Lectures On The Holy Spirit
by Gus Nichols
A Synopsis by Scott Harp - 03.2017
In June 1967, the Nichols Brothers Publishing Company released a book entitled, "Lectures On The Holy Spirit." In it was a series of eleven transcribed lessons, with corrections, that were recorded in a meeting Gus Nichols conducted at the Walnut Hills church of Christ in Dallas, Texas. This was the congregation where Hardeman Nichols was the preacher. With large crowds each morning and evening, brother Nichols taught on the subject with plainness and simplicity.
BIRTH OF THE SPIRIT – page 7ff – A Study of John 3
Man's spirit, that which makes him who he is, is that which needs saving. It is the eternal part that survives the body. While the fleshly part benefits, the main thrust is the inner man/ the spirit/essence of man. If he allows the Holy Spirit to lead him through the word, he will survive eternally. On page 10,11 he discusses John 3:8 "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst from whence it come and where it goes." He explains that this is the soul being transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear Son." (Col. 1:13). How the H.S. uses the word to convict men. Describing the Spirit's work in conversion, he illustrates with his right hand representing the H.S., and his left hand the heart of the alien sinner. Does the H.S. operate upon the heart of the sinner directly (hits his left hand), or through a medium (hits his left hand with a Bible). Lists several Scriptures to denote the latter.
BORN OF GOD AND LED BY THE SPIRIT – page 19ff.
Through the gospel preached. It is God's only way to provide new birth. The Holy Spirit leads through revelation. Discusses 1 John 3:9 – "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." Self-Control. There is a blessing in forgiveness. Then there is a second blessing – "I don't want to sin any more." Maybe some conjecture here, later in the book when developing the value of the H.S. being in a saved person in a non-miraculous way, one of the benefits he suggests is that knowing the Spirit is residing in you, it makes you not want to sin any more. Like if Jesus lived across the street from you. The last part of the lesson is a discussion on three kinds of people: the willful sinner, the backslider, and the faithful Christian.
HOLY SPIRIT AND THE SPIRIT WORLD – page 39ff.
Uses several illustrations to explain how things are present that you cannot see. Notes Heb. 11:3 – Talk about the atom, gravity, wind, electricity, our mind (Joe Warlick and the atheist – five senses. illustration on p.42) He follows with, the Holy Spirit is invisible, but he is present. We struggle to understand it all. (Illustrations on 45 – the flea on an elephant, or spider beside a train track understanding the whole railroad system of the US). Christ is a Spirit now. Human beings are spirits. Angels are spirit beings. The Holy Spirit is invisible. Said, people imagine that the Holy Spirit is revealing something to them, but he only reveals things through the Word. (Q&As)
HOLY SPIRIT AND REVELATION – page 58ff.
This lesson develops the attributes of the Holy Spirit as revealed in the Scriptures. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21 KJV) – Old and New Testament – Holy Spirit moved men to write what God wanted people to know. Deals with Gen. 6:3 "My spirit shall not always strive with men." Shows the Holy Spirit is interested in and strives with men. Words revealed by Holy Spirit were what changed them then, and now. Holy Spirit does not force men to be better. Prov. 1:23 – "I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you." Holy Spirit knows – 1 Cor. 2:11; Holy Spirit Grieves – Eph. 4:30. Holy Spirit can be vexed – Isaiah 63:10; Holy Spirit is a Comforter – John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:7. He comforts by His Word. He does not comfort directly, only through the word (p.67). He is a He – John 16:13. KJV renders "it" but "in the better translations" refer to Him as a He. He Begets – with the word of truth, James 1:18; He is a guide – John 16:13 – Uses illustration made by J.W. McGarvey on p.67 where he said the Holy Spirit guiding the writers of Scripture like a man guides a horse drawn buggy. As long as the horse is going straight, he leaves him to do his thing, but if he needs him to go right or left he will tug at the reigns. Holy Spirit did similar in giving the Word. Explaining Romans 8:16 he said the Holy Spirit does not bear "to" our spirits, but with our spirits, that we are children of God. Anything "to" our spirits comes from the word. However "with" in the sense that he is there. A matter of faith. He is there with us. Holy Spirit could teach – John 14:26. Holy Spirit could hear – John 16:13; Holy Spirit could speak – Rev. 2:7. He taught apostles what to speak – 1 Cor. 2:13 – Speaks to us through what was revealed. Holy Spirit could witness – Acts 20:23; Holy Spirit could be resisted – Neh. 9:30. We do not need anything additional from the Holy Spirit than He has revealed in the Scriptures. Rev. 22:18-19. (Q&A's – p.75ff many about indwelling, explains some, but explains he'll get to it later)
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – page 87ff.
