ATTRIBUTES, QUALITIES, FUNCTIONS, AND POWERS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

After  God the Father has transformed a person into one  of his children  through the power of his spirit, that person has certain new and varied  attributes and abilities through the power of the   holy spirit that resides within them. Along with these new attributes and abilities that each of the elect is given at baptism, Jesus Christ may authorize certain individuals with additional specialized authorizations and powers for the benefit of the elect and the performance of the work of proclaiming the Father's good news message to the world as a witness and warning.

The following are three major areas in which the  Father  and Jesus Christ have authorized the elect of God to use the power of the   holy spirit:

1. Spiritual Success

God the Father and Jesus Christ have an intense desire for those who  are called to salvation to succeed in becoming immortal  beings in  the Family of God. Through the indwelling  of  the holy spirit, they have provided powerful tools to help the children  of God accomplish the following:

2. Building the Church

Part of what the Father and Jesus Christ are doing here on  earth, through the power of the holy spirit, involves  the  building of a physical organization that will perform the following functions:

3. The Work of the Church

The work of the church is to proclaim the Father's good news message and his soon coming kingdom as a warning and witness to the world.

All of these areas of the  holy spirit's influence  overlap each-other to one degree or another, because all three must work together to perform the work of God in the end of this age.

OPPORTUNITIES  AND RESPONSIBILITIES

In  order to gain a clear understanding of the opportunities  and responsibilities  of  the  elect of God pertaining  to  the  attributes, qualities, functions, and authority to use the power of the   holy spirit, it is important to review the following areas of the holy spirit's  influence:

PERSONAL GROWTH

The first area of the   holy spirit's influence to be considered is the personal growth of the child of God toward spiritual maturity and perfection. The following is a partial list of the attributes, functions, and qualities of the   holy spirit, and some of the benefits that  a child of God should derive from having this  spirit-power dwelling within them.

The Spirit of God:

ADVOCATE AND HELPER

"But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and  by the  Comforter I mean the holy spirit—he [it] will teach you  much, as  well  as  remind you of everything I myself  have told  you" (Jn.14:26 LBP).

The English word 'comforter' is translated from the Greek word 'parakletos', which means 'advocate' or 'helper'. This power  from  the Father is indeed an advocate and helper to us in our physical and spiritual life.

FAITH

Although love is the greatest gift of God (1.Cor.13:1-13),  it is through the  exercising of  faith that all other attributes,  qualities,  authorizations, and  powers of the  spirit are accessed, increased,  or acquired.

Because  having  faith  is an extremely important  part  of  having access to the power of the spirit, it follows that a person  must know what faith is. The  two types of faith that impact spiritual growth and  access to  spiritual power are faith that is belief in God the  Father, Jesus Christ, and their promises, and faith that is power through which works are produced. These  two types of faith are different, yet they both must be used in order to gain more spiritual power.

COMPONENTS OF FAITH

The three major components of faith (i.e., belief) are knowledge, performance, and confidence:

Knowledge

In  Acts 2:38, we see that those who want to receive the  holy spirit  must  repent. In order to repent a person must  have  the knowledge of what to repent of before they can truly repent. A person must not only know what to repent of but also understand what repentance is and how to repent.

Acts 5:32 shows that the holy spirit is given to those  who obey. But in order to obey, a person must know what to obey.

Spiritual  knowledge and understanding must be based on  truth, which is not a nebulous unclear notion or mystical philosophic idea. Jesus says that the Father's word is truth. A  lack  of knowledge and understanding of God's word is a barrier to  having the kind of faith that pleases the Father and produces powerful works.

Performance

Both Acts 2:38 and 5:32 show that a person is required to take positive action based on  what they know and understand is  necessary to receive the   holy spirit (i.e., repentance, baptism, and obedience):

"Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in  the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,  and  you shall receive the gift of the  holy spirit" (Acts 2:38 KJV).

"And  we  are  witnesses of these things, and is  also  the    holy spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32 Para.).

Confidence

Because the approximately three thousand people who were  gathered together on the festival of Pentecost in 30 A.D. knew that the God  of Israel was real and believed that Jesus was the  Messiah who  was sent to save them, they had confidence that, if they  did what they were told in reference to repentance and baptism, they would receive the power of the  holy spirit. See Acts 2:37-41.

In   Acts  2:38 and 5:32,  we see all three components  of  faith that  is  belief. A person must  have knowledge and take positive action on this knowledge in order to have the confidence that  God will fulfill his promise based upon their knowledge and  positive action.

Faith That is Belief

Faith that is belief and faith that is power are tied  together. Without  faith  that is belief, a person cannot use  or  access faith that is power.

