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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 9: The Holy Spirit and the Church *
Introduction: Is there evidence that the Holy Spirit is active in
your church? Is there evidence that He is directing the work of your
church? These are serious questions that go to the heart of the
health of your congregation. My concern is that my church
denomination, and many others, is a "quart low" on the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, some denominations seem somewhat hostile to "charismatic"
churches. Does "not charismatic" equal "not directed by the Holy
Spirit?" The connection between the health of the church and the work
of the Holy Spirit raises serious questions which are answered by our
study this week. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible to see what
we can learn about the Church and the Holy Spirit!
- The Church Structure and Jesus
- Read Ephesians 1:17-21. Who is essential to knowing God
better? (The Holy Spirit.)
- When Ephesians 1:19 refers to "His incomparably great
power for us who believe," to what does that refer?
(This refers to the Holy Spirit. He is the power of
God here on earth. Note especially, His power "raised
[Jesus] from the dead.")
- Would you agree that the power to raise Jesus
from the dead is an "incomparably great power?"
(Imagine having that power available to you!)
- Read Ephesians 1:22-23. Who is head over everything for
the church? (These verses refer to all three parts of the
Trinity, but here it refers to Jesus! Jesus is in charge
of His Church.)
- What is Jesus' body? (The church is the "body" of
- Why would the Bible analogize the church to a
body, especially the body of Jesus? (Let's turn
to that next.)
- The Church Structure and the Holy Spirit
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. What "body" does Paul use to
teach us lessons about the body of the church? (A human
body. It is like the church in the way you (and hopefully
it) are organized under Jesus.)
- What is essential to the unity of your human body?
(You were born that way. You did not make a choice.)
- What is essential to the unity of the church? (The
Holy Spirit! We are not only "baptized by one Spirit
into one body," but we are "all given the one Spirit
- How would your body do without something to
drink? (You would soon die.)
- Is that also true for the body of the church?
Will it die if it does not drink from the Holy
Spirit? (That is the analogy, and I believe it
- Are there "zombie" churches that have died
because of a lack of the Holy Spirit, but they
are still walking around?
- Have you ever heard that someone can drink too
much water? If not, could you drink too much of
the Holy Spirit? Could you be too charismatic?
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-20. What do you learn about the
"body" of the church from this series of statements and
questions? (That the church is organized by God. Everyone
has a part, and we need to prize our part. Essential to
the overall success of the "body" is unity - a
coordination between the parts.)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-24. Have you ever been in a
church where a person filling a certain role said to
another person with a different role, "We don't need you?"
- How might a church member convey the idea that
another person is not needed without explicitly
saying it? (We might say it with our attitude. Are
there positions that you do not think are important?)
- What does Paul say is important for these less
honorable parts? (He says we treat the less
honorable parts of our own body with "special
honor," while others need no "special
- How would you apply this to your church? (I
think everyone needs encouragement. We fail to
follow Paul's advice when we give more praise
to the preacher than we do to those who set up
the chairs, or run the audio-visual system.)
- What can you do to fix this problem in
your church, assuming that it is a
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:25-26. If your foot is injured, so
you notice? (Of course!)
- Did you notice your foot before it started bothering
- What is Paul's point? (When it comes to our own body,
we automatically notice when a part is having
trouble. We need that kind of unity in our church. We
need to be automatically aware of all of the parts of
the body and be sure that all are given honor.)
- Is the idea of given honor to a human contrary to the
Bible? (Not according to Paul!)
- The Church Structure and Spiritual Gifts
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-28. We are no longer talking
about literal body parts like hands and feet, we are
talking about different roles in the church. Are these
roles supposed to operate like parts of a body? (That is
the logical conclusion to Paul's argument.)
- Notice that Paul says "first ... apostles, second
prophets, third teachers." Is Paul ranking the roles
in the church? If so, why? (He is ranking them. If
you look ahead to 1 Corinthians 12:31 he refers to
"greater gifts." When he made the analogy to the
body, he referred to their relative "honor." The
point is that all the gifts are necessary, but some
- Why is the gift of "administration" next to the
bottom? In many churches, administrators seem to be
at the top.
- How is the gift of being an "apostle," which is
first on the list, different than being an
administrator? (In Matthew 10:2-3 we find the
twelve disciples being referred to as apostles.
Romans 1:1 is just one (among many places) that
Paul states that he is an apostle, even though
he was not among the original twelve. In Romans
16:7 we find "Andronicus and Junias" listed as
apostles. The role of "apostle" seems to be the
lead ambassadors for Jesus. Can you see how
that would differ from being an administrator?)
- Read 1 Corinthians 12:29-30. What point is Paul making by
asking these questions? (The answer is obviously, "No." We
all have a part in the body ( 1 Corinthians 12:27), but our
part is distinct.)
- Can we move up? Can we enjoy a greater role? (Read 1
Corinthians 12:31. The answer is, "Yes.")
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Some of the gifts of the Holy
Spirit are mentioned here. Why do you think that Paul
writes this just after he writes about the way the various
gifts work together in the church? (Our gifts, however
great, gain us nothing if we do not have love. The gifts
are not about personal importance, they are about helping
- Read Galatians 5:22. Love is the first fruit of the Holy
Spirit that is mentioned. The fruits of the Holy Spirit
are obviously different than the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
How do they work together? (We studied fruits of the Holy
Spirit two weeks ago, and we studied the gifts of the Holy
Spirit last week. The fruits have to do with each of us
individually. The gifts have to do with our role in the
church. A broken foot, is like having something wrong with
your "fruit." Not only is the foot in need of repair, but
it doesn't work very well to help the body.)
- Friend, we started out asking, "How essential is the Holy
Spirit to the health of the church?" The texts we've
studied this week tell us that the Holy Spirit organizes
and equips the members of the church into a unified body
under the leadership of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is
essential to a healthy church. More Holy Spirit is better
than less! Will you pray that the Holy Spirit will come in
power upon you and your church?
- Next week: The Holy Spirit, the Word, and Prayer.
* 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.