What is the Holy Spirit? What does it do? Why do we need it, and how does one receive
it? The answers to these crucial questions are found in the Bible. This lesson
will help you understand the TRUTH about God's Spirit'
Jesus said: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more
abundantly" (John 10:10). One reason Christ came to earth was to teach humanity the
way to world peace, happiness and prosperity.
But more importantly, Jesus Christ came to reveal the way to receive God's gift of
eternal life. He came to make the precious gift of the Holy Spirit available to
those whom God would call to repentance.
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said," proclaimed Jesus, "out of
his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which
they that believe on him should receive)" (John 7:38-39).
Jesus taught that unless we receive the Spirit of God, we can never enter the Kingdom
of God. Why?
Because it is only through God's Spirit that we can develop the perfect, holy and
righteous character of God in this life, and be resurrected to glorious eternal life
in God's Family at Christ's return!
After teaching His disciples for three-and-one half years, Jesus prepared to offer
Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Soon He would be crucified, and after
three days and three nights in the grave, He would be resurrected to sit at the right
hand of His Father in heaven. His apostles would then continue the work He had personally
begun while on earth.
These men would have to carry an unpopular Gospel to a hostile world. They would
have to face years of persecution, ridicule and finally, for most, even martyrdom!
The apostles would need strength, encouragement and wisdom. They would need the
love, patience and endurance to follow in Christ's steps and carry out His commission
to preach the Gospel He proclaimed.
The apostles would also need to recall the lessons taught to them by Christ during
His earthly ministry. As generally "unlearned" men, they needed wisdom to face the
philosophers, scholars and intellectuals of their day. They needed faith and courage
to confront the seething hostility of religious leaders who would attempt to destroy
the Church of God.
Jesus therefore said to them shortly before His trial and crucifixion: "I am not
going to leave you alone in the world-I am coming to you" (John 14:18, Phillips).
Christ would continue to teach and support the apostles, but not in the flesh. His
Father in heaven would miraculously empower them in their efforts to spread the true
Gospel after Christ returned to heaven. Christ told His apostles that the Father
would send the Holy Spirit to them. It would "bring to your remembrance all that
I have said to you" (John 14:26, RSV). He said the Holy Spirit would impart the
power they needed to be His witnesses to the world (Acts 1:8).
The record of the New Testament shows this is precisely what happened. The apostles
boldly proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the world. Great miracles
were performed through the power of the Holy Spirit. And these men recalled and
understood the teachings of their Saviour, and were inspired by God's Spirit to write
the New Testament Scriptures!
A HELP AND COMFORT TO EVERY CHRISTIAN
Christ did not limit the help of the Holy Spirit to the apostles alone. "Repent",
said the Apostle Peter to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost,
"and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38, RSV)
You can have the power that will enable you to live the way of life leading to peace,
happiness and eternal life in God's Kingdom. But this power can come only from above-from
God in heaven-not from within you or from the around. The Apostle James said: "Every
good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father"
(Jas. 1:1 7). God stands ready to impart spiritual power and understanding through
the gift of His Holy Spirit-if we will only comply with the conditions outlined in
The Holy Spirit is indeed the key to the spiritual blessings of God. It is the only
ingredient that will bring us God's love, joy and peace in this life and for all
eternity. Let's begin to understand much more about why we need the Holy Spirit in
our lives today.
WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT REALLY IS
Spiritual qualities and entities seem unreal to most people. And no wonder. The
spirit world is invisible, not discerned by any of the five senses. We can learn
about the spiritual realm only by what is written in the Bible. God's Word reveals
a great deal about His Holy Spirit.
In Lesson 8, we proved from the Bible that the Holy Spirit is not a "third person"
of a limited "trinity." We discovered that the Spirit of God is the power and energy
of the God Family, as well as the very nature, life and mind of God-not another spiritual
entity! Let's review some of those essential scriptures, and study a few
others as we lay the foundation for understanding one of the most crucial
subjects of the Bible.
1 . What is God composed of? John 4:24. Do the Father and Christ have definite
form and shape? Gen. 1:26; John 14:9; Rev. 1: 1 3-16.
Comment: Both members of the God Family are composed of divine, immortal spirit.
Yet, the Father and the Son have definite shape. Throughout the Bible are references
to the shape and the various parts of the bodies of both members of the God Family.
The Father and the Son both have a head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, arms, fingers,
torso, legs and feet. Man, as we know, was created in the "image" of God. But unlike
God, we are composed of perishable physical matter. We do not have eternal life
inherent within ourselves as does the God Family (John 1:4).
2 What is another important attribute of God? Ps. 99:9. Is there anyone as holy
as God? I Sam. 2:2. Are human beings naturally holy? Rom. 3:10-18, 23; 8:7; Jeremiah.
Comment: The word "holy," as used in Psalm 99:9, means pure of heart or free from
sin. The two Beings presently composing the God Family have a sinless, holy, spiritual
attitude and mind. The Holy
Spirit therefore expresses the very mind and character of God.
3. What are some of the characteristic attributes of God's spirit?
Isaiah 11:1-2.What additional characteristics or "fruit" does the Holy Spirit
manifest? Gal. 5:22-23; 2 Tim. 1:7.
4. Does God's Spirit fill the entire universe? Ps. 139:7-8; Jeremiah. 23:24.
Comment: The Spirit of God, like matter, exists in various states. It not only
has form, composing the members of the God Family, it also flows out from
them as power and energy to accomplish their will throughout the entire
5. Is the Spirit of God the power by which God-the ultimate source of all power-created
all things? Jeremiah. 32:17; Ps. 104:30. How did God use His Spirit of power to
bring His various creations into existence? Ps. 148:1-5. (Notice the word "commanded"
in verse 5). Also read Psalm 33:6-9 and Genesis 1: 1-3.
