We would like to take a moment to give honor where honor is due. In this article we quote extensively from William Law's final work entitled, "An Humble, Earnest, and Affectionate Address to the Clergy." Of all Law's writings, his Affectionate Address is the most important. It contains his finial appeal to Christendom; the last pages were finished a few many days before his death in 1761. In this work, he sets forth the most urgent need of the 18th century Church, i.e., the recovery of "the continual immediate guidance, unction, and teaching of the Holy Spirit."
Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, William Wilberforce, Henry Venn, Thomas Scott, Andrew Murray, Norman Grubb and Watchman Nee were a few of the untold thousands who were directly or indirectly influenced by Law’s Address. Andrew Murray said of it, "I do not know where to find anywhere else the same clear and powerful statement of the truth which the Church needs at the present day…nowhere have I met with anything that brings the truth of our dependence on the continual leading of the Spirit, and the assurance that that leading can be enjoyed without interruption, so home to the heart as this teaching ...which I believe to be entirely scriptural, and to supply what many are looking for." To this we add a resounding Amen! It is written in old English and is a bit difficult to read, but if you take the time, you will conclude, as we have, that this address still speaks to our most pressing need.
While most Christians agree that the Church is a spiritual organism, enlivened and led by divine life, they seem to ignore the logical implications of this reality and live as though it were merely an institution, led by consensus rule. This is tantamount to believing that a marionette is a living boy. Though it might dance across the stage, singing, "there are no strings on me," by its very nature an institution is animated by strings and wires manipulated by ambitious men. Living organisms live, move and have their being by virtue of the life within them. All order and direction proceeds from that inner life. A living organism takes on a form predetermined by the DNA of the life within it, ordered by its Father/Creator. An institution, on the other hand, lives by some preconceived bureaucratic model and the energy to achieve that goal is purely political in nature. The rules and traditions that govern institutions and the order of them all too often proceed from the minds of men who lust after control and dominance. Clayt Sonmore described how these wolves take over. They first of all "Doctrinate -- then isolate -- then denominate -- then dominate."
Paul the Apostle warned, "…after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." In most cases, these wolves and perverse teachers use the scriptures to convince others to follow them, using the very words of God to make disciples after themselves rather than unto Jesus and His Spirit. /p>
Jesus Himself warned, "Take heed that no one may lead you astray, for many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and they shall lead many astray." Notice that He did not say that they would claim to be the Christ but that they would say that Jesus is the Christ and use Him and Him words to lead others astray. Anyone who has been in a Christian cult knows just how well this works. False leaders point to Jesus while drawing away the disciples after themselves, in most cases using the scriptures to do so.
What is our safeguard against such error? Has God made a provision to keep us from being lead astray by the whims and doctrines of men? Jesus put it this way, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Error and truth are spiritual issues, not doctrinal issues. "From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error," John boldly proclaimed. "We are of God. He who knows God hears us. The one who is not of God does not hear us." How did John receive such confidence except through the Spirit of truth? He continues, "By this test we can distinguish the Spirit of truth from the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6). Paul wrote, "But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God." (1 Corinthians 2:12 WEB). How do we know? How can we avoid deception? We either err or walk in truth depending on which spirit/Spirit we follow. Having our doctrinal ducks in a row means little here. The real test is do we have the Spirit of Truth? This alone determines whether a person or congregation is true or false. Which spirit/Spirit are we following?
In his provocative article, The Gospel and the Spirit of Biblicism, Robert D. Brinsmead explained the tragic shifts that took place early in the church. These shifts nullified divine life from within, trading it for form and regimen from without. He tells us how this prophetic community, once led exclusively by the Spirit, changed into an institution, governed by the reign and rules of men.
"The prophetic spirit was quenched. The Christian Scripture became a rigid Christian Torah, a rule book for everything Christians must believe and teach. The gospel became a new law. Faith was confounded with orthodoxy, which was really theological legalism. The church ceased to be a charismatic community and became an institution. Instead of the Spirit there were rules. Instead of the priesthood of all believers there was wretched clericalism. Instead of the Spirit and presence of the living Christ there were religious canned goods. Instead of the living gospel there was dead ideology. Instead of freedom there was bondage. Yet, like the Pharisees, we have desperately tried to substitute an incredible devotion to the letter of Holy Scripture for the prophetic spirit. Instead of having the certainty which the Spirit inspires, we have looked for certainty in endless apologetics and theories of textual inerrancy."
A call to return to the Life and Light
The effects of this falling away from a Spirit led life to a purely letter-dependent life are still with us. Like Samson, today's churches shake themselves as if to put the hoards of hell to flight, but they do not realize that the presence and power of the Lord has departed. They are blind to the fact that they are treading out the same routine weekly and weakly in the meager power of the flesh.
Few would deny that today's denominated churches are conspicuously far afield from the Church of 2000 years ago that turned the world upside down by the power of God. This discrepancy has given rise to extensive talk and writing about Church reform in hopes of recovering the Church's lost dynamic.
There is one major problem with this. Most of these teachings and writings are based on the supposition that if we find the right pattern or the right regimen we will experience the life and power the early believers knew. This "Field of Dreams" mentality, "Build it and they will come," is a clear case of the cart pushing the horse.
In all God's creation, life precedes form and function. Latent within the acorn is the mighty oak. The kingdom of God is no exception to this rule. What at first seems no more substantial than a mustard seed, difficult to see and handle, with time and the right conditions grows into the largest of herbs. So is it with the things of God. Life precedes form and function. All form and function of the early church was the spontaneous expression of the overflowing life within. They did not try to be the Church. This was the last thing on their minds. They were not churched or unchurched. They did not go out to preach "church" or hold seminars on proper church structure or church growth.
No, the focus of these primitive believers was purely upon the Christ living, by His Spirit, in the midst of them, individually and corporately. They were being nurtured and brought into conformity to the divine plan and purpose by the life of the Spirit. They followed Christ and realized His promise, "I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Take careful note of the words "light of life."
John begins his gospel, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and the life was the light of men" (John 1:1 and 4). There is a very important truth here that has been largely lost to the present day Church and must be recovered if we are to know true Church reform. The Life IS the Light! Spiritual understanding only comes through union with divine Life and that Life is in the Son. "He who has the Son has life…" Not until the life of God is resident in man, through the indwelling Christ, can he know His light, for the darkness of the fallen nature of man cannot comprehend it. (John 1:5). The Psalmist wrote, "For with you is the fountain of LIFE: in your light we see light" (Psalms 36:9 NKJV). Those who follow the inner prompting of the Spirit of Christ will never walk in darkness because they will know the Light that comes from Life.
We believe that Christendom has elevated the head-knowledge of the word (the letter) to a place usurping the experiential knowledge of the living Word (Jesus). Jesus' words to the Pharisees ring as true today as ever, "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life" (John 5:39-40 WEB).
Anyone who uses the Bible as a rulebook does not understand the God-intended purpose of scripture. "The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.” Whatever our doctrine, if it does not lead us to an intimate knowledge of Christ, it misses God's mark completely. The scriptures were written that we might "believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God," and that believing we might "have life in His name." The scriptures point to Jesus, yet how sad that many refuse to come to Him. We can find no evidence that Jesus taught his followers to live strictly by a rulebook. He did say that God gave the Old Testament scriptures to bring the reader to Himself. Likewise, the Gospels and the Epistles are not a rule book by which we independently and systematically attempt to approach God in our own merit. They are witnesses of Him, by whose blood we are accepted in the beloved. Christ is the substance that the scriptures give witness of. The scripture is a mirror that reflects His image. They were given to verify the existence and reality of a Person and lead the readers to Him.
My (George's) father fought in the Philippines during the last world war. My older sister Ellen was born while Dad was away fighting. Mother, having a desire for Ellen to know who her father was, would often show Ellen a picture of Dad, telling her, "Here is your Father." In time, Dad's picture became an important part of Ellen's life. Sometimes she would carry it around with her as she played, as though it gave her a sense of security.
