Skip to content Skip to navigation

Holy Spirit, Teaching Notes

Overview

Teaching Notes for the Study

 

  • The Holy Spirit is a Person, 1 Corinthians 2:1-15.
    • The Holy Spirit has the characteristics or attributes that make a person a person--logical thinking, moral values, and volition. He thinks and understands (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), is perceptive of moral values (Ephesians 4:30), possesses volition (1 Corinthians 12:11), and can be lied to, resisted, and slandered (Matthew 12:31; Acts 5:3-9; 7:51). An energy field or a force of some kind does not have these characteristics.
    • He does things that a person does. He teaches (John 14:26; 16:13); He guides and directs others (Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 13:2; 16:6-7; Galatians 5:18; Romans 8:14; 2 Peter 1:20-21); He prays for believers (Romans 8:26-27); He convinces unbelievers of their need to believe in Christ (John 16:8-11); He is called a comforter or helper or advocate (John 14:16), as Christ is called the same (1 John 2:1).
    • The Holy Spirit relates to people as a person does, not as an energy force (with other people,  Acts 15:28, Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14 [13:13 in Russian Bible]; with God the Father and God the Son, 1 Peter 1:1-2, Jude 20-21, John 16:14).
    • The Holy Spirit is a member of the trinity. He is distinct from, yet equal with the Father and the Son, both of whom are persons, and He works directly with the Father and the Son (Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:21-22; 2 Corinthians 13:14 [13:13 in Russian Bible]; Both the Father and the Son are invisible, yet people do not question that the Father is a person.
    • The grammar of the Greek New Testament treats Him as a person. In John 16:14 the masculine ekeinos "he" or "that one" refers to Christ. John 15:26 uses both masculine and neuter: masculine is "Whom I will send to you from the Father," neuter is "Who or which shall proceed from the Father," and masculine is "He shall witness about me." This is compatible with the nouns in context. Ephesians 1:14 uses the relative hos for a person. There is a textural question, but hos, the majority text, reading seems the best.
  • The Holy Spirit is God, Acts 5:1-5. The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is God.
    • The Bible calls Him God (Acts 5:1-4; 28:25-27 with Isaiah 6:1-13; Hebrews 10:15-17 with Jeremiah 31:31-34; 2 Samuel 23:2-3).
    • He has divine attributes or God's essence. For example, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12), omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10-12), love (Galatians 5:22), truth—here truth means the Holy Spirit is identified with truth and so his witness or what he says is truth (1 John 5:6), and holy (Matthew 12:31-32).
    • The works of the Holy Spirit are works which only God can do. He along with the Father and Son created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:2).  The Holy Spirit brought about the virgin conception of Christ's humanity (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:35).  He revealed the mind of God to finite man so that man can know God (1 Corinthians 2:9-11; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Acts 1:16), and He illuminates or gives understanding of God’s word, the Bible, given to man (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). He regenerates man or gives spiritual life (John 3:6; Titus 3:5), and He sanctifies each believer (2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2).
    • The Holy Spirit is a member of the trinity with the Father and the Son, who are God (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14 [13:13 in Russian Bible]; 1 Peter 1:2). He is related to the Father and Son as an equal and as a partner in the plan of God (John 15:26 and Psalm 104:30).
    • The Holy Spirit has names and titles that belong to God: Spirit of God (Genesis 1:2; Matthew 3:16), Thy Spirit (Psalm 139:7), Spirit of the Lord God (Isaiah 61:1), My Spirit (Genesis 6:3), Spirit of Him (Romans 8:11), Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11, Russian 50:13; Matthew 1:20; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 4:30), the Helper, Comforter, Advocate (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).
    • The procession of the Holy Spirit. This teaches the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the other members of the Trinity, John 15:26 and Psalm 104:30. Even Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 2:11-12 could be used to show the relationship.
  • Types or Illustrations of the Holy Spirit explain Him and teach about Him.