Comment: Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son and fills the entire
universe, much like air is everywhere present on earth. The Bible clearly shows
that God's Spirit is the instrument or means by which the God Family creates! Christ,
the Logos or "Word" of the God Family (John 1: 1 -3, 14), "spoke, and it was done"
by God's Spirit. It was by the Spirit of God that the creative energy of God was
transformed into the physical creation we see around us (Heb. 11:3). And it was
by the power of God's Spirit that He renewed the surface of the earth (Gen.1:2.)Man
is unable to create life or matter. God has purposely limited man's creative ability
to dealing strictly with the already existing physical world around him. So man
has learned to work with and use the physical laws God has set in motion. Man's
accomplishments are now seemingly bordering on the miraculous, but they are physical
nonetheless. God's purpose for putting man on earth was to train him for rulership
in the Kingdom of God. The earth is the training ground to prepare mankind for greater
responsibilities, which God will give to those who are born into His universe-ruling
Family. These responsibilities will even include use of the awesome creative power
6. Is the very creation all around us mute testimony of the miraculous creative power
of God? Rom. 1:20. (Read Job 26:7-14 for more vivid illustrations of God's infinite
power. You can also read Job 36:22 to 42:6 to see how great the power of God really
7. Does God sustain and rule His vast creation by His great power? Nehemiah. 9:6;
Heb. 1:2-3; Ps. 66:7.
Comment: God sits at the controls of the entire universe, so to speak,
ruling and sustaining everything by the awesome power of His Spirit!
THE KEY TO GLORIOUS IMMORTALITY
Man is mortal, subject to death. We do not possess eternal life and great powers
inherently within ourselves. Eternal life is a gift of God. Let's notice how having
the Holy Spirit within us until our death, or until Christ's return (if we are then
still alive), is the key to receiving glorious immortality at the resurrection.
1 . What happened to Jesus Christ after having been dead and buried for three days
and three nights? I Cor.15:3-4; Matt. 12:39-40. How did the Father raise Jesus
from the dead? Eph. 1:1 9-21. (Note that verse 17 shows that it is God the Father
and Jesus who are being discussed. )
Comment: Clearly, it was by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit that God the
Father raised Christ from death to glorious immortality, authority and power.
2. Were there any witnesses to Christ's resurrection from the dead? I Corinthians.
3. Was Christ the first of many who will be resurrected to eternal life? Acts
26:23; Col. 1:1 8;1 Corinthians. 15:22-23; Rom. 8:29.
4. Does the Father promise that He will also raise Spirit-begotten Christians to
immortality as He did Jesus? I Corinthians. 6:14; 15:49-54; 1 Thessalonians. 4:15-17.
(Also read all of I Corinthians 15, as well as Galatians 3:29; 4:7 and Titus 3:7).
It is absolutely essential to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us in order to receive
eternal life at the resurrection? Rom. 8:9-11, 14-17.
Comment: The Scriptures make it abundantly clear that God desires to elevate human
beings to the God-plane of existence-to make them literal Spirit-born members of
His spirit composed Family! It is also evident that only those who have (or did
have at the time of their death) God's Spirit at Christ's return will be given the
gift of eternal life. These individuals-true Christians-have been begotten by the
Spirit of God and are manifesting the "fruit" (Gal. 5:22-23) of the Holy Spirit in
their lives. (The "fruit of the Spirit" will be discussed later in this lesson).We,
if we are begotten of the Spirit of God, are "heirs" (future inheritors) of immortal,
incorruptible, perfect, all-powerful God-life.
5. When and how quickly will a Spirit-begotten person be changed to immortality?
I Thessalonians. 4:16; 1 Cor.15:51-52.
6. What type of body did Jesus receive at the time of His resurrection? I Corinthians.
15:44-45. Will those who are changed at the resurrection be given the same kind
of glorious body Jesus Christ has today? Phil. 3:20-21; 1John 3:2.
Comment: Their natural, mortal bodies will suddenly be changed to bodies of spirit,
if they are alive at the time of Christ's return. If dead, they will be resurrected
from the grave with new, spirit bodies like Christ has now.
7. Was Jesus, with His spirit-composed body, able to suddenly appear and disappear?
Luke 24:36-37, 31.Was He able to pass through walls? John 20:19, 26. Can one composed
of spirit appear as mortal flesh and bone when necessary? Luke 24:38-40.
Comment: When one becomes a spirit being, he will also be able to perform miraculous
feats as Christ did. Of course, Spirit-born members of God's Family, with the character
of God, will always be in charge over all.
8. Are spirit bodies capable of travelling through space at incredible speed-undoubtedly
faster than light? Compare John 20:17, 19-20 with Matthew 28:9.
Comment: Earlier on the day after His resurrection, Christ would not let one of His
disciples touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Father's throne in heaven.
But later that same day, Christ allowed his disciples to touch him. This clearly
shows that Christ travelled to heaven and returned to earth on the same day!
9. Once a man or a woman has been changed into spirit, can he or she ever die? Luke
10. Was Jesus glorified after His resurrection? John 17:5; Heb. 2:9. How did
Christ's glorified spirit body appear when manifested in a vision to the Apostle
John? Rev. 1: 1 3-16. (The "Son of Man" mentioned here is the glorified Christ).
Comment: Before Jesus became a human being, He had a glorious, resplendent, powerful
spirit body like His Father's. After His resurrection, He was restored to the same
power and glory. Christ's spirit body radiates light as bright as the sun!
11. Will God also glorify His spirit-begotten children at the resurrection by giving
them this same great power and glory? Rom. 8:17; Col. 3:4.
12. Did Jesus give three of His disciples a fleeting glimpse in a vision of this
future glorified condition? Matt. 17:1-2, 9. What other scripture gives us an idea
of the future glorified state of those who shall be born of God at the resurrection?
Comment: The glory that Spirit-begotten children of God are to receive at the resurrection
will be so great it will make them shine as the brilliant stars of the heavens-like
the sun in full strength!
OUR SPIRITUAL CREATION NOW POSSIBLE!
With Lesson 8, we learned from the Bible what it means to be "born again." We discovered
that if we are true Christians, we are already-in this life-the children of God the
Father (I John 3:1-2). But even though considered God's children, we are now only
heirs (Rom. 8:14-17)-ones who shall, in the future, become inheritors of all that
God has promised.
Because we are now only begotten children of God. It is only when we are born of
God that we will become inheritors of God's Kingdom, having then become divine, eternal
members of the Family of God.
