BUILT UP BY THE SPIRIT
1. The night before Jesus was crucified He told His disciples that He was soon going to leave them and
return to His Father’s home. He assured them they wouldn’t be left helpless because the Father was
going to send another like Himself, the Holy Spirit. Jesus revealed that the Holy Spirit would indwell
them and be to them all that He had been while He was with them. John 14:16,17 26; 16:7,13-15
a. Three days later, the resurrected Lord Jesus appeared to His disciples as they were gathered
together. Using the Old testament Scriptures, He explained what had happened over the previous
few days and why. Through His death as the sinless Lamb of God He had offered the perfect
sacrifice for sin making it possible to remove sin from all who believe on Him. Luke 24:44-48
1. As witnesses of these things, the disciples were to go into the world and proclaim repentance
and remission of sins. Jesus breathed on them and said: Receive the Holy Ghost and they
were born of the spirit, born from above, or born again. John 20:19-22; John 3:3,5
2. The Holy Spirit, through the Word of God Jesus shared with them, regenerated their dead
human spirits and they were transformed from sinners into sons of God. John 1:12,13
b. Jesus spent forty more days with His disciples, instructing them concerning the kingdom of God.
Just before He returned to Heaven, He told them to remain in Jerusalem until they were baptized in
the Holy Ghost and received power to be His witnesses. Acts 1:1-8
1. Ten days later, on the Feast of Pentecost, they were baptized in the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:1-4
2. Subsequently, the disciples followed Jesus’ instructions and went out to proclaim the good
news of remission of sins through faith in Christ.
c. As we read through the book of Acts (the record of their activities as they went out in the power of
the Holy Ghost) we see that their converts, like themselves, had two encounters with the Holy
Spirit. They were born of the Spirit and then baptized with the Holy Spirit.
1. The baptism in the Holy Spirit was accompanied by various supernatural demonstrations with
speaking in other tongues being the one common to each recorded instance.
2. Everything written in the epistles about the Holy Spirit in us was written to people who were
both born of and baptized in the Holy Spirit. There was no controversy over these issues yet.
d. Because there are many varying ideas about what it does and doesn’t mean to be born of the Spirit
and baptized in the Holy Spirit, we’re taking some time to sort this out as part of our discussion of
becoming aware of the greatness of the power that is in us.
2. Rather than approaching this subject from the standpoint of what one denomination says verse another,
we’re looking at it in terms of the overall plan of God His plan to have a family of holy, righteous
sons and daughters with whom He can dwell on this earth forever. Eph 1:4,5; Isa 45:18; Rev 21:3; etc.
a. God’s creation was damaged and the plan taken off track when man sinned. The Lord is working
to restore His original purpose through redemption, His plan to deliver from sin and corruption all
who bow their knee to Jesus as Savior and Lord and transform them into holy, righteous sons.
1. Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-30–When Peter preached his first public sermon following being
baptized in the Holy Spirit, he quoted the Prophet Joel to explain what was happening. In the
last days God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. The last days are the days leading up to the
completion of the plan of redemption, the coming of the Lord to cleanse the earth and
establish His kingdom on earth (the family home).
2. The Holy Spirit has come to carry out the process of transforming sinners into holy, righteous
sons and daughters of God. He is the performer of the Godhead. He brings to pass in our
lives what Jesus provided through the Cross when we believe the Word of God.
to Mary and Joseph after Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost. Matt 13:55)
a. Jude didn’t believe that Jesus was the Christ (the Messiah) during His ministry. Mark 6:3
1. However, he was with the disciples in the upper room where they congregated, so he must
have been converted after the resurrection. Acts 1:13
2. He would have been among those gathered together when the disciples were filled with the
Holy Ghost. We can presume that he spoke in tongues because Acts 2:4 says all of them did.
b. Jude 3,4; 17-19–Jude wrote his epistle to urge believers to contend for the faith because false
teachers were threatening the church. He reminded his readers this is what the apostles predicted.
Both Paul and Peter warned that false teachers would invade the church before the Lord’s return
(in the last days). Acts 20:28-30; I Tim 4:1,2; II Tim 3:1-5; 13; II Pet 2:1
1. Jude 20-23–Jude gave his readers specific instructions as to what they should do. There’s
much we could say, but note one point in his instructions to his readers.
