what does it mean to be
pentecostal REV. DEAN F. COURTIER
20:20 BIBLE STUDY NOTES
Contents What does it mean to be Pentecostal?
What we were What we are What we should be
3 3 4 7
Who is the Holy Spirit? 8
Freedom in The Spirit 9 What does it mean to Receive The Holy Spirit? 13
Recieve The Spirit No set formula... ... Some principles to follow Growing in The Spirit Receive The Power Receive the Breath Receive the Gift Receive His Presence Receive the Life
13 14 15 17 18 18 18 19 20
What does it mean to Hear The Holy Spirit? 21
Verify His Voice Hear the Truth Follow His Word Follow His Lead Understand His Voice How the Holy Spirit Helps us Love Love is the greatest Gift So what does the Holy Spirit do to help us? The Holy Spirit Comforts & Counsels The Word of God The Holy Spiritâ€™s Instruction How do you get the Word into you? The Holy Spirit reminds us When the Holy Spirit speaks do you listen? The Wisdom of the Holy Spirit 2
21 22 23 23 23 24 25 26 28 29 29 31 31 32 33
What does it mean to be Pentecostal? Many people, in some way or another, have a knowledge or understanding of the Bible. People have heard various sermons, in various places, read books, articles, sung some of the great doctrines in Hymn and song - but I would suggest that what we know, or think we know may be tainted by opinions or doctrinal bias from rather than Biblical truth. Elim have a set of fundamental nonnegotiable truths that form the basis of our belief and the purpose of this set of studies it to gain a better understanding of what it mean to be a Pentecostal. Some of us are Pentecostal to the core, others God has brought us along different denominational paths that have led us to be part of the Elim movement today. I believe that it is God’s desire that we align ourselves with His heart and will. I believe that God wants us to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be Pentecostal people. What it looks like, what it feels like, what evidence there should be in our lives, based on God’s word what is necessary and what is optional. The over arching theme of these studies is What does it mean to be... and some of the things we will consider together will include: What does it mean to receive the Spirit?, What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? What does it mean to live a Spirit led life? What does it mean to hear the voice of the Spirit? What does it mean to blaze with the fire of the Spirit? I have great expectations of what God is going to do with us, as individuals, as friends, as family, as church. As we go on this journey together be willing to allow the Spirit to open your mind and your heart to His prompting and leading. This discussion will focus on what does it mean to be Pentecostal and the discussion will be split into three main areas, What we were? What we are? And What we should be?
What we were When you first became a Christian what kind of church/denomination were you part of? What was your first experience of our church? Can you remember what god used to motivate you to visit an Elim Church? How long have you been part of an Elim Church? How did you know this was where god wanted you to be? What changes have you observed any within the Elim/Pentecostal Movement? What differences are there in the church today from when you first came?
What is Pentecostal? What words would you use to describe a Pentecostal Church? What words would you use to describe this church? (If there are differences in the descriptions why?) Dictionary definition: Pen·te·cos·tal (pnt-kstl, -kôstl) 1. Of, relating to, or occurring at Pentecost. 2. Of, relating to, or being any of various Christian religious congregations whose members seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, in emulation of the Apostles at Pentecost. 3. (Christian Churches, other) (usually prenominal) of or relating to any of various Christian groups that emphasize the charismatic aspects of Christianity and adopt a fundamental attitude to the Bible 4. (Christianity / Ecclesiastical Terms) of or relating to Pentecost or the influence of the Holy Ghost 5. Any fundamentalist Protestant Church that uses revivalistic methods to achieve experiences comparable to the Pentecostal experiences of the first Christian disciples 6. Noting or pertaining to any of various Christian groups, usually fundamentalist, that emphasize the activity of the holy spirit, stress holiness of living, and express their religious feelings uninhibitedly, as by speaking in tongues.
Do you resemble any of those descriptions? 3
What we are Are Pentecostals Biblical? As Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” - Christians have a variety of different denominational backgrounds, some Christians believe that the Holy Spirt only operated in miraculous ways during New Testament times. Some Christians believe that without the gift of tongues a person can not be a “real” Christian others actually believe that tongues are demonic in origin. Some Christians believe that it is actually wrong to sing songs in a church building. Some Christians believe that it is the building that is the church and not the group of people that God has called to worship together. Some believe that it is wrong to clap your hands, or raise your hands in worship. Some believe that it is wrong for anyone other than the minister to pray aloud. Some Christian denominations firmly believe that Pentecostal Christians are a cult because of the emphasis we place on the Holy Spirit being active in our lives.
Our Biblical basis (Acts 2:1-4 NIV): 1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4 NLT): 1 On the day of Pentecost (50 days after Passover when Jesus was crucified). all the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (or in other tongues) as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.
What does a Pentecostal Christian look like? Does what we do define a stereotype of what people think we are? In some churches it is considered irreverent to clap your hands or to get louder than a whisper - why do we clap our hands? The people of God should be joyful, and one expression of joy is clapping your hands.
Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! (Psalm 47:1)
Why do we lift our hands? Lifting up our hands may seem strange to some that visit a
Pentecostal service for the first time, but throughout the Bible we see the people of God lifting their hands in surrender and expectancy. I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. (Psalm 63:4) Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the Lord. (Psalm 134:2). In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy. (1 Timothy 2:8)
Why is everyone allowed to pray out loud? In some churches only the minister will pray (or read a pre-scripted prayer) while everyone else listens. We believe in the importance of corporate worship and prayer. We believe that we are all equal before God and that one way to express that equality is praying with, and for, each other. God has given each of us direct access to Him in prayer.
