The Holy Spirit - A Lesson for New Believers
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit was not initiated by Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the life of God in the world of men. He was there at the beginning (Gen. 1:2-3, 2:7). In the Old Testament he was bestowed on special men for special tasks: in particular, the prophets, priests and kings of Israel were gifted by the Spirit. The Old Testament looked for the day when the Spirit would be widely available (Eze. 36:25-27; Jer. 31:31-34) — when the Messiah came (Isa. 11:1ff.; 61:1ff.; Joel 2:28-32). Jesus was the person uniquely filled with the Holy Spirit (John 1:32ff.; 7:37-39). He promised that after his death the Spirit, his "other self," would come and live in believers (John 14:15-18; 16:7-15). That is just what happened at Pentecost (Acts 2). Now, in contrast to Old Testament days, the Spirit is for all believers, not some; he is not fitful and does not withdraw from us, but remains with us; and he is no longer impersonal but marked with the imprint of Jesus.
The fruit of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit enters our lives at conversion (Gal. 4:6). He then sets to work getting lovely fruit to grow in the garden of our lives (Gal. 5:22-24). As the branches stay in the vine, the sap of God's Spirit slowly but surely produces fruit (John 15:1-5). We cannot make these fruits of character. But we can prevent them if we grieve or quench the Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19).
The gifts of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a great giver. He gave inspiration to the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21), incarnation to Jesus (Luke 1:35; 4:14, 18), and new life to men and women under sentence of death (Rom. 6:23; Eze. 37:1-14). He also equips the people of God to live the life of heaven here on earth (1 Cor. 12:4-13; Rom. 12:3-13). His supreme aim is to make us like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
Current questions about the Spirit
1. Who has the "baptism" of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3, 13; cf. Rom. 8:9)?
2. Can we tell the Spirit what gifts he must give to us (1 Cor. 12:7-11)?
3. What is the purpose of the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7; 14:5)?
4. What is the supreme spiritual gift (1 Cor. 13)?
5. What would it be like to be "filled" with the Spirit (Eph. 5:15-20)?
6. How can we be filled with the Spirit (Acts 5:32; Luke 11:13)?
Verse to learn
Learn Luke 11:13 (NIV): "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Bible study section
The Bible passage for study is 1 Corinthians 12:1-13.
1. How does verse 3 link Jesus and the Holy Spirit?
2. What do you learn from the variety of gifts and their unified source?
3. What do verses 8-10 teach about the kind of ministries we should be exercising in our churches?
4. What is meant by being "given the one Spirit to drink" (see John 7:37-39)?
5. Does this passage give any support to the idea that there are two kinds of Christian — ordinary and "Spirit-filled"?
6. Will you ask the Spirit to fill you and equip you for service with whatever gifts he sees are needed? "Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full."
Get each member of the group to write down two main things he or she wants the Spirit to do in him or her. If the person feels free to do so, ask the person to share these things with the other members of the group. The group should then pray for one another.
Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit.
Michael Green, I Believe in the Holy Spirit.
Philip Keller, A Gardener Looks at the Fruits of the Spirit.