Was promised – Matt. 3:11-12; It is an immersion (discussion of the word "baptism" its meaning) – "voluminous measure." Christ is to administer Holy Spirit baptism, not through Apostles' hands. What Holy Spirit baptism is NOT: Baptism of Great Commission in Matt. 28:19. Lists 14 differences in "water baptism" and "HS baptism" Holy Spirit baptism was promised to the apostles – Follows Jesus' discussion in Acts 1 & 2 denoting pronouns that connect to antecedents, e.g. them, whom, they, ye, etc. referring back to the noun, "apostles." Showing it went to apostles only. – Then "baptism of fire" was not given on Pentecost, but referring to judgment for those who reject the gospel, that would begin to be pronounced that day. Holy Spirit baptism was visible and audible. The apostles were producing the miracles. He suggests that with 11 apostles all speaking in different languages, it would have been enough to cover the 15 countries being represented on that day. The miracle was not being done on the people, but on the apostles. Lists 17 reasons why the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit. House of Cornelius in Acts 10 received baptism of Holy Spirit, but not with the same measure as was given to the Apostles. Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius BEFORE they heard the word. He did this once. Doesn't do it now, as Calvinists teach. There is but ONE baptism now – water baptism – Eph. 4:5. (Q&A – p.114ff)
HOLY SPIRIT AND MIRACULOUS GIFTS – page 121ff.
Camps out on John 3:34 – "For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure." (John 3:34 ESV) – 4 measures given. 1. Christ completely; 2. Apostles – Baptism of the Holy Spirit; 3. Apostles laid on hands "A" measure – Acts 8:18;19:6; 4. "Ordinary Gift" – given at baptism – Acts 2:38. He gives background on the work of the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity in miracles of creation, the beginning of the patriarchal age; the miracles that began the Jewish age – Egypt and up to Sinai; the beginning of the Christian age – miracles. Then breaks down Holy Spirit involvement in the Christian Age. Beginning with John, the Baptist – "filled with the Holy Ghost" but no miracles – Luke 1:15; Then the "Messenger" Christ comes. He would go away and send His Spirit. In previous lesson he listed 17 reasons why the apostles needed the Holy Spirit. In this lesson he lists 24, revisiting some of the things mentioned in the previous lessons. The Holy Spirit was to convict the world (through the word preached) etc. 3000 converted by the "word" of the Spirit. The WORD was confirmed with signs and wonders. Revisits Holy Spirit baptism and its limitation to the Apostles, and to the house of Cornelius. Discusses how Holy Spirit was passed on through laying on of hands through apostles as with the Samaritans in Acts 8. The twelve at Ephesus – Acts 19; Discusses the 9 miraculous gifts discussed in 1 Cor. 12. Concludes with illustration – the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in the first century was like ladders and scaffolding used to build a building. Once the building was finished, the scaffolding is taken away. Same with Holy Spirit's miraculous work in the 1st century. (Q&A's p.148ff)
INDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT – page 155ff.
This is GN's discussion on the gift of the Holy Spirit (THOTHS). Most controversial of his discussions – 3 basic possibilities: 1. The Holy Spirit either (1) really and truly dwells in us—faithful Christians—in a personal manner, or (2) he dwells in us in some other manner, or (3) else he does not dwell in us at all. This latter position would force one to make void many plain and easily-understood scriptures. Dismisses the 3rd, and discusses in the lesson (1) and (2). Stresses need to not be divisive, must maintain unity. Begins by talk about our spirit. Can't examine our minds with 5 senses, but it is there. Looks at verses that say the Holy Spirit dwells in us – Acts 2:38; 5:32; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 1 Thess. 4:8; Jude 19; Eph. 1:13 – these all teach we have the Holy Spirit in us. GN believes the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Then, deals with several theories that would logically DENY Holy Spirit dwells in us: 1. "TGOTHS" is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – lists 7 reasons why this is not possible – fuller discussion in lesson back on p.87ff. 2. "TGOTHS" is "Laying on of a measure of the Holy Spirit." The gift was a promise that the apostles would lay their hands on them. Shows the disciples at Rome had the "ordinary" gift without laying on of hands, cf. Rom. 1:11, so Rom. 8:9-11 had to be understood in that light. Lists 8 reasons this idea is impossible. 3. "TGOTHS" "Must Be Miraculous If He Is In Us" Lists 5 reasons that is not right. 