Introduction: As a practical matter, what does it mean to be
“baptized” with the Holy Spirit? What is it that the Holy Spirit will
do to and through us? Is there some sort of test? Are there
“approved” gifts and “approved” work? How can we know? Our study
this week looks at how the Holy Spirit works in our life. Let’s
plunge into our study!

  1. Heart Baptism

    1. Last week we stopped our study at Acts 2:37. Let’s pick up
      again in at this point. Read Acts 2:36-38. What caused the
      people to “be cut to the heart?” (The Holy Spirit speaking
      through Peter and convicting their hearts about Jesus.)

      1. If the Holy Spirit was already causing the people to
        repent, then why would they need to “receive the gift
        of the Holy Spirit?” (This must be talking about
        degrees of the gift. Look at a related matter. The
        Bible tells us that they were “cut to the heart,” yet
        Peter tells them to “repent.” Obviously, he is
        suggesting a greater degree of conviction and
        confession. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins,
        but He desires to fill us even more fully.)

    2. Read John 16:12-15. How is the gift of the Holy Spirit
      like a trip? (Jesus paints the work of the Holy Spirit
      like a spiritual journey in which the Holy Spirit is our
      guide. Our “trip” starts with repentance.)

    3. Let’s continue on in Acts 2 by reading Acts 2:39. Who is
      promised the opportunity to receive the gift of the Holy
      Spirit? Who can take this trip with the Holy

    4. Re-read Acts 2:38. Do you see that there is a sequence for
      receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit? What are the steps?
      (First repent, second be baptized in Jesus’ name for He
      paid the price for our sins, and third, receive the Holy
      Spirit to guide our spiritual walk.)

    5. Are these steps difficult? (Our hard hearts resist
      repentance. But, friend, the steps are not difficult and
      the opportunity is open to all.)

  2. Recognizing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

    1. Acts 2:38 refers to receiving the “gift” of the Holy
      Spirit. Next week we will explore specific spiritual
      gifts. Right now, let’s explore the general idea of the
      Holy Spirit and gifts. Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-3. Paul
      says in verse 2 that “somehow or other you were influenced
      and led astray” to idols. Tell me what you think is this
      “somehow or other” that causes people to follow idols?

      1. In contrast, how are Christians led? (By the Holy
        Spirit. Paul suggests that there are two influences
        in our life. On the one hand, the influence towards
        idols and to curse Jesus. On the other hand, the
        influence to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord.)

      2. Why would Paul teach that no one can say, “Jesus is
        Lord” except through the Holy Spirit? Do you think
        this is really true? (This is Paul’s typical
        approach. He is building an argument. This argument
        is that a person’s actions fall into one of two
        categories: Spirit led and Demon led. Both
        categories are very broad and diverse.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-5. Last week we got into a bit of
      a discussion about whether speaking an incoherent tongue
      (“tongues of angels”) was a gift of the Holy Spirit. Could
      an incoherent tongue be from Satan? (This is where the
      finger-pointing ends. If a person uses their incoherent
      tongue, however ineffectively, to promote Jesus – then
      that gift is from the Holy Spirit. This is the precise
      argument Paul is making. He says determining the source of
      the gift is very simple – does it promote or curse Jesus?
      Beyond that, you have tons of diverse gifts. The gift is
      not the proof of its source. The message of the gift is
      the proof of its source.

      1. Paul speaks in these verses about different “gifts,”
        “service,” and “workings.” What does he mean by this?
        (There is an unlimited variety of things we can do to
        promote the Kingdom of God. Some are spiritual gifts,
        some are Spirit-filled service, some are Spirit-led
        work. Find your “spot” for promoting Jesus and let
        the Holy Spirit led you in that work.)

      2. How can we know what is our “spot?” How can we know
        what gift(s)the Holy Spirit has given us? (Generally
        we like to do what we do well. A “gift” means you
        have a special ability in this area above the
        average. The first question you should ask yourself
        is this: “What do I enjoy doing in the church? What
        do people say that I have a talent for doing?”)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. What is the overall “test” for
      determining our spiritual gift(s)? (Whether what we are
      doing promotes the “common good.” Notice the picture that
      Paul is painting. We can know whether our gift is from the
      Holy Spirit by determining whether it promotes Jesus or
      not. We then further ask whether our gift promotes the
      common good.)

      1. Examine yourself on the “common good” test. Why do
        you like to do something in the church? Do you like
        to do it because you think it brings glory to you?
        Or, because it blesses others? (I remember many years
        ago a member of the church who took classes to become
        the “head elder.” I am convinced he wanted to hold
        this position in the church only so that he would
        have the honor of the position. Why did I think
        that? Because when the church failed to make him the
        head elder, he stopped attending church.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-13. How does the illustration of
      the church being like a “body” help us to determine our
      spiritual gift(s)? (The idea is that our gift will work
      with the gifts of others in the church. Race, economic
      status make no difference in the body of Christ.)

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 12:14-20. Why would a “foot” want to
      become a “hand?” (Pride. The fellow who I just mentioned,
      who stopped attending the church, seemed to lack an
      interest in promoting the church body. When he found out
      that the church did not see him as a “hand,” but rather as
      a “foot,” he decided to stop being a part of the body

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:21-25. Why would an “eye” say to the
      “hand” “I don’t need you?” (Again, this is a problem of
      pride. The person who has the “eye” gift in the church is
      so blinded by pride that he thinks an “eye” is all the
      church needs.)

      1. What does Paul suggest is the “cure” for the problem
        of pride (or lack of pride) in the operation of the
        gifts of the Holy Spirit in the church? (For many
        years I have been the Lay Pastor of my church. I am
        in front of the people teaching, preaching or doing
        something else just about every week. No one needs to
        “honor” me. Instead, the people who Paul says should
        be honored are those who toil away to promote the
        church where no one really sees them. For example,
        the people who mow the lawn, fix what is broken,
        visit the sick, etc.)

        1. In your church do you tend to honor those who
          are already honored? Or, honor those who toil
          away in obscurity?

          1. What will you do to be sure your church
            complies with Paul’s suggestion to give
            greater honor to those parts which lack
            innate honor?

    3. Friend, will you actively explore your spiritual gift(s)
      and putting your gift(s) to work in the body of Christ?

  1. Next week: Gifts of the Holy Spirit.