Bible study lesson 05 - Work of the Spirit

Purpose: The work of the Holy Spirit is to convict, confirm, and conform God's wayward children.

Theme: The Holy Spirit is working to point us to Jesus Christ.

Bible verses to read:

  • John 16:6-11
  • Ephesians 1:13-14
  • Galatians 3:1-6
  • Galatians 3:26
  • Galatians 4:6
  • John 3:1-16
  • Romans 8:14-16
  • Romans 8:3-8
  • Hebrews 10:15-17
  • Jeremiah 31:31-33
  • Galatians 5:19-24
  • John 14:15-16

Hello again!  Last time we studied the Gospel and learned about who Jesus is.  Prior to that lesson we learned about God's love for us and where suffering in the world came from.  Today, we are going to take a look at the Holy Spirit.  We are going to learn about three jobs the Holy Spirit has to do.

1) Convict:

Let's turn our Bibles to John 16:6-11.  We are going to read about a story that occurs towards the end of Jesus' life.  He is telling His disciples that He is going to die soon and this news scares His disciples.

- Why did Jesus say it was good for Him to go away?

  • Answer (highlight to read): It is good for Jesus to go away because only then the Holy Spirit will come.

- According to verses 8-11, what is the Holy Spirit going to do?

  • Answer: The Holy Spirit is going to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

God is interested in every human being, so the Holy Spirit is convicting the world.  There will be no one who will be excluded from God's saving intentions! 

Ask yourself, have you ever had the sense that you had done something wrong?  That feeling is not the product of your imagination, culture, or society.  It is the product of God Himself through the Holy Spirit

- According to verse 9, why does the Holy Spirit convict the world (which includes us) of sin?

  • Answer: The Holy Spirit convicts the world (thereby us) of sin because they do not believe in Him.

All of us have had some response to the conviction by the Holy Spirit.  However, the reaction God wants us to have when we are convicted of sin is that He wants us to seek Jesus.  We are not to try to self-justify or rationalize away our sins.  He is asking us to search for Him and discover that He is a just and forgiving God through Christ.

- According to verse 10, what does the Holy Spirit convict us of?

  •  Answer: The Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness.

Jesus was the living and breathing embodiment of right living.  Jesus was leaving, so that the Holy Spirit will come and teach us through the example of Jesus, what the law of God looks like in a person, and what righteousness really is.

- According to verse 11, why does the Holy Spirit convict us of judgment?

  • Answer: Satan will be judged and the world will follow in judgment.

The Holy Spirit is evidence that we too will be judged.  We need to know what this judgment is about and the consequences.  The first work of the Holy Spirit is to convict.

2) Confirm:

So, what happens when a person is under conviction and responds positively by believing in Jesus?  What happens next?

Let's turn to Ephesians 1:13-14.

- According to these verses, what happens if we are convicted by the Holy Spirit?

  • Answer: We are sealed by the Holy Spirit.

What does this mean?  Let's take an example of buying a house.  The house costs $500,000.  You put a deposit of $50,000 to guarantee you will be sold the house (where you will pay the remaining $450,000).  In the same way, when you become a believer trusting in Christ, God give you the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit serves as a guarantee and reminder (by sealing us) that you are to inherit heaven.  The Holy Spirit keeps you focused that heaven is your Home when we come to Christ in faith.

If the concept of being sealed by the Holy Spirit is still not clear to you, please read Galatians 3:1-6, Galatians 3:26, Galatians 4:6, and John 3:1-16.  These are additional texts about receiving the faith of the inheritance.

3) Conform:

Let's turn to Romans 8:14-16.

- According to these verses, what does the Holy Spirit tell us about our relation to God?

  • Answer: The Holy Spirit tells us that we are the children of God.

The Holy Spirit lets us know that we are part of God's family and He also shows us how to live.  The Holy Spirit conforms us as part of that family.  We begin to take on the characteristics of God's family. 