Before our spiritual creation can begin, God the Father must beget us spiritually.
He does this by placing His Holy Spirit within our minds to join with the human
spirit upon repentance and baptism. (Recall that we studied the scriptures about
the "spirit in man" in Lesson 5). In this spiritual begotten process, the Holy Spirit
can be compared to a sperm, and the human mind to an egg with which God's Spirit
unites. Thus we are impregnated, so to speak, by the "seed" or germ of eternal life
(I Pet. 1:3-4, 23; Jas. 1:18). (As we learned in Lesson 8, "born again" in I Peter
1:23 should have been correctly rendered "begotten again".) This impregnation is
the begetting of the spiritual life of God within our minds, making us literal children
of God (though yet unborn), for we will be just like our heavenly Father when we
are finally born into His Family.
We also learned in Lesson 8 that the portion of the Holy Spirit a person receives
upon being begotten does more than impart the possibility of eternal life. It also
imparts to us the characteristics and attributes of God the Father (2 Pet. 1:3-4),
just as the sperm of a human father transmits his characteristics and attributes
to his newly conceived off-spring. And just as a newly begotten physical embryo
begins to grow in its mother's womb, we must also begin to grow spiritually after
being begotten by God's Spirit.
If you are a true Christian as defined in the Bible, then you are now a Spirit-begotten
child of God the Father. You were impregnated by the Spirit of God-the spiritual
"seed" of eternal life so you could begin the process of spiritual growth. But you
are not yet born of God-not yet composed of spirit-not yet immortal. Let's fully
understand about the spiritual growth that must take place after an individual has
been begotten by God's Holy Spirit.
The Bible shows that a Spirit-begotten child of God must grow spiritually before
he can be born into the divine Family of God. While still mortal, he is to become
more like God-developing more and more of the very mind and character of Jesus Christ.
Let's study the scriptures that show how this miraculous change and growth can be
1 . Must Spirit-begotten Christians change their former ways of living that were
contrary to God's law? Rom.12:1-2; Eph. 4:22. What does this changing process produce
in true Christians? Verses 23-24. Also read verses 25-32 and chapter 5:1-12.
Comment: One's basic attitude must be changed that is, converted. This transformation
is a tremendous undertaking. It requires a miracle! The Holy Spirit is the miraculous
power needed to help renew one's mind.
2. Therefore, are Spirit-begotten Christians admonished to grow spiritually? 2 Pet.
3:18. Are they to be like humble little children growing up-this time spiritually?
I Pet. 2:1-2; Matt. 18:2-3.
Comment: As explained previously, once we have received God's Spirit, divine life
has been begotten in our minds. Our spiritual life has begun as a very small spiritual
"embryo," which must then grow.
To grow spiritually, we must take in spiritual nourishment.
Just as an embryo in its mother's womb must be nourished with life-giving food
through the placenta, so we must be nourished by the Word of God. "The words that
I speak unto you ' " said Jesus, "they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63).
Those words are recorded in the Bible, and Jesus said we are to live by every word
of God (Matt. 4:4). We drink in these life-giving words from the Bible through reading,
studying and thinking about what we read. We also absorb spiritual nourishment through
personal, daily contact with God in prayer and through fellowship with God's other
begotten children in His Church. (more about this later.)
3. Should we strive to develop the very character of God? Matt. 5:48.
Comment: Since it is impossible for any human being (with the exception of Jesus
Christ) to achieve spiritual perfection in this life, the obvious intent of Jesus'
statement is that we should strive to become perfect like our Father in heaven.
But what, exactly, is spiritual growth? It is the development of the perfect, holy
and righteous character of God! The impregnation of your mind by the Holy Spirit
will plant within you the seed of the divine nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4). It will
make this Only when we are born of God at the resurrection when this process will
be complete, for only then will actually be perfect as the Father and Christ are
now (I John 3:2-9). But in the meantime, Jesus tells us to strive toward that goal,
to grow towards spiritual perfection while still mortal beings! Once Spirit-begotten,
we are to gradually grow to become more and more like God in the way we think, speak
and do things.
We develop the character of God by obeying Him, and by giving to and helping others.
This kind of Godly character is developed in Christians through independent free
choice combined with learning, experience, trial and testing.
It is interesting to note that years of experience with people of every social level
and walk of life have shown that every Christian who is truly growing and developing
spiritual character has his heart completely in the work of God, which the living
Christ has called His servants to do as His instruments. One's "works," or "fruits,"
therefore, also include his part in helping to spread the good news of Christ's true
Gospel to the world as a witness (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20).
4. According to the Bible, who must all Spirit-begotten Christians strive to emulate?
Eph. 4:15; 1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21. What is the end result of this spiritual growth
process? Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:13.
5. Does Christ "live" in Spirit-begotten Christians to help them grow spiritually?
Col. 1:27-29; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 13:20-21. How does Christ dwell in them? Phil.
1:1 9; 2:5; Rom. 8:8-10.
Comment: Not only must the words of God flow into our minds through Bible study,
but the Spirit must also flow into our minds. Recall that Spirit-begotten Christians
have received the Holy Spirit of God, which united with the human spirit in their
minds. That is what begets us. But that new spiritual life must grow spiritually,
much like the fetus in a mother's womb grows physically until finally born.
Added to the germ of spiritual life, which came from the Father, there must be a
continual supply of Spirit sent from Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19) so that we can continue
to grow spiritually. Only in this way can our minds become more spiritual, growing
toward the maturity of the spiritual character of Christ.
Jesus Christ is the living "Word" of God (John 1:1). And He lived by every word
of God (Matt. 4:1-10). If we have the "mind of Christ"-if Jesus Christ is in us
by means of His Spirit we have the power to grow spiritually as we allow His Spirit
to lead us along the path of righteousness (Rom. 8:14). Through His Spirit, we have
the ability to obey God and thereby grow in the holy and righteous character of God.
