Teaching in the Holy Spirit
By Henry Dolly
A Master Thesis Submitted
In The Fulfillment of The Requirements
For Master of Ministry Degree
Truth and Mercy Institute For Advanced Ministry Studies
Mentor: Dr. Danny Abaldo
In this day and age ministers have gotten complacent in teaching God's word. They preach with their own understanding, for their own agendas. They are not responsive to the Holy Spirit and what he wants to relay to the congregation. They don't allow the Holy Spirit to come into and be apart of their church. They don't want to offend anyone, they tickle peoples ears in order to have large numbers in attendance, therefore taking in bountiful offerings for the church. They end up with large churches with lots of money, but the congregation suffers from lack of knowledge and spiritual immaturity. In this situation everyone losses, except the minister, he has plenty of money pouring in to the church. What he fails to remember is he is accountable for teaching, guiding, and bringing his congregation into spiritual maturity. One day he will stand before God and account for his actions. I will first show what Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit. Second, how Peter and Paul taught about the Holy Spirit in the early church. Then, why it is important for a minister to understand and know the role of the Holy Spirit. And last, discuss how we should be teaching about the Holy Spirit.
What Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit.
The teaching of Jesus is alive with instruction about the Holy Spirit. He taught often on the subject of the Spirit and His work. The first example of Jesus’ teaching about the Holy Spirit is found in Luke 11:5-13 “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Here, in the context of His teaching His disciples about prayer, Jesus explains to them how they may be filled with the Holy Spirit. He teaches them several things. He instructs them in the vital importance of being filled with the Spirit by encouraging them to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking. If they will do this, then God will keep on filling them with His Spirit. He informs them of the wonderful availability of the Holy Spirit, as He tells them that “everyone who asks receives”. And He puts to rest their fears of a false or demonic baptism by teaching them that their Heavenly Father will give them exactly what they ask for, the Holy Spirit, and nothing else. As ministers we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit to be effective in our teaching and preaching.
A second example of the Holy Spirit in the content of Jesus’ teaching is found in John 3. Here, He teaches another teacher about the Holy Spirit. He instructs the Jewish rabbi, Nicodemus, concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Jesus teaches this man about the absolute necessity of a spiritual rebirth before one can enter, or for that matter, even see the kingdom of God. He teaches Nicodemus that only “Spirit gives birth to spirit”. Then, in verse eight, Jesus gives Nicodemus a short, teaching on the nature and work of the Holy Spirit. He speaks of the sovereign will of the Holy Spirit (“the wind blows wherever it pleases”); He hints at the visible results of the Spirit’s work in the lives of men (“you hear its sound”); and both the incomprehensible origin (“but cannot tell where it comes from”); and the destiny of the Spirit (“or where it is going”). The Holy Spirit anoints us as He sees fit, when we need that anointing and direction in a certain situation.
A third example of Jesus teaching on the Holy Spirit is found in Matthew 12 where the people brought to Jesus a demonized man who was both blind and mute. Jesus cast out the demon, thus healing the man of both infirmities. The people were amazed and wondered if Jesus could be the promised Messiah. The religious leaders, however, accused him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the demons (verse 24). Jesus used this occasion to teach two essential lessons concerning the Holy Spirit. First, He taught them that it is through the Spirit of God that we drive out demons, and thus help to advance God’s kingdom in the world (verse 28). He expands on this subject in the next verse, when He teaches that it is through the same power of the Spirit that we can “bind the strong man” and “plunder his goods.” In other words, we, through the Holy Spirit, have been given the power to bind demonic powers, and thus liberate those people who live under their evil domination.
Jesus then uses the same incident as an occasion to teach concerning the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. He teaches them that, although blasphemy against the Son of Man can be forgiven, “anyone who speaks against Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come” (verse 32). We get our power through the Holy Spirit to have dominion over the enemy.