    • Clothed with power, Luke 24:49. This is a prediction of the coming of the Holy Spirit in the church age. Clothed with that one is surrounded or covered with and therefore the figure means ability or enablement that is provided by the Holy Spirit for believers.
    • The Dove, Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32. This could speak of three areas. The heavenly origin of the Holy Spirit. Unlimited activity, freedom. The Holy Spirit is God and is Sovereign. He is free to work His will. He is not limited by man. Beauty and gentleness would indicate the expression in life that He gives. This could be easily seen in the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.
    • The Earnest or down payment, Ephesians 1:14; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:5. He is the down payment in figurative language. The first installment, deposit, down payment pledge. It pays a part of the purchase price in advance and so secures a legal claim to the article in question or makes a contract valid. It obligates the contracting party to make further payments. Therefore, the Holy Spirit given to man is the down payment on all the future blessings that are ours.
    • Tongues like fire, Acts 2:3. No real comment on this in the New Testament. In the Old Testament fire indicated the Lord’s presence in Exodus 3:2; His protection in Zechariah 2:5; His guidance in Exodus 13:21. The tongue has to do with communication. Here the figure teaches that the Holy Spirit is associated with communication of God’s message under the guidance of God and presence of God.
    • The Seal, 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30. The Holy Spirit is the seal. A seal indicates safety and security, ownership, authority. It protects. The Holy Spirit protects the believer. He gives safety, security.
    • Water, John 7:37-39. This verse using this figure speaks of the fact that the Holy Spirit gives us experience in life. He is real; we experience His reality in our walk. It also denotes complete satisfaction and benefit from the Holy Spirit in our lives.
    • Wind or possibly translate “spirit,” (Greek pneuma) John 3:8; Acts 2:1-2; 2 Peter 1:21. We note the Holy Spirit is unseen, immaterial, yet He accomplishes very real and evident action. We learn of the mighty power of the Holy Spirit and the completeness of His dominance over us. We learn of the power and direction over and for man exerted by the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit is the person in the Godhead who puts God’s plan into action in the lives of people. The Holy Spirit sustains, gives ability, enables, empowers, guides, reveals, glorifies, protects, accomplishes.
    • The Holy Spirit reveals God to the unbeliever and convinces the unbeliever (John 16:8-11).
    • The Holy Spirit reveals God and glorifies God (1 Peter 1:11; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
    • The Holy Spirit sustains, enables, and guides believers in the Old Testament and the New Testament (Judges 3:10; Judges 14:6; Judges 15:14; Exodus 31:3; John 14:16-17; Galatians 5:18).
  • The Holy Spirit was involved in creation along with God the Father and God the Son.
    • In Genesis 1:2 we have the Holy Spirit hovering or brooding over the waters. The verb is the piel participle, feminine singular. The only other use is in Deuteronomy 32:11. We have the idea of the Holy Spirit warming, transmitting living qualities to the chaotic creation. Actually here the Holy Spirit is waiting or preparing for the specific acts of creation to come. This can refer to original creation or restorative creation.
    • In Psalm 104:30 the Holy Spirit is active in creation. Verses 24-30 have the subject of the Creation and maintenance of the earth by God. Verse 30 shows the Holy Spirit plays a part in this. The implication is that the Holy Spirit is involved in the creation of life.
    • In Job 33:4 we have a reference to the work of the Holy Spirit in the making of a man.
    • Taken in the tone of scripture the word Elohim in the plural in Genesis 1 can indicate that the Holy Spirit is included as a member of the trinity, such as Genesis 1:1.
  • The Holy Spirit works in revelation, inspiration, illumination, and communication. God’s will and thoughts must reach mankind in an understandable and accurate form. The Holy Spirit plays a central role in this process. God accomplishes this through creation, through history, through Christ, through the written Word, through the Holy Spirit, and through oral or visible means.