Let's draw another analogy to further understand. The Spirit of Christ can be compared
to a current of electricity flowing through a light bulb. We are that bulb. But
there can be no light without a filament inside the bulb. The filament is comparable
to the spiritual seed from the Father. The Spirit from Christ can be compared to
the electricity flowing through the filament, causing it to radiate light. And so
the more Spirit we receive from Christ, the more "spiritual light" we emit in the
form of "good works" (Matt. 5:16).
The expression "filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18) does not refer to being filled
with emotional manifestations, which come from the flesh. What Paul meant is that
we are to be imbued with the Spirit of God, which is administered through Jesus Christ
in His office as High Priest. Notice how Paul explained this when he addressed Spirit-begotten
Christians in the Church of God at Rome: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the
Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you [that is, the Holy Spirit from
God the Father, which transmits His characteristics]." But notice what Paul added:
"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). He
does not belong to Christ-he is not a true Christian! Paul was talking about the
Holy Spirit from God the Father-the seed or germ of spiritual life that begets us
spiritually as children of God-and the Spirit sent to us from Jesus Christ so we
can overcome and grow spiritually.
GREAT SPIRITUAL BENEFITS NOW
We have already seen that many marvellous blessing are made possible through the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But there are yet other great benefits available
through the Spirit of God.
1 . Can the human mind-having only the human spirit, which imparts only human understanding-understand
the spiritual things of God? I Corinthians. 2:9, 14. What must be added before
a person can comprehend spiritually revealed knowledge? Verses 10-13.
Comment: The Holy Spirit gives one the ability to understand spiritual concepts and
principles-the very truth of God!
In John 6:63 Christ revealed that His words are spiritual in nature: "The words that
I speak unto you, they are spirit." God also reveals in Romans 7:14 that His law
is spiritual. The Bible and the laws and principles it contains are spiritual in
nature. And spiritual things cannot be understood by one who does not have the Spirit
of God. This is not to say the Bible cannot be understood in an academic sense. Many
are familiar with what it says- some can even recite large portions of God's Word
from memory. But God inspired Paul to say that spiritual things are beyond the comprehension
of human intellect alone! Spiritual things simply cannot be seen with the eye, heard
with the ear, felt with the hands. The human mind, which can receive knowledge only
through the physical senses, can never really comprehend spiritual concepts and principles
without the aid of God's Holy Spirit. The greatest scientific and philosophical
minds simply cannot understand spiritual truths with only their natural minds.
Just as surely as no animal brain-such as that of a cow, for example-can understand
human affairs, so no human mind can comprehend spiritual things until it has received
the Holy Spirit of God! Without the Holy Spirit, a person cannot understand the spiritual
knowledge revealed in the Bible. Therefore, the average individual is hostile and
unreceptive to the truth of God and looks upon those who understand and practice
it as peculiar! As Paul said, spiritual things are "foolishness" to the unconverted
(I Corinthians. 2:14). Before their conversion, God's begotten children did not understand
the Bible and God's way of life. But then God began to draw them (John 6:44) to
Christ by His Spirit-He began to grant certain spiritual understanding. They were
led to understand the meaning of true repentance.
After baptism and the receiving of the Spirit of begettal from the Father and the
continuous supply of that same Spirit from Christ, they began to understand and truly
keep the law of God. And the more they yielded to God and His law, the greater became
their spiritual understanding. Notice what God inspired David to write in this regard:
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they
that DO his commandments" (Ps. 111: 10).
2. Of itself, is the natural, "carnal" (fleshly) mind (with which we
were all born) totally unable to comprehend the true spiritual intent of God's
law, and therefore unable to obey it-unable to really love God and man (Rom. 8:7-8;
3. But what are the fruits of a mind that is motivated by God's Spirit? Rom. 8:6;
Gal. 5:22-23.Will the Holy Spirit in us enable us to do good works-to literally obey
God? Phil. 2:13; Heb.13:20-21.
Comment: God will work in us through the Holy Spirit. But it is important to understand
that the Holy Spirit will not force you to do things against your will as do demonic
spirit beings who "possess" some people. God's Spirit will not force you to live
righteously. But it will give you the spiritual power to do God's will as it leads
you to understand God's way.
4. Do Spirit-begotten children of God have direct access to the Father and
Christ in heaven? Eph. 2:13-14, 18; Heb. 4:14-16. What are the special advantages
of this close relationship? Heb. 4:16; Matt. 21:22. Why may we receive what we
ask? I John 3:22-24; 5:14.
Comment: A Christian may come boldly to God in prayer to request help in whatever
form necessary, and can expect to receive it according to God's will, if he is striving
to please God in the way he conducts his life.
Divine guidance, intervention, wisdom, understanding, inspiration, protection, physical
needs, and the power to do God's will are available through contact with God as made
possible by His Holy Spirit.
5. Does God also grant His servants the spiritual power needed to conduct the work
of His Church? Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20.
THE "FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT"
Recall that the presence of God's Spirit in one's mind, or the lack thereof, is the
sole factor that determines whether or not a person is really a Christian (Rom. 8:9).
Therefore, it is important to understand how one can know if he has the Holy Spirit.
1 . Did Jesus Christ clearly indicate that a person is known by his "fruits," or
works? Matt. 7:20. In what way did He describe Himself, His Father and true Christians?
John 15:1-8. How much fruit does God expect Christians to bear? Verses 5, 8.
COMMENT: This is the reason God calls Christ's disciples-to bear much fruit! "Ye
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and
bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain" (John 15:16). Jesus was not
talking about a momentary emotional thrill or experience that supposedly proves you
are one of His. Once begotten by the Holy Spirit from the Father, you must continually
be led by the Spirit from Christ (Rom. 8:14) and bear spiritual fruit throughout
your Christian life. But what spiritual fruit, or results, does the mind of Christ
through God's Spirit produce in one who is striving to do the will of God? Let us
understand. Christ is the "vine", and we-if we are God's Spirit-begotten children-are
the "branches." The vine determines the kind of fruit produced by the branches. In
the case of a grape vine, the fruit is grapes, not tomatoes. By this simple analogy
we see that it is Christ who determines what kind of fruit we should bear as Christians.
That fruit is the result of having the mind of Christ at work in us, as made possible
by the Spirit of God.
