Holy Spirit: What does He do?

Carrying on our Deeper series on the Holy Spirit, Paul V spoke and answered the question, what does the Holy Spirit do?


People were asked to describe what they do in one sentence… If you weren’t there, or you have a bad memory, see if you can work out the answers. (See answers at bottom of post.)

  • To talk in other people’s sleep?
  • To ensure that stupid people stay in the gene pool?
  • To run away and call the police?
  • To shoot couples on their wedding day?
  • To spend most of the day looking out the window?

It often doesn’t make sense knowing what someone does until you know who they are!! The most important thing you are going to hear about the Holy Spirit in these three weeks is what Simon said last week (Holy Spirit 1) What you are going to hear this week and next week are all about what the Holy Spirit does and that’s cool, exciting stuff but you’ve got to start with who the Holy Spirit is otherwise what He does gets all out of perspective. R.A. Torrey once said (paraphrase)

“A great source of error and fanaticism is focusing on what the Holy Spirit does without first getting to know Him as a person.”

We could talk for a year about what the Holy Spirit does, because He’s God and He’s involved with everything that God does

  • If you open your bible, He’s there in the second verse of [biblegateway passage=”Genesis 1:2″ display=”Genesis 1″] involved in the creation of the world
  • Turn to the end and He’s there in the very last chapter joining in with the prayers of Christians as they say “Jesus, please come back to earth soon!”

The Holy Spirit is there, right the way through. He’s not a bit-part in the bible – it’s as much about him as it is about God the Father or Jesus. So there is a lot we could say about what He does. I’m going to focus on just four things…


[biblegateway passage=”John 14:26″ display=”John 14:26″] says – “But the Counsellor, 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.”

[biblegateway passage=”John 16:13-14″ display=”John 16:13-14″] says – “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”

It’s like, imagine if I was forever going on about Dan – “Remember what Dan said about this… Don’t forget Dan’s wise words about that… Have you seen Dan!  I mean, is he cool or what? You guys, come over here, look, it’s Dan.  What a guy…! Alright, you’d think I was weird… But that’s what the Holy Spirit is constantly doing about Jesus, He doesn’t draw much attention to himself but He constantly draws our attention towards Jesus.

Jesus said it like this: “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you”. I love this picture, it’s like Jesus has this endless treasure house of truth and spiritual blessing and He’s constantly saying to the Holy Spirit “Hey, give him this…” “And give her that…”  “Show them this”. Jesus so longs for you to know him better, for us to be drawn deeper in to a relationship with him that permeates every part of our lives and He makes himself known to us through the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is constantly pointing us to Jesus.

As He shows us more of Jesus, He leads us into worship. [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 5:18-19″ display=”Ephesians 5:18-19 “]says “Be filled with the Spirit.  Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Singing and make music in your heart to the Lord,  always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Being filled with the HS kind of overflows into the desire to worship Jesus. If you have ever been in a worship time and found yourself thinking “I’m just not feeling this, it’s not really real, it’s not really coming from my heart…” It’s not that you need to try harder. You need to ask the HS to fill you and to lead you into worship because that’s what He loves to do.


‘Paraclete’ – counsellor – someone who comes alongside to help

A few years ago, I did a bit of sailing and when a big ship came to a port it would have to stop and wait for a pilot to come on board and guide it in – the pilot knows where the rocks, sand-banks, cross-currents and dangerous shallows are. That’s a bit like how the HS comes into our lives and guides us…

I have a friend called Dotha who’s brother worked at the Pentagon in America. He woke up one day having such a strong sense that he shouldn’t go in to work that day. He was a Christian and sensed that it might be the Holy Spirit working in him. He phoned in and asked for a day of leave and wondered whether he was going mad… A bit later that day, a plane crashed into the Pentagon where he worked and completely destroyed his office. That day was September the 11th 2001…

