Introduction: 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!

  1. The Church Structure and Jesus

    1. Read Ephesians 1:17-21. Who is essential to knowing God
      better? (The Holy Spirit.)

      1. When Ephesians 1:19 refers to “His incomparably great
        power for us who believe,” to what does that refer?
        (This refers to the Holy Spirit. He is the power of
        God here on earth. Note especially, His power “raised
        [Jesus] from the dead.”)

        1. Would you agree that the power to raise Jesus
          from the dead is an “incomparably great power?”
          (Imagine having that power available to you!)

    2. Read Ephesians 1:22-23. Who is head over everything for
      the church? (These verses refer to all three parts of the
      Trinity, but here it refers to Jesus! Jesus is in charge
      of His Church.)

      1. What is Jesus’ body? (The church is the “body” of

        1. Why would the Bible analogize the church to a
          body, especially the body of Jesus? (Let’s turn
          to that next.)

  2. The Church Structure and the Holy Spirit

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. What “body” does Paul use to
      teach us lessons about the body of the church? (A human
      body. It is like the church in the way you (and hopefully
      it) are organized under Jesus.)

      1. What is essential to the unity of your human body?
        (You were born that way. You did not make a choice.)

      2. What is essential to the unity of the church? (The
        Holy Spirit! We are not only “baptized by one Spirit
        into one body,” but we are “all given the one Spirit
        to drink.”)

        1. How would your body do without something to
          drink? (You would soon die.)

        2. Is that also true for the body of the church?
          Will it die if it does not drink from the Holy
          Spirit? (That is the analogy, and I believe it
          is true.)

        3. Are there “zombie” churches that have died
          because of a lack of the Holy Spirit, but they
          are still walking around?

        4. Have you ever heard that someone can drink too
          much water? If not, could you drink too much of
          the Holy Spirit? Could you be too charismatic?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-20. What do you learn about the
      “body” of the church from this series of statements and
      questions? (That the church is organized by God. Everyone
      has a part, and we need to prize our part. Essential to
      the overall success of the “body” is unity – a
      coordination between the parts.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-24. Have you ever been in a
      church where a person filling a certain role said to
      another person with a different role, “We don’t need you?”

      1. How might a church member convey the idea that
        another person is not needed without explicitly
        saying it? (We might say it with our attitude. Are
        there positions that you do not think are important?)

        1. What does Paul say is important for these less
          honorable parts? (He says we treat the less
          honorable parts of our own body with “special
          honor,” while others need no “special

        2. How would you apply this to your church? (I
          think everyone needs encouragement. We fail to
          follow Paul’s advice when we give more praise
          to the preacher than we do to those who set up
          the chairs, or run the audio-visual system.)

          1. What can you do to fix this problem in
            your church, assuming that it is a

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:25-26. If your foot is injured, so
      you notice? (Of course!)

      1. Did you notice your foot before it started bothering

      2. What is Paul’s point? (When it comes to our own body,
        we automatically notice when a part is having
        trouble. We need that kind of unity in our church. We
        need to be automatically aware of all of the parts of
        the body and be sure that all are given honor.)

      3. Is the idea of given honor to a human contrary to the
        Bible? (Not according to Paul!)

  3. The Church Structure and Spiritual Gifts

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:27-28. We are no longer talking
      about literal body parts like hands and feet, we are
      talking about different roles in the church. Are these
      roles supposed to operate like parts of a body? (That is
      the logical conclusion to Paul’s argument.)

      1. Notice that Paul says “first … apostles, second
        prophets, third teachers.” Is Paul ranking the roles
        in the church? If so, why? (He is ranking them. If
        you look ahead to 1 Corinthians 12:31 he refers to
        “greater gifts.” When he made the analogy to the
        body, he referred to their relative “honor.” The
        point is that all the gifts are necessary, but some
        are “greater.”)

      2. Why is the gift of “administration” next to the
        bottom? In many churches, administrators seem to be
        at the top.

        1. How is the gift of being an “apostle,” which is
          first on the list, different than being an
          administrator? (In Matthew 10:2-3 we find the
          twelve disciples being referred to as apostles.
          Romans 1:1 is just one (among many places) that
          Paul states that he is an apostle, even though
          he was not among the original twelve. In Romans
          16:7 we find “Andronicus and Junias” listed as
          apostles. The role of “apostle” seems to be the
          lead ambassadors for Jesus. Can you see how
          that would differ from being an administrator?)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:29-30. What point is Paul making by
      asking these questions? (The answer is obviously, “No.” We
      all have a part in the body ( 1 Corinthians 12:27), but our
      part is distinct.)

      1. Can we move up? Can we enjoy a greater role? (Read 1
        Corinthians 12:31. The answer is, “Yes.”)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Some of the gifts of the Holy
      Spirit are mentioned here. Why do you think that Paul
      writes this just after he writes about the way the various
      gifts work together in the church? (Our gifts, however
      great, gain us nothing if we do not have love. The gifts
      are not about personal importance, they are about helping

    4. Read Galatians 5:22. Love is the first fruit of the Holy
      Spirit that is mentioned. The fruits of the Holy Spirit
      are obviously different than the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
      How do they work together? (We studied fruits of the Holy
      Spirit two weeks ago, and we studied the gifts of the Holy
      Spirit last week. The fruits have to do with each of us
      individually. The gifts have to do with our role in the
      church. A broken foot, is like having something wrong with
      your “fruit.” Not only is the foot in need of repair, but
      it doesn’t work very well to help the body.)

    5. Friend, we started out asking, “How essential is the Holy
      Spirit to the health of the church?” The texts we’ve
      studied this week tell us that the Holy Spirit organizes
      and equips the members of the church into a unified body
      under the leadership of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is
      essential to a healthy church. More Holy Spirit is better
      than less! Will you pray that the Holy Spirit will come in
      power upon you and your church?

  4. Next week: The Holy Spirit, the Word, and Prayer.