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The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit (2)

Lesson Eleven

Victor M. Eskew




A.   The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is one of the most controversial topics in our brotherhood.


B.    In our last lesson, we looked at the four most prominent views of indwelling.

1.     One involves a literal indwelling with miracles

2.     Another involves a literal indwelling with a supernatural working of the Holy Spirit apart from the Word of God.

3.     Two declare that the Holy Spirit works through the Word.

a.     One declares that there is a literal indwelling, but the Spirit does nothing apart from the Word.

b.    The other teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells and works in the life of the Christian by means of God’s Word.


C.   In this lesson, we want to set forth the proofs that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian by means of the Word of God.




A.   II Samuel 23:2


The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.


B.    Proverbs 1:23


Turn you at my reproof:  behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you.  I will make known my words unto you.


C.   John 6:63


It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:  the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.


D.   Romans 8:1-2


There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.




E.    I Peter 1:22


Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeign love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.




A.   What is the meaning of the term “all-sufficient”?

1.     Sufficient:  adequate for the purpose

2.     All-sufficient:  not needing anything else to accomplish the purpose


B.    The Bible teaches that the Scriptures are all-sufficient.

1.     II Timothy 3:16-17


All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.


a.     Profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in right-eousness.

b.    Man of God may be perfect

c.    Thoroughly furnished

d.    Unto all good works

2.     II Peter 1:3


According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.


a.     Given ALL THINGS

b.    Life and godliness

c.    Through knowledge

3.     Acts 20:32


And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.


4.     What type of things does the Christian need?

a.     Food to grow

b.    Strength to overcome temptation

c.    Comfort in affliction

d.    Light to lead in this dark world

e.     Reproof when in sin

f.     Instruction in righteousness


C.   If we need a direct operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians, then the Word of God is not all-sufficient.  It is only partially sufficient.

1.     If this is the case, Paul and Peter were not correct when they made the statements we read above.

2.     In addition, the Holy Spirit was also wrong because it was He who revealed these statements to the inspired penmen.

D.   How some feel when we teach the all-sufficiency of the Scriptures.

1.     Some think that we are taking something away from the Holy Spirit.  This is not true.

a.     The Holy Spirit is the being who revealed the Word (I Cor. 2:9-13; II Pet. 1:20-21).

b.    It is the Holy Spirit’s power that fills the pages, the paragraphs, the sentences, and the words of the Bible (Heb. 4:12).

c.    To say that the Bible is all-sufficient is a testament to the Holy Spirit who had the ability to give man a Book that meets all of his needs.

2.     “The doctrine of abstract, direct, and immediate spiritual influence finds its main support by depreciating the importance of the gospel of Christ, sland-ering the word of God by such terms as ‘the mere word, the dead letter,’ and by claiming that the influence of the Spirit, through his divine revelation as recorded in the Bible, is utterly insufficient to transform and renew the wicked souls of men when it truths have been learned, believed, and obeyed” (The Witness of the Spirits, Zachary, 63).




A.   Remember, according to those who believe in a direct indwelling we have both the Word of God and the Spirit of God assisting us.


B.    “Break down and destroy that medium, blot out the light which it has already shined into human minds, and man will be left without any influence of the Spirit, to grope his way in heathen darkness” (Zachary, 17).


C.   Take away the supposed direct operation of the Holy Spirit and man can still be saved and live in such a way as to get to heaven.  Take away the Word of God and rely upon a direct operation and this is not the case.




A.   In Lesson Two, we learned that the Holy Spirit revealed in the pages of God’s Word is a real Being.  He is just as much a being as the Father and the Son are.


B.    “As a being, He cannot be dissected and distributed among all Christians” (Zachary, 17)


C.   His power, on the other hand, can be distributed among all Christians.

1.     The Bible refers to those who were “filled” with the Holy Spirit.

a.     John the Baptist (Luke 1:15); Elisabeth (Luke 1:41); Zachariah (Luke 1:67)

b.    These individuals were filled with the “power” and “ability” of the Holy Spirit.

c.    The phrase, “filled with the Spirit,” is a figure of speech.

1)     The figure of speech is called a “metonymy of the cause.”