2. Jude 20–He told them to pray in the Holy Ghost. Praying in the Holy Ghost or in the Spirit
means praying in other tongues. Paul defined it as praying in other tongues. I Cor 14:14,15
c. Tongues is a language not known to the one doing the speaking. It’s supernatural because the
Holy Spirit gives the speaker words which he then speaks out. Acts 2:4–They spoke as the Spirit
gave them utterance. The Greek word is logos which means something said, or words.
1. That’s what happened on the Day of Pentecost. A multitude of visitors from many nations
with differing dialects had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost.
2. Acts 2:6-11–These visitors heard fishermen from Galilee speak languages unknown to them.
When questioned about it, Peter specifically said: This is the work of the Holy Ghost.
d. Back to Jude. Jude told his readers (in the context of conditions present in the days before the
Lord’s return) to build themselves up on their faith by praying in the Holy Ghost.
1. Build up in the Greek is made of two words, to build upon. The root word means to build a
house or building (Matt 7:24,26). When used figuratively it refers to building up Christians.
2. It’s the same word Paul used when he described one of the effects of praying in other tongues.
It edifies or builds up the speaker. I Cor 14:4
2. Rom 8:29–God’s plan for His family is that we be conformed to the image of Christ or be built up into
the image of Christ. This means we become like Jesus in character and power, holiness and love. We
could do an entire series on this topic. But consider several points relevant to our discussion.
a. Being conformed to the image of Christ is a process that begins when we’re born of the Holy Spirit
and our spirit is made alive with eternal life. It will be completed when our bodies are glorified
(made immortal and incorruptible) at the rapture and resurrection of the dead. Phil 3:20,21
b. In this life, we’re instructed to let the inward changes increasing show up on the outside of us as
we take on Christlike thoughts, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors.
1. The Holy Spirit works in us as we believe and obey the Word of God. That’s how we were
born again and that’s how we’re progressively conformed to the image of Christ in this life.
2. II Cor 3:18–And all of us, as with unveiled faces [because we] continued to behold [in the
Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His
very own image in every increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this
comes] from the Lord [ Who is] the Spirit. (Amp)
c. Building on the foundation of our faith in Christ and being build up into the image of Christ is a
theme we see over and over in the epistles. I Cor 3:10,12,14; Eph 2:20; Col 2:7; etc.
1. Paul wrote that God has given ministry gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers)
to the church for several purposes, one of which is to edify or build up the body of Christ
(corporately and individually) through sharing the Word of God. Eph 4:11,12; v13–until we
“reach full manhood, and that full measure of development found in Christ” (Goodspeed). 2.
Paul wrote these words to some churches he founded that were getting into error. Gal 4:19–
My dear childrenyou for whom I am again enduring a mother’s pains, till a likeness of
Christ shall have been formed in you (20th Cent), outwardly expressed in you (Wuest).
3. The Holy Spirit’s number one goal in you is to build you up into conformity to Christ. Praying in other
tongues is a vital part of the process. The unChristlike “stuff” in us has to go. But often, we don’t see
it, or if we do see it, we don’t know how to get rid of it
a. Rom 8:26–The Holy Spirit is in us to help us to pray (when we don’t know what or how to pray)
with groaning which cannot be uttered in articulate speech (things we don’t have words for).
1. For example, you may believe that your greatest need is for doors of ministry to open up to
you. So you pray: God open doors for me. Help me to be patient until you promote me.
2. However, God knows what you need most is to deal with your pride and your unkind
treatment of others. But you don’t see it, so you can’t pray about it.
b. When you pray in tongues (or a language you don’t understand) the Holy Spirit can by pass your
intellect (and unrenewed mind) and pray perfect, effective prayers through you. He can expose in
a gentle, loving way the issues you need to deal with by His power. And He can help you pray in a
way that facilitates the needed changes.
1. This is where understanding how to read the Bible is so important. Both statements are indeed found
in Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians (I Cor 12:30; 13:8). But they’re not independent statements,
they’re part of a complete thought. We must consider them in context.
a. While Paul was in the city of Ephesus he was visited by believers from the city of Corinth where
Paul had also established a church. They came to report some serious problems in the church and
wanted help from Paul. He wrote the first epistle to the Corinthians to deal with these issues.
b. There was envy, strife, and divisions (1:11; 3:3; 11:18,19), fornication (5:1), and gluttony and
drunkenness at communion (11:20-22). Believers were suing each other in in front of unbelievers
(6:1-8). They also had issues with the demonstrations or manifestations of the Holy Spirit in their
midst. Chapters 12,13,14 were written to address and correct their misuse of these gifts,
particularly speaking in other tongues in public assemblies.
