HOW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOLVED IN A PERSON’S SALVATION?

Answer 5: The Spirit gives new believers confidence in their new relationship with God

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12

It was seven years after we started journeying with Victoria towards Christ when she finally took a step of faith and received Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. 

She grew up understanding that she needed to fulfil some religious rituals, recite memorised prayers and meet God’s standard of behaviour to please God. She felt like a failure every time she could not meet God’s standard, and it caused her to distance herself from anything related to religion and church. 

After some time, she realised that God is not interested in religious rituals, but instead, he created us in his likeness because God wants to have a relationship with us. The Holy Spirit ministered to her heart and brought Christ’s salvation to her. 

When, like any believer, she faces seasons of doubt, the Holy Spirit reminds her heart of the assurance of her salvation. (1 John 5:1-13) 

The Holy Spirit affirms our identity as God’s children and Jesus’ brothers and sisters even in our deepest afflictions (Hebrews 2:9-11). “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). When we cry to God as “Abba” (which means “Daddy”), the Spirit of God comes alongside our spirit and gives us assurance that we truly are God’s family. Being children of God means we have access to the “throne of grace” through our intimate moments of prayer, any time and from any place. We have the promise that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

Children of God, the Holy Spirit declares you are God’s child, and that there is no condemnation for you, because you have been delivered from the curse of the Law. You have freedom and healing because the ability to heal belongs to Jesus.

Discover a massive comfort from our heavenly Father, when we, by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, echo our elder brother and Saviour, praying “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) “Take heart! He has overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

Who You Say I Am – A Child of God

By Hillsong Worship

Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?
I was lost, but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh, is free indeed
I’m a child of God, yes, I am

Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin, Jesus died for me
Yes, He died for me

Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God, yes, I am

In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God, yes, I am

I am chosen, not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me, not against me
I am who You say I am

HOW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOLVED IN A PERSON’S SALVATION?

Answer 4: The Spirit reveals the truth of the gospel to a person.

Are you ever discouraged when you are having spiritual conversations with a person, that they don’t see Jesus for who he really is – the son of God? Take courage, God is at work. Remember, it is not you but God himself who reveals the truth of the gospel to a person.

In Matthew 16 we read of the time when Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Lots of people who encountered Jesus didn’t see Jesus for who he really was. They mistook him for a someone else. Today, many people still make the same mistake. They see Jesus as just a good person who once lived or a great teacher or religious leader, or maybe just a folk legend and not a real person at all.

We read on in Matthew and Jesus said to his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus makes it clear to Peter that God himself had revealed the truth of who Jesus was to him. And it’s the same for the person you are sharing the gospel to. Yes, you need to know the gospel. Yes, you should take every opportunity God gives you to share it with the world around you. But realise that as you share the gospel it is not you that reveals the truth of the gospel, this is the role of the Holy Spirit in a person’s salvation.

So today, pray and ask God to reveal himself and the truth of the gospel in a real, personal, and practical way to the people you are sharing the gospel to. Intercede for those you have shared the gospel to asking the Holy Spirit to minister to them in a way that they would see the truth of the gospel. Pray, asking the Holy Spirit to convict them so they see their need for Christ. Then, continue to share, knowing God is at work!   

HOW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOLVED IN A PERSON’S SALVATION?

Answer 3: The Spirit uses my circumstances in a person’s salvation.

Have you ever experienced the near-magical phenomenon of moving from strangers to friends in almost no time at all? Jenny and Bryan are two of the many people we fervently prayed for to have a family of their own. We met them at a train station in Singapore, and from there, we invited them to be a part of our small group and eventually shared our lives with them. 

We instantly developed a deep connection by the similarities of the difficulties we experienced in conceiving. We shared our testimony of how we came to hear and understand the gospel, how we responded to it, and the difference this has made in our lives. We shared how God gave us hope through our trials when we realised that we both had issues in our reproductive system. We told them how we had tried every assisted pregnancy procedure available and that even one fertility specialist advised us to adopt a child instead. We shared that it came to a point on the 17th of March 2012, out of desperation and misery, I locked myself in our room and worshipped the Lord. I cried my heart out to Him and right at that moment, God gave me a very clear vision: I was climbing on the mountain and I saw this very, very bright light from somewhere. I sought the source of the light. I dug a hole where the light was coming from. The light was coming from a watch—a man’s watch. Ephraim told me that it seemed like God was telling me to seek Him first and delight myself in the Lord. In His perfect timing, He shall give me the desires of my heart. On the same date, I posted on my Facebook wall as my status, “This stage of my life is called, ‘Acceptance’ and ‘Total surrender to God’s plan’.”

