Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Lesson 1: THE GREAT SHEPHERD
Psalm 23 can be divided into three parts;
1) The great Shepherd; our provider (vs.1-3)
2) The great Shepherd; our protector (vs.4-5)
3) The great Shepherd; Our preserver (vs.6)
1. The Great Shepherd; Our Provider:
The Lord – The source of David’s comfort, confidence and strength is The Lord.(John 8:58)
Is – David was referring to a present relationship. Not was, like He helped us in the past.
My – This is personal. The terms ‘I, my, me, he, his, you’ etc are used about 30 times in just 6 verses. (Psalm 91:2)
Shepherd – This imagery of the shepherd and sheep spans the entire Bible but is most prominent in the New Testament where Jesus speaks about His relationship with His people, His sheep. (Isaiah 53:6; John 10:1; 11-15)
I shall not want – David was not saying ‘the LORD is my Shepherd, I get everything I want’! Nor was he saying that all our selfish "wants" and cravings will be satisfied if the Lord is our Shepherd. He was talking about genuine needs, not greed’! (Psalm 34:10; Luke 12:22-32).
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters – Let us take note of the phrases He makes me and He leads me. Jesus our Shepherd is in the business of leading and bringing us to a place of rest. It is the responsibility of the great Shepherd to lead us to green pastures and still waters, but it is our responsibility to follow, eat and drink.
He restores my soul – He renews and refreshes my spirit. Literally, He brings it back. Our restoration comes when we follow Him to green pastures (Psalm 55:22).
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake - The paths that the Shepherd takes us on are the righteous or ‘right’ paths (Romans 8:29).
Lesson 2: MAN – AN ETERNAL SPIRIT
1. The Lamp of the Lord - (Romans 8:14,16; Prov. 20:27)
Nowhere does the Bible say God will guide us through our physical senses or mental senses. God will guide us through our spirits.
2. Man: An Eternal Spirit - (Gen.1:26,27; 1 Thess.5:23; John 4:24)
If man is made in God's image, after His likeness, it therefore follow that man must of necessity be a spirit. That is why when the physical body of man is dead and in the grave, the spirit lives on
3. Be Spirit- Conscious - (1 Thess.5:23)
If we are going to be led by the Spirit of God, we must become more spirit-conscious or we'll miss out on the whole thing. Remember, God's Spirit leads us through our spirits.
Lesson 3: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRIT AND SOUL
1. The Relationship Between the Spirit and the Soul (1 Thess.5:23; Gen.2:7)
This scripture implies that humans are made of a spirit a soul and a body. It has been said that we are spirit beings, we live in bodies and we possess souls.
2. The Difference Between the Spirit and the Soul (Hebrews 4:12a; 1 Cor.14:14)
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. . .” (Heb.4:12a)
So it follows that if you can divide them, they cannot be the same – they are separate (different) but the Bible tells us that only the Word of God can divide the spirit and the soul.
3. Why It's Important To Know The Difference Between the Spirit and the Soul (Hebrews 4:12a; 1 Cor.14:14)
Let’s consider Prov. 20:27 “The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one's inmost being.” (NIV)
1. We can only contact God (who is Spirit) by our spirits and not our souls.
2. It is by the spirit of man that God provides guidance
Lesson 4: SAVING OF THE SOUL AND OUR BODY
1. The Saving of the Soul - James 1:21, 5:14; Romans 12:2
• At the new birth experience, the spirit of man that is born again and receives eternal life.
• It is the spirit of man (not the soul) that becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
• The soul is not the innermost being at all. The saving of the soul is a process.
• The Epistle of James was not written to sinners. James wrote this letter to the Church.
• Though the innermost man (the real man - the spirit) receives eternal life, his intellect and emotions - which is seated in the soul- still needs to be renewed by the Word.
2. Presenting the Body - Romans 12:1
• At the new birth we still have the same body we had before we became a new creature. We must learn (as part of the process) to let the new man (on the inside) dominate.
• We must learn to Crucify (subdue as in passion, sin; to put to death by nailing) the flesh.
• Just because our body wants to do wrong does not negate the truth that we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we will have to contend with the body, the flesh (mindset), as long as we are in the world.
• God has however, given us the means, the ability, and the authority through the Word of God to deal with the devil and the flesh.
• You (and I) are the one who must do it! Paul never said God would do it for you. He said, "You be not conformed
Lesson 5: THE INWARD WITNESS
1. Leading in the Old Testament vs leading in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 6:19; Ezekiel 36:26, 27)
The ultimate guidance for a Christian under the New Testament should be through the Holy Spirit. He or she need not seek guidance through prophets. He or she might receive guidance through prophets, but he should not seek it or rely on it.
2. Being led vs putting out a fleece (Rom. 8:14)
It is dangerous for Spirit-filled Christians to put out fleeces instead of relying on the leading of the Holy Spirit because these “fleeces” could be perverted by the devil.
