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Sabbath School Lessons on Holy Spirit
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 4: The Promise of the Holy Spirit *
Introduction: Have you ever been promised something that you really
wanted? A job promotion? A gift of money? Marriage? A new car? A
vacation? How did you like anticipating the gift? I don't know about
you, but I get great enjoyment out of the anticipation. Sometimes, I
confess, the anticipation turned out to be as good as the actual gift
- maybe better! Sometimes, I find that I was anticipating the wrong
gift! This week our lesson is about anticipating the full power of
God in our life. Let's race right into our study and find out what
- The Pouring
- Read Joel 2:28. The text starts out "And afterward." What
does that mean? (At a very basic level, it means "not
- Let's skip down to Joel 2:31. What is the "great and
dreadful day of the Lord?" (That is a clear reference
to the Second Coming of Jesus.)
- Let's look again at Joel 2:28. We have a general time
reference that this is "not now," but before the Second
Coming. How does that relate to the time in which we
living? Are we living in the time period described by
Joel? (Yes. Read Acts 2:14-16. The time was Pentecost and
Peter says that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the
disciples was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. We
are going to hold off until next week to study Pentecost.
But, the point is that we are living between the time of
Pentecost and the Second Coming.)
- What lesson do you find in Joel 2:28 about who will be
filled with the Holy Spirit? (All receive the gift of the
Holy Spirit: young and old, men and women.)
- What kind of gifts are given? (Prophesy, dreams and
- Read Joel 2:29. Why does Joel emphasize that the Holy
Spirit will be given to "both men and women?" (We have a
controversy over the role of women in the church. This
text tells us that the Holy Spirit will pour His power
into women. This should cause anyone who thinks women
cannot be used fully by God to pause and question whether
they are fighting God's work for the last days. This is
something worth considering.)
- Why does Joel 2:29 refer to "servants?"(The Bible
Knowledge Commentary tells us that Joel 2:29 would be
better translated, "and even on the male and female
servants." This means that God will use all ages,
all genders and all social classes as instruments of
- Would that include you?
- Let's continue with this prophecy. Read Joel 2:30-31. Have
these "wonders" happened? (Certainly these things have
happened on a regional basis. Many readers may recall
these events being reported in the New England area of the
United States about 100 years ago. While that may be part
of the "wonders" of this prophecy, I trust that not even
Americans believe that God had only them in mind when He
gave this prophecy to Joel! My bet is that these are
either world-wide events yet to come, or events that
happen near the same time in so many regions of the world
that everyone familiar with this prophecy is alerted.)
- The Baptism
- Read Matthew 3:11-12. John the Baptist is speaking here.
Who is he describing? (The text of this chapter makes
clear he is describing Jesus. See also John 1:32-36.)
- What does Matthew 3:11-12 say that Jesus will do?
(Baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Gather wheat
and burn the chaff.)
- Is this an accurate prophecy? Has it proven to
- Read John 4:1-2. How do you explain this text in
light of John the Baptist's prophecy? It says Jesus
did not baptize.
- Read John 16:7-8. How do you explain this text in
light of John the Baptist's prophecy? It says Jesus
must leave before the Holy Spirit comes.
- John the Baptist predicts that Jesus will
baptize people with the Holy Spirit, and it
turns out that Jesus did not baptize and He had
to leave before the Holy Spirit could come. Was
the Baptist just wrong?
- Let's look at Matthew 3:11-12 again. Was John the Baptist
right about Jesus burning up the chaff? (John the Baptist
paints a picture of Jesus that is true on several levels.
First, we think of water and fire as cleansing agents.
Jesus' death made our baptisms meaningful. We go down in a
"watery grave" to commemorate Jesus going into the grave,
and we come out of the water to celebrate Jesus'
resurrection. (See Romans 6:3-4) Thus, Jesus is the
ultimate "baptizer." Second, Jesus cleanses us with His
blood given as a sacrifice on our behalf. ( Hebrews 9:14).
Third, when Jesus comes again He will separate the
righteous from the unrighteous and cleanse the earth with
fire. ( Revelation 20:9-10) Last, none of this would have
happened, the Holy Spirit would have no work to do, if
Jesus had not triumphed over sin at the cross.)
- Let's bring this back to the issue of the timing of
the gift of the Holy Spirit. What do the series of
questions I just asked suggest about the timing of
the gift of the Holy Spirit? (The great work of the
Holy Spirit in humans takes place after Jesus'
resurrection and before the Second Coming. In other
words, the time in which we live right now!)
- Read John 7:37-39. Again we have this picture of Jesus
and water. How is it that we get the life-giving,
purifying water that Jesus promised? (Through the Holy
- What does this text say about the timing of the gift
of the Holy Spirit? (It tells us that this gift comes
after Jesus is "glorified" - after Jesus is
resurrected from the dead. Again, we see that the
time is now!)
- The Promise
- Read John 14:25-27. We have repeatedly determined that we
are living in the time that the Holy Spirit has been
promised. What, exactly, does this text suggest this
promise means? How will the Holy Spirit act in our lives?
(I don't know about you, but when I think of the Holy
Spirit I'm thinking about an explosion - an explosion of
power and miracles. Here Jesus seems to be saying just
the opposite. The Holy Spirit will bring peace into our
life. He will do it by reminding us of what Jesus taught
and help us to understand those teachings. I can
understand why the KJV calls the Holy Spirit the
"Comforter" in this text.)
- Read Acts 1:4-5. What does it mean to be baptized by the
Holy Spirit? What was Jesus promising to His disciples?
- Read Acts 1:6. What did the disciples want Jesus to
- Do you think that they made a mental connection
between the Holy Spirit and their status as rulers on
earth? (This reminds me so much of my attitude: "Give
me the Holy Spirit so that our local church can turn
this town (state, country) upside down. Focus all
- Read Acts 1:7-8. How does Jesus answer this request for
- If the disciples knew what would happen to them
during the rest of their life, would they have been
disappointed? (Oh yes! They were never rulers here.
They were persecuted by the rulers here. They were
victims of the power of earthly rulers.)
- Did Jesus do what He promised them? ( Acts 1:8
promises that the power of the Holy Spirit will come
to help them be witnesses to Jesus' life and
teachings. Jesus did exactly what He promised.)
- Friend, you are living in the time when the Holy Spirit
has been promised. Have you tapped into that power to
understand and remember the words of God? Have you
requested that power to witness to others? Have you
invited the Holy Spirit into your life to give you peace?
Or, are you looking for signs and miracles that bring
glory to you?
- Next week: The Promise Fulfilled.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.