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                        "THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD"

                   An Important Subject For Our Study

INTRODUCTION

1. This lesson begins a series of studies on the Holy Spirit...
   a. One might ask, "Why such a study?"
   b. Is it important to spend several lessons dealing with this subject
      alone?

2. An understanding and appreciation of the Holy Spirit is indeed
   important, and the purpose of this introductory lesson is to make
   sure we understand why

[The value of studying about the Spirit is to be seen in noticing His
prominence in several areas...]

I. THE PROMINENCE OF THE SPIRIT IN "THE BIBLE"

   A. HIS MENTION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT...
      1. The O.T. mentions the Holy Spirit 88 times
      2. 23 books in the O.T. refer to the Holy Spirit
      3. Although the actual expression "Holy Spirit" is used only 3
         times - e.g., Ps 51:11
      4. Other expressions referring to the Spirit are used (e.g., "the
         Spirit of God") - Gen 1:2

   B. HIS MENTION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...
      1. The N.T. mentions the Holy Spirit 264 times
      2. 60 or more references in the gospels
      3. Acts has 57 references (which is why some call it "The Acts Of
         The Holy Spirit")
      4. The epistles refer to the Holy Spirit 132 times
      5. Only 3 epistles make no mention of the Spirit (Philemon, 2 & 3
         John)

[To understand much of the Bible itself, one needs to understand (as
much as humanly possible) such a prominent figure as the Holy Spirit! 
Imagine someone saying they understood the story of the Bible, but did
not know much about Abraham!  Note also...]

II. THE PROMINENCE OF THE SPIRIT IN "THE LIFE OF CHRIST"

   A. HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE BIRTH OF JESUS...
      1. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary - Mt
         1:20; Lk 1:30-35
      2. Various individuals were filled with the Spirit to make
         pronouncements about His birth
         a. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist - Lk 1:41-42
         b. Zacharias, father of John the Baptist - Lk 1:67-79
         c. Simeon, who saw the infant Jesus when presented in the
            Temple - Lk 2:25-35

   B. HIS PRESENCE AT THE BAPTISM BY JOHN...
      1. Descended in bodily form like a dove - Lk 3:21-22
      2. Even "alighting upon Him" - Mt 3:16
         
   C. HIS PRESENCE DURING THE TEMPTATIONS IN THE WILDERNESS...
      1. Jesus was "filled with the Holy Spirit" - Lk 4:1
      2. He was "led by the Spirit" into the wilderness - Lk 4:1; Mt 4:1

   D. HIS POWER DURING JESUS' MINISTRY...
      1. Jesus returned from His temptations "in the power of the
         Spirit" to teach in the synagogues - Lk 4:14-15
      2. He applied Isaiah's prophecy to Himself, which said "The Spirit
         of the LORD is upon Me..." - Lk 4:16-21
      3. On one occasion it is said that Jesus "rejoiced in the Spirit"
         - Lk 10:21
      4. Jesus claimed to cast out demons by the power of the Holy
         Spirit - Mt 12:28

[As Christians, can we really hope to grow in the knowledge of our Lord
and Savior, without at least an elementary understanding of the Holy
Spirit, so prominent in His earthly life?  Consider also...]

III. THE PROMINENCE OF THE SPIRIT IN "THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE"

   A. HIS INVOLVEMENT IN OUR BECOMING CHRISTIANS...
      1. We are convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit - Jn 16:7-8
      2. We are "born again" of the Spirit - Jn 3:5-8
      3. We are "renewed" of the Holy Spirit - Tit 3:4-6

   B. HIS PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES AS CHRISTIANS...
      1. We "live in the Spirit" - Ga 5:25a
      2. We are to "walk in the Spirit", producing the "fruit of the
         Spirit" - Ga 5:25b,16-18,22-23
      3. We must set our minds on "the things of the Spirit" - Ro 8:5-6
      4. It is "by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body" 
         - Ro 8:12-13
      5. Only when "led by the Spirit" are we truly the "sons of God" 
         - Ro 8:14
      6. The Holy Spirit "makes intercession for us" in our prayers - Ro
         8:26-27
      7. God strengthens us "with might through His Spirit" in the inner
         man - Ep 3:16
      8. Thus we can enjoy the "communion (fellowship) of the Spirit" 
         - 2Co 13:14; Php 2:1

[Future lessons will discuss these things in greater detail.  Suffice it
to say that since the Holy Spirit is so involved in our lives as
Christians, it behooves us to understand the proper relationship we are
to sustain with the Spirit!  Finally, the need to study what the Bible
teaches concerning the Spirit is seen when we consider...]

IV. THE PROMINENCE OF THE SPIRIT REGARDING "TRUTH AND ERROR"

   A. HE IS THE SOURCE OF GOD'S TRUTH...
      1. The O.T. scriptures with their prophecies came through the
         agency of the Holy Spirit - 2Pe 1:20-21; 1Pe 1:10-11
      2. Jesus told His apostles that the Holy Spirit would teach them
         "all things", and guide them "into all truth" - Jn 14:25-26;
         16:12-13
      3. There is no other way to know the truth of God's Will except by
         what the Holy Spirit revealed to the apostles - 1Co 2:10-13

   B. HE IS THE SUBJECT OF MUCH ERROR...
      1. Much error is taught about the nature of the Holy Spirit
         a. Some think He is an impersonal force expressive of God's
            power
         b. Others think He is really Jesus in another form
      2. Many people misunderstand:
         a. The baptism of the Holy Spirit
         b. The gift of the Holy Spirit
         c. The spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit
         d. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit
      3. Many attribute "impressions or "intuitive feelings" to being
         "led by the Spirit"
         a. Ignorant of how the Holy Spirit leads us
         b. Attributing to the "Holy Spirit" what is really the "human
            spirit"

CONCLUSION

1. It should be evident that our chosen subject is indeed an important
   one...
   a. As our understanding of the Holy Spirit increases, so will our
      appreciation for Him
   b. Our next study will consider what is revealed about the
      personality of the Holy Spirit

2. As important as understanding the Holy Spirit might be...
   a. It is not essential to have a comprehensive knowledge of the
      Spirit to become a child of God
   b. Any more than understanding the birth process when we were
      physically born

What is essential is that we respond to the terms of pardon revealed by
the Holy Spirit in the gospel of Christ - cf. Act 2:36-38
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