Before we attempt to identify the work of the Spirit in todays' world, it would be well to look at the Bible and see what the Holy Spirit was doing in the Old and New Testaments.
We can see from reading the Bible that the first century believers experienced and enjoyed a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit.
This personal relationship is illustrated in the following passage of scripture:
Acts 15:28 - The Message (MSG)
28-29 It seemed to the Holy Spirit and to us...
This passage of scripture was in response to a question that came about in the Jerusalem Council which was formed by the early church.
The question was this:
How is it possible for the converted Jewish believers have a relationship and fellowship with the believers that did not come out of Judaism?
After all, these “other” Christians were not circumcised. After all, these “other” Christians broke the food rules of the scriptures. These “other” Christians certainly were not raised up from childhood with Jewish influence. The core question was:
How could a believer of Jewish heritage associate with these others who were not of the same heritage?
Much like today, the leaders of the early church were having a convention to study this question. Those who attended this convention were Apostles, elders, and a whole lot of ordinary members/believers. They came from all walks of life. Some of them, former Pharisees, were insisting that these Gentile converts must be held to the rules and regulations that the Pharisees were used to. The new converts from the outside of Judaism must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. There was not complete agreement on this issues. Peter, for example brought up the fact that God gave His Holy Spirit to the house of Cornelius even before they could prove themselves by doing good works. The house of Cornelius had no idea that the Law even existed, let alone how to keep the law. Other voices, Paul and Barnabas, spoke of the “works” that God was performing among these gentiles. Many miracles were happening.
Another voice was heard. This voice came from the very brother of Jesus. Yes, James the brother of Jesus gave a word from the Lord that was accepted by all! The council came to a decision and let all the early church(s) know of their decision
James was being guided by the Holy Spirit
Acts 15:7 - The Message (MSG)
gave them the Holy Spirit exactly as he gave him to us.
They knew they were under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy is present throughout the scriptures
The Old and the New Testament are full of the Holy Spirit
The awareness of the Holy Spirit is throughout the scriptures. The Holy Spirit is seen and felt in every book of the Bible. Most writers in the Old Testament make reference to the Holy Spirit. There are only three books in the New Testament that do not make any reference to the Holy Spirit, directly or indirectly. They are Philemon and 2 and 3 John
Christians deal with the trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus the Christ is the key figure, the key to our salvation in the plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit of God is the third member of the trinity and the Holy Spirit focuses attention on Christ and seeks to glorify Him.
As we read:
John 15:26 - The Message (MSG)
26-27 “When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father
John 16:14 - The Message (MSG)
But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth,
The Holy Spirit is a person
The Holy Spirit is not an “influence”. The Holy Spirit is a person. The Holy Spirit is not a vague, indefinable power. The Holy Spirit is a person with whom the Christian can have a relationship with. The Holy Spirit is a distinct person.
Romans 8:27 - The Message (MSG)
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
1 Corinthians 2:10 - The Message (MSG)
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.
The Holy Spirit bring things to light, like a friend
10-13 The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.
The Holy Spirit guides our thinking
Ephesians 1:17 - The Message (MSG)
make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear,
The Holy Spirit is a personal help and guide
Isaiah 11:2 - The Message (MSG)
A Green Shoot from Jesse’s Stump
The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him,
the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength,
the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.
The Holy Spirit has emotions
Ephesians 4:30 - The Message (MSG)
30 Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit..
Isaiah 63:10 - The Message (MSG)
..they grieved his Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gives and is giving.
1 Corinthians 12:11 - The Message (MSG)
4-11 God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit.
The Holy Spirit gave guidance to the early church
Acts 13:2 - The Message (MSG)
..as they waited for guidance—the Holy Spirit spoke:
Acts 16:6 - The Message (MSG)
..but the Holy Spirit blocked that route.
Whenever John talks of the Holy Spirit, he uses the masculine personal pronoun which emphasizes the Holy Spirit's’ personality. Other personalities in the Bible who were influenced by the Holy Spirit in a personal way were influenced in a definite, down to earth definite way.
The persons who were influenced to act in a certain way or do something in a definite way did so with certain foundations.
Judges 6:34 - The Message (MSG)
God’s Spirit came over Gideon.
Judges 14:6 - The Message (MSG)
The Spirit of God came on him.
Saul’s experience with the Holy Spirit.
1 Samuel 10:6 - The Message (MSG)
the Spirit of God will come on you and you’ll be prophesying right along with them.
1 Samuel 10:10 - The Message (MSG)
..he knew it, the Spirit of God came on Saul.
Amos knew the Holy Spirit
Amos 3:8 - The Message (MSG)
God has spoken—
Micah experienced the Holy Spirit.
Micah 3:8 - The Message (MSG)
filled with God’s Spirit
The Holy Spirit actions in the New Testament.
The experience of John The Baptist
Matthew 3:13-17 - The Message (MSG)
he saw God’s Spirit
A moving action by the Holy Spirit
Acts 2 - The Message (MSG)
Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,