Introduction: With the high price of gasoline these days you probably
want to hear about an alternative source of power! How about a free
source of energy? This week we turn our attention to the ingredient
in our lives that will give us power in our witnessing. Let’s take the
power plunge into our study!
- THE GIFT
- Read Acts 1:3-5. Was John’s baptism essential for a
- Is Jesus saying that baptism by the Holy Spirit is the
equivalent, in importance, of a water baptism? Do you
think it is more important?
- Read Matthew 3:1-2, 11. What does this text say
is the reason for baptism with water?
- What does John mean when he says the
“kingdom of heaven is near?” (I think he
- Why do you think he links baptism to the
closeness of the kingdom of heaven?
- John speaks (v.11) of a coming baptism of the
Holy Spirit and fire. Are the Holy Spirit and
fire the same thing? What do you think John
means? (The context is important, so let’s read
Matthew 3:10-12. John seems to say that Jesus
will give the Holy Spirit (greater power) to His
followers. Fire represents destruction. Perhaps
this means we have a choice: God or destruction.
However, consider whether it can also refer to
the destruction of evil tendencies among the
- What about today? Is the kingdom of heaven at
hand? Do we face a Holy Spirit vs. fire
decision? How about a Holy Spirit AND fire
- In Acts 1:4 Jesus calls baptism with the Holy Spirit
“a gift from the Father.” Why is the Holy Spirit a
gift? (Remember last week we learned the disciples
were told in Matthew 28:19 to make disciples and
baptize them in the name of the Holy Spirit. The Holy
Spirit is like righteousness, it is not something that
we earn. See also Luke 11:13)
- If you cannot earn the Holy Spirit, can just anybody
get Him? (Read John 14:14-17. This text suggests we
must ask for the Counselor (the Holy Spirit). If you
add one view of Matthew 3:11, which tells us that we
have a choice between the Holy Spirit and fire, we see
how important it is to ask for the Holy Spirit.)
- Read Acts 5:32. Doesn’t this text give us mixed
signals? It tells us the Holy Spirit is a gift, but
that only those who obey get it. How do you explain
- Let’s get back to our story of the disciples in Acts 1. Read
Acts 1:12-14. Remember Jesus earlier told them they would
get a gift from the Father and that they should remain in
Jerusalem until they got it. What do you think they were
constantly praying about? (I think they, in accord with John
14:14, were praying for the gift of the Holy Spirit.)
- Have you asked for the gift of the Holy Spirit?
- Have you earnestly prayed for the gift of the Holy
- If you were to get the gift of the Holy Spirit in power,
what would you do with it? Let’s look at that next.
- HANDLING THE GIFT
- We have decided two things:
- That we must ask for the Holy Spirit; but,
- The Spirit is a gift, like salvation, that we cannot
- Does this mean that there are no conditions for receiving
the Holy Spirit?
- Can anybody who asks, get the Spirit, regardless of
how they will handle the gift?
- What are the “user conditions” to the getting the
- Read Philippians 2:12-15. When verse 13 refers to the “God
who works in you,” what is meant? Is this the Holy Spirit?
- Who is supposed to be running the show in our life:
you or God?
- Whose purpose are we supposed to follow without
complaining or arguing?
- If you want to use the Holy Spirit, as opposed to being USED
BY the Holy Spirit, do you think He will come in power?
- Is this a “user condition” to getting the gift of the
Holy Spirit – that you have to follow His lead?
- We were earlier troubled by Acts 5:32 (God gives the
Holy Spirit to those who obey). Is this the answer?
Obedience is an attitude of following God as opposed
to following our own desires?
- When we buy cleaning products they give handling and use
instructions. (“Handle with care.” “Do not take internally.”
“Do not get in contact with your eyes.”) What handling
instructions would you suggest for the Holy Spirit? (How
about, “Do not handle, let it handle you?”)
- We have already seen in Acts 1:14 that the disciples were in
prayer while waiting for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our
lesson (Thursday) suggests a link between fasting and the
action of the Holy Spirit. Read Acts 13:2-4. This text
refers to fasting and praying and the resulting guidance of
the Holy Spirit. What reason can you think of for fasting?
What sense is there in fasting (other than to lose weight)?
- Why are fasting and prayer mentioned together?
- Are we more likely to receive the Holy Spirit in power
if we have been fasting?
- Our lesson suggests (Thursday) digesting food
drains energy from the brain – therefore the
reason for fasting. Is that it? Fasting stops
the “brain drain?”
- I’m feeling very tired at the moment that I
am writing this. If God is concerned about
the physiological, why don’t we read in the
Bible about “prayer and getting enough
sleep?” “Prayer and exercise?”
- We spent the first part of this section
discussing letting the Holy Spirit use us.
Is the practice of fasting related to the
idea of the Spirit using us? (I think the
lesson is missing the mark on the “brain
drain” idea. Fasting is self-denial.
Fasting makes you feel weak. It is kind of
a humility thing. Self-denial, dependence
upon God, those are the conditions that are
most conducive to receiving the Holy Spirit
- JOY IN THE GIFT
- The title of our lesson refers to the “joy” of witnessing.
Is there joy in being used by the Holy Spirit? If you say
“yes,” then describe it to me.
- Read Acts 2:4, 6, 12-21. Does it sound like the disciples
were having fun? If you were part of the “Joel experience”
would you be having fun?
- Not too many of us have a language barrier when it
comes to witnessing to those we know. Can the Holy
Spirit still give us a gift of tongues? (Knowing what
to say (see Luke 12:11-12) is certainly a variation on
- Would you have joy in knowing just the right thing to
say to help an unbeliever?
- Friend, God wants to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit. He
is looking for open hearts, those who are ready to be used
by His power. Will you open your life to this gift?
- Next Week: Participants in Witnessing.