When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God (Acts 4:24) Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name. (Psalms 103:1)
Why is there an emphasis on worship? God desires worship from our hearts, and we must worship with our spirit, not just a casual approach to God. God wants us to give it all we have in worship. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
Why do we sing contemporary worship songs and choruses and not all just old hymns? Different people worship in different ways, different generations use language in different ways, and Psalms, hymns, and choruses and songs all assist us in praising and learning more about the God we love. Singing and making melody in your heart brings joy to us and to the Lord. Donâ€™t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. (Ephesians 5:18-19)
Why do people speak in tongues and prophecies? But one who prophesies strengthens others, encourages them, and comforts them. (1 Corinthians 14:3) Let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit givesâ€” especially the ability to prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14:1) A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. (1 Corinthians 12: 7-10) And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (or in other tongues) as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. (Acts 2:4) No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say. (1 Corinthians 14:27)
Are we really Pentecostal? How has what it means to be Pentecostal been diluted in the world today? Can we notice a difference between Elim and other denominations or movements? What is it? When you come to church, how do you come to worship? Do you come with an expectant or expired heart? How often are you really moved by God? Are you deliberately emotional because it is what you think is expected by others or because the Holy Spirit really is moving within? Have we accepted second best or do we really expect the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever to work miracles in the church and in our own lives? 5
A Report from Exeter Elim 1932 At the age of 90, Amos Pike wrote down some of his recollections of a remarkable evangelistic and healing campaign led by Elim founder George Jeffreys: At Easter in 1932 the Elim church in Exeter had two weeks of revival meetings led by George Jeffreys. There was only a pianist available for the worship so Pastor South asked me to supplement the music with my violin at all the meetings. God’s blessing was great and wonderful throughout the event – with miracles at every meeting. On the Tuesday evening the pianist asked me to play the choruses while she went up for healing, because her left leg was locked from the hip to the toes. She and a brother called Gordon Snell were the first to be prayed for as a total of 64 people who needed healing came forward. George Jeffreys asked everybody to pray while he prayed for the sick or disabled two at a time. Gordon Snell stuttered and was almost totally deaf. “Lord Jesus, just now!” cried Pastor Jeffreys. Suddenly, both the stuttering and deafness were healed instantaneously. “Hallelujah!” Gordon shouted. There was also a loud ‘bang’ and the pianist started stamping with her left leg. Then she walked back to the piano and started playing it again with renewed passion – and two good legs. Further into the meeting, a middle-aged man who was bent double and not able to straighten himself came forward and, as he was prayed for, it sounded as if every bone in his body was cracking. But suddenly he stood up straight! And then he was told to walk to the back of the church and then return to the front. He was crying with delight. All 64 people were prayed for and afterwards they praised God for their healing, and then we sang another chorus before listening to a 15-minute sermon. I had been asked to lead the choruses that night and, after we had sung three, we sang ‘I love Jesus, Hallelujah!’. Immediately afterwards, Pastor George got up to speak and asked everyone who had sung those lyrics for the first time to sing again. Then he prayed and invited anyone who was unsaved to come forward and commit his or her life to Christ. All together, 52 people responded to his appeal. On the Wednesday night of the crusade, there were almost the same number people who wanted to be prayed for. “Lord Jesus, just now!” George prayed again and again. As he got to the middle of the line, Pastor South told him that there was a mother and her nine-yearold daughter who had been born with no eyes at the meeting. This woman had to take her daughter to the hospital every four weeks, so that the empty sockets – that may have become infected easily – could be cleaned. So, once again, everybody was asked to pray. Then a hush fell over the congregation and God’s presence could be sensed strongly. “Lord Jesus, give this little girl her eyes, just now!” prayed Pastor Jeffreys. I was on the platform just a few feet to the left of him and, as he said, “Just now!” Her eyelids flicked open. Suddenly, this girl who had been born with no eyes was looking at us – with two beautiful, big, blue eyes! Her mother, overwhelmed by joy, jumped up and hugged and kissed her daughter. Many were healed after that, some getting saved then and there – even before they were invited to do so. A 15-minute sermon followed these remarkable events and then an appeal for people to give their lives to Jesus was made and still more got saved. Finally, the last chorus was sung and the meeting was closed in prayer. As people started filing out the doors two of us stood at the entrance and shook their hands. When the mother and her little girl reached us, I caught hold of both the girl’s hands and kissed her forehead. The mother, meanwhile, was wondering what the hospital staff would say when she and her daughter made the monthly visit there the next morning. I told her we would all be praying for them both. They were in the hospital waiting room at 10.00 am when the girl told her mother that she wanted to see the doctor on her own. So when the nursing sister called out her name, off she went – on her own. ‘Where’s your sister?’ The nurse asked. I haven’t got a sister,’ the little girl replied. The nurse was puzzled. ‘Where’s your mother?’ She continued. ‘I told her to stay in the waiting room.’ Suddenly, the nurse felt unable to handle the situation. ‘I’ll call the doctor,’ was all she could say. 6
As the doctor came through the door, he asked the girl, ‘Where did you get those two lovely blue eyes from?’ ‘Jesus gave them to me last night when I was prayed for,’ she replied. ‘Sister, come here! See that white mark there and on the other side too? You were with me when I operated to see if there were eyes behind the sockets. Ask the mother to come in please.’ ‘Where did all this happen?’ The doctor enquired. ‘At the Elim church,’ the mother replied. ‘Please ask them to reserve two rows for the hospital staff who will be there tonight!’ He replied excitedly. So we reserved four rows – just to make sure that they all got a seat. Many more people came and three rows all had hospital folk, and then 96-plus others came in late. On the Thursday evening, another notable miracle happened. A lady came to the meeting in a four-wheeled bed. ‘How long-have you been bedridden?’ The preacher asked. ‘Sixteen years.’ She replied. ‘And, four years before that, gradually getting worse every day.’ ‘Sister, in the name of the Lord Jesus, sit up now!’ Said Pastor Jeffreys. The woman responded by sitting up, flinging off the coverings and, putting two feet on the floor, stood up. ‘Now, sister, push your bed to the back and come to me.’ The entire hospital staff who had come to the meeting stood and looked on in utter amazement. They all knew her. I went to the door after the meeting and, just as the healed woman’s husband put his hands on the wheeled bed, his wife came up to him. She was walking perfectly. “You take the bus,” said the husband, “and I’ll push the bed home [four miles away].” “No you won’t,” the wife replied determinedly. “You pushed me here, I’ll push it home.” So she did exactly that – and more. The next day she walked all four miles back to the Friday night’s meeting. The meetings continued for another week after that, with many more people testifying to God’s mighty healings. I often wish that I had a tape recorder, so that I could have recorded everything that happened in those weeks.
How does the report from Exeter Elim make you feel? Has god changed? Are we the problem or the solution? Who does god call us up be?
What we should be What should a Pentecostal People look like? What could we do differently and what should we do differently? How can we truly live Pentecostal lives? The church today needs to discover once again that we have an unchanging God and an unchanging kingdom. We need once again to discover the power of Pentecost. We need to become a Pentecostal people — and I am not talking about a denomination or a movement — I am talking about an Acts 2 church. We need to be filled with the Spirit. We need to be operating in the gifts of the Spirit. We should expect to see people’s lives turned around. We should expect to see people healed physically, emotionally, relationally, socially and spiritually. We need to experience the unity of the Spirit as the early church did. We should be living in genuine love for each other, and when we fail at that then we need to seek reconciliation. We need to have the fresh fire fall and allow the Spirit to work in us and through us - we as the people of God to rise up and be the people God has called us to be.
Who is the Holy Spirit? What do Christians believe about the Holy Spirit? There is a a tremendous amount of confusion and controversy today about the Holy Spirit today. Different denominations have different views - some views are based on interpretation of the Bible, others are based on tradition or preference. There are churches where people experience hysterical laughter said to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, there are places where people fall down on the ground, there are places where people growl like animals...all in the name of the Holy Spirit. Even in Pentecostal churches there are differences of opinion on who the Spirit is, how He behaves, and the influence He has in our lives today. A. W. Tozer wrote when the average Christian thinks about the Holy Spirit “he is likely to imagine a nebulous substance like a wisp of invisible smoke which is said to be present in churches and to hover over good people when they die” So although atheism has never really gained popular acceptance, the real confusing comes when we try to describe exactly what kind of God it is that we’re talking about. Part of our problem when we think about the Holy Spirit is He seems almost mystical. We can picture God the Father, because we’ve all seen fathers, or maybe you picture God as portrayed by Morgan Freeman in films. We can picture God the Son because He became human and we can read about what He did and what He is like. But if we try and picture the Holy Spirit our minds go blank. Some people think the Holy Spirit is more like “the force” from Star Wars than a person.
How do you think of, or picture the Holy Spirit? Do you think about symbolic things like a dove, or wind, or fire?
Where is our emphasis? Different churches and denominations tend to emphasise the Holy Spirit in different ways: Charismatic and Pentecostal churches focus on His power, while evangelicals tend to emphasize the Spirit’s work in bringing attention to Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics focus on the Holy Spirit working through church hierarchy. Sadly, churches have split over how to understand the Holy Spirit.
God as The Trinity. Do you think of the Holy Spirit as “He” or “it”? The trinity is simply a summary of the Bible’s teaching that within the nature of the one true God there are three eternal persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit is a person, not merely a force or an influence. Many people call the Holy Spirit “it” as if the Spirit is like God’s laser beam, but the Holy Spirit is a “He” not an “it.” The trinity also means that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, He is God, and therefore, worthy of our worship and praise The 66 books of the Bible present God the Father as our creator, God the Son as our saviour, and God the Holy Spirit as the one who takes what Jesus did and applies it to our lives.
God the Father is God for us, God the Son is God with us, and God the Holy Spirit is God in us. Every Christian whether Pentecostal, Evangelical, Baptist, Catholic, Charismatic, Congregationalist, Methodist, etc, should agree with this statement, so why is there confusion about what the Spirit does? Do you think that it is the Holy Spirit who makes God real to us? The Holy Spirit brings us into an experience with God through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit, is the source of all genuine Christian experience.
