“I will send the Holy Spirit upon you, just as my Father promised. Don’t begin telling others yet – stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven.”
What and Why
In the verses above Jesus gave the disciples a surprising instruction. He tells them NOT to go and tell others the life-changing message. Why would he temporarily slow down the spread of the only Good News? The answer is contained in the verses above. Without the power of the Spirit, the disciples were not prepared to fulfill the task.
Few people could illustrate this point better than Peter. The night before Jesus died Peter said, with great boldness – “I am ready to go with you to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Yet all of his determination quickly faded away. A man who dearly loved Jesus denied him three times on the very evening he made the bold declaration.
Then something changed. On the day of Pentecost, God sent his Spirit to his followers. Peter, who had spent more than a few days cowering in fear, confidently and powerfully spoke to the crowds gathered in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14-41). That day 3,000 people came to faith in Christ.
Peter’s story and the rest of the New Testament confirm the vital role of the Holy Spirit. Every person who has Christ has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Yet still there is a need to learn what it means to be daily filled with the Spirit, relying on his power. In this lesson we will learn how to rely on God.
Learning from the Word
Jesus’ primary teaching on the Holy Spirit is found in the Gospel of John chapters 14-16. As he prepared to go to the cross he explained what the disciples needed to know after he was no longer physically present with them. He shared three important emphases: God will send his Spirit, we will continue to abide with Jesus, and the Spirit will guide us.
Read John 14:16-18
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What do verses 16&17 tell us about the Holy Spirit and what the Spirit will do in the lives of the disciples?
Verse 18 shares an encouraging truth. Jesus had a plan. While he was physically leaving the disciples, he was not going to abandon them. Through the coming of the Holy Spirit a connection would be made so that Jesus remains with us and we stay connected to Jesus.
Read John 15:4-5
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Because the Holy Spirit was sent, we continue to have a relationship with Jesus. Because of the Holy Spirit, we are able to abide in Christ.
The word abide means “to remain or stay” firmly connected to something or someone. The believer is told to remain or stay connected to Jesus. Verse 5 compares our connection with Christ to that of a vine and its branches. The only thing a branch has to do in order to bear fruit is to “stay connected” to the vine. The vine gives the branch everything it needs in order to bear fruit.
Write out in your own words what it means to “abide in Jesus.”
Connecting to the Truth
The Apostle Paul often spoke of the Spirit. Paul records a specific instruction that God gave regarding the Holy Spirit.
Read Ephesians 5:15-21
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Being filled with the Holy Spirit makes abiding in Jesus possible. To be filled is to be “controlled” or “empowered” by the Holy Spirit who resides in every believer. The command literally means, “let the Holy Spirit fill you.” Being filled with the Holy Spirit is something we permit God to do and it is an issue of our will. It is the difference between you being in control of your life versus allowing God to be in control of your life.
What is God’s will for every Christian? (vs. 17-18)
What are some things you would expect to see in the life of a Spirit-filled Christian who allows God to control of his/her life? (vs. 18-19)
What might happen to the Christian who chooses to control his/her own life, trying to live the Christian life in their own power?
We can be filled with the Spirit, empowered by God to follow his will and live the adventure he prepared for us.
Based on the text in Ephesians 5, what decisions do you need to make in order to let God fill you with his Spirit?
What new priorities might surface in your life as a result from submitting yourself to Spirit’s leading?
Here are 3 recommended steps that will help you experience the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit:
1. Take a step of faith. Being filled with the Spirit is something that God causes. While it is something that God does, he is expecting something from us. He is expecting for us to believe. It requires faith. God stresses the importance of faith over and over again in his Word. It is through faith that we come to Jesus and are cleansed from our sins. It is through faith that we walk in him. Now we see that it is through faith we are filled with the Spirit.
If you are ready to take this step of faith, considering praying something like the following prayer:
Dear Father, I want to abide in Jesus. I acknowledge that I have been in control of my life. I thank you that you have forgiven my sins through Christ's death on the cross. I now invite Christ to take control of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded. Give me the ability to follow Christ and direct me to do your will.
2. Read Transferrable Concept #3 - “How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit.” Write out 3-5 of the significant principles from your reading.
Follow the link to this Transferrable Concept.
3. Share your insights from this lesson with your discipler. Ask your disciples to share with you how the Spirit-filled life impacts his/her life.
The experiences that you recently had in sharing the gospel have already introduced you to the importance of relying on God and his Spirit. Every part of movement building is connected to the Spirit of God working through us. We have embarked on a growth process that we dare not attempt to fulfill on our own. God’s Spirit will lead us forward, guiding us toward maturity in Christ.
Passing it on
What were some of the important truths you found in this lesson?
Who do you think would benefit from these truths? Note two different people:
This lesson introduced you to one book within a series entitled “The Transferable Concepts.” You will find this series to be very helpful. You might like to scan through the other titles in this series to see if there are additional subjects you would like to study.
Follow the following link to The Transferable Concepts:
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