2)     The cause, the Holy Spirit, is put for the effect.

d.    Three examples:

1)     Genesis 6:3

And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh:  yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.


a)     Did the literal, actual, personal Holy Spirit strive with man?  NOTE:  A medium is not mentioned in this verse.  It just says God’s “shall not always strive with man.”

b)     The answer to the question is:  “No.”  In II Peter 2:5, we learn that Noah was a preacher of righteousness.  The Spirit used the medium of communication to strive with men.


And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteous-ness, bring in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.


2)     Acts 7:51


Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost:  as your fathers did, so do ye.


a)     Were the Jews rejecting the real, literal, personal, actual Holy Spirit?  NOTE:  A medium is not mention in this text.

b)     They were rejecting the words of the Holy Spirit as spoken by Stephen.

c)     The Holy Ghost was the cause of the words.  Stephen put the cause, the Holy Spirit, for the effect, his words.

3)     Acts 8:14-17


Now when the apostles, which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:  who when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (for as yet he was fallen upon none of them:  only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.


a)     Did the Samaritans receive the literal, actual, personal Holy Spirit?  No.

b)     They received the miraculous power of the Holy Ghost given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands (See I Cor. 12:4-11).

2.     The apostle Paul commanded the Ephesian church to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).


And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.


a.     How is this accomplished if this is the literal, actual, personal, real Holy Spirit?

1)     Do we speak to the Spirit and command Him to enter us?

2)     How do we get him to “fill” us?

3)     How do we know when He is fully within us?

b.    The interpretation is simple when we look at the companion passage found in Colossians 3:16.


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…


1)     When we study and apply the Word of God to our lives, we are being filled with the Spirit.

2)     The cause of the Word, the Holy Spirit, is put for the effect in Ephesians 5:18.




A.   The definition of agent:  a person authorized to act on behalf of another


B.    Bible examples of agency.

1.     Naaman, a leper, was sent to Elisha in order to be cleansed of his leprosy.  When he arrived at his house, listen to what happens (II Kings 5:10).


And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.


a.     The servant was the agent of Elisha.

b.    Question:  Who commanded the captain to wash in the Jordan River?  (See II Kings 5:13)


And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the PROPHET had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it…


c.    When an agent is at work, one can attribute the work to the one on whose behalf the agent is working.

2.     John 4:1-2


When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples).



a.     John 4:1 says that Jesus baptized.  John 4:2 says that Jesus did not baptize.  Is there a contradiction?

b.    NO.  The disciples were the agents of Jesus.  Jesus was the one who taught the masses to be baptized.  The hands of the disciples baptized them on behalf of Jesus. 

c.    The actions of the agents (the disciples) were attributed to Jesus.

3.     The Word of God is the agent of the Holy Spirit.  Whatever the Word does can also be attributed to the Holy Spirit.

a.     Remember, the Word of God is the agent of the Spirit.

b.    Chart taken from



The Bible Explains It All

The Who

The How

Eph. 5:19 - Be filled with the Spirit . . .

Col. 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you . . .

Gal. 5:22 - Faith is a fruit of the Spirit

Rom. 10:17 - Faith comes by hearing the gospel

John 3:5-8 - Born of the Spirit

I Cor. 4:15 - Born through the gospel
I Pet. 1:23 - Born by the word of God

II Cor 3:6 - The Spirit gives life

Jn 6:63 - The words Jesus spoke are spirit and life

Rom. 8:11 - Made alive by the Spirit

Ps. 119:93 - Made alive by God’s precepts

Rom. 8:2 - The law of the Spirit has made me free

Jn 8:32 - Word makes free

Rom 8:14 - Led by the Spirit

Ps 119:105 - The word is a lamp to my feet

Titus 3:5 - Saved by baptism and the Spirit

I Cor. 15:1-2 - Saved by the gospel
Jam. 1:21 - The word is able to save your souls
Rom. 1:16 - Gospel is the power of God to save

