Question: “Who is the Holy Spirit?”
Answer: There are many misconceptions about the identity of the Holy Spirit. Some view the Holy Spirit as a mystical force. Others understand the Holy Spirit as the impersonal power that God makes available to followers of Christ. What does the Bible say about the identity of the Holy Spirit? Simply put, the Bible declares that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, a being with a mind, emotions, and a will.
The fact that the Holy Spirit is God is clearly seen in many Scriptures, including Acts 5:3-4. In this verse Peter confronts Ananias as to why he lied to the Holy Spirit and tells him that he had “not lied to men but to God.” It is a clear declaration that lying to the Holy Spirit is lying to God. We can also know that the Holy Spirit is God because He possesses the characteristics of God. For example, His omnipresence is seen in Psalm 139:7-8, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” Then in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11, we see the characteristic of omniscience in the Holy Spirit. “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
We can know that the Holy Spirit is indeed a divine person because He possesses a mind, emotions, and a will. The Holy Spirit thinks and knows (1 Corinthians 2:10). The Holy Spirit can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). He makes decisions according to His will (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person of the Trinity. As God, the
Holy Spirit can truly function as the Comforter and Counselor that Jesus
promised He would be (John 14:16, 26, 15:26).
Who Is the Holy Spirit and Why Did He Come?
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
- Who Is the Holy Spirit and Why Did He Come?
- The Holy Spirit’s Relationship with You
- Why So Few Christians Are Filled with the Holy Spirit
- How You Can Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
- How You Can Know When You Are Filled with the Holy Spirit
- How You Can Continue to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
Who is the Holy Spirit?
While there is a degree of divine mystery to the nature of the Holy Spirit, He definitely is not a bundle of warm feelings or good memories. Neither is He a vague cosmic force.
In this lesson, you will study biblical evidence proving that the Holy Spirit is a real person who loves and cares for you. You will also discover why He came and how He can make a difference in your life.
The Holy Spirit is a person, the third person of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is not a vague, ethereal shadow, nor an impersonal force. He is a person equal in every way with the Father and the Son. All the divine attributes ascribed to the Father and the Son are equally ascribed to the Holy Spirit.
- Personality (a person) is composed of intellect, emotions, and will. In I Corinthians 2:11, what indicates that the Holy Spirit has intellect? What evidence do you observe in Romans 15:30 that the Holy Spirit has emotions? How does the Holy Spirit exercise His will as recorded in I Corinthians 12:11?
- Find the word that describes the nature of the Holy Spirit in each of the following references. (John 16:13, Romans 8:2, Hebrews 10:29, Romans 1:4)
- What is His function, or role? (John:14:16,26, I Corinthians 3:16, John 16:13-14, Acts 1:8)
- What specific actions does the Holy Spirit perform? (Acts 13:2, Acts 8:29, Romans 8:14, John 16:7-8, Romans 8:26, II Thessalonians 2:13)
- What are His attributes? (Hebrews 9:14, Psalm 139:7, I Corinthians 2:10-11)
Why Did He Come?
- What is the chief reason the Holy Spirit came? (John 16:14)
- What will be the logical result when the Holy Spirit controls your life? How does the diagram below compare with your life?
- How does the diagram below compare with your life?
- Write one new insight you have gained from this lesson concerning the Holy Spirit:
- In what area of your life do you believe the Holy Spirit needs to be more in control?
- What will be the result when He is in control?
The Holy Spirit’s Relationship with You
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
The moment you receive Christ, you are regenerated, indwelt, sealed, baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result, you have the potential to live a life of victory over sin and witness in the power of the Holy Spirit. This potential is released by faith as you surrender control of you life to Him.
In this lesson, you will see how the Holy Spirit can work in your life and the results you can expect as you yield yourself to His control.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
- When you became a Christian (that is, at the time of your spiritual birth), the Holy Spirit did a number of things for you. What are they? (I Corinthians 3:16, Ephesians 4:30, I Corinthians 12:13, II Corinthians 5:5)
- Explain in your own words what the Holy Spirit does for the Christian according to the following verses. (Romans 8:16, Romans 8:26-27)
The Results of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
- Can a person be a Christian and not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in Him? (Romans 8:9) Explain.
- What is the main reason to be filled with the Holy Spirit? (Acts 1:8, Acts 4:29,31)
- What work of the Holy Spirit is necessary for successful Christian living and service? (Ephesians 5:18)
- Complete the list below:HOW I VIEWED THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE PAST:
HOW I VIEW THE HOLY SPIRIT NOW:
- Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? How do you know?
- Do you really desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Why?