James 2:12-24 LBP

"But  someone may well argue, You say the way to God is by  faith alone,  plus nothing; well, I say that good works  are  important too,  for  without good works you can't prove  whether you  have faith  or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way  I act.  Are there  still some among you who hold that only  believing  is  enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember  that  the devils believe this too so strongly that they tremble in  terror!  Dear foolish  man! When will you ever learn  that  believing  is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does  not result in good deeds is not real faith"  (vs.18-20).

The King James  Version  renders the last half of verse 20: "Faith without works is dead."

True  faith (i.e., true belief) must be followed  by  positive actions  in order to accomplish a righteous way of life and  fulfill one's calling. Faith that is power can be manifested in the realms of physical and spiritual  reality (Matt.17:20; Eph.6:12). And faith that is belief  is the link between faith that is power and the physical and spiritual realms  of existence. It is through the exercising of faith that is  belief that a child of God is able to exercise faith  that  is power.  Therefore,  neither kind of faith is independent  of  the other and they must be used together:

Faith That is Power

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence  of things not seen" (Heb.11:1 Para.).

Here, the  English word 'substance' is translated from the Greek word  'hupostasis', which means 'the reality of the things hoped for' in this context. If one has the kind of faith that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 17:20, the thing hoped for will become reality in the spiritual or physical realm of existence, because  the spiritual power that will cause it to become reality has been accessed and set in motion through faith that is belief.

It is through the gift of faith that is power, that all of  those mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were able to perform great works and  have spiritual success in their lives.  Please read Heb.11:1-40:

"For  one is given by the   spirit the word of wisdom;  to  another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; to another faith by the same spirit. . ." (1.Cor.12:8-9 KJV).

Faith to Move a Mountain

While  speaking to his disciples about the reason they could  not cast a certain demon out of a child, Jesus says, "For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard; you  shall say to this mountain, move from here to there! And it will  move. And nothing shall be impossible to you" (Matt.17:20 Para.).

Faith  that  is power is much more than just believing in something and  hoping that it will happen. Moreover, a child of God who  has this kind of faith has the ability to convert spirit energy into physical  energy in order to perform awesome  acts.

Faith that is power also has the  three basic components of Faith that  is belief: knowledge, performance and confidence.  However, this  kind  of faith has substance, tangible  energy,  and power that can be used to produce works.

It  was  through faith that is power that  Moses,  the  prophets, Jesus  Christ,  the apostles, and  many others in the  past  were able to perform their great supernatural acts.

Jesus  truly did great things, because the Father gave him  great faith  that  is power and he had an unlimited supply  of  spirit-power. See Jn.3:34.

Jesus  healed the sick, resurrected the dead, walked on  water, turned  water into wine, and performed many  other  supernatural acts through the power of the spirit. Although Jesus did great works,  he says that those who believe in him will do even  greater works:

"Truly,  truly, I say to you, he that believes on me,  the  works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father" (Jn.14:12 KJV).

How  is it possible to do greater things than Christ did?  It  is possible  because  Christ did not fully use the power that  was available to him through faith that is power. The elect who  will be given powerful faith just before the return of Christ will be able to perform even  greater works through this same spirit-power.

GODLY LOVE

Although  faith  is the most powerful gift of the    spirit,  Godly love is the most important attribute, because a person must have and grow in love to remain a child of God:

"He  that  does  not love, does not know God; for  God  is  love" (1.Jn.4:8 Para.).

All  the  things the Father isChis infinite energy, his power,  and his presenceCare centered around and defined in the words 'God  is Love.'

It is because  God is love and will not change (Mal.3:6) that  we have  the  assurance that he will fulfill his  awesome  plan  for humanity.

The Father's Love

"In this was the love of God the Father manifested toward us, because he sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins" (1.Jn.4:9-10 Para.).

The  Father's great love for humanity can be seen through his  act  of allowing his only Son to give his life for us. Neither the Father nor his Son had ever been human. The risk was enormous, because there was no  guarantee  of success. If his Son had failed to keep the law perfectly,  he would have died forever. The Father would have lost his only  Son who is the  only  other immortal being to ever exist. Moreover, the  Father  would have been alone for eternity, if he had lost his Son and companion:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten  Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have  everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the  world;  but  that  the world through  him  might  be  saved" (Jn.3:16-17 KJV).

The  Love of Jesus

Before becoming  a human, Jesus was an immortal spirit-being (the Creator God) who possessed the highest form of existence: life that springs  forth from itself, never dying or decaying. This immortal being who was not  subject to death, emptied himself of his glory,  power, and immortality to become a mortal man, in order to attempt to live a sinless life in the  flesh, then sacrifice his life in an agonizing death as payment for  the sins of all humanity (See 1.Cor.6:20; 7:23). Jesus is the love of God personified. See our study concerning who God is.

