Who is the Holy Spirit? - Lead Us

Just a few years back, the one-hundredth anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival was celebrated. Few events in the history of Christendom have impacted and influenced the world as much as the Azusa Street Revival. This revival was much more than an event— it was the beginning of a spiritual revolution that began in the lives of a few and now numbers over six hundred million.

In the summer of 1906, the Apostolic Faith Mission on Azusa Street in Los Angeles (later called the Azusa Street Mission), erupted into a Spirit-filled revival, different in scope and fervor from any revival that had happened before. The spiritual intensity for the Azusa Street Revival was “red hot” for more than two years before beginning to cool off. During that time, virtually everyone who was anyone within the emerging Pentecostal Movement felt its impact. People traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to see firsthand what was going on. Like any major move of God, some rejoiced, some were curious, some were skeptical, and some were critical. (Just like the Day of Pentecost) One thing is sure, the Azusa Street Mission quickly became the “Grand Central Station” of global Pentecostalism. Most all Pentecostal fellowships have roots at Azusa.

Heritage is great . . . but it is not enough.

Every generation needs its own Pentecost, an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit does not have to conform to the exact pattern of the Azusa Street Revival. But I am hungry for a “shock and awe” experience in the context of today’s culture where the presence of God is so real that:
  1. people see their need for Him and His holiness (Salvation)
  2. Christians recognize their need for power (Baptism in the Holy Spirit)
  3. hurting people know there is help (healing)
  4. an urgency to reach people becomes overwhelming (missional)

The baptism in the Holy Spirit isn’t a one-time event. We should have a daily encounter that is felt by us and the world around us. What are some of the results of that daily encounter and outpouring in our lives?

John 16:14 (GNT) “He will give me glory.”
  • It’s always been the mission of the Spirit to exalt Jesus. The Holy Spirit has come that we might be deeply impressed with Jesus, and be excited about His work. The Holy Spirit was sent by God to make Christ real to people and to show us who He really is.
  • Therefore, the Spirit working through us should do the same—draw people’s attention to Jesus, inviting them to love Him, trust Him, and obey Him.
  • Isn’t it amazing how often people claim to be filled with the Spirit, but then will say things to others or post comments on social media that compromise the fruit of the Spirit in their words?
How do we draw people’s attention to Christ?
- Show courtesy
Titus 3:2 (GW) “Believers shouldn’t curse anyone or be quarrelsome, but they should be gentle and show courtesy to everyone.”
1 Peter 2:17 (NLT) “Respect everyone, and love the family of believers."
- Offer Mercy
2 Corinthians 2:7 (TLB) “Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so bitter and discouraged that he won’t be able to recover.”
Colossians 3:13 (TLB) “Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
- Express sympathy
Colossians 3:12 (GW) “As holy people whom God has chosen and loved, be sympathetic, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.”
- Speak honestly
Proverbs 24:26 (NLT) “An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.”
Proverbs 28:23 (NLT) “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more
than flattery.”

John 16:8 (NLT) “And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

A. The Holy Spirt convicts us in three areas:
  • Sin of Unbelief
-The Holy Spirit gives us an awakened sense of sin, particularly the sin of unbelief
in Jesus.
  • Righteousness of Jesus
- The Holy Spirit reminds us that it is Christ alone who forgives our sins and
provides righteousness for us.
  • Satan Is Defeated
- The judgment or defeat has already been pronounced on Satan.

B. Therefore, the Holy Spirit, working through us, should help us respond to sin quickly, live a more victorious life, and be people of conviction.

C. Conviction is good, but here are some things conviction is not:
  1. A guilty conscience. This is a natural feeling experienced by most people.
  2. A sense of fear about what is ahead
  3. A knowledge of right and wrong

The truth is, if we experience nothing more than a ping on our conscience, some anxiety at the thought of judgment, or an academic awareness of hell, then we have never truly known the conviction of sin. Conviction means, “to convince someone of truth; to reprove; to accuse, refute or cross-examine a witness.”

  • To be convicted is to feel the extreme weight and burden of sin.
Isaiah 6:5 (NLT) “Then I said, “ ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’” [In view of God’s holiness, Isaiah instantly realized his sinfulness.]
  • To be convicted is to experience an utter dreadfulness of sin.
Genesis 39:9 (NLT) “No one here has more authority than I do. He [Potiphar] has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”
  • To be convicted is to understand how our sin dishonors God.
Psalms 51:4 (NLT) “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.”

Conviction is a good thing! Any outpouring of God like the current ones happening on campuses and churches across our nation is marked by repentance because we have an extreme awareness of our sin.

John 16:13 (NIV) But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
  1. We are pretty helpless and clueless in mapping out our lives and getting accurate guidance and direction. 
  • The Spirit is especially present and active at every crossroads in our lives when we are making vital decisions. 
  • His guidance regarding our future is best, because He is already in our future.
  1. Therefore, we should give the Holy Spirit a greater capacity to influence decisions regarding our future.
  2. God uses three primary means to guide us:
  • Primary guidance: The Word
Psalm 119:105 (NIV) “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”
  • Secondary guidance: The Spirit
John 10:27 (NIV) “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
  • Confirming guidance: Life’s circumstances
Psalm 37:23 (NLT) “The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”

The guidance of the Holy Spirit is in focus in this post and message from Sunday!

  1. Some people say, “Let your conscience be your guide.” That is faulty advice because our conscience is not in itself totally trustworthy.