2. I Cor 12:7-11–Paul reminded them that the Holy Spirit manifests in nine different ways for the good of
everyone. We could do a lesson on each of these (at another time). But consider these thoughts.
a. There is a public demonstration of tongues and a private one. I Cor 12:10 refers to the public gift.
1. Not everyone is used in this gift. An example would be: Someone speaks out a message in
tongues in public in a language no one recognizes.
2. There must be an interpretation (the Holy Spirit gives the interpretation to that person or
someone) so that everyone understands what was said. It’s a supernatural sign.
b. From v12-26 Paul, writing to a church that has divisions over which preacher is the best (1:11,12)
explains that we’re a body. We each have a place and a function and we all need each other,
whether we are the hand or the foot or the eye or the ear, whether we’re an apostles or someone
used in these public gifts.
c. Remember, Paul didn’t write in chapters and verses. He was writing a letter. His thought
continues into the next chapter: I Cor 12:31-2:1-3–Desire spiritual gifts, but recognize the highest
priority is walking in love toward you brother in Christ. That’s most important.
1. I Cor 13:8-13–These gifts serve a purpose now, as God’s plan of redemption unfolds, but they
will come to an end when the plan is completed and we are with God in His kingdom. At that
time we won’t need prophecy or tongues, or the partial knowledge we now have because we’ll
see things clearly as they really are. But the Law of Love will continue forever.
2. I know the text doesn’t say all that word for word, but that was the mindset of Paul and the
rest of the apostles. We’ve done many lessons that show this to be the case.
d. I Cor 14:1–Paul then exhorts them: Seek to walk in love and desire these spiritual gifts. But most
of all that you may prophesy.
1. There are different levels of prophecy: foretelling where prophets proclaim coming events
and forth-telling where prophets proclaim righteousness in the face of moral and spiritual
decay. Only people who stand in the office of prophet are used in these ways.
2. There is also a simple gift of prophecy which all believers may do. It is inspired speaking (in
the language of the speaker) which edifies, exhorts, and comforts. I Cor 14:3.
3. In I Cor 14 Paul directly addresses their misuse of tongues. In the Corinthian assemblies all had
something to share and did so indiscriminately without regard for others resulting in confusion. v33,40.
a. Paul explained that there is a private tongues in which we speak, not to each other, but to God.
And, when we pray thusly we edify or build up ourselves (v2,3). But, when you prophesy you
build up the one to whom you speak because he understands what you’re saying.
b. In I Cor 12:30 Paul could not have meant that not everyone is supposed to speak in tongues
because in I Cor 14:5 he says: I desire that you all speak with tongues. But I especially desire that
you prophesy in your public assemblies (remember. that’s what he‘s addressing) since everyone is
edified. In fact, tongues with interpretation is equal to prophecy in its effects.
4. v26-28–Paul’s whole point to them is: Do things to build each other up, not compete with each other.
When you’re speaking to people do it in the language they understand. If you speak in tongues to them
there must be an interpretation so that everyone is built up. If there is no interpreter, just speak to
yourself and God. He uses the word edify five times in this chapter.
1. We now have in us a Divine Person, the Holy Spirit who wants to help us overcome the unChristlike
attitudes and actions we all have. He wants to build us up into the image of Christ.
a. We cooperate with Him through regular, systematic reading of the New Testament and by
regularly praying in other tongues in our own private prayer time.
b. We looked at Jude’s epistle earlier in the lesson. In the face of the religious deception leading up
to the return of Christ, he instructed believers to build on the foundation of Christ in their life by
praying in the Spirit. That’s good advice.
c. If you don’t pray in tongues regularly, begin to do so. Start with five minutes a day. Increase the
time as you get more comfortable with it. You will begin to notice differences in yourself.
2. If you’ve never been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, ask someone
who has been to lay hands on you in faith as they did in the Book of Acts. Or ask the Father directly to
baptize you. He has promised to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). More next week!