4. "TGOTHS" is representatively – by the word indwelling. Lists 21 reasons why that can't be, but especially how the Spirit's WORD was given BEFORE baptism in its preaching. The Holy Spirit himself, was given ONLY to Christians. 5. "TGOTHS" is salvation or remission of sins. Explains that salvation is for the lost. The Holy Spirit is for the saved. Lists 5 reasons against this view. 6. "TGOTHS" is the "Gift Of Eternal Life" – Give 2 refutations – mainly "eternal life" is after this life. Gift of Holy Spirit is for this life. Refers back to the list he gave at first to show Holy Spirit is for now. 7. "TGOTHS" is the Influence of the Holy Spirit – 7 reasons not possible – mainly shows that the influence of the Holy Spirit comes through the Word. However, KNOWING He's in us SHOULD cause us to live differently, like if Jesus lived across the street from us, we'd act differently. 8. "TGOTHS" is "Human Spirits Made Holy." That when baptized they would receive a "holy" human "spirit." 2 answers – mainly that the Holy Spirit promised himself, not that your spirit was what was given. 9. "TGOTHS" is a gift given BY the Holy Spirit. 2 points of disagreement – mainly that Holy Spirit was the gift, not something HE would give. 10. "TGOTHS" is the promise that the Holy Spirit will dwell in the church. 5 reasons this is false. He comments, "It seems that some think the Holy Spirit can dwell anywhere except in a Christian." Argues the if in Church, it must be in Christians since, Christian ARE the church. Not the building. Concludes with 15 things to avoid in this controversy. Reiterates that Holy Spirit as a gift, and He gave no new information beyond revelation. Says there is not a true religious idea today which is not found in the word of God. (Q&A – p. 181ff) Appears that the biggest benefit to his presence in us is the KNOWLEDGE we have that He is there. It forces us to act in a better way. 1 Cor. 3 & 6
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – page 183
Warning: Get Kleenex for this one! - A morning session – Study of Galatians 5 – Introduces what the works of the flesh are, and what the fruit of the Spirit is. Fruit comes from seed! The seed is the WORD of God – Luke 8:11; The Holy Spirit makes Christians through the WORD preached. The WORD bears good fruit. Must have true doctrine to have good fruit. Man must cultivate the soil to make it become good ground as in parable of the sower. Good environment, good soil – a fruit tree comes. It should be noted that the "fruit" is not miraculous – no miracles listed. Discusses Love (Old John – p.198), Joy, Peace, Longsuffering (Sister Barnwell – p.201), Kindness, Faithfulness, Meekness, Temperance.
UNITY OF THE SPIRIT – page 206
Study of Ephesians 4:1-4. Ephesus had been promised and sealed with the Holy Spirit – Eph. 1:13; 4:30. They were told to be filled with the Holy Spirit – Eph. 5:18. Thru their worship – v.19. Holy Spirit can be accessed for continual growth through the word. Gives Prerequisites to Unity – 1. I Beseech you brethren – 4:1; 2. Must agree; 3. A worthy walk; 4. Your vocation. A Hindrance to unity is living in a secular world. We must not compromise; We must have forbearance with one another; Must be longsuffering; Must Love one another. Unity IS of the Spirit. Holy Spirit leads us when we follow His instruction in the WORD. Discusses the seven ones: One body; One Spirit; One Hope and One Faith; One Lord; One baptism; One God; The Bible is the basis of unity. Discussed general and specific authority. Sites the pioneers as "In matters of faith we should have unity, in matters of opinion or human judgment, liberty, and in all things charity." Gives examples of some divisions on p.229. Let us not loose where God bound, or bind where God loosed.
BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE SPIRIT OR THE UNPARDONABLE SIN – page 231
Speaking against the Holy Spirit is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. A certain kind of blasphemy, not just blasphemy. Context of Matthew 12:31-32 – Jesus has healed a man possessed with a devil, blind and dumb. V. 22-23. Jesus is accused of casting out the demon by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. Jesus points out the fallacy of such argument – the devil divided against his house can't stand. He casted out by the Spirit of God. v.28. Hence, they were calling the action of the Holy Spirit an unclean thing. Explains eternal outcome of saying such – Mark 3:29. "in this age and the age to come" – not eternity, but dispensational, not in Jewish or Christian age. Jesus' miracles were to confirm his claim, (John 20:30,31), to deny the power he used to prove it was the sin. GN doubted anyone could commit this sin today as the gospel message is the only means of convicting today, not the miraculous. Dispels the idea that the unpardonable sin is simply not obeying the gospel. All sins committed today are pardonable.
