The Ministry of The Holy Spirit
By Rev. Cherri Campbell

Who is the Holy Spirit?  What does he do?  Where is he?  The answers to these questions are important for believers to know.  Most of us have an understanding of the Father and the Son, but have a hard time figuring out the Holy Spirit.  There are many misconceptions about the Holy Spirit, such as he is as spooky as the wind, or as cute as Casper the friendly ghost, or as bright as a little flick your bic flame.  However, these obviously are far from the truth.  But understanding the Holy Spirit is as simple as understanding your most intimate friend.  The Holy Spirit is as real as Jesus.  The Apostle Paul prayed in II Cor. 13:14 for “the communion of the Holy Ghost (to) be with you all.”  Webster defines communion as “the act of sharing; partnership; and mutual intercourse; esp., intimate intercourse.”  The Holy Spirit wants you to know him so that you can have intimate fellowship with him.  Once you learn who he is and what his ministry is to the believer you will be able to talk with him and hear him talk to you greater than you ever have before.  It is so wonderful to walk in that kind of communion with him!

The Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity, or of the God-head as some people call it.  This is very clear in several scriptures in the New Testament.  Matthew 28:19 tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  The scripture we just read in II Cor. 13:14 says in its entirety, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.  Amen.”  Ephesians chapter four verses four through six speak of one Spirit, one Lord and one God and Father.  There are many other scriptures that make it plain that God is a triune being.  But the three persons are still just one God, and that is one of the great mysteries of God!  Deuteronomy 6:4 makes it clear that our God is one God:  “Hear, O Israel:  The Lord our God is one Lord.”  Even though we cannot begin to comprehend the awesomeness of our God, both his trinity and his unity are clearly taught in the scriptures.  Therefore, having established that the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son that also makes him co-equal to both the Father and the Son.  One member of the God-head is not less significant or less important than another member of the God-head otherwise he would not be God.  Each individual member of the God-head is all knowing, all powerful, and eternal.  Yet each is different and has his own unique characteristics.

The Holy Spirit is the power element of the Trinity.  He carried out the command of the Father in the creation of the world.  In Genesis 1:2 we read, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”  Isaiah 40:12,13 give some astounding insight into the work of the Holy Spirit in Creation.  Here we read, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?  Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?”  Can you imagine that?  The Holy Spirit measured all the oceans, considering the tides coming in and going out, the precipitation and evaporation, and the floods and the droughts that would affect this earth for centuries, and he measured it all in the hollow of his hand!  He also marked off the heavens with a span.  A span is the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger when the hand is fully extended.  The Hebrew text says that he has a nine inch span (this is also stated in the Amplified Bible).  My span is eight inches and I have small hands.  He used his hand to measure the heavens!  And then it says that he comprehended and weighed the dust of the earth in a balance.  He had to account for all the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, atomic bombs, and all the other small and major movement of dirt by nature and by man from one place to another and still keep this planet balanced on its axis while it is spinning through the universe at thousands of miles per second!  And the earth isn’t even round.  It’s sort of oval, like a pumpkin!  This is the Holy Spirit that is guiding your life!  Do you actually think that he can’t fix your comparatively small problems?  Not only that but he is the same Holy Spirit who is living inside of you!  I Corinthians 6:19 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own.”  First John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  Hallelujah!  The Holy Spirit that created the universe is living inside of you if you have made Jesus the Lord of your life.  There is nothing that you can’t do!  If God is for you who can be against you?  You are an overcomer!

The Holy Spirit is a person, not an “it.”  Jesus said in John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”  Jesus went on to say more about the Holy Spirit and always referred to him as “he.”  As a person the Holy Spirit has the characteristics that make a person: intelligence, a will, and emotions or feelings.  His intelligence is seen in Isaiah 11:2 which says he is “the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”  We read in I Cor. 12:11 that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives the gifts of the Spirit dividing them “to every man severally as he will.”  We also know that the Holy Spirit is a person with feelings.  Just to mention a few, he loves (Rom. 15:30), he can be pleased (Acts 15:28), he experiences grief (Eph. 4:30), and he can be angered (Is. 63:10).  The Holy Spirit also performs actions as those of a person.  We read in Acts 8:29 that he speaks: “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’” Jesus said in John 15:26 that he testifies.  In Acts chapter thirteen the Holy Spirit gave command to some prophets and teachers to set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work of the ministry and then the two of them were sent on their way by the Holy Spirit.  He also is the worker of miracles.  We read in Rom. 15:19 that signs and miracles were performed by the Apostle Paul through the power of the Spirit.  Lastly, the Holy Spirit has a wonderful personality!  Galatians 5:22,23 describe his personality (these attributes also need to be worked in the life of every believer).  Here we see that he is loving, joyous, peaceful, long-suffering (patient), gentle, good, kind, full of faith, meek (not self-assertive or contending for his own rights) and self-controlled.  What a wonderful kind of friend!  Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all like that?!