Rom. 15:16 - Sanctified by the Spirit
I Cor 6:11 - Sanctified by the Spirit

Jn. 17:17 - Sanctified by the truth

Heb 10:15 - The Spirit witnesses
I Jn 5:6 - The Spirit bears witness

Jn 5:39 - The Scriptures testify

Gal 5:25 - Walk in the Spirit

Phil 3:16 - Walk by God’s rules

Eph. 3:16 - Strengthen by the Spirit

Col. 2:7 - Established in the faith

Eph 2:22 - Built through the Spirit

Acts 20:32 - The word is able to build you up

Acts 9:31 - Comfort of the Spirit

I Thess 4:18 - Comfort with these words

I Cor 6:11 - Washed by the Spirit

Eph 5:26 - Washed by the word
John 15:3 - Cleansed through the word

Jn 16:8 - Convicts the world

Tit 1:9 - Able to exhort and convince with the word




A.   God has so built the mind of man that it is impossible to reach it with testimony except through one of the five well defined and specific avenues.


B.    The mind has ten attributes, faculties, or senses.


Five External                                       Five Internal


1.     Smelling                                                 1.   Reflection

2.     Tasting                                                  2.   Perception

3.     Seeing                                                    3.   Memory

4.     Feeling                                                   4.   Reason

5.     Hearing                                                  5.   Judgment


C.   “The five internal are entirely dependent on the five external for material on which to operate; and also in turn is dependent upon it predecessor (Zachary, 20).


D.   “Each sense or faculty of the mind has it specific fields of operation, its realm or sphere in which to move, with well defined and fixed boundaries, beyond which it cannot go” (Zachary, 21).


E.    “…in the exercise of the five eternal senses there are only two sources from which information or testimony can possibly be obtained.  These sources are the fields of observation and revelation” (Zachary, 21).




A.   “Man’s emotional nature is moved entirely by faith; and whether then they truly believed be truth or falsehood, the feelings produced will be precisely the same” (Zachary, 35).  Thus, feelings are not evidence of pardon, but simply the result of testimony believed.


B.    The evidence of pardon is the immutable testimony of the Holy Spirit.


C.   “All religious consciousness or feeling is produced not by faith obtained by material or earthly contact, but by faith obtained by the Spirit’s revelation (Zachary, 38).


D.   For any feeling to be produced in the mind of man, there must be some form of testimony that has reached his spirit.

1.     Take the Bible away, what man will know how to come to Christ?

2.     Take the Bible away, what man will know how to live for Christ?

3.     Take the Bible away, how will man stand against sin?  In fact, he will not know what sin is.

4.     Without the Bible, how will man be comforted, strengthened, or disciplined in his spiritual walk with God?




A.   Two personalities or beings must have space between them, “else then one would blot out the other, and so personality would be destroyed” (Zachary, 33).


B.    The only way to span the void between spirits is through a medium.

1.     A bridge must be built.

2.     That bridge or medium is communication.


C.   “Whether spirits be close together or far apart, still they must use a means in order to communicate, unless a miracle is performed” (Zachary, 34).

1.     Those who believe in a personal indwelling will proclaim that the Spirit does things for them in their life.

2.     They will then admit that they do not know when or how those things are done.

3.     Zachary’s point is that if the Holy Spirit does something, He must either communicate that to man’s spirit, or, He must do something on man’s behalf miraculously. 

a.     In either case, man would “know” that the Spirit had done something.

b.    The fact that those who believe in a personal indwelling do not know is evidence that the Spirit is not within them in a literal manner.

c.    NOTE:  Seldom do they believe the Holy Spirit is in them doing absolutely nothing.




A.   Those who believe in a literal, personal, indwelling do so because of such passages as Romans 8:9a.


Be ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.


1.     Their argument on indwelling takes the literal interpretation.

2.     This verse says that the Holy Spirit dwells in us.  They take this literally.  The verse says the Holy Spirit is in us, therefore He is actually in us.


B.    Those who believe and teach this are not consistent with this interpretation with regard to other passages.

1.     II Corinthians 6:16 reveals that God the Father dwells in us.


…as God hath said, I will dwell in them; and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.


a.     The word “dwell” in this passage is the same Greek term found in Romans 8:9a.

b.    Question:  Does God the Father literally, personally, actually dwell in us?

1)     If a person says, “Yes,” now we, as Christians, have at least three spirits in us:  the human Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father.