I don’t know about you but I want to be plugged in to THAT kind of guidance. The HS loves to speak to us and guide us. Not just about the big decisions of life but about the day to day stuff as well. Part of the way He guides our lives is in empowering our consciences. Jesus said that the HS was coming to bring ‘conviction’ about sin ([biblegateway passage=”John 16:8″ display=”John 16:8″])

In law, if someone is convicted it means that the court has been convinced that they are guilty. When the HS convicts you and me it doesn’t mean punishment, but it does mean that we become convinced that we are doing something wrong and it needs to change… If you want a Spirit filled life it’s not just about having power to heal and cast out demons and to hear God’s voice. You are inviting the HOLY Spirit to make his home inside you and He will start changing you. And He will point out in no uncertain terms areas in which you need to change to become holy.


If you are a Christian, if you are walking with Jesus, his plan is that you will be different tomorrow to the person you are today. The way you think, the way you respond to situations and people, the way you talk, the way you act will be constantly changing because of what God is doing in your life.

How would you describe a mature Christian? What aspects of their character or personality would be different?  The bible describes some of the chcharacteristics as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

  • [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 5:22-23″ display=”Galatians 5:22-23″]:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  (23)  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

This is one of the most famous passages about what the HS does – those are the things He is growing in you

This isn’t like “Oh yeah, patience is a good idea I must try that sometime”, it’s “If you are following Jesus then God is at work inside you making you more patient”. But here’s the crunch – every single one of these fruit are also things that we are commanded to be and become. So basically the HS is doing this stuff inside you but you have got to work with him…

Let me read the list again… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

If you want a measure of how mature someone is as a Christian, here it is.

The gifts of the HS don’t tell you about the maturity of a Christian. It’s possible to be a Christian for ten minutes and raise someone from the dead because it isn’t you, it’s God and He can do that through whoever He likes.

But the fruit of the HS doesn’t come overnight, it’s a long, slow and sometimes painful process as God moulds you, transforms you, knocks the rough edges off of you. If you want to know how mature someone is as a Christian, squeeze them and see what comes out…

  • Put them under pressure and see how much peace they still have
  • Stress them out and see whether they stay kind and loving
  • Get in their face and look for the patience
  • Tempt them, really tempt them, and see how faithful and self-controlled they are
  • Give them a bad day and see if there’s still some joy left

Actually, don’t do any of those things because it would be unkind and ungodly but you get what I mean don’t you?

In terms of being filled with the HS, that’s how you tell the men of God from the boys, the women of God from the girls…


Jesus told his followers “You will receive power when the HS comes” When the HS fills people He gives supernatural gifts to enable us to worship and serve him better

Some of the gifts are about hearing God speak to us

  • Words of knowledge, prophecy, tongues and interpretation

Some are about letting God work through us in amazing ways

  • Gift of miracles, healing

Some are about being a blessing to others around us

  • Serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, showing mercy

Others are different again

  • Discernment of spirits, evangelism

Don’t be afraid of these things – the bible says that we should be eager to receive them. But remember what they’re for – for serving other people. If you’re going to God saying “Hey God, please give me a really cool gift like leadership or healing… but actually can you skip the gifts of serving, giving money and showing mercy” then you just might have got your priorities all messed up!

Every time it talks about people being filled with the HS in the bible, it’s about them serving God, serving other people, sharing their faith. Not just keeping the anointing for themselves…


The HS isn’t a bully, He won’t ever manipulate or force you to do what He wants, He will simply wait for you to co-operate… or not…

The bible says you can resist the HS, you can actively work against him ([biblegateway passage=”Acts 7:51″ display=”Acts 7:51″]). You can even grieve the HS by your behaviour ([biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 4:30″ display=”Eph 4:30″])

You can even quench the HS, like if the Spirit is a fire burning inside you, your actions can either fan the flames of what He is doing or they can be like a bucket of water over that fire ([biblegateway passage=”1 Thess 5:19″ display=”1 Thess 5:19″])

So what is the HS trying to do in your life today? And what are you going to decide…?





  • (Lecturer)
  • Lifeguard
  • Security Guard
  • Photographer
  • Pilot
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