Sabbath School Lesson for January 7-13, 2017

Although the Holy Spirit does not receive the same amount of glory and attention as the other members of the godhead, His work is just as crucial to our salvation as that of God the Father and God the Son. We need His behind-the-scenes contribution in order to become loving, functioning, well-disciplined Christian disciples.

Understanding His role more fully will help us appreciate this often-overlooked Person of the divine triune. We will see that His humility, coupled with His power and love for mankind, make Him worthy of our attention and devoted study.

That humility is clearly evident in the fact that the Holy Spirit  advances the work of the Son and glorifies the Father, without drawing any attention to Himself. His work is truly behind the scenes over and over.

His accomplishments might be compared to a press secretary, or a public relations manager, whose sole purpose is to promote someone else. But in this case He is, in fact, equal in importance and as worthy of attention as those He promotes.

Memory Verse: ” ‘He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.’ “ John 16:14 NKJV

This verse may be puzzling at first, because it sounds like the Holy Spirit has a subservient role in glorifying the Son, which takes away from an equal claim to divinity Himself.  Perhaps a better rendering might be found in the New International Version, which say:

“He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” NIV

In other words, Jesus is glorified by what the Holy Spirit does, which is equipping His followers to glorify the Son. His disciples are actually doing the glorifying, as enabled by the Holy Spirit.

Sunday: The Elusiveness of the Holy Spirit

Humility is one of the most prominent character traits of God. This humility was seen during the life of Jesus, when a Babe came from the grandeur of heaven to be  born inconspicuously among animals in a stable. Jesus continued to live a life of humility right up to His crucifixion.

This same humility characterizes the work of the Holy Spirit. His work is elusive–hard to be seen, but powerfully felt. Just like the wind, as Jesus and our lesson this week points out.

Besides the wind analogy, we might include breath. From the very first, when Adam came alive through the breath of life entering his nostrils (Genesis 2:7) to the dry bones coming to life, seen in Ezekiel’s vision, breath and wind are seen as energizing, life-giving forces.

The invisible nature of the Holy Spirit helps Him live up to the elusiveness that has described His work. By being elusive, He is hard to comprehend, define, isolate, and identify, even mystical. But since He is our chief link to God, we must learn all we can about this important Person of the godhead.

Discussion Questions: Read Genesis 2:7 and Ezekiel 37:5, 8, 9. How do breath and wind both serve as good illustrations of the Spirit’s life-giving work?

Read John 3:3-8. Why did Jesus use the wind as a symbol of the Holy Spirit when He talked with Nicodemus?

Read John 14:16, 26. Why does Jesus want us to get to know this Comforter or Helper? Is it possible to do more than just know about Him? Can we know Him as personally as the Father and the Son?

Monday: The Holy Spirit at Creation

God the Father and the Son are repeatedly given credit for acts of creation and re-creation throughout Scripture. And yet, we know the Spirit was and is present at both of these events as well. His contribution of breathing life into created and redeemed human beings is in continual demand.

The Spirit of God is mentioned as “hovering” or “moving” over the void of this lifeless planet in Genesis 1:2. The same word is used to describe the activity of a parent eagle flying over its nest of young.

“As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings,” Deuteronomy 32:11 NKJV

In the same way as a bird lovingly cares for those in its nest, even though its young are mostly unaware of its presence, the Holy Spirit hovered over our empty, void earth, ever ready to provide life to its creatures.

Every praise given to our Creator God can and should be given to the Holy Spirit, whose presence and contribution at that event has been well-documented in the Bible.

In addition, every praise given to Christ, our Redeemer, should be given to the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus Himself promoted when He told Nicodemus that he should be born of the Spirit.

Discussion Questions: Read Isaiah 64:8, John 1:3, Job 26:13, 33:4, and Psalm 33:6. How do these verses support a trinity godhead creating our world?

Read Genesis 1:2, Deuteronomy 32:11, and Acts 2:1-4. What does it mean for the Spirit to hover or move over the earth? Could it have been similar to the wind felt by the disciples at Pentecost?

Read I Timothy 3:16. How might belief in the Trinity be considered part of the mystery of godliness?

Tuesday: The Holy Spirit and the Sanctuary

God the Father played a leading role in directing the building of the wilderness sanctuary, and later the temple in Jerusalem. The whole service and its symbolic furnishings pointed to the redemptive qualities of Jesus, God’s Son, the Lamb of God.

But the Holy Spirit was not left idle in this endeavor. His work was noted by the Lord, who spoke to Moses about it…

“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.’ “ Exodus 31:1-5 NKJV

Once again, the Holy Spirit plays a very personal, yet often overlooked, role in this matter of divine appointment.

