Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Promise of the Spirit

This week's small group curriculum is the latest in the "Red Letter Summer" series that is focusing on the ministry of Christ and the present Kingdom of God.

Big Idea:
Who is the Holy Spirit and what is His role in the life of a Christ follower? When many genuine Christians think of the Holy Spirit, they imagine some impersonal force floating around the universe like “The Force” in Star Wars. However, the Holy Spirit is not an “it”; He is a person, He is God.

Why is it easier to see God the Father and God the Son as persons, but harder to understand the Holy Spirit as the person of God; a person of the trinity; a member of the Godhead? After all, it is not God in two persons, but God in three persons.

In order to better wrap our minds around the Holy Spirit, let’s take a closer look at God’s Word to see how He is described. The Holy Spirit is called our counselor, comforter, helper, intercessor, advocate, and even friend; One who is called alongside us to offer assistance (John 14:16-17). The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He reminds us of God’s truth and helps us understand how truth changes everything, including us (John 14:25-26). The Holy Spirit is our guide; He walks with us and directs our steps while leading us into the fullness of who we are in God’s kingdom (John 16:13). He helps us stay on the trail; he gives us water when we’re thirsty, rest when tired, a kick in the pants when we grow lazy, and words of encouragement when we feel like quitting. The Holy Spirit is a giver - empowering and gifting us to speak things and do things for God’s glory that we couldn’t do before (Acts 1:8).

So, how can we become more intimate with the Holy Spirit and allow Him complete access in our lives? We must be born of the Spirit. This occurs when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior; putting our faith in Christ alone, dying to self, and living wholly for Him (John 3:4-6). We must be baptized in the Spirit. There is an experience with God that is available to every believer who has been born into the Kingdom of God and it involves being filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). We must be led by the Spirit and not our selfish desires (Romans 8:14).

Discussion Questions: (read the scripture & discuss)

John 14:15-26
According to these words of Jesus, who is the Holy Spirit? To whom will the Holy Spirit come (v.15-16)? Share with the group examples of how the Holy Spirit has been your counselor, friend, teacher, guide, and/or strength.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Which Christians receive gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit (v.7)? Why are we given these gifts (v.7)? How have you benefited from others properly exercising their gifts?

Romans 8:9-17
What is the mark or sign that one is owned by Christ? What will prevent the Holy Spirit’s access and power in your life? How might you respond to someone who thinks the Holy Spirit is merely optional for Christians?

Taking Action: If you have restricted the Holy Spirit’s access in your life or discounted Him in any way, ask for forgiveness and repent. Cry out to the Holy Spirit this week and present Him with an invitation to have His way in your life and ask to be filled with His overflowing presence.

Ministry Time

Also, check out this related post called Take Off Your Parka.

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