Do you think Christians differ in opinion about what the Holy Spirit does because “Christians” have different personal experiences with God? If we can’t see the Holy Spirit, how do we know He is there? 8
Jesus himself likened the work of the Holy Spirit as being like wind. We can’t see wind, but we know wind by its effects. The human eye can’t see air molecules as they move at high speed, but we can see a tree being moved by a wind. We can’t see the Holy Spirit since He is a non‑physical person, but we can know Him by His effects and by what He does.
Freedom in The Spirit The Bible often associates the Holy Spirit with freedom. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
What freedom(s) does the Holy Spirit bring or produce in our lives?
1. The Holy Spirit as the Counsellor But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-8 NIV). The Greek word translated “counsellor” doesn’t have an exact equivalent in the English language. The Greek word here is paraclete, and it means one who’s called alongside of another person to offer assistance. A doctor is someone who comes alongside a person to offer medical assistance; well a paraclete is someone who comes alongside another person to offer help. The word paraclete could be translated counsellor or comforter, helper, supporter, advocate, ally, even friend. Jesus tells us that part of what the Holy Spirit as a paraclete does is to convict people in our world of their sin. The idea here is that people in our world live in a state of spiritual blindness-- we might call it denial--about how they stand before God.
Do you ever find yourself trying to minimise your guilt before God, perhaps even reminding God of other people who are “worse than you are”? We all make excuses some time in our lives. So the Holy Spirit as a counsellor or paraclete penetrates our evasions, shatters our defences, and silences our excuses to show us how we truly stand before God.
Has the Spirit even caused you to think about how you would stand before God if you were not in relationship with Jesus? Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3 NIV). This verse tells us that the Christian’s confession of Jesus Christ’s lordship in his or her life is tied directly to the activity of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. Without the work of God’s Spirit, none of us would become Christians, none of us would turn away from our sins and surrender our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Our sins have made us spiritually dead, incapable of seeking God on God’s terms apart from divine intervention. The Holy Spirit draws us into a relationship with Christ, we are free to experience salvation.
How did the Holy Spirit draw you into a relationship with God? As a paraclete or counselor, the Holy Spirit acts as a magnet that draws us toward Christ. He doesn’t force us against our will. He doesn’t lasso us like a cowboy and drag us to Christ kicking and screaming. The Spirit quietly persuades and He gently coaxes, He challenges and invites us. Apart from the Spirit’s work in drawing us to Christ none of us would come to know Christ. Once we’ve come to a point of commitment to Jesus Christ, we can look back and see how God was drawing us to himself through His Spirit all along. We thought we came to Christ, but what we discover is that the Holy Spirit came to us and led us by the hand to that point of commitment to Jesus.
Why do you agree or disagree with the following statement: “we can’t take any credit for coming to faith in Christ, that it’s not because of our good looks, or our deep spiritual openness, but it’s something that God initiated, God worked out, and we merely cooperated with.”? The Holy Spirit draws us into the freedom of salvation, of being able to enjoy an intimate relationship with God. A. W. Tozer wrote, “The primary work of the Holy Spirit is to restore the lost soul to intimate fellowship with God”. No longer do our sins alienate us from God, no longer do we live separated by God and in a state of spiritual lostness because we’ve discovered the freedom of forgiveness and intimacy with God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the freedom of salvation.
2. The Holy Spirit as a Guarantee What happens at the moment when we trust our lives to Jesus Christ? And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14). At the moment when we trust in Christ, God marks us with a seal. In Bible Times people used a seal to make things secure. Gordon Fee wrote in God’s Empowering Presence, “A seal denoted ownership and authenticity; this thereby guaranteed the protection of the owner”. The Holy Spirit is God’s authentication of our Christian faith. The Holy Spirit is also described here as a deposit. In other words the Holy Spirit is a first instalment or down payment that is God’s pledge to complete what he started in our lives. Again, Gordon Fee: wrote, “The Spirit himself is the down payment...in our lives that guarantees our certain future...The gift of the Spirit is the first part of the redemption of the whole person”. The idea of a seal and a deposit present the Holy Spirit as a guarantee. Since the Holy Spirit indwells us, we are free to experience security in our relationship with God.At the moment we trust our lives to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us. He makes himself at home in our hearts. The indwelling of God’s Spirit is not a special deluxe model of the Christian life for a select few, it’s what trusting in Jesus Christ accomplishes in every believer. The indwelling of God’s Spirit authenticates us as genuine children of God. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9) The indwelling of God’s Spirit is God’s pledge that no matter what happens, no matter how bad we fail, no matter how far we stray, He will stand with us to complete what He started in our lives. The only one who can break the seal is God Himself, and He’s promised not to break it, so we have the freedom of security, of not wondering where we stand with God, of not worrying about Him giving up on us or someone else driving a wedge between us and God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is the freedom of security.
3. The Holy Spirit as a Coach As a counsellor the Holy Spirit brings us to Christ, as a guarantee the Holy Spirit makes us secure with God, but what about after we’ve come to know Christ? So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. (Galatians 5:16-17 NIV). Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25 NIV). The word “live” in v. 16 is literally the word “walk” and the picture here is that the spiritual life is a process of walking. This is where the idea of the spiritual life being a journey comes from, the idea that commitment to Christ isn’t a destination but it’s the beginning of a journey, of a pilgrimage from where we are today to where God wants to take us. This walk is an uphill one, there’s conflict between the leftovers of our old way of life (called the sinful nature here) and where the Holy Spirit is leading us to go.
How can we avoid conflict between what we want to do or where we want to go, and the way the Spirit wants to lead us? The Holy Spirit’s coaching is a hands-on, relational process of help. Just as a sports coach offers encouragement, resources, and help for the athlete to live up to his or her athletic potential, the Holy Spirit offers us hands on encouragement, resources, and help as we walk up this sometimes steep hill of spiritual growth and maturity. The Holy Spirit won’t walk for us, but he walks side by side with us, inviting us to keep in step with his prompting, to follow His direction, to rely on his encouragement and strengthening.
Do you allow the Holy Spirit to empower your life? Spiritually speaking, what do you do each day to move forward? The Holy Spirit helps us stay on track, He gives us water when we’re thirsty, rest when tired, a kick in the right place when we grow lazy, and words of encouragement when we feel like quitting. The Bible calls this being filled with the Spirit, and that’s not the same thing as being indwelt by the Spirit. Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit; it’s automatic. We’re filled by the Holy Spirit when we allow him to empower our lives on a moment by moment basis.
Do you every wish that the spiritual life of following Jesus Christ would not feel like an uphill climb? If your spiritual life was easier would it bring you closer to God, or cause you to drift further away? Why? The Christian life is not an easy stroll through the park, it’s a lifelong journey of transformation where we are changed into people who love God with our whole hearts and who love other people sacrificially. Sometimes the trail looks dangerous, sometimes it looks impossible, sometimes we face challenges that threaten to overwhelm us. Sometimes we get lost or we defiantly sit down and refuse to go any further. Some people find the road too difficult and turn away and start back down the hill. Yet no matter what we encounter along this incredible life long trail, our God is there with us, offering us everything we need to take the next step.
Are you stuck? Is your spiritual life any different today than it was a year ago?
4. The Holy Spirit as a Giver As the counsellor the Spirit draws us to Christ, as the guarantee the Spirit makes us secure, as our coach the Spirit empowers us to move forward, so what do we do as we’re walking this spiritual path with God? Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NIV). Many Christians today are confused about the role of Spiritual gifts in spiritual life. The Corinthian Christians were confused too, the Apostle Paul devotes three entire chapters to discuss how Spiritual gifts should and should not be used.
