When discussing the Holy Spirit there are several misconceptions about what the Spirit of God is and How He operates. I will not be able to address all of those here but I do want to show what the Bible clearly says about the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is one of the main tenants of our Christian faith and just like all the other areas it is attacked and misunderstood. Because we are talking about God Himself there is no way we can fully comprehend the whole scope of the Holy Spirit but like other concepts we cannot fully understand, God has given us enough information for us to have.
The Word Trinity is not in the Bible but the concept of God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit are. One of the attacks against the Holy Spirit is because we have come up with the term Trinity to describe the unity of God.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Some say that the trinity is not supposed to be worshiped because only God is to be worshiped. But just like Jesus is God so is the Holy Spirit.
The best way to explain the trinity is to use the illustration of water. Water is made up of two parts Hydrogen and one part Oxygen (H2O) If you take out any part of this then it no longer is water. It loses its properties then it loses its essence. God is made up of three properties, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, to take any of these out of who God is would make God no longer who He is.
I am sure that with this discussion there will be aspects that you will find I left out. This is not a complete book on the work of the Holy Spirit but it is a general knowledge and application for us today.
1) The Holy Spirit has always existed
Genesis 1:2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
2) The Holy Spirit Reveals Christ
John 15:26 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.
1 Corinthians 2:10-11 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
Only God can reveal God. Who better can tell us about God but God Himself?
Everyone has a perception about you that may or may not be true but if you were open and honest and you shared things about yourself, others would say “I did not know that about you” Only you really know you and everyone else has a perception of you. Same thing with God. There are things that the Spirit of God has to reveal in order for us to understand.
3) The Holy Spirit Convicts people of sin
John 16:8-11 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
If you want to know if what you are experiencing is a true outpouring of the Spirit of God then you need to see if there is conviction of sin.
God’s first order of business to restore our companionship with Him was to deal with our sin. Many speculations of what happens when you are filled with the Spirit of God are talked about but it is the conviction of sin and repentance of those sins that show a true outpouring of the Spirit of God.
If you are frustrated with someone who does not see the “Log in their own Eye” pray to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to them. If you are not sorry about sins in your life then you need to pray for the help to overcome them as well. God loves you were you are but He will not leave you where you are and to do that He begins to get the sin out of our lives. If the cost of sin is death (Romans 6:23) then God cannot leave us in the state we are in.
We do not want people to change so that we can be proven right; we want people to change so that they are not destroyed by their sin. (Romans 6:23)
Proverbs 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
4) The Holy Spirit teaches us the things of Christ.
John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
1 Corinthians 2:10-16 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.[d]
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
This is another sign that the spirit you are experiencing is actually from God. If the Spirit is teaching you what Gods word has already said that you can be sure that it is God is speaking. If Someone says they have a revelation from God and it does not match Gods word then you can know the Spirit they are listening to is not Gods word. God is the same yesterday today and tomorrow so if His words do not match then they are not His.
This is why when someone says, “God told me to kill”, we know that it goes against the word of God and therefore not God who they are listening to.
5) The Holy Spirit lives inside of you
1 John 4:12-13 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
John 14:15-17 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[a] to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[b] in you.
This is part of the Promise Jesus gave to His disciples that He would never leave them nor forsake them. (Matthew 28:20) He then left and went to Heaven. If Jesus promised that He would never leave them nor forsake them and then left, how did He keep His promise? He kept it through the Holy Spirit who is part of who God is and part of who Jesus is.
6) The Holy Spirit prays for you
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Even when you do not know how to pray, God Himself is praying for you.
7) The Holy Spirit reminds you who you belong to
Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
8) The Holy Spirit makes you like Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[a] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Just like any tree that produces fruit what you are is what you will produce. If you are not seeing the fruit of the Spirit being developed in your life then you need to find out why. Either you are not a Christian and have the Holy Spirit in your life, or you are grieving the Spirit of God. Do not answer this question to quickly or pass it by without thought, because the fruit of the Spirit shows you are Gods child.
9) The Holy Spirit equips you for ministry
Ephesians 12:4-11 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.
Luke 24:49 says this is where we get our power from.
10) The Holy Spirit is a Personal Deity
a) You can lie to Him
Acts 5:3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
b) You can test Him.
Acts 5:9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”
Parents you know what it means to be tested by your children as they contnue to push the boundaries that are set. This testing will eventually lead to discipline in the childs life.
c) You can Grieve Him
Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
“All sin is painful to God, but sin in His children breaks His heart. When His children refuse to change the ways of the old life for the way of the new, God grieves. The Holy Spirit of God weeps, as it were, when he sees Christians lying instead of speaking the truth, becoming un-righteously rather than righteously angry, stealing instead of sharing, and speaking corrupt instead of uplifting and gracious worlds. “(John Macarthur, Commentary on Ephesians pg. 189)
d) You can Resist Him
Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
Hebrews 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
The Spirit of God is the one who draws you to Himself and you can reject Him. God is the one who searches you out, draws you to accept Him, fills you with His power when you surrender, and guides you to live the life He has called you to live.
11) We need to be filled with the Spirit
Ephesians 5:15-18 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
What are you filling your life with? The filling of the Spirit of God is an ongoing process although the initial process of filling has already been established.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[a] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[b] to the praise of his glory.
Just like you are saved and are being saved and will be saved so you are filled with the Spirit of God and you have to constantly fill yourself with the Spirit of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit
You can hinder the work of God in your life because you are refusing to surrender areas in your life.
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
You fill yourself with the Spirit of God by emptying yourself of your desires, rights and submit to His desires and will for your life. By repenting of your sins, removing things out of your life that cause you to sin you then in turn fill your life up with things from the Spirit of God.
Ephesians 4:17-32 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
So the filling of the Spirit is not an emotional experience all the time but a promise from Jesus Himself to all who accept the free gift of salvation He accomplished on the cross.