The Work of the Holy Spirit

Text: John 16:13

Among religious people, there are various ideas about the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. The prevalence of certain ideas may make it seem like a difficult topic; however, the Bible explains it for us. In this lesson, we are going to consider what the Bible says about the work of the Holy Spirit.

Who Is the Holy Spirit?

  • Not some mystical force
  • He is a person – one of the persons of the Godhead (Acts 5:3-4); Jesus used He, not it, in referring to the Spirit (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7-8, 13-15)
  • Present at Creation (Genesis 1:2) and at Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:16)

Who Was Jesus Talking To?

  • The apostles (John 13:5) except for Judas (John 13:27-30) – not to all of His followers, not to the crowds, not to the Jewish leaders, etc.
  • Does this matter? – absolutely; context is important
  • If all of Jesus’ instructions to the apostles applied to us, then we are failing miserably – we’re not healing the sick and raising the dead (Matthew 10:8); we’re not handling snakes and drinking poison (Mark 16:18); we’re not traveling around the world preaching the gospel (Mark 16:15)

What Would the Holy Spirit Do?

  • Provide help/comfort for them (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) – How?
  • Guide them into all the truth (John 16:13) – He is the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26); truth is helpful and comforting (Psalm 119:50, 52); all the truth, not some truth with more to be revealed later (Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3)
  • Bring the apostles into remembrance of what Jesus taught (John 14:26) – necessary because the NT would be written after Jesus left (1 John 1:1-4)
  • Testify about Christ (John 15:26) – this was the message they were to spread to the world (John 15:27); since it was for the world, the message would not be different from one person to another (Galatians 1:8-9)
  • Convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) – show the right way (2 Timothy 3:16) and contrast it with the wrong way (1 John 4:1, 6); point to the end of all men (Hebrews 9:27)

Why Would This Be Necessary?

  • We have to know the will of God to be saved (2 Thessalonians 1:8)
  • We cannot know the will of God unless He reveals it to us (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)
  • The apostles were ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) – official spokesmen; uniquely qualified (Acts 1:21-22); the Holy Spirit would direct them in what they were to speak (John 15:26-27)

Does the Holy Spirit Do the Same for Us?

  • Provide help/comfort? – done through revelation then and now; revelation is now complete (Jude 3)
  • Guide us into all truth? – we have all truth in the gospel (Colossians 1:5; 2 Peter 1:3)
  • Remind us of what Jesus said? – we didn’t hear Him to begin with; we rely on witnesses (Acts 1:8; 1 John 1:1-3)
  • Testify of Christ? – we have the gospel, what other information do we need? (Galatians 1:6-9)
  • Convict us of sin, righteousness, or judgment? – has God changed the standard? (John 12:48)
  • So is it necessary today for the Holy Spirit to work with us directly as He did with the apostles? No!

How Does the Holy Spirit Operate Today?

  • Not through living apostles – through the written testimony of the apostles (1 John 1:1-4)
  • Not through direct revelation – through written revelation of the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  • We have His completed work of revelation – He guides us through the word today (Ephesians 6:17)


  • In order to know God’s will, we don’t need to wait for the Holy Spirit to tell us or someone else
  • He has already revealed it – it has been recorded in the Scriptures
  • Now, we simply need to follow the truth that the Spirit revealed so we can please the Lord

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