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General Bible Courses > The Holy Spirit

Chapter 1: You have a Friend, Holy Spirit

Our Gift to You

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a friend you could always count on ... one who is always available to meet your needs? Surveys tell us that loneliness is one of the greatest problems people face. When Jesus returned to heaven after His resurrection, He sent us a friend who would never leave or forsake us. That friend is the Holy Spirit.

In this course of the Operation Good Shepherd series you will learn about the person of the Holy Spirit and how to experience His presence. In our ministry here at CBN, the Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom, strength and the daily direction to introduce people to Jesus and set them free. Your Christian life will be changed forever by this helpful Friend.

We are pleased that the International Correspondence Institute, a worldwide ministry committed to evangelism, training and teaching, has permitted us to use some of their very fine courses, such as this one. What you will study has been adapted for use from their materials. Millions of Christians from around the world have benefited from these resources. You will too!

As you begin this study, ask Jesus to help you understand and receive His gift of the Holy Spirit.

First, Let's Have a Talk

In this teaching, you will enjoy reading about men and women who have received the Holy Spirit as their Friend and Helper. You will learn from the Bible what this Friend can do for you. Best of all, as you put into practice the suggestions given in each lesson, you will know God better and serve Him more effectively.

Don't be surprised if the Bible verses in these lessons are not exactly the same as in your Bible. As you know, there are many translations of the Bible. We have used the King James and Berkeley versions of the Old Testament and Today's English Version of the New. With each quotation is the name of the book, the chapter and the verse where you can find it in your Bible. Sometimes we quote just part of a verse.

The Holy Spirit is a six-chapter course. Try to complete at least one chapter per week.

You will enjoy the techniques of self-teaching that make the lessons so interesting and easy. At the beginning of each lesson is an outline of what you will study. Read it over carefully to prepare your mind for the lesson. Then read the meditation that follows. Try to apply its truths to your life.


Today, more than ever before in the history of the world, people are talking about the Holy Spirit and His work. They have discovered that He is a Person, not just an influence. He has brought new life and power into thousands of churches, both Protestant and Catholic. And millions today are discovering what the early Christians meant when they talked about being "filled with the Spirit."

Robert C. Cunningham, former editor of The Pentecostal Evangel, writes:

One of the songs we used to sing so reverently was "Filled with God." What does it mean to be filled with God? We know what it means for a person to be filled with fear, don't we -- or filled with envy, or anger! It means that all his faculties are dominated by these stormy passions. It means that these strong forces urge him to actions which express the spirit that has gained control of him.

Here, then, is the real glory of Pentecost. God the Holy Spirit comes into the lives and bodies of men and women to such an extent that they are filled with His presence. The Divine Spirit dominates every faculty, controls every power, and uses every energy as He wishes. The Lord suddenly comes and fills His temple! Human beings become temples of God -- think of it! May we learn again the unutterable wonder of being filled with God.'

® The Pentecostal Evangel, October 14, 1973.

He is a Special Friend

The Holy Spirit Our Friend

Someone asked a great man the secret of his success. He answered: "I had a friend." He let everyone know that without the help of his friend his life would have been a failure. His friend had helped him, encouraged him and stood by him. His friend loved him, had faith in him and made his life worthwhile. Do you have a friend like that? You need one.

What kind of friend would you like to have? You would want him to love you, to care about you and your problems, to share in your happiness. You would want him to be perfectly frank with you, to tell you the truth even when it hurt, to point out your faults with kindness in order to help you do better.

Maybe you would like your friend to be wiser, stronger and better than you are. Then he would teach you and help you day by day. He would answer your questions. He would help you with all your problems. And the more time you would spend together, the more like your friend you would become -- stronger, wiser, better than you are now.

Jesus Christ was this kind of friend to Peter, James, John, and the other disciples. He was a friend to the sick and healed their diseases. He was a friend of sinners. He forgave their sins and gave them a clean, new life. He was a friend to all who wanted His friendship: rich or poor, sinner or saint, ignorant or well-educated, of any race or nation. He gave them a richer, deeper, more unselfish love than they had ever known before -- the love of God. He taught them the truth. He helped them with all their problems.

But Jesus was limited by a human body. He could be in only one place at a time. He could not be with all of His friends who needed Him. So Jesus told His followers that He would go back to heaven and send them another Friend and Helper who could be with them all at the same time, wherever they were.

"I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, the Spirit of truth, to stay with you forever. The world cannot receive him, because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him for he remains with you and lives in you." (John 14:16-17)

This helper that Jesus promised to send is the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. He is just like God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son in His nature, power, and purpose. He knows all things. He has all power. He does not have a body but can be everywhere at the same time. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit, just as He promised to do, so that He could live in those who would receive Him. He has come to do for you what Jesus did for His followers.