Paul says that each follower of Jesus is given at least one manifestation of the Spirit, what gift or gifts have been manifested in your life? This phrase “manifestation of the Spirit” is another way to describe the gifts of the Holy Spirit, because it’s in using these gifts that the invisible presence of the Holy Spirit is manifested or made visible for people to see. Each one is given a manifestation of the Spirit to make visible the Holy Spirit’s invisible presence.
What is the purpose of this manifestation of the Spirit? Simply put, It is for the common good, for the Christian community to be built up and strengthened, for the church to become vibrant, alive, and spiritually healthy.
To give some practical examples of what he’s talking about, Paul lists several different kinds of spiritual gifts. There’s a message of wisdom, a message of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues. Some Christians believe that some of these gifts are no longer active today, while other Christians believe that they’re all active today, but Paul’s point is that there are gifts and that it’s the Holy Spirit who gives them. Paul’s point is to give a few examples of what he’s talking about, that every conceivable spiritual gift--and this is only a partial listing-- is the work of the Holy Spirit.
If you could choose a specific gift of the Spirit to be evident in your life, what would you choose? Why that gift? The Holy Spirit is the one who gives these gifts, they aren’t determined by me, or by you, or by the church, or anyone other than the Holy Spirit, and He gives gifts according to His own wisdom and judgment. The Holy Spirit is a giver, and as the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts, we have freedom to serve God.
The Holy Spirit gives us gifts, but it’s up to us to unwrap them and use them! The Holy Spirit gives every single follower of Jesus Christ unique gifts, and these gifts are really gifts to the entire Christian community, but when we don’t use these gifts for the common good, when we either use them for our own comfort or when we neglect them through our refusal to use them, we’re guilty of a kind of spiritual fraud. Every follower of Jesus should be willing to discover what his or her spiritual gifts are and then using these spiritual gifts in a specific area of ministry. The spiritual health of any church is determined not by how powerful the worship service is, not by how effective the speaker is, not by how great the facility is, but the spiritual health of any church is determined by how individual members are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit.
What do we have to really offer God? Not much. But if we use that which He’s given us to
manifest the Holy Spirit’s presence, to make his invisible work visible through our tangible service, whether it’s feeding a poor person, leading a Bible study, pastoring a group of kids in our children’s ministry, or whatever, then we are free to serve God. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there’s freedom to serve. There are many things Christians believe about the Holy Spirit. In fact, lots of Christians argue about what they believe about the Holy Spirit. Yet all Christians agree that the Holy Spirit brings freedom, the freedom to experience salvation, the freedom to be secure with God, the freedom to move forward spiritually, the freedom to serve God. Christians may disagree on exactly how that all happens, but we agree that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is salvation, security, growth, and service. This comes through the Holy Spirit’s work to draw us to Christ, through his indwelling, his empowering, and his giving.
For personal reflection Imagine someone giving your entire family an exotic holiday cruise for two weeks. This gift was intended for your entire family, but you happened to be the one who received the gift. Now imagine taking that gift back to the travel agent and converting it into a six week cruise just for you, leaving your family behind, and enjoying that holiday all alone. Would that be right? No of course it wouldn’t. Imagine just putting the gift in your drawer and not telling your family about the gift. Would that be right? Yet that’s exactly what happens when we don’t use the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit has given us to build up the Christian community, because the gifts aren’t just given to us, but they’re given to the entire church family, we just happen to be the individual God has trusted to deliver the gift.
What does it mean to Receive The Holy Spirit? God gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Often when we pray we ask God for things from Him instead of asking Him to give of Himself. Luke 11:9-10 says “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Think for a moment about what you have prayed for recently, what five things have you prayed about most? 1.___________________________________________________________ 2.___________________________________________________________ 3.___________________________________________________________ 4. ___________________________________________________________ 5. ___________________________________________________________ In your list above, place a tick by each prayer that is for another person. Place a cross by each prayer that is for day to day stuff (work / home / etc). Circle each one that is requesting more of God Himself (like a deeper relationship with Him, or a greater sense of His presence, etc).
Do you desire more of God or more from God? Do you actively desire to have a deeper relationship with God or is your relationship with God on Auto-pilot? Many people who call themselves Christians seem to live their lives with distant from God. In fact the only contact they have with Him could be compared to a distant Uncle who only ever gets a Christmas Card once a year. Others desire to be so close to God they divorce themselves from the world and spend their lives behind closed doors in prayer. Neither of these scenarios are an example of a real relationship with God.
Do you feel your relationship with God is stronger with a specific part of the Trinity? Do you pray more to the Father, the Son, or the Spirit? Are you most likely to pray God bless me, Jesus help me or Spirit empower me? Does it make a difference? Someone once wrote “When we ask the Father for the Holy Spirit and receive His Spirit, we discover anew that in His Spirit every other need that we have is met.“ What are the implications of this statement? Why might some Christians be afraid of receiving the fullness of the Spirit in their lives? Does anything hinder you from allowing the Holy Spirit to be fully at work in your life? Fear of control (or loss of ) / change / unconfessed sin / Lack of hunger to do God’s work / Fear of what others may think?
Receive the Spirit “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ) Acts chapter 8 records an account of a group of people who receive the Spirit. Let me be clear from the outset - if you are a born-again disciple of Jesus Christ, if you have already accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour, then you already have the Spirit dwelling within you! In the Bible, there is no set formula or procedure a Christian must follow to be baptised or filled with the Holy Spirit. If a Christian does not experience the Holy Spirit in a visible supernatural way it does not mean that they do not have the Holy Spirit.
The believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralysed or lame were healed. 8So there was great joy in that city. A man named Simon had been a sorcerer there for many years, amazing the people of Samaria and claiming to be someone great. 10Everyone, from the least to the greatest, often spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” 11They listened closely to him because for a long time he had astounded them with his magic. 9
But now the people believed Philip’s message of Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, many men and women were baptized. 13Then Simon himself believed and was baptized. He began following Philip wherever he went, and he was amazed by the signs and great miracles Philip performed. 12
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. 15As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. 16The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. 14
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. 19 “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” 18
But Peter replied, “May your money be destroyed with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! 21You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. 22Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts, 23for I can see that you are full of bitter jealousy and are held captive by sin.” (Acts 8:4-23) 20
The phrase “receive the Holy Spirit” in Acts 8: 15, 17, 19; Acts 10: 47 and also in Acts 19: 2 refer to the empowering operation of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8: 15, however, it depicts the inward justifying and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
When we receive the Spirit, Do we get more of Him or do we give Him more of us? How much space do you give the Spirit in your life? Do you give the Spirit enough space in your life? Many Christians only give God a little space in their lives and a grudging ascent of their wills. D.L. Moody once said, “What could God accomplish with a man or a woman who has fully surrendered his or her will to God?” Thomas Smail wrote: “There are obviously endless differences in maturity and effectiveness among Christians, but they are not differences of this kind. All of Christ and all of the Spirit is offered to all Christians, and withheld from none, as the great gift of God’s grace, and the differences arise not between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in regard to the Spirit, but solely from the degree to which Christians have entered into enjoyment of the inheritance that belongs to all of them and possessed the possessions that are for all in Christ.”
No set formula... The Principles for receiving and growing in the Holy Spirit are basically the same as growing in depth of relationship with Jesus Christ. There is no set formula but there are basic guidelines - ask for the equipping of the Holy Spirit, receive in faith, and step out in obedience.
