The Holy Spirit
This comprises 2 sessions. The first is a background on the role and person of the Holy Spirit. The second is the terms of receiving / submitting to the fullness of the Holy Spirit. For deeper, fuller and better study, go get a great book like ‘One in the Spirit’ by David Watson and books by other similar Bible-based writers you trust.
The Holy Spirit is part of the God-head (often called the ‘Trinity’ which is God who is one but also made up of three parts, hard to get your head round but true!) – God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is as essential in the life of a Christian as God the Father or Jesus. Yet many Christians don’t seem to have evidence of the Holy Spirit in their life? Why is that? Who or what is the Holy Spirit?
In Genesis 1.2 we see that the Holy Spirit hovered over the earth before God created it. We also find the Holy Spirit at work through the Old Testament, for example inspiring the prophecies of Isaiah and the prophets. We also see symbols of the Holy Spirit such as fire (burning bush to Moses, Exodus 3.2) or water (Isaiah 44.3). The Spirit of God also inspired man – Exodus 31.2-3.
In the New Testament we see the Spirit as wind (John 3.8, Acts 2). We also see the Spirit as a dove over Jesus (John 1.32-33). We see the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus (cf. Luke 2.52), then in the life of the early church (Acts 2). We see the Spirit of God in the life of believers and Jesus doing signs and wonders. We also find out more and more about the Spirit as we’ll see. In 2 Peter 1.21 we read that prophecy has always come from the Spirit and not from man. The Holy Spirit is as essential to you and I as he was to Joshua, Moses, Peter and the Godly cast of the Bible.
Omnipresent and omniscient!! (You wot!?)
Yes, I know. They’re ridiculous words and need to be outlawed. What they mean is – God is everywhere and God knows everything. For evidence go visit Mr Jeremiah at street 23, number 23-24, and Psalm 139.1-12.
The Holy Spirit is a Person
The Spirit of God is not a thing but a living person (John 14.17). We also see many aspects of what we’d consider ‘human’ characteristics in the lifer and work of the Spirit. Firstly, the Spirit has thought (Romans 8.27 speaks of the mind of the Spirit). Secondly, the Spirit speaks (Acts 8.29, ‘the Spirit said to Philip..’). Thirdly, the Spirit is someone who acts (Acts 8.39 Philip is taken away by the Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 12 we see the Spirit gives gifts). Fourthly, the Spirit has feelings (Ephesians 4.30 says we can grieve the Spirit).
The Work of The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit works in the life of Christians and non-Christians (it is the Spirit that convicts us of sin!) There is a lot to explore here under 8 different headings (thanks to Derek Prince’s book, ‘Derek Prince On Experiencing God’s Power’ for inspiring these headings.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit –
In the’ Jesus’ DVD by Agape and the SP Trust, there is a great clip of a dove fluttering down and resting on Jesus’ left shoulder so you could use this as a clip. Or something like it!
Sometimes we go to a big event or weekend away and come back and feel God isn’t as real as he was when we were away. A kind of Pentecost experience happens when we feel so full of the Holy Spirit. But then we can have a 1 Kings 19 Elijah moment as we return to ‘normal life’ and feel all depressed and tired.
I think John 16.7 can help us. This is when Jesus says, ‘It’s better for you that I go away and leave you with the Holy Spirit.’ This must have been real hard for the disciples. They would have to see Jesus leave them and then wait for this ‘Holy Spirit’ to show. The disciples had real spiritual highs with Jesus but then he left and their lives returned to ‘normal’. But not for long. Not when the Spirit showed. For us we may have the Spirit show up in our ‘normal’ life in amazing or more ‘normal’ ways but the Holy Spirit is with us so we should never feel really down as God’s Spirit fills us with hope.
The Spirit in us –
I started with a story about how I was baptised in the Holy Spirit in a cafe at Spring Harvest quite unexpectedly! I just started speaking unreal stuff with great wisdom and insight, finishing with the words, ‘and that must be the Holy Spirit that just said that cos it definitely weren’t me’. Great grammar I know.. My mate sat staring at me, mouth wide open, looking a little bemused. That was before I got baptised in water. God made me a nonconformist.
What about a story by you? A work of the Spirit in you? Wisdom, healing, words of knowledge, ideas. You know this web site comes from the Spirit of God’s constant inspiration. I just write as God creates and speaks.
Revealing God’s Word –
This started with a clip from the movie ‘Field Of Dreams’.
The clip is Chapter 28 (01:17:22). You can play up to Chapter 31 (01:26:20)
The farmer called Ray (Kevin Costner) has heard a voice and built a baseball field in his corn fields. Out of nowhere have come a bunch of baseball players long since dead but now very much alive on this field. However, only a few people can actually see the players. Costner is losing money and his wife’s brother is trying to get him to sell up. The brother can’t see the players. Costner’s daughter gets knocked off the stand. One of the players comes and helps her. Then the brother sees the players. ‘Where did all these guys come from?’
