| January 5 -
SDA Sabbath School Lessons
#2 The Holy Spirit
| Read for this
|Memory Text:||"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!"
|Key Thought:||The Holy Spirit is the effective agent in accomplishing
the work of the church in the world.
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Last updated on March 17, 1996.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is assigned by heaven as the active agent of Christ, the Head of the church on earth. The Holy Spirit launched and energized the early church (Acts 1:8). He gave people the instantaneous ability to speak in languages not their own (Acts 2:4), turned frightened disciples into bold preachers (Acts 4:13), directly indicated certain people for certain missions (Acts 13:2), solved doctrinal problems (Acts 15:28), prohibited missionaries from entering certain areas (Acts 16:6), directed them to other areas (Acts 16:10), and was the power behind all kinds of miracles (Acts 19).
Adventists tend to focus on the early and latter rains. We sometimes neglect to consider the work of the Holy Spirit right now. "Just prior to His leaving His disciples for the heavenly courts, Jesus encouraged them with the promise of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs as much to us as it did to them."Testimonies to Ministers, p. 174.
|This week's lesson reviews some of the Holy Spirit's roles as they relate
to the topic of spiritual gifts.
THE HOLY SPIRIT: CHURCH ADMINISTRATOR
THE HOLY SPIRIT: SOURCE OF POWER (Acts 1:8).
The Holy Spirit is the source of power for the church and its members. He
is the source of spiritual power for individual Christians and the source
of successful ministry by the church as a collective enterprise. The
power that attended the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is the same
power we need today. "The Spirit awaits our demand and reception.
--Christ's Object Lessons, p. 121.
Jesus promised the disciples power
1:8). It arrived on the Day of Pentecost in the person of the Holy
Spirit. Only with this power could a small group of people preach the
gospel throughout the world. Paul wrote that the gospel is the "power
of God unto salvation"
1:16). The gospel is not an undercover operation. The gospel
ought to be out on the streets, its message shouted from the housetops.
The Holy Spirit is the power behind the dynamic Christian activism
of those who proclaim the gospel.
68:2835. This psalm was often sung at Pentecost. List
some of the ways the power of God was identified in the ancient Israelite
There are a number of Greek words for power. One is kratos, which may imply physical strength. Another, exousia, implies a ruler's authority. Jesus used this word when He said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matt. 28:18). The word used in Acts 1:8, "You shall receive power" (NIV) is dunamis, a word that implies both explosive energy and the continual steady power of a dynamo. The Greek translation of the. Hebrew Scriptures uses dunamis a number of times in Psalm 68:2835. The Old Testament Israelite worshipers pleaded for God to show His power. On the Day of Pentecost it arrived in a new and dynamic way. Suddenly, the disciples were "gifted" by the Holy Spirit to do what they could not do under normal circumstances. The church today draws on that same power for personal Christian experience and to expand its mission of taking the gospel to whoever has not yet heard it.
| Tuesday -
THE HOLY SPIRIT: TEACHER (John 16:1215).
Besides being church administrator and the source of power, the Holy Spirit
is also the church's principal Teacher. "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit,
whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and
will remind you of everything I have said to you"
14:26, NIV). Jesus has perpetuated His earthly teaching ministry
through the Spirit. (See Sons and Daughters of God, p. 282.)
This teaching office is as dynamic as was the experience of Pentecost.
"God can teach you more in one moment by His Holy Spirit than you could
learn from the great men of the earth."Testimonies to Ministers,
How did Jesus outline the teaching role of the Holy Spirit?
16:1215. Notice the various facets of teaching and learning
mentioned in these verses.
The Holy Spirit as teacher (1) brings out new insights, (2) instructs in
"what is yet to come," (3) brings glory to God by helping us understand more
completely, and (4) draws knowledge from God's fountain and shares it with
us. The Holy Spirit illuminates our minds in two principal ways: (1)
as we study the Scriptures and (2) through the gift of effective teaching
given to certain church members.
It has been estimated that the people who regularly attended Paul's teaching
sessions in Ephesus would have received the equivalent of two years of
Paul says that he was "appointed" to these ministries and told to use them with a specific target audience in mind, nonJews. These ministries correspond to the spiritual gifts chosen for Paul by the Holy Spirit.
| Wednesday -
THE HOLY SPIRIT: ASSIGNER OF GIFTS (1 Cor. 12:11).
People have many ideas about how a person receives or is assigned his or
her spiritual gifts. Some believe that the church decides who gets
which gifts. Others feel that election to church office is the same
as receiving a particular gift. Some people believe that only their
pastor has spiritual gifts and that church members are supposed to listen
and do whatever the pastor says. Others believe that anyone can do
anything, and no one has any authority over another.
Who assigns spiritual gifts to people?
Spiritual gifts are the tools the Holy Spirit uses to do the work of the
kingdom. We are all responsible for turning our gifts into ministries
that will advance the work of the kingdom.
