Topic: Sunday Message Verse: Romans 8:16, John 14:26, 2 Peter 1:20–1:21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4:5, 2 Thessalonians 4:7–4:8, Romans 8:14–8:15, Romans 8:26–8:27
Week five in a series about the Holy Spirit—what the Bible teaches about Him and who He wants to be for us.
"Comfort Me" - a review from last week
The Holy Spirit brings peace to our hearts through our perspective as Christians by reminding us “who we are” and “where we’re headed.” From an ultimate and eternal standpoint, that hasn’t changed in a week’s time. There is nothing about the results of this election (for better or for worse) that alters our core identity as children of God and our final destiny as heirs to His eternal kingdom. Nothing whatsoever about that has changed.
Romans 8:16 NIV
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are Godʼs children.
John 14:26 NIV
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The Holy Spirit: A Ministry of Guidance
The question is: What does guidance from the Holy Spirit in our lives look like? How does it happen? What should be looking and listening for? An audible voice? Inward impressions? Signs? Dreams? Visions like we see elsewhere in the Bible?
A History of God's Guidance
In the Old Testament, you see multiple stories of the Lord speaking directly and audibly to special leaders and chosen messengers. God communicates to Jacob through an angel, to Joseph through dreams, to the prophets Isaiah and Daniel through visions, and even to Moses through a burning bush. But it's a mistake to assume that this same God is going to work in the exact same way regardless of the era. Things change in New Testament times because of Jesus Christ and His ushering in of the New Covenant.
Hebrews 1:1-2 NIV
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV
20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophetʼs own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
God's Guidance for Us Today
The primary way we hear from God today and receive His guidance is that the when Spirit of God speaks through the Word of God to our spirits within us. This happens in many ways. It happens with sermons. It happens with worship songs. It happens with others in Bible Studies, Growth Classes, and Community Groups. It also happens in our own personal reading of the Scriptures.
(1) Guidance Principle of BOUNDARIES
The guidance principle of boundaries says that the Holy Spirit will never lead us in a way that contradicts the authority of Scripture.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIV
3 It is Godʼs will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 NIV
7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
(2) Guidance Principle of FREEDOM
The guidance principle of freedom says that the Holy Spirit is not a micromanager and He doesn’t want us to be fearful of the choices we make.
Romans 8:14-15 NIV
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
Romans 8:1-2 NIV
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
(3) Guidance principle of PRAYER
The guidance principle of prayer says that the Holy Spirit not only helps us pray, but also He intercedes for us when we don’t even know what to pray for.
Romans 8:26-27 NIV
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for Godʼs people in accordance with the will of God.
(4) Guidance principle of SURPRISES
The guidance principle of surprises says that we always need to be open to nudges and interruptions from the Holy Spirit.
Take one of these four guidance principles and go further with it this week. Maybe it’s about boundaries. Maybe it’s about freedom. Maybe it’s about prayer. Maybe it’s about surprises. Whatever it is, take some time to get alone with God and let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. If you come to Him with a sincere and unhurried heart, He will (in His own way, and His own time) give you the guidance you’re desperately looking for.
I believe the Holy Spirit guides us, but when it comes to decisions I make, how I can know that He’s actually doing it?
1. Think of a decision you need (or want) to make in the next few months. It can be big or small.
2. How do you tend to make decisions like this? Choose all that apply. Which do you rely on most?
I rely on my own experience and intuition.
I ask people I trust for advice.
I consider what the Bible says about it.
I look for “signs” - special circumstances that point to what I should do.
3. Pastor Dan said, “When you talk about the Holy Spirit guiding us in life, you need to start with the Bible.” What are some practical ways that we get guidance from God’s Word? Share a recent example in your life.
4. Along with the Bible, what else does the Holy Spirit use to guide us? What do these verses point to:
5. Can we mistake something else for the Holy Spirit’s leading? How so? What can we do to keep from misunderstanding God’s leading in our lives?
6. Think again about the decision you need or want to make soon. How has this study helped you? How can your group help you?