Discussion Questions: Read Exodus 31:1-5 and I Corinthians 12:7-10. How does the Holy Spirit continue to equip believers in building God’s church today? Why must we never take credit for accomplishments which have been used to glorify God’s name?

Read Colossians 3:22-24. How important is it to dedicate all our work and skills to God? How do our secular work and accomplishments still belong to God?

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. What form of godliness is this talking about? How can we avoid it?

Wednesday: The Holy Spirit in Glorifying Jesus Christ

We might call the Holy Spirit a celestial matchmaker, trying to point out the qualities of our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, and enticing us to form a lasting bond with Him, while remaining in the background Himself. As a matter of fact, whenever Christ is exalted or glorified, we can know the Holy Spirit has been busy at His most important task.

We must also be aware that when the Holy Spirit is exalted to the point that Jesus is overlooked or left behind, it is not the Holy Spirit motivating us, but an imposter. The Holy Spirit’s work is not to glorify Himself, but God the Father and God the Son. His work must point to the others, not Himself, and therefore is seldom prominently displayed or expressed.

Discussion Questions: Read  John 16:13, 14 and 15:26. What job description does Jesus give the Holy Spirit?

Read Luke 27:45-49. Why was Jesus still helping his disciples understand spiritual truths, even after His resurrection? When did the Holy Spirit come to them?

Read Acts 16:6-10. Does the Holy Spirit still direct God’s work on earth? How does this glorify Jesus?

Thursday: The Holy Spirit and Christ

The Holy Spirit had a major role in sustaining and encouraging Jesus Christ while “He dwelt among men”.

  • Mary was found with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20)
  • Jesus saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove at His baptism (Matthew 3:17)
  • Jesus was directed by the Spirit into the wilderness where Satan tempted Him (Matthew 4:1)
  • Jesus was aided by the Holy Spirit in His ministry (Luke 4:14, 15, 18, 19)

All during Jesus’ stay on earth the Holy Spirit worked in the background in ways that glorified the Messiah. The spotlight was always on the Son of God. The success of His mission was largely in the hands of the Holy Spirit and God the Father. Jesus stated:

” ‘I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.’ “ John 5:30 NKJV

And we too must seek the Father’s will, aided by the Holy Spirit. Our salvation depends on the Holy Spirit…

  1. teaching us about Jesus
  2. drawing  us into a loving relationship with Him
  3. reproducing Jesus’ character in our life
  4. helping us live a selfless life of service to others

These steps, in this order, help Jesus to be glorified in us.

Discussion Questions: Read Matthew 1:20, 3:17, 4:1, and Luke 4:14, 15, 18, 19. How close were the Holy Spirit and Jesus while He was on earth?

Read Galatians 5:16-23 and Ephesians 4:23, 24. How does the Holy Spirit glorify Jesus through us?

Galatians 5:24-26. What’s the difference between living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit?


The Holy Spirit is likely to be misunderstood because of the elusive nature of His heavenly work. His behind-the-scenes activity are the result of His purpose in the universe, which is to uplift the highlight the other members of the godhead.

This week we explored…

  1. His comparison to the wind by Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus (Sunday)
  2. His presence at the creation of our world, by hovering over the waters when the earth was being prepared for life (Monday)
  3. His contribution in building the sanctuary, and subsequently the early church (Tuesday)
  4. His glorifying Christ while He was on earth, sustaining and encouraging Him in His ministry (Wednesday)
  5. His preparing God’s followers today for holy service that in turn glorifies God (Thursday)

Parting Words

The greatest evidence of the presence of God’s Spirit is the lives that are changed when introduced to this humble Comforter, known as the Holy Spirit.

None of us automatically become the people we would like to be when we surrender to God’s will. Our carnal nature calls us repeatedly to return to those unholy practices and unlovely character traits that appall us, and yet still entice us back to what we were before we accepted Jesus.

And then comes the most difficult task of elevating Jesus without making ourselves the center of attention. We will look and sound different to those around us, simply because there’s a sharp contrast in a worldly lifestyle and a Christian one. It may be hard to blend in with our former circle of friends, with whom we have an intense desire to share our faith. Besides this, without knowing it, we can develop a “holier-than-thou” persona and a tendency to defend our new life practices. We may even become annoyed that others aren’t as enamored with our new-found faith as we are.

All these are reasons that the Holy Spirit must be our constant Friend, all through our Christian journey, so we can remain teachable, humble, and loving to all we meet.

The Holy Spirit can mentor us through these treacherous waters of sin and pride. His guidance and encouragement are constantly needed if we are to stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to heaven. Let’s make sure we make every effort this quarter to take advantage of the most valuable asset we have when it comes to our spirituality…the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Next Week: The Holy Spirit: The Divinity of the Holy Spirit

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