Bible Study on the Holy Spirit - An Overview of the Holy Spirit

When it comes to the Holy Spirit, we often make a tragic mistake.  Being from the Churches of Christ/Christian Churches, we know our Scripture but we have failed to understand the Holy Spirit.  We like to keep Him at a distance and pretend that he is only the seal of salvation, missing out on all of the benefits of having the Holy Spirit in our life.

"Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption" Eph 4:30 (ESV).

Previously, I wrote Sealed by the Holy Spirit for a Reason.

One of the greatest ways we can grieve the Holy Spirit is to believe or act like He is no longer actively changing us and the world around us.  There is no Scripture in the New Testament that teaches that the Holy Spirit, His power, and His interaction through and in God’s people will stop, yet that is how we often live. 

In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul warned about the coming lawless one.  He wrote, “ The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (ESV).

Paul wrote that the lawless one will come and perform false signs and wonders.  If signs and wonders were to die off when the Apostles passed on, wouldn’t it have been easier to say, “God will not produce any more signs and wonders? Do not listen to one who performs signs and wonders.”  But that is not what Paul warned.  People that have the Spirit will be able to do the things of God as God wills and directs. 

So let’s look at some of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in our life. 

He comforts us.

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you”  John 14:15-17 (ESV).
He gives us insights.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” John 14:26 (ESV).  
In case you are one to say that this teaching only applied to the Apostles, John further elaborated in his late first century letter to the churches:
“But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him” 1 John 2:27 (ESV).
He intercedes for us.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” Romans 8:26-27 (ESV).
He links us to God.
“These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” 1 Cor 2:10-13 (ESV).
He provides supernatural power.
“And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”  1 Cor 2:3-5 (ESV).
He works out our kinks and frees us from sin.
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged”  John 16:8-11 (ESV).
He produces fruit in our life.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” Gal 5:22-26 (ESV).
Our life in the Spirit is like a campfire.  If not built properly, we don’t experience all that fire can be.  A properly built fire can burn hot with little wood.  An improperly built fire might only produce smoke.  Unfortunately, we are oftentimes just bellowing out smoke repulsing those around us rather than living in the Spirit reflecting the glory of Jesus.

When we don’t put on the new self and we live in the old self, we grieve the Holy Spirit.  And we lose those blessings of being in partnership with the Spirit.
  • Comfort when we were hurt.
  • Insights when we need them.
  • The Constant Prayer on our Behalf.
  • The Link with God.
  • Supernatural Power.
  • Prodding to smooth off the rough edges.
  • The Wonderful Fruit.
  • And More.
Ways we grieve the Spirit from the immediate context in Ephesians 4.
  • By not speaking the truth to your neighbors and living are if you are members of one another.  (Analogy of the body. If the arm is trying to be secretive and not let the other arm know what it is doing, how good would that work?)
  • By allowing our anger to cause us to sin rather than changing who we are because of our anger.  Anger is a great emotion.  It’s just a problem when we direct it improperly.
  • By not using our resources we have been blessed with to share with anyone in need.
  • By not using our words to build up and share the grace of God.
Notice that grieving the Spirit is linked to the way we interact with other people.  The new self creates better relationships.

There is a great kid’s book entitled Pig Will and Pig Won’t by Richard Scarry.  The book is about a momma pig teaching her children to play nicely, help with chores, and say his pleases and thank yous.  Pig Will happily does the jobs his mom wants him to do; Pig Won’t refuses.  When it comes time for the mom to reward her little piggies with a trip to a carnival, ice cream, and other fun things, Pig Won’t receives no rewards because he failed to be a piggy worthy of reward.  The mom wants to reward him, but she also wants to train him to be the sort of piggy he should be.
It is scary to grieve the Spirit and should not be taken lightly.  Isaiah wrote, “For he said, ‘Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.’ And he became their Savior.  In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.  But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them”  Isaiah 63:8-10 (ESV).

God fought against his people when they grieved him.  Just because we are Christians, because we have been baptized, because we attend church regularly, because we know the Scriptures, that is not enough.  Grieving the Spirit is when we live falsely, sin against others in our anger, use our resources selfishly rather than as us blessing, and tear down others.  It is when our faith becomes about us rather than about loving and helping others.

“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” 1 Cor 2:14 (ESV).

The Spirit is folly.  He makes us a little crazy.  If we are in step with the Spirit we will love the unlovable, hang out with the undesirables, and go to places no “proper” person should visit.  We will begin to live our lives for others rather than ourselves.  In our cultures eyes, we will be unreasonable.  He prompts us to do things that people of reason cannot understand.  If what needs to be done for God to receive glory is completely rational and can be thought out by wise, discerning minds, then there would be no need for the Spirit.  The Spirit intervenes when our wisdom and rationality fail us. 

The things of the Spirit are hard to accept.  He influenced Barnabas to sell his house and give the money to those in need.  He led Paul to go back to Jerusalem where he faced imprisonment and eventual execution.  He led Jesus to the cross.  And He is trying to influence you and me to give more of ourselves over to God.  

Let’s not grieve the Spirit.  May we each be willing to do his will no matter what the cost, whether that is just looking silly or to the extreme of sacrificing our lives.  We have been sealed by Holy Spirit for a greater purpose.  Let’s let Him lead us to it.