When / How do we receive the Holy Spirit? Many scriptures make it clear that our salvation is secured the moment we receive Christ as Saviour. The apostle Paul clearly taught that we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12: 13) But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.(Romans 8: 9) And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 1: 13-14) These three passages make it clear that the Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation. Paul could not say that we all were baptised by one Spirit and all given one Spirit if not all of the Corinthian believers possessed the Holy Spirit. Romans 8: 9 is even stronger, stating that if a person does not have the Spirit, he does not belong to Christ. The possession of the Spirit is an identifying factor of the possession of salvation. The Holy Spirit could not be the “guarantee (or seal) of salvation” if He is not received at the moment of salvation.
...Some principles to follow 1 Thirst It is “thirst” that leads us to Jesus Christ who gives the living water of the Spirit of God. Jesus says, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory. (John 7:37-39) Thirst for intimacy with God. “O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
Does your soul thirst for God? Thirst that arises out of an awareness of our own inadequacy to do the works of God in our own strength. Jesus perfectly describes our condition when he says, “apart from me you can do nothing!” (John 15:5)
2 Expect Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (Ephesians 3: 20)
In what circumstances do you behave like the situation is too small for God? Do you ever behave like the problem is too big for God to handle? If we think “our God is too small” then our expectations of the Christian life are too small. If we limit God by our fears, worldview, lack of knowledge, or stubbornness then we can never live in expectancy. Expectancy is an expression of faith in God, which prepares us to receive as we wait for all that He has for us.
3 Repent Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2: 38) Repentance and confession to God should be an active part of the Christian life. Sin blocks our relationship with God, so repentance is a basic criteria for our spiritual growth. Being sensitive to sin is what counts. To grow closer to the Spirit we need to ensure that we examine ourselves and align our lives with God’s will.
We don’t have to be perfect or super holy! We do not have to be perfect or have reached a specific level of sanctification to receive the Holy Spirit. If there was a ‘holiness’ criteria for receiving the Spirit, then none of us would qualify. This is given as a free gift of God’s grace to all in Christ who in obedience receive. The gift is available from the moment we are in Christ. Don’t neglect the inward work of the Spirit
God is very patient, but if a person persists in disobedience, would God withdraw the Spirit’s empowering from them? Both Samson and King Saul persisted in disobedience.
They lost the anointing of the Spirit, and finally their lives. After David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, he prayed, “Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11) Walking in the Spirit The way to growing in depth of relationship with Christ, and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment for the work of His Kingdom, is by “walking in the Spirit.”
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? We need to have a willingness to be open to the
Holy Spirit, to let His searching light penetrate the secret places of our heart. Secondly, walking in the light means a readiness to confess and to repent of our sins and receiving the forgiveness and cleansing of Jesus. This may be done alone with God, who already knows all our thoughts and desires. There are also times when it is helpful and appropriate to follow the direction of James and confess our sins to a brother or sister in Christ.
4 Ask A person who has trusted Jesus Christ already has the Holy Spirit within them, conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit. But to experience Holy Spirit power, to be baptised or filled with the Holy Spirit, comes through asking in prayer - this is true of all that Christ has promised us. The New Covenant in which all of God’s people are promised the Holy Spirit for power has been established in the blood of Jesus Christ. On the day of Pentecost the promised Holy Spirit was poured out! It is now for us to receive God’s gracious gift through asking and receiving in faith.
How do we ask so that we can receive the Spirit?
We ask in prayer from the heart. It does not matter what words we use; there are no set formulas. What matters is the intent of the heart. Often in Pentecostal Churches, people will have hands laid upon them in prayer; this practice has Biblical precedent (Acts 9: 17, 19: 6)
How often should we ask to be filled with the Spirit? There is no limit, we may ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit as often as He is needed.
5 Receive In Faith Receiving the infilling with the Holy Spirit is not subject to our emotions or experience, it is founded in the promises of God and received in faith. Paul asked the Galatians, “Does He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 4: 5) But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. ” (Galatians 3: 13-14)
Do you ever feel like your faith is too small? If God does not answer a prayer in the way we expected, why do we assume the problem must be our faith rather than God is actually answering according to His perfect will and plan? We need to read verses like Mark 11:22-24 in the context of 1 John 5:14-15. Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and
have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. (Mark 11: 22-24) And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. (1 John 5:14-15) The key to receiving what God has clearly promised us in Jesus Christ is given in these incredible verses. These promises give us the confidence to ask for and in faith receive. In faith we ask and we trust and believe that what we will receive according to His plan and purposes.
6 Obey the Holy Spirit - Acts 5: 32, John 14: 15-17 This last principle is the crucial one. Indeed it is the essence of our whole relationship with God. We are called to obedience. After asking for the empowering of the Holy Spirit and receiving in faith, our faith must be made active and alive, and this happens through obedience to the Spirit. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” (Acts 5: 32) Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” (John 14: 15-17)
Do you obey the prompting of the Spirit? God wants us to do more than get a few things
right once in a while, God calls us to surrender to His perfect will. In the account of Peter walking on water, Jesus commanded him to come. Peter obeyed, he left the security of the boat and he experienced the miracle of walking on water. Maybe it was only a few steps, but it was a quantum leap beyond what the disciples who did not get out of the boat experienced. The Holy Spirit calls us to obedience and as we obey, we experience the power and see the evidence that we have been empowered.
Growing in the Spirit Different people have different gifts. Some gifts, humanly speaking, may appear more important or dramatic, every gift of the Spirit is valuable and has a specific purpose. The Spirit manifests Himself in a variety of different ways, at different times, for different reasons; to strengthen our faith; to provide an opportunity for greater trust or obedience. As soon as we are saved, the Holy Spirit moves into our hearts, but He doesn’t have exclusive access to our heart, we keep a lot of stuff in there. Things like our own selfish desires. Even though we have been saved from our past sins, there are often things of the world that we are still trying to cling to. The Holy Spirit, is Holy, His nature doesn’t allow Him to live in a dirty environment, so He begins to gently and lovingly change us, to shake, to convince us of the things that need to leave our heart.
What is the state of your heart? Would you compare your heart to a Hilton Hotel, a Premier Inn, a tatty B&B, or a wet and soggy cardboard box? God wants us to be filled
with His Spirit- we need to come to a place in our lives where we are willing to remove all the dirt so that we can truly be Filled with His Spirit and become the people God has called us to be. The truth is it is God’s will for all to be filled with the Spirit, but it’s your choice, it’s up to you, if you willing to surrender every area of your life, past, present, future, habits, control, finances, family, everything that means something to you. Don’t settle for a casual, nominal Christian lifestyle receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to move you out of your comfort zone
How do we receive the Holy Spirit? We receive the Holy Spirit by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. When do we receive the Holy Spirit? The moment we believe. Then we must continue to walk, move and be led by the Holy Spirit at every moment of our lives.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Act 1:8) The Power (dynamin δύναμιν) of the Holy Spirit refers to the miracle -working, supernatural strength of God in our lives.
What is the most important way that anyone can encounter the power of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit’s power can be encountered in many different ways, but the most important and vital way is in the saving power of the Gospel.
Receive The Power For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Romans 1:16-17)
How bold are you in your witness? Very Bold Courageous Not Afraid Cautious Ashamed Family
Do you worry about sharing the Gospel with others? What or who is it that bothers you the most? Boldness to witness comes from the power of the Holy Spirit. The awesome power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives within every believer. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. (Romans 8:11) Through the Spirit’s power we have the ability to witness, to live victoriously for Christ, to experience signs, wonders and miracles.