Corinthians 12:11 carefully "All these are activated by one and the same
Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses" (NRSV).
Fill in the following blanks:
1. The gifts are promised "according to his ________________________________."
2. They are given for __________________________________________________.
The assignment of gifts by the Holy Spirit is designed to advance the Lord's
work. The church is set up as a corporate body to do the work of the
kingdom by organizing the members' gifts into effective ministries. In
this sense, the church has the authority of the Holy Spirit to "administer"
the collective gifts of the members.
What does Paul say about the attitude that should accompany the bestowal
of spiritual gifts?
This is the key to the issue. The effective use of spiritual gifts
depends on a person's Christian character. The possession of a particular
gift or gifts is a measure of responsibility before God to do the work of
the kingdom in a sweet, compassionate, and dynamic Christian spirit.
| Thursday -
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND INTERCESSORY PRAYER (Matt. 7:7).
The arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was no accident. The Lord planned to unveil Him in a new way at that moment in history because the time was opportune. (See The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 38, 39.) A large number of people from all over the known world were in the city.
Without the right kind of people to witness for Christ, the outpouring of
the Holy Spirit could not have occurred. The Holy Spirit enables
and equips people to work for Christ; he doesn't usually do all the
work Himself. The Holy Spirit responds to the intercessory prayers
of God's people for spiritual power.
What does James say about intercessory prayer?
Intercessory prayer is a special kind of prayer. It requests specific things from the Lord, based on what He has promised. The Lord does not withhold what He has promised, but He does not always confer it unless we ask for it.
There are seven levels of prevailing intercessory prayer:
Some or all levels may be involved when praying for a specific issue. The
Lord honors these prayers, and the Holy Spirit goes into action on our
4:12 imply about the effectiveness of intercessoryprayer groups?
The experience of the disciples in the upper room before the Day of Pentecost is an example of intercessory prayer in action. Ellen White outlines the disciples' experience in chapter 4, entitled "Pentecost," in The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 36, 37.
| Friday -
John 14 records that Jesus told His disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Read the chapter for an understanding of the Holy Spirit's role as Jesus portrayed it. Also read The Acts of the Apostles, chapters 1,2,3,4, and 5, to receive a more complete picture of the Holy Spirit's role in the life of the church after Jesus' ascension.
The Index to the Writings of Ellen White has 59 columns on the
Holy Spirit. The following list indicates some of the ways the Holy
Spirit is active in the church and in the lives of individual members:
|SUMMARY: This week's lesson dealt with the role of the Holy Spirit
as the active agent, assigned by God the Father, to be the administrator
of the church on earth. For both the church body and individual Christians,
He is the source of power and the primary teacher, illuminating minds, leading
them to truth. He assigns spiritual gifts, both to individual members
and to the church as a body. Intercessory prayer, based on claiming
the promises of God, is the effective instrument the church should employ
to invite the Holy Spirit to work on its behalf.
True Freedom in Jesus
I never heard about Jesus while I was growing up. Our village in the
tiny country of Benin in West Africa refused to allow Christians to enter.
One Christian church tried to establish a mission there once, but village
leaders drove them out.
When I was 13 years old I went to visit my mother's relatives in another
village. To my great surprise, I found some of my uncles and aunts
listening to a young man who was speaking about Jesus. I sat down and
listened with them. This was the first time I had ever heard anything
about Jesus, and I was profoundly impressed.
I returned home overjoyed with what I had learned. In my zeal to share
what I had learned, I went so far as to discredit voodoo, our country's major
religion, saying it was powerless. Immediately someone informed my
grandfather, because I was staying with him. My grandfather didn't
say a word to me then, because he was preparing himself for a big voodoo
ceremony, during which food was presented to our ancestors, who had supposedly
been fasting for many years. On the day of the ceremony I refused to
go near or touch anything associated with the feast. My grandfather
ordered some men to grab me and beat me for my refusal to take part. Three
days later they beat me again.
I was put out of Grandfather's house, but because of my young age, I was
taken back under the condition that I would not practice Christianity.
Then my aunt, my grandfather's youngest daughter, became seriously
ill. They tried all the various occult remedies and ceremonies, but
my aunt remained desperately sick.
In desperation the family asked some Christians to pray for her, and she
recovered. Healing has great power in our minds, and my grandfather
consented when my aunt wanted to become a Christian. This opened wide
the door for me, as well, praise God.
|I visited several Christian churches in search of one that taught the
truths of the Bible. While I was searching, I discovered a Christian
radio station that taught the whole Bible. I wrote to the station,
called Adventist World Radio, and they helped me find the Adventist Church.
At last I had found what I was looking for! Now the burden of
my heart is to reach the others in my village and in my country who still
suffer under the influence of evil spirits and don't understand true freedom
Akouta Sylvestre is a church member in Cotonou, Benin.