Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 9, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 9

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“The Christian’s Guide”



Question: Who is the Holy Spirit?


Answer: We have learned throughout these Lessons that the Holy Spirit is not an impersonal “it,” but is a “He” with a capital H. He is God, a Person of the Godhead.


Question: The Father is the Father and the Son is the Son; but what is the function of the Holy Spirit?


Answer: Jesus introduces Him to the disciples as “another Comforter” (John 14:16). “Another” links the Holy Spirit with Himself. He has just told the disciples that He, Jesus, must “go” and leave them. He has been to them a “Comforter” these years He has been with them, but now in His going away He will “send” this “Another.” So this new Comforter will be to them all that Jesus has been to them. Therefore they must not feel like “orphans. I will come to you,” He says (vs. 18). The Holy Spirit is not identical with Jesus for He is “Another,” they are two Persons of the Godhead—the Son and the Holy Spirit, but still they are One, for it is “I who will come to you.”


Question: But how can that be? The disciples were with Jesus; they ate with Him, walked with Him, bought groceries for Him (John 4:8), etc. How can He “come to” them as He says, and yet they won’t be with Him in the same way as they were?


Answer: The “Comforter” is an awkward (but best possible) translation of the Greek word Jesus used: “parakletos.” It’s from two words, “para,” which we have in “parallel” (like two railroad tracks that are always together); and “kletos,” which means “called.” So the Holy Spirit is the One who is called to sit down beside you and never, never leave you. (Believe that with your whole heart, and you can never fall into “depression” as so many do!)


Question: Does this mean that we are actually closer to Christ today, by faith, than the disciples were 2000 years ago?


Answer: Precisely. Yes—through the Holy Spirit.


Question: What did Jesus mean, that “the Father will send [the Holy Spirit] in My name”?


Answer: He is the true Vicegerent of Christ, His only true Representative on earth. Any man who claims that position is self-deceived; but Revelation declares that before the Loud Cry is ended and probation closes, some who uphold that position will be converted in the Loud Cry message (Rev. 15:2).


Question: Does the Holy Spirit always whisper sweet cuddly, soft things to us?


Answer: No, that would not be true love. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6), and the Comforter is above all, a Friend. The Father has specified what His first work for us must be: “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin” (John 16:8).


Question: How could a sharp, painful conviction of my sin be a “comfort” to me? Isn’t it fun to deaden the sharp pain of a lethal cancer?


Answer: Yes, but such is never Good News, for the cancer will kill you unless it is removed stat. To sense the conviction of sin is the evidence that you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit! It is not necessarily a sense of euphoria. The “you” that Jesus speaks of is not only us as individuals; it is the body of Christ, His church in a corporate sense.


Question: Does the Holy Spirit teach us especially in this final Day of Atonement?


Answer: Yes. If “Babylon” is fallen, there must be truth beyond what “Babylon” can see that He will “teach” the church. His message must prepare a people for the solemn close of probation. That is “present truth” now (cf. 2 Peter 1:12). The Holy Spirit has guided the Seventh-day Adventist Church into truths that the popular Sunday-keeping churches have not discerned. This is fulfillment of prophecy (Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12).


Question: In the constant battle between the Holy Spirit and our “flesh,” who is the stronger?


Answer: It is an unpopular truth—but the Holy Spirit is stronger than our fallen, sinful flesh! Thus there is no excuse for us to continue living in sin! In fact, we cannot do so, unless we reject His guidance (cf. Gal. 5:16, 17, where we read that we cannot do the evil things that our flesh would prompt us to do—IF we simply “walk in the [Holy] Spirit” (vs. 16), that is, let Him hold us by the hand (Isa. 41:13).


Question: Is it possible that the corporate body of the church can resist the leading of the Holy Spirit as He seeks to “guide [the church] into all truth”?


Answer: It was through the Holy Spirit that “the Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Brethren Waggoner and Jones” in 1888 (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 91), and Ellen White declares over a hundred times that “we” rejected His leading as the Jews rejected Christ. She even said that “we” insulted the Holy Spirit. Repentance is our only possible response! And that precisely is the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:29-31).

Robert J. Wieland


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