    • Revelation describes the act by which God makes Himself and His will known to man. Revelation is either general (through creation and history) or special (through prophetic messages, dreams, visions, Christ's ministry, and the written word, the Bible). Special revelation stopped when the Bible was completed before the end of the first century. The written word is the only kind of special revelation available today. The Holy Spirit revealed God's message to specific people. Part of the message was spoken, part was written, and part was both spoken and written.
      • 2 Peter 1:20 gives us the direct statement that the message to prophets came through the Holy Spirit. “For know this, that every prophecy of scripture did not happen from or by its own explanation.”  Prophecy refers to that foretelling here. They just do not happen and are not isolated by themselves.  Prophecy in 2 Peter 1:20-21 refers to things not known to mankind. When prophets spoke, the message was not their private explanation, but the Holy Spirit caused them to say what God wanted revealed 2 Peter 1:21, “For prophecy was never brought out by the will of man, but men from God spoke when they were carried by the Holy Spirit.” Contrast will of man and carried by the Holy Spirit. The present passive participle of ferw with the preposition ‘upo. This says that the agent is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit actually breathes into them or speaks through them. This is a reference to Old Testament prophecy.
      • Ezekiel 8:3 says that the Holy Spirit has a part in revealing through visions to Ezekiel. Note also Ezekiel 11:1 and Ezekiel 11:24.
      • Micah 3:8 indicates that the Holy Spirit is directly related to the ministry of the prophet.
      •  Many Scripture passages state that the Holy Spirit was the one speaking in the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit revealed information to the Old Testament people (Matthew 22:43-44 (in Russian – it says “by inspiration”, not “in Spirit” which is a bad translation of the Greek); Acts 1:16; Acts 4:25; Acts 28:25; Hebrews 3:7; Hebrews 10:15).
      • In the Old Testament time the Holy Spirit revealed God’s word to his people through the spoken word (Isaiah 6:8-9 with Acts 28:25; Exodus 19:9; 1 Samuel 3:1-4; and the “thus saith the Lord” passages), through dreams (Genesis 20:3-6; Numbers 12:6; Genesis 15:12), and through visions (Isaiah 1:1; Isaiah 6:1; 1 Kings 22:19).
      • In the New Testament the Holy Spirit clearly revealed divine truth to man (1 Corinthians 2:9-14; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13; Acts 7:54-60; Galatians 1:16-17).
    • Inspiration deals with the recording of revelation and guaranteeing its accuracy. Many of the same passages apply. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in inspiration is indicated in Acts 1:16; Acts 4:24-25; Matthew 22:42-44 (in Russian – it says “by inspiration”, not “in Spirit” which is a bad translation of the Greek); Mark 12:36 both with Psalm 110; the analogy of 2 Peter 1:20-21; and 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Inspiration describes the process by which God recorded select special revelation. He directed human authors. This record is the written word, the Bible. The written word is exactly as God wanted it, down to the very words and letters and is without error. It guarantees the accuracy of the written word. Inspiration is simply an extension of revelation. The Holy Spirit revealed God's truth and directed the writing of God's truth (Luke 24:44; John 17:17; Acts 1:16; 1 Timothy 5:18; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20-21).
    • Illumination is the process of coming to understand the one correct meaning and the many applications of the written Word through the ministry of the Holy Spirit combined with man’s study. The written Word comes from God, and God must illuminate and make clear and interpret and apply it (John 14:26; 1 Corinthians 2:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:16; 1 John 2:27).
    • Communication describes the process by which God transfers His message from the page of the Bible to the soul and human spirit of man through others believers, and especially through gifted communicators. Communication is teaching so that others understand. The Holy Spirit is the necessary agent (Ezekiel 2-3; 1 Corinthians 12:28-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 5:11-14; 1Timothy 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:1-5).
  • The Holy Spirit ministered to mankind before Pentecost, when the church began.
    • The Holy Spirit did indwell and live with certain believers in the Old Testament (1 Peter 1:11; Numbers 27:18; John 14:17).