At last, the fighting was over, and Mom saw Dad coming up the pathway. She ran and fell on his neck weeping. Her long wait was over! Her lover was home at last! What a reunion it was. Ellen, now about three years old, came out to see why Mom was hugging this strange man. Noticing the somewhat bewildered look upon little Ellen's face, Mom said, "Ellen, this is your Father." An even more troubled look crept over little Ellen's face as she turned and ran into the house. Moments later she returned with Dad's picture. "No!" Ellen shouted, hugging Dad's picture tightly, "This is my Father!" It took some time before Ellen would accept the real version of Dad. She had something that bore his likeness that had taken Dad's place in his absence, and even viewed the one whose likeness it bore as an adversary.
The difference between Mom and Ellen was that Mom knew the real Dad, whereas Ellen had only seen his picture. Mom knew him intimately whereas Ellen did not. To Mother, Dad's picture inspired fond memories of someone whose embrace she dearly missed and longed for. To Ellen it pointed to someone that she did not know but was about to meet and come to love deeply. Dad died a few years back and one of the things that Ellen requested was that old picture of Dad. She doesn't pack it around with here as she goes about her business anymore, but she does look at it. When she looks at it now, she remembers the love and kindness of a person whom she affectionately calls Dad.
Many prefer a literary, textbook approach to God. They study the scriptures, thinking they have eternal life. They choose shadow over reality. The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy! The scriptures are a wonderful blessing as a guide to Christ, but they are a love-letter, not our Lover.
William Law describes our respect for the scriptures and their true value.
Read whatever chapter of Scripture you will, and be ever so delighted with it--yet it will leave you as poor, as empty and unchanged as it found you unless it has turned you wholly and solely to the Spirit of God, and brought you into full union with and dependence upon Him. For delight in matters of Scripture can be nothing but the carnal emotion of a fallen Adam-nature unless this delight finds its source in the inspiration of God as He quickens His own life and nature within the heart. Nothing less than this union with God by the power of His Holy Spirit is intended by the Law, the Prophets, or the Gospels. Both Old and New Testaments bear full witness to this truth, calling men back from the spirit of Satan, the flesh, and the world, to be indwelt and possessed by the Holy Spirit of God, who alone can be the fulfiller of all that to which the Scriptures testify.
Should we study the scriptures? Absolutely! The problem is not the study of the scriptures, but the misguided belief that they are the Source, the Well-spring of life. The scriptures are a witness, and like any good witness, they do not testify of themselves but point to Him who is the fountain of Life. It pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell in Christ, the Son (Colossians 1:19). The Light is in the Life. He that has the Son has Life. We will know IF we follow on to know the Lord!
The early believers lived by the Life of the Son of God. From this seed sprang the most glorious expression of the Church ever--an entirely new expression or order that challenged all previous concepts and constructs, turning the world on its head.
The old wineskin of Judaism could not contain this New Wine, which was ever expanding and continually bursting previous patterns. This was quite revolutionary even to these early believers. This required a constant stretching and unending reformation to the unfolding purposes of God. This was especially true of the Jerusalem believers, who at first clung to many of the traditions of Judaism.
True church reform, revival, or what ever you choose to call it, has nothing to do with getting the pattern right. Failing to understand this has led reformers to fall far short of the purposes and heart of God in the past. True reformation is not the regaining a previous pattern but is the restoration of the Spirit's rightful place as leader of Christ's ekklesia. Let he who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Even the Old Testament testifies of this great need, that alone can fill our hunger, "…man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD."
This is the reform desperately needed today--living by every word that proceeds, moment by moment, from the mouth of God. We need to stop trying to look and act like the church and allow the Father to birth a corporate expression of His Son in and through us by His Spirit. Jesus' Life brings the Light, and form and function will follow, but it will not be our doing. The man child that is born will have the DNA of his Father. Is it presumption to believe that, given enough time and nourishment, a child will take on the likeness and passions of his father? We see it in the natural all the time. It is the same with God and His family. "People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin" (1 John 3:9, The Message). The God-begotten Church cannot continue to practice anything that is inconsistent with the Seed or divine principle of life within it. In living in keeping with the true nature of this divine seed, true life and light emerge.
What calls itself the church today is clearly a transgression of the very nature of God in that it continues in the sin of refusing to live solely by His life. Paul exhorts, "If we are living by the Spirit's power, let our conduct also be governed by the Spirit's power" (Galatians 5:25). Most Christians agree that you must be born again, and that this birth requires a Spirit-wrought miracle, but few will take this to its logical conclusion as Paul did in the passage above. Those who live by the Spirit's power have a further obligation to walk by the Life and Light of the Spirit. The reformation-call to the Church today is a call to be empowered by the divine life.
The Great Lie
Satan has fabricated a web of lies to scare believers away from this reformation. He has branded those who follow the Spirit as mystics, fanatics, and "so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good." Many of the learned masters of Christendom today behave as though Paul's words in second Corinthians three six read, "The Spirit kills but the letter gives life." They constantly issue warnings about the dangers of being lead solely by the Spirit of God. They say that since the closing of the canon of scripture, God no longer speaks to us directly by His Spirit, but speaks to us through the Bible only. With such logic they have effectively created a religion as safe from the Spirit and resurrection power of God as that of the Sadducees.
If you say that God speaks to you by His Spirit, they look at you as though you are demon possessed or, at best, in rebellion. This is especially so if what you are hearing does not fall in step with the official party line. When you cast the Spirit's pearls before men like these, they will not only trample them in their quagmire of church doctrine, but are likely to shred you as well. One pastor said that he had a real problem with those who say, "God told me this or that," because "to disagree with them was to disagree with God." There may be more truth to this than he realized. Those who would know true Church reform must overcome these lies and overcome their fears of being led by the Spirit instead of the traditions and opinions of men.
The abuses of those individuals who profess that the Spirit leads them when they are really led by their own lusts complicate this matter greatly. Remember, when Jesus was lead by the Spirit, He laid down His life in obedience to the Father in the way of the cross. When Peter tried to dissuade Him from walking this path, Jesus replied, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling-block to me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men."
The one who is a stumbling-block to those who follow the inner prompting of God's Spirit, even thinking he is saving them in doing so, speaks for Satan, not God. Busybodies who quench the Spirit in an effort to root out error and keep the people on the straight and narrow deaden the individual saint's ability to hear the voice of God. They replace God’s voice with their own. In reaction to the spiritual oddness of a few demented souls, they continually warn of the dangers of the Spirit-led life. But it is those who lay their hearts before God and submit to His purifying fires that will see Him as He is. These will not only know the truth, but walk in the light of life.
Let us use a natural illustration to make our point. If we were to deal with possible dangers in our natural lives in the same manner in which Christendom attempts to avoid error, we would stay safely nestled in our beds, afraid to roll over for fear of falling out. Should riding bicycles, driving cars, flying in airplanes, hang gliding and the like be strictly forbidden because people have previously been injured and killed doing these things? Should we get rid of our cars because people are daily maimed by them? So what if some do the oddest things, saying that they were led of the Spirit to do so? Should we discourage people from following the leading of the Spirit because some err? When our children are injured on their bicycles, do we throw the bike in the garbage and never let them near another one? Or do we encourage them to overcome their fears, get back on and grow from the experience? We know intuitively that overprotection can establish a pattern of defeat in their lives, so we encourage them to brush aside the pain of skinned knees and elbows, get back on and ride.
This is not the approach commonly taken when it comes to the Holy Spirit's leading. Perhaps you have witnessed the oddness of some who say they are Spirit-led, it has left a bad taste in your mouth, and you have run to the safety of the predictable forms of religion. People who are wounded in cults tend to do this very thing. There is a certain sense of safety in the confines of the predictable three hymns, a special number, a responsive reading, the sermon, benediction, coffee and cookies before going home. The trap here is that this padded cell mentality not only locks you safely away from fanaticism, but from life and liberty as well. As we seek the safe and predictable way, we are likely to end up trading one form of bondage for another.