In which areas of your life do you most need to experience the Spirit’s power? Friendships, Family, Finances, Health, Workplace, Church, Witnessing, Ministering, etc
Receive the Breath Throughout the Bible, the breath or wind of God is His Spirit. In Hebrew the word ru’ach - which is translated as Spirit literally means breath or wind. Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. (Genesis 2:7) Then Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)
What comparisons can be drawn from these two verses? God can breath both life and
new life into His creation! Just as God first breathed life into Adam, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, breathes the Holy Spirit upon His disciples. The Holy Spirit that brings new birth and new life. Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing. For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Through Christ Jesus, God has blessed the Gentiles with the same blessing he promised to Abraham, so that we who are believers might receive the promised Holy Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14)
Receive the Gift Receiving the gift of the Spirit from Christ gives us a fullness of life. Jesus made many wonderful promises about the life that is given by the Spirit. Consider the following promises from the Gospel of John: For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?” Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” (John 4:10-14) Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (John 7:38-39) Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” 63The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:35-40,63) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10) “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. (John 11:25-26) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” (John 14:6-7)
Receive His Presence The Holy Spirit is a person just as are the Father and the Son. He is the third person of the Trinity. We have a personal relationship with the Spirit because our God is a personal God who desires a close, intimate relationship with us. If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (Counsellor (Paraclete)) who will never leave you. (John 14:15-16) Jesus promised His disciples that once He returned to His father, He would send a paraclete - the one who comforts, advocates, encourages and counsels. The Holy Spirit as our Paraclete stands along side of us.
How does the presence of the Spirit encourage you? How does the fact that the Holy Spirit is always with you effect your day? The Spirit is with us in every moment of our lives; I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. (Psalm 139:7-12)
Receive the Life The promises of the life we receive in the Spirit are clearly described clearly in Romans 8. Life in the Spirit
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. (Romans 8:3) Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. (Romans 8:5) So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:6) But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) (Romans 8:9) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. (Romans 8:10) The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. (Romans 8:11) For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. (Romans 8:13) And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. (Romans 8:23) And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. (Romans 8:26) And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:37) And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Sin’s control destroyed
Thoughts that please God Life and peace
Adopted by God the Father
Alive in our Spirit
Raised from the dead
Controlled by the Spirit
A foretaste of glory
The Spirit prays for us
God causes everything to work together for good Overwhelming victory No separation from God
What does it mean to... Hear The Holy Spirit? What we believe about the way in which God communicates with His people today is an important topic. God has spoke to His people in various ways since He created them in the Garden of Eden. The focus of this study is how God’s voice is heard today through the Holy Spirit. Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. (Hebrews 1:1-3) So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus Himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever He chose. (Hebrews 2:1-4)
Do you believe that God still speaks today as He did through the prophets and Jesus? What evidence is there to support your belief? Rate the following statements using the following scale: 5 Strongly Agree, 4 Agree, 3 Undecided, 2 Disagree, 1 Strongly Disagree God’s Spirit speaks today through us as He did through His prophets in Bible times. The voice of the Holy Spirit is verified today by signs and wonders. The Spirit’s voice may be heard through my language or His language. The Spirit’s voice teaches, counsels, warms, advises and directs me.
5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1 5 4 3 2 1
The Holy Spirit does all of the above today, He continues to speak, direct and empower believers. God uses the indwelling Holy Spirit to speak His Word into your heart.
Why is it important that we listen, obey and not harden our hearts to the Holy Spirit? In Acts 11:12 Peter wrote, “The Holy Spirit told me to go with them and not to worry that they were Gentiles” has the Holy Spirit ever been that direct with you? When was the last time you heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in your heart? When was the last time you asked the Spirt to speak into your life?
Verify His Voice The Holy Spirit will never tell us to do something that contradicts God’s Word The primary method for God to speak to us is through the Bible. The Bible is His inspired word, and The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and a guide to our path (Psalm 105). Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. (1 John 4:1)
God’s Holy Spirit does, and will, speak to you. But not every ‘spiritual’ voice you hear will come from the Holy Spirit. Thankfully God has given us many ways to hear, receive and confirm when the ‘voice’ is from God.
How do we test that something is of God? The Holy Spirit in us gives witness to the truth - (John 16:3) The Holy Spirit’s voice declares Jesus as God’s Son - (1 John 4:2) There is unity among believers when the Holy Spirit speaks - (Ephesians 4:4) Agreement exists between the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of the saints - (Acts 15:28) The Spirit’s voice brings peace to your mind - (Romans 8:6) The Spirit’s voice turns us from legalism - (Romans 8:13) What the Holy Spirit tells us to do is rooted in God’s (agape) love - (Romans 15:30, 1 Corinthians 13) His voice is confirmed by many witnesses - (2 Timothy 2:2) His voice is verified by signs and wonders - (Hebrews 2:4) The Word of God and the Spirit’s voice agree - (1 John 5:7, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Do you listen for His whisper or do you expect God to shout? And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:12-13) If God is speaking to you through a gentle whisper, as He did with Elijah then you need to listen closely to hear it. We need to silence other voices that compete, from inside and outside, so that we can hear God speak.
Is there something that the Holy Spirit has been whispering to you for some time? What have you done in response?
Hear the Truth But when the Father sends the Advocate(Counsellor) as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26) The Holy Spirit will always speak truth. The truth may bring peace, comfort, encouragement, counsel. The truth may also be painful, but it is still true. The truth is meant to encourage us to walk the right paths, not condemn us.
Can you describe one way in which the Holy Spirit comforts you? Can you describe how the Holy Spirit encourages you? Can you describe how the Holy Spirit Counsels you? God’s truth is absolute and unchanging, but our understanding of the truth can change as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us each day. Don’t you realise that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
The Holy Spirit indwells His people, how does He use you to bring comfort, encouragement and counsel to others? Who are the people that God uses to encourage you, counsel you and comfort you?
Follow His Word He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognise Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. (John 14:17) When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. (John 16:13) The Holy Spirit guides us in all truth as God’s Word leads and directs our hearts. As we read the Word of God, the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds. The Word of God is to be our compass and guide to the way of truth. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Has my arm lost its power? Now you will see whether or not my word comes true!” (Numbers 11:23) For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does. (Psalm 33:4) Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. (Proverbs 30:5) He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. (James 1:18)
How can we hear and receive the Holy Spirit’s guidance in our lives? How has the Holy Spirit led you in the past? Scripture, worship, prayer, prophecy, gifts of wisdom and knowledge, dreams and visions, wise counsel from other believers? What does the Holy Spirit use most often in your life?
Follow His Lead In our Christian walk, there will be times when we go through difficult situations, we do not face them alone God is always with us; “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13) God leads, prepares, strengthens and equips us; Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3)
If your life was read like a letter, or a book, what would it reveal most about you? How much of your heart do you allow the Spirit to operate on?
Understand His Voice Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. (Psalm 143:10) When we listen to the Holy Spirit we discover that He imparts both knowledge and understanding.
Why does knowing the truth need to be coupled with understanding the truth? Knowledge recognises facts, reality and truth. Understanding applies knowledge in a practical workable way to our daily life. The Holy Spirit helps us apply knowledge of the truth to deepen our understanding. Teaching is more than a skill; it is a gift of the Spirit. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. (Romans 12:7) The Holy Spirit can speak to us directly or through those who have the gift of teaching. The Holy Spirit can teach us what God says and what God means. The Spirit can help us see reality from God’s perspective.
We need the Holy Spirit to reveal spiritual truth to us so that we can understand and apply God’s Word in our daily lives. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. (1 John 2:27)
Are you willing to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice in all the areas of your life? Family life? Marriage? Parenting? Church? Biblical doctrine? Work ethics? Use of language? Use of money? Loving your enemies? That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness.” (Hebrews 3:7-8) Allow the Holy Spirit to speak truth to your life.
How the Holy Spirit Helps us Love Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NLT)
What do you think is the greatest work of the Spirit in you? In the spiritual realm, love is probably the greatest work of the Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit working in us should produce unconditional, self-sacrificing (agape) love. Agape love says, “If others are ungrateful, I still love them. If they hate me, I love them.” Friends, spouses, neighbours, other believers, enemies, and everyone else, we are supposed to love them all. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ’love’ your neighbour act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”
How do you show love for others? Order the list below from 1 (the most important) to 5 (the least important). Doing good works Being kind Serving others Loving everyone Sharing Jesus All of the above are important, but was love top of your list? The Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:6 What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
How do you love? Put a X on the line to represent where you are.