    • The Holy Spirit is seen to come upon certain individuals and then He apparently leaves (Judges 3:10; 1 Samuel 10:9-11; Judges 14:6; Judges 15:14; Judges 16:20; Psalm 51:11 (Russian 50:13).
    • The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was for the accomplishment of a service or job (Exodus 31:3; 1 Samuel 16:13; Judges 14:6; Judges 6:34; Judges 3:10).
    • The ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was different from that in the church age (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ephesians 5:18). The Old Testament ministry of the Holy Spirit was selective, temporary, and for specific functions.
  • The Holy Spirit was closely involved in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ on earth.
    • The Holy Spirit and the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ was born through the virgin. In this the Holy Spirit was the agent of conception (Matthew 1:18-21; Luke 1:35). Mary was Jesus’ mother—He was normal humanity (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-21; Luke 1:26-38; Acts 1:14). Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born through the woman. The Doctrine of the Virgin Conception examines this.
    • The Holy Spirit and the Life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit during His life on earth (Isaiah 11:2-3; Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 61:1-2; John 3:34; Luke 4:1). This filling would at least be from the point of physical birth since this was true of His forerunner, John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). This ministry of the Holy Spirit enabled Jesus Christ to grow spiritually, to teach, serve, rule, lead, evangelize (John 3:34).
    • The Holy Spirit and John’s baptism of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descending at the baptism serves to identify Christ with His earthly ministry as the Messianic King and the Son of God. The baptism identifies Christ with God the Father’s purpose and power (Matthew 3:13-17; John 1:29-34). The Holy Spirit and the speaking ministry of Christ are specifically related in (Luke 4:18-19 with Isaiah 61:1-3).
    • The Holy Spirit is also related to the performance of miracles by Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:22-28).
    • The Holy Spirit and the work of Christ on the cross. The Holy Spirit helped Him to fulfill His objective of dying for mankind’s sins on the cross. Hebrews 9:14, a difficult verse seems to refer to the Holy Spirit and therefore the Holy Spirit helped Jesus Christ pursue this difficult task.
    • When Jesus ascended to the Father He sent the Holy Spirit to take His place on earth. The Holy Spirit is the comforter, the teacher, the revealer, the one who makes service to God possible (John 14:16, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15).
    • The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a specialized ministry that He carried out for each new believer after Christ ascended to the Father and the Holy Spirit came to the new church. The Holy Spirit is the immediate agent in joining the believer to Christ’s body the church, of which Christ is the Head (1 Corinthians 12:13 with Ephesians 1:22-23).
    • During this present church age, the Holy Spirit has the task of glorifying the risen Christ (John 16:13-14) distributing individual spiritual gifts to members of Christ body, the church (Ephesians 4:7-8 with 1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
  • The Holy Spirit had differing ministries in the different dispensations.
    • In the dispensation of the Gentiles there is limited reference to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The only clear passage is Genesis 6:3, “my spirit will not strive, contend, execute judgment with or on man forever.” Here the Hebrew word din probably means to act as judge and therefore plead the cause and judge. God will finally give up on man. So in the first dispensation the Holy Spirit acted as judge for man, keeping man from destroying himself, judging man, and probably this included evangelistic effort.
    • In the dispensation of the Israel the ministry of the Holy Spirit was selective, could be temporary, was for specific functions, was an indwelling, at times was simply close proximity, could be asked for, and could be removed (Judges 3:10; Judges 6:34; Judges 14:6; Judges 15:14; Judges 16:20; 1 Samuel 10:9-11; 1 Samuel 16:13; Psalm 51:11; Exodus 31:3; John 14:17; 1 Peter 1:11; Luke 11:13). The tribulation is actually a part of the dispensation of Israel and as such we must assume that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the same. The tribulation is a part of the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27).
    • The Church Age ministry of the Holy Spirit is quite different. This present age is marked by the universal ministry of the Holy Spirit in and for every believer in Jesus Christ.
      • Universal Baptism with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).