What is the Holy Spirit’s ministry?  To the world he is a witness that Jesus died, was raised from the dead, and is exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 5:30-32).  He also convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11).  To the born-again child of God he is the agent of the New Birth.  Jesus said in John 3:5,6, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”

Jesus taught in John 14:26 two further things that the Holy Spirit will do: he will “teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”  Do you need a teacher?  Do you need someone to teach you how to be a businessman, a teacher, a secretary, a wife, a husband, a Godly and wise parent, a nurse or anything else that you have to do?  The Holy Spirit knows more about all these things than anyone on earth.  He created them!  And he is the best teacher to teach you how to do anything and everything you need to do any day of your life.  Just ask him!  You will see that he will teach you and people will be amazed at the things you do.  Some of them will probably even come up to you and ask you, “How did you do that?  I have never been able to figure that out.”  If there is a problem on your job that the management is trying to solve ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to solve it and he will.  When you give them the answer they’ll say, “How did he figure that out?  Why didn’t we think of that?  That’s the best idea we’ve ever heard!”  The verse we read earlier in Is. 11:2 says that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  He is those things and he will minister them (wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and the fear of the Lord) to you.  Paul prayed in Eph. 1:17 for the Lord to give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and I believe Paul’s prayers get answered because he knew how to pray!

We see in I Cor. 2:9,10 that the Holy Spirit reveals to us the things of God: “But as it is written,  Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”  Paul continued this teaching in verse twelve.  In the Amplified Bible it says, “Now we have not received the spirit that belongs to the world, but the Holy Spirit Who is from God, given to us that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly bestowed on us by God.”  The Holy Spirit reveals to us the deep things of God and helps us to comprehend the gifts God lavishly bestows on us!  Praise the Lord!

The Holy Spirit also reveals to the believer the things of Jesus Christ.  Again in the Amplified Bible Jesus said in John 16:14, “He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of, receive, draw upon what is Mine and will reveal, declare, disclose, transmit it to you.”  Jesus Christ came to earth and purchased our salvation with his own blood.  The Greek word translated “salvation” in the New Testament is “soteria,” which means deliverance, preservation, material and temporal deliverance from danger and fear, pardon, protection, liberty, health, restoration, soundness, and wholeness.  Hebrews 9:15 says, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance....”  We read in Heb. 8:6 that “the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one (the Old Testament), and it is founded on better promises.”  The Holy Spirit is in the earth now to reveal to us all that this new covenant consists of and to bring the manifestation of these better promises and the fullness of salvation into our lives.  He is sent to carry out what Jesus purchased.  In this way Jesus is honored and glorified by the Holy Spirit taking of what is his and revealing, declaring and transmitting it all to us.

Do you need guidance and direction in your life?  Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  That is the voice of the Holy Spirit.  In Rom. 8:14 we read that the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God.  If you are a child of God you can believe that promise and claim that you are led by the Spirit of God.  If you are still in your youth you need to learn God’s purpose and plan for your life so that you don’t live your life feeling unfulfilled in your heart.  Fulfilling God’s purpose for you is the only thing that will satisfy you and make you happy because it is the reason why you were created.  Look at Ps. 139:13-17: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!”  We just read in I Cor. 2:10 that the Holy Spirit reveals to us the deep things of God, so he will reveal to you the plans and purposes of God’s heart for your life!  Even if you are past your youth it is never too late to start fulfilling the purpose and plan God has for your life.  You can start right now!  Even if you are a hundred miles off target of where you should be just ask the Holy Spirit to help you get on the right track to fulfill what he wants you to do.  He will begin showing you things to do.

The Holy Spirit is an empowerer.  As I mentioned earlier, he is the power element of the Trinity.  Therefore, he also fills us with power.  In Acts 1:8 we read, “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.”  Again, in Eph. 3:16 it says, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”  Miracles, signs and wonders can only be performed through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We see this evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Apostle Paul’s life: “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. 15:19).

