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Chapter 1 Nature and Role of the Holy SpiritTo accurately study the work of the Holy Spirit, we must begin with the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. First Corinthians 12:1-11 includes the first mention in the New Testament of the works of the Holy Spirit, which are the gifts of the Spirit; but in the Book of Genesis we see the Holy Spirit introduced in pristine grandeur - an exciting and thrilling display of the Holy Spirit as He functions best.
In the very first verses of the Bible, we read: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light (Gen. 1: 1-3).
The functioning of the Holy Spirit as demonstrated in the early Christian Church is not new. He had been working with human beings for 4,000 years prior to the Christian era, and He has been working in the Church for the 2,000 years since. The Holy Spirit has been very busy functioning in behalf of mankind for 6,000 years. He knows our problems; He knows the answers; and we need these answers from Him.
Omnipotence of the Spirit When we think of the functioning of the Holy Spirit in the creation of the world, we think of omnipotence. The Holy Spirit was omnipotent, all-powerful. Out of the chaos that existed in the beginning, He brought cosmos. God spoke, and His Word had to be obeyed! The Spirit of God moved upon the desolation, and there came forth that which was beautiful for God and for man.
Omnipresence of the Spirit
In His creative powers the Holy Spirit is omnipotent. In His universality He is omnipresent. Psalm 139:7 says this: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I Pee from thy presence? Here David is saying to God, "Where could I go to escape the presence of Your Spirit?" It is impossible to flee from the presence of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps you found that to be true when you were running away from your convictions. God "dogged" you until He got you - and He can do it again and again!
The Holy Spirit is universal in the fulfilling of His operations. He possesses all power and He is everywhere. There is no place that the gifts of the Spirit will not work. They will function anywhere, whether it be in Asia, South America, Europe, or right where you are now.
In Genesis 6:3, we find how God said in words of convicting strength and power that His Spirit would not always strive with man. The Holy Spirit strives to bring man into a place of reconciliation with God. Imagine that happening from Genesis and continuing through Revelation. The Holy Spirit has a fullness of ministry whose chief exercise is to cause men to come to God. Jesus, in speaking to us of the functionings of the Holy Spirit, told us that the Holy Spirit would be a comfort to us and that He would relate the things He heard in the heavens. He would relate those things you say to God and then tell you what God says in reply.
It is the Holy Spirit Who moves back and forth, bringing communication from our hearts to God and from God's heart to us. He is accustomed to striving with men's hearts. When you feel within you a craving and a desire to be more like God and to five a holy fife, that is the moving and the functioning of the Holy Spirit in your behalf.
Poured Out upon All Flesh
During this present age, the Dispensation of Grace, God is pouring out of His Spirit upon all flesh. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17). Here is the central theme of this study: The Spirit of God will be poured out upon us. We shall experience the infilling of the Spirit of God; and as the infilling of the Spirit of God comes, these gifts will automatically flow.
I will tell you how these gifts came to start functioning in my life. You may be interested to know that they were born, not in a moment of jubilation or victory in my life, but in a moment of great attrition. They were born in a moment when I was downcast and almost broken, which only made me realize the greatness and majesty of God. I came to know the thrill of having God in my own heart and life. I believe it will be exciting to you, too, as the power of the Holy Ghost comes upon you and the gifts of the Spirit begin to function in your fife.
If the gifts of the Spirit were not for you, it would be wrong for me to discuss them in this way. If they were only for the hierarchy of the Church - for the bishops and the archbishops - then you and I might as well discuss something else. We would need to study a subject that is available to us, something we can use in our everyday fives, something that can help with our everyday burdens and trials and cares. God wants it to work, and it will work. It does work.
In the last days I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh. "All flesh" means men, women, young people - all cultures, all languages, all people - lowborn or highborn, well-educated or ignorant.
The fact that God is willing at this time to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh makes this study imperative. We are at a moment when, more than ever before in the history of man, the power of the Holy Spirit is being poured out. I don't want to be left in a dry corner; I want to be standing right. in the middle of the deluge! I want the blessing of God in its fullest. I want to be in the middle of the spout where the glory comes out!
Speaking of the Holy Ghost, Jesus said, Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:13).
One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to bring to our hearts a revelation of the future. If we need to know things that are to come to pass, and the ways in which they shall come to pass, the Holy Spirit is the One to reveal them. We need not go to a fortuneteller or to an astrologer. We can go directly to the Holy Ghost. We have a prophecy from our Lord and Savior that the Holy Spirit will be the One to show us things to come.
The Holy Spirit is our guide into all truth, the revealer of things to come. The Holy Spirit is living in His own dispensation today - separate from the Dispensation of Innocence, the Dispensation of Conscience, the Dispensation of Human Government, the Dispensation of Promise, the Dispensation of the Law. We are now living in the Dispensation of the Grace of the Holy Ghost; and while living in His own dispensation with Him, we can expect His movements to be greater than ever before.
In 1 Peter 4:10, we read these beautiful words: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another .... To me this is one of the most precious verses of Scripture that has been delivered to us from the Word of God. They that have received the gifts should minister the same.
I believe that anything which has been given to us was given to us of God to share. God does not dig holes and bury things. He is not a cover-up man; that is the Devil's business. God is a revealer, a revealer of the interior workings of human beings. This great message of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is something that should be shared. That is the purpose of this writing.
I encourage you to become a sharer and to share everything you receive. In fact, the way to get this message to grow in your own spirit is to start talking to others about the things you have learned. As you talk about them, there will almost immediately be an increase of knowledge on your own part. As you give, you receive. The Bible says that they that water are watered. As you give out, you will receive back. That is especially true as we study the Word of God. They that have received the gift should minister the same. This is the desire of my own heart.
I have shared these preliminary thoughts relating to the Spirit of God for a specific reason: The deeper I can place the foundations of this truth, the stronger your tower of strength will be, and I want it to be very strong!
In 2 Corinthians 3:6, the Word of God says we should be able ministers, giving life. I would say that the deep purpose of these lessons would be for us to become able ministers of truth, giving life spiritual life, dynamic life - to those with whom we come in contact.