The Pastor and the Holy Spirit -- By: Glenn O’Neal

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 14:3 (Fall 1973)
Article: The Pastor and the Holy Spirit
Author: Glenn O’Neal


The Pastor and the Holy Spirit

Glenn O’Neal

Professor of Practical Theology
Talbot Theological Seminary

[The material in this article was originally presented at Grace Theological Seminary as comprising the Louis S. Bauman Lectures, February, 1973.]

Luke 24:48, 49 is a sobering passage for all who would engage in the work of the Lord.

You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

We know that this was written in anticipation of Pentecost but the implications go far beyond. Jesus is saying that no ministry should be attempted without the accompanying presence of the Spirit. The word “clothed” gives the idea of “covered” or “engulfed” by the Spirit. The disciples needed to be convinced that no sermon could be preached, no plans made, no church started with a dependence upon their own ingenuity.

Those anticipating a life of service for Christ need to learn the same lesson. You who have had seminary are especially vulnerable to the suggestion that since you are equipped with Greek and Hebrew, a knowledge of the Bible, theology, church history, and homiletics you are prepared to make an impact on the world. Until you are absolutely convinced of Christ’s words which indicate that you are helpless unless “clothed with power from on high” you are not adequately prepared in spite of an M.Div.

A “candid camera” television program portrayed a scene in which a motor had been removed from a car. The car was towed to the top of a hill and allowed to coast down the hill and into a service station

with a lady from the program steering it. When the attendant checked the oil you can imagine his amazement at making the “missing motor” discovery. With disbelief and frustration he exclaimed, “Lady, you have no motor!” It is just as foolish for the disciples or us to think of ministering without God’s power as to drive a car without a motor. The Lord was trying to convince the disciples of their helplessness apart from the Holy Spirit.

Why is the Holy Spirit essential to an effective ministry? In the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians, three miracle works are mentioned, none of which can be accomplished except by the Spirit of God.

I. The work of establishing men of faith.

And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith sh...

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