Deep and Abiding Love

Deep and abiding love and concern for others is the kind  of love that the Father and Christ want those called to  salvation to perfect through the power of the   holy spirit:

"Knowing that affliction works out patience,  and  patience works  out proven character, and proven character, hope. And  the hope  does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out  in our hearts through the   holy spirit given  to  us"  (Rom.5:3-5 Para.).  See also 2.Tim.1:6-7; 13-14.

It is because of the love of God, which has  been placed within a child of God, that they can grow spiritually  and have hope in their calling.

Notice what Paul was inspired to say to the Corinthians about  the importance  of  love in relation to all other power that  can  be manifested through the holy spirit:

"If  I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do  not have  love, I have become as a sounding brass or a clanging  cymbal. And if I have prophecies, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains,  but do  not have love I am nothing. And if I give out all  my  goods, and if I deliver my body that I be burned, but I do not have love I  am not profited anything. Love has patience, is kind; love  is not envious; love is not vain, is not puffed up; does not  behave indecently;  does not pursue its own things; is not easily  provoked;  thinks no evil; does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices  in all truth; quietly covers all things; believes  all things; hopes all things; endures all things; love never fails" (1.Cor.13:1-7 Para.).

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul says that love is the  result of having the spirit of God (Gal.5:9;22). To the Thessalonians he says that no one can be saved without this kind of love  within them (2.Thes.2:9-10).

Notice  some  of the other very important things  that  are  said about this powerful and necessary attribute of the spirit of God:

"Who  shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall  tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or  nakedness,  or danger, or sword? Even as it has been written, "For your sake  we are killed  all the day long; we are counted as  sheep  of  the slaughter." But in all these things we are more  than  conquerors through  him that has loved us. For I am persuaded  that  neither death,  nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor powers, nor  things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature  will  be able to separate us from the love  of  God  in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Rom.8:35-39 Para.).

The reason no person or thing is able to separate a child of God from the love  of the Father in Christ is that the love of the  Father and  Christ  is within the child of God through the holy spirit that dwells in them. Therefore, it is impossible for an  outside force to separate them.

THE LAW OF LOVE

Another aspect of the Father's love is manifested in his  immutable law, which he places within the hearts of his children:

"For  this  is the agreement that I will make with  the  house of Israel  after those days, says the Lord; I will put my laws  into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God,  and they shall be to me a people" (Heb.8:10 para.).  See also Jer.31:33; Ezk.36:27.

"Forasmuch  as you are manifestly declared to be the  epistle  of Christ  ministered by us, written not with ink,  but  with the spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone,  but in the fleshly tables of the heart"  (2.Cor.3:3 KJV).

When  one  receives the   holy spirit, the laws of God are  made  a part  of  their very nature and being, which makes it possible  to  be conscious  of the difference between  righteous and unrighteous concepts  and behavior. Having these laws as a constant part  of their  consciousness alerts a child of God to the  right spiritual path that they should follow as they experience life  with its various trials and temptations.

Love Through Law

One manifestation of the Father's love is his righteous law, which defines  righteous  behavior. The holy spirit places this law within the sons of God, and the realization  that this  law governs one's attitudes and behaviors is  powerful  evidence that one has the   holy spirit:

"By  this we know that we love the children of God, when we  love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we  keep  his commandments; and his commandments are  not  heavy" (1.Jn.5:2-3 Para.).

"And by this we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that says, I know him and keeps not his  commandments, is  a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever  keeps  his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: and hereby  know we that we are in him" (1.Jn.2:4-5 KJV). See also  1.Jn.2:13-15; 3:23; 4:7-8, 16.

John clearly states that whoever says they know God and does not keep his law is a liar.  A  person cannot know God unless they obey his law,  because his law reveals his character and personality:

"He  that has  my commandments, and keeps  them, he it is that loves  me:  and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas said unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that you  will  manifest yourself to us, and not to the  world?  Jesus answered and  said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my  words: and my Father will love him, and make our abode with him.  He that loves  me not keeps not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the  Father's which sent me" (Jn.14:21-24 KJV).

These verses show that, if a person has the  holy spirit  dwelling within them, they will obey the Father's holy and righteous law.

THE SPIRIT IS POWER

The  baptism of the  holy spirit is the most important event  that can ever happen to any human, because it is at this point in  time that  God the Father's spirit-power is placed within  a person.  It is at this time that a person becomes a child of  God and  the Father gives them the authority to use his spirit  power so that they are able to  obtain victory over sin and death and live forever within his divine family.