"It is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you." (John 16:7)

Do you sometimes feel that no one understands you or cares about your problems? God does! He knows just what you need. He loves you so much that He has sent His Holy Spirit to be your special Friend and Helper. In this course, you will learn about how the Holy Spirit came, what He did for the early Christians, and what He will do for you. With the Holy Spirit as your Friend, you never need to feel lonesome or helpless again.

He Will Help You

Jesus promised to send another Helper. The word He used in Greek was Paraclete, which is sometimes translated Comforter. It means "someone called alongside to help." The other titles of the Paraclete show you what His powers and responsibilities are and how He will help you. He is called the Spirit of life, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of God. Whatever your problem may be, your Helper has the solution.

The Spirit of Life

Do you need healing for your body? In different parts of the world, sick people are being healed miraculously today in answer to prayer. Deaf ears hear again. Blind eyes see. Paralyzed people throw away their crutches and walk once more by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of life who gives life to all living beings. He has worked through Jesus to heal the sick and still does the same work.

In the next lesson, you will study more about how the Spirit of life gives you life and health for both body and soul -- a joyful, satisfying life on earth, and glorious, everlasting life in the world to come. But in order to enjoy the life that the Spirit gives, you must let Him lead you.

Those who live as the Spirit tells them to live, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. To have your mind controlled by what human nature wants will result in death; to have your mind controlled by what the Spirit wants will result in life and peace. (Romans 8:5, 6)

Understanding The Holy Spirit

Do you find it hard to live the right kind of life? Do you want to be a better Christian? Your Helper is the Holy Spirit, or Spirit of holiness. Holy means "separated from sin and given to God." The Holy Spirit shows us how terrible our sins are and helps us get rid of them. As we let Him have His way, He leads us closer to God and away from such sins as pride, selfishness, stubbornness, bad temper, prejudice, hatred, resentment, laziness, self-pity, rebelliousness, greed, and immoral thoughts or actions.

Maybe you need help to get rid of some bad habit. If you are a Christian, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. He will help you get rid of any habits that would harm your body. Thousands of drug addicts have been set free by the Holy Spirit. Medical science and social workers had been able to give them only temporary relief. In a last desperate effort to "kick the habit," they turned to God for help. After accepting the Lord Jesus as their Savior they asked the Holy Spirit to fill them and give them power to live for God. When the Holy Spirit filled them, He delivered them from the drug habit. He filled them with the love of God and the desire to help others. Many are now preaching the gospel. Their lives are clean because of the Spirit of holiness in them.

You were chosen as a result of God the Father's own purpose, to be made a holy people by his Spirit (1 Peter 1:2).

He Will Teach You

The Spirit of Truth

Just as Jesus taught His disciples the truth and answered their questions, the Holy Spirit will teach you. He will answer your questions about God. He will show you the purpose of life. He will help you understand the Bible. Things that used to puzzle you will suddenly become clear. Jesus said:

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all the truth (John 16:13).

Recently, some seminary students received the Holy Spirit. Bible truths suddenly "came alive" for them. Their teachers were amazed at their new understanding of spiritual things. The Spirit of truth had come.

The Spirit of Wisdom

The Spirit of Wisdom

Do you wonder what you should do or how to solve your problems? The Spirit of wisdom has come to help you. He will lead you and show you what is best for you. In lesson 4 you will study about how He will do it.

Do you want wisdom to work for God? In Acts, you see that the deacons had to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to do their work as they should. Maybe you teach in Sunday school, do personal evangelism, or preach. The Spirit of wisdom wants to fill you and help you just as He did the workers in the early Church.

But the Spirit gave Stephen such wisdom that when he spoke they could not resist him (Acts 6:10).

He Will Make God Real to You

The Spirit of God

Does God seem real to You? Is He a far-off ruler that you call on only in times of great crisis? Or a loving heavenly Father who cares about every detail of your life? Are your prayers little speeches that you make because of a sense of duty? Or are they frank conversations with your Father? The Spirit of God has come to help you know God better.

God made known his secret, by means of his Spirit. The Spirit searches everything, even the hidden depths of God's purposes. ... Only God's Spirit knows all about God. ... We have received the Spirit sent by God, that we may know all that God has given us (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).

Paul prayed this prayer for the Christians at Ephesus; it is our prayer for you also:

I ... ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him. I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, and how very great is his power at work in us who believe (Ephesians 1:16-19).

