From the fourth chapter of First John, Jonathan Edwards established five things as essential in a genuine work of God’s Holy Spirit.
First, a true work of the Spirit raises the “esteem of Jesus that was born of the Virgin, and was crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish believer’s minds in the truth of what the Gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Savior of men.
Secondly, it operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, against sin and men’s worldly lusts.
Third, men are established in a greater regard for the Holy Scriptures “in their truth and divinity.”
Fourth, the Spirit operates as a Spirit of truth — a Spirit who shows people the uniqueness and holiness of God and that they must die and that very soon, and “that they must give account of themselves to God; one who convinces them that they are helpless in themselves and confirms them in other things that are agreeable to sound doctrine,” that is a Spirit of truth.
Fifth, the Spirit who generates love to God and man is the Spirit of God (Jonathan Edwards, The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God in the Great Awakening, ed. C.C. Goen (New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ., 1972), p.249).
To ensure that our work for Christ has His distinctive imprint and blessing, we ought to ask the following questions after every sermon, Bible study, evangelistic appointment, worship service, board meeting, and counseling appointment:
(1) Did I exalt the Savior? Were people led to elevate their view of Christ?
(2) Was sin exposed for what it is, an offense to the character of a holy God?
(3) Were people led to have a greater regard for the Scriptures so much so that they actually became doers of the Word?
(4) Was the Spirit of truth evident in promoting God’s holiness so that sinners realize their need of and accountability to Him?
(5) Was love for God and man generated in the hearts of God’s people?