How Does the Holy Spirit Lead Us?


   All evangelical religionists believe in the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  However, most of them make the mistake of thinking the things they are led to do by their own subjective feelings, their urges, or their experiences are the things the Spirit has led them to do.  Consequently, there are devout and sincere people going off in every direction, all attributing their direction to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  If all of these truly were being led by the Spirit of God, then God would be the author of confusion, but First Corinthians 14:33, declares that, ".God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."  Furthermore, such leadership would be somewhat ambiguous, since it would depend upon our properly interpreting our feelings, our urges, and our experiences.  Would it not be much better if the Holy Spirit just communicated God's message to us by telling us in words what he would have us know? 

   Some will be surprised to know that this is the way the Holy Spirit does now and always has, communicated God's message to man.  How did Adam and Eve know they were not to eat of the tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden?  Was it because of their feelings, their urges, or their experiences?  No, it was because "the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayst freely eat:  but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it:  for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:16-17). 

   How did God lead Noah to know that he was to build an ark?  Was it by causing him to have certain feelings, certain urges, or certain experiences?  No, it was like this:  "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch" (Gen. 6:13-14).  

   How did God let Abraham know he wanted him to leave his home country and move into a land God would show him?  Was it by causing him to have certain feelings, certain urges, or certain experiences?  No, the answer is at Gen. 12:1, "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee." 

   As one journeys through the Bible, he will observe that God's message to man was always communicated by speaking words to him, and never by a person's feelings, urges, or experiences. 



A.     Numerous passages show that the Holy Spirit is a Speaking Spirit.

1.          David declared, "The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue" (2 Sam. 23:2).

2.          Peter said, "Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus" (Acts 1:16).

3.          Paul wrote, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" (2 Tim. 4:1).

4.          The 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation contains letters from the Lord to the seven churches of Asia.  In each of those letters may be found the admonition, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).

5.          These passages show that the Spirit's manner of communicating His message to man is by speaking words. 


A.     It has never been the case that the Holy Spirit communicated God's message to the masses of people by speaking to each one personally and individually.

1.          Instead, God has selected certain ones as His spokesmen, inspired those spokesmen with the Holy Spirit and those spokesmen then infallibly delivered God's message to the masses.

a.       This was true during the days before the flood.  Noah was a "preacher of righteousness" (2 Pet. 2:5), and it was "by the Spirit" that he preached during those days "while the ark was a preparing" (1 Pet. 3:18-20).  

1 Pet. 3:18-20, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."

b.   Note that the Holy Spirit spoke to those of Noah's day through Noah rather than through every individual. 

B.     The law that was given at Mt. Sinai was for the entire nation of Israel, but it was given to the people through God's spokesman, Moses. 

John 1:17, "For the law was given by Moses."

1.          While the people were living under the Law of Moses, when God had a message for His people, He spoke to them through the prophets. 

Heb. 1:1, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets." 


A.     When Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, appeared to Zacharias, the one who would be father of John the Baptist, to announce the upcoming birth of the forerunner of Christ, he told him that John would be "filled with the Holy Ghost" (Lk. 1:15).

1.          God could have sent His Holy Spirit to each Jew personally and individually, but He did not.

2.          He selected John the Baptist as the one who would preach to the people, bringing them to repent and be baptized. 

Mk. 1:4, "John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

a.       Jesus referred to John as a prophet, and much more than a prophet (Luke 7:26).

b.      He also states that those who were not baptized with John's baptism "rejected the counsel of God against themselves" (Luke 7:30).

(1)   In refusing to be led by the preaching of John the Baptist, they were actually refusing to be led by the Holy Spirit. 

B.     Jesus, after He was raised from the dead, gave what we call the Great Commission to His apostles (Mk. 16:15; Matt. 28:19).

1.          Jesus could have sent the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to each person individually and personally.

a.       Instead, He sent the Holy Spirit to supply the message the apostles would preach.

b.      Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles unto all truth.

 John 14:26, "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." 

John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you unto all truth:  for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:  and he will show you things to come." 

C.     Peter said of the writers of the Old Testament that "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:21).

                 1.  This is also true of the inspired writers of the New Testament.        


A.     Does God have some additional messages to be revealed to us, or is the Bible His complete revelation?

1.          The Bible itself answers that question. 

2 Pet. 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:" 

2 Tim. 3:16-17, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instructions in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 

2.          There is no need or authority for additional revelation.  So-called latter day revelations were not given by the Holy Spirit. 

B.     But many religious people do not accept the Bible as the complete and only authority in religious matters.

1.          Ask a Catholic what he thinks about the Bible, and he will tell you that it is God's book, but is authoritative only in the hands of recognized Catholic scholars.

2.          Ask a Mormon what he thinks about the Bible, and he will say it is God's book, but is not complete without the writings of Joseph Smith.

3.          The average denominational preacher uses the Bible a great deal, but also urges people to do what they "feel led to do," or to do "whatever the Lord lays on your heart."

4.          In recent years some who formerly embraced the Bible as the sole authority in religion and as God's complete and final revelation have done an about face and are now claiming some leadership of the Holy Spirit in addition to the Bible.

5.          All of these have to go outside the Bible because they cannot find authorization in the scriptures for many of the things that they practice and teach. 


A.     Sinners must be led by the Spirit in order to become Christians, but as we have seen, the only leadership provided by the Spirit is contained in the Bible.  

B.     Question:  Does the Bible provide the kind of guidance in leading and directing an alien sinner on how to be saved?  Answer:  Indeed, it does! 

1.          Justification is by faith. 

Rom. 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"

a.       How does the Spirit produce faith in the heart of the sinner? 

Rom. 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."                                       

2.          Repentance is also necessary. 

Acts 17:30-31, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead."

a.       How does the Spirit bring about repentance?

2 Cor. 7:10, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:  but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 

Rom. 2:4, "Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

b.      No one ever experiences any godly sorrow or knows anything about the goodness of God other than from the Bible.

3.          When one confesses his faith in Christ as the Son of God (Matt. 10:32), he is confessing that which he learned from the Bible.

4.          The penitent believer who has confessed his faith in Jesus Christ must then be baptized in order to have his sins forgiven.

(Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16: Gal. 3:27).

a.       Can the Holy Spirit lead him to be baptized?  Yes!  How?  He does not do so supernaturally, but by the inspired Word, the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Acts 2:41, "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized:  and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls."

5.          Every thing that is required of us in becoming Christians and living the Christian life is found in the Bible. 

Conclusion Either the Bible is our only guide, or it is not our guide at all.  It was written to be understood by all who are accountable unto God.  Eph. 3:1-6,

--Dub Mowery