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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 8: The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit *
Introduction: What a blessing it is to have the Holy Spirit! We
learned two weeks ago that the Holy Spirit guides our mind if we ask.
We learned last week that the Holy Spirit changes our attitudes so
that we experience love, joy and peace. This week we learn how
everyone of us is given at least one gift from the Holy Spirit to use
to build up the body of believers. Do you like gifts? Let's jump
right into our study of the Bible and learn more about the gifts the
Holy Spirit has to offer to us!
- The Obvious
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-3. What topic is Paul teaching to
us? (Spiritual gifts!)
- What is the first thing Paul wants us to know about
spiritual gifts? What is his "baseline" teaching
about these gifts? (We are all influenced by the
things around us. Paul does not want us to be "led
astray" by the wrong influences. As to the right
influences, telling whether someone is exercising a
gift of the Holy Spirit is easy - if they say "Jesus
is Lord" (as opposed to "Jesus be cursed"), you know
this comes from the Holy Spirit.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-6. Why is Paul telling us that
there are different gifts, service and workings, but the
same Holy Spirit is behind them all? (This is another
warning - not to be judgmental about the spiritual gifts
of others. Just because someone has different gifts,
different service, or different workings, we are not to
say that it comes from Satan. The Holy Spirit works in
different ways in different Christians.)
- Read Matthew 12:22 and Matthew 12:24-26. What does Jesus
say about the idea that someone would use the power of
Satan to do something good? (Jesus says it is illogical.)
- Read Matthew 12:31-32. We previously learned from Paul
that discerning whether something comes from the Holy
Spirit is obvious. He then warns us not to be judgmental
when others have gifts that we might not have or might not
understand. Why does Jesus tell us that this is a very
serious issue? (If we call the work of the Holy Spirit the
work of Satan, we have blasphemed the Holy Spirit! Worse,
this is an unforgivable sin!)
- Why is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit not
forgivable and blasphemy against Jesus is forgivable?
They are both part of the Godhead! (Think about this.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live in us, guide us,
change our attitudes, and give us gifts. If we cannot
distinguish between the work of the Holy Spirit and
the work of Satan, we have a serious practical
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 1 John 4:1. We just learned
that making the wrong judgment with regard to the spirits
(discerning or "distinguishing between spirits") is a very
serious matter. In fact, discerning spirits is a gift
given to some. Should we be reluctant to make this
judgment, since the penalty for getting it wrong is so
- Read 1 John 4:2-3. Have we come full circle to where we
started in this discussion. John agrees with Paul,
discerning spirits is easy and obvious. We don't have to
fear getting it wrong, if we follow this simple rule - if
the Spirit says Jesus is from God, that Jesus is God
incarnate, it is the Holy Spirit. If the spirit says Jesus
is not from God, then it is demonic. This is not
difficult. What apparently is hard, is accepting that the
Holy Spirit works in different Christians in different
- If this is so easy, why do we need a spiritual gift
to figure it out (discern it)? (Recall we recently
studied the story of Ananias and Sapphira? In Acts
5:3 Peter says that Satan has filled the heart of
Ananias. Ananias was giving money to the church.
There is no evidence that he doubted that Jesus was
from God. Yet, his motive was not right and Peter
knew it. The Holy Spirit told Peter something about
Ananias' spirit that was not obvious. I think that is
the gift of discerning spirits - understanding the
nature of a man's spirit.)
- A Gift For All
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. Let's contemplate this text for
just a few moments. How many receive a "manifestation" of
the Holy Spirit? ("Each one." That means everyone,
- Why are we given at least one spiritual gift? (For
the common good. This must mean for the good of our
fellow believers in Jesus.)
- Read Acts 2:38-39. What does this teach us about the
individual promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit over
time? (It continues through the generations.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Does it appear that we all
receive the same spiritual gifts? (No. These verses seem
to say just the opposite, that different believers receive
different gifts. We all get some gift, but it is unlikely
to be the same gift as the person sitting next to us.)
- If you were organizing the church, what would these
verses that I just read cause you to conclude?
(Everyone has at least one spiritual gift. The gifts
are unique. The gifts are given for the common good
of the church. Thus, I would organize the work of the
church by having each member do something that is in
accord with his or her gift.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:11. Who decides who gets what gift?
(The Holy Spirit.)
- Read Romans 12:6-8. Who decides the extent to which we
have a spiritual gift? (Paul says it is "according to the
grace given us" and he says "in proportion to his faith."
This suggests a joint effort: God originally decides the
gift and the extent of the gift, and we can increase the
strength of the gift by our faith.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:31. In 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 Paul
lists several spiritual gifts. He then says, "eagerly
desire the greater gifts." What does that say about our
role in securing an additional spiritual gift that we
would like to have? (It suggests that we also have a role
in the type of gifts given to us. It would not make any
sense for Paul to tell us to desire other gifts if we
could not have them.)
- Look again at 1 Corinthians 12:11. As we previously
discussed, this should have a great impact on church
organization. If we are simply facilitating the
organizational work of the Holy Spirit, what does this
suggest about the work of the church? (We want the Holy
Spirit to lead in that as well. The Spirit organizes and
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. What is the goal of this
organization? (Unity. The goal is to work as one body.)
- What doesn't matter in this organization? (Our race
or our economic status. The organization of the Holy
Spirit is our unifying feature.)
- Ask yourself whether Paul is writing about your local
church or the entire body of believers? (When I was
growing up, I was taught that my church was the most
recent improvement in a series of refinements in doctrine
over the history of the church. For example, the Lutheran
Church was a refinement over the doctrines of the Catholic
Church. This just continued with subsequent
- Is there any Biblical support for this idea of a
constantly refined series of church denominations?
(Revelation chapters 1-3 lists churches that are
thought to represent the history of the church
through the ages. But, these are not a series of
improvements. Instead, the teaching of the Bible is
that each believer (and perhaps each group of
believers) compliments the rest of the body of
- Read Romans 12:3-5. What is the warning given to us if we
think that our gift (or perhaps our church) is superior to
all others? (This is a matter that calls for "sober
judgment." I think we should be concerned about the sin
of pride. We want to understand God's will as perfectly as
possible. We need to share improved understanding of God's
will. But, at the end of the day we need to realize that
other members and other churches may be doing some things
better than we are doing them. The goal is unity in
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-28. Have you figured out what
gift or gifts the Holy Spirit has given you? Did you
notice that helping others was a gift?
- Friend, if you have received the Holy Spirit, He has given
you at least one spiritual gift. My challenge to you is to
find it and then put it to use!
- Next week: The Holy Spirit and the Church.
* 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.