(By Dr. Charles Stanley)
Father God, in Jesus’ name, we come to You with thanksgiving in our hearts today. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We desire to live a godly life unto You, and in the presence of others. Glory be to God! Hallelujah to Jesus! We praise Your holy Name. This week is a blessed week because of what our Lord did for us. Thank You for forgiving us. Thank You for Your mercy and grace on our lives. Thank You God, You answer our prayers according to Your perfect will. Help us to know that You know exactly what we need, and what is best for us. Grant us this day the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom as we study this lesson. Help us and all that study this lesson to learn to depend on You only even through others as You lead us. This we pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN.
Subject Lesson: Dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
Let’s recap and then study more on
Every believer in Jesus is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but the apostle Paul also tells us to “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The Greek verb signifies that this is a continuous action of filling. It means to live in obedience to Him, relying on Him to equip, empower, strengthen, teach, and guide us each day. Only as we depend on the Spirit will we be and do what God desires.
How do we depend on the Holy Spirit?
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” As Christians, we understand that salvation is not a matter of earning God’s favor by our own effort. Rather it is transferring our trust from what we can do to get ourselves to heaven to what Jesus Christ has already done. Yet, the same Scripture that tells us that we are not saved by good works tells us that we are saved to do good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). To put it another way, the God who has saved us from the penalty of sin now intends to change us–to remove the sinful habits and selfish attitudes in our lives so that we can become more like His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-29). To accomplish this goal, God has not left us alone to live the Christian life in our own strength. Actually that would be impossible. But God’s power can do the impossible–that is, enable us to live the Christian life. The following study is designed to help you understand the work of God’s Holy Spirit (the third member of the Godhead) and how you can cooperate with His daily work in your life.
What does the Holy Spirit do?
He united you to Christ at the moment of conversion; He caused you to believe (2 Thessalonians 2:13). He placed you into Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:13), and He is the bond that makes you belong to Jesus (Romans 8:9).
He assures you that you belong to God. He teaches you to call God, “Father” (Romans 8:15-16). He is God’s seal of ownership and your guarantee of complete salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14).
He is making you to be more like Jesus Christ. By progressively freeing you from sinful habits and transforming you into the likeness of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). By empowering you to replace ungodly habits with godly fruit such as love, patience, and self-control (Galatians 5:18-23).
You can do what pleases God because His Spirit gives you power. He is your life and strength. That is why you must not ignore Him or try to live the Christian life without depending on Him. His work will not cease until it is completed at Christ’s second coming when our bodies will be transformed to be like Christ’s body (Philippians 3:20-21).
Because the Holy Spirit is at work in you, you need to understand…
How You Can Cooperate With His Daily Work In Your Life
Cooperating with the Holy Spirit means dependence on Him and His divine resources. We must keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Keeping in step with the Spirit sounds very mysterious. Actually it means that we submit to and rely on the Spirit. We look to Him for help–daily trusting Him and praying to Him for understanding and strength (Ephesians 1:17-18). We must be filled with (or controlled by) the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18); being filled by the Spirit has the idea of control by (Note the contrast with drunkenness). It has the idea of being totally saturated with (Colossians 3:16).
To be filled with the Holy Spirit and to have Christ’s Word dwell in you mean the same thing.
God’s Spirit always works in and through His Word.
Cooperating with the Holy Spirit means the disciplined use of His divine resources. Change occurs as you learn to put off the old ways of thinking and responding and put on God’s new ways of thinking and responding. This begins by daily renewing your mind with the life-changing truth of God’s Word (Ephesians 4:22-24; See verses 25-32 for some specific examples). As you learn to practice the truth, you gradually become more and more-godly–like Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 4:7).
The word train” in 1 Timothy 4:7 is an athletic term. It means: daily sustained effort. Just as it takes practice to be skilled in a particular sport, so it takes practice to be skilled in living the Christian life. God does not expect you to be perfect; He expects you to be growing. Your part in growing is exerting daily sustained effort to apply His Word to your life.
Who do you turn to for daily guidance on how to live or what decision to make?
Scripture tells us the only Guide worth trusting is the Holy Spirit. He is the One who knows our past completely, from the moment we were conceived to the present, and who also knows our futures, from this day to eternity. He knows God’s plan and purpose for us today and for each day of our lives. He also knows what is good and right for us.
Jesus repeatedly referred to the Spirit as the “Spirit of truth.” Note what He said about the Holy Spirit’s activity in your life: “He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13). The Spirit of truth is like an inner compass in our lives—always pointing us toward what Jesus would be, say, or do in any given moment.
God desires to make His will known to you. He wants you to know what to do and when to do it. Therefore, you can trust the Holy Spirit to be your daily Guide! After the Lord poured out the Holy Spirit on the disciples, they found themselves led in profound ways by the Spirit. The verses below give just a few examples of how the Holy Spirit dealt with His people in ways that provided very personal and specific guidance. What He did for them then, He desires to do for you today.
“The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings” (Acts 11:12).
“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:2).
“They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6).
The leaders of the early church relied on the Holy Spirit to give them this kind of specific, personal guidance, and we are wise to do likewise. Both Romans 8:14 and Galatians 5:18 refer to our being “led by the Spirit”—the norm of the Christian life.
You may ask, “Are there any conditions placed upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives?”
First, we must stay yielded to the Spirit. We must say yes to the Spirit when He prompts us to take a certain action or say a certain word. We must give mental assent to the Spirit’s direction, and then we must actually obey His prompting and follow through by doing or saying what He has called us to do or say.
The Spirit often speaks to us in the stillness of our hearts with a word of conviction or assurance. When the Holy Spirit is directing us away from something harmful, we very often have a heaviness, feeling of trouble, foreboding, or uneasiness in our spirits. When the Holy Spirit is directing us toward helpful things, we tend to feel a deep inner peace, an eagerness to see what God will do, and a feeling of joy.
How can you know if you are yielded to the Holy Spirit? You are yielded to Him when you can say to Him, “Here is what I desire. But if Your answer to this is ‘no,’ it’s all right. I’ll do what You say.”
Second, we must believe and obey His guidance. We are much more likely to hear what the Holy Spirit has to say if we are actively listening for Him to speak. We are much more likely to see the Holy Spirit’s direction if we are looking for Him. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that God is a “rewarder of those who seek Him.” We are to be diligent in seeking His guidance, asking for it, watching for it, anticipating it, and receiving it.
The Holy Spirit has come to reveal the truth to us. He has come in His all-knowing ability to impart to us what we need to know in order to live obedient and faithful lives. Trust Him to guide you, now and always!
1). What does it means to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit?
2). How do we depend on the Holy Spirit?
3). What does the Holy Spirit do?
4). How can we do what pleases God?
5). What do it means to cooperate with the Holy Spirit?
6). How does God’s Holy Spirit works?
7). What does the Word train in 1 Timothy 4:7 means?
8). Who do you turn to for daily guidance on how to live or what decision to make?
9). What do you think about this statement “are there any conditions placed upon guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives?”
10). How do the Holy Spirit speak to us?
11). How can you know if you are yielded to the Holy Spirit?
12). What did the Holy Spirit come to do for us?
Weekly Stay Focus:
Weekly Life Principle:
Weekly Prayer Focus:
Weekly reading assignments: (Hebrews 9-10)