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How Does the Holy Spirit
Dwell in Christians?


     1.  The fact that the Holy Spirit is not giving miraculous spiritual gifts today has led some to erroneously conclude that Christians have no relationship to the Holy Spirit.

           a.  This is just as faulty as saying “because Christ isn’t on the cross today, Christians have no relationship to Him. “

           b.  Both Christ and the Holy Spirit have completed some of Their works, but that argues nothing concerning Them having no relationship with Christians.

     2.  The Holy Spirit dwells in Christians, Romans 8:9. To deny this fact is to deny the Bible.

           a.  It is not a question of "if" but "how." How does the Holy Spirit dwell in us?

           b.  We must let the Bible speak. Our opinions and think-so's are no more valuable here than those of the professing tongue speakers of the previous lesson.

     3.  Let us quickly dismiss two things as not being the indwelling of the Spirit.

           a.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not the indwelling of the Spirit. Holy Spirit baptism was very limited, there being only two examples of it in the Bible.

           b.  Having the miraculous gifts of the Spirit is not to be considered the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All the saints at Rome had the indwelling of the Spirit, Romans 8:9, yet some did not have spiritual gifts, Romans 1:11.

The Lesson:

                 I.    What is the real issue on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

           A.  It is not a question of "if."  The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells in Christians.  Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the Father and Son also dwell in Christians!

                 1.  Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.

                 2.  The church is spoken of as the temple of God, 1 Corinthians 3:16.

                 3.  The Spirit of God dwells in Christians, Romans 8:9.

                 4.  Paul spoke of how Christ may dwell in your hearts, Ephesians 3:17.

                 5.  God, the Father, said, "I will dwell in them,” 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.

                 6.  All these passages, and many more, make it clear that Deity dwells in the believer in some way.

           B.  It is a question of "how."

                 1.  Does the Holy Spirit (and the other persons of Deity) enter into and literally inhabit the body of a Christian? Or, is the word "dwell" used in another sense? Does the Holy Spirit dwell in us through some means rather than directly?

                 2.  If He literally inhabits believers, what does He do for a Christian as a result of this bodily indwelling that is not accomplished by means of His revealed word?

                 3.  If He literally inhabits us, what does it do to the Divine Person of the Holy Spirit when He is divided up into parts and is parceled out to the bodies of believers?

                II.    A distinction between the "Person" and "Presence" of Deity.

           A.  The Holy Spirit is a person of Divine Nature. Personhood requires individuali­ty, and individuality demands locality, and locality necessitates separation and distinction.

                 1.  God, the Father, is a Divine Person, and is seated on His throne in heaven, Revelation 4:2-3; 7:10.

                 2.  Jesus, the Son, is a Divine Person, and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.  Like the Father, He is in Heaven, Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; Revelation 3:21.

                 3.  The Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, and is before the Father's throne is in heaven, Revelation 1:4; 4:5; 16:17.

           B.  The "Presence" of God is found in many places where his "Person" is not.

                 1.  God's Presence may be found in different places simultaneously although His Divine Person (the eternal Being Himself) is in heaven.

                      a.  God called Moses from the burning bush, Exodus 3:4, yet He did it through an angel, Exodus 3:2. God's presence was there in a special way, yet God Himself was in heaven.

                      b.  God's presence was in the temple at Jerusalem, 1 Kings 8:12-13.  Yet, God was not literally on earth, 1 Kings 8:27-30.  His person was still in heaven.

                 2.  Christ promised to be present with His disciples, Matthew 28:20, yet no one believes His Divine Person is with them when they gather in assemblies, etc.

                      a.  Through the medium of worship we know we have fellowship with Him.  We have an awareness of His presence through service to Him. Yet we know His Divine Person is at the right hand of God, Hebrews 4:14-16.

                 3.  If both the Father and Son can be present without being in person, why cannot the Holy Spirit do the same?

           C.  The word "dwell" does not necessitate a literal indwelling of the Person.

                 1.  "Dwell" is often used of control.

                      a.  Paul spoke of how sin may dwell in a man, Romans 7:17-20.

                      b.  John spoke of the truth which dwells in us, 2 John 2.

                      c.  How is "dwell" used in Revelation 2:13?



                      d.  Don't these references show that "dwell" can be used of control and influence?

                 2.  In the sense of control or influence, both the Father and Son dwell in us.

                      a.  God, the Father, dwells in us, 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 John 4:12-15; 2 John 9.

                      b.  Christ dwells in us, Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 3:17; Galatians 2:20.

                      c.  Do any of these references imply that the Father or Son are personally inside our bodies? We understand these verses to speak of our relationship with Deity, but not that the Persons of Deity are literally inside of us.

                      d.  We may say of a son, "I can see his father in him."  We do not mean his father is literally inside of him, but that the influence of his father is evident in his life.

                 3.  The premise of this lesson is that the Holy Spirit dwells in us in the same way the Son and Father dwell in us.  Through means of control and influence the Spirit is said to dwell in us.  The means of control and influence is the word given by the Holy Spirit.

