Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 21 Number 3 March 2019
Page 15

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

What Did the Holy Spirit
Actually Say and Do?

Marilyn LaStrape

Marilyn LaStrape“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). “For in Him [Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily [in bodily form]” (Colossians 2:9). “For there are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). These three passages reveal that Divinity encompasses God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They are different in authority and function but one in purpose—the redemption of mankind.

The Bible is punctuated repeatedly with “and God said, and God did” “and Jesus said, and Jesus did.” What about the Holy Spirit—what did He say and how did He say it? What did He do and how did He do it? What exactly does Scripture reveal about the title role of the Holy Spirit? The Bible declares in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation [or origin], for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Guy N. Woods wrote the Gospel Advocate Peter, John and Jude commentary. He made these most pointed thoughts on this passage.

Men spake from God, and those who thus spake were moved by the Holy Spirit…The prophets are thus declared to be passive instruments in the hand of God, being directed in what they wrote by the Holy Spirit. Since the prophecies are not of human origin; since they did not originate in the will of man; and since they were delivered by men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, they have the weightiest possible claims on our reverence, our most serious consideration and prayerful study.

The Holy Spirit gave us the written form of God’s will. He gave us the Bible in human language.

The religious world has the Holy Spirit saying and doing numerous things that are totally subjective, existing in the mind and without biblical substantiation. Some believe there is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of a sinner separate and apart from the Word of God. Where in the Bible does it say that? Correct contextual interpretation—letting Scripture interpret Scripture—is a work of the Holy Spirit. Allen Webster in his tract, “Look at the Context,” wrote, “The Bible as a whole is the ultimate context. That single book is the sum of God’s revelation of Himself and His Will to His human family.”

One of the plainest revelations of what the Holy Spirit said and why is 1 Timothy 4:1-5.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits, and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.

These six irrevocable Biblical truths as laid out by the Holy Spirit could be studied resulting in growth, knowledge, wisdom and understanding until our dying days! Wayne Jackson wrote the book, Before I Die—Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus. On this passage he wrote:

“The Spirit speaks expressly” is but one of the numerous biblical texts that reveal the “Spirit” as a personal entity, and not the mere “force” of God, as alleged by certain cults, e.g., the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The Spirit “speaks” (cf. Acts 13:2; 15:28; 16:6-7). The present tense “speaks” (legei) is Paul’s affirmation that the apostolic message is not self-generated; it is under the influence of the Spirit of God. Moreover, the testimony is being conveyed “expressly” (explicitly, plainly) so that there can be no dispute as to its meaning.

Did we get all of that? The Spirit speaks at the direction of the Most High God.

The above listed passages in Acts are here quoted. What did the Holy Spirit actually say in Acts 13:2? “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” What did the Spirit actually do in Acts 15:28? “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things.” What did the Spirit actually do in Acts 16:6-7? “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” Reading these passages in context renders right understanding.

Other passages in Acts that reveal what the Holy Spirit actually said and did are: Acts 8:29, “Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go near and overtake this chariot.’” This is the only statement made by the Holy Spirit in connection with the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. Acts 8:39 is the next and final time that the actions of the Holy Spirit are mentioned in connection with the conversion of the Ethiopia eunuch. “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more and he went on his way rejoicing.” When Acts 8:29-40 is read in its entirety, not one word is said about a direct operation of the Holy Spirit on the heart of the eunuch. The Bible is silent regarding that belief in every conversion recorded in the book of Acts.

Acts 21 records the drama ridden travels of Paul and his companions as they were preaching the Gospel from city to city. They were in Caesarea staying with Philip the evangelist. A certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea to warn Paul of the danger that awaited him in Jerusalem. Verse 11 states, “When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his hands and feet, and said, Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” Paul’s companions pleaded with him not to go, but their pleas were ignored. The words of Agabus fell on deaf ears. Verse 13 reads, “Then Paul answered, ‘What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” The Holy Spirit did not override Paul’s decision. What’s the lesson for us? The Holy Spirit warns us through the Word that He caused to be written. He does not ever override our freewill to make choices for us.

Revelation chapters 2 and 3 record explicit commands of Jesus Christ to the seven churches in Asia through the inspired apostle John. The seven churches were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. At the end of each letter to these seven churches is the admonition, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

John T. Hinds in the Gospel Advocate Commentary on the Book of Revelation wrote:

Jesus had told the apostles before his death that the Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 14:26; 16:13-15) and declare things to come. We know that the Spirit directed John what to write; and was through him speaking to the churches. This shows the method used by the Holy Spirit in delivering his messages to man. He speaks them; man must hear and obey. Those not willing to hear and obey cannot be benefited by the Spirit’s work.

We have these two most comforting passages in anticipation of our eternal reward in the everlasting presence of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Revelation 14:13 says, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” Revelation 22:17 reads, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

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