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Lesson 12: The Work of the Holy Spirit *

Introduction: What does it mean to be listening to the Holy Spirit? When I'm studying the Bible to write these lessons, I find new insights I've not considered before. I think that is the Holy Spirit. No doubt that also happens to you when you study the Bible. But, I think there is much more to the concept of listening to the Holy Spirit. Those who are truly attuned to the Holy Spirit are led to take or avoid certain actions. My wife started getting the impression that she should contribute money to a specific student. She knew this student, but not well. My wife kept getting that impression until she wrote a check and sent it. When she was writing the check, she had an impression about how much she should send. After she sent it, this student called and said it was exactly the right amount that she needed in a crisis, and it came on the last day possible. Let's plunge into our Bibles to learn more about being attuned to the Holy Spirit!

  1. Direction on Sin

    1. Read John 16:5-6. How did the disciples react to Jesus' statement that He was leaving them? (They were so filled with grief that they could not think straight. They failed to ask the obvious question, "Where are you going?")

    2. Read John 16:7. What Jesus calls "the Counselor" is the Holy Spirit. Of all the names Jesus might have used for the Holy Spirit, why call Him the Counselor? (It perfectly fits what Jesus is about to explain to us. The Holy Spirit will take over Jesus' role with the disciples - that of instructing them to better understand God and how they should live.)

      1. Is this same offer open to us?

    3. Read John 16:8. On what three topics does the Holy Spirit counsel us? (Guilt (arising from sin), righteousness and judgment. Notice that in answer to my previous question Jesus says the Holy Spirit will "convict the world." That means we are included!)

      1. On the face of it, do these seem cheery topics - guilt, righteousness and judgment?

    4. Read John 16:9. Let's focus first on the conviction of sin. How, specifically, does the Holy Spirit bring guilt about sin? (It has to do with humans not believing in Jesus.)

      1. How is believing in Jesus relevant to guilt about sin? What is the logical basis for saying that? The Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus believed in sin. Why is a belief in Jesus important when it comes to guilt?

      2. Read Revelation 12:10-11. Who accuses us of sin? (It is Satan who accuses us of sin.)

      3. Read 1 John 5:10-12. What is the belief in Jesus that is so critical to our understanding of sin? (It is by the life and death of Jesus that we survive Satan's accusations. Thus, if you do not believe in Jesus, you are lost. The Holy Spirit convicts us that Jesus is the solution to our sin and guilt. Now, that is good news!)

  2. Direction on Righteousness

    1. Read John 16:10. When the Bible says that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of righteousness "because [Jesus is] going to the Father," what do you think that means? (Jesus is leaving. The disciples need direction about living their lives in a way that pleases God. The Holy Spirit fills that role.)

      1. In the introduction, I mentioned the Holy Spirit guiding my wife to help someone else. Would that be guidance on righteousness?

    2. Read Hebrews 4:14-16. Is the Holy Spirit only filling in for Jesus with regard to advice about right living? (No. Part of the conviction of righteousness is that Jesus is our High Priest who is mediating on our behalf with God the Father. Jesus is the perfect mediator because He understands the sin problems faced by us. More good news!)

  3. Direction on Judgment

    1. Read John 16:11. When you think about the Holy Spirit convicting you of "judgment" is that a good or bad thing? Is it a warning that a judgment is coming and you need to reform? (That is not the main message. The main message is that "the prince of this world now stands condemned." Jesus won the victory! He made righteousness by faith possible.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. What do we know about this roaring lion? (He has been defeated!)

      1. Does that mean Satan is no longer dangerous? (He can devour us if we do not stand firm in faith. But, the good news is that this dangerous lion is a defeated lion.)

      2. What does this text teach us about the source of suffering in our life?

  4. Direction on Truth

    1. Read John 16:12-13. How else can the Holy Spirit lead us? (He will teach truth that is too difficult for the disciples to understand at present.)

      1. There is a very strong unstated message in these promises about the way in which the Holy Spirit will counsel us. What is the unstated message regarding our role in talking to others about guilt, sin, righteousness, judgment, and truth? (We need to be careful about when and how we take the initiative to counsel others about the problems in their lives. The primary counselor role has already been taken by the Holy Spirit. When we looked closely at the Spirit's counsel, it was positive, rather than being "the accuser of our brothers." That role is played by Satan.)

    2. Read Romans 5:5. If we seek the direction and the help of the Holy Spirit in bringing others to faith, what does this suggest about being an accuser? (The Holy Spirit is pouring love into our hearts, He is not pouring unhappiness and shame. Our approach needs to be full of love.)

    3. Read Matthew 5:7. When it comes to counsel, is mercy one of your strong points?

  5. Direction on the Future

    1. Re-read John 16:13. What other advice will the Holy Spirit offer to us? (He will also tell us what will happen in the future.)

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 5:5. What other role does the Holy Spirit play with regard to our future? (The Holy Spirit not only reveals the future to us, but He is proof, a guarantee, of our promised future with God.)

    3. Read Ephesians 1:13-14. Here is another text about the Holy Spirit being a "deposit," a proof, a guarantee, about our future with God. What I want you to look at is the language about a "seal." How are Christians "sealed," how are they "marked" as "God's possession?" (The Holy Spirit!)

      1. Read Revelation 14:9-10. What alternative mark should concern us?

      2. What does this teach us about the importance of having the Holy Spirit active in our life? (This is the mark that we want to have. It is the mark that we must have. Having the "mark" of the Holy Spirit "guarantee[s] our inheritance." Ephesians 1:14. Praise God!)

    4. Read Romans 8:16-17. What does the Holy Spirit tell us about our future? (That we are heirs with Christ. We have a future with Him! However, as heirs with Jesus we also share in His sufferings.)

    5. Read Romans 8:13-15. What does the Holy Spirit do to help us with suffering? (He gives us a way to avoid fear. Not only do we have courage by being able to call God our Father, but the Holy Spirit directs our minds and our actions so that we will avoid creating those problems in our lives that cause us fear.)

    6. Friend, the Holy Spirit has so much to teach us. He is anxious to guide your life. Why not ask Him to guide and counsel you? Why not ask Him to open your ears so you can hear His direction? Why not make Him a partner in life in all that you do? Why not decide to do that right now?

  6. Next Week: "Feed My Sheep: 1 and 2 Peter." We begin a new study on these two interesting books of the Bible.
* 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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