               III.   The Holy Spirit dwells in us by means of His revealed word.

           A.  The Bible itself is not the Holy Spirit, but the agency through which He operates.

                 1.  An illustration:  A man says he chopped down a tree. Did he do it with his bare hands, or did he use some means to do it?  What means might he use?



                  2.  An illustration:  A man flies from Houston to Nashville. Do we conclude he flapped his arms, or that he used some means?  What means might he use?



                  3.  The application: The Holy Spirit operates in our lives. He directs us and dwells in us; does He do it directly, or by some means?  What means does He use?  See Ephesians 6:17 for help.



                  4.  The Spirit directs our lives by the revealed word. Compare these two verses. Notice that the contexts seem to be parallel. Ephesians 5:18. " filled with the Spirit." Colossians 3:16. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you..."

           B.  When we are obedient to the Spirit's word, it is then that we are controlled by the Spirit.

                 1.  We are said to be born again when we obey the truth that was given through the Spirit, 1 Peter 1:22-23.

                 2.  When we obey the word given by the Spirit, we bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, Galatians 5:22-23.

           C.  What does the Spirit do within us that is not accomplished through His word? Look at the two lists below. The center section shows that what the Spirit does, the word is also said to do.


                              THE SPIRIT


  Romans 8:16     John 5:39
  Nehemiah 9:20   2 Timothy 3:16
  John 16:8     Titus 1:9
  John 3:5     1 Peter 1:23
  Titus 3:5     James 1:21
  1 Corinthians 6:11     John 17:17
  1 Corinthians 6:11      Ephesians 5:26
  Romans 8:9     Colossians 3:16
  Romans 15:13     Romans 1:16

               IV.   When we are obedient to the Spirit's word, fellowship exists between God and man.

           A.  The dedication of Solomon's Temple will help us understand how Deity dwells with man.

                 1.  Solomon built a house for the Lord to dwell in, 1 Kings 8:12-13.

                      a.  Are we to understand this to mean that God was personally and literally inside the temple?

                      b.  How should we compare this to the temple of Dagon?  Dagon was the god of the Phi­listines. Dagon dwelt in a house, 1 Samuel 5:1-5. Was their a difference between how Dagon and God dwelt in their temples?



                  2.  Solomon explains in what sense God dwelt in the temple. It is not in a literal sense, 1 Kings 8:27-28.

                 3.  He would dwell there in the sense that His eyes would be open toward that place; His name would be there; He would hear the prayers made there; yet He would hear in heaven, His dwelling place, 1 Kings 8:29-30.

                 4.  God responded to Solomon's prayer in 1 Kings 9:3.  The new temple was described as holy; God's name was to be there forever; His eyes and His heart would be there perpetually.

                 5.  These things described in 1 Kings 8, 9 tell us what is meant by "dwell in." What was done in the temple was done by the authority and approval of God; therefore, God's heart (concern) would be with His people; His eyes (watch care) would be upon them; they would be regarded as holy; He would claim them as His own and hear their prayers.

           B.  Does not the New Testament say the same thing about how Deity dwells in us?

                 1.  God's name is upon believers, James 2:7; Colossians 3:17.

                 2.  God's eyes are over the righteous, 1 Peter 3:12.

                 3.  God's ears are open to the prayers of the righteous, 1 Peter 3:12.

                 4.  God's heart is with His people, John 14:23; Hebrews 13:5-6.

                 5.  God’s holy people belong to Him, 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Hebrews 3:1.





                          SPIRIT               CHRIST                FATHER

DWELL        Romans 8:9        Eph. 3:17                2 Cor. 6:16

IN                  Romans 8:9        Romans 8:10        2 Cor. 6:16

HAVE            Romans 8:9        2 John 9                 2 John 9

TEMPLE       1 Cor. 6:19                                           2 Cor. 6:16

                 6.  All the per­sons of Deity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) dwell in us in the same way. It is unreasonable to argue that the Holy Spirit dwells in us in a different fashion.

                 7.  Why do men want to make a distinction on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when the Bible says essentially the same thing about how all three dwell in us?


    1.  The language used by the Bible in the charts above indicates that a relationship exists between believers and Deity.

           a.  When Deity is said to dwell in us, it indicates a relationship has been established between heaven and earth, wherein the man on earth is submissive to the will of heaven.

           b.  Heaven's blessings are upon that man as he submits his life to God.

    2.  Any view of the indwelling of Deity that divides God, Christ or the Holy Spirit into parts must be rejected.

        a.  If we attempt to divide the Holy Spirit into parts and distribute Him personally to thousands of believers, then we have destroyed the very concept of personal identity. Could a human be divided up into parts and be scattered over the earth and still be the human person?

           b.  Whatever explanations we give to the indwelling of the Spirit, we can accept no explanations which call for a destruction of His being as a person. Unless we see the difference between the person of the Holy Spirit and His indwelling (or control in our lives) we will only contribute to the confusion that already exists regarding the Holy Spirit.


Glory to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Franklin Church of Christ