THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER
Scripture: Joel 2:28–29; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:1–5
Memory verse: Joel 2:28
“I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”
This study stresses the promise of the Holy Spirit given in the Book of Joel. This promise was given many years before its fulfilment on the Day of Pentecost. In God’s time, the Holy Spirit came to empower believers to live for and serve God.
Emphasize the reliability of God’s Word by leading the students in a Scripture scramble. Provide a Bible for each student who did not bring one. Announce the Scripture reference of an Old Testament prophecy. The first student to locate it should stand and read it. Then give the reference of the prophecy’s fulfilment. After this Scripture is located and read, write a description of the fulfilled prophecy on the chalkboard. Suggested prophecies to use are given below.
Isaiah 40:3 Matthew 3:1–3
Psalm 16:8–11 Acts 2:24–28
Isaiah 9:7 Luke 1:30–33
Isaiah 61:1, 2 Luke 4:17–21
Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 21:4–7
Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:6–8
Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34, 37
When these verses have been read, announce one last Scripture reference—Joel 2:28, 29. Tell the students to listen to today’s study to identify how this prophecy was fulfilled.
Hearing God’s Word
Let’s look at some things we have learned about the Holy Spirit so far. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity. He is eternal; He is all–knowing; He is all–powerful; He is present everywhere at all times. He is equal with God the Father and God the Son. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have always existed. They were all present and took part in creation.
The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God came upon a certain few individuals. Most of them were prophets. God’s Spirit enabled them to tell about events that God promised would happen to His people in the future.
Prophecies from the Old Testament
Sometimes the Holy Spirit came upon the prophets and they warned the people to worship God or they would be punished. But the prophets sometimes had a different message. The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophet Isaiah to tell the Israelites about the Messiah God would send to the people. This Messiah would be a Saviour. He would take away the sins of the world.
Ask: Did God keep His promise? How do we know He did? (Allow responses.)
(Note some of the fulfilled prophecies referred to in the Lesson Lead—In activity)
The Gospels tell us about Jesus’ supernatural birth, His sinless life, His death for our sins, and His resurrection. Jesus fulfilled all these Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.
Promise of the Holy Spirit
The prophet Joel told of another promise of God. Remember, the Spirit of God came to only a few people in the Old Testament. But in Joel 2:28 the prophet said God would someday send His Spirit to all people. The Holy Spirit would not come to just a select few; He would come in abundance to all of God’s people.
Part of the message from Joel is our verse for this study. “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Joel 2:28). (Repeat the verse several times with the students.)
Later in this same verse, what did God say would happen to the people? Joel prophesied that when the Spirit of God was outpoured, it would be upon all people. The Holy Spirit would not come upon just the leaders of Israel.
Ask: “What specific groups of people did Joel say would receive the Holy Spirit?” (Allow responses.)
The Promise is for Everyone
Look at what God told Joel would happen. The promise of the Holy Spirit was given:
Not just to the Israelites, but to all men.
Not just to the old men, but to young men as well.
Not just to the wealthy, but to servants.
Nor just to the men, but also to the women.
Age, gender, nationality, or social position would have no bearing on this promise. It was for all believers. No one would be left out. Each person could have as much of God’s Spirit as he wanted.
The Result of the Promise
Joel did not stop with just telling that the Holy Spirit would be poured out someday. He told how the people would be affected by this wonderful event.
Ask: “What was going to happen?” (Allow responses.)
When they received this promise of the Father, sons and daughters would prophesy; old men would dream dreams; young men would see visions. What an exciting promise from God this was!
Ask: “Has anyone ever promised you anything?” (Allow discussion.)
A promise is a pledge by a person giving his word that he will do something for someone else. Sometimes a promise is fulfilled right away. At other times, many years may pass before a promise can be kept.
Let us suppose your father says, “I will take you out for a soda after the basketball game.” You can expect that promise to be fulfilled in the near future. However, if your father says, “When you are old enough, I will help you buy a motorcycle,” you know the promise will not be fulfilled for a while. The time is not right yet because you need a license and need to learn to ride. It would simply sit in the yard and not be used. But if he helps you get a motorcycle after you are ready, the motorcycle will be useful to you.
Prophecies of the Messiah Fulfilled
The New Testament begins with the fulfilment of God’s promise to send the Messiah. God’s Son, Jesus came to the earth as a baby. After He became a man, Jesus died for the sins of all men. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. He talked with His disciples and taught them during the 40 days after His resurrection. He proved to them He was alive.
Jesus Gives Instructions
During Jesus’ ministry, He told the disciples of the promise of the Father to send the Holy Spirit to all believers. Just before He went back to heaven, Jesus reminded the disciples about this promise. He gave the disciples specific instructions about receiving the promise.
Ask: “What were the instructions Jesus gave them?” (Allow responses. Select two students to read Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4, 5.)
The disciples were told to do two things: stay in Jerusalem, and wait until they were given power from God.
We Can Receive God’s Promise
The Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, is for all believers, of all ages, of all races, of all backgrounds, of all times. Do you realize He made that promise to you too? The promise of the Holy Spirit is yours. All you have to do is believe God and accept His promise.
Accepting God’s Word
Tell the students that in order to receive God’s promise of the Holy Spirit, we must be His children. We become His children by being sorry for our sins, believing Jesus died for us, and asking Jesus to forgive our sin. Invite students who have not accepted Jesus as Saviour to do so at this time.
Ask each student to state why he believes the baptism in the Holy Spirit is for him today. Help the students understand that this promise of God’s Word is available for every believer. Review God’s promise to fill all believers with the Holy Spirit.
Emphasize that God keep His promises. He will fill those who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour and truly desire to be filled with His Holy Spirit. He will give them power to live for Jesus. Pray now with those who are seeking the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The village road had just been graded and was in excellent condition. We were impressed but recognized the need to return before rain set in.
Upon arrival we learned that the village chairman was the sheik for both the region and the local mosque. It was Friday, and the hour for Muslim prayer was approaching. The sheik had already left for the mosque, so the customer from the bike shop offered to show us around his village until the sheik was free.
We walked only a few yards when a group of primary schoolchildren on their lunch break approached us. Our guide was pleased to introduce us to two of his children, and I noted they both had bicycles. We then visited the school compound, met one of the teachers and entered one of the empty classrooms. The school was a functional facility, and the people were proud of it.
The teacher told us the enrolment was 401. We asked if teenage pregnancy was a problem among the students. He reported that last year there were 60 pregnancies, and each girl was dismissed from school.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Rufiji Students
1. Students to recognize the value of education,
2. Teachers correct problem of teen pregnancies by teaching biblical standards,
3. Godly administrators and teachers model a Christian lifestyle.
"I can do all this through him (Jesus Christ) who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13).
Remember: THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER
Memory verse: Joel 2:28
“I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”
1. I am a believer in Christ Jesus.
2. The promise of the Holy Spirit is for me.
3. Come Holy Spirit. Fill me with your presence.
Pray for Rufiji students.
Study 8 | Prayer Power / Holy Spirit | africaatts.org/go-teach