An evangelist focuses on the evangel—the good news of Jesus to sinners and the good news of the Holy Spirit to saints. The message to sinners puts an emphasis on evangelizing; the message to saints emphasizes revival. God may give an evangelist a ministry with an emphasis on one theme over the other, but true evangelists love both. 

Early in my years of full-time evangelistic ministry, God stirred me with the truth of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus makes Christ real to the Spirit-dependent saint, and life again (personal revival) is the result. I’ve been preaching on this for well over twenty years, and because of the particular emphasis, some have branded the message and ministry as being “off on the Holy Spirit.” This, however, is a strange accusation.

How can you be “off” on God? This very accusation reveals part of the problem. For some, the Holy Spirit is doctrinally included in the Godhead, yet practically, He is regarded as a second class citizen among the Trinity. Now, if you emphasize the Spirit to the exclusion of the Father and the Son, that would be doctrinal error. If you misrepresent the Spirit by your own imagination, that too would be error. But to honor the Spirit as God along with the Father and the Son…that is simply honoring the triune God.

It seems to me that some have overreacted to others who have embraced “strange fire” in the name of the Spirit. This overreaction causes many to neglect the Holy Spirit, resulting in “no fire.” But that is not the answer. We desperately need the ministry of the Spirit within biblical boundaries. Jesus, when exalted to the throne, sent the Spirit to lead and empower the church with the throne life of the triumphant Christ. The Spirit is the throne gift from Jesus to the saints.

May we let the Spirit ignite us with the victorious life of Jesus. This glorifies the Son. Being thus “off on the Spirit” will keep us on Jesus.

John Van Gelderen

John Van Gelderen

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