Why So Few Christians Are Filled with the Holy Spirit
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
Christ’s first disciples and followers were ordinary people – they were fishermen and tradesmen. They didn’t have large amounts of wealth or status. They were ordinary. Then, at Pentecost, something extraordinary happened – they were filled with the Holy Spirit and life was never the same.
When we accept Christ, we, too, go from being ordinary people to being filled with the Holy Spirit. We are dramatically changed; we are a new creation. We are changed from ordinary men and women of God to men and women who are extraordinarily enabled by His Spirit–bold in faith and instruments of God’s power.
Today, the same Holy Spirit with His life-changing power resides in each of us. Yet, tragically, multitudes of Christians go through life without ever experiencing the satisfied and fruitful life that Christ promised to all who trust Him.
In this lesson, you will examine the reasons so few Christians have experienced the empowering of the Spirit, even though He lives within them. And you will have the opportunity to consider any barriers you may have put up between yourself and God. Meditate and reflect on how each may apply to your own life.
The Heart’s Battlefield
- How does Paul describe himself in Romans 7:19-24? How does this description make you feel?
- In your own words, explain why so many Christians are unsatisfied, according to Galatians 5:16-17.
Why the Battle Is Often Lost
- According to each of the following verses, give one reason so few Christians are filled–directed and empowered – with the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 29:25, Luke 9:26)
- What is another barrier between you and the Lord that keeps you from being filled with the Spirit? (Psalm 66:18) What else can divert you from being filled with the Spirit? (I John 2:15-17)
- Lack of trust in God will also keep you from being filled with the Holy Spirit. Read John 3:16, Romans 8:32 and I John 3:16. Describe how these verses help you trust God fully.
Basically, the reason most Christians are not filled with the Holy Spirit is that they are unwilling to surrender to God. Being empowered is not a second experience to seek out, it’s about the daily and ongoing submission of our wills.
- Examine the diagram above and write any of those characteristics, or other barriers, you are aware of between yourself and God.
- Prayerfully consider and then answer this question: “Am I willing to surrender my will to God?”
- If you are, pray this prayer with all of your heart to turn your life over to God.
Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against you. I thank you that you have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite you to again take your place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank you for taking control of my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.
How You Can Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
A desire to serve Jesus Christ and help others know Him as their Lord and Savior should be a strong motive for being filled with the Holy Spirit.
What You Must Know
- What is the command found in Ephesians 5:18?
- What is the promise found in I John 5:14-15?
- According to these Scriptures, why do you need to be filled with the Spirit? (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 1:8)
The fruit of the Spirit is never an end in itself, but only a means to the end. We lead men and women to Christ, which in turn brings glory and honor to Him. (John 15:8, Matthew 5:16)
What You Must Feel
- What is one prerequisite to being filled with the Spirit according to Matthew 5:6?
- How are you applying this to your life?
What You Must Do
- If your desire to be filled with the Spirit is sincere, what will you do now? (Romans 12:1-2)
- This means there can be no unconfessed sin in your life. The Holy Spirit cannot fill an unclean vessel. He waits to fill you with His power. (1 John 1:9)
- How then are you filled with the Holy Spirit? (Matthew 7:7-11, John 7:37-39)
- Will the Holy Spirit fill you if you ask Him? How do you know? (I John 5:14-15)
- You can be filled with the Holy Spirit only by faith. Prayer is one way of expressing your faith. If you truly desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit, you can pray this prayer now:Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against you. I thank you that you have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite you to again take your place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank you for taking control of my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.
- What must you have when you ask Him to fill you? (Hebrews 11:6) If you have asked the Holy Spirit to fill you, thank Him. God is dependable; His word is true. If you are sincere, He has filled you.
- What should be your attitude from this day forward? (I Thessalonians 5:18)
How You Can Know When You Are Filled with the Holy Spirit
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
Did you sincerely follow the steps outlined in Lesson 4?
Did you ask the Holy Spirit to fill you?
If you did not, Lesson 5 and 6 will not mean much to you. Go back to Lesson 4 and ask God to work in your heart. If He has filled you, you will be anxious to proceed with these next two lessons.
Results of the Spirit-Filled Life
- What will the Holy Spirit demonstrate in and through your life as a result of His filling you? (Galatians 5:22-23) Which specific fruit of the Spirit do you need the most of right now?
- Read Acts 1:8. How do you see this power at work in your life? How does John 15:16 apply to you today?
- How do you identify with I Corinthians 12:1-11 and Ephesians 4:11?
- What mannerisms, language, activities, and inconsistencies in your life do you think are hindering the Holy Spirit from developing His fruit, power, and gifts in you?
- What happens as we are occupied with Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us? (II Corinthians 3:18)
Fact, Faith, and Feelings
- Fact: Why should we be filled with the Spirit? (Ephesians 5:18)
- Faith: What is our assurance that we have been filled with the Spirit? (I John 5:14-15)
- Feelings: When you were filled with the Spirit, did you feel any different?