2)     Most will answer:  “No.”

a)     They will say that the Father dwells representatively through the Holy Spirit.

b)     This is where they are inconsistent.  Why don’t they take the indwelling of the Father just as literally as they do Romans 8:9a?

c)     To say that the term dwell means a representative indwelling is doing exactly what those who believe in a representative indwelling through the Word do on passages that speak of the Spirit’s indwelling.

2.     Ephesians 3:17 teaches that Christ dwells in our hearts also.


That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith…


a.     Again, the word “dwell” is the same Greek word found in the other passages.

b.    Does Jesus literally, personally, dwell in us?

1)     If a person says, “Yes,” we now have four spirits dwelling literally within us:  the human spirit, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus the Son.  (NOTE:  Jesus is not a spirit being like the Father and Holy Spirit.  He now has a heavenly body like the one we will possess when we enter into heaven, see I John 3:2).

2)     Most will say that Jesus does not literally indwell, but rather He indwells representatively through the Holy Spirit.  Again, there is an inconsistency in their interpretation and application of the word “dwell.”  If the text says that Jesus indwells, why doesn’t He indwell literally and personally just like the Holy Spirit?

3.     John 6:56 teaches that we can dwell in Christ.


He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me…


a.     Do we literally, personally dwell in Jesus Christ?

b.    No.  We dwell in Him in a figurative way.

4.     In Luke 22:3, the Bible says that Satan “entered” into Judas.


Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.


a.     Did Satan literally, personally enter into this apostle of the Lord?

b.    If one says, “Yes,” there are some problems, especially if it is admitted that Satan can enter into us.

1)     Now we have five spirits that can be in us:  the human spirit, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Satan.

2)     We also must ask, what happens to the Spirits of the members of the Godhead if Satan’s spirit enters into the body of man?

5.     Paul exhorts Christians to let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly (Col. 3:16).


Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom…


a.     If this means a literal indwelling, how is it to be carried out?  Does one have to eat the pages of the Bible?

b.    Most will say that it is a figurative indwelling.  Paul wants the knowledge of God’s word to dwell within us.  The term “word” is put for knowledge because it is from the word that we get the knowledge.


C.   Isn’t all of this interesting?

1.     God, Christ, Satan, and the Word of God can dwell figuratively in the Christian.  We can dwell figuratively in Christ.  With these statements our personal indwelling brethren have no problems.

2.     However, when we say that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian figuratively, they say that we do not know what we are talking about.  Some have even claimed that we are teaching false doctrine.

3.     Brother Richard Curry used to say:  “O, consistency, thou art a jewel.”

D.   There are other passages that those who contend for a personal indwelling will not take literally (See Rom. 8:14).


For as many of you as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.


1.     Does the Holy Spirit lead the child of God personally and literally?  Most will say, “No.”

2.     They believe that the Spirit leads the Christian by means of the Word of God.  (NOTE:  The word of God is not mentioned in the above text.  Why do they believe this is a representative leading?  Why don’t they claim that the Holy Spirit leads literally and personally?)




A.   Two points:

1.     To love God is a choice that each one of us must make (Matt. 22:37-38).

2.     Love involves our actions that are also tied to our choices (John 14:15).


B.    God never manipulates our thoughts or actions to bring us into a loving relationship with Him.  If the Holy Spirit aids us in our endeavors to obey and follow Jesus, our free moral agency is violated.  If not, why not?


C.   Example:  God commands us to be strong.

1.     Verse:  Ephesians 6:10


Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.


2.     Does the Holy Spirit literally, personally assist me to be strong?  If He literally does the strengthening:

a.     I have not made the choice to be strong.  This violates my free moral agency.

b.    I should be strong every time I need to be strong.  This is the Holy Spirit we are said to have inside of us.  He is God.  Thus, He is omnipotent.

3.     The reality is that the Holy Spirit helps me to be strong through the Word.

a.     Ephesians 6:11-17 reveals the “how” of our strength.  We are to put on the whole armor of God.  This is what the Holy Spirit has provided to assist us as Christians to be strong.

b.    NOTE:  Every piece of the armor has to do with the Word of God.

c.    Now, the Christian has a choice.  He can either put the armor on and be strong, or, he can refuse and be susceptible to the enemy.