God’s words gave us sufficient comfort and peace, as it says in Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

We shared how we took every opportunity to be prayed for. We sought the Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls and the more we got to know him, the more we trusted his goodness and faithfulness despite the raging storm. We also shared how we attended a conference about parenting in our church, boldly claiming that by faith, we will be parents also.

Just like Sarah in the Bible, at exactly one year after I received God’s vision and message, we found out that I was pregnant. God didn’t just show up but he showed-off in our circumstance. We prayed for one child, and he gave us twins! In Habakkuk 2:3 it says, “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” 

Fast-forward to my story about Jenny and Bryan. The Holy Spirit used our circumstances in their salvation. They received the Lord as their Saviour, began their new lives in Christ, and already have a family of their own!  

Indeed, the Holy Spirit uses our testimonies and circumstances to illustrate the amazing wonder of God’s work of grace and the personal experience of redemption and transformation.  

With prayer and utmost reliance on the Holy Spirit, God gives us the power to be a witness even before we say a word!

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8.

HOW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOLVED IN A PERSON’S SALVATION?

Answer 2: The Spirit sends believers into people’s lives to be a witness.

“You’re a pastor? I’ve never talked to one before. What’s your favourite Bible verse?”

If ever there was an open invitation to talk about Jesus with someone, this was it. I went to a friend’s birthday celebration on the weekend only to find that everyone I knew who had said they were coming had pulled out at the last minute. I quietly milled around the 30-odd strangers as we waited to be seated at the restaurant and exchanged greetings with strangers. People seemed interested in talking with the birthday girl and her husband or catching up with people they hadn’t seen in a while, so few offered more than a brief hello and goodbye before moving on to someone they recognised.

“Okay Lord,” I silently prayed, “I don’t know anyone here and I’m not the best at making new friends. But if you have arranged a divine appointment for me tonight, I am ready to obey. Please make it clear to me if there’s someone here you want me to talk to.”

As I finished talking to God the waiters finally finished setting the many tables they had pulled together to accommodate such a large group and told us to take a seat. I ended up at the very end of the L formation of tables, away from most of the people, where it looked like I was going to miss out on most of the chatting. But then along came Henry, another party-goer who hadn’t been fast enough to grab a prime seat and ended up at the end of the table, next to me.

“Is this him, Lord?” I asked. There was no discernible confirmation from the Holy Spirit, but I decided to take a step of faith and see where God would lead the conversation.

“I’m a train driver,” Henry said. I asked about his life and he talked about the year-long course he took with the department of transportation, the cultural differences between Australia and his family’s home country, how his marriage had changed him and many other things. We found out we shared a hobby and talked about that for a while.

Henry was interesting, fun and enjoyed getting to know me. I had shown him that I was genuinely interested in him, and so it was only natural for him to ask about my life. He asked about my girlfriend, about my family, and about my job. When I mentioned I met my girlfriend at church he said that was lovely, and moved on. When I told him that my parents were missionaries he was fascinated and asked about the countries they had been to, but made no mention of anything spiritual. When he asked what I did for a living, I quietly asked God, “Would you please take control of this conversation and speak to Henry’s heart through me.” Then I told him I’m a pastor.

Henry was very interested and said that he grew up going to church “only on the big days like Christmas and Easter.” Then he asked about my favourite verse. “This is your opportunity to be a witness for Jesus,” the Spirit seemed to say. So I pulled out my phone and opened up Ephesians 2:1-9 with him. We spent almost an hour looking at those verses, talking about what it meant to be dead in sin, what a ‘child of wrath’ was, the justice of punishing sin, the love with which God gave Jesus, the reality of grace, unity with Christ, and many other things that come up in that passage. Henry said that he had never thought much about these things, but that he now understood how important they are.

I could see that he was taking this seriously, so I took another step of faith and said, “Henry, sin and Hell aren’t just important things to think about. They’re things that impact you. You have sin, and there is a penalty for it. The only ways to pay the penalty are to take Jesus up on His offer to cover your sin for you, or to pay it yourself. I encourage you to consider the state of your soul.”

