of the Holy Spirit
HOLY SPIRIT IN CHRISTIAN MINISTRY –THEOLOGY
of the Holy Spirit in Christian Ministry
are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are
different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different
kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.”
(1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
successful ministry in the Bible was a product of the Holy Spirit.
Working for God without depending on the Spirit is a contradiction.
It is He who births, gives gifts, leads, anoints and empowers God’s
disciples understood that they needed the presence and power of the
Holy Spirit to fulfil the Great Commission and build the church.
However, reliance on Him for Christian life and service is not
adequately understood today.
ministries end up shipwrecked. It has been estimated that, in
Australia today, there are equal numbers of men and women “serving
God” on a full-time basis and those who formerly did so, but
ceased because of discouragement, burn-out, politics, circumstances
(including financial), sin or sickness (including mental).
days are over. My hopes have disappeared. My heart’s desires
are broken. Where then is my hope? Can anyone find it? No, my
hope will go down with me to the grave. We will rest together in
the dust!” (Job 17:11, 15, 16).
the Holy Spirit can renew/restore someone in this position.
is important that we “get it right” and work with Holy
Spirit in whatever ministry God has called us to, in the context of
His eternal purposes. He
helps us see our human weaknesses, so we should not rely on
ourselves, become proud, or shipwrecked by sin. He encourages us
when we are down. He comforts those who are weak. He gives joy and
the sense of God’s presence in times of adversity.
Spirit in Jesus' Ministry
returned to Galilee in
the power of the Spirit,
and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught
in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. He went to Nazareth,
where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the
synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of
the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the
place where it is written: ‘The
Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed
me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to
proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the
release the oppressed,
proclaim the year of the Lord's favour’.
(Luke 4:14-19, NIV)
have already seen how central the Holy Spirit was to Jesus’
life and all He did.
Spirit in Paul's Ministry
and his companions travelled 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.”
will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has
accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I
have said and done - by the power of signs and miracles, through the
power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to
have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:19)
had a lot to say about the Holy Spirit in the individual Christian
believer; it is clear he also relied in his own ministry on the
Spirit who had:
him and privately and publicly set him apart for the work of God
him as he embarked on ministry trips – listening and obedience
him to function in power rather than human philosophy or persuasion
when presenting Christ to unbelievers in a multicultural society
as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do
not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one
body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different
gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is
prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it
is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs
of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him
govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
= one who executes the commands of another, a servant, attendant,
minister, a deacon, a waiter, one who serves food and drink
means “service”. We are all called to serve one another
(Galatians 5:13) with whatever gifts the Holy Spirit has given us.
rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials
exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever
wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever
wants to be first must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:25-27
Does the Holy Spirit Equip Men and Women for Ministry Today?
“calls” people into ministry
word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in
the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I
appointed you as a prophet to the nations’."
one takes this honour upon himself; he must be called by God…..”
a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for
the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1)
the last days, ‘God says’, I will pour out my Spirit on
all people. Your sons
will prophesy, your young
will see visions, your
will dream dreams. Even on my servants,
both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”
(Acts 2:17, 18)
servants do not “call” or appoint themselves (they
However, they should be careful not get ahead of God’s plan or
timing (consider Saul: 1 Samuel 13).
ministries “fit” into God’s purpose and are
complementary. The concept of “laity” (λαϊκός,
of the people), which distinguishes between clergy and everyone else
is not supported by the Bible. We should not get hung up over
whether or not ministry is “full-time”.
allocates “gifts” for ministry, according to His
one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone
speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If
anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so
that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him
be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter
gifts of the Holy Spirit are for the good of the church (Ephesians
4:12-16), not so that we are considered more “holy” or
spiritually advanced than other people. All gifts are not the same,
and there is no clear hierarchy in Scripture. We are called on to
exercise the gift/s God has for us, with humility, dependence on God
and faith that He will use it to accomplish His purpose.
is important we know and develop the gift/s He has given us, so we do
not become proud, complacent, frustrated, envious, side-tracked by
opportunities, difficulties, dissatisfaction, disappointment, sense
of inadequacy, comparing ourselves with others, trying to do too
much, relying on our efforts.
lays burdens on his servants’ hearts
Holy Spirit creates supernatural burdens in the heart and vision of
His servants, eg for the unsaved world, for individuals, for the
church (1 Corinthians 9:16).
on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy
Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He
purchased with His own blood.”
