Before Jesus leaves His followers, He tells them that the Father would send them a Helper, the Spirit of Truth and that this Spirit would be in them. In this lesson we look at the relationship of the Spirit with the Father and the Son, the personality of the Holy Spirit, whether the Spirit actually lives in us, and the danger of quenching the Spirit. We also look at several images that can help us understand the Spirit's role as guide, comforter and protector in our lives individually and collectively as the Church.
What a marvel to listen to Jesus teach the crowds! In this passage, Jesus uses the Old Testament to confront hypocrisy, reveal His identity as the Christ, and promise the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. His enemies were confounded; others were convinced and began to follow Him. There are lessons here for us as well, including God's provision of "rivers of living water," which alone can quench our spiritual thirst and satisfy our souls.
In John 4 Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman at Jacob's well and has a noteworthy discussion with her. This passage has often been used to depict Jesus as the Great Women's Liberator. But, is this really what this passage teaches us? We will dig into the history of the Samaritans and their relationship with the Jews to gain insight into the liberation Jesus offers to all people of all the nations. We are also introduced to "living water", and called higher as we learn of Jesus' food: to do the will of the Father.
In John 3, Nicodemus encounters Jesus at night and is told that to enter the Kingdom of God, a person must be born of water and spirit. Nicodemus, a good-hearted teacher of Israel who will later stick his neck out for Jesus, is confused about what it means to be born again. Such is the case for so many Christians. This lesson deals with water baptism, an extremely controversial topic for much of the church today. We take a close look at Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that address water baptism, as well as at some of the stumbling blocks that make baptism such a difficult teaching for so many.
1 Corinthians 14:1-33 includes two somewhat controversial issues: speaking in tongues and what it was like when Christians came together for worship. The lesson addresses three questions in regards to the gift of tongues: 1) What is speaking in tongues? 2) What was the purpose of speaking in tongues? and 3) Is speaking in tongues available to the Church today? We are also asked what we can learn from this passage as to what Church should look like when we come together as Christians.
In chapter twelve, Paul turns his attention to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. What does the Bible teach about the miraculous gifts, including gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, and the working of miracles? Are these spiritual gifts available today? Many Christians understand the miraculous gifts to have died within a generation of the Apostles. But is this what the Bible teaches?
This passage also paints a beautiful picture of Christian unity within the body of Christ, a major theme in the book of 1 Corinthians. What can we learn from Paul about building a healthy, unified church?
In the second half of chapter six, Paul addresses immorality in the Corinthian church. Paul explains the importance of the physical body, that Christians are united with Christ, and that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. This lesson looks at these blessings and the responsibility Christians have to keep their temples holy. We look specifically at the sin of pornography and images that pollute our bodies.
In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul uses four examples from daily life to instruct his listeners on church unity, peacemaking, Jesus Christ as the only foundation of the Church, how we will be judged (and rewarded) by God as to how we build the Church, honoring God by how we care for our physical bodies, and the importance of the Holy Spirit.