God is a Trinity
The Bible reveals to us that while we have only one God, our God is a ‘trinity’. That means He exists in three separate parts in the one being. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We see the reality of the trinity in several places. Note what happened at Jesus’ baptism. Jesus, the Son of God, was baptized. The Holy Spirit came down upon Him like a dove. At the same time God the Father spoke from heaven and said “This is my beloved Son”.
“And the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him (Jesus), and a voice came from heaven, which said, You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22
The Trinity at Work in History
A look at Bible history reveals a pattern of involvement by different parts of the Godhead at different times.
We know that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were all present at creation.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1,2
“In the beginning was the Word (Jesus the Son of God), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3
From Creation to Christ was the time of the Father’s main role on earth. He walked in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:8), met Abraham (Gen 18:1), showed Himself to Moses (Ex 33:17-22), and spoke to David (2Chron 3:1), Solomon (1Kings 3:5) and Elijah (1Kings 19:11,12).
But even during this time both the Son and the Holy Spirit were present. Joshua met a man that we know had to be Christ (Josh 5:13-15). The Holy Spirit also came on Samson (Judges 15:14), Saul (1Sam 10:10, 11) and David (lSam 16:13). So in Old Testament times it was God the Father at work on earth, with the assistance of God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Then when Christ (God the Son) came He told us that the Father was in heaven (Matt 6:9). This was the time of the Son’s main role on earth and the gospels document some of the miraculous works He did. Historically this was a short time, but it was pivotal in all history. So in the time of the Son’s main role the Father was in Heaven, but we know that God the Holy Spirit was also on earth. At Jesus’ baptism the Spirit descended on Him (Luke 3:21,22).
The Holy Spirit’s Time
During Jesus’ life He taught that the Holy Spirit was yet to have His day. Jesus spoke of sending the Spirit, baptising people with the Holy Spirit and people receiving power from the Holy Spirit John 14:16, 17, 26, 16:7-14, Luke 24:49).
On the day of Pentecost a new age was born. The Father had done His work upon the earth and the Son had finished His. Now it was time for the third part of the trinity to work on earth. Scholars have said that the book called Acts should be renamed Acts of The Holy Spirit, because all the early church accomplished was through the Spirit’s outpouring and power.
The Last Days are the Holy Spirit’s Time
On the Day of Pentecost Peter declared that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that in the “last days” the Holy Spirit would be poured out.
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” Acts 2:16,17.
Now, let me ask you a question. What comes after the “last” days? If the Holy Spirit was given for the “last days” and the end has not yet come, then we must still be in the ‘last days’! The Holy Spirit outpouring on the Day of Pentecost, at Samaria and on Cornelius’ household, upon Saul of Tarsus and at Ephesus is something that is part of the Church Age. The Church Age is the Age of the Holy Spirit.
We Live in the Time of the Holy Spirit
We are living in the age of the Holy Spirit. The gifts and fruit of the Spirit, the convicting work of the Spirit, the teaching and pointing to Jesus done by the Holy Spirit are all key expressions of God on earth during this age. Without the Spirit of God we are out of touch with the Godhead. With the Holy Spirit we are exploring the very purpose of the age in which we live.
That does not mean that the place of God the Father and God the Son is not vitally important. We are to worship God, place our faith in Jesus the Son of God, make Jesus our Lord, pray to the Father in Heaven in the name of Jesus the Son, obey the will of God and live by faith in God’s Son. At the same time we are baptized into Jesus’ body by the work of the Holy Spirit; baptized in the Holy Spirit; filled with the Spirit; led by the Spirit; quickened by the Spirit; given supernatural gifts by the Holy Spirit; growing spiritual fruit by the Spirit; putting the flesh to death with the Holy Spirit’s help; comforted by the Holy Spirit; given ability to pray more effectively by the Holy Spirit and healed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our bodies.
I challenge you to enter into all that God the Father has prepared for you. Be filled with the Spirit and live in the power of the Holy Spirit, so you can effectively witness to the Son and bring others to be children of the Father.
This article first appeared as sermon notes for a message preached on February 15, 1989. The notes have been updated and presented here as a resource to the broader Christian community.