2. How did the Apostle Paul, who was inspired by Christ, outline the fruit or results
the Holy Spirit produces in a Christian? Gal. 5:22-23.
3. What is the very fruit Paul lists? Gal. 5:22. Also notice Romans 5:5. Is love
the basic characteristic of God's nature? I John 4:16. Is it the greatest attribute
God transmits to us by the Holy Spirit? I Corinthians. 13:13. Be sure to read all
of I Corinthians 13. ("Charity" in the Authorized Version is an old English word
meaning godly love.)
Comment: The Holy Spirit imparts the traits of God's character to true Christians.
And the first and most important fruit of God's Spirit is LOVE. It is not a form
of human love, but the divine love that comes directly from God! The Greek word
translated "love" in Galatians 5:22 is agape. It means devotedness or kindly concern-an
intense desire to serve God and man.
4. Is this the same love that will enable us to fulfil-to obey-God's law? Rom. 13:8,
Comment: Humans have had many conflicting ideas about how God's love should
be expressed in a Christian's life. But God makes it very clear that His love
is expressed by keeping the Ten Commandments! Keeping the first four commandments
expresses love toward God, and keeping the last six commandments expresses love toward
fellowman (see Matthew 22:37-40). John said: "By this we know that we love the
children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love
of God, that we keep his commandments" (I John 5:2-3).Notice the two necessary elements:
1) love God, and 2) love the children of God-human beings. The kind of love imparted
by God's Spirit works no ill to anybody! God's love is a deep concern and an intense
desire to serve, help and encourage other people. When you receive the Holy Spirit,
the love of God is the first fruit that will begin to show. You will begin to have
a fervent desire to serve God and express a genuine concern for your neighbour.
Over a period of time-not all at once-you will begin to exhibit this wonderful fruit
in your life as you use God's Holy Spirit.
The other fruits of the Spirit, mentioned by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23, amplify this
basic characteristic of God's nature-the divine love given to those whom God begets
with His Holy Spirit.
5. What is the second fruit Paul lists in Galatians 5:22? Is it God's will that
we be filled with joy? Rom. 15:13.
Comment: Some people think of "joy" as the end result of some kind of self-gratification
- a new car, a new home or a new baby. Physically speaking, when things go your
way, the emotion you feel is joy. But joy received from personal gratification
is only temporary. The car wears out, the ball game is soon over, the baby grows
up, the stomach empties. None of these physical things-though perfectly all right
to enjoy-can bring permanent, lasting joy.
6. Does the Bible give rich, deep meaning to this vital fruit of God's Spirit? Luke
Comment: What causes the angels to have joy? Is it something personal they receive?
Is it adding to or gratifying themselves in some way? It is none of these. Their
joy comes from seeing others receive something good for them. In this case, it is
the knowledge that when a human repents, he has started on the road that leads to
eternal life and Sonship in God's Kingdom. The angels delight in seeing human beings
begin to learn to live the way that will result in the permanent blessings of being
in God's Kingdom!
7. What kind of joy does Jesus Christ experience? Heb. 12:2.
Comment: Christ was willing to suffer in anticipation of the real joy He would experience
afterward in seeing fellow heirs begotten and finally born into God's Kingdom. This
was possible only through the sacrifice of His life. Christ and the righteous angels
receive great joy from serving God and others! This kind of joy lasts for all eternity.
8. What is the third fruit that God's Spirit will manifest in a Christian's life?
Gal. 5:22. Does peace of mind come from keeping the Ten Commandments? Ps. 11 9:165.
Comment: Peace of mind is what everyone would like to have, but what so few really
possess. Many vainly attempt to achieve peace of mind through escape into alcohol,
drugs, bizarre activities, etc.
The person who obeys God's law truly has peace of mind and control over his emotions-even
in trying circumstances. But no one who consistently breaks God's law can have real
peace of mind. He will have fears and frustrations, as well as a guilty conscience.
The person who keeps God's law knows he is doing the right thing. His goals and
purposes are stabilized. His life isn't fraught with frustrations, and he is not
plagued by a guilty conscience. He is at peace with God, with himself and with his
neighbour. He has "the peace of God, which passes all understanding" (Phil. 4:7).
9. What is the fourth fruit of the Holy Spirit? Gal. 5:22.
Comment: "Longsuffering" is an old English word for patience. It is also forbearance
and clemency, which is the ability to have mercy. One who is short-tempered and
easily upset with the faults and inadequacies of others is inviting real trouble
for himself, as human relationships will inevitably suffer. And his health can suffer
Patience is that steadiness of mind by which you wait for that result to be achieved.
One who is patient does not become frustrated because problems don't always have
immediate solutions. The godly longsuffering (or patience) Paul is referring to
can come only through the Holy Spirit.
10. Is gentleness also an important fruit or result of having the Holy Spirit? Gal.
Comment: Gentleness means usefulness, willingness, graciousness and pleasantness.
A gentleman attends to other people's needs; he is courteous. But gentleness is
Notice Paul's statement to the Thessalonians: "But we were gentle among you, just
as a nursing mother cherishes her own children" (I Thessalonians. 2:7, NKJ). The
apostle used this analogy to describe how he and other ministers dealt with the members
of God's Church. A mother must be firm and loving, kind and sure, able and compassionate
- all at once!
Another good example of gentleness is a nurse, whose duty is to care for others.
It takes a qualified, as well as a willing person, to be a good nurse. A gentle
person is willing to take extra steps to look out for the needs of others.
11. Is goodness also one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit? Gal. 5:22.
Comment: Goodness describes a person possessing God-like qualities of virtue, uprightness
and true character.
12. Is faith one of the vital fruits of the Spirit of God? Gal. 5:22. What is God's
definition of faith? Heb. 11:1. Did the righteous men and women of old possess this
kind of faith? Read all of Hebrew 11.
Comment: Faith is the "substance"-more accurately, the assurance or confidence-"of
things hoped for." Before you receive what you hope for, you already have it in substance,
and that substance-that assurance or confidence that you shall possess it-is FAITH!
Faith is your evidence that you shall have what you do not yet see. This faith
is based on the sure promises of God, which are recorded in the Bible.