We appeal to you to soar on the Spirit's wind with your God-ordained wings. Mount up! Forsake the earth-bound tethers and traditions and the cords of fear that have held you down. Do not allow the mistakes or the fear-inspiring speech of others to dissuade you from the wonderful adventure of walking after the Spirit, free from the leash of controlling men. It all begins with the recovery of your inner walk with God.
Francis Schaeffer wrote, "The inward area is the first place of loss of true Christian life, of true spirituality, and the outward sinful act is the result." The same is true of the Church that has lost its spirituality. It will certainly miss God's mark in its every action. True church reform MUST begin with the recovery of that LIFE which makes the church a free flowing, living organism in tune with its Creator. The many outward shortcomings of Christendom today are merely indicators of the loss of the inner Life in its individual members. Let us begin by considering the essential, spiritual nature of the Church, those born of the Spirit, as introduced by Jesus and then move on to see how it took shape in the fledgling Church.
Reformation 101: The Wind blows where it wants to.
Jesus asked a learned master of Israel, who came to Him by night, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and don't understand these things?" What was Nicodemus finding so difficult to grasp? Jesus had introduced a concept that challenged the very foundation of the commonly accepted theology and left Nicodemus muttering, "How can these things be?" "Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew,'" said Jesus. "The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit" (See John 3:7-10).
As we look around at the church today, it seems nothing has really changed over the last 2000 years. The same mentality that paralyzed Nicodemus still paralyzes Christians. The sovereignty of the Spirit remains a most bewildering concept to those who depend on prayer books, homilies, and Sunday bulletins to tell them what to pray, what to believe, what to say and what is coming next. They are horrified at the thought of God's Spirit blowing willy-nilly among them in His own unpredictable course and timing. This mindset we are so familiar with is very different from the Church that was brought before magistrates and powers and depended solely upon the Spirit in them to speak to and through them without prior thought. Christ had promised these unlearned believers, "But when they deliver you up, don't be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you" (Matthew 10:19-20 WEB).
Many theologians today want us to believe that this promise applied only to the twelve apostles. What about Stephen? His words to the high council were unquestionably words spoken by the Spirit of his Father. Was he one of the twelve? No. He was a believer, "full of the Holy Spirit," and none of the synagogue that disputed with Stephen could "withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke" (Act 6:10). The apostle John also disagreed with this dispensation-theology when he wrote, "You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know the truth. I have not written to you because you don't know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth" (1 John 2:20-21). "As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don't need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him" (1 John 2:27).
Who were these words written to? They were written to those John called "My little children" (1 John 2:1). These were undoubtedly people he led to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Though he had directed them to the Savior, John did not presume to guide them into all truth. He simply led them to the Source of all truth. You don't need for anyone to teach you. This would also include John. "Anyone" means anyone. They didn't even need John to teach them. And note that this was written as an admonition and safeguard to his children, "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you " (verse 26).
We should point out here that the Gnostics, who claimed to possess a higher knowledge (gnosis) of God, were coming in and posturing themselves as teachers of the poor uneducated masses. They were highly educated men who mixed Christianity with Greek philosophy, and they brought in a school of Athens mentality among the believers. Through their Platonic sermonizing, they were usurping the true teacher and guide, the Holy Spirit. This was a threat that did not go away overnight, for even Tertullian of the second century asked, "What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" We have yet to recover from this elitism. There are still those among us who claim a special knowledge that sets them above the unwashed masses, the laity. They believe they have the right and responsibility to be the exclusive teachers and guides of little children.
John not only refused this position, but taught against it. He began by reminding these little children that the Spirit that had led them thus far would lead them on into all truth, just as Jesus promised. He was not writing as a teacher to those who did not know the truth, but to remind them what the Spirit had already taught them. Just as Jesus pointed to the Comforter, the guide into all truth, so was John.
As we have shared things that the Spirit has been teaching us, we have received hundreds of email and letters from dear saints, confirming to us that they have been hearing the very same things. We have concluded that a true spirit-led teacher rarely teaches those led of the Spirit anything new, but rather just confirms them in their faith and trust in the Spirit, assuring them that they can hear His voice.
How different is this from treating Spirit guidance as potentially dangerous and not for children? These "little children" John wrote to did not need anyone to teach them for they had the Guide that Jesus promised would lead ALL believers into ALL truth. As the prophet had foretold, "your children shall be taught of God." God was their Father, teacher, and guide just as He desires to be ours today.
The average Christian today, having become dependent upon the guidance of men, is as befuddled as Nicodemus was when things are not set out clearly in a known and acceptable (inoffensive) manner. These words of Jesus, "the wind blows where it wants to" are as frightening to today's learned masters of Christendom as they were to the college of Pharisees. Take no thought what you shall say? Never! We must leave nothing to chance, but prepare and have every eventuality already answered in our minds! On the other hand, this Spirit defies definition and control by carnal men. He is like a mighty windstorm, blowing according to His own divine course, requiring nothing more or less of those born of Him but to go where He blows.
After Jesus departed, the disciples waited in the upper room for the promise of the Father. They heard the sound of a "rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:2). This effect was perfectly in keeping with the reality that would soon follow.
Allow us to borrow the words of T. Austin Sparks.
The thing about a real windstorm is that it takes the government out of all other hands and proceeds to do as it chooses without reference or deference to conventions, traditions, common acceptances, inclinations, or fixed ideas. While it lasts, it is sovereign.
In this figure, the book of Acts is the record of a mighty windstorm of God's Spirit, blowing wherever He desired, placing all government squarely upon the shoulders of Him who commands the winds and waves. Most evangelical churches readily preach, "you must be born again," but few understand or embrace the reality behind Jesus' words, "The wind blows where it wants to… So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
When He, the Spirit of Truth, Has Come, In That day you will know
Once while teaching His disciples about this new order, Jesus said, "I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (the Spirit of truth), that he may be with you forever" (John 14:16). Then Jesus went on to describe how the Spirit would be with them. "You know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you (14:17). How could He come and be WITH them when he was already living with them? A new and greater manifestation of the Spirit was coming, bringing a greater knowledge of Jesus and the Father. He, the Spirit of Truth, would be IN them forever. Dispensationalists want us believe that this was only temporary until the last of the original apostles died and the canon of scripture was gathered and closed. The most obvious reason for doing this is to justify the powerless condition of the Church today. The most tragic effect is that for a price, men take the place of God in the lives of others as their guide into truth.
Jesus continues, "I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me. Because I live, you will live also. IN THAT DAY, you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you" (John 14:18-20). In that day when the Counselor sent by the Father takes up residence IN us and not before, we will know experientially that Jesus is IN the Father, Jesus is IN us and we are IN Him. If Jesus is not with us in this way, we are not living the New Covenant reality.
Jesus' last recorded words in Matthew's gospel are, "Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20 WEB). Jesus' promise, "I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you" is kept when the Spirit, sent by the Father, is no longer with us but IN us. This is the Spirit of Adoption by which we cry, "Abba Father!" Because they don’t know their adoption, the church that was once a wonderful family in Christ has become a giant spiritual orphanage, promoting what Juan Carlos Ortiz called "the perpetual babyhood of the believer."
Christ lives IN and through us by the Spirit's indwelling. The triune knowledge of Jesus being IN the Father and Christ living IN us and us being IN Him can only be realized by virtue of that indwelling. Paul wrote, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 KJV). Jesus is with us to lead, guide and comfort all who follow Him. This is the life and breath of true Christianity. He does not indwell us so we can take Him with us wherever we go but so He can lead us, from within, by the Spirit, wherever He wants.
In Revelation 14:4-5 we read of a company referred to as "virgins. . .not defiled with women." Having been redeemed from among men, these are a first-fruit offering to God and to the Lamb. They are the virgin Church that stands in contrast to the apostate church's spiritual harlotry. They are further distinguished by the following words, "These are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes." This first-fruit company follows the Lamb, not men. Unlike the apostate church, these have an ear for what the Spirit is saying to the Churches. They live by and follow the indwelling Christ! They have opened the door to Christ and He has come into them and sups with them.
