This is the fourth post in a four-part series adapted from Kurt Nelson's book, “Awakening to the Holy Spirit.” Download a free chapter from the book or purchase a copy today.
Lastly, we must awaken to the purpose of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Continuous abiding in Jesus and being filled with, yielded to, and controlled by the Holy Spirit is required to fully discover that purpose!
It is essential that we understand the Holy Spirit’s purposes in and through our lives if we are to cooperate with and obey Him in order to see all of God’s purposes fulfilled in our lives on a daily basis.
The Holy Spirit has specific purposes or ministries in the Godhead, in the Body of Christ, and in the lives of unbelievers who hear the gospel.
- In the unity of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit serves principally to glorify God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ (John 16:14-15).
- In the diversity and unity of the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit serves to indwell, empower, and gift individual believers in order to build up the Church—His Bride (Acts 4:31, Romans 15:16).
- And finally, the Holy Spirit’s ministry among the lost is to convict and convert them to become disciples of Jesus Christ through God’s Word and the faithful witness of Jesus’ followers (Acts 2:38-39, 16:14).
In addition to these broad universal purposes of the Holy Spirit, there are several other specific purposes or ministries that the Holy Spirit fulfills in and through the lives of His people:
- Assurance: To grant believers assurance of their new life in Christ (Romans 8:15-16; 1 John 3:24, 4:13)
- Sanctification: To make us grow daily in our likeness to Jesus (Romans 8:13, 15:16; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13)
- Intercession: To pray on behalf of the spiritual welfare of God’s people (Romans 8:26-27)
- Teaching: To instruct believers in God’s Word and in His ways (John 14:26, 16:13; Luke 12:12)
- Guidance: To direct us when we need specific direction and wisdom in life and ministry (Acts 15:28, 16:6-7; Romans 8:4, 14; Galatians 5:16-18)
- Unity: To create and maintain the unity of God’s people, the Church (Ephesians 4:3, Philippians 2:1-2, 1 Corinthians 12:13)
- Empowerment: To manifest God’s supernatural life in and through His people as they serve Him (1 Corinthians 12:7-11, Ephesians 6:17)
- Witness: To empower and make effective our bold witness for the gospel (Acts 1:8)
- Salvation: Through the hearing of the gospel, to regenerate the spiritually dead to make them alive in Christ (John 3:5-8)
The first six purposes, or ministries, of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people are more inward or edifying. They build up the individual believer or the Church. The latter three–empowerment, witness, and salvation–are more outward or “reaching the unreached” focused. I believe that the first six purposes of the Holy Spirit in our lives are essentially designed to prepare us for the ministry of the gospel. They allow us to be empowered witnesses, leading to the salvation of the lost as embodied in the last three purposes of the Holy Spirit!
East-West’s Founder, John Maisel, often reminds our team that “Jesus’ mission statement was, ‘I have come to seek and to save that which is lost’(Luke 19:10).'” I believe that John is spot on in that observation! And if that was Jesus’ primary and focal mission, for which He obediently came to Earth, then can it be any less than the mission of all Christ’s followers? In fact, that same mission was reiterated by Jesus in Acts 1:8 when, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Dr. Luke recorded the final words of Jesus:
“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.”
Bearing witness to Jesus and to His gospel in your hometown (your Jerusalem) and all the way to the ends of the Earth is a direct result of being filled, indwelt, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is the exact same mission that Jesus charged His followers with just seconds before He ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father for all eternity. These words were essentially Jesus’ last will and testament to all who will follow Him.
I trust that you are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit as He works in your life to grant you assurance, sanctification, intercession, teaching, guidance, and unity in His Body (Galatians 5:25). Are you also keeping in step with the Holy Spirit as He indwells and empowers you to be a faithful witness to Him and to His gospel, resulting in the spiritually lost coming to experience new life in Christ?
Jesus’ mandate for us to be faithful witnesses for Him is a key purpose of the Holy Spirit living in your life and in mine. As Paul exhorted young Timothy, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 4:5).”
Kurt serves as East-West's President and CEO, providing leadership and oversight to all worldwide ministry endeavors in the more than 70 countries in which East-West currently operates. Kurt and his wife, Pat, live in Dallas, Texas, and have nine children and seven grandchildren.