One of the tragic losses in modern Christianity is the near-elimination of the Holy Spirit from the life and activity of many believers. Religion that is learned and formalized can function without the Holy Spirit; true spirituality cannot. A prominent church leader once said of his denomination that “If the Holy Spirit were to disappear from the Church 90% of its work would go on as if nothing happened.” In many cases that is so. The loss is enormous. While your church or denomination may not be like that, there are still no known Christians today experiencing the Holy Spirit in the same capacity as did first century believers. Nor are we getting the same results. Modern Christianity exerts a fading influence in Western culture.
In John 16:13, Jesus promised, “When the Spirit of truth has come He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you.” And again, in John 15:26 He said, “When the Helper comes whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” The word Jesus used for “Helper” has a rich and wonderful meaning in its Greek equivalent, parakletos, and was used in the ancient Olympic Games to identify those who accompanied a marathon runner by shouting encouragement to him. This example of the Holy Spirit and the Christian with the marathon-runner to his paraklete is an excellent illustration. Para = “alongside of;” kaleo = “to call.” Here are six scriptural ways the Holy Spirit wants to accompany our race and shout encouragement:
1. The Holy Spirit bears witness directly to our Spirit and leads us internally: Romans 8:16: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” 1 John 5:6-8: “And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.”
2. The Holy Spirit will lead us externally: Acts 16:6-7: “Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia but the Spirit did not permit them.” Genesis 24:27: “As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren.” 1 Samuel 10:6: “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.” Galatians 5:16-19: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”