I love ... All people Unconditionally Unselfishly All the time Joyfully
Select people Conditionally Selfishly Periodically Dutifully
If you have marked more on the left than the right then you are demonstrating the presence of agape love in your life. If you are more to the right then ask the Holy Spirit to help you to show God’s love to others.
What kind of person do you find it hardest to love? Has anyone ever loved you unconditionally? Have you ever been able to love someone unconditionally?
Love is the greatest Gift Beyond all of the gifts, the Holy Spirit’s greatest work in us is love. The love He produces in us is directed first towards God, then toward family, other believers and our enemies. Our love can ebb and flow, the love of the Holy Spirit is consistent and continual, it is unconditional and unending. If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 1
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 4
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. 8
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 11
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT) 13
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled. 11 When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. 12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 The Message) 1
Holy Spirit empowered love has many qualities, which of them are you demonstrating? Put a X on the line to represent where you are. Love in me is... Patient Kind Not proud, jealous or boastful Not controlling Not mindful of past wrongs
Not often Rarely Seldom Rarely Yes
Unending Always Usually Always No
Rejoices in truth
Which of your answers concerns you the most? What should you do differently? Where do you need the Holy Spirit to help you the most? Does your love ebb and flow?
So what does the Holy Spirit do to help us? The Holy Spirit pours out His love Can you think of a time when you really felt the Holy Spirit pour His love into your heart? The Holy Spirit pours out His love into our hearts during difficult times so we are motivated to love. Paul wrote, “Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:5)
When you are going through a difficult circumstance do you ask God for strength or for Him to use whatever you are going through to demonstrate His love is sufficient for any problem you face?
The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of love The Holy Spirit gives us the fruit of love as we keep our focus on Christ and following His commandments. We are unable to manufacture unconditional love without the Spirit controlling all areas of our mind, will and emotions.
Why do we find it so difficult to allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our mind, will and emotions? Are there specific areas where you are more willing to yield control to God? What evidence is there in your life that you let the Spirit produce Christ like love in your thinking, attitudes and actions?
The Holy Spirit teaches us how to love The Holy Spirit teaches us how to avoid the error of self-centered thinking, relationships and ministries. Paul wrote, “Love does not try to impress others.” (I Cor. 13:4,5) True love is not selfcentered. A Spirit generated love does not have excessive pride nor does it launch incessant comparisons with others. In D.L. Moody’s Book of Anecdotes he wrote this illustration: Show me a church where there is love, and I will show you a church that is a power in the community. In Chicago a few years ago a little boy attended a Sunday school I know of. When his parents moved to another part of the city the little fellow still attended the same Sunday school, although it meant a long, tiresome walk each way. A friend asked him why he went so far, and told him that there were plenty of others just as good nearer his home. “They may be as good for others, but not for me,” was his reply. “Why not?” She asked. “Because they love me over there,” he replied. If only we could make the world believe that we loved them there would be fewer empty churches, and a smaller proportion of our population who never darken a church door. Let love replace duty in our church relations, and the world will soon be evangelised.
Does your heart pursue selfish interests, ambitions or concerns? Would God agree with your answer? Do you need to ask the Lord to help you replace any self serving interest with Christ’s purposes, priorities and plans?
The Holy Spirit empowers us to love The Holy Spirit empowers us to love in a way that Christ loved one another. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34,35) The Spirit gives us the power to build others up emotionally, physically, socially, mentally and spiritually.
How do others encourage you? How do you encourage others? Are you constructive or superficial in your encouragement?
The Holy Spirit intercedes to help us love The Holy Spirit intercedes to help us love those who abuse us. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Is your first reaction to return evil for evil instead of loving those who criticise you? Only through the intercessory help of the Spirit are we able to love those who abuse, misuse or seek to do our harm.
The Holy Spirit convicts us when we fail to love The Holy Spirit convicts you whenever you fail to love as the golden rule directs you to love as you would have others love you. Paul wrote, “love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:5,6)
How can we avoid taking things too personally and what can we do to help us avoid becoming bitter toward others? Only through the Spirit’s persuading are we able to let go of the hurt caused by others and take the initiative to love according to Christ’s golden rule.
The Holy Spirit fills us with supernatural love The Holy Spirit fills us with supernatural love that should overflow into all areas of our personal lives, relationships and ministries. Paul wrote, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:7)
How can the Lord use you to speak the truth in love so that you can help others mature in specific areas of their life through Christ? The Spirit gives us an abundant mind, heart, and lifestyle of giving. The Spirit fills us with the realisation that freely we have received therefore we should freely give.
The Holy Spirit encourages us to love The Holy Spirit encourages us to bear up under any difficulty. The Spirit inspires us to overcome any adversity because He assures us that God is greater than any problem.
When you feel disillusioned or discouraged what do you do? Do you act like someone who believes that God is greater than any problem or do you still trust He is?
The Holy Spirit directs us to speak in love The Holy Spirit directs us to speak words of power, victory and hope. The Spirit often uses our own prayers and inner conversations to direct our minds to things above rather than problems here on the earth.
Do you allow the Spirit to speak promises or inspiration to others through you? Does God give you words for others more often than for you? Do others speak into your life? Is it obvious when words are of God and when they are of man/woman? How can you tell if something is are under the direction of the Spirit? 27
The Holy Spirit urges us to love The Holy Spirit urges us on whenever we are feeling like giving up.
How does the Spirit urge you on if you are feeling like your efforts are not worth the struggle? Can you think of a specific situation where the Lord helped you to persevere in the midst of a difficult situation?
The Holy Spirit protects us with love In a bad circumstance or situation are you most likely to see a negative problem or a positive solution? Do you ever allow cynicism, depression or sceptical thinking to defeat you before you begin? Is any problem too big or too small for God? The Holy Spirit can counteract any negative problem with a positive solution. The Spirit has a supernatural way of counter balancing any negative influence with His positive perspectives.
The Holy Spirit sanctifies us in the truth of Christ’s love The Holy Spirit sanctifies us in the truth of Christ’s love. Jesus said, “Sanctify them through your word, your word is truth.” (John 7:17)
Do you need to ask the Spirit to separate you more from the world’s perception of love and let you be conformed more to the image of Christ?
For personal reflection If you discovered you only had five minutes left to say something to someone you love, what would you say to them? Why would only having five minutes make a difference? What is the Holy Spirit prompting you to say?
The Holy Spirit Comforts & Counsels Have you ever forgotten something? Maybe it was right on the tip of your tongue, yet somehow, you simply could not recall what you knew so well.
It is easy for us to forget so many things, what was the worst thing you ever forgot?
The Holy Spirit knows how our minds work. He knows more about us than we know ourselves. He knows more than we wish He did. The Holy Spirit helps us to remember. Jesus said: But when the Father sends the Counsellor (Advocate) as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26) Jesus said that the Spirit would remind us. The Spirit will often bring to remembrance what we have taken the time to learn. If the Word is not in us, then the Holy Spirit has nothing to remind us of!
What do you currently do to understand the Bible? When do you read the Bible most? What is your favourite book of the Bible and why do you like it?
The Word of God Perhaps in today’s secular society and environment to hear someone outside of church speak about the truth and relevance of God’s word today is a little strange. The world today tries to explain everything with scientific theory and speculation. For a Christian to say that they actually believe and trust the Bible is, for some, a statement of insanity. As Christians the Holy Spirit has revealed to us the truth about the Bible, and God continues to speak to His children by His word today. Perhaps it can seem presumptuous, sometimes to hear Christians speaking about having God’s word on something, or to hear someone expressing that they know God’s opinion on a matter.
