“Jesus Continued… Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You” by JD Greear is the best book I have read on the Holy Spirit.
Greear’s work is helpful for any Christian, from Baptists to Pentecostals to “Bapti-costals”. We all can agree the Holy Spirit plays a vital role in our relationship with God and the mission of the Church. This book made me very grateful for the Holy Spirit’s work in my life and gave me a desire to experience more of his presence through prayer and listening for His guidance. The main point of the book is that having the Spirit inside of us is even better than if Jesus was standing right beside us!
“The Spirit’s presence inside them, he said, would be better than himself beside them (167).”
Here are 12 ways Greear highlights how the Spirit works in or lives and our churches.
1. The Spirit and the gospel always work together.
“Where the gospel is not cherished, the Spirit will not be experienced. And, on the flip side, where the Spirit is not sought, there will be no deep, experiential knowledge of the gospel (327).”
2. God’s Spirit works in conjunction with God’s Word.
“The Word issues the command and establishes the foundations; the Spirit quickens and makes alive… The Word is eternal and unchanging. The Spirit’s direction is temporary and varied… The Spirit makes God’s Word personal to us… We aren’t told to seek the Spirit apart from the Word; we are to seek him in the Word (421, 424, 438, 539).”
3. The Spirit empowers Christians to prophesy today, but it never trumps scripture.
“Scripture is infallible; contemporary believers speaking prophetically are not… But evidently, when he speaks through his church in the gift of prophecy, he does not guarantee that we will get all his movements, impressions, and instructions exactly right. We must “test” what is being said (2385, 2391).” “Never claim the authority of God on your words, even if you feel convinced the Holy Spirit might be speaking through you… Words of prophecy should always be given with a lot of humility… Because, you see, when you claim the authority of God, you put the other person in a terrible position; he must either fully heed your word or feel like he is rebelling against God. Or think you’re a quack. (2463, 2467, 2468).” “Prophetic speech is strongest when tied to actual Scripture… When you pass Scripture on to others, you can be sure that what you are saying is from God, even if your timing and application are not (2470, 2473).”
4. We don’t serve as a way to work for Jesus, by the Spirit’s power we to work WITH Jesus!
“It’s not that we’re doing this for God so much as we’re doing it with him. He is working through us. And it sometimes feels like we’re just along for the ride (485).” “The weight of responsibility for the mission does not rest on our shoulders, but on Jesus’ shoulders. He leads; we follow. He commands; we obey. He supplies; we steward. He delivers; we worship… God can do more through one simple act of obedience than we can do through our most extravagant plans. (1337, 1361).” “Engaging in the mission of God is not just about asking, “What would Jesus do?” but also, “What does Jesus want to do through me?… The question is no longer whether God wants us involved in his mission, only where and how? (1462, 1596)” “Blackaby shows that following God means “perceiving where God is at work and joining him in it.” Believers are not out working for God, he says, as much as God is working through them… Too many well-meaning Christian organizations today are attempting to work for God and then asking for his blessing, rather than seeking to work with the Holy Spirit, where the blessing is “pre-built-in (2941, 2953).” “A spiritual gift bestows an unusual effectiveness in a responsibility given to all believers… We discover our spiritual gifts as we actively pursue those responsibilities (2046, 2051).”
5. There is a mystery to how we receive guidance from the Holy Spirit.
“If we fail to acknowledge this mystery, we either reduce God’s working to a formula that will cause us to miss the Spirit’s genuine movement in our lives, or (and perhaps worse) we become over-confident in what we think he is saying to us, elevating our interpretation of his movements to a level of authority we should only give to Scripture… Regarding the guidance of the Spirit, Scripture gives us a basic pattern, but not a detailed prescription; a general model, but not a precise formula (563, 656).”
6. The Holy Spirit fills and empowers those who are obeying what they have already received.
“So, seek the Spirit in the Word. His guidance functions something like steering a bicycle: It works only once you’re moving. The Spirit steers as you obey God’s commands. You start pedaling in obedience; he’ll start directing (703).
7. The Spirit empowers the Church to be a movement, not just a meeting place.
“Movements (by definition) move, and that means if you’re not moving, then you’re not really part of the movement. Where there is no movement, there is no Spirit (794).” “As we live on mission we get the privilege of experiencing the work of the Spirit in more tangible ways. A friend of mine likens Jesus to a spiritual cyclone: he never pulls you in without also, almost instantaneously, hurling you back out. The moment you are converted to Jesus, you are sent out into mission (886).”
8. The Spirit empowers all believers to share our faith.
“It’s true that God has given some believers the gift to be “evangelists” (Eph. 4:11). But a spiritual gift is really just a specialization in an assignment given to all Christians… I’ve heard evangelism defined as “two nervous people talking to each other.” But here’s the thing: Isn’t the message important enough for a little weirdness?(929, 963).”
9. A Spirit-filled church is a mission-focused church.
“Churches and Christians not devoted to this mission are not filled with the Spirit, no matter how vibrant their worship, how sanctified their imaginations, or how sacred their demeanor… There is no such thing as a Spirit-filled Christian who does not become a mouthpiece for Christ. (1006, 1016).” “The church is not a cruise ship… Let’s be aircraft carriers. Battleships fight their battles on or near the ship. But the last place an aircraft carrier wants to fight its battles is near itself! Aircraft carriers equip planes to carry the battle to the enemy (3870).”
10. The Spirit shows us how to pray, inspires us to pray and works through our prayers.
“Prayers that start in heaven are heard by heaven. So we should look to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to inform and guide us as we pray (2604).” “The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from prayer. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray . . . Prayer turns ordinary mortals into men of power . . . It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God. There is no power like that of prevailing prayer. — Samuel Chadwick (3507).” “The outpouring of the Holy Spirit will come, he says, when we persist in asking… What if we aren’t experiencing God’s power in our communities, in our churches, or in our families — simply because we are not persistent in asking? (3566, 3588).” “Don’t miss the order: they prayed; the Spirit shook them; then they shook the world (3607).” “He walked the pastor down to the church’s basement, where he showed him three hundred people on their faces praying as the service went on upstairs (3684).”
11. The Spirit empowers revival.
“Tim Keller says a revival is “the intensification of the normal operations of the Holy Spirit (conviction of sin, regeneration and sanctification, assurance of salvation) through the ordinary means of grace (preaching the Word, prayer, etc.)… Revival is the intensification of the normal operations of the Holy Spirit (3333, 3408).”
12. The Spirit only fills the humble.
“Unconfessed, secret, or willful sin deeply grieves the Holy Spirit of God, and where it is cherished, the Spirit will not be present. Nothing quenches the fire of the Holy Spirit faster than unconfessed sin (3434).” “You can never know that Jesus is all that you need, you see, until he’s all that you have… Don’t waste your white space. Not much may occur in the white space that seems worth writing down in a book, but a lot is being written into you. (3136, 3175).” “God’s power comes as a gift only to the empty-spirited. He blesses the poor in spirit because their empty spirits make good vessels for his own… Here’s the bottom line: You will never be full of the Spirit so long as you are full of yourself (3751, 3753).” “Dependence, not strength, is God’s objective for you. And if dependence is the objective, then weakness is an advantage (3799).” “Remember, he didn’t call you because he needed you. He called you because he loves you, he wants you to know his wonder and be amazed by his glory, and he wants to show off his power in you (3830).”
(The numbers by the quotes are the kindle location numbers.)