Those who follow the Lamb are like the wind and follow Him wherever He goes. They are undefiled with women. What women? They were not defiled and led astray by the harlot church and her daughters, who "made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication" (Revelation 14:8). They have not been defiled by the one who guides by the intellect and might of carnal man, whose cup is full of the blood of the saints. These virgins are led by the inner life and prompting of the Lamb. These make up the Lamb's wife! Where the Lamb goes, there His wife is at His side.
How do these false lovers defile the Christian?
But Christians, seeking and turning to anything else, but to be led and inspired by the one Spirit of God and Christ, will bring forth a Christendom that in the sight of God will have no other name, than a spiritual Babylon, a spiritual Egypt, and Sodom, a scarlet whore, a devouring beast, and red dragon. For all these names belong to all men, however learned, and to all churches, whether greater or less, in which the spirit of this world has any share of power. This was the fall of the whole church soon after the apostolic ages; and all human reformations, begun by ecclesiastical learning, and supported by civil power, will signify little or nothing, nay often make things worse, till all churches, dying to all own will, all own wisdom, all own advancement, seek for no reforming power but from that Spirit of God which converted sinners, publicans, harlots, Jews, and heathens, into an holy apostolical church at the first, a church which knew they were of God, that they belonged to God, by that Spirit which he had given them, and which worked in them. (William Law, An Humble and Affectionate Appeal to the Clergy)
Much that calls itself "Christian" today prefers to be led by its own light or understanding of what has been spoken or written in the past rather than by He who now speaks. Remember Jesus' words in the wilderness, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds [present tense] from the mouth of God."
The author of Hebrews issues a sober warning.
Be careful not to refuse to listen to Him who is speaking to you. For if they of old did not escape unpunished when they refused to listen to him who spoke on earth, much less shall we escape who turn a deaf ear to Him who now speaks from Heaven. (Hebrews 12:25 WNT)
If we could make a harlot into a virgin by simply calling her a virgin, then we could honestly call what is not led moment by moment by the spirit of God "the Church."
The Woman at Jacob's Well
Shortly after Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus, He and the disciples were walking near a Samaritan village named Sychar. Here, while the disciples were in town getting food, He had an encounter with a local woman who had come down to the town well to get water. True to form, Jesus totally disregarded the Jewish law and traditions and started speaking to this Samaritan woman as His Father led Him. Here is part of what went on between them.
Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? "Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, "but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here… "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. "You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things." (John 4:6-25, NKJV).
Initially, this woman spoke to Him from a totally traditional and worldly perspective. She spoke of worldly water, the traditions of the Jews, and the teachings of the Jewish and Samaritan fathers. But Jesus answers her from HIS Father's heavenly perspective on each point. She spoke of well water provided by the patriarch, Jacob. He told her of spiritual water that could be hers, how it would flow out from the very midst of her being and with it she would never thirst again. She spoke of the tradition of worshiping God in fixed places such as the nearby holy mountain or the temple in Jerusalem. To this Jesus answered that the time was at hand for all men to worship the Father in the power and life changing verity of this same living water, the Spirit of God abiding within. Those who worship tradition will always thirst for what only walking in the Spirit can satisfy.
Tradition had said that when the Messiah came, He would tell them all things. Jesus told this woman "all that she had done." But in those three and a half years of ministry Jesus revealed so much more. He revealed so much more that if written down, the very world itself could not contain the books. How much more is this true of the Spirit of Truth whom Jesus promised would lead us into all truth?
All the way through this passage in John four, we see the stark contrast of walking in the Spirit of Truth cast against walking in the limitations of fleshly religions, traditions and the interpretations of scriptures by men. The one is a river that brings life wherever it flows and the other has no power over sin and death within. The outcome of this exchange at Jacob's well is a great revival in which the whole town comes out to hear Jesus and believes in Him. This never once happened in a Jewish city, though Jesus did many miracles among them, even raising the dead! Sometimes those who are the farthest from the "truth" are more open to really hearing the truth that the Spirit is speaking to them as opposed to those who camp around the scriptures. This shouldn't be.
Religious man has codified many of the words of Christ and the apostles into rigid doctrines, rules and regulations that have become dead letters. The Jews took the words of Moses and the prophets that pointed the way to the living waters of the Spirit and the Messiah and got hung-up on interpretations of the letter. They missed their Messiah altogether. Since the days of the apostles, Christian "leaders" have studied the words of these men and the Christ and missed their Fountain of Living Waters. Instead, they have hewed out for themselves broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Will We Choose Light or Life?
Why has this happened? As it was with the Gnostics in John's day, religious leaders covet power over the people and seek to be the only dispensers of truth. This "truth" is determined by the power of their own understanding and intellects. Just like the people of Samuel’s day, religious followers desire a human king to rise and rule over them and do the "God stuff" for them. The walls of religion confine the people and keep out the free-flowing wind of the Spirit. Those who leave these confining walls and go unto Jesus outside the camp, bearing His reproach, find a table set by the Spirit that they who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
The words of the Bible are not at fault. The real fault lies in men both teaching and learning from its words without any Divine life and the light that can only come from the promised One who desires to lead them into all truth. What once was written as a living letter, encouraging all who read it to plunge into Living Waters, has become a book of rules and quaint stories in the hands of religionists. As it was in the garden in the beginning, fallen men of every religion prefer the tree of knowledge to the Tree of Life.
Had Eve desired no knowledge but that which came from God, Paradise had still been the habitation of her and of all her offspring. If Christians had desired no knowledge but that which comes alone from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Church had been a kingdom of God and communion of saints to this present day. Christians would have known no master but Christ, nor would anything else be considered possible to effect salvation except dying to self that the Christ of God might be formed in us, making children of God out of the fallen sons of Adam. (William Law)
He who walked in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks exhorted the Church at Ephesus that had left their First Love, "remember from where you have fallen." In His discourse to these churches (Revelation 1-3) seven times Jesus repeated the following words, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." They had stopped hearing the Spirit and, having itching ears, heaped up teachers unto themselves (2 Timothy 4:3).
What had been a spiritual house offering up spiritual sacrifices (see 1 Peter 2:5), completely dependent upon the Spirit, became an earthly self-dependent institution, bragging, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." They had substituted walking in the Spirit with the things of this world and left Christ outside the door, knocking ever since. What makes men think that The Living Word of God, His own Son, has ever ceased to speak? By the way men lead the church today, you would think they believe that "God is dead" and it is now all up to them. The Bible speaks of Jesus as the Word of God, but men have chosen to ignore this fact and call the Bible itself "The Word of God." This is symptomatic of what is killing the church.
True Church reformation is the recovery of the spirituality of the Church as Jesus gives it definition! Anything less is not reformation at all but deformity taking on new grotesque-ness. As a body without spirit is dead, so also any assembly not joined, enlivened and led by the Spirit of God, is dead to God and cannot commune with Him nor worship Him.
With this in mind, let us further consider the spiritual nature of the Church that Jesus left on the earth and is still building, as it relates to Him, who is Himself Spirit. For "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24 IS). Like rejoices in like. Only spirit can worship in Spirit. No one can cry out to or pray to God as their Father unless the Spirit of His Son draws them.
Will We Settle for Truth or All Truth?
What we are about to share might be difficult for some to receive. All we ask is that you hear us out completely before you jump to any conclusions.
Paul included himself when he wrote, "We know in part" (1 Corinthians 13:9), meaning that everything that he knew and wrote was partial truth. However spiritual it may be, our knowledge is imperfect or incomplete and is subject to enlargement or being thrust aside, depending on its accuracy to the all truth of God. Paul went on to say, "But when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with" (1 Corinthians 13:10 WEB). Complete things make partial things obsolete. We now know in part, but we are on the path that gets brighter and brighter unto the full day of truth when we will know as we are known.