13. Is it possible to please God without real faith? Heb. 11:6. Must obedience
to God accompany one's faith in order to make it alive and acceptable to God? Rom.
3:31. Also read James 2:14-26, noticing especially verses 17, 20 and 26.
Comment: As Hebrews 11:6 explains, faith toward God is our absolute recognition
that He exists, and our realization that He blesses us according to His promises
as long as we sincerely strive to serve and obey Him. This faith is given to us by
God. You cannot cause yourself to have this kind of faith through autosuggestion
or any other self-help technique.
14. Is the faith all Christians must possess, which comes as a gift from God (Eph.
2:8) through the Holy Spirit, in reality the faith of Jesus Christ? Rev. 14:12.
Comment: In Revelation 14:12 is a description of the true Church of God. Those in
God's Church have the faith of Jesus. It is not just their faith in Him, but His
faith placed in them and acting in them!
15. Did Paul plainly state that Christ lived in him? Gal. 2:20. How did Christ
live in him? Phil. 2:5; Rom. 8:9-10. Did Paul live by the very faith of Christ?
Notice Galatians 2:20 once again.
COMMENT: Jesus Christ dwelt in Paul through the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit of God
from Christ implanted in Paul's mind the faith of Christ-the same faith that can
be in your mind! That faith-the very faith of Jesus Christ- will enable you to live
God's way of life, as did the Apostle Paul and all the righteous men and women of
God. If we were able, of ourselves, to supply the faith to obey God, our obedience
would be self righteousness, which to God is but "filthy rage" (Isaiah 64:6). Our
righteousness must be through the faith of Christ. Yes, Christ's faith, not our
own! (Much more about this godly faith will be covered in the next lesson.)
16. Will meekness also be one of the traits of a Spirit-led individual? Gal.
5:23. Who set an outstanding example in this regard? Num. 12:3.
Comment: This kind of meekness is not synonymous with weakness. After his conversion,
Moses became so dedicated to God and filled with the Holy Spirit, he was considered
to be the meekest man on earth. He did not seek to exalt himself, but was lowly
and humble in attitude (a required trait of a servant of God- see 2Timothy 2:24-25.
But Moses was not weak or timid. When God was about to disinherit and destroy the
children of Israel because of their many rebellions, Moses-in spite of false personal
accusations against him-boldly entreated God to save them (Num. 14:11-20).
17.What is the last fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned by Paul? Gal. 5:23.
Comment: Temperance does not mean abstinence! Temperance means self-control, self-government,
moderation-particularly in reference to sensual appetites. The proverbs of Solomon
are full of exhortation about temperance-a vital attribute of God's Spirit. 18. When
one receives the Holy Spirit, will these precious fruits suddenly appear overnight
almost all at once? 2Pet. 3:18. Fruit does not appear overnight on a tree. It
takes time, water, the nutrients in the soil and sunlight to grow. Likewise, it
takes time to grow spiritually and manifest the "fruit of the Spirit" in one's life
once a person has received the Holy Spirit.
SPIRIT MUST BE USED AND RENEWED
One is spiritually minded to the degree that the fruits of God's Spirit are produced
in his daily life. But merely having the Spirit as a begettal will not make you
spiritually minded unless you draw on and USE the Holy Spirit every day. Let's notice
how the example of the Church of God at Corinth in Paul's day bears this out.
1 . Were the members of the Corinthian Church begotten by the Holy Spirit?
I Corinthians. 3:16. Yet were many of them not really showing the fruit of God's
Spirit? Verses 1-3.
Comment: There was strife and arguing, debating, contentions and divisions among
the Corinthian brethren. These are some of the "works of the flesh" mentioned in
Galatians 5:19-21. We need to understand why the Christians at Corinth were manifesting
these un-spiritual characteristics.
2. Must the Holy Spirit be put to use? 2 Tim. 1:6-7.
Comment: Even though the members of God's Church at Corinth had the Spirit of God,
they seemed to have forgotten the fact that God's Spirit must be used and drawn upon
to produce its fruit. They were producing works of the flesh-"doing what comes naturally"-simply
because they were not "stirring up" the Spirit of Christ and drawing on it to produce
the results of the mind of Christ! (Phil. 2:5;1:11).Another obvious reason some were
acting "carnal" was because they also lacked a supply of the Spirit of Christ. Notice
how the following scriptures bear this out.
3. Does one receive all at once enough of the Spirit of Christ to last as long as
he lives, or must the supply be replenished daily? Phil. 1:19; 2 Corinthians. 4:16
. Also notice Jesus' profound analogy in John 7:37-39.
Comment: The Spirit of God, which is administered by Christ, is active-DYNAMIC! It
is a moving force that can't be bottled up within you. Jesus compared it to "living
water" that comes into you, and then flows out from you in obedience to God. It
circulates like electricity in a complete circuit-from God, into you, then out from
you manifesting the "fruit of the Spirit', and then back to God. Since the Spirit
must flow into and out from us, then obviously it must be continually supplied. Therefore,
the supply of the Holy Spirit must be renewed in us daily by asking God for it in
believing prayer (Luke 11:13).To put it in the vernacular, our "spiritual battery"
must be continually "charged up." We must daily "plug in" to the Power source. That
source of the Holy Spirit is GOD!
WHY HOLY SPIRIT WITHHELD FROM MANKIND
1 . Did God offer the first human beings an opportunity to receive His Holy Spirit?
Gen. 2:8-9, 16-17.
Comment: God made available to Adam and Eve eternal life, symbolically represented
by the fruit of the "tree of life " Since eternal life can come only from God's Spirit,
the tree of life also represented the Holy Spirit.
2. But from which tree did they choose to eat? Gen. 3:1-6.
Comment: Though their Creator warned them of the dire consequences of eating fruit
from the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil," Eve was persuaded by the devil's
clever arguments to eat of the fruit that would lead to death! Adam also ate the
3. What was their punishment for disobeying God? Gen. 3:16-19. Were they
denied further access to the tree of life and therefore God's Spirit? Verses 22-24.
