Lesson Seven, Part 1 – Introduction to the Holy Spirit

Part 1:  Introduction To The Holy Spirit


In the beginning God created the heavens and earth…and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Gen. 1:1, 2

In the first chapter of Genesis, each day for six days, we see God calling into physical reality our present cosmos.  Since the Hebrew word ELOHIM, which denotes plurality in number, is translated God, it does not surprise us to hear God say, “Let Us make man in Our image.”  (Genesis 1:26).  The plural pronouns Us and Our may very well include God the Father, the Spirit who was moving over the waters and Jesus Christ in whom, through whom and for whom all things were created (Col. 1:16).  Job suggests that the Holy Spirit is capable of creating when he said, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  (Job 33:4).  Isaiah made a distinction between the Lord God and His Spirit in Isaiah 48:16.

The King James translators made use of the word “Godhead” to translate the Greek words THEIOS in Acts 17:29, THEIOTES in Rom. 1:20 and THEOTES in Col. 2:9.  The New American Standard translators chose “divine nature” for these Greek words.  There are several scriptures in the New Testament that identify three separate persons who can be identified as the Godhead or Deity.  See Matt. 28:19; Rom. 15:30; Mark 1:9-11; John 15:26; II Cor. 13:14; I Pet. 1:2.  From a study of these scriptures and others we see that the Holy Spirit is a person just as the Father and Son.  For instance, the Holy Spirit loves and fellowships Christians.

If we were to attempt to assign a main role to the Holy Spirit throughout all the ages of mankind it appears that He is an informer to man.  He brings instructions from God and gives us spiritual information.  Peter said, “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”  (II Pet. 1:21).  However, this was not His only role for just as the Psalmist suggests that the Holy Spirit creates, we also find Him working with Bezalel in craftsmanship (Psa. 104:30; Exo. 35:30, 31).  We perceive that the Holy Spirit has a complete understanding of the laws of nature because He worked so many miracles.  Miracles demand changes in the result of natural laws.

The Holy Spirit changed the nature of conception when a virgin named Mary conceived Jesus.  Jesus the Christ emptied Himself of the form of God and was made in the likeness of man (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35; Phil. 2:6, 7).  Although the Holy Spirit was instrumental in Mary’s conception of Jesus, we are not told of another encounter between Jesus and the Holy Spirit until 30 years later.  This was when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 3:21-23).  The birth of John the Baptist was a miracle in which the Holy Spirit was active; in fact, He was with John even while he was in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15).

The birth of Jesus and John the Baptist shows the work of the Holy Spirit as He cooperated with the other persons of deity to give us a divine king over the kingdom of God.  At that time in history the man dimension of God’s kingdom was in sad disarray.  The physical nation of Israel did not have a king from the seed of David.  Rome ruled their nation; however, Jesus was soon to make Himself known as the Messiah through His own preaching and that of His forerunner, John the Baptist (Matt. 11:1-14).

The Holy Spirit had prepared John the Baptist well for his role as the “forerunner” of the king.  John said, “I am not the Christ,” and  again he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  (John 3:28, 30).  Jesus and John both preached the kingdom (Matt. 3:1; 4:17).  John baptized in water, which was a baptism of repentance, but Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. 3:11).  Those whom Jesus sent out: preached the kingdom; had power over demons and the power to heal diseases, but none were baptized with the Holy Spirit until after Jesus returned to heaven (Acts 1:5).  We will discuss the difference in Part 2 of this lesson.

John the Baptist said, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.”  (John 3:34).  It is significant to note that Jesus did no miracles until after the Holy Spirit was with Him “without measure.”  We might hypothesize that the working with law of nature was the Holy Spirit’s department.  It is just a thought, perhaps without much scriptural foundation; however, we do know that everything Jesus did after His baptism was done in a very close relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was vindicated in the Spirit in I Tim. 3:16.  The Hebrew writer said, “Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God.”  (Heb. 9:14).  The Holy Spirit was not only with Jesus in His death, but He declared Jesus to be the Son of God by the resurrection of the dead (Rom. 1:4).  When the scribes accused Jesus of being possessed by Beelzebub He gave the following warning to them.

Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin:—because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”  Mark 3:28-30

Jesus could accept the fact that He would be rejected and could even forgive them when they repented, but no one should venture to attribute the works of the Holy Spirit to Satan or demons.

The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness for a forty day fast.  At the end of this fast Jesus was tempted by Satan.  This is the first recording of Jesus directly rebuffing Satan, but happily not the last (Luke 4:1-13).  Jesus continually cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit during His ministry on earth (Matt. 12:28).

Jesus said the Spirit was upon Him just as Isaiah had prophesied.  He read Isaiah 61:1 in His home town synagogue and then said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”  (Luke 4:16-22).  After Jesus returned to heaven and baptized the apostles with the Holy Spirit, Peter said to the household of Cornelius, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.”  (Acts 10:38).

In summary we can say that the Holy Spirit as a person of deity, in conjunction with the other two persons, created this world and all that is here.  The Holy Spirit assisted Jehovah God in His kingdom by giving men wisdom, by inspiring their ability to do crafts and with leadership.  He also served as a heavenly informer to mankind.  Furthermore, the Holy Spirit helped in the transition of the Son of God to the son of man and continued to assist Jesus in His strategies on earth to establish His reign over God’s kingdom.  The Holy Spirit assisted Jesus with His preaching the word of God, in casting out demons and healing sick people.  He was with Him in His physical death and resurrection, and He continued to serve our king as He took His seat in heaven at the right hand of the Father.  Jesus had the assistance of the Spirit “without measure” while upon earth.  In the remaining segments of this lesson we will see how some received the baptismal measure of the Holy Spirit, how others received gifts and how all faithful Christians enjoy His presence.

Questions for Discussion

  1. The man-dimension of God’s kingdom with Jesus as king was established after Jesus returned to heaven by whose direct assistance?
  2. What is the significance of God’s use of plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26?
  3. Who are the three persons identified as the Godhead or Deity?  List one scripture that includes the three.
  4. What appears to be the main role of the Holy Spirit in relation to mankind before the Bible was completed?
  5. What are some other roles of the Holy Spirit?
  6. In what way did the Holy Spirit prepare John the Baptist well for his ministry?
  7. What was the degree of cooperation between Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  Please give one scripture for your answer.
  8. List some of the traumatic periods of Jesus’ life in which the Holy Spirit shared.
  9. What did the scribes say which prompted Jesus’ warning about a sin that God will not forgive?
  10. Make a summary statement about the Holy Spirit from the information presented in this lesson.

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