How would you describe the structure of this resource? How are the topics ordered from beginning to end?
This book is a basic, and very accessible study on the Holy Spirit. It explores what God has revealed in the Bible about the Holy Spirit regarding his identity as a divine person, and the work of the Holy Spirit in individuals, the church as a whole, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in end times.
The book is divided into two main sections. The first section explores the biblical witness to the identity of the Holy Spirit as the Third Person of the Holy Trinity who is co-eternal, co-equal, and indivisibly united with God the Father and God the Son. We first treat the notion of the Trinity and key concepts for understanding the Trinity as worked out in the early Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. From there we consider the uniqueness of the Holy Spirit within the Trinity as the one who eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son.
We then go through the occurrences in scripture where God reveals that the Holy Spirit is a divine Person to be worshipped together with God the Father and God the Son. After establishing the biblical witness to the divinity of the Holy Spirit, special attention is given to the personhood of the Holy Spirit and why it is absolutely essential that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, but a person.
The second section provides an overview of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This section lays out how the Holy Spirit—based on the reconciling work of Jesus—unites believers in intimate, loving fellowship with the Holy Trinity as well as fellowship with one another. We see here that this uniting work of the Holy Spirit restores the life-giving divine presence that was lost in the Garden of Eden. We further see that the restoration of God’s presence in the Holy Spirit—the Giver of Life—restores and therefore redeems the image of God in humans. In sum, we see that in shaping people to the image of Christ, the Holy Spirit makes us into what we were always intended to be as individuals, and as a human race of persons living in fellowship with God.
In detailing out how that works, the book carefully walks through the way of salvation and the Holy Spirit’s role in each step of the salvation journey in restoring the image of God in individual believers by united them with Christ and one another.
We explore how the Holy Spirit comes to glorify Jesus in the world, and he does that by shaping believers in the image of Christ for the world to witness.
After dealing with the work of the Holy Spirit at the individual-level, we turn to the work of the Holy Spirit within the church as the collective body of believers. Here we see that the Holy Spirit, on the basis of Christ’s work, brings the church into existence. Just like he was instrumental in the incarnation of Christ in his first coming, the Holy Spirit likewise incarnates Christ through the church in believers. This chapter also explores the notion that the Holy Spirit makes the church everlasting, nourishes the church, comforts the church, helps the church in advancing the kingdom of God through spiritual gifts, and gives the church a witness to the world of God’s love through believer-unity.
Lastly, this section on the work of the Holy Spirit explores the role of the Holy Spirit as revealed in scripture pertaining to end times. Here we see that the Holy Spirit seals the church, preserves the church during times of persecution, and resurrects the church for final vindication, just as Christ himself was vindicated as the Divine Son through his own resurrection.
The ultimate aim of this book is not to help people get to know about the Holy Spirit, but to help people know him personally and to embrace a deeper work of the Holy Spirit as he glorifies Jesus by sets us free from the power of cancelled sin.
Why did you write this book now?
Just a few years ago I was invited to preach in a Methodist church on the person of the Holy Spirit. It was Pentecost Sunday, so I had the perfect biblical text to work with on teaching on the relationship between the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament covenant and the Holy Spirit in the New Testament covenant. When the sermon was over, I had countless people tell me that they had never heard anything like what I just preached. From my perspective, this was Holy Spirit 101 kind of stuff yet so many weren’t familiar with these very powerful notions that are essential for understanding the full gospel of Jesus Christ.
The overwhelming feedback from that sermon planted the seed of the idea of a book on the Holy Spirit that was deeply biblical, orthodox, yet accessible to the average Christian.
As some time passed, and in the course of teaching on the Holy Spirit among Christians from various Christian traditions around the world, I found that a large portion of the deficiencies in the average Christian’s theology that framed their thinking about their spiritual lives and how they related to God, the Bible, giftings for ministry, and victorious, holy Christian living, stemmed directly from a lack of awareness of both the identity and ministry of the Holy Spirit. The people I encountered desperately needed a refresher on the Holy Spirit. There was a need for a deeply biblical book on the Holy Spirit that was accessible to the average Christian. The hope is that this book meets that need.
Each chapter of the book concludes with a brief reflection on why these theological doctrines matter and are essential to a healthy, growing faith.
How can people engage this book?
This book is intended to be used primarily in the context of a small-group setting. The study questions at the end of each chapter seek to facilitate that. The book is certainly not limited to this context as it can also very easily be for individual study, or even as the basis for a sermon series.
If you would like to learn more about the Holy Spirit, Matt Ayars’s new book The Holy Spirit: An Introduction. This readable systematic theology works through the person and work of the Spirit that offers a comprehensive overview not just of this doctrine but as a vision for the Spirit’s indispensable role in the victorious Christian life.
- Laypeople seeking to deepen their understanding and experience with the Spirit
- Students in classes studying the person and work of the third person of the Trinity
- Pastors or church leaders needing an accessible reference book
In these pages you will:
- Understand the Spirit’s role in conforming us to the image of Jesus Christ
- Gain confidence in speaking truthfully about the breadth of the Spirit’s activity
- Cherish the personal, empowering grace afforded to every believer
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