When someone does name dropping, and the name-dropped is ‘God’, do you find it exiting or intimidating? For some people, it can bring a conversation to an end,after all, what can you say if God’s Word is known?
Is that the end of the matter, do all “words” carry God’s authority? It’s important to be sure that what we are speaking are really God’s words. We must not make up words or to pretend to be speaking God’s words. God warned about someone saying they were speaking His words, if they really were not: 1Then this message came to me from the LORD: 2“Son of man, prophesy against the false prophets of Israel who are inventing their own prophecies. Say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the LORD. 3This is what the Sovereign LORD says: What sorrow awaits the false prophets who are following their own imaginations and have seen nothing at all!’ “O people of Israel, these prophets of yours are like jackals digging in the ruins. 5They have done nothing to repair the breaks in the walls around the nation. They have not helped it to stand firm in battle on the day of the LORD. 6Instead, they have told lies and made false predictions. They say, ‘This message is from the LORD,’ even though the LORD never sent them. And yet they expect him to fulfill their prophecies! 7Can your visions be anything but false if you claim, ‘This message is from the LORD,’ when I have not even spoken to you? 4
“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because what you say is false and your visions are a lie, I will stand against you, says the Sovereign LORD. 9I will raise my fist against all the prophets who see false visions and make lying predictions, and they will be banished from the community of Israel. I will blot their names from Israel’s record books, and they will never again set foot in their own land. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 13:1-9) 8
But any prophet who falsely claims to speak in my name or who speaks in the name of another god must die.’ 21“But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the LORD?’ 22If the prophet speaks in the LORD’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the LORD did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared. (Deuteronomy 18.20-22).
The Holy Spirit’s Instruction But when the Father sends the Counsellor (Advocate) as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. (John 14:26) Jesus told the disciples that the function of the Holy Spirit was to teach all things and to remind them of everything He had told them. When Jesus said this to His disciples there was no such thing as the New Testament yet. No one had written it. So this statement was especially important in regard to the writing of the books and letters of the New Testament. Over the course of 3 years Jesus had said and taught His followers many great things. It was His followers that recorded what Jesus said and did in this book.
Has anyone ever told you the Bible is not reliable? One of the big objections people have about the Bible is: Is it reliable? People say, “Maybe the disciples got a few things wrong when they were writing the Bible. Maybe we can’t trust everything they wrote. Maybe they misunderstood what Jesus said and what He meant.” In John 14:26, Jesus gives us a reason to trust what would be written in the Bible. Why? Because Jesus said the Holy Spirit would remind them what He’d taught them! Notice Jesus didn’t say the Holy Spirit would remind them of a few things He said. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would remind them of “everything” He said!
Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach them the meaning of Jesus’ words, how does that statement affect you today?” It affects you in two ways. n
It affects you concerning what’s written in the Bible. You can have confidence that what’s written in this book is from God. It’s a book that is correct in its teaching and it’s a book that gives accurate information on how to discover a relationship with God.
It also affects you today in that the Holy Spirit can give you wisdom to understand the teachings of Scripture. Without the Holy Spirit in a person’s life, the wisdom of God will not be fully comprehended.
But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. (1 Corinthians 2: 14)
Can you think of ways in which we see the result of this in the world today? The truth in the Bible is rejected by society. The Bible teaches Jesus is the only way to heaven, but society finds that arrogant. The Bible teaches marriage is for men and women and the Bible teaches that sex is for married people only, but society finds that to be a narrow-minded and antiquated teaching. The Bible teaches that we’re to forgive those who wrong us, but our society tells us to seek revenge or compensation. The Bible teaches that all life is precious, but society wants to make arbitrary judgments about when life should begin or end to fit their idea of convenience.
The Holy Spirit as teacher is a covenant promise! The truth that the work of the Holy Spirit is to be our teacher goes back to the New Covenant prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah; “The day is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. 32This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD. 33“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34And they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already,” says the LORD. “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34) This verse is also quoted in Hebrews 8:8-12. In Jeremiah 31:34 the word teach in Hebrew is lamad which means to learn, to study, to be accustomed to; to teach, to instruct, to practice to train. It comes from the word picture of an ox being put in a yoke. It carries the idea of training and educating. God is saying here that you need no one to teach you – I will teach each person. I will give each person a personal teacher, the Holy Spirit. God actually desires to give us the guided tour through life, teaching us all along the way through the work of the Holy Spirit.
What evidence is there in your life that you rely on the Holy Spirit to enable you to live life according to God’s direction? Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord (Zechariah 4:7)
When the Spirit of God is within you He’ll teach you and show you the Truth. 30
How do you get the Word into you?
Circle the most appropriate answer in each area: I am feeding on God’s word by... Bible Reading
Applying verses to my life
There are many different ways that God teaches us the meaning and application of His Word to our lives. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand specific passages that apply to specific situations in our lives. God will use ministry, spiritual gifts, teaching, words of knowledge, prophecy and wisdom to speak to us. In times of distress, the Holy Spirit reminds us of God’s comforting words. In times of victory, the Spirit brings to mind words of praise. The Holy Spirit can guide us in every step we take. How can a person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10I have tried hard to find you—don’t let me wander from your commands. 11I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12I praise you, O LORD; teach me your decrees. 13I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. 14I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. 15I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 16I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. (Psalm 119:9-16)
The Holy Spirit reminds us Do you find that when you face certain difficulties or circumstances, the Holy Spirit reminds you of specific bible verses or promises?
What comes to mind when... You are sad You rejoice? You doubt? You are confused? You need hope? You sin? You hurt? You seek God? 31
Allow the Holy Spirit to give you peace in every situation So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (Romans 8:6) . The Hebrew for peace is Shalom. Shalom is more than just peace, it is fullness of life, abundance and security. The Holy Spirit brings peace where there is conflict, strife, pain, difficulty - in every circumstance of life.
Are there specific areas where you need the Holy Spirit to help you to have peace? eg Making choices? Feelings? Habits? Envy? Fear? Attitude? Anger? Jealousy? Worry? Donâ€™t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience Godâ€™s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-23)
Do you expect the Holy Spirit to make every situation in your life peaceful and calm or do you expect the Holy Spirit to give YOU peace in the midst of every situation? In the middle of every storm in life the promise of God is; You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)
When the Holy Spirit speaks do you listen? How would you describe your relationship with the Holy Spirit? Do you allow Him less access to specific areas of your life? Put a X on the line to represent where you feel you are in different areas
When the Spirit teaches me in this area of my life, I am: An Eager Learner
A Bad Learner
Family life Marriage Parenting Church Biblical Doctrine Work Ethics Playing Sports Use of language Spending Money Loving enemies Prayer
Are there specific areas where you need to allow the Spirit to teach you and guide you? Do you really allow the Holy Spirit to teach you in every situation? What is the greatest issue you face in allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you? What would need to change to allow you to listen to the Holy Spirit more often?
The Wisdom of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of wisdom (Isa 11:2), and He can teach us both what God says and also what God means. The Spirit helps us to see things from God’s perspective. Without the Spirit teaching us, we have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear (Matthew 13:15). We need the Holy Spirit to teach us spiritual truth so that we can apply God’s word to our daily lives. But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. (1 John 2:27).
About the 20:20 Bible Study Series There may be times when you find it diﬃcult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change – our understanding of the truth changes as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds. The 20:20 Bible Studies are not about opinion, they are about learning truth, the truth contained in the Bible. The focus is on how we apply God’s truth, black & white in a grey world; to set godly priorities; to grow in Christian character; and live according to God’s standards as dynamic disciples of Jesus.
About Estuary Elim The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit www.estuaryelim.church Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil God’s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to talk to one of the team email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact you.
www.estuaryelim.church The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549)