We find another ministry of the Holy Spirit in John 14:16.  Here Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”  The Greek word that is translated “Comforter” is parakletos.  It means comforter, counselor, helper, advocate, intercessor, strengthener, standby.  It also means, “one called alongside to help.”  It comes from a Greek verb meaning, “to call to one’s aid.”  We see many ministries of the Holy Spirit in this one word.  When facing trials and difficult situations the Holy Spirit will minister comfort to you through the Word of God.  He will remind you of promises that speak of deliverance, preservation and victory that will strengthen you and give you peace and even joy.  Look at Heb. 13:5,6 in the Amplified Bible:  “Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money, including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions, and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for He (God) Himself has said, ‘I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  I will not, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)!  Assuredly not!’  So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm (I will not fear or dread or be terrified).  What can man do to me?’”  The Holy Spirit is continuously, never-endingly with us.  There is never a fraction of a second that he has left you.  So when you are hurting look to the Holy Spirit and draw strength and comfort from him.

As we read in Is. 11:2, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and counsel.  Proverbs 8:1,14 say, “Does not wisdom call out?...Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have understanding and power.”  The Holy Spirit will counsel you.  He will advise you in making decisions in your life, whether it is a life-altering decision or a small day by day routine decision.  God knows what is going to happen tomorrow and a year from tomorrow so as you listen closely to the voice of the Holy Spirit he will give you the counsel you need to make the right decision.

The Word of God says in Rom. 8:26 that the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness.”  The Greek word in the New Testament that is translated “help” means to take hold together with us against.  The Holy Spirit comes alongside us and takes hold together with us against the problems we face in life.  Here’s an illustration.  Let’s say that you have a grand piano that needs to be moved to a different location.  If you ask for the assistance of a really strong man he would come and take hold of the piano together with you and use his strength against the weight of that piano.  That is how the Holy Spirit takes hold with us against the things in our lives that need to be moved.  And he is well able to move them!  Another way to look at this ministry of the Holy Spirit is to see him taking hold of you like one would take hold of an athlete with an injured foot or leg to help him walk off the field.  The Holy Spirit puts his arm around you and half carries you in your weakness.

The Holy Spirit is also interceding for you.  This is stated in Rom. 8:27:  “And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”  To intercede means to plead on another’s behalf; to act as mediator.  While the Holy Spirit is everywhere on earth ministering to every child of God he is also in the presence of the Father pleading on your behalf.  He stands in the gap for you by praying “in accordance with God’s will.”  He knows what God’s will is for your life and he is interceding and mediating between you and the Father to see that His will is accomplished in your life.  He also intercedes for you to help ward off the attacks of the enemy, Satan, or to give you the strength and wisdom to overcome the attacks and get the victory.

Do you have trouble living a godly life?  The Holy Spirit will help you.  The verse in Is. 11:2 said that he is the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, so if he is going to teach you all things he will also teach you the fear of the Lord.  The Holy Spirit writing the book of Psalms said in Ps. 34:11, “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”  We see in Rom. 8:5 that “those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires,” and in verse 6, “the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”  And again in verse 13, “if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”  Rely on the Holy Spirit to help you grow spiritually and live the life that God wants you to live.

The Holy Spirit is always with every child of God to teach, guide, counsel, comfort, strengthen and intercede for him, but His ministry is greatly limited if that person does not receive what the Holy Spirit is trying to do for him.  Many people reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit because they don’t recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit and/or because of unbelief.  If someone speaks to them by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and says something that contradicts their traditions or the beliefs of their denomination and they refuse to accept it then they are cutting off the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore it is essential that we learn to recognize his voice when he is speaking to us.  I want to give you four steps to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit to help you develop this skill.  Before I give you these steps you need to know how he will speak to you so you can always be looking for it.  He will speak to you through the Word of God, by a small voice down in your spirit, through other people, and possibly by an audible voice.  This last, however, is much more uncommon.  Since in the New Testament God has given the Holy Spirit to all believers to lead and guide them it is dangerous to rely on “fleeces,” that is, testing God to physically demonstrate his will like the prophet Gideon did.

The first step to learning to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit is to believe that he does speak to you.  If you go around saying that God never talks to you then you are shutting your ears to his voice.  God has given us a wonderful promise in Ps. 25:14.  Here we read, “The Lord confides in those who fear him.”  God is desiring to reveal secrets to you!  He said in Jer. 33:3, “Call to me and I will ansxwer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Again, in John 10:4 it says, “…his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  How can you know his voice if he does not speak?  And in our society, what does 10:4 mean?  It means, “I hear you and I understand.”  We can say to God, “10:4, God.  I hear you and I understand,” because his sheep know his voice!  Furthermore, God wants you to hear his voice more than you do!  He desires to communicate with you!  So never again think that he is not speaking to you.