3. Developing our spirit and following the leading of the Holy Spirit by the inward witness.
• One way to do that is to feed on God’s Word (Matt.4:4).
• Another way to develop our spirit is to follow after love. The Scriptures say that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16).
• A third way to develop our spirit and become more sensitive to the inward witness is by praying much in other tongues.
Lesson 6: FOLLOWING THE INWARD WITNESS
1. The Time of Old (Exodus 28:30)
In the Old Testament, determining God's will appears to have been an easy task. It was all so simple, because it was external and easily apprehended by man's physical senses.
2. These Days
• Knowing God's will appears to be so much more difficult for us in this day and age. The reason is that God wants us to prove for ourselves what His perfect will is (Rom.12:2).
• In the Acts of the Apostles, we find Philip acting on the inner urging of the Spirit and joining the chariot of the Ethiopian statesman (Acts 8:29)
• Peter obeying the inner voice of the Spirit directing him to go to Cornelius's house (Acts 10:19,20)
• The leaders in the church at Antioch recognizing the witness of the Holy Spirit in their spirits confirming the call of Saul and Barnabas to foreign missionary service (Acts 13:2).
3. Following the Witness (John 10:4)
Number 1 requirement is Recognition - recognizing the voice of the Spirit
Most times the inward witness is there but we don't recognize it.
4. How Can We Recognise The Voice of the Spirit? (Romans 8:6 TLB)
• We can distinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit by the increasing pressure He produces in our spirits and the growing peace He gives to our minds, as we pray over a matter.
• Faith doesn't get in a hurry. The devil will try to push you. He will try to move you out of faith, move you into doubt, move you into unbelief, and get you away from the leading of God.
• God invariably gives us sufficient time to consider and be sure of His will.
5. The Place of Our Conscience (Romans 9:1; 1 Tim.1:19 NLT)
• The number one way that we receive the leadership of the Holy Spirit is through the inner witness in our spirits and the conscience is the “voice” of our human spirit.
6. How to lessen the possibility of Falling For The Deceit of Our Hearts
• We should examine our motives and make sure we desire the glory of God alone
• We should be prepared to accept whatever He chooses for us
• God's will may sometimes be just what we like ourselves, but it can also be what we do not instinctively like. We should not think God's will is always the most difficult course of action that lies before us. Neither need it be the easiest course of action.
7. Practical Steps For Decision Making (Col.3:15 AMP)
• Draw a line across a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons for doing a particular thing on one side, and all the reasons against it on the other (like a balance sheet)
• Pray over these reasons daily and revise the list as necessary.
• Be sincerely willing to accept either course of action.
• As you continue to pray, the Holy Spirit will give you a witness in your spirit as to what you are to do. If you experience a growing peace in your spirit about a particular course of action, this will usually be a clear indication of what God wants you to do.
• We should check ourselves when we lose our peace.
• We should proceed ahead only when we have perfect peace in our spirits.
Lesson 7: THE INWARD VOICE (Romans 9:1; John 16:7-14)
1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Messages To Us
a) Inward Witness of Intuition (Rom.8:14)
b) Inward Voice (Rom.9:1-2)
c) God's Audible Voice (1 Sam.3:10)
2. The Spirit Man Has a Voice
The spirit of man (i.e. the inward man or the real man) has a voice. The voice is referred to as the conscience. We call this voice the still small voice.
3.The Holy Spirit and Our spirit (John 16:7-14 AMP)
• Jesus was talking to His disciples about what will happen when He leaves them.
• The Holy Spirit was sent to us to be our counsellor, our adviser on personal problems, the one who gives us advice; our helper, our assistant, our advocate and more.
• However, our conscience (still small voice) can only be enlightened or prompted by the Holy Spirit if we maintain purity of heart - Titus 1:15
• How may we maintain purity of heart? Philippians 4:8 and Colossians 3:1-2 give us the clue.
Lesson 8: EFFECTS OF THE SPIRIT'S INDWELLING (1 Cor.3:16; Romans 8:9; John 14:17)
1. Does the Holy Spirit Dwell In Believers? (John 14:17, 1 Cor. 3:16, Rom. 8:9, 1 John 3:24)
Clearly the Spirit does dwell in people today. In fact, the Spirit dwells in ALL true children of God, and He begins to dwell in us at the moment we become God's children (not at some later point).
2. The nature of Spirit’s indwelling (John 14:23)
What must be evident in our lives are the effects the Holy Spirit has on our lives and our actions (John 3:8). These proofs will show that He dwells in us and He can only have an effect on us and control our lives if we allow Him.
3. The Result of the Spirit’s Indwelling: A Personal Empowering Presence (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)
As a result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit it is now possible for the Christian to be permanently in communion with God. Not only does the Christian have access to God, but also access to His power (Ephesians 3:16-21).
Lesson 9: GOD INSIDE (2 Cor. 6:16; 1 Cor.3:16)
• How the Holy Spirit Makes Us His Temple
When we become born again, the Holy Spirit (God’s Spirit) starts living and abiding in our spirits.
