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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 3: The Divinity of the Holy Spirit *
Introduction: Last week we examined Bible texts revealing that the
Holy Spirit takes the lead role in our relationship with God.
Consider your insurance company. I think about God the Father as the
CEO who is running the overall business. Jesus is in charge of
reconciling the risks with the company's assets and investments. The
Holy Spirit is our personal insurance agent, the one we deal with
most. This is a crude comparison, and it understates the fact that
the Trinity is One. But, my crude analogy places the Holy Spirit
where I think He belongs, as the primary interface with us. You
should have noticed that I've assumed in these lessons that the Holy
Spirit is God. Let's plunge into the Bible and explore texts that
place the Holy Spirit in the Trinity!
- Ananias: Ignoring the Power of the Holy Spirit
- Read Acts 4:32. This is a very unusual time in the history
of God's followers. The Old Testament has much to say
about private property. But, in this small window of time
the new Christians did not claim their private property
rights. Why do you think this happened? (The text says
that "all the believers were one in heart and mind." This
translated into being "one" when it came to personal
property as well.)
- Would you do this kind of thing? What do you think
motivated this "oneness?" (Read Acts 4:31. This is the
result of a powerful in-filling of the Holy Spirit.)
- Let's explore the background of this remarkable attitude.
Read Acts 4:29-30. Peter and John make this prayer. What
are they requesting? (The power to heal and perform
miracles in the name of Jesus.)
- Now, re-read Acts 4:31. Who provides the power to act
in the name of Jesus? (The Holy Spirit.)
- What does this say about the divinity of the Holy
Spirit? (He provides the power of God in the physical
absence of Jesus.)
- Why was the meeting place "shaken?" (This is typical
of what we see of God in the Old Testament, He gets
- Read Acts 4:36-37. What does this tell us about the way
that the new believers shared their property. Did they
simply hand their money over to the first person they saw
who was a believer? (This account of the gift of Barnabas
suggests that the leaders of the Church distributed the
- Read Acts 5:1-5. What is the sin here? Is it failing to
share with others? Is it keeping a portion of the sale
price? Is it is lying about the nature of his gift?
- Why do you think Ananias and Sapphira did this?
(Religious pride. They wanted to appear to be as
generous as Barnabas and the others who were giving
- Notice that Acts 5:1 refers to them selling "a piece
of property." Like Barnabas, this does not seem to be
a sale of all of their possessions. If you sell just
one piece of property, and give most of it to the
Church, that does not seem like such a sin.
Specifically, nothing I recall in the Old Testament
indicates that giving too little warrants stoning.
Why is this treated as such a terrible sin?
- Let's look at this more deeply. Re-read Acts 5:3. Peter
says that Ananias "lied to the Holy Spirit." Doesn't the
Holy Spirit know everything, including our thoughts? If
so, can we "lie" to the Holy Spirit? (We know people who
lie to us even when we know the truth. The Holy Spirit is
the power of God in Peter, the Church leader. Thus,
Ananias is trying to mislead a Church leader about the
extent of his devotion.)
- Isn't this something that we do all the time? We try
to make fellow church members and leaders think we
are more holy than we are? We try to appear more
devoted than we are? Is that the reason why Ananais
- Let's look at this in a different light. The text
says that "Satan ... filled your heart." Ananias
represents that the Holy Spirit is filling his heart,
when in fact it is Satan. Is that the reason for this
action being worthy of death? (We know the opposite
is worthy of death - attributing the work of the Holy
Spirit to Satan. See Matthew 12:31-32.)
- Re-read Acts 5:4. What does Peter teach us about the place
of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity? (Peter calls lying to
the Holy Spirit ( Acts 5:3) lying to God! Peter in
unambiguous about the Holy Spirit being God.)
- If Peter understood exactly what he said, that the
Holy Spirit is God, why not simply say that Ananias
lied to God? (It is precisely because the Holy Spirit
is not taking a secondary role. He is not "behind the
scenes." Instead, the Holy Spirit is front and center
and Peter understands this. The Holy Spirit is now
the primary interface between the Trinity and
- What does it tell us about Ananias that he thought it
was possible to lie to the Holy Spirit and the
Spirit-filled Peter? (It shows that Ananias did not
believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the
middle of this huge display of the power of the Holy
Spirit, you have Ananias and his wife who do not
believe, and worse, are filled with Satan.)
- Let's pause a moment to consider a related issue. In
our conversation about the Holy Spirit being God,
does Satan have God's ability to be present
everywhere at once - "omnipresent?" If so, this
undercuts the proof that the Holy Spirit is God. Is
Satan, like the Holy Spirit, omnipresent? ( Job 1:6-7
tells us that Satan goes different places, thus he is
not omnipresent. Matthew 4:3 refers to Satan coming
to Jesus. James 4:7 tells us that Satan will "flee"
us. On the other hand, Luke 22:3-4 is like Acts 5:3
and refers to Satan entering a person. Mark 1:23-27
refers to Jesus casting out an "evil spirit." Thus,
while Satan can only be in one place at one time,
both he and his fallen angels can appear in the form
of a spirit in one place.)
- Read Acts 5:7-11. Notice that Peter states her sin a bit
differently. Instead of saying that she "lied" to the Holy
Spirit, he says she "agree[d] to test the Spirit of the
Lord." What test did Ananias and Sapphira give to the Holy
Spirit? (Since Peter just asked her to confirm the sale
price of the land, it must have been whether the Holy
Spirit would know of this deceit. If the Holy Spirit does
not have supernatural powers, it would not know.)
- Notice that Acts 5:9 calls the Holy Spirit "The
Spirit of the Lord." What does this teach us about
whether the Holy Spirit is God? (How can the "Spirit"
of God be anything other than God? But, more to the
point of the story, the death of this couple is
directly related to their failure to believe that God
would know of their deceit. The controversy is over
the power of God. The point of this story is that the
Holy Spirit is omnipresent, knows everything we do,
and if we fail to understand this we are in deep
- The Role of the Holy Spirit
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-13. If you only considered this
text, what level of importance would you give to the Holy
Spirit? (This says that the Holy Spirit "knows the
thoughts of God" just as your spirit knows your thoughts.
I understand my "spirit" to be what I'm thinking, not the
meat that is my brain. My thoughts are the essence of who
I am. Thus, the Holy Spirit is clearly God, for this text
says that He is the essence of God.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 2:16. What tremendous advantage do we
have as Christians? (The Holy Spirit dwelling in us gives
us the mind of God! Astonishing.)
- Read Titus 3:1-2. What does Paul want Titus to promote
among the new Christians?
- Read Titus 3:3. How had these people started out? (Just
- Read Titus 3:4-6. How is the Holy Spirit "poured out"
through Jesus? (Read John 16:7-10. Jesus came to earth,
won the victory over sin, and returned to heaven. Because
of that, the "Counselor" (the Holy Spirit) came to us to
convict us of sin and grace and right actions.)
- What was the Holy Spirit doing before Jesus' victory?
(Read Psalms 139:7-10. We must not underestimate the
power of the Holy Spirit now or in the past. We see
in this text that the Holy Spirit is omnipresent, and
He was working with King David before Jesus became a
human and won the victory over sin.)
- Friend, it is a huge error to underestimate the nature and
power of the Holy Spirit. As we saw in this lesson, it can
get you killed! On the other hand, understanding the Holy
Spirit and letting Him live in you gives you the mind of
God. Will you invite the power of the Holy Spirit into
- Next week: The Personality of the Holy Spirit.
* Copr. 2017, 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.