Books of Bible
Holy Spirit and Christian Growth
By H. A. (Buster) Dobbs
A. The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised to every saved
1. "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name
of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye
shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
2. "We are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy
Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts
3. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13).
(a) Luke says the heavenly Father will give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him.
(b) Matthew, in a comparable passage says, your heavenly
father shall "give good things to them that ask him"
(c) The Holy Spirit of Luke corresponds to the good
things of Matthew.
4. "Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy
Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are
not your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify God
therefore in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
5. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are
sons of God" (Rom. 8:14).
6. "And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his
Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6).
B. The Bible promises the leading and indwelling of the Spirit to
all the saved.
1. It is not a question of does this happen. We know it does!
2. The question is how does it happen.
II. How Does the Holy Spirit Help the Child of God?
A. We know the Holy Spirit convicts and converts the sinner by
the power of the revealed word.
B. There are at least two theories about how the Holy Spirit
works in the life of the Christian.
1. One theory says the Holy Spirit works in the life of the
child of God in a direct, abstract, immediate,
inconceivable, independent, mysterious and supernatural
2. A second theory says the Holy Spirit works in the life of
the Child of God in an indirect, immediate, understandable,
dependent, and natural way.
(a) The first group feels led or urged to do or say
(b) The second group is instructed to do or say certain
C. The first theory--the idea of a direct and immediate leading
of the Spirit--is mostly emotional.
1. The Bible warns us not to be guided by emotion, or to
look within ourselves for leading.
(a) "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But
the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov.
(b) "O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in
himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his
steps" (Jere. 10:23).
(c) "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is
exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?" (Jere. 17:9).
2. We are sometimes urged to make ourselves sensitive to the
subtle influence of the Spirit as he works on us by hint
(a) The problem with this kind of talk is that you do
not find it in the New Testament.
(b) No Bible writers ever gave people such advice.
D. The second theory--the indirect leading of the Spirit through
the revealed word--is emphatically taught in the New
1. "It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are
spirit, and are life" (John 6:63).
2. "Which things also we speak, not in words which man's
wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining
spiritual things with spiritual words" (1 Cor. 2:13).
3. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power
of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the
Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).
4. "And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through
faith which is in Christ Jesus. Every scripture inspired
of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.
That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely
unto every good work" (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
5. "And now I commend you to God, and to the word of his
grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you the
inheritance among all them that are sanctified" (Acts
E. How the Holy Spirit guided and instructed first century
1. The case of Philip.
(a) The angel told Philip--spoke words--what to do (Acts
(b) The Spirit gave Philip specific instructions in
words (Acts 8:29).
(c) The Holy Spirit works through the medium of words.
2. The case of Peter
(a) Peter saw a vision and heard words (Acts 10:10-16).
(b) The Spirit told Peter in words what to do (Acts
(c) The Spirit told Peter in words to go with the men
3. The case of Paul--Acts 16:6,9.
(a) The Holy Spirit told Paul not to go to Asia (Acts
(B) A man of Macedonia, in a vision, spoke words to Paul
telling him what to do (Acts 16:9).
F. The Holy Spirit works through the medium of words, either
spoken or written.
1. "But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some
shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits and doctrines of demons . . . "(1 Tim 4:1).
(a) The Spirit speaks expressly.
(b) The words of the Spirit warn and encourage.
(c) First century saints were instructed and edified by
(d) The redeemed today are also filled, guided,
instructed, and edified by words--and in no other
Comments on the Outline
The Bible speaks of the edification of the children of God. Jehovah
uses the medium of his revealed word to instruct the sinner in
what he must do to be saved. God does not come down upon the lost
person in some strange, weird and inexplicable way to overpower
him and compel his salvation. Neither does God instruct his child
in some mysterious manner in the way of salvation. Edification
is the result of words--understood and obeyed. Christian growth
comes in the same way as saving grace--through the medium of words.
Paul talks about the edification of the saints: "He that
prophesieth speaketh unto men edification, and exhortation, and
consolation" (1 Cor 14:3). The teacher speaks words of edification
and exhortation. The guidance of the Spirit does not come in exotic
and marvelous waves of mysterious and inexpressible feeling, but
in plain and understandable statements.
The purpose of edification is to help the church grow (1 Cor.
14:4). Growth comes by commands and prohibition. You teach your
children by telling them in plain language what to do and what
not to do. You do not say to them, Do what feels good and follow
your leanings, and, if it hurts, don't do it!
Greater is the man who tells people what to do in words they can
understand than the person who ventilates spooky sentiments (1
Cor. 14:5). The purpose of revelation is to teach the saved and
encourage righteous conduct (1 Cor. 14:6). Senseless things cannot
teach or exhort (1 Cor. 14:7). In teaching, reproving and exhorting
"utter by the tongue speech easy to be understood" (1
"Howbeit in the church I had rather speak five words with
my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten
thousand words in a tongue." The drift of the New Testament
is toward precise teaching. The Bible warns against eerie demonstrations.
Faith healers and soothsayers are always condemned in the Bible.
Simon, the user of sorcery, does not have very good press in the
New Testament. Sorcery means magic, bewitchment, conjuring, enchantment,
incantation, necromancy, and witchcraft.
People of sense do not flounder in the bog of obscure sentiment,
but walk on the high-road of sound judgment and reason. We need
explicit instruction and plain prohibitions. We do not need hocus-pocus
and mumbo-jumbo. The New Testament is terse in telling us what
God wants us to do and what we are to avoid. We do not need things
that go "bump in the night." We need clear instruction
in what is right. Edification comes in the same way as salvation -- through
the medium of words. "The gospel...is the power of God unto
salvation to every one that is believing; to the Jew first, and
also to the Greek."