To Become a Son

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons  of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which  were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the  will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:12-13 KJV).

Victory over Sin

"For  if  you live after the flesh, you shall die;  but  if  you, through  the   spirit kill the deeds of the body, you  shall live" (Rom.8:13 KJV Para.).

Victory over Death

"But  if the  spirit of the One having raised Jesus from the dead dwells  in  you, the One having raised the Christ from  the dead will also make your mortal bodies live through the indwelling  of his spirit in you"  (Rom.8:11 Para.). See also Job 4:17,  Jn.5:21, 2.Cor.5:1-5, Rom.6:12; 1.Pet.3:18.

It is through the power of the Father's spirit that  a person  is made sinless through the blood of Christ, preserved in a  sinless condition, and resurrected into an eternal and  immortal being in the Family of God:

"Now Glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or dream of—infinity beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. May  he  be  given glory forever and ever  through  endless  ages because of his master plan of salvation for the  church  through Jesus Christ" (Eph.3:20-21 LBP).

Sealed With the Spirit

"But He confirming us and anointing us with you in Christ is God. And having sealed us and giving the earnest of the  spirit in  our hearts. And I call God as witness to my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth. Not that we rule over your faith, but we are  fellow-workers  of your joy. For  by  faith  you  stand" (2.Cor.1:21-23 Para.).

Here,  Paul speaks of the promises of the Father to those  he  has called to salvation. The Greek word translated into English as 'sealed' is 'sphragizo', which can mean 'to stamp with a signet or private mark  for preservation  or  security'. And by implication, it means 'to  keep  secret', 'attest', or 'seal up.'  Paul says that the Father has  sealed  the elect and made them his possession.

The English word  'earnest' in verse 22 is translated from the Greek word 'arrhabon',  which means 'part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the balance of what is pledged.'

It  is this down payment of the holy spirit residing  within  the elect  of God that gives the assurance to a son of God that  the Father  will  redeem them from death and fulfill his  promise to give them eternal and immortal life. See also Eph.1:13; 4:30.

Paul also addresses the frustration of living in the flesh,  while desiring  to  dwell  in the spirit realm. Moreover, he talks about the assurance  of success that we have through the power of the   holy spirit that dwells within us.

2.Corinthians 5:1-6 Paraphrased

"For  we  know that if our earthly house of  this  tabernacle  is taken  down, we have a building from God, a house not  made  with hands, eternal in heaven. For this we groan, greatly desiring  to be clothed with our dwelling place out of heaven; if  indeed  in being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For indeed being  in the tabernacle, we groan, having been weighted down, inasmuch  as we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed, so  that the mortal may be swallowed up by the life" (vs.1-4).

Although it is  sometimes frustrating to not be totally  composed  of spirit for those who have the spirit of God dwelling within them, they still  have the assurance through the power of the   holy spirit that resides within  them that they have the power to succeed and become totally spirit one  day:

"And He having worked in us for this same thing is God, who  also is giving us the earnest of the  spirit. Then always being  fully assured, and knowing that being at home in the body we are  away from  home from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by  sight"  (vs.5-6).

Inner Strength

"For  this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our  Lord  Jesus Christ,  of whom every family in heaven and earth is named,  that he may give you according to the riches of his glory by his power to  become mighty  in the inward man through  his  spirit,  that through faith Christ may dwell in your hearts, having been rooted and  founded in love. . .. Now to him being able to  do  exceedingly above all that we ask or think, according to the  power working within us" (Eph.3:14-18;20 Para.).

It is through exercising the power of   holy spirit in one's  life that a child of God becomes spiritually strong.

SPIRITUAL COMMUNICATION

Another  function of the   spirit of God is to help a child of  God toward spiritual success through its advocacy and help in communicating  our thoughts, emotions, desires,  frustrations,  and needs to the Father and Christ:

"And likewise the  spirit also joins in to help our weakness.  For we do  not  know what we should pray for as we  ought, but the spirit pleads our case for our groaning that cannot be uttered. But the One searching the hearts knows what is the mind  of  the  spirit because it intercedes for the saints according  to God" (Rom.8:26-27 Para.). See Isa.65:24.

Truly, a person does not always know exactly what they need or how to express their  emotions, thoughts, desires, and needs. One of the functions of the indwelling of the    spirit  of God is to  act as an  information  gathering  and communication system between a person and the God family. This function  of the spirit allows the Father and Christ to constantly be  aware of  the  innermost emotions, thoughts, desires, and/or  needs  of those called to salvation:

"But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut  the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and  your  Father, who knows your secrets,  will reward you. Don't recite  the same prayer over and over as the heathen do, who  think  prayers are  answered by repeating them again and again.  Remember,  your Father  knows  exactly what you need even before  you  ask  him!" (Matt.6:6-8 LBP).  See  also Matt.6:25-33; 7:28-31; 18:10; Heb.1:14.

