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Holy Spirit, Our Guide

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THE HOLY SPIRIT, OUR GUIDE 

Scripture: John 16:13; Acts 16:6–12

Memory verse: John 16:13
“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

Lead—In

Begin the lesson by involving the students in a form of “target practice.” Before class, prepare a target on a large piece of poster board. The target should consist of several circles decreasing in size, ending with a bull’s-eye in the centre. Mount the target on a classroom wall. Also, provide several shapes cut from construction paper for the students to use. Place loops of rolled tape on the back of each shape.

In class, have each student write his name on a paper shape. Then pick a volunteer. Blindfold the student and spin him around several times, then point him toward the target. Tell him to put his shape as close as possible to the bull’s-eye. (The student should not use his free hand to feel for the target.) Let every student participate. See which student places his shape closest to the bull’s-eye.

Explain that the goal of the game was to hit the target. However, that was difficult to do without any help or directions. The students were simply taking a chance and hoping they would do well.

Tell the students that God has a goal or “target” for each of us. By ourselves we do not know how to reach that target. This is another reason why the Holy Spirit came—to guide us. Tell the students to listen during the lesson for ways the Spirit does this.

Hearing God’s Word

Have you ever toured a museum or factory during a field trip? If you have, you probably had a guide on the tour.

Ask: “What does a guide do?” (Encourage responses.) 

(Listen for answers, such as “gives direction,” “points out things along the way,” “warns of upcoming steps.”)

A guide does not always have to be a person. A map is an important guide when we are travelling. Without a map, we would not know the best route to take.

Our Guide to Heaven

Ask: “What would be a good guide for us on our way to heaven?” (Allow responses.)

The Bible, God’s Word, is a good guide. Another important guide is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us in different ways—sometimes through God’s Word, sometimes through other people, and sometimes by what seems like a quiet voice inside us.

Sometimes Christians have what they think are whims or ideas. But these “ideas” might be the Holy Spirit giving them guidance if the ideas do not disagree with what the Bible says. Stories are told of people who obeyed the Holy Spirit’s direction, only to find out later that they or someone else was saved from spiritual or physical harm.

Example of the Holy Spirit’s Guidance

For instance, a man was driving home from work one afternoon. He felt an urge to go a different way from the one he usually took, He tried to brush the thought aside. “You know that road is a lot longer,” he told himself. “Besides, I really have a lot of work to do at home so I do not want to waste any time.”

But the Holy Spirit impressed the man’s heart and mind so strongly that he finally decided to take the long way home. As he came to a dangerous curve, he noticed tire tracks going off the road and down the steep hill. When he stopped and looked over the edge, he saw an overturned car at the bottom of the hill. The man climbed down the hillside and helped the injured driver. As a result of this man’s being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, the driver of the wrecked car lived.

If the first man had not followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit, perhaps no one would have found the injured driver in time to help him. The Holy Spirit’s guidance is not always that dramatic. But He is always with us to lead and direct us in all we do and say.

Ask: “How can we keep our hearts in tune with God so the Holy Spirit can speak to us?” (Lead the students’ responses to “Prayer, reading God’s Word, and attending church.”)

Paul Listened to the Holy Spirit

One of the great things about Paul the apostle was his willingness to be led of the Holy Spirit. (Ask a student to read Acts 16:6. Pronounce Phrygia—FRIJ-ih-uh.)

Ask: “Where did the Holy Spirit forbid Paul to preach?” (Allow response.)

We do not know exactly why Paul was told not to go to Asia. We do know that because he obeyed the Holy Spirit, people in a different part of the world were able to hear the message of salvation. Paul’s obedience to what the Holy Spirit was telling him was part of God’s plan to take the gospel into all the world. Acts 16:7 says Paul then tried to go a different way. (Ask a student to read Acts 16:7).

Ask: “Where did the Holy Spirit tell them not to go this time?” (Allow responses.)