That’s how it is with God’s Spirit. We can read the Bible and not ‘see’ anything. But when we ask God and he reveals his Word to us by his Spirit, we suddenly see things through God’s eyes and are amazed at what we see!
Supernatural work of the Holy Spirit –
Read the Bible talking about Saul’s conversion on the Damascus Road. Alternatively, you could use a movie clip if you can find anything!
The Holy Spirit and Healing –
A guy called Robin (a missionary in UK) tells this true story….
A new convert and mates wanted to go evangelize to people who didn’t know about Jesus. They stumbled across a tribe in the mountains and told them about Jesus. They weren’t believed and their lives were endangered. A chief said to them, ‘there’s an old dying woman in the village. Tomorrow, we’ll bring her out and if what you say is true, you’ll heal her.’ The guys prayed all night but heard nothing from God! Morning came and the whole village was outside, cooking pots, spears and all. The frail old woman was brought before the believers. They were so petrified, all they could do was hold out their hands towards her. ‘Boom!’ The woman jumped to her feet, completely healed. The whole village turned to Christ and were saved.
The Holy Spirit and Prayer –
A few times I have felt a pain in my stomach area. No, it’s not that dodgy chicken leg I ate, it’s something much deeper. It’s the groaning of the Spirit deep in my spirit. You may have this too, you may not, I don’t know. It doesn’t mean anyone’s more spiritual than anyone else, it’s just how God chooses to do things!
God’s Love –
When I started working for a Christian schools team, one of the prayer warrior ladies assured us that God was going to give us his love for the young people of the city. He did. More than I imagined. In fact it was strange because I didn’t seem to notice until one day I realest how far God had brought us. This is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and in 1 Corinthians 13, sandwiched between chapters on spiritual gifts, we see that love is the most important thing. God’s love that is!
A Prayer –
Lord Jesus, I thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. I thank you that your Holy Spirit helps me, guides me and shows me the way. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and let your Holy Spirit flow through me to speak your life to other people around me every day. Amen.
This is broken down into 8 sections, reflecting how we can respond to the Holy Spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, continue to fill us and keep us overflowing with mad stuff for God!!
Much of the outline has been taken from a book by Derek Prince called ‘Derek Prince On Experiencing God’s Power’. I recommend buying a book like this if you can – or more specific book on the fullness, or being filled with the Holy Spirit.
These things below are not necessarily always in a specific order! I was baptised in the Holy Spirit before I was baptised in water. I spoke out supernatural wisdom and insight much to my surprise and shock! It must have been God!
A note to this is that I believe there can be 2 separate experiences in the life of a believer. You receive the Holy Spirit the moment you give your life to Jesus. However, I do believe there is another experience which some people receive – clever people call this being ‘filled’ with the Holy Spirit or the ‘fullness’ of the Spirit. This is a powerful breath of God power into your life, enabling you more in your gifts and skills, and giving you supernatural gifting to be used for God, for the building up of his crew and for his glory.
There are different opinions on this. I can only speak from what I read in the Bible, what I’ve seen and experienced, and what I’ve heard from Bible teachers I respect.
1. Why do we need the Holy Spirit?
The Spirit is a person that we need in our Christian lives – he is the Counselor, a Helper, Comforter. The Spirit guides us to Jesus and prays on our behalf before God. The Spirit also leads us into all truth. Truth is a person – Jesus. (John 14.6). John 16.13 says the Spirit will guide us into all truth. So, pretty cool stuff really. The Spirit cannot be understood. We see in the Holy Spirit the great depth of God. A depth we can’t even begin to imagine.
The Spirit of God gives life. He gave life in the beginning. You need the life of the Spirit in your life too! Want a full, satisfying, wholesome life then get filled with the Spirit! We need this power in our lives and the life of the church. You know, not all Christians seem to want to receive mad stuff from God. This may explain partly why the church in the West is so powerless.
The Spirit also glorifies Jesus; unites all Christians in the local, national, worldwide church. The Spirit convicts us of our sin (John 16); causes people to receive the new life through Christ (John 3.5-6); the Holy Spirit is a witness to us getting saved (Romans 8.15-16). In the life of a Christian, the Spirit reveals God’s will to us (2 Peter 1.20-21) and gives us insight into God’s Word. In our lives it is the Spirit who gives us victory over bad stuff that tempts us, he helps us in our praying, and gives us guidance in life.
However, you can’t be filled with something without experiencing something. If your Christian life doesn’t need the power of the Holy Spirit then you must be superhuman and I doubt that’s true. Truth is we all need to be continually filled as the Bible says. If you fit the Spirit into your small, neat theology, it’ll be no surprise if your Christian life is small and neat. And probably fairly lifeless too!
