In the first two lessons we studied the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and in the life of Jesus. In this lesson we will see how the Holy Spirit works in the life of the believer today, empowering, equipping, and engthening him.
If we were to spend the rest of our lifetime studying what the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit, we would have only a glimpse of why He graciously came to live in us and be our partner, our help and our guide in this walk.
The Holy Spirit in Our Lives Today
Let's look at some of the more important reasons given by Scripture.
The Scripture: Ephesians 4:30
"And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God...by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God's own, secured) for the day of redemption--of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin." (TAB)
1. What does the Apostle Paul tell us about the Holy Spirit does in this verse?
2. Until when?
This sealing has another important purpose.
The Scripture: Ephesians 1:22
"He [God] anointed us, and set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."
3. What kind of seal did God put on us?
4. Why did God put His Spirit in our hearts?
Some versions of the Bible translate that word deposit as "earnest." When we buy real estate, we put down earnest money as a guarantee that we will pay the full price later. In the same way, God has given us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of the marvelous future we will have with Him.
This scripture assures us that we belong to God. He owns us!
The Holy Spirit Gives Us the New Birth
Before we come to Jesus, the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. Before salvation, the human spirit can be compared to that of the earth before creation. The dark waters are symbolic of the unsaved life which God is ever concerned about because it does not yet belong to Him. Just as the Holy Spirit hovered over the formless, dark waters of the earth, so right at this minute, He hovers over the dark, chaotic souls and spirits of unsaved men and women.
The Scripture: John 3:5-6
"Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.’"
5. How does one enter the kingdom of God?
6. What does the Spirit give birth to?
In these verses Jesus makes it clear that in order to be born again, to be born spiritually, one must have the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit Sanctifies Us
The word sanctification means both a separation from the world and a separation to God. Some versions of the Bible also use consecrated or purified. The Amplified Bible uses the phrase, "separated and set apart for pure and holy living."
The Scripture: Mathew 3:11
"I [John the Baptist] baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One [Jesus] who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
7. With what would Jesus baptize them?
The Holy Spirit is frequently symbolized by fire, or tongues of flames as at Pentecost. The sacrifice and cleansing in the Old Testament was always associated with fire. Fire has one advantage over all other methods of cleansing--if it hot enough, it will remove all traces of the element burned.
Why We Need To Be Sanctified
Natural man is in a deplorable state. Many different places in the Bible list his condition.
The Scripture: Galatians 5:19-21
"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like."
8. What are the acts of the sinful nature?
These are the fruit of our sinful nature. In its place, the Holy Spirit wants to produce the lovely fruit of the Spirit.
The Scripture: Galatians 5:22, 23
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol."
9. What is the fruit of the Spirit?
The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus. When we bear spiritual fruit, we are exhibiting His character. Reproducing Jesus' character in us is one of the Holy Spirit's most important jobs.
The Apostle Peter also has something important to say about sanctification.
The Scripture: 1 Peter 1:2
"To God's elect,...who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ."
To accomplish this sanctification the Holy Spirit uses many different means and methods.
10. What is one of the main purposes of our sanctification?
What are some of the means the Holy Spirit uses to sanctify us? List them following each scripture.
The Scripture: John 17:17
"Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth."
The Scripture: Acts 26:17-18
"I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from the darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me Jesus]."
The Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:5
"Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving because it is consecrated [sanctified] by the word of God and prayer."
The Scripture: John 15:1, 2
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."
The analogy of the True Vine and its branches can be seen in the light of some of this cleansing work of the Holy Spirit.
15. Why does the Father prune the branches that bear fruit?
Sanctification is a life-long process. Our part in this process is cooperation with the Holy Spirit and living by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is faithful in persuading us to turn over those areas to Him He points out to us to make us ready to be part of that heavenly body, which is the Bride of Christ.
The Holy Spirit Equips, Strengthens and Helps Us
Jesus expected His disciples to continue the work He had begun, and in order to this, He asked the Father to send the Holy Spirit to come and live in them - equipping, strengthening, and helping them.
At Pentecost they received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In addition, they also received the empowering of the Holy Spirit - the continuing and ongoing "helps" sent by the Lord. The most familiar of these helps are called the gifts of the Spirit.
The Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:8-10
"To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom to another the message of knowledge...to another faith...to another gifts of healing...to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues."
16. List the gifts of the Spirit
Paul goes on to say that although these gifts vary, they are all from the same Spirit, and that to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
The Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:11
"All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines."
17. How are the gifts distributed?
The Scripture: 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3
"Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy... Everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort."
18. What should our attitude toward the gifts of the Spirit be?
19. Which gift in particular does Paul encourage Christians to seek?
20. What does prophesy do?
For a more complete study on this subject, refer back to the Bible study, The Gifts of the Spirit.
Paul's list of the gifts of the Spirit cannot be understood as a total listing of the gifts of helps given to us. The Bible and individual Christian's lives are filled with examples of the Spirit's help, both spiritual and temporal, in times of need. Whatever the real need of the Christ, the Holy Spirit is there to meet and provide for it.
Some of these gifts are rest, peace, love, freedom, life, help in weakness, hope, and power.
The Scripture: Romans 8:26
"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."
21. How does the Spirit help us in our weakness?
22. What is special about His intercessions?
The Scripture: John 16:13
"When He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth."
23. What else does Jesus say the Holy Spirit will do?
The Scripture: John 8:31-2
"Jesus said,...'Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'"
24. What will the truth do?
Many talk of freedom, but because he is liberated from the bondages of sin, the Christian is the only truly free person in the world today. When Jesus returned to the Father, He did not leave us to struggle along on our own. Catch the earnestness in His voice as He promises His disciples, "I will not leave you orphans--comfortless, desolate bereaved, forlorn, helpless” (John 14:18). He fulfilled that promise by asking His father to send the Holy Spirit to take His place. By the Spirit's presence within us, we have all the help and power we need to live a victorious, joyful Christian life and to stand firm until we go to be with Jesus or He return for us.
- He seals us.
- The day of redemption, of final deliverance from evil and the consequences of sin
- A seal of ownership
- As a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
- He must be born of water and the Spirit
- The Holy Spirit and fire
- Sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, and the like
- Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
- To make us obedient to Christ
- The truth
- Faith in Jesus
- The word of God and prayer
- To make them even more fruitful
- Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits,speaking in different tongues, interpretation of tongues
- As the Holy Spirit determines
- We should eagerly desire them
- The gift of prophecy
- Strengthens, encourages, comforts
- He intercedes for us
- They are in accordance with God's will.
- Guide us into all truth
- Set us free
All scripture quotations in this publication are from the Holy Bible, New International Version
(unless otherwise indicated)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, New International Bible Society
Copyright © 1999 by JoAnne Sekowsky