Henry seemed troubled and thanked me for making it clear to him. He said that he would think about it, and asked if I would like to catch up some time. We exchanged contact details and moved onto other things. The party ended and we parted ways.

Henry is on a spiritual journey. When we catch up we will no doubt talk about our shared hobby as well as all the other things you talk about when you are getting to know someone. But in addition to all that, I will be a witness for Jesus in my words and actions, just like I was at that restaurant over the weekend.

Who’s life is God sending you into? Our days are full of divine appointments that God has set up to give us the chance to speak the gospel into. Learn to look for the Holy Spirit’s prompting throughout the day. Pray and ask Him to help you notice when He gives you an opportunity. Sometimes you will find that people are eager to hear what you have to say about the most important Person in your life. Other times you may find that people don’t want to talk about it. But at all times you will find that God has called you to be a witness, and wherever you go you are sent by the Holy Spirit into the lives of others to help them take the next step in their journey towards Jesus.

HOW IS THE HOLY SPIRIT INVOLVED IN A PERSON’S SALVATION?

Answer 1: The Spirit helps you recognise opportunities to share Christ with people.

I enjoy playing video games on the computer with my kids. We team up to battle other teams of people from around the world. When we don’t have enough people to make up a team of five, the game assigns us random teammates that match our skill levels. Often there is good chat and banter among the teammates as we play.

One day I really enjoyed chatting with one of my random teammates whose gaming name is “Axes” (changed). He friended me after the game, and I friended him back so we would see when each other was online and could team up. Over time we played several games and started chatting via keyboard in between games too. Eventually he joined in games where my kids were playing also and was amazed to find out that I was not young like him. If I slew someone in a game, he would let them know, “You just got taken out by a man in his fifties!”

We found out that Axes was studying at university right here in Sydney as an international student. A couple of months ago, Axes and several of my kids met up for lunch at the mall in Chatswood and really enjoyed meeting each other in person. Axes was disappointed that I couldn’t be there. So a couple of weeks ago we met with him again and this time I was there. We got off the metro and headed to the restaurant. As soon as we arrived, Axes (yes, we call him by his gamer tag even in real life) knew which person was me. He walked up to me and put his arms around me in a long, warm hug.

Over lunch, I asked Axes to share his story with us. “What made you decide to come to Australia to study?” Without hesitation he answered, “To get away from my family.” Axes trusts us and was opening up to us about pain in his life.

The Apostle Paul asked the Colossians to pray that God would give him opportunities to share Christ with people who were in prison with him: And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” (Colossians 4:3-4).

Paul goes on to then challenge the Colossians to look for those opportunities in their own lives to share Christ with those around them:

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6).

When you say to God, as I have been in recent days, “Please give me opportunities to share what it means to know you with others around me,” you can be sure that God will create those opportunities for meaningful conversations that go deeper than the surface and point to our need for God and a relationship with Jesus. You can also be sure that God wants you to notice those opportunities.

It’s the Holy Spirit who makes you suddenly alert that an encounter you have with someone just turned into a redemptive conversation!

When Axes said that he decided to study in Australia “to get away from my family”, I was instantly aware that this was God opening a door for my witness. I asked him why he wanted to get away from his family and he shared that his parents were super controlling about his every move. He returns home in a couple of months and said he will be “back in the bird cage”.

As the conversation moved on Axes, interested to hear more about my life, asked me about what I do. When I shared that I coach church leadership teams in how to share their relationship with Jesus more effectively with people outside the church, Axes commented that his sister followed him to study in the same Australian university he goes to and that she has become a Christian while at university. She is nervous about how to tell their Buddhist parents about her new faith. He told her it’s good for her to be into whatever she wants.

This gave me the chance to share with him that God has made us for a relationship with him and that our lives will never work how God designed them unless we have that relationship with him that comes through Jesus. It’s not just something we are ‘into’; it’s necessary for life.

Both we and Axes are eager to meet up again before he heads back overseas and I hope his sister is able to join us as well. I want to encourage her about her conversation with her parents and hope that will give a basis for more gospel conversations with Axes too.

I’m thankful that God gave me that opportunity for meaningful conversation with Axes on that day and that the Holy Spirit made me aware that it was an opportunity to speak with him about Jesus.

Ask the Spirit to sensitise you also about the opportunities he places in your encounters with the people around you!