Paul Has a Vision

Paul wanted to spread the gospel, and he thought he knew where he should go preach. Because he listened to God, the Holy Spirit was able to guide him to a different place. When Paul got to Troas, he had a special experience called a vision. In this vision he saw a man saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

After Paul received the vision, he did not wait around wondering what to do next. The Bible tells us he immediately set out for Philippi, the main city in Macedonia. When Paul got there, he found a number of people who were ready to accept Jesus as Saviour.

The church at Philippi became an important part of the Early Church. Because Paul and his followers obeyed the Holy Spirit’s leading, many people came to know Jesus as Saviour. Later, the Holy Spirit allowed Paul to travel to Asia and preach there also.

The Holy Spirit Guides Us

One of the main functions of the Holy Spirit is to guide Christians just as He guided Paul. He can guide us through God’s Word, through people, through situations and through our interests. We just have to be listening and willing to obey. Perhaps God will call you to be a minister or missionary. He might call you to be a teacher or doctor or mechanic. Each ministry is important as long as we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in our service to God. Be open to the Holy Spirit so He can guide your life into the plan God has for you.

The Holy Spirit will also guide us in understanding the things of God. Our memory verse tells us, “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). (Repeat the memory verse several times with the students.) Later the same verse says the Holy Spirit does not speak of himself.

The Holy Spirit is an equal part of the Trinity, yet He does not call attention to himself. He leads us into the truth about God the Father and God the Son. Therefore, the Holy Spirit can be especially helpful to us when we are studying the Bible. When we read a passage that is difficult to understand, we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us know what it means.

The Holy Spirit is always with us to guide us to please God. His directions will always agree with the Bible, but He never forces us to follow them. Our responsibility is to be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. How can the Holy Spirit guide us? If our hearts are not right with God or we do not know what God’s Word says, we might not hear or recognize the Holy Spirit speaking to us. When we read God’s Word and talk with Him every day, we are ready to listen to His Spirit.

Accepting God’s Word

Remind the students that the Holy Spirit draws us to accept Jesus as Saviour. Then He guides us to do what God wants. He will not force himself on us. We must want His guidance and then follow His direction.

The Holy Spirit uses different means to guide us. One of these ways is through reading and hearing God’s Word. Encourage your students to read their Bibles, to pray daily and to attend church faithfully. If the students read one chapter of the Book of Acts each day, they will complete the Book of Acts by the end of the month. Encourage the students to give the Holy Spirit opportunity to guide them each day.

Resisting the Gospel

The guide told me of an evangelical pastor who came to a neighbouring Machinga village located on the main road. He lived among the people and preached the gospel. When he prayed for a local woman who was desperately ill, the Lord graciously healed her and she accepted Jesus as her Saviour. Then the villagers put pressure on her, forcing her to return to Islam. Next they began persecuting the pastor and forced him to leave the area.

The spiritual need of the Machinga is great. Opportunities among youth and nominal Muslims exist, but one will need to be creative in presenting the gospel and willing to suffer persecution. May the Lord be gracious to the Machinga!

Machinga Prayer

Lord God of heaven and earth, I bring the Machinga people of Tanzania before Your throne of grace.

They have yet to hear how You died to save them, how you were hung on the cross to pay for their sins, how You can set them free from sin and start them on their way to Heaven.

Lord. send your Holy Spirit to call workers from around the world into this harvest field before it is too late to reap a harvest. Demonstrate Your power as You promised in Zechariah 4:6: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.”

I give thanks and praise to the Lord for His divine provision for the Machinga, for the harvest workers and for a bountiful harvest of souls. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. Amen!

Remember: THE HOLY SPIRIT, OUR GUIDE

Memory verse: John 16:13
“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

1. I want the Holy Spirit to guide me at all times.
2. I trust the Holy Spirit to help me understand the Bible.
3. I want to learn how to know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to me.

Pray for gospel messengers to be sent to the Machinga.

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Study 5 | Prayer Power / Holy Spirit | africaatts.org/go-teach

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