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure, He spoke of a new relationship to God through the Spirit. He told them of the changes that would occur in their own lives to bring them into that Spiritual condition in which they would be worshippers of God in Spirit and in truth. "However, the Advocate Holy Spirit, that my Father shall send in my name, He will teach you everything, and He will endow you with everything I have told you" (John 14:26, The Disciples New Testament, translated from the Ancient Aramaic texts).
The Holy Spirit has come to lead believers into the full realization of everything that Jesus taught. He wants to endow us with all truth that is now resident IN the risen Christ.
We tend to think that Jesus taught His disciples all truth while He was on the earth. Certainly everything that He taught was truth. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life," said Jesus (John 6:63). What He taught them was truth, but it was not all truth! There were many things that He desired to teach His disciples but they could not receive them at that time.
Again, I have much to tell you, except you cannot take it all in now. But when the Spirit of Truth comes, He will provide you with all the truth, Not that He speaks of his own self; except He speaks [only] what He hears, Revealing to you the forthcoming events. (John 16: 13 The Disciples New Testament).
The Holy Spirit reminds (hupomimne-sko- puts in remembrance) and declares (anaggello - to announce coming events in detail). He reminds us of things spoken and written in the past and announces things that are coming and not yet realized, in order to lead all who will follow into that living reality. Following Jesus is an adventure, not a rote performance.
Most of God's children readily embrace the written record of what Jesus and the apostles said and did. This is wonderful as the Holy Spirit calls to remembrance these things. This can be very exciting! But we must be careful here not to become obsessed, believing that because we have read it and the Spirit has brought it to our remembrance that we are fully living in the good of it. Few go on to hear Him who NOW speaks, announcing things to come, as He desires to lead us into unrealized truth both individually and corporately. In His kingdom God always announces what is coming next (see Amos 3:7). If we will only hear the written record of what Jesus and the saints have said in the past, we will most certainly miss the present Spirit announcement of what He is doing now and will be doing in the future.
Tragically, all too often we refuse to enter the announced truth of the Spirit and miss the present move of God. As glorious as the written text is, it does not contain all truth. Only the Spirit of God can lead us into the full experiential knowledge of truth in His timing. Paul wrote, "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" (1 Corinthians 12:11, NKJV). The Spirit works in each of us all things as HE wills. This is true spiritual life. This is difficult for some to hear, but Jesus said it Himself, "I have yet many things to tell you, but you can't bear them now. However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth."
William Law wrote,
But as Christ's teaching in the flesh was only preparatory to his future vital teaching by the Spirit, so the teaching of scripture by words written with ink and paper is only preparatory, or introductory to all that inward essential teaching of God, which is by his Spirit and truth within us. Every other opinion of the holy scripture, but that of an outward teacher and guide to God's inward teaching and illumination in our souls, is but making an idol-god of it. (Address to the Clergy).
Jesus could not lead His disciples into all truth but the Comforter He sent in His place would. He would not only remind them of the things that Jesus had spoken to them in the past but also show them things to come. He would announce in detail (anaggello) what to do next, where to go, what to say and when to say it and who to say it to. He would guide them wholly into truth.
They had not apprehended what Christ had apprehended them for. There was a greater breadth, length, height and depth of truth, searchable only by the Spirit of God, which would yet be revealed.
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 3:14-21, RSV)
We see in this glorious prayer the prerequisite for the comprehension of truth. The horrendous persecution that had befallen Paul had deeply shaken the faith of the Ephesian Church. It was so bad that they were in danger of falling away from the faith. Paul entreated them not to loose heart because of his suffering on their behalf (see verse 13).
So what was the answer? What was needed to strengthen these faltering Saints? Paul prayed a most amazing prayer to the Father, asking Him to give them the strength they needed. Their great need was not more teaching, preaching or Bible knowledge. What they needed was a mightily working of God's Spirit in their inner man so Christ could dwell in their hearts in greater measure. They needed power to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth. Paul prays that the inward virtue of God's Spirit may issue in ability to grasp the vastness or entire dimension of truth, not parts and portions of it. This rooting and grounding in love is the result of the strengthening work of the Spirit. Without this inner working of God's Spirit, we are powerless to know anything as we ought to know. It is only through a mighty inwrought working of the Spirit that we can know (gnosko - Experiential knowledge "Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman" Strong) the love of Christ that surpasses (huperballo to transcend, excel, exceed) knowledge (gnosis - general intelligence, moral or ethical wisdom, the knowledge of right and wrong, good and evil). Only then can we be filled with ALL the fullness of God. All glory goes "to him who by the power at work within us" does far more abundantly than we could ask or think. May God restore to us the humility to admit that we have not yet arrived! We believe that this mentality is vital to true leadership in Christ's ekklesia.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:11-14 KJV).
Though the Lord taught him for fourteen years in the Damascus wilderness, Paul realized that he did not know all truth. There were greater depths and heights of God to search. Therefore, Paul assumed the posture of a man on a quest to attain a great prize. Forgetting those things which were behind (counting the things of his religious past as mere dung), and reaching forth unto those things which were before, he pressed toward the mark. Paul realized that all wisdom, knowledge and truth are in Christ, and that yielding to the Spirit of Christ was the only path to the realization of these things.
He encouraged other believers to walk by the same rule and went on to say, "If in anything you think otherwise, God will also reveal that to you" (Philippians 3:15). Paul was certain that God would not permit any other way of thinking. Anyone who assumed this rule of life was to be marked as an exemplary leader (Philippians 3:17). Most Christians today gladly hear what Jesus, Paul and the other apostles said and wrote in the past but refuse to allow the Spirit to lead them in the present. They are looking at a photographic menu instead of eating a meal.
Making Void the Commandments of God with the Traditions of Men
Paul spoke of the problem of looking back to established traditions and creeds as a safeguard against error. On the surface this seems like wisdom, but is it? In the natural, looking back causes you to assume an unnatural position. If held for any length of time, it will make our necks ache and our vision to blur. God created us to look and walk forward. This is why He pointed our feet and eyes forward. Our feet will go best where our focus is. If our eye is on the mark, we will forget those things that are behind and press forward, allowing the Spirit of Truth to lead us on into all truth. When we look back, clinging to those things that give us recognition, comfort and meaning, we stop dead in our tracks and forward progress ceases. We start resisting the Spirit that leads us onward and look back to the old religious order.
Paul, who led by example, wrote,
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14, NASB).
Will we follow Paul's example or will we follow Peter? Jesus repeatedly challenged everything Peter had previously learned. This Nazarene redefined and stripped away everything Peter thought was sure and certain truth, even his confidence in his own resolve. His shameful denial of Christ and the conversion that followed left him a naked and humble version of his former self. Peter had come a long way but he had not apprehended yet. The Lord was still leading him into all truth.
In the Book of Acts, we find him on a rooftop praying, not knowing that another divine event was about to strip away more of the religious bias that kept him from full obedience. A group of Gentiles were coming at God's bidding to invite him to their home. Some needed preparation was in order before Peter could cooperate with God in this endeavor. This proper Jew would never dream of going against the Jewish law by entering the house of a Gentile. Knowing his heart the Lord , spoke to Him in a vision, showing him a sheet filled with all manner of unclean animals, and commanding him to "Kill and eat!"
We need to get a sense how Peter perceived what was happening. God was telling him to disobey "God's Word," something he would not do, even for God! This led to an argument. "Not so, Lord," Peter asserted. "Not so, LORD?" Just who is Lord here, the law of God or the God of the law? Would Peter obey the traditional view of the scriptures or God? Would he be guilty of the same blindness of his fellow Jews of whom the prophet spoke, "Hear now this, foolish people, and without understanding; who have eyes, and don't see; who have ears, and don't hear" (Jeremiah 5:21 WEB).
