Lesson from Sunday, May 2nd , 2010
In three of the passages this week we get descriptions of the significant role played by the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. We also have Paul highlighting the spiritual realm and the influence of Satan. This is the case in the Romans 8. Different perspectives on these matters have given rise to a range of perspectives, and ultimately denominations, in the history of the church and they raise several questions for us to discuss this week.
We should look closely at Romans 8:5-17 and Galatians 5:16-26 and Ephesians 5:15-21 for an understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life. Additional passages speak to the work of the Spirit in Illuminating our minds (Jn. 14:16-17, 26;15:26), guiding us in truth (Jn. 16:13-14), comforting us, creating and regenerating us (Gen. 1:2; 2 Thess. 2:13), making us members of Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:13) interceding for us (Romans 8:26 – 27). It is our task to yield to the spirit and allow him to guide us fully (Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:18; Col. 3:16). Yet because the indwelling of the Spirit and His influence in our lives is spiritual in nature, we should not find it surprising to find that different Christians have experienced it and described it differently. In the Pentecostal and Charismatic tradition the experience is much more overt and tangible and the description is as well. In non-Charismatic traditions, including the Covenant for the most part, the experience and description tends to be less so. This does not completely correlate with whether or not church members raise their hands and sway when singing worship songs, but it is not totally unrelated either.
Similarly, Christians have differed in terms of how active they believe or see Satan being in the world today and in opposing the Church and individual Christians. Some can point to specific instances in their lives on a daily or weekly basis that they attribute directly to his influence; others may understand Satan to be involved in all evil and sin, but do not tend to make direct attributions to his work in their lives or at least do not do so frequently. Passages we may look at include Gen. 3:15; Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:11-16; Mt. 12:24; Eph. 2:2; 6:11-18; Col. 2:15; Rev. 12:14; 20:1-9.
- How have you experienced the Holy Spirit in your life?
- What have you heard from other Christians about the Holy Spirit in their lives that has surprised you?
- Have you ever felt or experienced what you believe to have been Satan or evil spirits in your life?
- How can a person know if something is directly relatable to the power or influence of Satan and what difference would or does that make?
- I have a cousin that once explained to me that as a Charismatic Christian, his experience of the Spirit and having been baptized in the Spirit was distinctly different from my experience since I had not had this second blessing. He described it with the illustration that I was working with a hand saw while he was working with a power saw. What do you think?