      •  Universal Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
      • Universal Sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22).
      • The command for continual Filling with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
      • The Giving of Spiritual Gifts to every believer (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 12:7).
      • The Convicting Ministry of the Holy Spirit is expanded (John 16:7-11).
      • The Teaching Ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-16; John 16:3; John 14:26).
      • Guidance for all believers by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16-18).
      • The Fruit of the Holy Spirit possible for all believers (Galatians 5:22-23).
      • The Prayer Ministry of the Holy Spirit for the church age believer (Romans 8:26-27).
      • Principle of Holy Spirit of life (Romans 8:1-8).
    • The Millennium or dispensation of Christ is the fourth and last dispensation in human history as we know it. During this time the Holy Spirit will be very evident and prominent. The Holy Spirit will indwell every Israelite (Ezekiel 36:25-31). The Holy Spirit will rest on Jesus the Messiah. This indicates the Spirit’s participation in Christ’s life as King of the whole earth (Isaiah 11:2). Prophecy, dreams, and visions will evidence the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit during this time (Joel 2:28-29). Gentile believers will also be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Compare Joel 2:28-29 and Zechariah 4:6.
  • The Holy Spirit plays a most important role in the life of each person believing in Jesus Christ for eternal life.
    •  The general work of the Holy Spirit in eternal salvation is that of imparting spiritual life to man. The doctrine of regeneration says that God gives new spiritual life to anyone who trusts the Messiah, Jesus Christ, for forgiveness and eternal life. Regeneration tells how a person gains new life and passes from spiritual death to spiritual life, from position in the fall in Adam and its results to position in Christ and the kingdom of God and its results.
    • The doctrine is specifically taught in John 3:3-8. This passage is actually in the dispensation of Israel, but the manner of presentation indicates that it is a general truth and will hold for the church also. Titus 3:5 is a church age passage covering regeneration. The Holy Spirit plays a part of giving man spiritual life. John 1:13 is another passage speaking of regeneration, but not specifying the specific agent unless here it refers to the Father.
    • There are many Bible doctrines that explain eternal salvation. We study these under the person and work of Christ and also the doctrine of reconciliation.
  • The Holy Spirit has a much more varied and complete ministry to the church age believer than He had for believers in previous dispensations. The church age is marked by the universal ministry of the Holy Spirit. We covered this briefly in 10.c above. We can divide the Holy Spirit’s ministries into three categories: 1. pre-eternal salvation, 2. at the point of eternal salvation, and 3. after eternal salvation.
    • The Holy Spirit in His pre-eternal salvation ministry convicts the unbeliever of his need for salvation by faith in Christ (John 16:8-11). He convinces about sin—we are guilty before God, about Christ’s righteousness and our need for it, and about judgment that falls on those who disbelieve in Christ.
    • The Holy Spirit at the point of a person gaining eternal salvation does at least five spiritual services for the person upon faith in Christ.
      • Regeneration (Titus 3:5),
      • Indwells (1 Corinthians 6:19),
      • Baptizes (1 Corinthians 12:13),
      • Seals (Eph 1:13), and
      • Gives a spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12:11).
    • The Holy Spirit’s after eternal salvation ministries include
      • Assures of salvation (Romans 8:16),
      • Fills (Ephesians 5:18),
      • Teaches (John 14:26),
      • Guides (Rom 8:14),
      • Glorifies Christ (John 16:14),
      • Prays for believers (Romans 8:26-27),
      • Produces the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and
      • Gives the ability to live without giving in to the old sin nature (Galatians 5:16-17).
  • Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an often misunderstood biblical doctrine.  At the point of faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life the Holy Spirit baptizes the believer into the body of Christ and into union with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Corinthians had many problems, but each was baptized by the Holy Spirit into the church. At the same time, the Holy Spirit indwelt the new believer never to leave (“drink of one Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12:13). One is not a church age believer if the Holy Spirit does not live in that person. He provides the ability to live the supernatural Christian life, and He produces growth, service, and the ability to live God’s way instead of the way of the flesh and the sinful nature. The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not occur until Pentecost and from then on in the church age it always occurs at the point of eternal life faith.
    • Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the act by which the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ the moment he believes, and by this indwelling God identifies and unites that believer with Christ and His spiritual body, the church. The baptism of the Holy Spirit did not occur until the church began at Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 11:15-18; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22-23; Romans 8:9). One cannot be a believer and in the church apart from the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Corinthian believers, with all of their spiritual failures, had been baptized with the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13).
    • The baptism of the Holy Spirit provides the basis for Christian living; 1. Because the baptism of the Holy Spirit identifies each believer with Christ in Christ’s death to sin and in Christ’s new resurrection kind of life (Romans 6:1-11), 2. Because the baptism of the Holy Spirit is our spiritual circumcision—the removal of the legal control over us by our unbeliever self (Colossians 2:11-12), and 3. Because the baptism with the Holy Spirit is the time when the Holy Spirit comes to indwell the believer in Christ (Acts 11:15-18).
    • Jesus prophesied the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33, and Acts 1:5. Jesus said, in Acts 1:5, that the baptism of the Holy Spirit would begin after he ascended.  It was therefore not a part of the age of Israel, but was the fundamental and basic sign of the church age.
    • Jesus’ prophecy was first fulfilled in Acts 2:1-4 when the Jewish believers were in the upper room waiting for God to give the Holy Spirit to them. This same thing happened while Peter was preaching to Jews and Gentiles at Cornelius’ house in Caesarea when they believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life (Acts 10:44-48). A little later on, Peter went to Jerusalem where Jewish believers criticized him for eating with Gentiles when he was with Cornelius. He explained to them what had happened when the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house believed the gospel—he saw the Gentiles being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Peter then explained that this baptism was exactly what Christ had predicted when he spoke to his disciples before his ascension in Acts 1:5 (Acts 11:15-18). This demonstration also happened for the Samaritan believers (Acts 8:12-17) and for Old Testament believers being brought into the church (Acts 19:1-6). Each of these incidents (Jews at Pentecost, Samaritans, Gentiles in Cornelius’ house, and disciples of John the Baptist) demonstrated that all races and groups of people were brought into the church through faith in Christ, and that the baptism of the Holy Spirit put them into the church at the time of their faith. Once people understood about the beginning of the church, this outward demonstration was not repeated.
    • The baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that God does for each believer in Christ.
      • It is not something that is felt.
      • It occurs at the time a person believes in Christ.
      • It is supernatural.
      • It cannot be improved upon.
      • It is complete and perfect when it happens.
      • It is not now evidenced by signs, though several times in the young church it was evidenced by signs in order to confirm that the Holy Spirit was given to every church age believer in Christ.
      • It is revealed only by the Word of God.
      • It is the basis for the supernatural Christian life.
  • Definitions and explanations about the Holy Spirit’s activity in the Christian life help us to understand who we are and God’s blessings to us.
    • Spirituality. Spirituality comes from the Greek word pneumatikos, which means pertaining to or relating to the Spirit. By its lexical meaning and in the context of use it refers to one who is at any point in time rightly related to the Holy Spirit. The central passage is Galatians 5, specifically 5:16-6:1, and it means walking by the Holy Spirit. You may have learned it as “filled with the Holy Spirit” from Ephesians 5:18. Only a Christian can be spiritual. A believer is either spiritual or carnal. Many books confuse spirituality with maturity. In some contexts it may have that meaning, but I cannot think of any now. Personal sin takes one out of spirituality and into carnality. Confession of sin (1 John 1) changes one from living by the flesh and puts one into living by the Holy Spirit. We continue on living by the Holy Spirit by faith, or depending on the Holy Spirit.
    • Spiritual growth. Spiritual growth refers to the progressive advancement in the biblical faith. This of course depends on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, fellowship, learning God's word, faith, testing, and application. Ephesians 4:12, 14, 15; 2 Peter 3:14-18, 1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:11-6:6, and others refer to this.
    • Spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity refers to the various stages or levels of spiritual growth. These levels are not very clear in the Bible, though I think we could demonstrate some. This is different from spirituality in which both immature believers and mature believers can be either spiritual or carnal at any point in time. Ephesians 4:13, Hebrews 5:11-6:6, Colossians 1:28, James 1:4 and others speak of spiritual maturity.
    • Sanctification. Sanctification refers to a set apart condition. Believers are set apart for God's priestly service. Romans 12:1-2 present the believer’s side of sanctification. There are three kinds of sanctification. 1. Positional which every believer has (Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; Ephesians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 1:2); experiential which is the day to day sanctification (John 17:17; Romans 6:19, 22; 12:1; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7; 5:23; Hebrews 12:10, 14; 1 Peter 1:15); and ultimate, which occurs in heaven (Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:1-2; Jude 24-25).
    • Carnality. Carnality comes from the word for flesh, sarkikos, and by extension often refers to man living apart from God’s power and Word, whether a believer or unbeliever. When one lives by his own power, he is living by his human fallen nature. The believer who lives by his human nature instead of by his divine nature is said to be carnal. The central passage is 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 where believers are living like unbelievers and are called carnal. Galatians 5:16-21 states the conflict between the flesh and the Holy Spirit, and gives some works of the flesh that are sins. Carnality is opposite to spirituality. Confession of sin to God restores the believer to walking in the light, to fellowship (1 John 1), and to walking by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5).
    • Fellowship with God. This emphasizes the friendship relationship with God the Father and the Son. Sin breaks the fellowship; confession of sin restores the fellowship. When in fellowship with God, believers partner with God in service and enjoy a close friendship. The central passages are 1 John 1 and John 13. Since one is no longer walking in darkness (sin), the Holy Spirit also leads and controls the believer as Galatians 5 teaches.
  • A spiritual gift is the special ability that God gives to each believer for ministry within the body of Christ. There are permanent and temporary spiritual gifts.
    • Permanent spiritual gifts are the God given spiritual abilities that we in the church age now possess. The permanent spiritual gifts are the public communication gifts (pastor-teacher, teacher, evangelist), church operational gifts (leadership, administrations, service), individual gifts (helping, showing mercy, encouragement), and giving. We must be walking by the Holy Spirit and walking in divine love if we want to properly serve, to participate with God in the ministry, and to spiritually benefit from the use of our spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12.4-7; 13.1-7; 1 Peter 4.10; Romans 12.6-8; Ephesians 4.11).
    • Temporary spiritual gifts are supernatural sign gifts (supernatural abilities) that God gave to certain believers for a limited period of time so that they could authenticate their ministry and message about Jesus Christ; the primary purpose was not to cure physical or social ills. These gifts were operational only during the transitional first century. The Bible lists the following temporary spiritual gifts: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healing, working miracles or powers, apostle, prophet and prophecy, differentiating of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12.8-10; 28-31; 13.8-9). The principle of temporary spiritual gifts is found in Hebrews 2.3-4, 1 Corinthians 13.8-11, 2 Corinthians 12.12, and Romans 15.18-19. Paul, during his first Roman imprisonment in AD 60-62, was not able to heal Epaphroditus even though he had healed Publius’ father and others on the island of Malta two years earlier (Acts 28.7-9; Philippians 2.25-27). Paul could not heal him because God had withdrawn the gift of healing. Other opportunities for using the healing gift by Paul were for Timothy (1 Timothy 5:23) and Trophimus (2 timothy 4:20). He apparently could not or did not heal these two men.
