A. In context to the coming Kingdom and Resurrection, the Church is essentially a sojourning nation, called to prepare in righteousness and witness to all the other nations that Jesus is the Christ, the one appointed Judge of the living and the dead. God has given us a deposit of the Holy Spirit as a gift of grace to help us in this witness, which is accessed only by prayer.
B. In this age the darkened human heart is disciplined, unto repentant and believing prayer, internally by a fasted lifestyle and externally by trials and tribulations. However, the sojourning heart is all the more fed and strengthened to seek God by the activity of the Holy Spirit, which will be exerted fully in the resurrection.
The pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35 Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. (NIV Luke 12:30-37)
C. The activity of the Holy Spirit has generally been a neglected subject in the history of the Church. However, those groups and movements that have emphasized it have generally interpreted it within a Christonaturalistic framework, which generally ends in burnout and disillusionment.
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed… 3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (NIV Acts 14:1-3)
A. Concerning the activity of the Holy Spirit in this age, the relative lack of biblical commentary on its inherent meaning is due to the commonly understood cosmogenical reality. The broader context of redemptive history informs the “elementary teachings about Christ” (Heb. 6:1).
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ (by the Holy Spirit) and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so. 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened (by the Holy Spirit), who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance… (NIV Hebrews 6:1-6)
B. Since signs and wonders reinforce the reality of the coming age, they reinforce the identity of the Church as a sojourning nation waiting to inherit the resurrected body and the restored earth. Though we experience neither justice nor life in this age, He gives us signs of the age to come to strengthen us in our faith. Provision for the impossible now, strengthens our faith for the impossible eschatologically.
Now faith is being sure (Gk. hupostasis; “substance” KJV/NKJV, “assurance” (NASB/ESV/ NRSV/NLT) of what we hope for and certain (Gk. elegchos; “evidence” KJV/NKJV, “conviction” NASB/ESV/NRSV) of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for… 8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age– and Sarah herself was barren– was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth… 17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. (NIV Hebrews 11:1-19)
C. Activity of the Holy Spirit in this age before the resurrection is given by God as gift to strengthen our faith. God knows the workings of the human heart and the “mechanics of faith.” If we never see demonstrations of the age to come, we begin to loss heart in the reality of it. Thus the Holy Spirit is given as a “Helper” to help us in our faith as we sojourn unto the Kingdom.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. 15 If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (Gk. parakletos; “Helper” NASB/ESV/NKJV) to be with you forever– 17 the Spirit of truth…25 All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Counselor, 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. (NIV John 14:11-26)
But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. (ESV John 15:26-27)
He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God… 4 while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about… 8 you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV Acts 1:3-4)