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The Role of the Holy Spirit in Discipleship

John 14: 15-17; 25-27

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. …25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

The last night of his earthly life before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples many things. He was pouring His heart out to them, telling them things they would need to know and hold onto in the chaotic times that were ahead. One of the things He told them about was the coming Holy Spirit.

The disciples were panicked at the thought of Jesus no longer being with them but He consoled them by telling them that with the coming Holy Spirit He would be within them! Ephesians 1: 13-14 makes it clear that the moment we accept Christ we receive the incredible Holy Spirit as a “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.” A member of the divine trinity resides within us. Through Him we have access to the mind of Christ. The same power that raised Christ from the dead resides within us!

So what does the Holy Spirit do for us?

  • HE guides us into all truth - John 16:8

  • HE teaches us and gives us wisdom - John 14: 26

  • HE helps us - John 16:7

  • HE illuminates the Word for us - John 16: 13-16; Ephesians 1: 17-20

  • He permanently lives in us - 1 Corinthians 3:16

  • HE draws all people to Christ - John 12:32;

  • HE convicts us of our sin - John 16: 8-9

  • HE bears fruit in us and through us - John 15:5

  • HE equips us with spiritual gifts - so that we can serve one another and bring Him glory- 1 Corinthians 12: 1-11

  • HE makes evangelists of us - John 15: 26-27; Acts 1:8

  • HE sanctifies us - reminding us of who we are in Christ- transforming us from within - Ephesians 1: 3-14; 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18

  • HE comforts us - and helps us to comfort others - John 14: 15-17; 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4

  • HE unifies us - John 17: 20-23; Ephesians 2: 11-21; 1 Corinthians 12: 12-13

  • HE empowers us - Ephesians 1: 17-20; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3: 20-21

  • HE gives us His peace - John 14:27

  • HE gives us hope - Romans 15:13

After reading this list, I hope you can agree that the Holy Spirit is doing… all the heavy lifting. Clearly, He is the primary agent behind any spiritual change in our lives. This may even leave you wondering: if the Holy Spirit has it covered, do people even need to play any role in discipleship?

Yes! As unstrategic as it seems to me, somehow, God has given imperfect people like you and me a role to play in the lives of each other (Colossians 1:28-29).Our primary job is to be His conduit. Our role is to pray and to listen to Him and to be available and obedient and to follow His guidance (Colossians 3:16). We know this to be true in our core. How many times have we been in a spiritual discussion and He has brought the perfect Scripture to mind or given us the perfect question to ask?

So how should we respond to this realization? With boldness! We can go out and take risks because we can be certain that He has our back. He has promised to come alongside us. God has equipped us for every good work that He has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). While it is admittedly scary to wade into each other’s lives, Scripture makes it clear that there is no need to fear, because God’s perfect love has cast out fear (1 John 4:18). We have His power at our disposal! And the benefits to coming alongside one another in an intentional discipleship relationship far outweigh the discomforts that come with confronting our sin. How is God calling you to step out in faith? What marvelous works of the Spirit will you see as He works through you?

One of my favorite passages in Scripture is Ephesians 3: 14-21, Paul’s incredible prayer for the Ephesians. I leave you with this passage as a reminder and an inspiration that God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” is working in you and through you and wants you to thrive and flourish. He will never leave or forsake you and He is with you in all your endeavors, including your times of discipleship. How amazing is that?!

Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


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