The Spirit of Christ

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, made Jesus real to you when He saved you. He let you know that Jesus is more than a great Teacher who lived long ago. He introduced you personally to Jesus the Son of God and helped you accept Him as your Savior, Lord, and King. He joined you to Christ and made you a member of His body, the Church. This union is so real that Christ lives in you by His Spirit.

Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him (Romans 8:9).

The Holy Spirit was with the followers of Jesus before the Day of Pentecost, but Jesus promised that He would come in a new way and fill them. Jesus Himself would baptize them with the Holy Spirit. When he baptized them, the Holy Spirit taught them more about Jesus and gave them power to tell others about Christ.

In the same way today, all those who have been born again have the Spirit of Christ. But Jesus wants to baptize them in His Spirit so that they can be more effective witnesses for Him. You will study about this later.

"The Helper will come -- the Spirit of truth, who comes from the Father. I will send him from the Father, and he will speak about me. He will give me glory, for he will take what I have to say and tell it to you." (John 15:26; 16:14)

He Will Fill Your Life with Love

What our world needs most today is unselfish love, the love that only God can give. God can use you to help meet that need if you let the Holy Spirit fill you with this kind of love.

In Old Testament times, God talked with the prophets and showed them His love. They told the people about His love. But many people still thought of God only as a strict Judge ready to punish them for their sins. They did not understand that He wanted to save them from sin and be their Father.

Finally, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to live among men and show them what God is really like. In Jesus' teachings, you learn about the wonderful love of God for all mankind. In Jesus' life, you see this love in action. In His death and resurrection for you, you see the proof of God's love.

But what happened 2,000 years ago may seem far away. We get taken up with the problems of today -- hunger, violence, crime, wars -- and wonder if God really cares. We need to meet Him personally and find out for ourselves that He does love us.

So the Holy Spirit has come to give you a personal encounter with God. Just as Jesus came to reveal the love of the Father, the Holy Spirit has come to reveal the love of the Father and of the Son. He will pour into your life such love that you cannot describe it. He begins to do this when you are converted. When you are baptized with the Holy Spirit you seem to have even more capacity for God's love. And down through the years your life can overflow constantly with the love of God as you are tilled again and again with the Holy Spirit.

God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us (Romans 5:5).

A five-way love fills your life:

1. God's love for you
2. Your love for God
3. Love of other Christians for you
4. Your love for other Christians
5. Your love for everyone else

Persons who have been filled with the Spirit describe their experience this way:

"It was a baptism of love. I suddenly had a great love for God and for His Word."

"The Holy Spirit gave me a new love for my family, friends, other Christians, and even for persons who had been my enemies."

"The Holy Spirit made Calvary real to me. My heart was filled with gratitude to God. A great love for God welled up in me and burst from my lips in praise to Him."

"Sobs shook my body as God's love for lost souls filled me and the Holy Spirit prayed through me for their salvation."

Modern-day experience follows the pattern in the early church: "See how they love one another!" Wherever you go, you will appreciate the love of Spirit-filled brothers and sisters in the Lord. And you can enter into a life more joyful than you had dreamed possible as you let the Holy Spirit fill you with love.

Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Test your understanding by taking this short quick covering what you have just read.

1. How did Jesus refer to the Holy Spirit in John 14:16-17? Choose all that are true.

a) A Helper

b) The Spirit of Truth

c) Savior

2. Based on John 14:17, why can the world not receive Him?

a) Because they are evil

b) Because the world cannot see or know Him

c) Because of unbelief

3. Read Romans 8:5 and fill in the blanks. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about __________ things, but those controlled by the Holy spirit think about things that __________ the Spirit.

a) all, explain

b) sinful, please

c) some, command

4. According to I Peter 1:2 you were chosen as a result of God the Father's own purpose:

a) to preach the Gospel

b) to be made a holy people by his Spirit

c) to serve and pray

5. According to John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, He will:

a) Make you happy

b) Give you a new life

c) Lead you into all the truth

6. According to Acts 6:20, what happened to the people when the Spirit gave Stephen wisdom and he spoke.

a) They were afraid

b) They could not resist him

c) They rejected him

7. According to Ephesians 1:16, what do you have to do to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

a) Study the Bible

b) Be Holy

c) Ask

8. According to Ephesians 1:17, what will the Holy Spirit do? Choose all that are true.

a) Make you wise

b) Reveal God to you

c) Save you

9. What does Romans 8:9 say about those who do not have the Spirit of Christ?

a) They lack wisdom

b) They do not belong to Christ

c) The are evil

10. According to Roman's 5:5 the Holy Spirit is:

a) God

b) Wonderful

c) God's gift to us

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