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Lesson 3: The Holy Spirit *

Introduction: Have you noticed that even within your church denomination there are different groups of believers? One large group that cuts across denominational lines is known as "charismatic" or "Pentecostal." According to the "ReligionFacts" web site, Pentecostals constitute the largest Christian group - about 500 million worldwide. These Christians have a special focus on the work of the Holy Spirit. What is the focus of your church? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about the Holy Spirit and our Christian walk!

  1. God With Us


    1. Read John 14:15-16. Jesus makes two statements: if we love Him we will obey Him; and, He will give us a Counselor if we ask Him. Are these two statements related?


      1. Have you ever wished that Jesus still walked on the earth and you could ask Him questions about what to do and how to live? (If you say, "Yes," that reveals the relationship between the two statements. Jesus tells us that if we ask for the Counselor, He will counsel us in right living.)


    2. Read John 14:16-17. What is this Counselor, and where does He live? (This is a reference to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can be with each of us at all times.)


      1. Is this better than Jesus still living on the earth? (Yes! Jesus came in the form of a human. He could only be in one place at a time. The Holy Spirit can be with each of us constantly.)


      2. What is the view of the "world" about the Holy Spirit? (I cannot accept Him because it does not know him.)


    3. Read John 14:18-21. Jesus says something very interesting, that He will be in us. Does this contradict what I just said about the Holy Spirit being better than having Jesus on earth? (This gets to the heart of the Trinity. Jesus says that He is "in my Father" and we are in Jesus. When the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, is in us, that is God living in us. That is Jesus living in us.)


      1. Would you consider missing this opportunity?


    4. Read John 14:26. How important is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life? (Just as Jesus taught His disciples, so the Holy Spirit teaches us and reminds us of what Jesus previously taught.)


  2. Rejecting God In Us


    1. Read Matthew 12:22-23. What question are the people asking? What do they mean by it? ( Isaiah 35:5 is part of a prophesy that God will come and open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf. They people are saying, "Could this be the promised Messiah?")


    2. Read Matthew 12:24. What did the established religious leaders say was the answer to the question of the people? (No, this is not the Messiah, this is the work of Satan.)


    3. Read Matthew 12:25-28. What logical argument does Jesus make to counter the statements of the religious leaders? (Why would Satan cast out Satan? That harms Satan.)


    4. Read Matthew 12:29-30. What other logical arguments does Jesus make? (That you would have to overpower Satan to carry off one of his victims. And, Satan and Jesus have incompatible goals.)


    5. Read Matthew 12:31-32. I had you read this story so that we could focus on the verses you just read. What does Jesus say about the claim that His work is demonic? (He says this allegation is "blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit [and it] will not be forgiven.")


      1. Re-read John 14:16-17. Will the secular world acknowledge the power of the Holy Spirit? (No.)


      2. What will some of the religious world say about the power of the Holy Spirit? (That it comes from Satan - and this is an unforgivable blasphemy.)


      3. In light of this, how cautious should we be in rejecting claims that something was done by the power of the Holy Spirit? (This is very dangerous ground.)


    6. When I was growing up, I read an "official" church article saying that a miracle was done through the power of the devil, when the person claimed it was through the power of the Holy Spirit. I read a book arguing that speaking in an unintelligible tongue was demonic. Even recently, friends have argued against something saying that it was "Pentecostal." What does the Bible tell us about these kind of charges? (They are extremely dangerous. We may be speaking against the Holy Spirit!)


    7. Read Matthew 12:33-35. Why do you think Jesus turned to the topic of trees and fruit? Has He changed the subject? (No. We should make judgments about whether something is from God or from Satan. However, a judgment that something is demonic when it could be from the power of the Holy Spirit must be based on a careful investigation of the facts. Good people produce good deeds. Bad people produce bad deeds. That is the proper way to examine supernatural claims.)


    8. Read Mark 3:28-29 and Luke 12:8-10. These are additional statements on attacking the Holy Spirit. The general theme is that you can say bad things about Jesus and be forgiven, but you cannot attack the Holy Spirit and be forgiven. If you believe in the Trinity, how can this be true? If the Three are One, why is one angle of attack unforgivable while others are not? (Read John 16:7-8. This is the only explanation that makes any sense to me. If you reject the Holy Spirit, you reject the One who convicts you of sin. If you are never convicted of sin, your sin is "unforgivable.")


    9. Read John 3:5-8 and Titus 3:5. In what other way is the Holy Spirit essential to obtaining eternal life? (Being born of "water" is grace - we accept the life and death of Jesus on our behalf at baptism. More than that, we die with Jesus and rise to new life when we are baptized. The Holy Spirit renews our life. We must not reject the Holy Spirit!)


  3. The Power of God In Us


    1. Read Acts 1:6-9. What is the last instruction of Jesus to His disciples? (To be Holy Spirit powered witnesses.)


    2. Read Acts 2:1-4. Imagine you are there. What are you hearing? (A violent wind and speaking in tongues.)


      1. What are you seeing? (Tongues of fire resting on each person.)


      2. What would you say if something like that happened in your church?


      3. Why is the Holy Spirit so "dramatic?" (Read Acts 2:5-7 and Acts 2:12. The Holy Spirit wants to get the attention of the people. The noise and fire come for a reason.)


    3. Read Acts 2:7-8. What kind of tongues are demonstrated here? (Speaking (or at least hearing) in another language.)


    4. Read 1 Corinthians 14:2-4. Is this a foreign language? (No. In this tongue you speak only to God, no person understands.)


      1. What do you think the phrase, "utters mysteries with his spirit" means? (Read 1 Corinthians 14:14. This suggests an unusual prayer in which the speaker does not understand what he is saying. His spirit prays to the Holy Spirit, but bypasses the mind.)


        1. What could be the purpose of this kind of tongue? (The speaker "edifies himself." This seems to be a unique form of meditation which somehow blesses you.)


    5. Read 1 Corinthians 14:6-9. What is the problem with the public display of speaking in an unknown tongue? (It does not help others.)


    6. Read 1 Corinthians 14:10-12. What are the best spiritual gifts? (Those that build up the church instead of just building up us.)


    7. Read 1 Corinthians 14:18-19. What is the relative value of public speech in an unintelligible tongue? (Low! Five understandable words are better than 10,000 words that cannot be understood.)


    8. Read 1 Corinthians 14:39. What does the Bible say should be our view of unknown tongues? (It is a low value gift, but it should not be forbidden.)


      1. What if we say it is demonic? (You should consider the warnings about the unforgivable blasphemy we previously studied.)


    9. You could be forgiven if you find all of this strange. Loud wind noises, fire, unintelligible tongues. What should we think about all of this? (God is sovereign. He decides how He will make His presence known to us. In the Old Testament God was dramatic when He appeared to humans. Thus, nothing has changed.)


    10. Friend, the Holy Spirit in our life is essential. Will you invite the Holy Spirit in with power?


  4. Next week: Salvation.
* Copr. 2014, 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.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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