Holy Spirit? How have you applied them?
- He gives you the Spiritual gifts necessary for success; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11.
- His ‘fruit’ will is part of the end result; Galatians 5.22-23!
- The Holy Spirit is your teacher; Ephesians 3.14-19. He gives “living water” (John 7.37-39)!
- Luke 11.13!
D. God has always spoken to people made in His image.
- Adam and Eve heard His voice in the Garden of Eden; Genesis 1.29, 2.16, 3.9-19.
- Abraham heard His voice; Genesis 12.1-3, 13.14-17, 22.15-18.
- Moses heard His voice; Exodus 3.1-4.9. [Side bar 1: notice that God would validate His identity to the Hebrews by signs and wonders. He would later state that as His protocol, in Exodus 34.10. This was one of the ‘proofs’ of Jesus as God’s Son, as He says in John 15.24. Jesus, even, said signs and wonders would continue to be an evidence of God’s presence, in Matthew 10.7-8. Apostle Paul affirms this in Corinthians (1.2.4-5 and 2.4.7). Signs and wonders was the reason followers of Jesus were called ‘Christian’ in Antioch; Acts 11.25-26. Side bar 2: God identified Himself to Moses as ‘I AM’. Could this have been Jesus’ intent in John 14.6, where ‘am’ was not a verb but a noun? Thus, “I AM: the way; the truth; the life” (my emphasis and paraphrase). What do you think?]
- Jeremiah and other prophets spoke messages they heard from God; Jeremiah 1.9-10 and Deuteronomy 18.22, generally.
- Acts 4.8 tells of the Holy Spirit speaking through Peter to the Sanhedrin about healing the paralytic (Acts 3.1-10, 16; 4.12). Such boldness continued after Acts 4.29-31.
- Acts 6.8-10 tells of the Holy Spirit speaking through Stephen to the Jews who stoned him
- Acts 8.26, 39-40 tells of Deacon (Acts 6.5, 8.5, 21.8) Philip’s hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit regarding the Ethiopian treasurer of Queen Candace.
- Acts 10.19 tells of the Holy Spirit instructing Peter to go with the three men sent by Cornelius.
- “Elijah was instructed to meet with God at His mountain, Horeb, in 1 Kings 19.9-16. Remember that Elijah was running from Jezebel the wicked wife of King Ahab, who had sworn to kill Elijah because his God had humiliated and/or killed the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah,”who [ate] at Jezebel’s table” (1 Kings 18.19-40).
- “At Mount Horeb, God spoke to Elijah not through the powerful wind or earthquake or fire but through “a sound of a gentle blowing” (verse 12, NASB; “still small voice” in NKJV; “sound of a low whisper” in ESV). What do you make of the contrast? How is this an evidence of Spiritual Warfare? How, then, does this position Philippians 2.9-11?
- “What is the essence of God’s question, “’What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19.13)? Like so many of us, Elijah repeats his actions and Jezebel’s intention (verse 14). But, God understands the real reason for summonsing Elijah and, ignoring Jezebel’s threat, instructs him to carry out certain solutions from God (verses 15-16).
- “My contemporary application of this understanding is the CEO who must listen to God to deal with the external powerful “wind” of the economy and the competitive “earthquake” and/or the internal “fire” of corporate stresses from growth of size and complexity. The Holy Spirit speaks with “a sound of a gentle blowing”. Elijah listened carefully; so must we” (Painter).
- “Turn your career over to Me and you’ll always be happy.” I heard these words while contemplating my career as a 30 year-old executive while returning from a favorable job interview.
- “Philippians 4.3 is your verse for life.” I heard these words in the middle of one night, during my 31st year, after trading beds with my four year-old child to finish my sleep.
- “Yes, and I remember your baby shoes.” I heard these words while looking for shoe laces in a grocery and spying laces for baby shoes which produced a flashback to my son’s early years.
- * “Consider God’s words in Psalm 50.15, 91.14-16, Isaiah 30.21 and Jeremiah 33.3 assuring of His readiness to answer our questions and assist with our deepest longings (Psalm 37.4)” (Painter).
- I continue to develop my ability to converse with the Holy Spirit about daily issues. How about you?
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com
Painter, M. 9-11-2016. Acknowledging Dependence. Retrieved from www.sozoclass.com.
Nash, R. 1982. The Word of God and The Mind of Man, p. 67.
Note A: There is so much more to be known about the Holy Spirit. I suggest Dr. Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, pps. 634-649, 1994, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
Note B: Dr. Jim Eckman’s Issues in Perspective: re split between Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy: re Holy Spirit:
“A doctrinal development further intensified the obvious East-West division. The issue centered on the question of who sent the Holy Spirit–the Father or the Father and Son? The great 5th century theologian Augustine (354-430) argued strongly that the Spirit was sent (“proceeded from”) both the Father and the Son. In 589, at Western council that met in Toledo, Spain, Western theologians added to the Nicene Creed of 381 the language that the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son (in Latin, filioque, “and from the Son”).
This controversy is hence called the filioque controversy. The Eastern theologians strongly protested this addition.” (https://graceuniversity.edu/iip/2011/08/11-08-20-2/)
Note C: Dr. Jack Kamiruka, Director of the Lake Basin Region Centre for Theology in Kisumu, Kenya, gives the following Scriptural support for the Western and Eastern interpretations:
“There are several scriptural passages which indeed points out to the Holy Spirit being the Spirit of the father. Such passages include: Luke 1:35 The Holy Spirit depicted as the Spirit of the most High, Job 26:13 (NKJV) the Heavens were made by the Spirit of the God, Romans 8:11 ‘And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, which lives in you.’
The notion that the Spirit also comes from the Son, seems to have developed from the New Testament thought. Scriptures used to allude to that may include: Acts 1:8 Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, and in Acts 2, The Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and as the Gospel of Christ began to be propagated after he had gone to heaven, the focus centered on Christ and with the Holy Spirit being seen as applying the benefits of Christ in us.” Also, note Jesus’ words in John 15.26.
(Dr. Kamiruka’s reply to my email inquiry about Scriptural support, dated October 26, 2016)