Because the   spirit communicates one's true physical and spiritual condition  to the Father and Christ, the child of God can  always have  the assurance that, even before asking anything of the Father, he already knows what they need:

"A man's conscience [spirit] is the Lord's search-light  exposing his  hidden motives" (Pro.20:27 LBP). The King James  translation renders  this scripture: "The spirit of man is the candle of  the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly."

Access to the Father

"For  through him, we both have access by one   spirit to  the  Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens  with  the saints, and of the  household of  God" (Eph.2:18-19 KJV). See also Heb.4:14-16.

Through the power of the holy spirit and  the office of Jesus Christ who is the administrator of the holy spirit, we are able to communicate with the Father. See Heb.4:14-16.

TRUTH

"It  is  the  spirit of truth; which the  world  cannot  receive, because it sees it not, neither knows it: but you know it; and it dwells  with you, and shall be in you" (Jn.14:17 KJV Para.). See also Jn.15:26.

The holy  spirit is the custodian and repository of  all  truth. Because this  spirit-power resides within the children of  God,  they have access to all truth, knowledge, and understanding that  is necessary for spiritual growth.

A GUIDE TO TRUTH

"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear  them now. However, when it the spirit of truth, is come, it will guide you into all truth: for it shall not speak of itself; but whatever  it  shall hear, that shall it speak;. . ." (Jn.16:12-13  KJV paraphrased). See also 1.Cor.2:11, 1.Pet.1:12.

The   spirit is used by the Father and Jesus Christ to guide  those called  to salvation into truth as they endeavor to  grow  toward spiritual  maturity  and perform the responsibilities  they  have been given.

A TEACHER AND REMINDER

"But when the Father sends the Comforter instead of me—and  by the  Comforter I mean the holy spirit—he [it] will teach you  much, as  well  as  remind you of everything I myself  have told  you" (Jn.14:26 LBP).

The holy spirit is a teacher and reminder of the things taught by Christ. Through this function of the holy spirit, those called to salvation are able to internalize the truth of God.

REVEALS PROPHETIC EVENTS

"And it will show you things to come. It shall glorify  me, for  it shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you"  (Jn.16:13-14 KJV). See also Acts 11:27-28; Rev.1:1.

It is evident from the scriptures that the prophets and the early church  did  not have a perfect understanding of  some  prophetic events (see Dan. chp.12). However, they did understand what was necessary  for  their time and circumstances. It is  also  evident that Christ and the prophets foretold that, just before the end of the age of human rule, these events will be understood by the sons of God.

REVEALS MYSTERIES AND SECRETS

"For  this  cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus  Christ  for  you Gentiles,  If you have heard of the dispensation of the grace  of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known  unto  me  the mystery; (as I wrote before  in  few  words, Whereby,  when you read, you may understand my knowledge  in  the mystery  of Christ). Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the   spirit" (Eph.3:1-5 KJV).

SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE AND DISCERNMENT

Paul also confirms that the  spirit has power to reveal  spiritual knowledge and discernment to the sons of God:

1.Corinthians 2:9-16 Paraphrased

"According as it has been written, 'Eye has not seen, and ear has not  heard,'  nor  has it risen up into the heart  of  man,  'the things  which God has prepared for those that love him.  But God revealed  them to us by his   spirit, for the   spirit  searches  all things, even the depths of God For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man within him? So also no one has known  the things of God except the   spirit of God"  (vs.9-11). See also verses 13-16; Psa.119:172; Rom.2:13.

Knowledge  about  humanity's physical realm of existence is  discerned  by  the human spirit, and knowledge about  the  spiritual realm of existence is discerned by God's spirit:

"But we have not received the spirit of the world, but the   spirit from God; that we may know the things freely given to us by  God" (v12).

Paul  reminds the Corinthians that they are not like other human beings, because they have been given the Father's holy spirit, which gave them access to spiritual knowledge and understanding. This knowledge  and understanding includes God's plan for  humanity,  what the   spirit of God is, who and what God is, and many other  things pertaining to the spirit realm:

"Which things we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but  in  words  taught of the holy    spirit,  comparing  spiritual things with spiritual things" (v13).

The knowledge taught by Paul, other apostles, and elders was  not obtained  from the spirit of man; it was knowledge  conveyed  to them through one of the functions of the holy spirit that resided within them.

