Lesson 20 - Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Lesson 20 - Indwelling of the Holy Spirit

The indwelling of God the Holy Spirit begins immediately at salvation and is permanent.  This ministry is unique to the Church Age in which we live.  It is this ministry that assures our royal status, since all believers regardless of their spiritual health, are equally indwelt by the Holy Spirit.   This ministry also creates a temple in the body of each believer for the indwelling of Christ, the Shekinah Glory.  “Shekinah” literally means “dwelling.”  It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that sets up the potential for the believer to understand spiritual truth, to glorify Christ, to be comforted, to be guided through life and to witness for Christ.  It is still up to the individual believer to use his volition (free will) to choose to allow God the Holy Spirit to control his life.  (Galatians 3:2-3; 4:6; Acts 1:8; Romans 8:9; I Corinthians 2:12; 3:16-17; 6:19-20; John 14:16-20; Colossians 1:27)

Understanding Spiritual Truth

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit sets up a potential for the believer to understand spiritual truth.  Since God does not force truth upon us, we must make the choice to learn, believe and apply spiritual truth.  Under the control of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to convert academic understanding of God’s Word into spiritual understanding. (I Corinthians 2:10-16: II Peter 1:20-21)

We must always keep in mind that God’s wisdom and understanding is far superior to ours.  “His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.”  Therefore it is imperative for each believer to “tap into” God’s only resource for the believer in this age – His Word. (Isaiah 55:6-11)

Unique to the Church Age is the utilization of the pastor-teacher to teach Bible doctrine.  Other ages relied on the head of the household, a priest, a prophet, or in some instances theophanies (preincarnate appearances of Jesus Christ).  Under the right pastor-teacher the believer is instructed in accurate Bible teaching and the Holy Spirit reveals the teaching as truth.  Once believed, the information is transferred from what we will call the “gnosis compartment of the soul” to the “epignosis compartment of the soul”.  The difference is that “gnosis” doctrine is merely academic and “epignosis” doctrine is spiritual information.  It is this “epignosis” doctrine that is usable by the believer who is filled with the Holy Spirit.  We should also add that this is the information that the Holy Spirit uses to guide the believer. (Galatians 5:16-18; Ephesians 4:11-16, 5:18)

Glorifying Christ

In the time in which we live there is much being said about the Holy Spirit, to the point of glorifying Him in the name of Christ.  Anytime the Holy Spirit is glorified, a “red flag” should immediately go up for the believer.  Jesus made it perfectly clear that when the Holy Spirit came to earth that He (the Holy Spirit) would NOT speak of Himself, but would testify of Christ.  This is not to say that the Holy Spirit, as God, is any less deity than Jesus Christ.  He is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.  However, in function He never seeks to glorify Himself, only Christ.  We must remember that it is Christ Who is the focal point of all that God is doing on behalf of mankind.  Therefore, all glory has been given to Christ. (John 16:13-14, 17:1-5; II Peter 1:16-18)

It is arrogance when the believer attempts to bring glory or attention to himself.  When excessive attention is given to any human being, including one’s self, God cannot be glorified.  Making an idol of man or man’s accomplishments is contrary to the teachings of God’s Word and leads to all sorts of mental attitude sinning.  We must be careful not to place self or others on a pedestal.  All of us have a sin nature and we all have “feet of clay.”  All glory belongs to our Savior. (II Corinthians 10:14-18)

The Comforter

The word in Greek for comforter is “parakletos” and means to call to one’s aid.  It is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to bring comfort to the believer in time of distress.  Originally a legal term for an advocate or defense attorney, the word for comforter came to mean much more.  Its meaning was expanded to include consolation, encouragement, alleviation of grief, a soothing solace or giving comfort; things perhaps an advocate would do for a client.  It is this word that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of Scripture to use to describe His ministry. (John 14:16,26, 15:26; 16:7; Philippians 2:1-2; II Thessalonians 2:15-16; I John 2:1)

How does the Holy Spirit comfort the believer?  Since in this age God does not speak directly to human beings, there must be a way in which He communicates this comfort.  It is very clear from Scripture that God the Holy Spirit uses the Bible doctrine that we have stored in our souls to bring comfort, encouragement, alleviation of grief and solace.  The Holy Spirit guides us to the truth that we need at a particular moment in order to accomplish His ministry of comfort.  The key, of course, is to have this information stored so that we have a frame of reference for the purpose of using the faith-rest drill, which involves reaching a doctrinal conclusion and application. (John 14:26, 16:12-13; Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 1:1-2)

Guidance of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit indwells the believer as our guide.  The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit guides the believer to truth and it is this truth, when inculcated and metabolized that becomes the source for all guidance.  Without spiritual truth resident in your soul, you cannot be properly guided by the Holy Spirit.  You must first learn and believe accurate Bible doctrine before you can apply it under the control of the Holy Spirit.  God the Holy Spirit may guide you to a person, a place or a circumstance, but He will not force you to make the right decision.  You must make that decision…hopefully it will be based on the accurate Bible doctrine you have stored in your soul.  This process, of course, is always based on grace, since it is God Who is guiding you; first to truth and then to the proper application of truth. (I Corinthians 3:1-2)

We are told that the Holy Spirit is the person Who not only teaches us truth, but also brings truth to our remembrance.  It is this recall of truth that allows us the opportunity to make good decisions from a position of strength while we are in fellowship with God and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  The key to proper guidance for the believer is spiritual growth.  Spiritually maturing Christians have greater potential for making right decisions than spiritually immature Christians.  (John 14:26; Ephesians 4:13-16; Hebrews 5:11-14)

Power to Witness for Christ

One of the many privileges that we have as believers is to share the good news of the Gospel with others.  One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to empower us to carry out our responsibility to be witnesses.  Acts 1:8 tells us that when the Holy Spirit was permanently given to the early apostles they also received the accompanying power to be effective witnesses for Christ. 

It is not our job to “win people to Christ,” that job belongs to the Holy Spirit.  However, it is our job to present an accurate Gospel message that can be used by the Holy Spirit to win a person to Christ.  Therefore, it is imperative that every believer learns how to present the Gospel message clearly.  An unclear presentation of the Gospel will only confuse the unbeliever and make it difficult for them to make a positive decision to believe in Christ as Savior. (I Corinthians 14:7-9; Galatians 1:6-9)

So let me state what the clear, concise and correct Gospel message is from the Word of God.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through FAITH and that salvation is not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.”   II Corinthians 5:21, “For God made Jesus Christ to be sin for us, Who knew no sin, that we might be MADE the righteous of God in Him.” 

I John 5:13, “These things have I written to you who BELIEVE in the name of the Son of God in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”

What is the unclear Gospel?  This is the unclear Gospel (which is not the Gospel), used today by many well-meaning Christians:

  1. Invite Jesus into your heart
  2. Give Jesus your heart
  3. Repent of or turn from your sins
  4. Ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins
  5. Ask Jesus to come into your life
  6. Make Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life
  7. Turn your life over to Jesus
  8. Commit your life to Christ
  9. Surrender your life to Christ

These are all nice sounding phrases, perhaps even spiritual sounding.  However, they are all unclear, and/or false information regarding salvation.  Salvation is a matter of faith alone in Christ alone.

God the Holy Spirit indwells us in order to establish our identity as Royal Family of God, to help us understand spiritual truth, to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, to comfort us, to guide us and to empower us.  What a wonderful blessing we have as believers in the Church Age – the permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)