1. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OLD TESTAMENT TIMES
a. During which special occasion during the life of Moses was the working of the Holy Spirit seen? Numbers 11:16, 17, 25.
“Like the disciples on the Day of Pentecost, they [the seventy elders] were endued with ‘power from on high.’ It pleased the Lord thus to prepare them for their work, and to honor them in the presence of the congregation, that confidence might be established in them as men divinely chosen to unite with Moses in the government of Israel.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 381.
b. In what way was Joshua prepared for his work and directed by God? Numbers 27:18; Deuteronomy 34:9; 31:22, 23.
“[Joshua] was most solemnly consecrated to the future important work of leading, as a faithful shepherd, the people of Israel. ‘And Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. And the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.’”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a, p. 56.
2. IN THE DAYS OF THE APOSTLES
a. How did the early disciples gain the power needed to carry out the gospel commission? John 20:21–23; Mark 16:20.
“Before the disciples could fulfill their official duties in connection with the church, Christ breathed His Spirit upon them. He was committing to them a most sacred trust, and He desired to impress them with the fact that without the Holy Spirit this work could not be accomplished.
“The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ. Only those who are thus taught of God, those who possess the inward working of the Spirit, and in whose life the Christ-life is manifested, are to stand as representative men, to minister in behalf of the church.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 805.
“The commission that Christ gave to the disciples, they fulfilled. As these messengers of the cross went forth to proclaim the gospel, there was such a revelation of the glory of God as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. By the cooperation of the divine Spirit, the apostles did a work that shook the world.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 593.
b. What did the first church do in order to grow spiritually? Acts 2:42.
“From the Day of Pentecost to the present time, the Comforter has been sent to all who have yielded themselves fully to the Lord and to His service. To all who have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit has come as a counselor, sanctifier, guide, and witness. The more closely believers have walked with God, the more clearly and powerfully have they testified of their Redeemer’s love and of His saving grace.”—Ibid., p.49.
“Then let us cease to look to ourselves, but look to Him from whom all virtue comes. No one can make himself better, but we are to come to Jesus as we are, earnestly desiring to be cleansed from every spot and stain of sin, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. . . . By living faith we must lay hold of His promise, for He has said, ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”—Reflecting Christ, p. 213.
3. A LIVING, GROWING CHURCH
a. What was the strength of the early church? Acts 4:32; 2:46, 47 (first part).
“Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of love and benevolence. One interest prevailed. One subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 20.
b. How did unity among the believers affect the work of the gospel? Acts 4:33; 2:47 (last part).
“The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.”—Ibid., p.21.
c. How can we have this same spirit of unity? Where does it begin? Philippians 2:3.
“The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another. God is glorified as His people unite in harmonious action.”—The Adventist Home, p. 179.
“Think of the Lord Jesus, and His merits and His love, but do not seek to find the defects and dwell upon the mistakes that others have made. Call to your mind the things worthy of your recognition and your praise; and if you are sharp to discern errors in others, be more sharp to recognize the good and praise the good. You may, if you criticize yourselves, find things just as objectionable as that which you see in others. Then let us work constantly to strengthen one another in the most holy faith.”—Our High Calling, p. 232.
“As we seek to win others to Christ, bearing the burden of souls in our prayers, our own hearts will throb with the quickening influence of God’s grace; our own affections will glow with more divine fervor; our whole Christian life will be more of a reality, more earnest, more prayerful.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 354.
4. DELEGATING RESPONSIBILITIES
a. What was necessary when the church became larger? Acts 6:1, 2.
“Under the wise leadership of the apostles, who labored unitedly in the power of the Holy Spirit, the work committed to the gospel messengers was developing rapidly. The church was continually enlarging, and this growth in membership brought increasingly heavy burdens upon those in charge. No one man, or even one set of men, could continue to bear these burdens alone, without imperiling the future prosperity of the church. There was necessity for a further distribution of the responsibilities which had been borne so faithfully by a few during the earlier days of the church. The apostles must now take an important step in the perfecting of gospel order in the church by laying upon others some of the burdens thus far borne by themselves.
“Summoning a meeting of the believers, the apostles were led by the Holy Spirit to outline a plan for the better organization of all the working forces of the church. The time had come, the apostles stated, when the spiritual leaders having the oversight of the church should be relieved from the task of distributing to the poor and from similar burdens, so that they might be free to carry forward the work of preaching the gospel.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 88, 89.
b. On what basis was the selection of new church officers made? Acts 6:3, 4. Who is to guide in such matters? Acts 13:2; 20:28.
“The appointment of the seven [deacons] to take the oversight of special lines of work, proved a great blessing to the church. These officers gave careful consideration to individual needs as well as to the general financial interests of the church, and by their prudent management and their godly example they were an important aid to their fellow officers in binding together the various interests of the church into a united whole.”—Ibid., p.89.
“The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers, Christian shall be united to Christian and church to church. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to cooperate with the divine. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all the believers will be united in an organized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God.”—Ibid., p.164.
5. THE NEED OF A DIVINE INFLUENCE
a. How should the Holy Spirit influence those who teach from God’s Word? 1 Corinthians 2:1–4, 10–13.
b. What were the conditions of receiving the gift which Christ promised to His followers throughout the ages? Acts 2:38, 39; 5:32. Why don’t we receive this gift more fully today?
“I testify to my brethren and sisters that the church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard. While He extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 15.
“Christ declared that the divine influence of the Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. But the promise is not appreciated as it should be; and therefore its fulfillment is not seen as it might be. The promise of the Spirit is a matter little thought of; and the result is only what might be expected—spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the attention, and the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in its infinite plenitude.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 21.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did God recognize the 70 elders as His chosen messengers in the time of Moses?
2. Why did Christ breathe His Spirit upon the disciples? What significance does this have for us today?
3. What is necessary before God can pour out His Spirit upon His church today?
4. How does the Holy Spirit aid in the organization of the church?
5. Why doesn’t the Spirit have a greater influence in the church today?