DISCERNMENT

"But  a natural man does not receive the things of the   spirit  of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to  know them,  because  they  are spiritually discerned.  But  truly the spiritual one discerns all things, but he is discerned by no one. For  who knew the mind of the Lord? Who will teach Him?  But  we have   the  mind  of  Christ"  (vs.14-16).  See also 1.Cor.2:11.

A human with only the spirit of man cannot receive or  understand the things of God, because they are of the original  human creation. However, sons of God are not of the original  creation; they  are a new and different creature and have different  potentials and abilities. Therefore, they have the ability to discover and understand the true meaning of physical and spiritual  things as they pertain to the plan of God.

A WITNESS OF CHRIST

"And  when the comforter comes, whom I will send to you from  the Father,  the   spirit of Truth which precedes from the  Father,  that One will witness concerning me" (Jn.15:26 Para.).

The holy spirit will be evidence to the child of God that what Jesus said and did was true. This witness of the   spirit is  abundantly  clear to those who have the holy spirit, because  of  the various things that are manifested in their life through the power of the holy spirit.

THE CHURCH AND ITS WORK

Along with all of the various things that are given through  the holy spirit  that are necessary for personal growth,  there  are also many different attributes, qualities, powers, and authorizations that are given to be used for  the physical and  spiritual functioning  of the church, which includes the churche's  work  of warning and witnessing to the world.

Specialized Authorizations, Gifts, and Power

"Who  is Paul, and who is Apollos, but the ministers by whom  you believed,  even  as the Lord gave to every man  I  have  planted, Apollos  has watered: But God gave the increase. So then neither is he  that plants  anything, neither he that waters; but God that gives  the increase.  Now  he that plants and he that waters  are  one:  and every  man shall receive his own reward according to  his labor.  'For we are labors together with God" (1.Cor.3:4-9 KJV para.).

Please  read  verses 10-15, which speak of the care that  must  be taken in doing a work for God.

Although many at Corinth were blessed with specialized  spiritual gifts, some did not understand the proper attitude they should have concerning the use of these gifts.

Among  the things that concerned Paul about the Corinthians  was their attitude of self importance, vanity, and pride, and their  lack of understanding of the unity of purpose that was necessary  in order to have collective spiritual growth and to perform the work of the church.

1.Corinthians 12:1-31

"But  as to spiritual things, brothers, I do not wish you  to  be ignorant. You know that being led away you Gentiles were led to dumb  idols. Therefore, I make known to you that no one speaking by the   spirit of God says Jesus is a curse. And no one is able to say Jesus is Lord, except by the  holy spirit" (vs.1-3 Para.).

Here,  Paul says that he does not want them to be  ignorant  about spiritual  matters  that include a broad  spectrum  of  spiritual  attitudes, behaviors, and uses of spirit-power.

Special Abilities

"Now  God  gives many kinds of special abilities, but it  is  the same   holy spirit which is the source of them all. There are different  kinds  of  service to God, but it is the same  Lord  we are serving. There are many ways in which God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work in and through all of us who are his. The spirit displays God's power through each of us as  a means of helping the entire church" (vs.4-7 LPB).

Here,  Paul  says that different authorizations,  gifts,  and powers are given for the benefit of the entire Church:

"For to one is given by the spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same spirit; To another faith by the same spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same  spirit; To another  the working of miracles; to  another  prophecy; to another  discern- ing of spirits; to another divers kinds  of languages; To another the interpretation of languages" (vs.8-10 KJV).

There are two very important things to learn about these spiritual authorizations and powers from these three verses:

1. Not everyone is given the same authorization or power.

2. It is one   spirit through which these authorizations and powers flow.

Distribution of Power

"But the one and same   spirit works all these things, distributing separately  to each as he wills. For as the body is one, and  has many  members, But all the members of the one body, being  many, are one body: so also is Christ. For also we all were baptized by one   spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether  slaves or  free, even all were given to drink into one  spirit"  (vs.11-13 Para.).

A Unified Body

"For  the  body is not one member, but many.  If the  foot  shall say,  because  I  am not the hand, I am not of the  body;  is  it therefore  not of the body?  And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of  the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing?  If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now has  God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has  pleased him" (vs.14-18 KJV). See also Rom.12:1-8; Heb.2:4.

Paul stresses the point of unity  and the necessity of the body (i.e., the church) to work together and use the various  spiritual attributes and  powers that the Father has given to the church.

Each Member Has a Purpose

"And if they were all one member,  where were the body?  But  now are they many members, yet but one body.  And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of you:  nor again the head to  the feet, I have no need of you" (vs.19-21 KJV).

