You Can Be Powerfully Enabled by God’s Holy Spirit
Summary: Some have called the Holy Spirit the “forgotten Person” of the Trinity. But the Bible speaks extensively of the Holy Spirit. Today we’ll look at the Scriptures’ strong focus on the Spirit’s powerful enablement of believers in many, many contexts.
Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
On that first New Testament day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the 120 disciples to speak in other tongues, and He still does so today. But that is just one of many examples of the work of the Holy Spirit in enabling born-again Christians to do the wonderful works of God. I believe you’ll be amazed, as I was, at the abundance of activities that the Holy Spirit empowers us to do in the advancement of the kingdom of God. Come see, and be encouraged that the Holy Spirit can powerfully enable you to do the works of God.
A virgin woman was empowered to give birth to Jesus the Savior
Matthew 1:18, 25 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit…  [Joseph and Mary] did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
Arrested for your faith? The Holy Spirit will give you words for your defense
Matthew 10:19-20 “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
Mark 13:11 “Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”
As Jesus did, we also cast out demons “by the Spirit”
Matthew 12:28 [Jesus said] “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you… [John 14:12] “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing.”
Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons…
How did Jesus drive out demons? “By the Spirit” (vs. 28). So shall we, by the Holy Spirit’s powerful enablement and irresistible power working in us. And always in the name of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit causes believers to be used in spiritual gifts
Luke 1:67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.
Acts 2:17-18 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”
Inspired prophecy, God-given dreams and visions, and many more manifestations of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) can occur in the lives and ministries of Spirit-filled men and women.
The Holy Spirit gives revelations
Luke 2:25-32 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon … and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”
The Holy Spirit anoints us for ministry
Luke 4:18-19 [Jesus said] “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One…
At about age 30 Jesus was anointed by the Spirit of God and only then began His public ministry with great power (Luke 3:21-22; 4:1,14). God makes that anointing available also to born-again believers through the mighty baptism with the Spirit. This anointing is so important that the resurrected Savior would not permit his trained disciples to go forth into their own ministries until they had received the Spirit-given “power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4f,8).
You can have years of training, even a doctorate from seminary, but that does not make you ready for ministry they way Jesus wants you to minister. Case in point — Jesus had personally trained His disciples for 3-1/2 years. But as He prepared to ascend back to heaven, He still told them not to launch out into their ministries until they had received the power-imparting Holy Spirit baptism (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).
We are born again by the Spirit
John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’”
Titus 3:5, NLT …He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit in us is like rivers of living water
John 7:38-39a [Jesus said] “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit…
The Holy Spirit will reveal Jesus to you
John 15:26, 16:15 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me… [16:15] All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
In my undergraduate years at Boston College, I studied 4 years of Theology and 3-1/2 years of Philosophy. That was after 4 years of Theology in a pre-seminary high school. Yet in all of that I never found Jesus as my Savior personally. Then while I was in the U.S. Air Force, God in His mercy led me back to reading the Scriptures. But this time there was a dramatic difference. God had prompted my heart to be open and seeking. So for the first time I was reading the Bible under the teaching, Jesus-revealing influence of the Holy Spirit. The result was a deep conversion experience — my personal new birth in Christ into the kingdom of God — at McChord Air Force Base in 1969. As promised by Jesus in the verses above, the Holy Spirit “testified about” Jesus to me in a strong and illuminating way. And that led to my turning to Him as my Lord and Savior.
The Spirit will guide you, teach you, and give you good recall
John 14:26, 16:13 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you… [16:13a] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
The baptism with the Spirit equips us to be Christ’s witnesses
Acts 1:4f, 8 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit …  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
In our time the greatest example of this (in my personal opinion) is the German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. In his ministry, primarily in Africa, brother Bonnke has recorded nearly 79 million Salvation Decision Cards! 79 million! Once at a conference I heard brother Bonnke describe his simple formula for ministry: “I preach Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit gave the disciples great boldness to speak God’s word
Acts 4:29-31 “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
The Holy Spirit will lead us to hungry souls
Acts 8:29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
Philip obeyed the Holy Spirit’s prompting and came up alongside the chariot. In vss. 30-38 we see Philip coming near the chariot of a high-ranking Ethiopian official. The man happened to be reading Isaiah the prophet (chapter 53), but he didn’t understand the message. So Philip took that opportunity to tell him about the Savior Jesus about whom Isaiah was prophesying. The result? The eunuch believed, was born again, and had Philip baptize him right there in some roadside water! The message to us? — If we’ll listen to Him, the Holy Spirit will lead us to souls who are hungry to hear about Jesus Christ.
The Spirit will give us divine guidance, with amazing results
Acts 10:19-22 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them” …  The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.”
Peter obeyed the Holy Spirit and went with the men to the house of the Roman centurion Cornelius. There Peter preached the Gospel to a large crowd of gathered Gentiles (vss. 25-48), with spectacular results: while Peter was still preaching, the Holy Spirit fell on “all who heard the message” (44). These brand-new believers were immediately baptized with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues (45f), and right then Peter had them baptized in water (48).
The Holy Spirit anointing on Jesus (and on us!) imparted divine power to do good, to heal, and to overpower the devil
Acts 10:38 …how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
The Holy Spirit anointing came upon Jesus at River Jordan (John 1:32-34). Only after that Holy Spirit anointing, when He was about 30 years old, did Jesus begin to do His miracles (John 2:11).
The Holy Spirit enables some to prophesy of things to come
Acts 11:27-28 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.)