Comment: God intended from the beginning to offer the Holy Spirit to humans. It
was only after Adam and Eve disobeyed a specific command from their Creator that
the Holy Spirit was denied. Then, as now, God gives His Spirit only to those who
obey Him (Acts 5:32).
4. Did our first parents' disobedience to God set a pattern for the entire human
race? Rom. 5:12.
Comment: Had Adam and Eve eaten of the tree in the Garden of Eden that represented
God's Holy Spirit-the "tree of [eternal] life"- they would have been begotten by
God, and ultimately received eternal life, if they had continued to obey God. But
Adam and Eve had to desire the Spirit of God and obey God in order to receive His
Spirit-exactly as those God calls today must do. Instead, they listened to Satan
and pursued the way that leads to death (Gen. 2:17).From the very moment mortal man
disobeyed God, he was cut off from access to the Spirit of God and the gift of eternal
life. Ever since then, God has permitted man to go his own way, setting apart 6,000
years during which He has allowed mankind to learn the painful results of following
the dictates of the carnal mind as influenced by Satan. And mankind has continued
choosing the way of disobedience to God (Rom. 3:23), which has resulted in untold
suffering and death! An atonement, therefore, had to be made for mankind. It would
be the sacrifice of Jesus Christ approximately 4,000 years later. Until then, the
Holy Spirit would not be given to mankind. But there were a few exceptions during
the Old Testament era.
5. Did the patriarchs and prophets of antiquity have access to the Holy Spirit? I
Pet. 1:1 0-11.
Comment: Notice that "the Spirit of Christ ... was in them." Apparently none were
called to spiritual salvation except those called by God to perform a special mission
in service to God. From Adam to Noah, a period of about 1,900 years, we have the
record of Abel, Enoch and Noah. From Noah to the calling of Israel out of Egypt
there were Abraham, Lot, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and a few others. These few,
who were specially called by God, were given the Holy Spirit and will be born into
God's Kingdom, as we are clearly told in Hebrews 11.
6. Did Caleb also have the Holy Spirit? Num. 14:24. What about Joshua? Num. 27:18;
7. Did King David also have God's Spirit? I Sam. 16:13, (Remember that the
"LORD" was Christ). What did David say that further proves he indeed did have the
Holy Spirit dwelling in him? Ps. 51:11.
Comment: Jesus Christ before His human birth, was the member of the God Family who
administered the Holy Spirit to all the faithful men and women of old. He sent the
Spirit to be in them to impart God's faith and power. Notice: "And all these, though
well attested by their faith, did not [yet] receive what was promised [God's Kingdom],
since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not
be made perfect" (Heb. 1 1:39-40, RSV). Perhaps the understanding of how one is begotten
and later born into God's Kingdom was not fully revealed to the patriarchs and prophets
as it is to us today. However, they knew that through Christ who would come in the
human flesh to give His life as a ransom for many, they too, would inherit eternal
8. Did Jesus promise His disciples that the Holy Spirit would dwell
in them after His death and resurrection? John 14:16-17.
9. Since Christ's First Coming, is the way of salvation and receipt of the Holy
Spirit open to all who are called by God? John 6:44, 65; Acts 2:38-39.
Comment: Today, all who are called by God can have His Holy Spirit as a very part
of their being, enabling them to overcome and grow spiritually toward the Kingdom
of God. 10. Will the knowledge of God and the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit
and eternal life ultimately be made available to everyone after Christ returns and
establishes the rule of God over the earth? Isaiah. 11:9; Joel 2:28-29.
SPIRIT GIVEN ON PENTECOST
1. What did Jesus promise His disciples regarding the receipt of power from
heaven? Luke 24:49. Where did He tell them to wait for this power? Same verse
and Acts 1:4-5, 8.
2. What miraculous display of power did the Holy Spirit cause in Jerusalem? Acts
Comment: The Spirit of God was manifested as the sound of a mighty rushing wind
and as divided-equally distributed-tongues like fire. It filled the disciples,
speaking through them in such a way that, although they came from many nations, every
man there heard them in his own
language! (The miracle was in the hearing as well as in the speaking - verses 6,
3. What was the name of the day on which this great display of the Holy Spirit's
power occurred? Acts 2:1.
Comment: The word Pentecost is a Greek word meaning "fiftieth [day]." The Holy
Spirit came on the day of Pentecost (a Sunday), 50 days after Jesus' resurrection.
The sudden, spectacular and awe-inspiring exhibit of divine power working within
Christ's disciples on that day of Pentecost heralded the beginning of the time when
those God would call to be members of His Church could receive the Holy Spirit. It
marked the beginning of the crowning act of God's supreme creative work in mankind-the
development of God's perfect, holy and righteous character.
It was a forerunner of the era foretold by God long ago when He said to the ancient
nation of Israel (and through it to the whole world): "The days come ... that I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah .... I
will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts' (Jeremiah. 31:31,
33). This mighty manifestation of the Spirit marked the coming of the power of God
would use to engrave His law within the hearts of those whom He would call and who
would surrender themselves to Him. That is why God made this such a spectacular
and momentous event on that first day in the history of the New Testament Church.
HOW TO RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
1 . Is the Holy Spirit a gift from God? Acts 10:45; 2 Tim. 1:6.
2. How readily did Jesus say God will give us His Holy Spirit if we ask for it?
Luke 11:10-13. But how do we know God will hear us when we ask Him in prayer? I
3. Are repentance, belief and baptism initial steps in our obedience to God,
after which He is bound to keep His promise to give us His Holy Spirit? Mark 1:14-15;
Acts 2:38; 5:32.
Comment: Notice the stress placed upon obedience, upon submission to the will of
God-to the law of God. God will give His Holy Spirit only to those who have demonstrated
both by attitude and actions-that they have truly repented and want to obey Him.
