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9. Receiving and Relying on the Holy Spirit

The Master's Instructions about the Christian life. John 14:15-15:8.

When you begin to think about all that is involved in living the Christian life, you may well exclaim: ‘I cannot possibly do it!’ That conclusion is absolutely correct according to God, who foresaw your problem. His answer is for the Holy Spirit to live right inside you. The Holy Spirit is God Himself and He gives you the power to live your life in a way that

pleases God. It goes without saying then that all Christians, you included, must receive Him and rely upon Him.

This theme is consistent throughout the New Testament and I suggest you carefully examine these five characteristics which ought to be found in every Christian.

A Christian must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8)

Life cannot be lived without a birth. Just as your physical life began with

a physical birth, so the Christian life begins with a spiritual birth. An

awareness of God, an assurance of Him accepting you as one of His

children, and an appetite to know Him and grow to please Him, are

evidence of a Christian birth and life.

A Christian must be baptised with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8)

Jesus promised His disciples three things in these verses: a gift, baptism

with the Holy Spirit, and power. When you receive a present for

Christmas or your birthday, you cannot stipulate the paper you wish it to

be wrapped in. So it is with God, because He will decide how He gives you

the Holy Spirit. Your responsibility is to ask God, to be available to Him

and to accept the Holy Spirit from Him by faith.

A Christian should show a boldness in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:14; 3:6;

4:13, 29, 31; 5:41-42)

The greatest evidence to support the declaration of a changed life is the

demonstration of that change. You will always be you, but you should

show that you are now a Christian. This will involve a break with old sinful

attitudes and actions. It will lead to the building of a new lifestyle. You

will show a boldness in belonging to our Lord Jesus Christ.

A Christian should show the beauty of the Holy Spirit

(1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Galatians 5:22-23)

The transformation Jesus Christ brings to any Christian’s life will be seen

in their character as well as their actions. The Holy Spirit is holy. He

will show His presence by gifts and graces. He will confront the areas of

your life that displease God, and He will seek your co-operation in

conforming to the image of Jesus Christ Himself.

The Holy Spirit will also equip you to play some part in the edification of

the local church. He intends you to exercise both the boldness and the

beauty He produces in your new life.

A Christian should continually be being filled with the Holy Spirit

(Ephesians 5:18; John 15:5)

The New Testament evidence is that this receiving of the Holy Spirit is

not a once and for all experience. It needs to be continually repeated,

just as it was for Peter and the apostles (Acts 2:4; 4:31), and Paul (Acts

9:17; 13:9). Trace this idea through Acts 13:52; 16:6-7; 19:2-6; 20:22; and 21:11.

Jesus gave the example of Himself as the vine with Christians

making up the various branches. The Holy Spirit is like the sap that flows

through Him to you, bringing you spiritual life, health and fruit. Of course

any sin blocks the flow of the Holy Spirit because He is holy. To maintain

the flow, to rely on Him moment by moment, you must consistently

confess your sin.

A true Christian is one who is being built, with others, into a spiritual

church with which God is pleased.

Other scriptures to read: Luke 11:9-13; John 7:37-39; 1 Thessalonians 5:19;

1 John 1:9.

Discussion guide on ‘Receiving and Relying on the Holy Spirit’

Read John 14:15-15:8.

1. What are the two names given to the Holy Spirit by Jesus in John

14:16-17? From their meanings, describe what the Holy Spirit does.

2. Compare your answer with verse 26. Whose words does the Holy

Spirit use? Where do we find those words today?

3. The picture of the vine producing fruit (John 15:1-8), teaches the

importance of a living relationship with Jesus, every moment of

every day. How is the Holy Spirit in a Christian like the sap in a


4. Why does Acts show us the need for being filled and refilled with

the Holy Spirit? See Acts 2:4 and 4:31.

5. What different things does the Holy Spirit enable Christians to

do? See Acts 13:9; 13:52, 16:6-7; 19:2-6; 20:22; 21:11.

6. Ephesians 5:18 says Christians are to be being filled with the Holy

Spirit continuously. Just as a person can avoid drunkenness by

moderating his or her drinking, so a steady reliance on the Holy

Spirit is the Christian’s goal. Discuss this picture that Paul gives.

(And remember that Paul lived in a country that permitted alcoholic

drinks, not like Sudan!).

7. From Galatians 5:16-26 what does verse 25 mean, “let us keep in

step with the Spirit”?


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