Introduction: Is it true that we all have at least one spiritual
gift? We said, “yes,” last week. But, are we making an unwarranted
assumption? To have a spiritual gift you would have to first receive
the Holy Spirit, right? The more I consider this, the more I am
troubled by this issue. This week our study is going to be a bit
different. Instead of us reading the Bible, and me suggesting a
conclusion I’m pretty certain I have right, this week we are going
to be exploring the answers together. I have a great deal of
uncertainty on this issue. Let’s jump into our Bible study and see
what we can learn about what it means to receive the Holy Spirit!
- The Holy Spirit and Jesus
- Read Acts 1:1-5. What do we learn about being baptized by
the Holy Spirit? (Jesus promised it. We need it. It is
not water baptism.)
- Why did the disciples need the Holy Spirit?
- Let’s look at a little history here. Read Matthew 3:11.
What is prophesied about Jesus and the Holy Spirit? (That
faith in Jesus brings the Holy Spirit as a result.)
- Read John 16:5-11. How would you compare the Holy Spirit
to Jesus? (Jesus says the Holy Spirit is an upgrade!
Jesus says it “is good” that He is going, because the
“Comforter” (Holy Spirit) will not come unless He goes.
It would not be good for Jesus to go unless the Holy
Spirit is “better.”)
- It seems unthinkable that anything could be better
than to have Jesus live with us. What does Jesus
mean by this? (Jesus lists the things that the Holy
Spirit will do. But, logic tells me that the Holy
Spirit is “better” because it can be everywhere at
- If the Holy Spirit is the replacement for Jesus
living with you, how important is it to receive the
baptism of the Holy Spirit? (We are sunk without the
Holy Spirit. It is essential.
- Read John 16:13-15. What does this suggest about the
relationship between the Holy Spirit and Jesus?
- Receiving the Gift
- Read Acts 1:12-14. How did the disciples prepare to
receive the Holy Spirit? (Constant prayer.)
- Read Acts 2:1-4. How did the disciples know that they had
received the baptism of the Holy Spirit? (How could you
not know! Sound, fury, fire and a physical manifestation
in the disciples.)
- Do you know that you have the Holy Spirit in your
- If you don’t know, then the answer is “no,” right?
Or, is it?
- Have you ever experienced sound, fury, fire or a
physical manifestation? (Friend, I have to tell you
that my question troubles me. I believe the Holy
Spirit guides me in writing these lessons, but I’ve
not experienced sound, fury, fire or a physical
- Let’s look at two other texts that you might not have
noticed in the past. Read John 20:19-23. What did Jesus
give the disciples? (He breathed on them the gift of the
Holy Spirit, and it gave them power.)
- Was there any physical manifestation in this? (None
- Re-read Acts 1:1-2. Who instructed the apostles?
(Jesus used the Holy Spirit!)
- After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples are twice
given help by the Holy Spirit. Why would Jesus later
tell them to “wait” to “be baptized with the Holy
Spirit?” Acts 1:4-5.
- How can they receive the power or gifts of the
Holy Spirit without sound, fury or fire?
- Should sound, fury and fire be our desire?
- A Story of the Gift
- Read Acts 6:1-4. What qualification are they looking for
in the seven? (Among other things, to be full of the Holy
- Read Acts 6:5-6. Notice that Philip is part of the group.
It does not say that he was “full of… the Holy Spirit.”
Why? Isn’t that part of the qualifications? (This
suggests that there are levels of the gift of the Holy
Spirit, and Philip is not at Stephen’s level.)
- Read Acts 8:5-8. Here we see Philip again. Is he filled
with the Holy Spirit?
- Read Acts 8:9-11. Philip is performing miracles and
Simon is performing miracles. If you were observing
Simon, how would you know whether the Holy Spirit was the
source of his power?
- Read 1 Peter 4:10. What does this teach us about the
use of spiritual gifts? (Spiritual gifts are to
serve others. Since Simon was glorifying himself,
this was a powerful clue that he was not using the
power of the Holy Spirit.)
- Read Acts 8:12-13. What happened to the sorcerer? (He
became a believer! He was baptized.)
- Read Acts 8:14-17. What is lacking in Philip’s ministry?
(The Holy Spirit has not come on the people.)
- How do you explain this? Philip is filled with the
Holy Spirit. We saw that “hands” were placed on him
and he did great miracles. How can those he baptizes
not have the gift of the Holy Spirit?
- Read Matthew 28:19-20. Surely Philip must have
baptized in accord with Jesus’ baptismal
instructions. Don’t those instructions
guarantee baptism in the name of the Holy
- Look again at Acts 8:17. Could only Peter and John
lay hands on the people to give them the Holy
- Was Philip excluded? If so, why would someone
who was filled with the Holy Spirit be
- If Philip was not excluded, why didn’t he lay
hands on the people he baptized?
- Read Acts 8:18-19. Simon sees other believers who have
received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Simon has a great
goal, right? He wants to share the Holy Spirit with
- Read Acts 8:20-23. One way we measure devotion to God is
how we use our money. Simon wants to give up his money to
get the Holy Spirit. What is wrong with that? (Can you
buy God? The Holy Spirit is a gift, like salvation. We
cannot demand the Holy Spirit, or “trade” anything for
- Why does Peter say Simon is excluded from this gift?
(He is bitter and captive to sin.)
- Can we be excluded from having the Holy Spirit
in our life for these same kinds of reasons?
- Is Simon without any spiritual gifts?
- Let’s review to see how the Holy Spirit comes to us. Re-read Acts 8:15-17. How do we receive what Simon so
desperately wanted? (Again, we see that prayer is key.
However, Peter and John are also somehow important to
- If you read further down in this chapter, you will see
the amazing story about how the Holy Spirit directs
Philip to the Ethiopian State Treasurer. How can Philip
have such direct leading by the Holy Spirit, yet those he
baptizes have not received the Holy Spirit? (When we were
first introduced to this Philip, we are informed (by
inference) that he has less of the gift of the Holy
Spirit than Stephen. Now, it seems that he has less of
the gift (or somehow a different gift) than Peter and
- Full Power Holy Spirit Now?
- Read Joel 2:28-29. Who is eligible to receive the Holy
Spirit in power? (All of us.)
- Read Acts 2:14-17. How does Peter explain the sound, fury
and fire of the Holy Spirit? (He says this is a
fulfillment of Joel 2.)
- Some say that today we do not have the possibility
of “full-power” Holy Spirit. Is that true? (If Acts
2 is “last days,” we are living in the last days!)
- Friend, what about you? Has the Holy Spirit come upon
you? Has it come in power? If not, why not pray that
- Next week: Evangelism and Witnessing as a Lifestyle.