Paul rebukes those who thought their  particular  attribute, talent, or spiritual gift was superior to another member's:

"No,  much more those members of the body, which seem to be  more feeble,  are necessary: And those members of the body,  which  we think  to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor;  and  our uncomely parts have  more  abundant  comeliness" (vs.22-23 KJV).

God the Father has specifically called and chosen each individual for their part in the church (Jn.6:44,65). Each is necessary  and important and has a function and responsibility to fulfill.

Interdependent Members

"For  our comely parts have no need:   but God has tempered  the body  together,  having given more abundant honor  to  that  part which  lacked.  That there should be no schism [division] in the body;  but  that the members should have the same  care  one  for another. [see 1.Cor.1:13-14]. And whether one member suffer,  all the  members  suffer with it; or one member be honored,  all the members  rejoice  with it. Now you are the body  of  Christ,  and members in particular" (vs.24-27 KJV).

Order of Relative Importance

"And God has set some in the Church, first apostles,  secondarily  prophets,  thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then  gifts  of healings, helps, governments, diversities of languages.  Are all apostles?  are all prophets?  are all teachers?  are all  workers of  miracles? have all the gifts of healing?  do all  speak  with languages?  do all interpret?" (vs.28-30 KJV).

Paul's   questions  seem to be designed to emphasize the  point that every member does not have the same authorizations and  powers,  but whatever an individual has was given  for the benefit of  the entire church,  and each member must use this power for the  good  of all.

When the Father calls a person to become his son and a  part  of his great work here on earth, he gives as many authorizations  to use his spirit-power as he deems necessary for the perfection  of the individual and the church.

Each Member is Important

"And he gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some  evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;, For the perfecting of  the Saints,  for  the work of the ministry, for the edifying of  the body  of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of faith,  and  of the knowledge of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph.4:11-13 KJV).

The spiritual authorizations and powers that a member of the body of Christ is  blessed with are not for one's own personal aggrandizement or entertainment. These spiritual gifts  are for the performing of the work of the church and the edification and enrichment of  the elect of God who are being prepared to serve all of humanity through the Family and Government of God.

It  is important to understand that every member does not have  exactly  the same authorization to use the various powers of the spirit. The Father  knows the strengths and weakness of each person he calls  to salvation and he calls each for a specific purpose.

Some  might  think that a person does not  have  spiritual  power unless  they are able to work great miracles, heal the sick, or foretell the future. However, these are only the more visible and spectacular acts that can be performed through the power of  the spirit. They only seem more important because they are more visible  and dynamic in presentation; however, they are not the  most important.

Although  Paul  does not mention all of the  various  attributes, qualities, functions, and authorizations that can be  manifested through  the  power of the   spirit, his point is that all spiritual power given to the elect of God must be used for  the benefit of all.

The Importance of Love

In  his letter to the Galatians, Paul says that love is the result of having  the   spirit of God (Gal.5:9,22), and to the  Thessalonians he says that no one can be saved without the love of God within them (2.Thes.2:9-10).

"Wherefore  I  desire that you faint not at my  tribulations for you,  which is your glory, For this cause I bow my knees  to  the Father  of  our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the  whole family of heaven and earth is named. That he would grant you, according  to the riches  of his glory, to be strengthened with might  by  the  spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts  by faith;  that you be rooted and grounded  in  love"  (Eph.3:15-17 KJV). See also 1.Cor.13:1-7.

Without  exercising  the  gift of love, all other  gifts  of  the spirit  become powerless and useless. Love is  sometimes  unseen; however,  its  power can be dramatic and monumental in  scope  and effect.   By  understanding  and exercising  the  spiritual  attributes of love, faith, and works, a person can become increasingly stronger in the spirit until they reach  spiritual  maturity and perfection.

POWER TO WITNESS FOR CHRIST

"You shall receive power after that the   holy spirit is come  upon you: and you will be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and  in all  Judea,  and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part  of  the earth" (Acts 1:8 KJV). See also Lk.24:49; Jn.14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13-18; Rom.15:13.

Here,  Jesus says that the   spirit of God empowers the sons of  God with  the ability and power to proclaim the Good News about him:

"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not wrought by me, to make the gentiles obedient, by word and deed,  through mighty  signs and wonders, by the power  of  the  spirit of God;  so that from Jerusalem, and  round  about  unto Illyricum, I have  fully  preached the gospel  of Christ" (Rom.15:18-19 KJV). See also 1.Cor.2:24; 1.Pet.1:12.

"For  our  gospel did not come to you in word only, but  also  in power, and in the   holy spirit, and in much assurance, as you know what  we  were among you for your sake" (1.Thes.1:5  Para.).  See Heb.2:4.