gives spiritual authority to leaders
often confuse natural authority and spiritual authority. Spiritual
authority is not “power” or force, hierarchy or
demand-driven unquestioning accountability, which can lead to
intimidation, competition (“size matters”) and
exploitation. Spiritual authority is influence; it is demonstrated
through humility and service. Headship is not meant to be
God’s servants rely on human capabilities to exercise
leadership they (may) succeed on one level because of natural talent,
personality, education, circumstances, or positional authority (eg
title), but the fruit is often not from God. This can lead to
excessive reliance on networking, pride, abuse of authority, or
uncritical adoption of secular “management approaches”
instead of the authority that comes from God in connection with being
set apart by Him for a unique purpose.
the responsibility of every Christian is to submit to Christ and to
leadership God has placed over them, in His purposes, and trust Him
for the outcome.
spiritual authority is transformational. It always ends up with
people being directed to Christ, glorifying God and being changed as
they grow in their relationship with Him and with one another.
speaks into the life of the church
will hear what the Lord will speak” (Psalm 85:8)
seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us ….” (Acts
is the Holy Spirit saying? How do we know? Spiritual leaders should
always be able to speak on God’s behalf to His people.
However, they will not be the only conduits through whom He
who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 2 and 3)
provides clear direction, opening and closing doors according to His
is no confusion when the Holy Spirit leads (1 Corinthians 14:33). He
helps our prayer life and promises to guide us (Romans 8:26, 27;
Ephesians 6:18). Ministry should be a response to that direction.
the Spirit opens doors, He produces results in line with God’s
will (1 Corinthians 2:10).
gives His servants supernatural boldness
to speak in God’s name cannot afford to stem from
self-confidence. When Peter preached to the crowd on the Day of
Pentecost, the Holy Spirit made him bold. Paul attributed his
boldness to God (τολμάω
to dread or shun through fear, to bear, endure, deal boldly).
gives supernatural love for God’s 'flock' even in difficult
servants of God give up because of people. It can be difficult to
love others when we feel betrayed or unappreciated, or our efforts
are not yielding the results we wish for. The Spirit pours God’s
“agape” love into our hearts (Romans 5:5), which is
greater than every human dimension of love (see also Romans 15:30).
gives supernatural discernment about peoples' needs
did this all the time. God expects us to use the faculties He has
given us, but there will be times when human wisdom alone will not
give insight into what people are going through, or the answers they
really need. We should ask the Holy Spirit for that insight.
gives supernatural discernment about spiritual challenges facing the
when others do not perceive underlying issues/causes (read Acts
Chapter 5 and 13:8-12). This can include attack, or understanding
what lies behind developments in individual lives and the church
challenges are not accurately perceived or dealt with by human
intellect or emotion. They require wisdom and the kind of insight
mentioned already, that comes from the Holy Spirit. With that
insight comes guidance as to how to respond.
grants His wisdom, ideas and solutions
wisdom is limited and can be deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9; James
3:15-17). We need supernatural wisdom to approach all aspects of
Christian ministry. This can range from making major financial
decisions to knowing how to counsel people. He may sometimes do this
through a Word of Wisdom or a Word of Knowledge.
carries the message to peoples' hearts
ministry is not just about teaching, it is also about the message
“getting through” (including when we do not use words);
this is a supernatural act, so that the message does not bounce off
peoples’ minds or become limited to intellectual consideration.
God’s Word is:
living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it
judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews
without God are spiritually blind and deaf; they need to be “drawn”
to Him and given the capacity to hear, see and understand, repent of
sin and turn around. The work of the Spirit is to make this happen.
involved in (any kind of) ministry can make mistakes or need
correction. If we are humble and have “ears to hear”
what He is saying, the Holy Spirit can correct us when we go in a
wrong direction, make a wrong decision, or start to entertain sin in
our minds. If we are prepared to listen to Him, we will save
ourselves a lot of heartache, time, resources and negative
anoints us, so the results are His, not ours
does not mean we do not need to work for results (study, plan, press
through difficult issues, work with people, put in long hours), but
remain aware that the results have to be from God, cf 1 Corinthians
3:5-7. The outcome is not about “us”, but about God’s
purposes and glory.
is the 'spiritual' side of our ministry. Ministry is not a human
“activity”, a 9-5 vocation, but a developed lifestyle and
true leader influences others spiritually only because the Spirit
works in and through him/her to a greater degree than in those he/she
Oswald Sanders, 1994)
Text for Discussion
we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some
people, letters of recommendation to you or from you?
yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by
show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry,
written not with ink but with the
Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we
are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our
competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of
a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the
letter kills, but the
Spirit gives life.
if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on
stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look
steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it
was, will not the
ministry of the Spirit
be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is
glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings
righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison
with the surpassing glory.
if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the
glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we
are very bold.
are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the
Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.
But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains
when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only
in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a
veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the
veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are
being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which
comes from the Lord, who is the