Believing and Receiving the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:1-4 (Mar 9-10)


Word

Synopsis of the Sermon

This weekend, Pastor Charles Montgomery of the Vineyard Columbus East Side Campus taught on believing and receiving the Holy Spirit. He opened his sermon with a story about a man who bought a chain saw in order to cut down trees. When he was unable to cut down any trees with it, however, he took it back to the store, deeming it a “piece of junk.” What this man did not know was that you have to turn a chain saw on in order to use it. Because he did not rev up the engine of the chain saw, the man had no idea was kind of power was actually at his disposal. Similarly, Charles said, there are many of us who are obsolete in our Christian lives because we, for whatever reason, refuse to get to know the Holy Spirit, the source of our power to live the Christian life that Jesus calls us to.

 Charles started out by defining the Holy Spirit. He said that the Holy Spirit is the LORD our God. Just as our God manifests himself as Father and as Son, He also manifests himself as Spirit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not an “it,” He is a person. Charles also told us that the Holy Spirit convicts of us sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) and also is the very presence of Jesus in our lives (John 16:5-7) because the Holy Spirit universalizes the presence of Jesus.

 Next Charles described the Holy Spirit. First, he described the Holy Spirit as wind, because although you cannot see the wind, you certainly can see evidence of its existence. Similarly, while we cannot see the Holy Spirit, we certainly can see evidence of His movement. Second, he described the Holy Spirit as fire, because the Holy Spirit wants to catch us on fire in three ways: Revelation (revealing truth to us), Motivation (Worship, Work, and Witness), and Purification (purifying us through the refiner’s fire).  Third, he described the Holy Spirit as Tongues. On this, Charles not only discussed the gift of Tongues as it is appeared at Pentecost and as the Apostle Paul talked about Tongues, but also in a more general sense, saying, “When you are filled with the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, whenever someone is filled they would all start speaking. It wasn’t always in tongues but they would always say something… talk about Jesus.” Charles said the Holy Spirit enables us to speak so that we can speak about Jesus.

 Finally, Charles exhorted us to not be content with just sitting on the sidelines, watching other people live life in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 In 5 minutes or less, briefly give a synopsis of this week’s sermon.  What insight, principle, or observation from this weekend’s message did you find to be most helpful, eye-opening, or troubling?  Explain.

 Getting the Conversation Started

These questions can be used as ice-breakers in the beginning OR interwoven between the questions below to draw the group into the discussion.

  • What are one or two things from this weekend’s sermon that really stood out to you?
  • What has been your experience with the Holy Spirit either personally, at another church, biblically, or any other context? How has that experience lined up with the descriptions of the Holy Spirit laid out in the sermon?
  • What things in your life have been different since you started living and operating in the power of the Holy Spirit? What issues in your life that you were slave to have been conquered for Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit? If you haven’t submitted yourself to the work of the Spirit, what has been keeping you from doing so?

 Scripture Study

Study Goal: We want to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives, but not just to experience the inner Revelation, Motivation, and Purification that Charles spoke to us about this weekend. We also want to be intimately acquainted with the Holy Spirit so that He can equip us supernaturally to do the work of the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit manifests himself in us, the body of Christ, as spiritual gifts to use to bring about the Kingdom of God.

 Context: Paul is writing to the church he planted in Corinth, a busy seaport of the Roman Empire. Because it was such a bustling trading hub, the city was an ancient equivalent to Las Vegas. The church in Corinth had a tendency to meld toward the image of the culture that surrounded them instead of the image of Christ, and this influenced the way that they operated in the Holy Spirit. Confusion, chaos, and cultural influence characterized the way the Corinthian church understood the Holy Spirit. Paul writes to them to clarify how the Holy Spirit manifests himself, what is and isn’t authentic, and to what end the Holy Spirit is working towards. 

 Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

 1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. 4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another a gift of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.    

 

  • (v.1-2) What does Paul say he is trying to keep his brothers and sisters from being in relationship to the Holy Spirit? (a. Ignorant) Why? (a. Because their past experiences with idols and pagan practices have led them astray in their experiences of the Holy Spirit)
  • (v.3) Just as Charles alluded to this past weekend, what is the main thing Paul says the Holy Spirit enables us to do? (a. Say “Jesus is Lord.”)
  • (v.4-6) What connections might Paul be making between gifts of the Spirit, service to the Lord, and God working in people in verses 4 through 6? (a. When it comes to Spiritual gifts, service, and the way God works in people, it doesn’t look the same in everyone. This doesn’t mean, however, that it didn’t come from the same Spirit, Lord, or God. The test for authenticity is found in verse 3: Is the gift, service, or work about Jesus?)
  • (v.7) What does Paul say the gifts of the Spirit are given for? (a. The common good)
  • (v.7-11) Why do you think Paul continually stresses the “sameness” and “oneness” of the Spirit that gives spiritual gifts? (a. Could be many answers here, possibly to reinforce the equality between gifts, so that no one thinks that any one gift is greater than the other, or to stress that just because the Spirit manifests as prophecy through one person does not mean that everyone has the gift of prophecy).
  • (v.11) Who determines who has what spiritual gift? (a. The Holy Spirit)
  • (v.1-2) Just as Paul had to correct the Corinthian’s understanding of the Holy Spirit because of their pagan practices, we sometimes have to have our own understanding of the Holy Spirit corrected based on our prior experiences. What false understandings of the Holy Spirit has Charles’ sermon and this study helped to correct for you?
  • (v.3, 7) When you think of doing ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, do you think of doing it first to proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ and second for the common good? If not, what is your motivation?
  • (v.4-6) Some of us come from church backgrounds where certain specific gifts (aka tongues) must manifest in order for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit. How does this passage inform that belief for you?
  • (v.7-11) This gift list is not an exhaustive one, but which of these gifts do you think the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon you? What has confirmed that for you? (External call, Internal call, Ministry Success, etc)
  • (v.11) Pay attention to how Paul addresses the Holy Spirit in verse 11. “… just as he determines.” How often do you really think about the Holy Spirit as a person rather than some nebulous force, as a he rather than an it? How do you think coming to understand the Holy Spirit as a person would change the relationship you have with him?

 Ministry Application

Below you’ll see some options for ministry time with your group. We always encourage you to reserve time in your group to pray for one another and wait on the Holy Spirit.

 

  • Wait on the Holy Spirit boldly. Take time to sit in silence, allowing it to become uncomfortable if need be, in order to really wait and give space for the Holy Spirit to speak.
  • Perhaps someone in your group is unclear about their spiritual gifts. Minister to them, first asking if they have seen God work through them in any reoccurring ways throughout their life. Then pray for them, specifically asking the Lord to reveal and increase areas of gifting.
  • Some of us know what our spiritual gifts are, but we are afraid to walk in them boldly. Pray for courage for each other to not let the tools that the Holy Spirit has given you to simply sit there and gather rust. Joshua 1:9 is a classic passage on courage that might be helpful for those that struggle with stepping into their gifting.
  • This also could be a great time to let people practice their gifts on each other. If there is someone who has a physical injury or is ill and you have a member that thinks they are gifted in healing, encouraging that person to practice healing prayer. If you have someone that needs a word of wisdom, let them get ministry from someone who feels gifted in that area. Whatever the need or gifting may be, present this time as “workshop” time for people so simply practice working in the power of the Holy Spirit. Take special care to communicate that this is safe time to practice and that there is no need to try and perfect or polish anything.