Want to learn more about Holy Spirit? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 12-part series.
Of all the important teachings of the Bible, one of the
most important is an understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit. In
Acts 8:14-17 we read the story of new believers who have been
baptized in the name of Jesus, but still have a very serious deficit;
they have not yet “received the Holy Spirit.” Peter and John “placed
their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Do you have
a deficit in your Christian life? Are you like those Christians used
to be, baptized, but missing the Holy Spirit? The extent of the
potential problem becomes clearer when we consider how the Holy
Spirit operates in our life. Let’s begin our journey in the Bible to
learn how the Holy Spirit is critical to our life!
The title to our lesson challenges our understanding of
the Holy Spirit. When I think of “scene” it reminds me of a play
which has several scenes. Does the prominence of the Holy Spirit vary
with the “scene?” Does it vary based on where the scene is taking
place? I think it does. Consider our tradition understanding of the
work of the Godhead. Jesus, according to Hebrews, is acting as our
High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary presenting His sacrifice on our
behalf. On earth, the Holy Spirit is pictured as the omnipresent
substitute for Jesus. The Spirit is living within Christians to
advance the Kingdom of Heaven. God the Father is running the
Universe. While we might debate the exact role of each, in my mind
this puts the Holy Spirit front and center in our life, in our modern
“scene!” Let’s dig into our study of the Bible and see what it tells
us about the work of the Holy Spirit in various “scenes” in the
history of the world!
Last week we examined Bible texts revealing that the
Holy Spirit takes the lead role in our relationship with God.
Consider your insurance company. I think about God the Father as the
CEO who is running the overall business. Jesus is in charge of
reconciling the risks with the company’s assets and investments. The
Holy Spirit is our personal insurance agent, the one we deal with
most. This is a crude comparison, and it understates the fact that
the Trinity is One. But, my crude analogy places the Holy Spirit
where I think He belongs, as the primary interface with us. You
should have noticed that I’ve assumed in these lessons that the Holy
Spirit is God. Let’s plunge into the Bible and explore texts that
place the Holy Spirit in the Trinity!
How many times have I written “It” when referring to
the Holy Spirit? Too many times! Perhaps you have too. Perhaps you
still do! Does “He” seem to be the correct term for someone who is
compared to wind? Someone who can be everywhere at once? Someone who
not only lives in you, but lives in Christians everywhere? It is hard
to wrap your mind around these concepts. However, I think it is
easier to understand that the Holy Spirit is a “He” if we focus on
His personality, and not His form. Let’s dive into our study of the
Bible and learn more!
What does it mean to be “baptized” with the Holy
Spirit? When I was baptized, the pastor said “I baptize you in the
name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Does that accomplish the
task? What makes me wonder about this is that a lot of people are
baptized with the same words, yet they don’t seem very Spirit-filled
in their religious experience. Let’s jump into our study of the Bible
and find out more!
One of the greatest blessings of my spiritual walk was
realizing that I was saved by grace alone. I’ve seen those who
struggle with obedience express great joy when they first understand
grace. They feel free! The great danger is misunderstanding the
reason for obedience. God does not call us to obedience as some sort
of test. He does not intend for obedience to be a burden. Rather,
obedience brings blessings to our lives and glory to God. God is
looking for followers who want to obey Him, those whose hearts desire
God’s will to be done on earth as well as in heaven. Let’s plunge
into our study of the Bible and learn more!
Last week we ended our study with the thought that if
we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, our life should reflect the
fruits of the Holy Spirit. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are largely
attitudes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Galatians 5:22-23. Living
a life led by our sinful nature, in contrast, brings evil acts.
Galatians 5:19-21. Let’s dig into our Bible and explore how our lives
can be dominated by the fruits of the Holy Spirit!
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!
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!
Sometimes we have trouble matching the promises of the
Bible with our own experience. For example, in several places the
Bible tells us that if we ask God we will be given what we seek. See,
e.g. Matthew 7:8. In Matthew 18:19 we are promised that if two agree
“about anything” then “it will be done for you by My Father in
Heaven.” Have these promises always worked out for you? If not, why
not? Very recently, I read that if I might benefit from my prayer,
that would be a “questionable motive” that would invalidate my
request. No doubt the writer of that statement thought that explains
why some of our prayers are not answered. How can a selfish motive
disqualify my prayers when Jesus tells me that I should pray “Give us
today our daily bread?” Matthew 6:11. Clearly, we need further study
on this topic! Let’s dig into our study of the Holy Spirit and
Would you have liked to have met Jesus in person? I
would! Christians say that they wish they could have lived when Jesus
was here on earth. They wish that they could have been one of Jesus’
disciples and spoken to Him personally to get direction and answers
about how they should live. I’m doubtful that reality matches this
wishful thinking. Why? Because we often do not like to hear the
truth. When people don’t like what the Bible says, they reject it.
When people don’t like what prophets say, they reject them. What
about when people don’t like what the Holy Spirit says? Let’s plunge
into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about the
problem of resisting the Holy Spirit!
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