Some Illustrations In The Book
"Sin has its pleasure for sinful people, people whose hearts are wicked. But it also has a stinger in it. A mother's little child was being cared for by a maid. Little Johnny was crying and the mother told her to give him whatever he wanted. Little Johnny cried out again in a moment. The mother said, "I said give little Johnny what he wants" and the maid gave it to him about that time. And then little Johnny screamed even louder. The mother said, "I said give little Johnny what he wants." The maid said, "That's the trouble, he wanted this yellow jacket that was crawling here on the floor and when he got it, he found out he didn't want it." It had a stinger in it! And that is true of sin. Millions of people have been stung nearly to death by their sins." – Gus Nichols, Lectures on the Holy Spirit, page 199.
Speaking On The Fruit Of The Spirit – "Love" - Love is liberal. I overheard a mother and her daughter talking just before "Easter" in an adjoining room to mine, when I was away in a meeting. The daughter said, "Mother what are we going to be able to do for Easter?1' She said, "Darling, your daddy and I have already talked it over." (They were just poor people, like most of us.) She said, "We have talked that over and I am going to re-do my hat and my old suit and we are going to buy you a new outfit." I thought that is just like a mother to say we will re-do my old outfit and we will get Mary a new outfit for Easter. That is just like love, and oh, how this old world does need it! It is crying out for it! And there are so few people responding to the call, and the cry of great need. – Gus Nichols, Lectures on the Holy Spirit, page 196.
Speaking On The Fruit Of The Spirit – "Longsuffering" – Gus Nichols said – "I was preaching in a meeting and a lady came forward with a large number of others—enough to make twenty-three to be baptized in the entire meeting. Only a few came that morning to be baptized, the most of them were restorations. But when Sister Barnwell came right behind her husband and was seated, I was surprised. She had the reputation of being the best woman in town—the best woman in that church, at least. They lived three miles out and when nobody in the family cared enough about the Lord to worship, she still cared and she would walk in to town three miles in bad weather, and worship, and walk back and then cook dinner for the rest of them. What a godly, wonderful woman she was. And when I got to her to see why she had come, I said, "Sister Barnwell, why have you come?" She was crying and she said, "I don't know, Brother Nichols, why I came. The first thing I knew I was down here. You see, this is my husband, and I have prayed forty-one years to see this." That is longsuffering. Sometimes it takes a long time to get a big job done—converting a husband or a wife. You could move a mountain and you wouldn't do anything comparable to that. – Gus Nichols, Lectures on the Holy Spirit, page 201.
When things seem to be working toward my destruction, God is working things for my good. "Old John" was the blind mule about the old home and the father had said to the boys that he wished Old John would die. He was blind and had been turned out to die. They didn't want to kill him. They loved Old John. He had been a faithful old mule all of his life. One day while the father was away, Old John fell into a deep pit about the place and the boys said this was their opportunity to get rid of Old John. "We are going to bury him alive." And they got their shovels and started shoveling dirt on him and as it would fall in on his back, he would shake it off. He would tramp around and stay on top, just like a Christian always wants to stay on top of his problems, instead of being subdued by them, overcome instead of being overcome by the world. And when they got him. buried alive. Old John went walking off! The thing that they had calculated would destroy him had turned out to be the only way in the world that they could have gotten him out. – Gus Nichols, Lectures on the Holy Spirit, page 198.
Speaking Of Invisible Things We Can't See, But Know Is There, To Understand the Holy Spirit "Right here in Dallas, once lived a preacher of the gospel and defender thereof by the name of Joe Warlick. He was about to catch a train out of the city to some point and a little boy came into the depot with a Bible under his arm. An atheist was sitting by who said, "What is that you have under your arm?" The boy said, "My Bible." "Well," he said, "you don't believe in God, do you?" "O, yes," he said, "I believe in God" "You go to Sunday School?" "Yes." "Did you ever see God?" "No." "Did you ever contact him with any of your five senses?" And he enumerated them. "No." "Well, how do you know there is a God, then?" Well, the little fellow was very much embarrassed and Warlick then took his part and said to the atheist, "Do you have a mind or are you an idiot?" He said, "That is an insulting question. Of course I have a mind." "How do you know you have a mind? Did you ever see it? Did you ever smell it? Did you ever feel it? Did you ever taste it?" and so forth. He said, "No." "Well, you are an idiot then. You can't believe in God because you have never seen him, and yet you claim to believe that you have a mind when the facts are that you have never seen it either. According to your logic and reasoning you would have to be an idiot, to be consistent." So there are those who claim they can't believe in God because of the fact they've not seen God." – Gus Nichols, Lectures on the Holy Spirit, page 42.
webpage produced: 02.21.2017
Courtesy Of Scott Harp