Another example of Jesus teaching about the Holy Spirit is found in John 7. Tradition tells us that at a certain point during the last day of the week-long Feast of the Tabernacles, a procession of Jewish priests would enter the temple court with containers of water drawn from the Pool of Siloam. In the presence of all the people they would ceremoniously pour out the water as a reminder of how God had miraculously provided water when their fore bearers had thirsted in the wilderness. Jesus used this occasion to teach a great lesson about the Holy Spirit. He cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come unto me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”. John interprets Jesus’ teaching: “By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified”. Jesus taught about how the same Holy Spirit would both quench our spiritual thirsts, regeneration (John 4:10-14) and flow through us to bring blessing to others, empowering us. (John 7:37-38)
A fifth example of Jesus’ extensive teaching on the Holy Spirit is found in John 14-16. In chapter 14 He makes an amazing promise. He says that those who believe in Him will do the same works that they had seen Him do. Even more, they will do even greater works than He. Jesus is, no doubt, speaking of works of greater quantity, rather than greater quality. Jesus then tells why they will be able to do these greater works when He says, it is “because I am going to the Father.” Jesus explains that His going to the Father will result in His sending the Holy Spirit. The promise is that every believer can be filled with the same Holy Spirit who filled and empowered Him during his earthly ministry, thus enabling them to do the same works He did. In the same chapter, Jesus expands on the theme of the coming of the Holy Spirit. He tells His disciples that He would ask the Father and He will give them “another Counselor” to be with them forever. He identifies this other Counselor as “the Spirit of truth”. He then explains to them that He would not abandon them as orphans, but He would come to them in the person of the Holy Spirit. Later, He tells them that the Holy Spirit will take His place as their Teacher: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you”. In chapter 16 Jesus teaches that, when the Holy Spirit comes, He will “convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgement”. In other words, a principal work of the Holy Spirit will be that of convincing and convicting men concerning the truth of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is with us always, teaching us and reminding us of the teachings of Jesus.
A final example of Jesus’ teaching about the Holy Spirit is found in Acts 1. This is Jesus’ last recorded “class session” with His disciples before leaving them to ascend into heaven. During this final session with His disciples Jesus could have taught about many important matters. He chose, however, to teach them one final lesson on the Holy Spirit. Luke writes that, on that occasion, He “gave instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen,” and “spoke about the kingdom of God”. What were these instructions, and what were these things concerning the kingdom of God that He taught about? We have the answer to these questions, in the command He immediately gave to His disciples: Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Then, He tells them the purpose of this baptism in the Holy Spirit. Its purpose was that they might receive power to proclaim His gospel to the “ends of the earth”. I could cite many more instances of Jesus teaching on the Holy Spirit, these few illustrate my point: the work of the Holy Spirit was a priority item on Jesus’ teaching agenda. Not only did Jesus teach orally about the Holy Spirit, His entire life was a profound lesson on how to walk, live, and minister in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Following the example of Jesus, the early church preached and taught frequently on the subject of the Holy Spirit. It is therefore very important that we are baptized with the Holy spirit, so we can be a strong witness to the whole and proclaim the gospel to everyone, evangelizing everywhere we go.
Peter and Paul taught about the Holy Spirit in the early church.
One example is what is commonly known as Peter’s Pentecost “sermon” delivered in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Closer investigation reveals that this sermon was not a sermon at all, at least in the traditional sense. It was more properly a prophetic utterance. Just as the 120, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, spoke in unlearned languages, now Peter utters forth a prophetic message from God in the common language. It was in the context of this prophetic message that Peter began to give the church’s first teaching on the Holy Spirit. In this message Peter teaches several things about the Holy Spirit: 1. This outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the crowd was witnessing was a fulfillment of a prophecy made by Joel. 2. The outpouring was for all people, and it would be accompanied by supernatural manifestations such as visions and prophecies. 3. It was the exalted Christ who had received authority from the Father to pour out the Holy Spirit. 4. Those who would repent and be baptized in Jesus’ name were candidates to receive the Holy Spirit. 5. This gift of the Holy Spirit was for everyone of every age whom God would call. Thus, the first recorded lesson taught by the New Testament church was filled with teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit. We, as born again believers are may receive the Holy Spirit.