A.   There are times when one understands the Bible on a certain point and other Christians do not.  There are times when some children of God stand against the temptations of Satan and other children of God yield to the same temptations.


B.    If the same Holy Spirit is dwelling in both Christians, why does this happen?  Does the Holy Spirit help one and not help the other?  Is the Holy Spirit a respecter of persons? 


C.   The Bible teaches that God is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11; Acts 10:34).


For there is no respect of persons with God.




A.   What made Jesus so unique was the fact that He was both human and divine.

1.     Deity was made flesh (John 1:14).

2.     As Emmanuel, Jesus was “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).


B.    If the Holy Spirit is literally, personally, and directly in the human personality, then, to that extent, we, too, are deity.  If not, why not?




A.   Those who believe in a literal, personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit have three problems.

1.     If the Holy Spirit works directly upon the believer apart from the Word of God and we can see and feel it, this is a miraculous operation.

2.     If he works and we do not know when He is working, His “working” is nothing more than a claim.

3.     If the Holy Spirit is working and one does not know it, any claims to His working are subjective in nature.  They are based upon hope-so’s, maybe’s, wishes, and longing.


B.    “Many who contend that this (Acts 2:38) refers to the ordinary gift of the Spirit will immediately argue that the Spirit confers no blessing upon them other than what the natural imparts and yet, as Brother Guy N. Woods has so sagely stated, ‘(a) give them no awareness of his presence, (b) teaches them no truth, (c) offers no protection against error, (d) and requires them to resort to a Book nineteen hundred years old to learn his will through study when he is actually in them and in direct contact with the heart (understanding) all the time!  Is it any case for wonder that those who dwell upon the alleged personal indwelling of the Spirit often go on, like Pat Boone, to believe that the Spirit does indeed move them to act apart from, and independent of the Word of truth – the New Testament?’” (What Do You Know…, ed, Winkler, Taylor, 182-183).


C.   Those who believe the Holy Spirit works through the word have an objective base from which to work.  Example:  temptation

1.     Everyone is going to be tempted.

2.     We need strength from God to overcome these temptations.

3.     The Holy Spirit through the Word empowers us to withstand Satan’s enticements.

a.     We are to crucify my affections and lusts (Gal. 5:24).

b.    We are to to resist the devil (James 4:7).

c.    We are to abstain from fleshly lusts (I Pet. 2:11).

d.    We are to call upon the Word of God to fight against all of the attacks of Satan (Matt. 4:1-11).

4.     If I will obey the Word, the Holy Spirit strengthens me against sin.

a.     Psalm 119:11


They word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.


b.    This is exactly what Jesus did in the wilderness.  Three times we hear the words:  “It is written” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).




A.   The Bible declares that the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).  The faithful cannot do one thing for God that is not done out of faith.


B.    How does faith come?  Romans 10:17 tells us:  “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”


C.   The Bible also says that the Christian is to live by “the faith” (Gal. 2:20).  “The faith” is the system of faith, the New Testament of Jesus Christ (See Acts 6:7; I Tim. 4:1, Jude 3).




A.   If the Holy Spirit is literally within the child of God, what does the Holy Spirit do when sin enters the Christian?  Does he exit the body and return when the Christian repents?  When sin enters the heart of the Christian, it is Satan who has entered into the child of God.  How long will the Holy Spirit dwell in a heart that also has Satan as a resident?


B.    What happens to the Holy Spirit when a Christian dies?  Does the Holy Spirit exit the body at that point?




A.   The Holy Spirit is revealed to us as a speaking Spirit and not as a mute, dumb substance (John 14:16-17; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:13).

1.     If He were literally in the Christian, he would be doing something.

2.     If He were doing something, the Christian would know it.


B.    Many times, Kathleen will say to me:  “I see your father in you.”

1.     My father died in 1997.  He does not literally dwell in me.

2.     However, his influence and teachings direct many aspects of my life.  In that sense, he dwells in me.


C.   When we learn, believe, and follow the teachings of the Holy Spirit found in the Word of God, He dwells within us.  In like manner, the Father and Son also indwell within us (John 14:23).