Summary: This segment examines the way the Holy Spirit is involved in the functioning of the church through the bestowing of useful gifts for members to use in performing their various roles, and the relative importance of the functions of tongues and prophecy.
This nine-part series was originally developed for a class environment, and later adapted for use in a prison ministry conducted via correspondence. Because of that background, questions were developed for each lesson for participants to use in a setting conducive to discussion, or as handouts for private use if the lessons are presented as sermons. At the beginning of each part of the series, I will include the outline of the series.
OUTLINE OF THIS SERIES OF STUDIES
Introduction, Holy Spirit as deity
Names of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
Holy Spirit in the NT (apostles to receive power)
Gabriel’s message to Mary
Foreseen by NT characters—Jesus, John
What we learn from Jesus in John 14,16
The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost
Baptism in, or by, the Holy Spirit
Baptism of believers
If I do not go away the Holy Spirit will not come
Men received and were dependent on the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a Guarantee
Grieving the Holy Spirit
The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit
Being Filled With the Spirit
The Holy Spirit in the Functioning of the church (first installment)
(1 Cor 12; Rom 12; Eph 4)
Gifts of the Spirit
Grace as Gifts (did not delve into each of the gifts, or special aptitudes, given by the Holy Spirit)
Functions “God Has Appointed”
The empowering gifts of the Holy Spirit
Bestowing honor upon less “presentable” members
Order of functions (First apostles, second prophets, third teachers) Teachers discussed in Part 6
First apostles, second prophets, third teachers.
Ministries of the Holy Spirit
Are the Bible and the Holy Spirit the same?
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
Fruit of the Spirit
The Spirit vs the Flesh
Attributes of the Holy Spirit
Acting in opposition to the Holy Spirit
• Lying to the Holy Spirit
• Resisting the Holy Spirit
• Quenching the Holy Spirit
• Grieving the Holy Spirit
• Defiling the Temple of the Holy Spirit
• Insulting the Spirit of Grace (doing despite)
Intercessor (though mentioned previously)
How Can I Know if I Have the Holy Spirit?
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THE HOLY SPIRIT
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE FUNCTIONING OF THE CHURCH
In preparation for this part of the study, please read the following passages of scripture:
• In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul gives the most comprehensive explanation of the way the church, as the body of Christ, is to function—similar to the functioning of the human body, with each of the members doing the part it is best equipped to perform. Paul discusses the use of gifts, and points out that there is a top tier of three gifts (v28). He also points out that, although some members of the body appear weaker, or less “presentable,” they are essential to the functioning of the body.
• In Romans 12:3-8, Paul encouraged his readers at Rome not to think more highly of themselves than they ought (which they might be inclined to do because of possessing certain spiritual gifts), though he emphasizes that all members are essential to the functioning of the body. He discusses these gifts according to their respective functions.
• Ephesians 4:4-16 deals with unity and right treatment of members to each other, and cites several functioning capacities, emphasizing that they are to function in harmony.
Many, but not necessarily all of the functions that existed in the first century, are specified in these three New Testament passages, where they show us the way the Holy Spirit was closely involved in the functioning of the church.
The New Testament describes the church as the body of Christ, with him as the head. Comparison is made to the human body, of which each member is an essential functioning part. When all members recognize and perform the respective functions to which they are well suited, problems and burdens are minimized and the entire body functions effectively. If because of injury or some other reason a member of a human body does not perform its function, the result is pain, trouble, and hindrance to the body in carrying out its purposes, and other members of the body are called upon to compensate for the loss.
The entire functioning of the church is orchestrated by the Holy Spirit as the agent, or alter ego for Christ. The Holy Spirit does so by giving gifts, which are to be used by persons performing the functions that require the use of those gifts.