Some people confuse their conscience with the voice of the Holy Spirit. They are not the same. Your conscience is your human perspective of right and wrong.
  • The witness of our developing conscience alone is not always sufficient for the guidance we need.
  • We need to hear the whisper of the Spirit! After all, the Holy Spirit lives in us to “bear witness” (Romans 8:16) with our spirit, but how?

How can one distinguish their own thoughts, feelings, and impressions from those of the “whisper of the Spirit”?
  • The Holy Spirit’s whisper will always agree with Scripture. Any inner impression that conflicts with the Bible needs to be rejected.
  • The Holy Spirit’s whisper becomes clear when our will is surrendered to God’s will. Our own desires can mislead us; God’s will won’t!
  • The Holy Spirit’s whisper distinguishes itself in times of prayer. Prayer sorts out all the other voices of expectation that you hear.

Romans 8:6 (NLT) “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
  1. Moods are contagious, both good and bad.
  2. There are times that I wish people were more like Mr. Spock, the character from Star Trek. He always responded to situations from a purely logical perspective, never emotional. But the fact is, God did not create us in the image of Mr. Spock; He created us in His image with emotions—the ability to feel love, joy, happiness, guilt, anger, disappointments, etc. We are emotional people!
  3. The real issue (and what generally gets us into trouble) is: How do you handle your emotions? You can either learn to manage your emotions or let your emotions manage you. Although this sounds overly simplistic, the way to manage your emotions is to grow in your relationship with God.

Romans 12:1–2 (NLT) “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Consider these four truths on how to manage your emotions:
  • Give your emotions to the control of the Holy Spirit every day.
Romans 6:13 (NLT) “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.”
  • Don’t let anger get out of control.
James 1:20 (NLT) “Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
  • Let other people (good friends) help you manage your emotions.
Hebrews 3:12–14 (NLT) “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
  • Stay focused on the things you can control, not on the things you can’t control.
Psalm 56:3 (GNT) “When I am afraid, O LORD Almighty, I put my trust in you.”

Our emotions are wired into our fallen nature as well as into our redeemed nature. So, sin and Satan have access to them and will use them to try to manipulate us to hurt ourselves and others.

But remember: “To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace.” Romans 8:6 (GNT)

  1. The early Pentecostals of Azusa Street did not desire experience for experience’s sake. 
  • (Like any revival, there were a few minor, misplaced emphases at Azusa.) But overall their quest for a personal encounter with the Lord was within the boundaries of God’s Word.
  • Leaders of the Azusa Street Mission believed, “the Spirit does not go where the Word does not permit.” (Quote from George O. Wood, enews.org/Features/What-Azusa-Had-and-We-Need)

  1. As people of the Spirit, we must keep God’s Word as the ultimate measuring rod for
all we do.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV) “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

  1. Without the Holy Spirit driving us to God’s Word and opening our eyes to its meaning, it can seem like just another book. One mark of Spirit baptism should be a hunger to read and know the Word of God.

According to George Barna, “The Christian church is having such limited discernible impact on American culture. It seems that Christians are more affected by society than society is affected by Christians. Why is that? Perhaps because more than nine out of every ten born-again Christians fail to think like Jesus; they think like the rest of the world, so they naturally behave like the citizens of this world, too. They are not the salt and light that Jesus commands us to be because they lack the personal commitment and depth of faith that makes them truly changed, God-driven beings.”
(George Barna, Think Like Jesus)

A biblical worldview is learning to interpret the realities of life through the filter of Scripture. The result is that we start to think more like Jesus.
  1. A Spirit-empowered church will be a Word-based, Word-taught, Word-governing, and Word-influenced church.
  2. Even the experiences on the Day of Pentecost were described by Peter as a “Word-associated experience.”
 “This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel . . . ”

  1. The baptism in the Holy Spirit, as understood at the Azusa Street Revival, was not just for personal blessing. Its central purpose was for empowerment! You see, in many Pentecostal circles, people have sought the baptism in the Holy Spirit for the experience itself and not for its purpose.
  2. The baptism in the Holy Spirit should help you speak in English (your native language) with clarity to be a witness for Christ.

Acts 1:8 (NIV) “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.”

Missions was not a concept that came about as a result of the Azusa Street Revival; missions was very much a part of the revival. They sent out missionaries right away. From Azusa came an array of missionaries, ministers, and Christian workers. That’s why it is hard for me to think of a church being Pentecostal that isn’t missions-minded and involved in winning people to Christ.

Is it possible that we have redefined the Pentecostal experience into an experience instead of a mission, a lifestyle? Long before words like intentionality, missional, and global were popular, the Holy Spirit was given to the Church to do just that! The Holy Spirit intentionally dwells within us to empower us missionally, so that globally, people can know Christ!

The Holy Spirit lives in us, ministers to us, and works through us. The baptism in the Spirit is a wonderful experience, but it’s only the beginning, not the end. The Baptism opens to us a whole new realm of operating in the life of the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, and ministering in the fruit of the Spirit.

The initial physical evidence of Spirit baptism is speaking in tongues. But that’s just the initial evidence. The Baptism should be further evidenced by:
  • Love for God’s Word
  • Conviction of sin
  • Awareness of His guidance
  • Living emotionally healthy lives
  • Pointing us to Jesus
  • Pushing us out to reach the world

Let’s pray that God would, through His Holy Spirit, help us to live with these enduring evidences of the baptism in the Spirit in our lives. That through us, the hurting will find
healing, the lost will find hope, and the believer may be encouraged.