2. Repent and be baptized
Acts 2.37-38 says: ‘When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, Brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’
These verses give us the promise of receiving the Holy Spirit and the conditions for this. Repent (turn away from sin and evil stuff) and then be baptised. Baptism is important because Jesus was baptised, it is Biblical, and it is part of your Christian discipleship. When you stand in front of other people and get baptised, it’s like saying, ‘I’m taking a stand with Jesus.’ It’s about being identified with Jesus in his death (dying to sin in your life), burial (going under the water), and resurrection (being raised up again from under the water, well, hopefully!)
In doing this and by being forgiven by Jesus, the Bible promises you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
3. Ask God
Luke 11.9-13: ‘So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’
These Bible verses are aimed at Christians, though we can use the principles elsewhere. Jesus said God gives us the Holy Spirit if we ask. This is an active process. We have to ask, knock, seek – get proactive if you want more of God. Read the Bible, get on your knees, start serving God in practical action. If you ask God, he will be happy to give the Holy Spirit to you. It also shows us it’s Biblical to ask God for his Holy Spirit as we read here that Jesus told his disciples to ask God.
In John 14.16-17, Jesus also said he’d go to Father and ask him to send Holy Spirit to his disciples.
John 7.37-39 says: ‘On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
This is Jesus talking about his followers like us receiving the Holy Spirit. We need to be thirsty, to come to Jesus and then to ‘drink’ (receive the Holy Spirit).
4. Be Thirsty
God doesn’t force good stuff and his blessings on people who don’t think they need them. Well, most of the time anyway. God may well put you through things to show that you do need more of him and his blessings! Many people don’t receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit because they are not thirsty. You have to want more of God – and get ready to receive!
In fact Derek Prince points out that many Christians don’t even use what they have been given by God to its full potential so getting more would mean those people
Need to be thirsty – so you realise you need more than you have. Thirst a basic human need and probably greatest urge of all. When someone truly thirsty they head for water – nothing else gets in the way.
5. Come to Jesus
Must come to Jesus as he alone is the one who baptises us in the Holy Spirit. All other baptism is with water.
This isn’t a passive thing, another lesson some Christians and churches need to learn! You can’t just come to Jesus and do nothing, then expect the Holy Spirit in your life. You have to be active in opening up to Jesus and then drinking – this means actively receiving within you.
It’s just like drinking a glass of water. Thirst is a powerful emotion and one that really needs satisfying. To drink we must go to the tap, pour a glass of water. Then we must put the glass to our mouth, drink down the water and let it refresh down into our stomachs. There’d be no point drinking if we then spat the water back out. That’s what we mean by receiving.
7. Yielding (submitting to God) and Obedience (to God)
1 Corinthians 6.19: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.’
Romans 6.13 says, ‘Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.’
In this, God says our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. That means every part of us must be totally submitted and given to God, without reservation. That is so hard but so needed if you want God to move in power through your life.
This is an area I find real hard to obey God in. Yet when God calls he gives you the ‘grace’ to do what he calls you to do so we shouldn’t worry about stepping out in faith and obeying God in all our life. There’s also the Biblical promises in 1 Corinthians 15.58 and Galatians 6.9 that God sees what we do and we will get more than we give.
We’re required to offer and yield the parts of our bodies as instruments of righteousness to God. This is a responsibility from Scripture and includes all of our body parts.
One area real hard to control is the tongue.. James 3.8 says, ‘But no man can tame (or control) the tongue’.
In the view of Derek Prince, the first member the Holy Spirit affects is the tongue – taking control of and using it for God’s glory.
In the New Testament, where people are being filled or are full of Holy Spirit, the first thing that happens is that something comes out of their mouths.. not weird stuff like aliens.. but speech, prophesy, singing, shouts, speaking in tongues. The mouth is always engaged.
John 7.38 says, ‘Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.’
So when you say yes to Jesus as the boss of your life, the result is an overflow and this is from your mouth. God wants you to be overflowing, often through the mouth but also in your behaviour, your inner life, your practical actions and your relationships. That is ultimate purpose of God. To be glorified and God’s Kingdom built through you and me.
8. God’s Requirements
2. Be baptised
3. Ask God
4. Be thirsty
5. Come to Jesus as he baptises in the Spirit
6. Drink and receive
7. Obey and give yourself to God completely
8. Pray a prayer like the one below:
Read through this prayer and then read it sincerely before Jesus and believe for it if you want: (change wording according to your needs, group and language!)
Lord Jesus, I’m thirsty for the awesome fullness of your Holy Spirit. I submit my body to you as a temple – and every part of my life and body to be used totally for you Lord God for great things for your Kingdom. I ask for special help with my tongue, as it’s the hardest thing to tame. Fill me, I pray, and let your Holy Spirit flow through my mouth and my life to glorify your name. Amen.