• How the Holy Spirit Communicates (2 Corinthians. 6:16)
Since God is dwelling in us that is where He will speak to us – from inside of us! And so He communicates with us through our spirits.
1. God (In Us) Wants To Reveal His Plans
• The original relationship God had with Adam and Eve in the beginning is what He wishes to have with us today (1 Cor.2:9-11)
• Our spirit knows things that our heads don’t know, because the Holy Spirit is in our spirits and searches all things.
2. What The Holy Spirit Requires From Us
• Patient Waiting
Waiting is not something many of us do well. Our culture engenders a sort of vending machine mentality in us. We want things instantly don’t we? Because we want to do it all and do it now, so when God says "not yet" it would sound like a "not ever" to our ears.
3. Seven Steps for Effective "Waiting On The Holy Spirit"
1. Begin by quieting your own spirit (1 Kings 19:11-13).
2. Open up your life totally to Jesus. Lift your heart toward God.
3. Seek the truth about yourself. Think about what you do that falls short of Christ-likeness and ask for forgiveness.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine His convicting light on any tucked-away rancour and bitterness in your heart. Ask for forgiveness and cleansing from those attitudes (Mark 11:25)
5. Invite the Holy Spirit to take control of your schedule, agendas, timetables and calendars.
6. Realize that waiting on the Holy Spirit doesn't mean aimless thumb twiddling.
7. Yearn to sense the Holy Spirit's presence in your life.
Lesson 10: TENDER HEARTED (1 John 3:20, 21)
How to keep our hearts tender for the Holy Spirit to be able to lead us.
1) Self-Condemnation (1 John 3:20): The Holy Spirit will not condemn us. Why? Because God won't. It is God that justifies (Romans 8:1)
Difference between condemnation and conviction
a) Condemnation causes us to turn away from God in fear, dread, and shame. Conviction causes us to come to God and freshly place our faith in the perfect life and death of Christ.
b) Condemnation leads us to believe that we’ll never change and that we aren't worthy of God's love. Conviction gives us hope that, even though we sinned, God is still at work in us.
c) Condemnation paralyzes faith for change, keeping us in bondage. Conviction bears the fruit of faith for change, freeing us to fully grow in the love of God.
d) Condemnation causes us to wallow in despair and self-pity. Conviction leads to God-centred hope.
e) Condemnation sees God as an angry judge who is waiting in the shadows to strike at any moment. Conviction sees God as a loving Father who disciplines his children through His love for us.
f) Condemnation is inward, self-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned. Conviction is outward, God-focused, and always dwelling on the fact that we have sinned against God.
2) Holy Spirit; The Comforter (John 14:16): You will never read in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is referred to as a “condemner”. Jesus called Him the Comforter.
3) How To Keep Our Heart Tender (Eph.4:32, 1 Pet.3:8): If we repent and restitute or apologise whenever we are wrong, we will keep our heart constantly tender before God for the Holy Spirit to communicate and lead us effectively.
4) A Seared Conscience or Hardened Heart (1 Tim.4:1,2): When we constantly fail to follow the voice of our conscience and won’t repent and restitute when we are checked, our hearts can become hardened or seared. If our hearts are hardened or seared, we are on our way to destruction. The voice of the Holy Spirit will no longer be recognisable to us.
Lesson 11: THE VOICE OF THE BODY (Romans 8:16; John 16:13)
• The voice of the body is otherwise known as “Feelings”. When we talk about feelings, we are referring to sensations, moods, thrills, excitement, anger, fear, sorrow, hate, etc.
• Reason is the voice of the soul, or the mind.
• Conscience is the voice of the spirit.
• What the flesh (the body and its voice – our feelings) desires is contrary to what the Spirit desires and what the flesh says is also contrary to what the Spirit says and ultimately what God says! (Gal.5:17)
• To go by feelings is to get into trouble because our feelings are unreliable. Feelings are tied to our ever-changing circumstances; that is the reason so many Christians are up and down; and in and out; because they go by their feelings.
• We should base our faith and ultimately our lives and destinies on the Word—not on our feelings.
Lesson 12: THE VOICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 10:19; John 14:15-18, 25-26, 16:7-15)
1. Ways By Which God Personalises His Message To Us
a) Inward Witness or Intuition - Romans 8:14
b) The Inward Voice - Romans 9:1-2 (NIV)
c) God's Audible Voice - Voice of The Holy Spirit (I Samuel 3:10)
2. It is Expedient (John 16:7-15 KJV)
Some few points from this scripture.
• IMPORTANCE: First point here is that Jesus himself emphasises the importance of Himself leaving the scene so that the Holy Spirit can come.
• REASON: Reason for Jesus's exit from the scene is so that the Holy Spirit can come.
• PURPOSE: One of the purposes of the Holy Spirit's coming is to provide guidance through revelations and instructions