This may sound confusing to some just as it did to Peter. It appears that God was asking him to do something that He had previously forbidden. Not understanding that God's purposes are progressive, Peter found himself at odds with God. God's eternal purpose has never changed, but God's purposes are progressive as they relate to man, who has yet to realize the full restitution of all things. Though God changes not, we must, and that change is progressive until His people manifest the fullness of Christ. Peter learned this. What was once unclean to God now was clean in His Son. Peter found himself still bound by transitory rules that God had fulfilled in the perfect life and sacrifice of His Son. Peter even reminded God of his righteousness, "I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." The voice replied, "What God has made clean, you do not call common" (Acts 10:15). God had to say this three times before Peter stopped arguing. Peter did not realize that scripture was given to be fulfilled (pleroo - carried into effect, brought to realization or realized, to fill to the full).
Jesus came to fulfill scripture. Like so many people, Peter did not recognize that all scripture has a time of fulfillment when the imperfect passes away and the perfect comes. "Whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away, but the love of God will always remain, for the greatest of these is love and God is love."
So what was happening to Peter? God was leading him on into the perfect. How often do we find ourselves arguing with God, unwilling to allow Him to fulfill scripture? We "stand on the word of God," defying His Spirit, refusing to let Him lead us into the reality the scriptures testify of. The death of our preconceived ideas about what the scriptures mean is required before we can go beyond our natural limited perspectives to see from God's heavenly vantage. To miss this truth is to be like Peter, calling Jesus Lord, but in the same breath, refusing His Lordship.
The Letter Kills, But the Spirit Gives Life
Jesus is the Word that is ever unfolding. He, not the recorded writings in a leather bound book, is the "All Truth" of God. He is the end of all arguments, the substance; the Word made flesh, dwelling in our hearts by the Spirit.
For the Holy Spirit to come was just the same ALL, and FULFILLING of the whole gospel, as a Christ to come was the all, and the fulfilling of the Law. The Jew therefore with his Old Testament, not owning Christ in all his process to be the truth and life, and fulfiller of their Law, is just in that same apostasy, as the Christian with his New Testament, not owning the Holy Spirit in all his operations, to be his only light, guide, and governor. For as all types and figures in the Law were but empty shadows without Christ's being the life and power of them, so all that is written in the gospel is but dead letter, unless the Holy Spirit in man be the living reader, the living rememberer, and the living doer of them. (William Law)
Men today argue that this is dangerous theology. They say that if Jesus' sheep are left to their own hearing and doing by the Spirit, they will all wander off into great error. How could they possibly know this, considering that, to our knowledge, none of them has ever allowed the Spirit to lead in this way? Instead we have 200,000 denominations and sects, most of which are in opposition to each other, all claiming that what they believe and teach is "the truth." You be the judge. Which is more dangerous? Which is more divisive, the system we have today or returning to what Jesus gave us to lead us into all truth?
Though we rarely find two or three that agree upon what the scriptures say, most all agree that the holy writ is "the only ground of unity." This misguided belief has had much to do with turning what was once the family of God into a fractured fairytale. In Ephesians 4:3 Paul shows us the only ground of Christian unity: "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." The ground of unity is the Spirit who baptizes all members into one body, not agreement on the letter.
If we keep the unity of the Spirit, undisturbed by our opinions, then in God's time and by His power, we will come into "the unity of the Faith." Not because someone has out argued all the rest and brought his dogmas to a place of prominence by the power of his soul, but because the Spirit has brought an agreement of truth in our hearts and minds. If we will allow this to happen we also may find ourselves, as Peter was, in unity and fellowship with those we once thought were common and unclean. For many years, the church has tried to establish a letter-based unity and it has only resulted in greater division.
Please do not take us wrong. We love the Bible and quote from it constantly in what we write, but when we limit God to our human understanding of the scriptures, we are no different than Peter, resisting God with everything we have. The Spirit must enlighten our understanding of the scriptures and the scriptures are only of value as they lead us into the same relationship that Jesus has with His Father (see Romans 8:29).
It is the Living Word of God, the Logos, that "is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:12-13, NKJV). It is obvious from the context that this passage is not talking about the Bible as so many of us have been taught in our "Bible churches," but Jesus the Logos of John 1:1.
Without this Living Word our gatherings become boring and predictably institutional, a dead thing fit for the grave instead of being alive with expectation as the Spirit gives them direction. As it was with Peter, our faith in the living God often confounds our orthodoxy and vice versa. Before we can again be a living, vibrant, exciting and spontaneous spiritual organism, we must cast off the grave-clothes of orthodoxy, and yield to the resurrecting power, life and guidance of the Holy Wind that blows where it wills.
The recorded words of those who clearly professed that they had not fully declared all truth have been made into definitive doctrines that will allow no further revelation. How did this happen? We believe this trend started as a reaction to the teachings of the Catholic Church. For centuries before and since the reformation, popes made papal bulls that had the power to supersede anything that was in the scriptures. Among these declarations came the canonizing of saints, the deification of Mary, the establishment of the seven sacraments, the selling of indulgences, and hundreds of other doctrines not supported by the Bible.
The Protestant reaction to all this was to make the Bible the only foundation for the establishment of doctrine. Of this the Catholic Encyclopedia reports:
1. Sola Scriptura ("Bible Alone")
The [first] objective [or formal] principle proclaims the canonical Scriptures, especially the New Testament to be the only infallible source and rule of faith and practice, and asserts the right of private interpretation of the same, in distinction from the Roman Catholic view, which declares the Bible and tradition to be co-ordinate sources and rule of faith, and makes tradition, especially the decrees of popes and councils, the only legitimate and infallible interpreter of the Bible. In its extreme form Chillingworth expressed this principle of the Reformation in the well-known formula, "The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Protestants." Protestantism, however, by no means despises or rejects church authority as such, but only subordinates it to, and measures its value by, the Bible, and believes in a progressive interpretation of the Bible through the expanding and deepening consciousness of Christendom. Hence, besides having its own symbols or standards of public doctrine, it retained all the articles of the ancient creeds and a large amount of disciplinary and ritual tradition, and rejected only those doctrines and ceremonies for which no clear warrant was found in the Bible and which seemed to contradict its letter or spirit. The Calvinistic branches of Protestantism went farther in their antagonism to the received traditions than the Lutheran and the Anglican; but all united in rejecting the authority of the pope.
Notice here that nowhere is the leading of the Holy Spirit mentioned in either Catholic or Protestant circles. When we build doctrines or establish mindsets out of reaction to anything instead of following the Spirit of Truth, error is close at hand and mind-numbing legalism is hot on its heels. To observe today's churches, you would have to conclude that Jesus told the disciples in John 14:26, "But the Bible which the Father will send in My name, it will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." Believe us, this is NOT what Jesus promised the church to keep it from error, but rather the Holy Spirit. The Godhead is not the Father, the Son and the Holy Bible.
We have already mentioned Jesus' words, "I have yet many things to tell you, but you can't bear them now." Some people call Hebrews "The Book of Better Things," but the author attempted to teach these Jewish believers of a higher order of priesthood than that of Levi was frustrated when he wrote, "of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food" (Hebrews 5:11, 12, NKJV).
We tend to view the teachings in this book as deep and meaty, but they are not. Even though they are milk, they are too much for the spiritual digestive tracks of many of today's Christians. There was so much more that the author would have loved to teach them but they could not receive it. Can you imagine how different this epistle might have been if it had not been limited by the maturity of its readers? How much more would have been written had they not been spiritual babies, feeding on the breast?
Most who try to teach out of this book never go beyond the foundational teachings of the faith listed in chapter six of which the writer says:
Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.
Instead of leaving the study of these elementary principles and moving on to perfection, we tend to keep running back to the breast years later after we should have been weaned and gone on to taste the heavenly gift.
Pentecostals consider the book of First Corinthians to be the real meat of the Bible, but it too is baby food, written to carnal Christians. "I, brothers, could not speak to you as to spiritual ones, but as to fleshly, as to babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with solid food, for you were not yet able to bear it; nor are you able even now" (1 Corinthians 3:1-2 MKJV). "Nor are you able even now"? How different would this epistle be if the Corinthian believers had possessed more maturity? Considering this, isn't it a bit presumptuous to establish definitive doctrines that are considered without error and complete upon partial truth that has been limited by the maturity of the reader? The Bible speaks of all truth but is not itself all truth. The Scriptures make this fact very clear.