Another example of teaching on the subject of the Holy Spirit is the sermon of Peter at the house of Cornelius in the coastal town of Caesarea (Acts 10). It was through a Spirit-inspired vision, and
then a revelatory word spoken by the Spirit of God, that Peter was directed to go to Caesarea to speak to the Roman centurion, Cornelius, and his household. Upon arriving, Peter, as was his custom, declared the gospel unto them. He also taught concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ life: How God annointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Since we believe that the sermons of the book of Acts are often abbreviated forms of longer sermons, we understand that a brief mention can often suggest that much more was spoken on that particular subject. Whether or not this is true in this instance, the effect of Peter’s teaching concerning the Holy Spirit was both immediate and dramatic, for the Bible says that “while Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message ”. True to apostolic form, in his very first teaching to these people, Peter instructs them concerning the person and work of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit gives us inspiration, and the word to speak when we need it
The ministry of Priscilla and Aquila to Apollos is yet another possible example of teaching on the subject of the Holy Spirit in Acts. In Acts, Luke gives to us a thumbnail sketch of this mighty preacher named Apollos: Acts 18:24-25 “And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.” He was an Alexandrian Jew, an eloquent speaker, and mighty in the Scriptures. Further, he possessed an accurate knowledge of the things of Christ and a burning zeal for the work of the Lord. The only baptism he knew, however, was the baptism of John. After hearing him preach in the synagogue of Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and explained to him the ways of God more accurately. Although we cannot be dogmatic at this point, the context of this passage, particularly the parallel situation in 19:1-6, where Paul deals with twelve other disciples in Ephesus who were in the same spiritual condition as Apollos, implies that the husband/wife team taught Apollos about the work of the Spirit in his life. The effectiveness of his subsequent ministry seems to indicate that he received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
A final example of teaching about the Holy Spirit in Acts is Paul’s dealing with the twelve disciples in Ephesus (19:1-7). Upon arriving in the city, he encountered twelve men. He immediately began to teach them about the necessity of one’s being filled with the Holy Spirit. He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Paul was inquiring into their readiness to participate in his mission of reaching all of Asia Minor with the gospel. Although the text does not say, Paul’s teaching could have continued along this vein for some time. Then, having finished his teaching, Paul dealt with their personal experience, as do all effective teachers. After having them baptized in water, he laid his hands on them and “the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied”. From these examples in the book of Acts we can draw certain conclusions concerning the Holy Spirit in the content of the early church’s teaching: First, we can conclude that the message of the baptism in the Holy Spirit was a definite priority in apostolic preaching and teaching. In almost every occasion the subject was brought up in the very first message to any group where the gospel was presented. There was no hesitancy on the part of the apostles to present the message of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the multitudes in their initial evangelistic encounter. Second, we conclude that the primitive church had much to say about the person and work of the Spirit. Teaching about the Holy Spirit pervades the book of Acts. I believe that we as ministers today, should take our cue from these first century believers. Our teaching ministry should also be filled with content about the Holy Spirit. Not only do we find much teaching about the Holy Spirit in the Gospels and Acts, we also discover that the letters of Paul are filled with teaching about the Holy Spirit.
It is important for a minister to understand and know the role of the Holy Spirit.
It should go without saying that as ministers, we must have a comprehensive understanding of what the Bible says about the Holy Spirit. In our locality we must be seen as the “resident expert” in things concerning the Spirit of God. Our understanding of the subject must be both comprehensive and biblically sound. Such a thorough understanding will help us in several areas of our spiritual ministry. First, this sound biblical understanding will serve as the foundation for all of our ministry in the Spirit. Because of this understanding, we will be able to move with confidence as we minister under the anointing of the Spirit of God. In addition, this solid biblical foundation will protect us from doctrinal error. Our feet will be firmly planted in the clear teaching of scripture on the subject. Just as important, it will equip us to shield our congregation from the strange doctrine that often goes through the Christian community. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” Ephesians 4:14
Another benefit of this solid biblical foundation will be that we will be helped in defending our doctrinal position as a leader. In the area of doctrine and practice we will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Pet. 3:15). A thorough understanding of the Spirit and His work will also help us to reach out to others with the message of God. Through our ministry their lives can be enriched and their witnesses to the world enhanced as they come into a fuller personal knowledge of the Spirit of God. It is tragic when people, hungry for a deeper relationship with God, come to a minister, only to find him ill equipped to help them. Instead of giving them clear biblical direction, he gives them a confusing jumble of inconsistencies and underdeveloped ideas.
How we should be teaching about the Holy Spirit.
We as ministers and teachers must commit ourselves to teaching clearly, comprehensively, and convincingly, about the Holy Spirit and His work. We must remember that such teaching is not only necessary, it is indeed biblical. We need look no further than the Master Teacher of the ages, Jesus Christ Himself, to confirm this fact. Following the example of Jesus, the apostles placed great emphasis on teaching about the Holy Spirit. A primary concern of the early church leaders was that the new disciples who were being constantly added to the church in its international missionary efforts, understood and experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. This is shown by the fact that teaching about the Holy was at the top of their “to do” list when they arrived in any new locality. Then, as we analyze the epistles of Paul, we are struck with the sheer volume of teaching about the Holy Spirit we find there. No matter what the subject, he seemed to always find a direct tie with the work of the Spirit of God. His letters are models of how teaching about the Holy Spirit should be present in our teaching in the church today.