Do not depend upon feelings. The promise of God’s word, not our feelings, is our authority. The Christian lives by faith in the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word.
This train diagram illustrates the relationship among fact (God and His Word), faith (our trust in God and His Word), and feelings (the result of our faith and obedience). (John 14:21)
The train will run with or without the caboose. However, it would be futile to attempt to pull the train by the caboose. In the same way, we do not depend upon feelings or emotions, but we place our faith (trust) in the trustworthiness of God and the promise of His Word.
Though you may not be aware of a change immediately, with the passing of time you will see some evidence of your being filled with the Spirit. If there is no change, the Holy Spirit is not in charge.
- Do you think a person can be filled with the Holy Spirit and not be aware of it? Explain your answer.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a greater love for Christ?
- Do you have a greater love for God’s word?
- Is prayer more important to you?
- Are you more concerned for those who do not know Christ as Savior?
- Are you experiencing a greater boldness, liberty, and power in witnessing?
How You Can Continue to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit already dwells within you. When you purchase a mechanical item that runs on batteries, frequently the notice “Batteries Not Included” is printed on the box. The Holy Spirit — your source of power for living — is “included” when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Therefore, you do not need to invite Him to come into your life. He came to live within you when you became a Christian, and Jesus promised that He will never leave you.
The moment you received Christ, the Holy Spirit not only came to indwell you, but He imparted to you spiritual life, causing you to be born anew as a child of God. The Holy Spirit also baptized you into the body of Christ. In I Corinthians 12:13, Paul explains, “We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body.”
There is but one indwelling of the Holy Spirit, one rebirth of the Holy Spirit, and one baptism of the Holy Spirit — all of which occur when you receive Christ.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit, however, is not a once-for-all experience. There are many fillings, as is made clear in Ephesians 5:18.
How to Be Filled Continually – Part I
Read Ephesians 5:18. In the original Greek, “be filled” means “keep on being filled constantly and continually.” Living a godly life is a vital part of this process.
- What characterizes the life of the Christian who is “being filled” constantly and continually? (John 15:1-11, Galatians 5:16-25)
- Which two commandments do you think are most important to living the Spirit-filled life? (Matthew 22:36-40) Why?
- In your own words, explain the concept of Spiritual Breathing. Exhale: I John 1:9. Inhale: Ephesians 5:18, I John 5:14-15
- How can Spiritual Breathing enable you to live a godly life and be filled continually with the Holy Spirit?
- To be filled continually with the Holy Spirit, you must abide in Christ. Read John 14:21. How can you do that? (John 15:1-11, 15:10) What does the example of the vine and the branches in verses 1-8 mean to you in your Christian life?
How to Be Filled Continually – Part II
- Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Read Ephesians 4:25-32. How do you grieve the Holy Spirit? Which commandment in that list do you need to pay special attention to?
- How can you get rid of the sin in your life? According to Romans 8:13, what does the Holy Spirit want for you?
- Spend time daily in prayer and Bible study. What do these verses teach about the role of prayer in the life of the Spirit-filled believer?
Hebrews 4:15-16, James 5:16, I Samuel 12:23, James 1:5, Acts 4:31)
- What do these verses tell us about the role of God’s Word in the Spirit-filled life?
(Romans 1:16, Hebrews 4:12, II Timothy 2:15, II Timothy 3:16-17)
- Obey God’s commandments. According to these verses, what role does obedience have in the Spirit-filled life?
(John 14:15, 23-26)
- Witness for Christ. According to Acts 1:8, for what purpose was the Holy Spirit given?
The Spirit-Filled Life is an obedient and abiding life. It can be experienced daily as you:
- Love God with all of your heart
- Practice Spiritual Breathing
- Spend time daily in prayer and Bible study
- Obey God’s commands
- Witness for Christ
How is the Holy Spirit’s fullness and power evident in your life?
List any areas of your life in which the Holy Spirit is not in control.
List the areas where the Holy Spirit is in control.
What practical steps will you take this week to give the Holy Spirit full control of those areas that you have not surrendered to Him?
Have you realized a victory today over a sin you confessed yesterday? Describe.
Step 3: The Holy Spirit
The following questions will help you review this Step. If necessary, reread the appropriate lessons.
- Is the Holy Spirit a personality or an impersonal force? How do you know? What is the chief reason the Holy Spirit has come?
- What is the command of Ephesians 5:18?
- What is the promise of I John 5:14-15?
- Name as many reasons as you can that Christians are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
- What should be your motives for being filled with the Spirit?
- How can you be filled with the Spirit?
- How do you know you are filled with the Spirit?
- How can you continue to be filled with the Spirit?