The Holy Spirit is a topic of much current interest among religious people. Some folks believe they have Holy Spirit baptism, miracles, tongues, or direct guidance of the Holy Spirit today. Some preachers making such claims have become fabulously famous and wealthy.
Interestingly, these claims are made by people of all different faiths: Catholics, Pentecostals, Mormons, Lutherans, even some former members of churches of Christ. Surely we need to know the truth about the Holy Spirit.
The Bible mentions many different works done by the Holy Spirit at various times in history.
The Holy Spirit is a living spirit Being, one of the three members of the Godhead. As such He has been active throughout Bible history.
* He was active in creation and in sustaining the universe (Genesis 1:2; Psalms 104:30; Job 26:13; 33:4).
* He conceived Jesus in Mary’s womb (Matthew 1:18,20; Luke 1:35).
* He revealed God’s will to men who then taught this message to others (1 Corinthians 2:10-14; Ephesians 3:3-5; Mark 13:11; John 14:26; 16:13; 2 Peter 1:21).
* He then empowered these men to perform miracles to confirm that their message was from God (Hebrews 2:3,4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 14:3).
* He teaches, convicts, and sanctifies sinners (John 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 6:11; John 3:3-5; Ephesians 2:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 1 Peter 1:2).
* He gives Christians joy, comfort, unity, love, etc. (Romans 5:5; 14:17; 15:13; Ephesians 4:3; Acts 9:31; Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Thessalonians 1:6).
Note that some of these activities have been completed. Some works continue on, but others reach completion and cease. The fact the Spirit once did a work does not necessarily prove He is continuing to do it today.
The purpose of this study is to consider the Holy Spirit’s work of dwelling in Christians.
Does the Spirit dwell in people today? If so, what is this indwelling and what does it accomplish? How does it relate to other works the Spirit has done? Do popular concepts of the Holy Spirit agree with what the Bible teaches?
Chapter 16: The Spirit-filled Life
The Spirit-filled Life
A Spirit-filled life should be the goal of every believer. Being filled with God’s Spirit is another step or progression that should take place in the experience of every Christian. A Spirit-filled life is one that is completely yielded and consecrated to the Lord. Jesus promised His disciples that when He went back to His Father He would send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him, because he remains with you and is in you (John 14:16-17).
This coming of the Holy Spirit happened on the Day of Pentecost. The story is in Acts 2. Since then it has been possible for every believer to live the Spirit-filled life.
In this lesson we will learn what it means to have a Spirit-filled life. We will also learn something of the reward which comes with being filled with the Holy Spirit.
In this lesson you will study …
Being Filled With the Spirit
Sustained by the Spirit
This lesson will help you …
- Describe what is meant by a Spirit-filled life.
- Test your own life to see if it is Spirit-filled by learning what evidence should be present.
Being Filled With the Spirit
Objective 1. Identify some of the characteristics of a Spirit-filled life.
Ephesians 5:18 instructs us, “Be filled with the Spirit.” This can happen by becoming a born-again Christian and by being baptized in the Holy Spirit. Jesus used these words, baptized in the Holy Spirit, to indicate a beautiful spiritual experience His disciples were going to have. He said in Acts 1:5, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
As believers we can be baptized in the Holy Spirit just as the first disciples who waited in faith, thanking and praising God. They obeyed the instructions Jesus gave when He said, “And I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised. But you must wait … until the power from above comes down upon you” (Luke 24:49).
One of the ways we can know we have been filled is that God’s power will come upon us as it did on the believers on the Day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit will speak through us in languages which we have not learned. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak” (Acts 2:4).
It is important that a Spirit-filled life show resulting character traits or “fruits” as they are sometimes called. “But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
If we think we are Spirit-filled and we are not showing these characteristics, we should go to the Lord and ask Him what is wrong. If we do not have these traits, we can hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us.
And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free (Ephesians 4:30).
We can keep filled with the Holy Spirit by walking in obedience to God’s will.
Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with the words of psalms, hymns, and sacred songs; sing hymns and psalms to the Lord with praise in your hearts. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, always give thanks for everything to God the Father (Ephesians 5:18-20).
These Scriptures help us to understand what is meant by living in the Spirit. When we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives, we grow and develop into mature Christians (Galatians 5:16). The Holy Spirit keeps us alive and active. We feel strong and ready to do our work for Him. This idea is stated in 2 Corinthians 4:16: “Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day.”
Sustained by the Spirit
Objective 2. Identify how the Holy Spirit sustains a believer and relate Christian behavior to the gifts of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit was sent to be our Helper. One of His titles is the Comforter. When someone comforts us, he makes our lives easier. He holds us up when we are under pressure. That is what we mean when we say we are sustained by the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit sustains us. He helps us in every aspect of our Christian growth. The Holy Spirit helps us in our prayer life. “We do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).
The Holy Spirit also guides us. Romans 8:14 says, “Those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and is the great Teacher and Guide into all truth. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you” (John 14:26). “When, however, the Spirit comes, who reveals the truth about God, he will lead you into all truth” (John 16:13).
Among the results of the Spirit-filled life are the gifts that the Holy Spirit brings us. These gifts can become tools to make our work for God easier and more effective than it could be otherwise. One of the first gifts is power for Christian service.
But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
The Holy Spirit makes available to us His gifts which are special provisions for Christian service. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them” (I Corinthians 12:4). Gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 are: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. There are also other gifts and abilities that God through His Spirit wants to give us.
So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully (Romans 12:6-8).
The Holy Spirit also has blessings and glory for God’s children.
God’s Spirit joins himself to our spirits to declare that we are God’s children. Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s sufferings, we will also share his glory (Romans 8:16-17).
The marvelous outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes in modem times just as it has in the past. God is baptizing many Christians in the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray that this will continue. Pray for your church that your pastor, deacons, and all of the members may be filled with God’s Spirit and be used of Him.
It is this Spirit that will sustain us even if we face problems, hunger, hardship, persecution, poverty, or death in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!” (Romans 8:37).
Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read on this page. Click on the correct answer(s). Good luck.
1. Select each statement which completes the sentence correctly. When the baptism in the Holy Spirit is received, the believer
a) may speak in an unknown language.
b) shows the “fruits” mentioned in Galatians 5.
c) grows spiritually.
d) will let the Spirit direct his life.
2. Read Ephesians 5:17-21 again. Select activities a Sprit-filled Christian should do, according to these verses.
a) Volunteer in the church
b) Sing hymns and songs
c) Give thanks in everything
d) Give tithes and offerings
3. According to Galatians 5:16, what is the key to living in the Spirit?
a) Praying a lot
b) Attending worship services
c) Letting the Spirit direct our lives.
4. When we say, “The Holy Spirit sustains us,” we mean He
a) wakes us up.
b) comforts and holds us up when we are under pressure.
c) lives inside us.
5. The five titles of the Holy Spirit that are mentioned in this lesson indicate how He sustains us. Select the title that is NOT mentioned.
c) Spirit of Truth
6. In which of the following situations are you using the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Choose those that are TRUE.
a) You offer hospitality to a needy family.
b) You accept teaching a Sunday School class.
c) You cheerfully keep some children while their mother is sick.
d) You preach in jail on visitation day.
e) You witness to a friend at work.