I am going to tell you a short story to illustrate this.  There was a young street tough who was an orphan for most of his life.  He only knew pain, hardship, and abuse.  However, one day he was adopted by a new family who lived in the country.  The street tough was very leery and suspicious of his new foster parents.  He tensed up when they drew near to him, expected to get slapped or hit with a belt.  However, they only showed love and caring towards him.  They taught him basic things he never knew how to do before, like washing the dishes, vacuuming, and doing the laundry.  Slowly, but surely, the street tough's demeandor changed and he started reflecting the characteristics of his foster parents by being more loving and caring himself. 

In the same way, we begin to take on the characteristics of God's family!

Let's turn to Romans 8:3-8.

- According to these verses, what did God do for us, since we couldn't be saved by the flesh?

  • Answer: God saved us by sending us His Son Jesus, who had a weak body like you and me, who was condemned to death for our sins.

Why did God do this?  According to verse 4, when we are convicted of our sins and are a believer, the Holy Spirit teaches us how to live as children of God by fulfilling the righteous requirement of the law in our lives.

Let's think about this for a minute.  If we live our lives in the Spirit, what will our minds be on?

  • Answer: the things of the Spirit

On the other hand, if we live our lives in the flesh, what will we think about?

  • Answer: the things of the flesh

According to Romans 8:3-8, setting the mind of the flesh = death.

Now, why is that?  Let's read verse 7 again.  According to the verse, those in the flesh are hostile towards God because they cannot submit to God's law.

In the end, there are two ways to live our lives.  We can either live our lives in the flesh or we can choose to live our lives in the spirit.  Which way do you want to live your life?

  • Answer: to live in the Spirit!

So if this is the case you cannot expect to take God on and be hostile towards Him persistently, as a rebel you will have to be punished.  So, what did God do when there was this rebellion?  He sent His Son to redeem us, and then His Spirit to teach us how to be His children again.

Let's turn to Hebrews 10:15-17.

- What promise does God make us?

  • Answer: God through His Spirit is going to make a new relationship with His people.  In that covenant, He is going to write His law in our hearts and and forget all our sins.

Let's turn to Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Does the promise in Jeremiah seem familiar?  People think that when God is going to write His law in our hearts, that He going to teach us to be better.  However, God is actually saying that He is going to empower us to follow His law, which the Jews knew to be the 10 Commandments.

Let's turn to Galatians 5:19-24.

We can see here that God is saying He will fill our lives with good and great things.  However, if we decide to follow after the flesh, our lives will be filled with terrible things.  Considering these two options, which kind of life would you rather have?

Let's turn to John 14:15-16.

- What does Jesus say we should do if we love Him?

  • Answer: We should keep His commandments.

When Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments", this was not an order to us.  Just is not making a command here, but rather, He is making a PROMISE!  It is a promise because Jesus is saying that He is going to send the Holy Spirit to be with you so that you can do this!  Jesus is promising us empowerment!  Isn't it wonderful to know that when you receive Jesus Christ, He also sends you the Holy Spirit to help and empower you to be a child of God?  Isn't it also wonderful to know that the Holy Spirit is going to help us live better lives and to help us follow God's commandments?

On the cross, Jesus became EVERYTHING that sin and Satan stood for, so that when Jesus died, sin and Satan's kingdom would also die.  This is why God gets Moses to use the serpent on a stick (Numbers 21:5-9) as a symbol to parallel Jesus' death on the cross.

Jesus died for us and gives us a chance to be saved if we accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.  In the end, there are only options for our lives.  We can let our lives be filled with terrible things like hatred, jealousies, selfish ambitions, and wrath, or we can be filled with love, gentleness, self-control, and peace.  Which life would you rather have?  When we are under conviction by the Holy Spirit, God is trying to lead us to the best life for us.  When we are convicted, He wants us to believe in Jesus Christ, so we can be filled with the Spirit, so that we can a life filled with love, gentleness, self-control, and peace.  This is the life that is offered to us by God.  What is preventing you from having this Spirit-filled life with heaven as your home as a believing child of God?

I sincerely hope that you choose a Spirit-filled life. The next time we meet, I will share with you about the Law of God!


Happy Sabbath!

A Short Prayer