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The apostles and the Holy Spirit

Jesus commissioned his apostles to preach repentance and remission of sins in his name among all nations before his ascension. Jesus then directed them to wait in Jerusalem for the Promise of His Father. When they received the promise, Jesus said the apostles would be “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:4-5). They received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the promised power on the first day of Pentecost after Christ’s ascension.

Paul’s opponents in Corinth accused him of being a self-appointed spokesman because he had no letters of recommendation. Paul argued that he did not need such letters. The work he had done in Corinth, and the brethren in particular, were adequate to show the effects of his preaching. Their lives had been changed from godless to godly (2 Corinthians 3:1-3). The power to bring about such a change came from God. The Holy Spirit inspired him to preach the truth. He was a sufficient minister because of the working of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:16-18; 12:12).

The Spirit guided the apostles into all truth (John 16:12-15). Each of them had heard the words of Jesus. The Spirit taught them and helped them remember the words of the Lord (John 14:26). He then bore witness to the truthfulness of the message they delivered through “signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts” (Hebrews 2:1-4).

The miracles the apostles worked were undeniable. Peter and John healed a man who had been lame for more than forty years (Acts 3:1-11; 4:1-10). Peter raised Dorcas from the dead after her body had been washed and laid in an upper chamber (9:36-43). Paul did not die when a viper came out of the fire and bit him (28:1-6). Without the aid of the Comforter, the apostles could not have done these things.

The Lord promised the Spirit would tell them things to come (John 16:13). Paul told of an apostasy which would come before the Lord returned to earth. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; compare 1 Timothy 4:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-9).

Paul also gave some insight as to what would happen to the body during the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15). He consoled the brethren concerning their loved ones in Christ who had already died. In fact, he said they would be raised to meet the Lord before those who were still alive (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Such information could only come from God through the Spirit.

The apostles received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them on the day of Pentecost. They thus became sufficient ministers of the gospel and men were converted. They also were able to perform miracles which clearly confirmed they were God’s inspired spokesmen. Too, the Spirit enabled them to foretell future events so the church might be better prepared to face them. We can have a confident faith based on their written words.


Gary C. Hampton
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