The second step is to listen closely for his voice.  It doesn’t always jump out at you to grab your attention.  The Holy Spirit is a gentleman.  He’s not going to grab the remote control out of your hand while you are watching T.V. and scream in your face, “I want to talk to you!”  He just stands quietly by you until you give him your full attention.  If you are looking for a specific answer to a question then get quiet before him.  I once heard of a man who was crying out to God and really praying up a storm when he suddenly became aware that here he was the ignorant one doing all the talking to the One Who has all the answers!  He realized that he should be quiet and listen.  Sometimes you have to close yourself away from life’s distractions so you can be attentive to him.

Also, when you are listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit you need to wait patiently for him to speak.  His times and seasons for giving us information are sometimes different than our times and seasons.  When we think we need to know something he might say we don’t need to know yet.  So we have to wait for the right timing.  The psalmist said in Ps. 37:7: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

The third step is to recognize and acknowledge his voice when he speaks to you.  This is the greatest key of all.  Most of the time when the Lord speaks people don’t recognize that it’s him.  Have you ever been at work and had a good idea come to you?  Have you ever been about ready to walk out the door and you suddenly remembered something?  Have you ever lost something and then suddenly remembered where it was?  Have you ever had a problem and suddenly the answer came to you?  Doesn’t the Word say that the Holy Spirit is our helper?  If you are born again, the Holy Spirit is inside of you to teach you, counsel you, bring things to your remembrance, and help you in every way.  You need to thank the Holy Spirit for these answers.  Quit giving yourself all the credit for the good ideas!  These come from the Lord and he deserves the credit!  If you will practice saying, “Thank you, Holy Spirit” every time you get a good idea or remember something, you will begin to realize how much he really does speak to you.  It will also allow the Holy Spirit to help you more and give you more ideas.  Not only that, but everyone likes to be appreciated and thanked.

The fourth step is to be obedient when he gives you something to do.  Frequently he will not go on giving you direction or understanding if you have not done something he has already given you.  If you ever come to a point in your life that you realize you have not heard his voice for a long time then go back to the last thing he told you to do and make sure that you have done it.  Obedience usually requires faith: faith that you have heard correctly and faith to do what you heard.  When you believe the Lord is telling you to do something then step out in faith and do it.  The Lord can’t direct your steps if you are sitting down.  He directs you as you are stepping out in faith.  The Lord will give you a warning down in your spirit if it is a wrong move.  Trust him!  He is able to keep you from falling (Jude :24)!

Lastly, it takes practice.  Practice by asking the Holy Spirit about every decision you have to make.  Ask the Holy Spirit about where to go or what to do for lunch.  If you have several tasks to do or several errands to run, ask the Holy Spirit in what sequence you should do them.  He will help you save time!  If you need to shop for something specific, ask the Holy Spirit where to go first.  He can help you save time and money!  Be sensitive and obedient when you are out driving and you have an unction in your spirit to take a different route than you normally do, because he can deliver you from an automobile accident or detour you out of a traffic jam.

Once you have acted on what you believed was his voice, then the next time will be easier.  If the first time ended in success you will know that it really was his voice.  If the first time was a flop then you will know that it wasn’t his voice and you don’t go by that sense in your spirit again.  The Lord doesn’t get mad when you miss it.  He wants you to keep drawing nearer to Him so you can become more and more familiar with his voice.  You can hear his voice!  Jesus said in John 10:2-5, “The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.  The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

The way to learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit, whether he is speaking to you privately or through another person, is to spend time in prayer and in studying the Word of God.  Prayer and the Word of God will teach you God’s personality and His will (God’s Word is His Will).  You will begin to learn the way he thinks and acts.  If the Word of God says you can have it then you can.  If the Word of God says you can do it then you can.  The Word of God gives wisdom and revelation.  Both prayer and the Word of God develop your relationship with God, and the better you know Him the better you know His voice.  The better you know Him the better you know His will in a situation.  Isn’t that the way it is with anyone you become intimate with?  Isn’t that what happened when you got to know your best friend?  You began to recognize his/her voice and you began to learn the way he/she thinks and acts.  God desires to have an intimate relationship with you!  And it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, empower, comfort, counsel, help, strengthen and intercede for you and bring you to spiritual maturity.  He is the same Holy Spirit that planned the universe!  Begin today to cultivate your relationship with the Holy Spirit and to recognize His voice and His ministry in your life!

* All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.  Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.  The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

© 1996 Victorious Faith International Ministries