Jesus said, "Not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). God wants to see a submissive,
obedient attitude in us before He give us His Spirit. If we surrender unconditionally
to God, He will give us His Spirit! The subjects of repentance and baptism were covered
thoroughly in Lesson 9 and 10. Suffice it to say, by way of review, that repentance
means to turn around and go the other way-to forsake all of your ways that have been
contrary to God's law, and turn to God's way, that is the way of obedience to His
law. To "believe the gospel" means to believe the message Jesus proclaimed-the good
news of the coming Kingdom of God on earth, which includes belief on the acceptance
of Him as personal Saviour. God makes it very plain that no one who continues to
practice sin as a way of life will never be born into His universe-ruling Family
(Gal. 5:19-21). All who desire to become born-again members of God's Family and
co- rulers with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God must stop sinning now-stop breaking
His law! All must REPENT of rebellion against God and begin to OBEY Him. They
must submit to His authority over their lives by keeping His commandments! After
belief and sincere, heartfelt repentance, the next step toward becoming a Christian
is water baptism. Baptism is an outward symbol of our repentance of our old sinful,
disobedient life-of our complete departure from our old sinful way of living-and
of our willingness to obey God in every way. Once you have taken these steps, then
you are unconditionally promised the Holy Spirit after prayer and the laying on of
hands. God has bound Himself to perform His part if you first perform yours. God
says: "You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ' " It is an absolute promise
of God to those He has called! You can ask God thereafter to direct and empower
you, through His Holy Spirit, to lead a new life in conformity with His revealed
Word-the Holy Bible.
THE SPIRIT AND GOD'S CHURCH
1. Once we have truly repented, been baptized and have been begotten by God's Holy
Spirit, do we automatically become part of a "body"? I Corinthians. 12:13. What
body is Paul talking about? Verse 27; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1: 18.
Comment: In I Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul has drawn an analogy between the
human body and God's Church. As we discovered in Lesson 10, in verse 13 he is speaking
about being baptized-put into-the spiritual "body" of Christ, or Church of God, by
God's Spirit. Therefore, "joining" a group that calls itself a church-having one's
name on the membership roll of some group- does not make one a member of the Church
Jesus founded. We cannot become a part of the body of Christ by simply deciding
to attend church services. What determines whether or not a person is a member of
the true Church of God is the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Those who have not received
God's Spirit are simply not a part of the true body of Christ-they are not real Christians!
(Rom. 8:9). And God promises to give His Spirit only to those who truly repent of
sin and are baptized (Acts 2:38; 5:32). But after we are baptized and begotten by
God's Spirit-what then?
2. What did Christ commission His ministers to do for those He has put in His Church?
Matthew. 28:19-20; John 21:15-17; 1 Pet. 5:1-3. (Notice the last three words of
each of the three verses in John 21 cited above.) For what purpose are God's ministers
to "feed" Christ's "sheep"? Eph. 4:11-15.
Comment: God has set His called and chosen ministers in His Church to "feed the
flock" so they may grow spiritually "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ [the Church of God]: Till
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto
a perfect [fully mature, full grown] man or woman, unto the measure of the stature
of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians. 4:12-13). As mentioned in Lesson 8, it is
the human father who begets children. He does not "bring forth"; the mother does
that, later. After the father's part, which initiates the process, there is always
a span of time prior to birth. So just as a human mother feeds her begotten child
within her womb, God's children are nourished with spiritual food within His Church.
Spiritually, God's Church is the "mother" (Galatians. 4:26) of all who have been
begotten by His Holy Spirit. Christ has given His ministers the responsibility to
instruct, teach and counsel the members of the Church (Hebrews. 13:17). And as the
human mother carries her unborn baby in that part of her body where she can protect
it from physical harm, God's Church also protects the begotten children of God from
spiritual harm, such as the false doctrines of false ministers. Through this "feeding"
process, in addition to personal Bible study and prayer, each Christian receives
the spiritual nourishment necessary to grow spiritually until he or she is ready
to be born at Christ's Second Coming as a member in the joyous, universe-ruling Family
FINDING THE TRUE CHURCH
We have just seen that the true Church of God is that body of believers who have
the Holy Spirit. Therefore, this Church is a spiritual organism. And Jesus Christ
is its Head. The true Church understands God's plan of salvation, and is fulfilling
Christ's commission to preach the true Gospel as a witness to all nations. And as
we also learned, the Church is nurturing the Spirit-begotten children of God whom
He has put into it. Knowing this, it becomes very important that you locate the true
body of Christ. But how does one go about finding God's Church and His ministers?
Just where is the Church of God today?
1. Are all ministers and churches that claim to be Christian part of the true Church
of God, or are there false churches? 2 Corinthians. 11: 1 3-15.
Comment: Since not all of those who profess to be ministers of God are what they
claim to be, what, then, are some of the signs that would lead us to God's true ministers
and the true body of Christ?
2. Would the true Church of God follow Christ by upholding God's law? Matt.
5:17; 19:17-19; 28:19-20; John 15:10. Would that Church be striving to literally
keep all the commandments of God? John 14:15; Rev.
3:7-8; 12:17. (Chapter 12 of Revelation personifies God's true Church as a woman.)
Comment. The true Church upholds God's law. It recognizes that God set in motion
a law that, if obeyed, will bring us every good thing. God's Church boldly proclaims
that His law is not done away, but has been spiritually magnified by Christ (Isaiah.
42:21) to cover every aspect of human activity. The true Church understands that
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps. 119:105). It recognizes
that God's law is one of His greatest gifts to mankind.
3. Would God's Church be attempting to discredit or devalue the Bible-relying
on human traditions and ideas for its principal doctrines? Or would it deeply understand
that the whole Bible-Old Testament and New-is the true Word of God? Luke 4:4; 2
Tim. 3:15-17; 4:2; Isaiah 8:20.
Comment: The only "scriptures" accessible to Timothy were books of the Old Testament.
God's Church believes all of the Bible has been inspired by God. The true Church
uses the Old Testament, as did Christ and the apostles, and believes it is also a
part of God's Word for us today. (Obviously, it must be understood in the light of
the New Testament.)
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND YOU
After you receive God's Holy Spirit, you will begin to sense a remarkably thrilling
change in your mind-in your attitude and approach toward life. And as you grow spiritually,
you will experience a steady growth in godly character, a new insight in your understanding,
a rejuvenated zest for life and a fantastically happy outlook toward the future!