The Book of Acts could very well be referred to as The Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was dominant and in charge. The Holy Spirit was the Comforter, Helper and Teacher. The ability to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord was through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit used ordinary believers to carry the gospel in all directions..
From the beginning of Acts, the Holy Spiritís prominence is seen. The final commands of Jesus before He ascended were given through the Holy Spirit and about the Holy Spirit. Jesus asked the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Jesus would ask the Father, and the Father would send the spirit. The Father sends the Spirit, but Jesus is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is a person, baptism in the Spirit is really a personal relationship with a divine being. In order to receive the baptism of the Spirit, an individual must repent and believe in Jesus Christ
On the Day of Pentecost, during the Feast of the Harvest, the promise of the Father was fulfilled. As per the prophecy of Joel (2:28-32), the 120 people including the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. Other scriptures in Acts refer to it as a receiving of a gift ((2:38), a falling upon (8:16; 10:44; 11:15), a pouring out of the Gift (10:45), and a coming upon (19:6). The purpose of this baptism in the Spirit was power for service to spread the gospel. The believers were to be led by the Spirit. All 120 people were filled with the Holy Spirit and all began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. The believers spoke but the words came from the Holy Spirit and were expressed boldly, loudly and with anointing and power. It was truly the Holy Spirit that caused these believers to speak and glorify God in other languages.
From the Day of Pentecost on the Holy Spirit is active in the Church- in teaching, in miracles, and in further fillings, but most of all in spreading the gospel and establishing the Church. The result of the work of the Spirit was bringing the believers into a new unity of one heart and soul. This fellowship, this unity in the Spirit gave them a faith, love and concern for one another that made them want to share what they had with those in need.
The Holy Spirit was also able to give fresh fillings to meet new needs and challenges. Whenever the disciples needed boldness, courage, or confidence to speak Godís Word, these fillings,fresh moves of the Spirit were always available in time of need.(See Acts 4:8,10-12; 13:9)
One of the most important works of the Spirit was spreading the gospel out from Jerusalem, into all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8) Philip was led by the Spirit to witness to large crowds in Samaria, and he was also led by the Spirit to witness to one Ethiopian eunuch in the desert. The Spirit caught up Philip and transported him to the seacoast for further ministry and evangelism.
An important evidence of how the Holy Spirit worked in the Church and the lives of the believers, was the way the Spirit led them. This guidance of the Spirit was very evident in the life of the apostle Paul. On one occasion the Holy Spirit spoke to the Church and commanded them to separate Paul and Barnabas for the work for which He had called them. Acts 13:4 indicates they were sent out by the direct agency of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself directed them were to go on that first missionary journey.
This being led by the Spirit means more than freedom, boldness and victory. Those who are called and led by the Holy Spirit become His willing prisoners. The Spirit sets boundaries and checks for them which are necessary to fulfill the Holy Spiritís purposes. An example is during Paulís second missionary journey. The Holy Spirit forbid him to speak the Word in the province of Asia. As Paul journeyed on, he made another decision to go into Myasia. Only when he decided to go in a direction that the Holy Spirit didnít want him to go was he given a definite refusal to go.
As believers we should have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit within us and rely on Him for guidance in our lives as Paul did. The Book of Acts shows that the Holy Spirit is closely bound up with every aspect of the Church and our lives as believers. We are to be baptized in the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, taught by the Spirit, and guided by the Spirit. All this to be done for the glory of our Father in Heaven.
In the Epistles, Paul shows that the Holy Spirit was just as real to him as Jesus was. Romans and Galatians contrast the new life in the Spirit with the old life under the Law and the old life of sin. Corinthians and Ephesians emphasize the work of the Spirit in the hearts of the believers and in the Church. Paul had a conflict with the Judaizers in their value of keeping the law and following Jewish customs. Jesus had been crucified for them. This was sufficient for their salvation. Paul then asked them how they received the Holy Spirit, by the works of the Law or by the hearing of faith. The Law, rather than bringing a blessing, brought a curse. The blessings of Abraham on the Jews and also the Gentiles is the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. The baptism of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-47) is clear and positive evidence that God accepted the Gentiles by their faith and that He did not require them to keep the Law. All this indicates the Gentiles were free from the Law but Paul emphasizes in Galatians that they were free, not for self-indulgence, but for the life in the Spirit.
The Gentiles must not use their freedom from the Law for fleshly desires, but to serve one another in love. To do this the believers must not only be baptized in the Spirit but also to live or walk in the Spirit.To walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit means to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. In Gal. 5:16, Paul says, "Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the Flesh." The fruit of the Spirit begins with love and is summed up in love. Gal.5:22 says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
Paul goes on to say in vs. 25 that If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. With the help of the Spirit the fruit will grow and bring a bountiful harvest. We can lean on the Holy Spirit and count on Him; when things go wrong and other people let us down. This same Spirit that sets us free from the Law gives us opportunity to serve the Lord by our own free will. With the Spirit in control of our life, we can share in Christís victory over sin. Because we have the Spirit, Christ is within us and our body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. The old life is of the flesh and sin, and the new life is of the Spirit and God is really our Father.
In the epistles, Paul also draws attention to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul recognizes that the Holy Spirit is active in the Church through the gifts. By combining the different lists of the epistles, is is possible to come up with 18 to 20 gifts although some of these gifts overlap. Whatever the need of the Church, the Spirit has some gift to meet it. We as Christians and members of the Church ( the body of Christ), should seek the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. The exercise of the gifts of the Spirit are an opportunity to honor and glorify Jesus. The gifts of the Spirit are necessary for the Church to continue its work of Jesus.
Paul also emphasizes that as we utilize these gifts of the Spirit in the Body of Christ, that we do so in love. That self-giving, self-sacrificing, Calvary love, the Love of Jesus in our hearts should be the controlling motive as we use these gifts of the Spirit. These spiritual gifts are still needed in the church today.
All through the epistles, Paul shows that Jesus is the central figure through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will always exalt Jesus. And through living and walking in the fruit of the Spirit, and with the gifts of the Spirit, that is how we as believers will exalt Him in our lives also.
The Book of Revelation is about the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In this book, the Holy Spirit reveals Christ, speaks for Christ, and acts on His behalf through His authority. What Jesus says to the seven churches of Asia is His message to all the churches by the Spirit. This shows that the Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father speaks to us in this church age through the Holy Spirit. Christ works through the Spirit to bring his power and wisdom into the world. He does this through His body of believers, which is us as Christians. We have a responsibility to walk in the fruit of the Spirit and to seek the gifts of the Spirit to pass His invitation on to others. The Spirit joining with the Bride( the Church, us as believers) to say "Come." This last book of the Bible that continues to invite everyone and anyone to come unto Him for salvation and a pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon them.
What the Bible says about the Holy Spirit, Horton, Stanley M.
c. 1976 by Gospel Publishing House