Acts 21:10-11 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” And Paul was indeed placed under Roman guard in Jerusalem some time later, as prophesied by Agabus under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit calls and sends believers into ministry
Acts 13:2-4 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit…
The two apostles Barnabas and Saul (they are identified as "apostles" in Acts 14:4,14) were called by a revelation of the Holy Spirit and were sent by the Spirit (13:4) as apostles in traveling, soulwinning, church-planting ministry. Yes, the Antioch church leaders had recognized the call, prayed and fasted, then laid their hands on Saul (later called Paul) and Barnabas and sent them forth. But remember, it was the Holy Spirit (vs. 2) who called them to be “set apart” for that ministry and (vs. 4) was the One who sent them out into their ministry work.
The Holy Spirit at times will bring judgment in the furtherance of the Gospel
Acts 13:7-12 The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
The sorcerer Elymas was resisting Paul’s preaching of the Gospel to the proconsul. Then Paul, prompted by the Holy Spirit, spoke aloud and pronounced God’s judgment on the sorcerer, who was immediately blinded. This combination of Gospel truth and God’s demonstrated power against the wicked sorcerer so amazed the proconsul that he turned to the Lord in faith.
The Spirit directs us concerning where to minister
Acts 16:6-10 Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
I spent my youth and young adult years living in or near big cities — including NY City, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, and the San Francisco Bay Area. But then the Lord called me to ministry in … Alaska! And without boring you with all the details, that Holy Spirit call to Alaska turned out clearly to be the will of the Lord and dramatically influenced the next several decades of my life and ministry.
The Holy Spirit empowers us to love those we find hard to love
Romans 5:5 …God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is love…
Are you having a hard time loving someone as Jesus would have you love them? What you can’t do naturally, the Holy Spirit can supernaturally! Remember our main theme today: the powerful enablement of the Holy Spirit. Open your heart towards that person who rubs you the wrong way, and allow the Spirit to “pour out into” your hearts a large dose of God’s love for that person.
The Holy Spirit speaks to the deepest part of our being, that is, our spirit
Romans 8:16, ESV The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
Human beings are generally thought to be what scholars call “tripartite.” We are spirit, soul, and body. The body is obvious. The soul is commonly believed to be our intellect, will, and emotions. The spirit is that deepest breath of life from God in us, reminiscent of Genesis 2:7 — “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” It is at this deepest level — Spirit to spirit — that the most intense personal interaction occurs between us and God.
The Spirit intercedes for us and guides our prayers
Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
The Spirit brings “full gospel” signs and wonders
Romans 15:19, NKJV … in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
The “full Gospel” that Paul preached then (and today) includes such things as “mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God.”
The Holy Spirit combines preaching with demonstration of God’s power
1 Corinthians 2:4-5 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
“Wise and persuasive words” are not sufficient to build saving and enduring faith in us. The apostle didn’t lean on that. Rather, his preaching was “with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” And that blend of Gospel truth and manifested Holy Ghost power gave believers a faith that would endure to the end.
The Holy Spirit imparts truth in spiritual words, not by human wisdom
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.
It is our duty, and our privilege, to share the things of God with others His way — that is, we explain spiritual truths “with Spirit-taught words,” not fancy expressions of human intellect.
The Spirit will (& must) lead us every step, from new birth to Christian maturity
Galatians 3:3, AMP Classic Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?
The Holy Spirit guiding our lives helps us overcome our carnal, sinful natures
Galatians 5:16, NLT So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
The Spirit of God produces good fruit in our lives
Galatians 5:22-23a But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Yes, in the area of godly living, will power to resist evil is helpful. Some humorously suggest that we actually need more “won’t power.” But that so-called will power, if its source is ourselves, sooner or later will fail us. What we really need for godly character formation is to have the fruits of love, kindness, self-control, and the others formed in us by the internal workings of the Holy Spirit. You can live a godly life, but only as you submit to the Holy Spirit working within you and shaping you increasingly into the image of Christ.
The Spirit of God reveals the Father (and the Son) to us
Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
The Holy Spirit brings us, through Jesus, to God the Father
Ephesians 2:18 For through him [through Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
We need the full Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — to bring us into the presence of God the Father. Jesus made the way through His death and resurrection for our sins. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and points us to forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ, thereby reconciling us eternally to God the Father. And throughout the rest of our lives this dynamic continues. The Holy Spirit points us continually to our Savior Jesus, who in turn continually intercedes on our behalf at the right hand of God the Father. So we are able always to approach God’s throne of grace confidently.
The Holy Spirit-inspired word of God is a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare
Ephesians 6:17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The Holy Spirit replaces our timidity with holy boldness, tempered by love and self-discipline
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
By the grace of God I was born again and became a Jesus-serving Christian in February 1969. But my spoken testimony about that to others was rather infrequent for the next two years. Then in early 1971 I received the biblical baptism with the Holy Spirit. Exactly as Paul had said, this new impartation from the Holy Spirit took away much of the timidity from my witness. I found myself sharing my faith with others with a confidence I never had before being filled with the Spirit.
The HOLY Spirit does a sanctifying, holiness-producing work in us
1 Peter 1:2 …chosen…through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood.
- Amplified Classic …consecrated (sanctified, made holy) by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ…
Of all the adjectives that could be used to describe the Spirit of God, by far the most common one in the Bible is “holy.” He is the HOLY Spirit. And as such He is fully capable of doing a sanctifying work in us, turning us from our former carnal lifestyles to consistent godly living.
The Holy Spirit is the Inspirer of prophecy and other spiritual gifts
2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, as the third divine Person of the Trinity, possesses unlimited power. As we have seen, He uses that omnipotence to powerfully enable Christians to produce fruit in numerous areas of our lives and ministries.
Call daily upon “Our Father in heaven…” Serve Jesus the Son each day with all your heart. And seek to walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, opening your entire heart, soul, mind, and strength to Him to make you into all that God wants you to be.
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
and Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.