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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit: How He Works

Don Stewart :: How Does the Holy Spirit Work in a Worship Service?

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How Does the Holy Spirit Work in a Worship Service?

The Holy Spirit: How He Works – Question 13

Among other things, a New Testament worship service consists of the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, prayer, and the singing of praises to worship the Lord.

The Bible also speaks of the way in which the Holy Spirit works during each of these parts of a worship service. They include the following.

Biblical Preaching Has Its Authority from the Holy Spirit

The preaching of God’s Word derives its authority from God the Holy Spirit. We find this in the life of Peter. The Book of Acts says.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message (Acts 10:44 TNIV).

The Holy Spirit was not only with Peter, He also fell upon those to whom Peter was speaking. In other words, He was totally involved in everything which took place.

There Is the Need to Depend upon the Power of the Holy Spirit in Teaching God’s Word

Paul wrote about the need to depend upon the Holy Spirit in the teaching and preaching of God’s Word. He wrote the following to the Corinthians.

When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NRSV).

Paul’s preaching was due to the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, it is not his mere human effort that produced such great results.

Thus, true biblical preaching and teaching is done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul also said.

Because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:5, 6 NRSV).

There was confidence in the heart of Paul that what he was saying was the truth. This allowed his message to be powerfully delivered through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Peter acknowledged the same thing. He emphasized the work of the Holy Spirit in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. He wrote.

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look! (1 Peter 1:12 NRSV).

It is the power of the Holy Spirit that brings about the desired results of the preaching of God’s Word.

Effective Prayer Must Be Lead by the Holy Spirit

For prayer to be effective it must be led by the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote the following words of instruction to the believers in Rome.

At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to (Romans 8:26, 27 God’s Word).

Prayer is only effective when lead by God’s Spirit. Indeed, the Spirit must guide us concerning what to pray and who to pray for. Scripture says the following.

The Holy Spirit Intercedes on Behalf of Believers

The Holy Spirit is interceding, or speaking on behalf of believers upon the earth. This is the same way that Jesus Christ, in heaven, intercedes for believers. The write to the Hebrews made this clear when he wrote.

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf (Hebrews 7:25 NLT).

He is the one who speaks on behalf of us.

Access to God the Father Comes through the Holy Spirit

Access in prayer to the Living God is through the Person of Jesus Christ as well as through the Holy Spirit. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and emphasized this truth.

For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father (Ephesians 2:18 NKJV).

Therefore, we find that each member of the Trinity is involved in our prayers coming into God’s presence..

Paul wrote the following to the Ephesians about the need to “pray in the Spirit.”

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18 NRSV).

The Holy Spirit must guide our prayers.

Jude also told the believers to pray in the Holy Spirit. He put it this way.

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20 TNIV)

We are to pray to the Father through the Spirit.

Prayer should be in Jesus’ name or by Jesus’ authority. Jesus Himself made this clear. On the night of His betrayal He said the following to His disciples.

On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete (John 16:23, 24 NRSV).

It is in Jesus’ name that we ask for things.

Singing Should Be Directed by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit should also lead people in their singing to the Lord. Paul wrote.

Well then, what shall I do? I will do both. I will pray in the spirit, and I will pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will sing in words I understand (1 Corinthians 14:15 NLT).

The Holy Spirit should guide the words we sing unto the Lord.

When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit they should sing unto the Lord. Paul emphasized this when he wrote to the Ephesians.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18, 19 NKJV).

As we are filled with the Spirit we will indeed sing unto the Lord!

The same thing was said when Paul wrote to the Colossians. He stated.

Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:16 NASB).

We are to sing “spiritual songs.”

The writer to the Hebrews commanded.

With Jesus’ help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name (Hebrews 13:15 NLT).

In this instance, praise is called a “sacrifice.”

Therefore, the elements of a worship service which include the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, prayer, and the singing of praises to the Lord, should all be directed by the Holy Spirit. If a group of believers wants to truly please the Lord, then the Holy Spirit should guide everything.

Summary – Question 13
How Does the Holy Spirit Work during a Worship Service?

The Holy Spirit works through all areas of the life of the church. This includes a worship service. Indeed, He should be the one who orders and controls a worship service for the Bible says that He is intimately involved in preaching, prayer, and singing. We can make the following points.

To begin with, we find that the early preaching of the church was led by God’s Spirit. He was the One who gave them the power to effectively preach and teach the Word of God. This, in turn, caused people to trust Christ. Thus, the number of believers quickly multiplied. Consequently, the rapid growth and success of the early church was not a human effort but rather a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people.

We are also told that when believers pray it is the Holy Spirit who guides their prayers. Our access to God the Father is through God the Son by means of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit prompts our heart to pray for the right things. He leads and guides our prayers.

When the church sings praises to the name of the Lord, it is to be through the work of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, when we are filled with the Spirit it will result in our praise to Him.

Consequently when Christians gather to worship the Lord we find that all aspects of the service should be guided by the Holy Spirit. It is only this way that we can please the Lord.

How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Church Organization and Government? ← Prior Section
What Is the Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Next Section →
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