Empowered by The Holy Spirit

Jul 14, 2023
The Work of the Holy Spirit

This will be the first of a series of articles on the work and Person of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, especially a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This will be a help and a guide into a deeper relationship and understanding of the Holy Spirit and the fantastic empowerment that He makes available to every born-again believer in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Let me start with a brief introduction and testimony of His work in my life. I got saved in June of 1971, during the spiritual awakening then going on among young people that we now look back and call “The Jesus Revolution.” Without all the details, let me say that I was belligerent to the gospel, but when my younger brother needed heart surgery, I asked the “Jesus Freaks,” who had witnessed to me, to pray for him.  The young lady I asked to pray flat out told me no!  She told me, “You give your life to Jesus and pray for him.” To shorten the story, when my brother had complications after the surgery, and his lungs were full of blood clots, I surrendered my life to Jesus and humbly asked him to help Anthony, my brother. Within an hour, his lungs were clear, the doctors were amazed, and I was convinced of the reality of Jesus and God, Who hears and answers prayer. Trying to emulate the other young believers I had exposure to, I passed out gospel literature and tried to share Jesus with students in my High School. Other students pretty much ignored me. I started attending a church that taught that the Holy Spirit would baptize you and give you the power to be a witness.

Since they claimed the evidence of that baptism was speaking in a foreign prayer language, I rejected that. It seemed too strange, but when I saw that I needed more of God’s power to represent Him adequately, I prayed and received the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.  Since then, I started a High School Bible study, a teen outreach “Coffee House” ministry, became a church youth pastor, and then started a church in Florida in 1984 called Grace Christian Center, of which I’ve been pastor ever since. I have been honored to serve on the executive board of Kingsway Fellowship International since the 90s, with its outstanding worldwide missions outreach and encouraging supportive treatment here at the home of its US minister members and churches. I’ve preached in a few other countries and seen that the God we serve is still a miracle-working God, Who confirms the gospel with signs following.

I’m humbled but thrilled to say that I’ve seen the blind see, people who are deaf or hard of hearing hear, the mute speak, the lame walk, many cancers disappear, and several creative miracles. All the praise and glory to God, Who does it through the miracle-working power of His Holy Spirit in Jesus' Name, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The God of the Bible has not changed. Mark 16 still works, and He will use anyone who, in this way, will earnestly covet those gifts. (1 Cor 12:31)

In future writings, as God permits, I will examine the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Still, today I was awakened by the Lord in the wee hours of the morning and prompted to write about another just as important work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and that is to produce in us spiritual fruit, evidenced by conforming us to the image and nature of Christ. The scripture reference is Galatians 5, verses 22 and 23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  Let’s divide these descriptions of the fruit of the Spirit into three categories: 1) God in us, 2) Us towards people, and 3) Our inner disciplines.

We are transformed by renewing our minds in the word of God. (Romans 12:2)  I’ll make this easy by simply making a case for each description of the fruit of the Spirit with its category listed above, scripture reference, and maybe a brief application or explanation.



The fruit of the Spirit is:

LOVE:   1 John 4:15-21  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. Hereby is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in the world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If a man says, I love God and hates his brother; he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, that He who loves God, loves his brother also.

     Since God is love, the fruit of the Spirit through love proves that God’s Spirit dwells in us.


JOY:   1 Thessalonians 1:6,7  And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Ghost: So that you were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.     Nehemiah 8b …for this day is holy unto the Lord, neither be sorry; for the joy of the Lord is our strength.    Romans 5:11 ..but we also Joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the atonement.

     It's not joy sourced from ourselves but the joy of the Lord in us.


PEACE:   John 14:17  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.      Philippians 4:7   And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.     Colossians 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…



LONG SUFFERING:   Colossians 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.    1 Timothy 1:16  ..for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, as a pattern for them who should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.  

     By His glorious power, we have longsuffering towards difficult people joyfully.


GENTLENESS: 11 Corinthians 10:1  Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am very humble among you, but being absent am bold toward you.  11 Timothy 2:24  The servant of the Lord must not strive: but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.

     The gentleness of Christ in us causes us to be gentle to other people.


GOODNESS:  Romans 15:14   And I myself also am persuaded about you, me brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able to gently warn one another.

     Through the goodness of God in us, we care enough to seek to restore people who may be in error or straying from Christ.



FAITH: Acts 11:24   He (Barnabas) was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and many people were added unto the Lord.    Romans 1:17   For therein (the gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written: The just shall live by faithRomans 10:17   So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  11 Corinthians 5:7  For we walk by faith, not by sight.

     We wait on the Lord and learn to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and His voice produces the faith that we walk by.


MEEKNESS: Galatians 6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Ephesians 4:1b,-3  Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Titus 3:2  Speak evil of no man, be not brawlers, but gentle showing meekness unto all people.  

     The spirit of meekness causes us to humble ourselves before all and respect every person.


TEMPERANCE: Acts 24:25  And as (Paul) he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled…. 11 Peter 1:5,6   Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness.  

     Temperance is self-control.  Or to yield control of our lives to the Spirit of God.

God works on the earth through His people. He works in his people first so he can work through his people to minister to others. It is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit that cultivates spiritual fruit needed to live disciplined and surrendered lives. 


Pastor Richard Risi



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