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Lesson 3: Spiritual Gifts for Evangelism and Witnessing *

Introduction: Is it true that we all have at least one spiritual gift? We said, "yes," last week. But, are we making an unwarranted assumption? To have a spiritual gift you would have to first receive the Holy Spirit, right? The more I consider this, the more I am troubled by this issue. This week our study is going to be a bit different. Instead of us reading the Bible, and me suggesting a conclusion I'm pretty certain I have right, this week we are going to be exploring the answers together. I have a great deal of uncertainty on this issue. Let's jump into our Bible study and see what we can learn about what it means to receive the Holy Spirit!

  1. The Holy Spirit and Jesus

    1. Read Acts 1:1-5. What do we learn about being baptized by the Holy Spirit? (Jesus promised it. We need it. It is not water baptism.)

      1. Why did the disciples need the Holy Spirit?

    2. Let's look at a little history here. Read Matthew 3:11. What is prophesied about Jesus and the Holy Spirit? (That faith in Jesus brings the Holy Spirit as a result.)

    3. Read John 16:5-11. How would you compare the Holy Spirit to Jesus? (Jesus says the Holy Spirit is an upgrade! Jesus says it "is good" that He is going, because the "Comforter" (Holy Spirit) will not come unless He goes. It would not be good for Jesus to go unless the Holy Spirit is "better.")

      1. It seems unthinkable that anything could be better than to have Jesus live with us. What does Jesus mean by this? (Jesus lists the things that the Holy Spirit will do. But, logic tells me that the Holy Spirit is "better" because it can be everywhere at once.)

      2. If the Holy Spirit is the replacement for Jesus living with you, how important is it to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (We are sunk without the Holy Spirit. It is essential.

    4. Read John 16:13-15. What does this suggest about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus?

  2. Receiving the Gift

    1. Read Acts 1:12-14. How did the disciples prepare to receive the Holy Spirit? (Constant prayer.)

    2. Read Acts 2:1-4. How did the disciples know that they had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (How could you not know! Sound, fury, fire and a physical manifestation in the disciples.)

      1. Do you know that you have the Holy Spirit in your life?

      2. If you don't know, then the answer is "no," right? Or, is it?

      3. Have you ever experienced sound, fury, fire or a physical manifestation? (Friend, I have to tell you that my question troubles me. I believe the Holy Spirit guides me in writing these lessons, but I've not experienced sound, fury, fire or a physical manifestation.)

    3. Let's look at two other texts that you might not have noticed in the past. Read John 20:19-23. What did Jesus give the disciples? (He breathed on them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and it gave them power.)

      1. Was there any physical manifestation in this? (None is recorded.)

      2. Re-read Acts 1:1-2. Who instructed the apostles? (Jesus used the Holy Spirit!)

      3. After Jesus' resurrection, the disciples are twice given help by the Holy Spirit. Why would Jesus later tell them to "wait" to "be baptized with the Holy Spirit?" Acts 1:4-5.

        1. How can they receive the power or gifts of the Holy Spirit without sound, fury or fire?

        2. Should sound, fury and fire be our desire?

  3. A Story of the Gift

    1. Read Acts 6:1-4. What qualification are they looking for in the seven? (Among other things, to be full of the Holy Spirit.)

    2. Read Acts 6:5-6. Notice that Philip is part of the group. It does not say that he was "full of... the Holy Spirit." Why? Isn't that part of the qualifications? (This suggests that there are levels of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and Philip is not at Stephen's level.)

    3. Read Acts 8:5-8. Here we see Philip again. Is he filled with the Holy Spirit?

    4. Read Acts 8:9-11. Philip is performing miracles and Simon is performing miracles. If you were observing Simon, how would you know whether the Holy Spirit was the source of his power?

      1. Read 1 Peter 4:10. What does this teach us about the use of spiritual gifts? (Spiritual gifts are to serve others. Since Simon was glorifying himself, this was a powerful clue that he was not using the power of the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Read Acts 8:12-13. What happened to the sorcerer? (He became a believer! He was baptized.)

    6. Read Acts 8:14-17. What is lacking in Philip's ministry? (The Holy Spirit has not come on the people.)

      1. How do you explain this? Philip is filled with the Holy Spirit. We saw that "hands" were placed on him and he did great miracles. How can those he baptizes not have the gift of the Holy Spirit?

        1. Read Matthew 28:19-20. Surely Philip must have baptized in accord with Jesus' baptismal instructions. Don't those instructions guarantee baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit?

      2. Look again at Acts 8:17. Could only Peter and John lay hands on the people to give them the Holy Spirit?

        1. Was Philip excluded? If so, why would someone who was filled with the Holy Spirit be excluded?

        2. If Philip was not excluded, why didn't he lay hands on the people he baptized?

    7. Read Acts 8:18-19. Simon sees other believers who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Simon has a great goal, right? He wants to share the Holy Spirit with others.

    8. Read Acts 8:20-23. One way we measure devotion to God is how we use our money. Simon wants to give up his money to get the Holy Spirit. What is wrong with that? (Can you buy God? The Holy Spirit is a gift, like salvation. We cannot demand the Holy Spirit, or "trade" anything for it.)

      1. Why does Peter say Simon is excluded from this gift? (He is bitter and captive to sin.)

        1. Can we be excluded from having the Holy Spirit in our life for these same kinds of reasons?

        2. Is Simon without any spiritual gifts?

    9. Let's review to see how the Holy Spirit comes to us. Re-read Acts 8:15-17. How do we receive what Simon so desperately wanted? (Again, we see that prayer is key. However, Peter and John are also somehow important to this.)

    10. If you read further down in this chapter, you will see the amazing story about how the Holy Spirit directs Philip to the Ethiopian State Treasurer. How can Philip have such direct leading by the Holy Spirit, yet those he baptizes have not received the Holy Spirit? (When we were first introduced to this Philip, we are informed (by inference) that he has less of the gift of the Holy Spirit than Stephen. Now, it seems that he has less of the gift (or somehow a different gift) than Peter and John.)

  4. Full Power Holy Spirit Now?

    1. Read Joel 2:28-29. Who is eligible to receive the Holy Spirit in power? (All of us.)

    2. Read Acts 2:14-17. How does Peter explain the sound, fury and fire of the Holy Spirit? (He says this is a fulfillment of Joel 2.)

      1. Some say that today we do not have the possibility of "full-power" Holy Spirit. Is that true? (If Acts 2 is "last days," we are living in the last days!)

    3. Friend, what about you? Has the Holy Spirit come upon you? Has it come in power? If not, why not pray that will happen?

  5. Next week: Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle.
* Copr. 2012, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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