It does seem that man with his limited wisdom is intent upon filling the world with his thoughts on divine things. All this knowledge is a tower of Babel, that seems "to hide its head in the clouds, but as to its reaching of heaven, it is no nearer to that, than the earth on which it stands. It is thus with all the buildings of man's wisdom and natural abilities in the things of salvation; he may take the logic of Aristotle, add to that the rhetoric of Tully, and then ascend as high as he can on the ladder of poetic imagination, yet no more is done to the reviving the lost life of God in his soul, than by a tower of brick and mortar to reach heaven" (William Law).
Taught of the Spirit
We ask you to consider carefully the following passage, for in it is the secret of knowing the depths of God.
But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, in order that we might know the things granted to us by God; which we also speak, not in words taught in human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man. For "Who has known the mind of the LORD, that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16 EMTV)
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." We have traditionally applied these words to future blessings in heaven, or even worse, to material blessings that God desires to heap upon us here on earth! This is a seriously limited perspective that on the one hand promotes a "we will understand it better in the hereafter" mentality, and on the other, a focusing on the things of this world. The passage assures us that "God has revealed [past tense] them to us through His Spirit." However, it does not stop there. "For the Spirit searches[(present tense] all things, even the depths of God." God desires to make the depth of the riches of His wisdom and knowledge, which are past finding out (Romans 11:33) by our natural faculties known to us in the present by His Spirit.
What is "unsearchable" through the faculties of our natural minds is searchable through the faculties of our spirits, in tune to God's Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent of truth. There is no other means of revelation. The Life is the Light! "It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth" (1 John 5: 6). The idea that we can know anything of ourselves is preposterous. "If a man think that he knows anything he knows nothing yet as he ought to know" (1 Corinthians 8:2).
Let us pause for a moment and reflect on this. The Spirit has revealed much to us but more is to come. For the Spirit continuously searches (present tense) everything, including the depths of the divine nature. This is the great need! Do we know this present searching of God's Spirit? Is the Spirit in us free to search the depth of God and endow us, as He wills, with that reality?
The spirit of man alone knows only the things of man. "For who knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man which is in him?" Likewise, "no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God." It is very important that we understand this. You cannot learn the deep things of God in seminaries or Bible schools. Men cannot teach them for they abide in the Spirit who alone searches all things and imparts the reality of them to whom He wills. Paul wrote, "The world by wisdom knew not God" (see 1 Corinthians 1:21) and the world by its wisdom still does not know Him. The greatest of the world's philosophers are like so many blind men groping in the dark and none of them agreeing on the meaning of life.
Let then the eager searcher into words for wisdom, the book- devourer, the opinion-broker, the exalter of human reason, and every projecting builder of religious systems, be told this, that the thirst and pride of being learnedly wise in the things of God, is keeping up the grossest ignorance of them, and is nothing else but Eve's old serpent, and Eve's evil birth within them, and does no better work in the church of Christ, than her thirst after wisdom did in the paradise of God. Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth, is the one only way by which any man ever did, or ever can attain divine knowledge, and divine goodness. To knock at any other door but this, is but like asking life of that which is itself dead, or praying to him for bread who has nothing but stones to give. (William Law, An Humble and Affectionate Appeal to the Clergy)
Paul continues. "We did not receive the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, in order that we might know the things granted to us by God." Paul made it supremely clear that what he taught was not words taught in human wisdom, but words taught by the Holy Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. The things of the Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man and he cannot receive them for they are spiritually discerned. It was at this point that Paul made an interesting and controversial statement, "But he that is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no man."
The Spirit blows where He wants and those led by the Spirit cannot be discerned, mapped, figured out or cast in some predictable role. They are a constant source of surprise and bewilderment to those who put confidence in the flesh. Because they blow here and they blow there, the learned masters of Christendom accuse them of flightiness and irresponsibility. God is always sending them somewhere and telling them something. They always seem to know what God is going to do next. The invisible Spirit gives visible evidence of His presence and power through them. No we are not to be lead by every wind of doctrine nor the cunning craftiness of men, but rather, the wind of the Spirit.
As God formed Adam from the dust of the earth, breathed into him the breath of life and he became a living soul, the breath of God animates this Body formed of earthen vessels in the same way. When the spirit is gone from a human body, it is considered dead. The life is gone. The witness is gone. The Body of Christ is just that dependent upon the Spirit.
The book we commonly call "The Acts of the Apostles" would more correctly be titled "The Acts of the Holy Spirit." It is evident that the Holy Spirit was the only Counselor and Guide in the early Church. We can nowhere find, within the pages of the New Testament, where believers were led about by scripture. They referred to scripture, but that was not the primary guide.
The scriptures could not tell the brethren in the Antioch prayer meeting, "Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them." No. The Holy Spirit said that! Barnabas and Saul did not receive their guidance from the Bible but the Spirit guiding them. The Bible did not send them out, they were "sent out by the Holy Spirit" (see Acts 13:2-4). Stephen did not rebuke the elders for resisting the scriptures but for a"lways resisting the Holy Spirit" (Acts 7:51). The Jerusalem believers did not write to the Antioch Church saying, "For it seemed good to the Bible and to us…" No. They wrote, "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things" (Acts 15:28). It is plain Who was doing the guiding? Remember, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
When a famine was about to come upon the middle east, it was not in their daily searching of the scriptures that they received warning of its coming, but by the word of the Spirit.
And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch. Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, each according to his ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea. This they also did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 11:27-30, NKJV).
We can cling to our traditions and understandings of the scriptures and perish or we can know as we follow on to know in the Spirit. One way leads to death, the other leads to life and peace.
To sum things up we would once again quote from William Law:
It is God that works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure." Thus the apostle is inspired to describe that salvation which we are to work out in our daily lives. This working of God's will within us is by the Holy Spirit who indwells each believer; and it is nothing less than the manifestation of the life of Christ in our mortal flesh for proof of which we had so carefully presented many scriptures. This life is by faith; true faith produces life. It is no more I, but Christ living in me… and this life I now live is by faith"; so said the apostle. This is the life imparted by the Holy Spirit and maintained by Him. And in this life, faith and works are one reality in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Please pray with us for the Church that Christ will restore its Life and Breath and raise it from its dust and earthiness as one new man, alive unto Him. That it might no longer find its strength in the soul power of the first Adam who chose knowledge over life, but rise once again in the Life of the Last Adam, the quickening Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45)! This offspring of the Last Adam will inherit what the offspring of the first forfeited through sin. The knowledge they possess comes not by letter or writ but by the Light of Life. As a new humanity, these are destined to walk with their Creator in the paradise of God and freely eat of The Tree of Life in the midst of the river of life.
