The Work of the Spirit Jn. 7:39 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
I heard a sermon preached at a conference distinguishing the work of the Spirit from our work. The gist of the message is that we need to recognize the Spirit’s responsibilities and our own responsibilities. The Spirit doesn’t do all of the work, but then neither do we. Here is the outline of that sermon with additional comments.
Notice the Spirit’s responsibility versus our responsibility in the following:
The Spirit reproves, we witness – Jn 16:8-11; Acts 1:8 – it is vital that Christians witness. That’s not the Spirit’s responsibility. He gives us the power to witness and he guides in the things to say, but we are the ones who witness. The Spirit, on the other hand, reproves. He is the one that brings conviction to the sinner. It is not up to us to bring a sinner under conviction. Christians are irresponsible if they leave the work of witnessing to the Spirit and they are out of bounds if they try to pressure a sinner into conviction.
The Spirit comforts, we console – Jn 14:16-17; 2 Cor 1:3-7 – the Spirit is called the Comforter. Comforting us in our trials and afflictions is one of the principle ministries of the Spirit. It is because of his comfort in our lives that we are able to comfort others in their trials. This is called the ministry of consolation. A new widow will go to another widow before she’ll go to anyone else for comfort because the other widow knows what she’s going through. Christians need to be careful not to interfere with the Spirit’s comfort in others’ lives because they will become dependent upon you and not on the Lord. We also need to be careful to console others when they are hurting. The perfect combination is the comfort of the Spirit and the consolation of the saints.
The Spirit teaches, we study – Jn 14:26, 1 Cor 2:9-14; 2 Tim 2:15, Prov 2:1-5 – the Holy Spirit is THE teacher of the Bible. He wrote it and so he knows what it says and he knows how to teach and apply what it says better than anyone in the universe. But, by the same token, since he is the best teacher you need to be the best student. You only learn the Bible by studying it. Attending to preaching, teaching, reading and studying are essential in the life of every Christian. Christians make a mistake when they think that they can resort to original languages and men’s commentaries to learn the Bible. A commentary may help you but it may also mislead you. There is no need to use other translations or other languages to learn the Bible. The Holy Spirit gives it to you by inspiration when you humbly depend upon him to teach you when you study. If you think you can learn the Bible by yourself without the Spirit teaching you, you are sadly mistaken. You will only learn what he wants you to know. And if you learn something that he didn’t teach you, you are going to be in error.
The Spirit leads, we follow – Rom 8:14; Gal 5:16-18 – the Holy Spirit’s responsibility in the life of a Christian is to lead him. And since there can only be one leader, your responsibility is to follow. Too often Christians are following a man and not the Spirit of God. The Spirit may use a man to help lead you. If the man you are following is following the Spirit, he can help you but still he cannot replace the Spirit in leading you. You must follow the Spirit. Christians get into trouble when they follow men instead of the Spirit and also when they rebel against the Spirit and refuse to follow him. Both of these are disastrous. The most dangerous time in the life of a young Christian is right after he gets saved. The devil will imitate the work of the Spirit and convince the young Christian to follow an unclean spirit rather than the Spirit of God. Con’t get caught in that trap!!
Conclusion: The Holy Spirit certainly has responsibilities in the lives of Christians but so do you. You make sure to do your part and stay out of the way so the Spirit can do his part!!