It is the Father's power that will enable the children of God  to do their great work at the end of the age just before Christ's return.

GUIDANCE THROUGH THE SPIRIT

There  are  many references in both the Old  and  New Testaments that show how the power of the holy spirit was used to inspire,  guide, and direct those whom God was working through.

Philip was directed by an angelic messenger who told him to go to Gaza where he would meet an Ethiopian. Philip did this, and  when he saw the man, "The   spirit said to Philip, go and join yourself to  the  chariot", which he did and  the  Ethiopian  was baptized and became a son of God. See Acts 8:26-38.

In the account of Philip and the Ethiopian, a  spirit messenger and the power of the holy spirit were used  to communicate instructions to Philip.

In  Acts 13:1-2, there is a communication through the spirit, which states, "Separate  Barnabas and Paul for the work where  I  have called  them." This was another direct intervention  through  the spirit for the purpose of giving Barnabas and  Paul a specific task. See also Acts 10:17-20; 16:6-10; 21:3-4; Gal.1:12.

INSPIRATION

"Behold,  I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore,  be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware  of men. For they will betray you to the Sanhedrin, and will flog you in  their synagogues. And also you will be brought before  governors  and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and  to  the nations.  But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious how  or what you  should say, for it will be given to you in  that  hour what you should say. For you are not the ones speaking, but  the   spirit of your Father who speaks in you" (Matt.10:16-20 Para.).

Jesus promises that inspiration to speak the words of God will be given through the spirit when it is necessary to provide a powerful witness to those persecuting the children of God.

AUTHORIZATIONS, GIFTS, AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following is a list of  twenty-one separate authorizations, gifts, and responsibilities that are given by God the Father  and administered to his elect children through Jesus Christ for the  edification of the church and the performance of its work.

1Cor. 12:8-10

1Cor. 12:28-30

Rom. 12:3-8

Eph. 4:7-9

1. Wisdom

1. Apostles

1. Prophecy

1. Apostles

2. Knowledge

2. Prophets

2. Ministry

2. Prophets

3. Faith

3. Teachers

3. Teachers

3. Evangelist

4. Healing

4. Miracles

4. Exhortation

4. Pastors

5. Miracles

5. Healing

5. Giving

5. Teachers

6. Prophecy

6. Helps

6. Ruling

7. Discerning of Spirits

7. Governments

7. Mercy

8. Languages

8. Languages

9. Interpretation

9. Interpretation

OTHER ATTRIBUTES, QUALITIES, FUNCTIONS, AND POWERS OF THE  HOLY SPIRIT

Beside  the  many attributes, qualities,  functions,  and  powers already mentioned, there are others noted in the  Bible that are worthy of mention in order to gain a better understanding of the great and awesome power that the Father will place  at the  disposal  of his children to help them grow into spiritual maturity and perform a great work for him.

Other Authorizations Mentioned in the Bible

Power to be used against evil spirits

Power to make decisions on earth and in heaven

Power over life and death

Power of a person's presence

Power over the physical universe

Power to resurrect the dead

Transportation through time and space

A Serious Warning

Although each person is accountable to the Father and his Son for whatever spiritual  attributes, qualities, functions, or authorizations they  have  been  given through  the  holy spirit, those who have been given stewardship over some specialized authorizations of spiritual power are given an extremely serious warning to maintain faith and use this power for the purpose it was given:

"For  it is impossible for those who were once  enlightened,  and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of  the  holy spirit. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of  the world to come, If they shall fall away,  to  renew  them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open shame. For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessings from God.  But that  which  brings forth thorns and briers is rejected,  and  is near to cursing; whose end is to be burned" (Heb.6:4-8 KJV).

The awesome spirit-power these individuals  have been  trusted with is only a taste of the power that the  Father will  ultimately give to those who are given immortality  in  his divine  family. If a person cannot be trusted with a  very  small amount (just a taste) of authority and  power, the Father will never  trust them with the unlimited power of his spirit for all eternity.

SUMMARY

The  holy spirit is an energy, force, and power that is very complex and cannot be  accurately described by a  single word.  However, the scriptures do reveal that the Father's spirit is whatever the Father wants it to be.

The  holy spirit originates from, emanates from, and belongs to the  Father and it has as many attributes, functions, and qualities as he  deems necessary in order for it to perform his will and work throughout his vast realm.

The holy spirit is the sum total of all energy and  power  that permeates  and sustains all that the Father has created  through Christ.  This is the limitless power that the Father  wants  to share with those he calls to salvation.

By B.L Cocherell, file b6w6