We leave you with the following verses for your consideration. Please read them in an attitude of prayer, asking the Holy Spirit whether or not the things we have shared are true. We are confident that you will not be able to read all these passages without seeing the imperative interaction of the Spirit with those who are born of Him.But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth." (Acts 1:8 WEB)
They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. (Acts 2:4 WEB)
'It will be in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions. Your old men will dream dreams. (Acts 2:17 WEB)
Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38 WEB)
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "You rulers of the people, and elders of Israel (Acts 4:8 WEB)
When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were gathered together. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31 WEB)
We are His witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:32 WEB)
These words pleased the whole multitude. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch; (Acts 6:5 WEB)
They weren't able to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. (Acts 6:10 WEB)
"You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do. (Acts 7:51 WEB)
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, (Acts 7:55 WEB)
The Spirit said to Philip, "Go near, and join yourself to this chariot." (Acts 8:29 WEB)
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, and the eunuch didn't see him any more, for he went on his way rejoicing. (Acts 8:39 WEB)
Ananias departed, and entered into the house. Laying his hands on him, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17 WEB)
So the assemblies throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace, and were built up. They were multiplied, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9:31 WEB)
While Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men seek you. (Acts 10:19 WEB)
While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard the word. (Acts 10:44 WEB)
They of the circumcision who believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was also poured out on the Gentiles. (Acts 10:45 WEB)
"Can any man forbid the water, that these who have received the Holy Spirit as well as we should not be baptized?" (Acts 10:47 WEB)
The Spirit told me to go with them, without discriminating. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house. (Acts 11:12 WEB)
As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.' (Acts 11:15 &16 WEB)
One of them named Agabus stood up, and indicated by the Spirit that there should be a great famine all over the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius. (Acts 11:28 WEB)
As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2 WEB)
So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus. (Acts 13:4 WEB)
But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, (Acts 13:9 WEB)
The disciples were filled with joy with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:52 WEB)
God, who knows the heart, testified about them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just like he did to us. (Acts 15:8 WEB)
For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden on you than these necessary things: (Acts 15:28 WEB)
When they had gone through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. (Acts 16:6 WEB)
When they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit didn't allow them. (Acts 16:7 WEB)
But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. (Acts 18:5 WEB)
And when these things were fulfilled, passing through Macedonia and Achaia, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have come there, I must also see Rome. (Acts 19:21 LITV)
Now, behold, I go bound by the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions wait for me. (Acts 20:22 & 23 WEB)
Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28 WEB)
Having found disciples, we stayed there seven days. These said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem. (Acts 21:4 WEB)
Coming to us, and taking Paul's belt, he bound his own feet and hands, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit: 'So will the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and will deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.'" (Acts 21:11 WEB)
When they didn't agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had spoken one word, "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah, the prophet, to our fathers, (Acts 28:25 WEB)
...who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:4 WEB)
No, a person is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by a written law. That person's praise will come from God, not from people. (Romans 2:29 ISV)
...and hope doesn't disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5 WEB)
But now we were released from the law, having died in that to which we were held fast, so that we should serve as slaves in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (Romans 7:6 WEB)
...that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:4-16, NKJV).
Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23 WEB)
In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don't know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can't be uttered. He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit's mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God. (Romans 8:26 & 27 WEB)
I tell the truth in Christ. I am not lying, my conscience testifying with me in the Holy Spirit, (Romans 9:1 WEB)
...for the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.(Romans 14:17 WEB)
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 WEB)
...that I should be a servant of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be made acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:16 WEB)
...in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of God's Spirit; so that from Jerusalem, and around as far as to Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ; (Romans 15:19 WEB)
My speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (1 Corinthians 2:4 WEB)
But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10 WEB)
For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God's Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:11 WEB)
But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:12 WEB)
Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things. (1 Corinthians 2:13 WEB)
Now the natural man doesn't receive the things of God's Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can't know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 WEB)
Don't you know that you are a temple of God, and that God's Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 WEB)
Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11 WEB)
But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17 WEB)
Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, (1 Corinthians 6:19 WEB)
But she is happier if she stays as she is, in my judgment, and I think that I also have God's Spirit. (1 Corinthians 7:40 WEB)
Therefore I make known to you that no man speaking by God's Spirit says, "Jesus is accursed." No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," but by the Holy Spirit. Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3 & 4 WEB)
But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; (1 Corinthians 12:7 & 9 WEB)
But the one and the same Spirit works all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires. (1 Corinthians 12:11 WEB)
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13 WEB)
For he who speaks in another language speaks not to men, but to God; for no one understands; but in the Spirit he speaks mysteries. (1 Corinthians 14:2 WEB)
For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. (1 Corinthians 14:14 & 15 WEB)
And so it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul," the last Adam was a life-giving Spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45 MKJV)
...who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:22 WEB)
...being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. (2 Corinthians 3:3 WEB)
...who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6 WEB)
...won't service of the Spirit be with much more glory? (2 Corinthians 3:8 WEB)
Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17 WEB)
But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 WEB)
Now he who made us for this very thing is God, who also gave to us the down payment of the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 5:5 WEB)
...in pureness, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere love, (2 Corinthians 6:6 WEB)
For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different gospel, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough. (2 Corinthians 11:4 WEB)
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. (2 Corinthians 13:14 WEB)
I just want to learn this from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:2 WEB)
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now completed in the flesh? (Galatians 3:3 WEB)
He therefore who supplies the Spirit to you, and works miracles among you, does he do it by the works of the law, or by hearing of faith? (Galatians 3:5 WEB)
...that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:14 WEB)
And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father!" (Galatians 4:6 WEB)
But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. (Galatians 4:29 WEB)
For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness. (Galatians 5:5 WEB)
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16 WEB)
For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one other, that you may not do the things that you desire. (Galatians 5:17 WEB)
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:18 WEB)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (Galatians 5:22 WEB)
If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25 WEB)
Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to yourself so that you also aren't tempted. (Galatians 6:1 WEB)
For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8 WEB)
...in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, -- in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, (Ephesians 1:13 WEB)
For through him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. (Ephesians 2:18 WEB)
...in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22 WEB)
...that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; (Ephesians 3:16 WEB)
...being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3 WEB)
Don't grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30 WEB)
...for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, (Ephesians 5:9 WEB)
Don't be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18 WEB)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the [rhema - ever present speaking] word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- (Ephesians 6:17, 18, NKJV).
For I know that this will turn out to my salvation, through your supplication and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, (Philippians 1:19 WEB)
If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, (Philippians 2:1 WEB)
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh; (Philippians 3:3 WEB)
...who also declared to us your love in the Spirit. (Colossians 1:8 WEB)
...and that our gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5 WEB)
You became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, (1 Thessalonians 1:6 WEB)
Therefore he who rejects doesn't reject man, but God, who has also given his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:8 WEB)
Don't quench the Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 WEB)
But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth; (2 Thessaloniansus 2:13 WEB)
And confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and was received up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16 EMTV)
But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1WEB)
That good thing which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (2 Timothy 1:14 WEB)
The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:22 WEB)
...not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5 WEB)
God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by various works of power, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:4 WEB)
Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear his voice, (Hebrews 3:7 WEB)
For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, (Hebrews 6:4 WEB)
The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasn't yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; (Hebrews 9:8 WEB)
...how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:14 WEB)
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, (Hebrews 10:15 WEB)
How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:29 WEB)
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously"? (James 4:5 WEB)
...according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled in his blood: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:2 WEB)
...searching for who or what kind of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, pointed to, when he predicted the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that would follow them. (1 Peter 1:11 WEB)
To them it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you, did they minister these things, which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent out from heaven; which things angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12 WEB)
Seeing you have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth through the Spirit in sincere brotherly affection, love one another from the heart fervently: (1 Peter 1:22 WEB)
...for Christ indeed has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in flesh, but made alive in the Spirit, (1 Peter 3:18 Darby)
For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21 WEB)
He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us. (1 John 3:24 WEB)
Beloved, don't believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1 WEB)
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (1 John 4:2 WEB)
We belong to God. The person who knows God listens to us. Whoever does not belong to God does not listen to us. This is how we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit. (1 John 4:6 ISV)
By this we know that we remain in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. (1 John 4:13 WEB)
This is he who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and the blood. It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth. (1 John 5:6 WEB)
...the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three agree as one. (1 John 5:8 WEB)
These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 1:19 & 20 WEB)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet. (Revelation 1:10 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God. (Revelation 2:7 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won't be harmed by the second death. (Revelation 2:11 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it. (Revelation 2:17 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. (Revelation 2:29 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. (Revelation 3:6 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. (Revelation 3:13 WEB)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies." (Revelation 3:22 WEB)
Immediately I was in the Spirit. Behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and one sitting on the throne. (Revelation 4:2 WEB)
I heard the voice from heaven saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them." (Revelation 14:13 WEB)
He carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored animal, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. (Revelation 17:3 WEB)
I fell down before his feet to worship him. He said to me, "Look! Don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy." (Revelation 19:10 WEB)
He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:10 WEB)
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" He who hears, let him say, "Come!" He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17 WEB)
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