How to hear the Holy Spirit

By Robert Oliver - Contributing columnist

The Bible clearly reveals that there are three distinct divine beings within the godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. At the baptism of Jesus we find all three presented in different places at the same time. Jesus was coming up out of the water, the Holy Spirit was descending like a dove and the Father was speaking from heaven (Matt. 3:16).

For the most part, there is not so much disunity or argument concerning the work and place of the Father and the Son, but of the Holy Spirit this can not be said. People have all kinds of beliefs concerning the part the Holy Spirit has played and continues to play in the revelation to and salvation of man. We wish to take a good look at a brief statement by the apostle Paul to Timothy that will help us to better see and understand the work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul wrote to Timothy saying, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1). There are really a number of good points that can be gleaned from that verse and the following ones concerning that which is spoken by the Holy Spirit, but we will just consider two at present.

First, let us note that the words of the apostle were the words the Holy Spirit was speaking. Paul plainly states that the things he is writing is that which the Holy Spirit has spoken. When one studies the promises of Christ to His apostles and the events that followed as well as the assurances of the apostles, it is easy to see the development of and fruition of those promises. Jesus had promised His apostles that though He would be crucified, resurrected and ascend into heaven, they would not be left comfortless, but would be given the Holy Spirit as Comforter and guide.

Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:25-26). He told them further, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13). We will note when that promise was fulfilled shortly, but that it was is easily seen in all the assurances that are given. Paul told the Galatians, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11-12).

To the Corinthian church he wrote, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God…Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (I Cor. 2:10, 13). The Bible is the Holy Spirit speaking to man, both the Old Testament and the new. Peter stated, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (II Pet. 1:21). Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16). Anything else is not the Holy Spirit speaking, but someone else (Gal. 1:6-9; II John 9-11).

Briefly, let us consider that the time for the Holy Spirit to speak through the gospel of Christ is now. The promise to the apostles (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13) was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. Peter said, “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days…” (Acts 2:16-17).

This day was the beginning of the last or final dispensation for man, the Christian age. The writer of Hebrews points out that, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). Paul illustrated how as when a husband dies, his wife is then free to remarry without being guilty of adultery, so the old law has died that we might be “…married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:1-4).

Paul wrote that upon His death on the cross, Christ made both Jew and Gentile one and had broken down the partition that stood between the two and that He had, “abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances…” (Eph. 2:14-15). Or, as he had said to the Colossians, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). Want to hear the words of the Holy Spirit concerning what you need to do in this age—listen to the words of the gospel of Christ, for that is the Holy Spirit talking to you and I.

By Robert Oliver

Contributing columnist

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]

Send any questions or comments to: [email protected]