    • The Holy Spirit gives each believer at least one spiritual gift at the time of eternal salvation. As noted above, there are both temporary and permanent spiritual gifts. The temporary gifts were given for use in the first century of the church during its founding and initial growth before the Bible was completed. Permanent spiritual gifts are those the Holy Spirit gives to believers during the church age. There are at least ten permanent gifts: pastor and teacher, teacher, evangelist, leadership, administration, service, helping, encouragement, showing mercy, and giving. The Christian Way of Life module notes give details about spiritual gifts.
    • Below is a brief doctrine presentation. See Bible Doctrine 1, Tod Kennedy.
      • A spiritual gift is the special ability given by God to each believer for ministry within the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11-19; 1 Peter 4:10; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11).
      • There are different spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6); each gift benefits the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16); and there are temporary and permanent gifts. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Hebrews 2:3-4).
      • The three dimensions of the Christian way of life under spiritual gifts are found in 1 Corinthians 12:4-5, 11.
        • The gift is given by the Holy Spirit
        • The areas of ministry of that gift are directed by Christ
        • The objective production is planned by the Father
      • There are three categories of spiritual gifts in use today.
        • Public Communication (Pastor-Teacher, Evangelist, Teacher)
        • Operations (Leadership, Administrations, Service)
        • Individual (Helping, Showing Mercy, Encouragement, Giving)
      • In order to help identify your spiritual gift, ask yourself the following questions and apply the dimensions of the Christian way of life regarding spiritual gifts as found in 1 Corinthians 12.4-6 to yourself.
        • What is your desire in ministering?
        • What do you find yourself doing?
        • In what area are you a consistent blessing?
  • Throughout church history there have been abuses and misunderstandings about the Holy Spirit and His ministries. I present below two illustrations.
    • Pentecostalism in America began in the fall of 1900 with Charles Parham and his new formed Bethel Bible College in Topeka Kansas. On January 1, 1901, Agnes Ozman claimed that he received the Holy Spirit, and a few days later Parham and others had this experience. From there in April, 1906, the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, led by William J Seymour, attracted many people seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking tongues. Pentecostalism emphasizes experience over doctrine. To them, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a special event and is evidenced by speaking in tongues and other manifestations of the Spirit. Pentecostalism emphasizes experience over Bible doctrine. In this and other emphases, they are wrong.
    • Vineyard, Power Evangelism, Signs and Wonders, Third Wave, Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and Association of Vineyard Churches are all names of a group of churches that originally came out of the Calvary Chapel movement. These churches emphasize the public expression of tongues, healings, and miracles. Contemporary Christian “worship” songs are an important part of the church services. The movement emphasizes experience over Bible doctrine, the gifts of healing and miracles, and contemporary praise songs. John Wimber (died 1997) was the recognized leader. As with Pentecostalism, the Vineyard movement is wrong about much of its doctrine of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts.
  • The biblical challenge to believers is found in Galatians 5:16, “walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh,” Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” To walk by the Holy Spirit means to trust him and depend upon Him moment by moment and therefore to live one’s life by his direction and power. To grieve the Holy Spirit refers to committing sin. To quench the Holy Spirit means to ignore and reject His guidance and direction. One walking by the Holy Spirit is a spiritual believer. See Bible Doctrine1, Tod Kennedy.
    • Spirituality refers to the believer’s functional relationship with the Holy Spirit enabling him to live the Christian way of life. The word spiritual is used in Galatians 6:1 and refers in context to believers walking or living by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
    • Spirituality is the condition when the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) fills the believer (Ephesians 5:18), also called “living by the Holy Spirit” (Galatians 5:16).
    • The opposite condition is carnality, which is control by the sinful nature or living by the flesh (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Galatians 5:16-17).
    • Spirituality occurs when the believer is in fellowship (by confession of sin - 1 John 1:9), not grieving (Ephesians 4:30), or quenching (1 Thessalonians 5:19) the Holy Spirit, and consciously depending upon (faith) the Holy Spirit to control and enable him (Galatians 3:2-5).
    • The fruit of the Spirit is a result of spirituality (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Questions and Comments at conclusion of this study.

Last Update

Friday, October 13, 2006