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Catechism Lesson 9: The Holy Spirits Role in the Church Age



A. He has a central part in how people become Christian.

  1. He directs and enables evangelistic efforts.

An example of the Holy Ghost directing in evangelism can be found with Philip meeting up with the Eunich who was reading the book of Isaias. 

Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying: Arise, go towards the south, to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza: this is desert. And rising up, he went. And behold a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch, of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge over all her treasures, had come to Jerusalem to adore. And he was returning, sitting in his chariot, and reading Isaias the prophet. And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth. In humility his judgment was taken away. His generation who shall declare, for his life shall be taken from the earth? And the eunuch answering Philip, said: I beseech thee, of whom doth the prophet speak this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip, opening his mouth, and beginning at this scripture, preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water; and the eunuch said: See, here is water: what doth hinder me from being baptized? And Philip said: If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answering, said: I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still; and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch: and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more. (Acts 8:26-39)

The Holy Ghost enabled the Apostles so that they would be able to witnesses or evangelize others. This happened as they waited in Jerusalem in the Upper Room.

But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

2. He convicts the unbeliever of sin

And when he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin: because they believed not in me. And of justice: because I go to the Father; and you shall see me no longer. And of judgment: because the prince of this world is already judged. (John 16:8-11).

The language that is used here is a judicial language. Here He is described as an Advocate for Christ. Or you could say a Defense Lawyer . But he also acts as a prosecutor who indicts a world that is unbelieving.

The word convince means: To persuade or satisfy the mind by evidence. It also can mean to convict; to prove guilty.

*The Holy Ghost, at His coming, was to prove the world to be guilty of sin.
*He was to convince the world of justice, that is the righteousness of Christ.
*He was to convince the world of judgement, of itsown condemnation which was effected by the over throw of the devil and his kingdom through the merits of the death of Christ.

3. He renovates a person.

Not by the works of justice, which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us, by the laver of regeneration, and renovation of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5).

According to Titus God our Saviour (Christ Jesus) regenerates us. That is he generates or produces anew the heart by a change of affections; to change the heart and affections from natural enmity to the love of God; to implant holy affections in the heart. And He does this by the "laver".

A laver is a vessel for washing; a large basin. In scripture history, a basin placed in the court of the Jewish tabernacle, where the officiating priests washed their hands and feet and the entrails of victims. A laver then speaks of water baptism which Jesus uses to regenerate us. But then the Holy Spirit does the renovation of our lives.

Renovation: To make new. to restore to it's first state or to a good state, after decay, destruction, or depravation.

The Holy Spirit begins to work on the outward and inward things that need to be changed.

People are always putting the cart before the horse. They try to renovate first when they have not been regenerated yet! It becomes a hard burden to bear. when you live like that. Get the regenerated heart first and the renovation will come so much easier.

4. He seals the person.

The presence of the Holy Spirit is the sign or mark of our salvation.

In whom you also, after you had heard the word of truth, (the gospel of your salvation;) in whom also believing, you were signed {marked} with the holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13).

A better word to use then sign would be a seal. There is a twofold purpose in the sealing work of the Holy Spirit. He implants the image of God upon their heart to give reality to the believer. A seal is put down on a document and that seal has an image on it. This is what the Holy Spirit of God does to the believer.

He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true. (John 3:33)

This is the thought in Ephesians 1:13. That is that God has put His implant upon the believer.

The second purpose of the sealing is to denote rightful ownership.

But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: the Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord. ( II Timothy 2:19)

The fact that God seals you with the Holy Spirit does not mean you can live in sin. If you name the name of Christ, you are going to depart from sin. If there is not this evidence, then you are not sealed.

5. He baptizes (places) the person into the body of Christ.

a. What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

  • It is the Spirit’s work of uniting us with Christ by water baptism, identifying us with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. 

Know you not that all we, who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death? For we are buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5).

  • By this same baptism, it is the Spirit’s work of incorporating us into the Catholic Church, which is the body of Christ.

For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free; and in one Spirit we have all been made to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

For you are all the children of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)

b. When is the baptism with the Holy Spirit?

  • In each believer it occurs at their confirmation.

With Confirmation a baptized Catholic, "becomes stronger with the strength of a new power, and thus begins to be a perfect soldier of Christ."- The Catechism of the Council of Trent.

  • Confirmation is Distinct from Baptism.

"by the grace of Baptism we are begotten unto newness of life, whereas by that of Confirmation we grow to full maturity, having put away the things of a child."-The Catechism of the Council of Trent.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child. (I Corinthians 13:11)

"we can sufficiently understand that the same difference that exist in the natural life between birth and growth exists also between Baptism," where we are 'born again' or "regenerated, and Confirmation, by virtue of which growth and perfect spiritual strength are imparted into the faithful." The Catechism goes on to say that Confirmation perfects the grace of Baptism. "For those who have been made Christians by Baptism, still have in some sort the tenderness and softness, as it were, of newborn infants, and afterwards become, by means of the Sacrament of chrism (that is the Holy oil used as a sign of the Holy Ghost), stronger to resist all the assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil, while there minds are fully confirmed in faith to confess and glorifiy the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ."- Catechism of the Council of Trent.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent also goes on to say that Confirmation increases Grace in the one being confirmed as well as "impressing a character". That character being of one who becomes a soldier of Jesus Christ. 

  • In history it is limited to church age believers (predicted in Acts 1:5).

For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence. (Acts 1:5)

  • Although it’s the Holy Ghost's power that is at work at Confirmation, the believer must choose to be controlled/empowered by the Holy Ghost. It is a command to “Be filled” and likewise to “Walk in the Spirit”

I say then, walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16).

The Spirit’s presence is permanent (indwelling) but we must repeatedly choose to yield to God to experience the Spirit’s transforming power to change and grow us. In actual experience, “walking in the Spirit” or “being filled with the Spirit” means living the Christian life (facing temptations, making decisions, etc.) with a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. He is the one who enable us at Confirmation – producing godly “fruits”.

But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity (kindness or tolerance toward others.), goodness, longanimity (long-suffering), (Galatians 5:22, 23).

6. He gives the power of the Holy Ghost to believers.

A. What is the purpose of the power of the Holy Ghost?

The number one reason for the power of the Holy Ghost is for evangelizing those outside of the Catholic Church.

Before Jesus was ascended into heaven He commanded the Apostles to go "therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:" (Matthew 28:19-30).
But for them to be able to do this he also commanded them "that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father,.....you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:3,8)

In Conclusion:

Have you ever been born again through the Sacrament of Baptism? If not you are still dead in your trespasses and sins. You must come to Jesus, realizing you are a sinner, trusting in what he did on the cross. And then by the Sacrament of Baptism the Holy Spirit comes in and makes you alive again in Christ. A new creature. 

If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

Do you find yourself struggling in the Christian life never having real victory? there are at least two things possible. One you have never gotten the Sacrament of Confirmation. You must have the Holy Ghost power in your life that comes from Confirmation to help you live out your Catholic Faith. Or you have been Sacramentally Confirmed, but no longer, or never yielded to the Holy Ghost working in your life. Growth can not happen until you let go of your life and yield.

Catechism Lesson 9: The Holy Spirits Role in the Church Age



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