Several years ago there was an operatic singing group known as the “Three Tenors,” who were quite popular in terms of recordings and live performances. Everyone knew the two more popular tenors – Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo – but often struggled to remember the third member, Jose Carreras. Carreras was not quite as popular as the first two and was sometimes considered the “other” tenor.
As we prepare to observe Pentecost this Sunday, May 23, it’s much the same situation with the Holy Spirit. Pentecost celebrates the outpouring upon believers of the Holy Spirit, which “seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:3-4).
The Holy Spirit is God Himself, the third person of the Trinity, but seemingly not as well known or understood as the Father and the Son. From the verse in Acts, you can see that one of the functions of the Spirit is to empower believers with spiritual gifts. “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them … all these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines” (1 Corinthians 12:4, 11).
The Holy Spirit does many other things besides gifting. He is a counselor (John 14:26) and guide, helping us to make decisions that are pleasing to God. The Holy Spirit can tell us to speak or act in a certain situation, as He did with Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. “The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it,’” with the result that the eunuch was converted to Christ (Acts 8:29). The Spirit intercedes for us with the Father when we pray (Romans 8:26), and sanctifies us to become more like Jesus and obey Him (1 Peter 1:2).
One of the most important things the Spirit does is dwell in believers and give them strength to fight against satanic attack. We must realize that there is spiritual warfare going on all around us (Ephesians 6:12) and that Satan is “like a lion prowling around looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Satan is constantly trying to pull us back into the old life of sin and the flesh that leads to death. This is the natural life we are born into as children of Adam and Eve. When we become believers in Christ, we are God’s adopted children and called to live in His Spirit (Romans 8:14-19).
The Spirit helps us in our fight against Satan and sinful temptation. When we live in the power of the Spirit, we can “stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11) and remain obedient to Christ. “So I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh” (Galatians 5:16-17). Living in the Spirit helps us produce good fruit – fruit in our own lives and fruit in the form of good works to glorify God (Galatians 5:22-23).
All believers have the Holy Spirit living inside of them, but too many ignore His presence. Think of the Holy Spirit like a spiritual pilot light inside you. Don’t let that light burn out, but feed it with prayer, reading of the Word, and regular church attendance. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you …” (2 Timothy 1:6). Fan the flame of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit in you!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know.
Pastor Brad Schultz, Zion Evangelical Church, email@example.com