Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lesson 57: Receive the Holy Spirit

Brief 4-to-5 Minute Teaching Lesson

Why? and What is the Purpose? in My Life SERIES

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Lesson 57 of the Discipleship Making process.

In the previous lesson, we saw that when Jesus went to pray in the Garden at Gethsemane, He taught the disciples how to wait for Him. It had required active participation on their part. They were to be: :
  1. Restful, not busy or sleeping.
  2. Watchful.
  3. Prayerfully seeking God’s will.
  4. Prepared to act.
  5. Responding immediately to His commands.
As soon as Jesus finished praying He was arrested, tried, condemned, crucified and buried. After remaining in the grave for three days and three nights He rose from the dead. He appeared to Mary Magdalene that morning and to His uncle, Cleopas and another disciple named Simon as they walked along the road to Emmaus that afternoon. Cleopas and Simon raced back to Jerusalem to tell Peter and the other disciples that they had seen Jesus alive! While the two were telling their story to the disciples, Jesus suddenly appeared to them all.

Read: Mark 16:13-14, Luke 24:33-49, John 20:19-29

The sudden appearance of Jesus in the room startled the disciples so He immediately commanded them to be at peace. It had been just five days before, at the Last Supper that Jesus had told them, “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me?” Yet they were surprised to see Him. Then Jesus reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they hadn’t even believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.

At first the disciples thought they were seeing a ghost. But Jesus reassured them. First by showing them His nail-pierced hands and feet. And secondly, He invited them to touch Him and told them that a spirit did not have flesh and bones as He had. With the physical evidence as proof the disciples began to rejoice as they realized that it was truly Jesus who was standing in their midst. At the Last Supper, Jesus had also foretold of the disciple’s great joy. “But I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

Having eaten a piece of broiled fish that the disciples had given Him, Jesus told them “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit (In Hebrew, the term for the Holy Spirit is Ruwach Qodesh, literally the “breath of God”). If you forgive the sins of any, their sins haven been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

Its here that Jesus was demonstrates how the Holy Spirit works; first you must receive a breath of air and then expel it. In other words, like a gift, you must receive it first before it can be given away (John 4:13-14, John 7:37-39).

When Jesus told the disciples to receive the Holy Spirit they would have undoubtedly recalled the things that He had spoken to them about the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper. These statements form the core of our understanding on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

What thoughts come to your mind concerning what Jesus said.
  • The Father is the giver of the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16)
  • The Holy Spirit will remain with Jesus’ disciples forever. (John 14:16)
  • The disciples will have an intimate knowledge of the Holy Spirit. ( John 14:17)
  • The Holy Spirit will live with the disciples. ( John 14:17)
  • The Holy Spirit will be inside the disciples. ( John 14:17)
  • God the Father will send the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ name. ( John 14:26)
  • The Holy Spirit will teach the disciples all things. ( John 14:26)
  • The Holy Spirit will bring to remembrance everything Jesus has said to His disciples. ( John 14:26)
  • Jesus, Himself sends the Holy Spirit. ( John 15:26) John the Baptist also testified to this when he said, He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
  • The Holy Spirit is truth. ( John 15:26)
  • The Holy Spirit will bear witness of Jesus. ( John 15:26)
  • The Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning sin because they do not believe in Jesus. (John 16:8, 9)
  • The Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning righteousness because Jesus has been raised from the dead. (John 16:8, 10)
  • The Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning judgment because Satan, the ruler of this world (kosmos–adornment/illusion) has been judged. (John 16:8&11)
  • The Holy Spirit will guide the disciples into all truth. (John 16:13)
  • The Holy Spirit will not speak on His own initiative. (John 16:13)
  • The Holy Spirit will speak only what He hears. (John 16:13)
  • The Holy Spirit will speak. (John 16:13)
  • The Holy Spirit will tell you about the future. (John 16:13)
  • The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus. (John 16:14)
  • The Holy Spirit will give the disciples understanding of everything that Jesus possesses. (John 16:14)
Jesus also made other statements to the disciples about the Holy Spirit, what thoughts come to your mind?
  • The heavenly Father gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him. (Luke 11:13)
  • No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of the Spirit (John 3:5)
  • When a person is born again by the Spirit it is like the wind. You don’t know where the wind came from or where it is going because it goes where it wishes … you just hear the sound of it. (John 3:8)
  • The Holy Spirit will clothe the disciples with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
Eight days after Jesus’ initial encounter with the disciples He appeared to them again while they were in the Galilee. This time Thomas was with them. After greeting them, Jesus proves His identity to Thomas and then commands them to believing, not doubting. Then He proceeded to place a prophetic blessing on all those who would not see Him, as the disciples had, but believe in Him anyhow.

The point of the lesson is to be sure you receive the Holy Spirit.

With that, allow me to leave you with these questions to consider, along with a little homework assignment until the next lesson:
  • What had the Father sent Jesus to do? (See Luke 4:18) Also to make disciples, use the gifts of the Spirit, obey the Father, love others, forgive people’s sins, etc.
  • What does Jesus want His disciple’s to do? The same thing.
  • Since Jesus had told the disciples on two different occasions at the Last Supper that He would be sending them the Holy Spirit, why do you think He had to command them to receive the Holy Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is a gift and a gift must be received. (For example: God sent His Word, His prophets, His Son, and His salvation … all of them are gifts and must be received to be beneficial.
  • How do you believe Jesus’ last statement above applies to you?
  • Why do you think Jesus breathed on the disciples? Why do you think Jesus blessed those who would believe in Him even though they had never seen Him? They were people of faith and deserving of reward because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Many are called but few are chosen.
  • According to the book of Acts the Holy Spirit can be bestowed upon individuals after they have been baptized in Jesus name through the laying of hands by an apostle. (Acts 8:18) Does that verse apply today? Why or why not? Do you think the disciples were waiting for Jesus to return as He had taught them to? Why or why not? If you had been with the disciples when Jesus appeared in their midst, what would your reaction have been?
And the homework assignment, read the following passages of Scripture:

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