Introduction: 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!

  1. The Holy Spirit and Understanding God

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 2:13. What is wrong with human wisdom?
      (It is limited. Even human wisdom would tell you that the
      wisdom of God has to be greater than the wisdom of His

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 2:14. What serious problem do we face
      as Christians if we are missing the Holy Spirit? (We
      cannot understand the things of God.)

      1. There are some well-known comics and so-called
        intellectuals who make fun of Christianity. Whenever
        I hear this mocking it makes me angry. Should I be
        mad? Or, should I have a different emotional
        reaction? (This text teaches that it is natural for a
        human to think Christianity is “foolishness” if that
        person lacks the Holy Spirit. Although I think some
        of these mockers are under demonic influences, the
        default for human wisdom is to fail to understand the
        things of God.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 2:15. What does it mean that we are not
      “subject to any man’s judgment” in the context of what we
      have been studying? (Those people who are not guided by
      the Holy Spirit will think we are fools, but we should pay
      no attention to them because we are not subject to their
      judgment. They are incapable of reaching a correct
      judgment about us.)

  2. The Holy Spirit and the Word of God

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:19-21. What distinction do we find here
      between human wisdom and human thinking directed by the
      Holy Spirit? (No Bible prophecy finds it origin in human
      wisdom. Instead, the Holy Spirit “carried along” human
      descriptions of the future.)

    2. Read Psalms 95:7-9 and compare Hebrews 3:7-9. What is the
      source of this part of the Psalms? (The Holy Spirit! We
      see that the Holy Spirit is central to the creation of the

  3. The Holy Spirit and Problem Solving

    1. Read Daniel 2:1-3. Assume that you were one of the King’s
      astrologers, what question would you have for him?

    2. Read Daniel 2:4-5. It turns out that the astrologers have
      the same question we do, “Tell us the dream.” Why do you
      think the king took such a hard line with the astrologers?
      (The king must have had two thoughts. First, this is such
      an important dream that he wants to get it right. Second,
      he did not trust his advisors. He could test whether they
      were telling the truth by confirming that they could
      correctly recite his dream.)

    3. Read Daniel 2:11-12. What do you think about the king’s
      mental health? Is he a maniac, or is this a reasonable
      reaction to this group of “wise men” who the king has been
      financially supporting?

    4. Read Daniel 2:13-15. Now put yourself in Daniel’s place.
      Is this the question that you would ask?

    5. Read Daniel 2:16. What does Daniel’s request assume? (That
      he can interpret the dream.)

      1. Consider the danger in going to the king. The king’s
        guard is looking for wise men so that they can kill

    6. Read Daniel 2:17-18. Compare Daniel’s explanation to the
      statement of the wise men – only the gods know the answer.
      What does this tell us? (Daniel and the other wise men
      agreed – this is a matter for the gods. The difference is
      that Daniel believes he has access to God, and God will
      help him.)

      1. Have you had a more terrifying and pressure filled
        experience than this – that the government has
        decided to cut you into little pieces and destroy
        your home if you fail to produce the right answers?

    7. Re-read Daniel 2:11. Notice that the wise men say the gods
      do not live among men. Is this true with regard to your
      God? (Read John 14:17, Romans 8:11 and 1 Corinthians 6:19.
      These texts tell us that the Holy Spirit lives in us!
      Thus, better than the gods living “among” men is that God
      lives “in” us!)

      1. If, like Daniel, you had an information problem, and
        your life was on the line, would you have God’s
        knowledge simply because God’s Spirit lives within

    8. Re-read Daniel 2:18. Is the help of the Holy Spirit
      automatic? (Apparently you have to ask. Daniel and his
      three friends “plead for mercy” that God will give them
      the answer.)

    9. Read Daniel 2:19. Why did the answer come to Daniel at
      night? Why not right away? (Read Daniel 2:22-23. The Holy
      Spirit living in you does not automatically infuse you
      with all of God’s knowledge. Instead, we ask God for
      information to solve problems and He gives the requested
      information to us.)

      1. In the past I’ve thought that the Holy Spirit was
        only “living in me” to help me with spiritual
        matters. See John 16:8. Is that true? (Not according
        to this story. The Holy Spirit helped Daniel with his
        work-related problems.)

  4. The Holy Spirit and Strategic Planning

    1. Read John 16:12-13. We discussed this idea that having the
      Holy Spirit living within us might infuse our minds with
      all of God’s knowledge. What reason does Jesus say that
      does not happen? (We could not bear it. There is some sort
      of Divine metering that shares knowledge with us as we are
      able to bear it. Jesus essentially says “I cannot tell you
      now because you cannot bear it, but the Holy Spirit in the
      future will guide your mind into greater knowledge.)

      1. When Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will “guide” us
        “into all truth,” does that mean we will ultimately
        know what God knows?

    2. Read John 16:13-15. What does this suggest about the
      knowledge of the Holy Spirit? Is it less than that of God
      the Father? The Holy Spirit just picks up things that He
      overhears, and that is what is passed on to us?

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-11. What does this teach us about
      the depth of the knowledge of the Holy Spirit? (This text
      tells us that nothing in the universe knows the mind of
      God better than the Holy Spirit! Clearly, the Holy Spirit
      is not just “picking things up.”)

    4. Read 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. What does this teach us about
      the essential nature of God? (That the Lord “is the
      Spirit.” As part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is fully
      God. It is a false idea to think that the Holy Spirit does
      not know what God the Father knows. Instead, I think we
      should understand this “only what He hears” to mean that
      the Trinity discusses and decides the entire scope of
      truth that we need to know. It has to do with our
      limitations, not the limitations of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. When we read that the Holy Spirit will “guide” us
        into “all truth,” what role does that suggest for us?
        (Not a passive role! Just like Daniel and his friends
        asked God to reveal the mysterious dream to them, so
        we need to join with the Holy Spirit in an
        exploration of “all truth.”)

      2. Notice that 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 also refers to
        “freedom” and “unveiled faces.” What do you think
        this suggests about the work of the Holy Spirit? (As
        the Holy Spirit helps us to better understand God’s
        will for our life, it gives us freedom from
        misunderstandings about God’s law.)

    5. Friend, do you have the Holy Spirit in your life? If you
      are uncertain, why not ask the Holy Spirit to dwell in
      you. Even better, why not ask your pastor to lay hands on
      you to give you this important gift from God?

  5. Next week: The Holy Spirit: Working Behind the Scenes.