We should teach about the vital importance of the Holy Spirit. Our teaching about the Holy Spirit should include, among other things, instruction on the indispensable value of the Holy Spirit to the ministry and the congregation. These brethren must sense the deep conviction of the teacher: “I cannot live or minister without the Spirit’s presence in my life.” Further, the brethren must understand the critical importance of the Spirit of God to their lives. They must be inspired to live in His presence,
and to know and experience His power. We, then, as ministers and teachers, must see it as our responsibilities to demonstrate, by word and example, how important the Holy Spirit is to our own lives. Just as Paul taught the believers in Corinth, we must teach our congregations. to “covet” and “eagerly desire” the working of the Spirit in their lives
We should teach about the wonderful Person of the Holy Spirit. Our brethren must know who He is. They must understand His divine nature and know His essential attributes. They must be able to appreciate that He is a wonderful divine Person who desires loving fellowship with each of them. They
must understand His relationship to the Father and the Son, to mankind, and to the church. They must know and understand the profound meaning of His names and titles. Our brethren must understand these things in order that they may be motivated to know and serve Him better, and live in a vital living relationship with Him.
We should teach about the powerful works of the Holy Spirit. We should teach our brethren about His works in creation, in the inspiration of Scripture, and in the anointing of the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings. We should teach them about His work in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the New Testament believers. We should teach them about His present work in the lives of believers: infilling, anointing, inspiring, cleansing, revealing, enlightening, interceding, calling, comforting, healing, helping, teaching, counseling, empowering, illuminating, and gifting. We must teach them these things in order that they may be able hear His voice, know His anointing, and release His gifts in their lives. We must teach them how to discern the Spirit’s presence, how to hear the Spirit’s voice, how to yield to the Spirit, and how to release the Spirit’s gifts. If we teach them any less, we cannot honestly say that we are adequately equipping them to fulfill what God has for them to do. We need to teach more by who we are and by what we do than by what we say. We teach by simply being a man or woman of God, and, then, being with our brethren. As they observe our life and works, they become like us. Jesus, the Master Teacher, taught, “Everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40). When Jesus called the twelve to Himself and appointed them as apostles, He did it so that “they might be with Him” (Mark 3:14).
If Jesus and the apostles saw the vital importance of teaching much and often about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, then we, as their twenty-first century successors, should do the same. In order to accomplish our God-given task, we must seek greater understanding concerning the role and work of the Holy Spirit in our own teaching ministries. We must become students of the Spirit. We must never assume that we know all there is to know about life and ministry in the Spirit. We must rather commit ourselves anew to learn and relearn these things. We must seek to strengthen our relationship with the Spirit of God. Before we can ever see an outflow of spiritual life and spiritual gifts in our teaching ministries, there must first be an inflow of the Spirit’s power and presence. We must, therefore, dedicate ourselves to a life of prayer in the Spirit. It must become a priority in our lives to learn to walk in daily fellowship with the Spirit of God. If we are going to keep on receiving from the Spirit, then we must “keep on asking, seeking, and knocking” (Luke 11:9). And finally, if we are to truly fulfill our role as teachers, we must learn to walk and move in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to be able to name the nine spiritual gifts of the spirit in1 Corinthians 12:8-10. Neither is it enough that we be able to define and categorize them. No amount of head knowledge, however great, will suffice. We must be able to hear the voice of the Spirit, and in faith be able to move in the gifts of the Spirit. If we are to train truly Spirit-filled believers we must know how to follow the guidance of the Spirit ourselves. If we are to train truly Spirit-empowered believers, we must ourselves know how to move in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Having done these things maybe we can then say, “We are now teaching in the Spirit.”
I thank the Holy Spirit for the guidance, inspiration, understanding and knowledge given to me to complete this Thesis. I also want to thank my dearest friend Betty for her encouragement and for believing in my ability to succeed. I thank the Dean, Dr. Dan Abaldo for his mentoring and encouragement throughout this course.
The Holy Bible
The Holy Spirit by John Edmiston
The Gospel Of The Holy Spirits Love by Horatius Bonar