As we studied earlier, the word "advent" means "coming" or "visit." The four Sundays prior to the observance of our Lord's birth provide teachable moments for believers to review the history and meaning of Christ's first coming and give added discernment and understanding to the promises and hope of His Second Coming.
At His first coming, He was the divine visitor. At His Second Coming, he will be the divine victor. His first coming was as a baby, meek and mild. His second coming will display kingdom authority, spiritual warfare and sovereign control.
As we are waiting for the return of our Lord, we need to be reminded of the supernatural and spiritual dimensions of His first coming to better understand the unfolding spiritual dimensions of His Second Coming.
The essence of Christmas revolves around the person and purpose of Jesus of Nazareth, who was given by our Creator God "in the fullness of time" so that "the world through him [Jesus] might be saved" (Gal. 4:4-5, John 3:16-17).
Yet, it is important to review the role of the "Spirit of Christmas" (the Holy Spirit of God), in both Christ's first coming and the promised Second Coming. Consider these steps of Holy Spirit-involvement in our Lord's first Advent and ministry preparation.
- Jesus was supernaturally conceived in the womb of his earthly mother Mary (Miriam in Hebrew), by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:26-38). This was confirmed to Mary's fiancé, Joseph, by an angel (Matt. 1:19-20).
- During His "growing years," in obscurity in Galilee, the Holy Spirit developed character qualities and spiritual graces within His life (Luke 2:39-40, 52), similar to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our growing lives as believers.
- Later, when Jesus was about 30 years of age, he went to be baptized of John the Baptist (Luke 3:21-23) and the Holy Spirit, descending from heaven in a bodily form like a dove, came upon Him to enable a ministry of power and good works (Luke 3:22, 4:18-19). Then the third member of the Godhead spoke as a voice from heaven, affirming His pleasure in the Son.
Kingdom Power for Spiritual Warfare
Today—while we are waiting for Christ's second coming—the Spirit will produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit within us and wants to come upon us to empower us for kingdom ministries and spiritual warfare (see Acts 1:8, 2:4, 4:8, 10:44-45, 13:9).
This indwelling Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the body of Christ and equips them with various manifestations of spiritual blessings to be delivered as grace-gifts within the congregations of assembled believers. These are to be used in orderly and edifying ways, "for the profit of all" (1 Cor. 12:1-11).
Additionally, we learn from the apostle Jude that this Holy Spirit of God will help us to meaningfully pray to the Father. We can build upon and strengthen the spiritual foundation of our holy faith by "praying in the Holy Spirit" (Jude 1:20-21). This Holy Spirit-prompted and enabled prayer language is usually subsequent to and different from the salvation experience (Acts 10:44-46).
It bypasses our own thought processes and speaks directly to God in words unknown to us (Acts 2:4, 1 Corinthians 14:2). Paul explained to the Romans that when we don't know for what or how we should pray, this Spirit-assisted prayer "makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26-27, NKJV).
Finally, in the prophetic book of Revelation, this Holy Spirit speaks affirmation and correction to real and representative congregations of the early church, with application throughout the church age and to us, today. Seven times in this final book (see Rev. 2-3, MEV) we read: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Let us listen, learn and discern!
Until He Comes
Having reviewed the role of the Holy Spirit in the first and Second Coming of Christ, it would be important to underscore that the devil knows that "his time is short" (Rev. 12:12). While we are waiting for the "end of all things," he goes about like "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 4:7; 5:8).
That is why the Holy Spirit gives us the power to enable us to stand strong in resisting "deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1-2, NKJV). We must avoid those who have "a form of godliness but [deny] its power" (2 Tim. 3:1-5). These will lead to a predicted great apostasy and the emergence of "the man of sin." This "lawless one" will perform deceiving acts "according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (see 2 Thess. 2:3-12).
Against these evil ones, in these end times, the apostle Paul instructed the Ephesians (and us!) to "Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6:11-13, MEV).
Gary Curtis served in full-time ministry for 50 years, the last 27 years of which he was part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys' California Foursquare church. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms.
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