PART 4 CHURCH TEACHINGS
PART 4 CHURCH TEACHINGS
TO LEARN WHAT IT MEANS TO BE UNDER THE SPIRIT’S RULE
This is when our spiritual walk with God begins to get very exciting. At salvation, we have become new creatures in Christ. We’re changed forever. We’re excited that the God of the universe has not only taken notice of us but resides within us. We’re so thankful to embark on a new journey. But all of a sudden, we might be thinking in our own personal way, where do I go from here? We pray to God, help me. I need guidance as to this new walk. How do I begin?
I would suggest beginning by getting grounded in the Foundational Doctrines of the faith. Through God’s guidance, we’ll find a church where these teachings are brought forth. As such, we’ll learn incredible truths about the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the deity of the Holy Spirit, the deity of God the Father, the gospel, salvation, the atonement, redemption, the blood, the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of Christ, there is only one way to get to heaven, and eternal security. And we’ll come to realize that it’s upon the persons of the Godhead, their particular roles in the plan, and our unmeritorious response to the gospel that our faith stands secure.
As we continue to attend the assembly of the saints, we’ll begin to recognize other biblical topics being brought forth from the teachings of leadership, which I have already called Intellectual Doctrines. I have previously mentioned some of these, but let’s add a few more just so you are aware that there is so much more to learn about our faith, which is up to us to listen for when we attend to the teachings of leadership such as the doctrine of Bitterness; the doctrine of Creation; the doctrine of Divine Discipline; the doctrine of Divorce; the doctrine of Divine Attributes, the doctrine of Compassion; the doctrine of Authority; the doctrine of an Ambassador; the doctrine of Abortion; the doctrine of Angelic Observation; the doctrine of Foreknowledge; the doctrine of Election; the doctrine of Predestination; the doctrine of Faith Rest; the doctrine of Grace; the doctrine of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; the doctrine of the Human Spirit; the doctrine of Inspiration; the doctrine of Lukewarmness; the doctrine of a Mediator; the doctrine of the Rapture; the doctrine of Prayer; the doctrine of Rebound; the doctrine of the Old Sin Nature; the doctrine of Sanctification; the doctrine of the Devil; the doctrine of the Unlimited Atonement; the doctrine of the Soul; the doctrine of Tongues; the doctrine of Witnessing; the doctrine of Demonism; the doctrine of Evil; the doctrine of Giving; the doctrine of Idolatry; the doctrine of Patience; the doctrine of Reversionism, the doctrine of Undeserved Suffering and much more. You might be thinking, isn’t this a bit of overkill. Maybe. The point I’m trying to make is when you go to church, you should be learning, learning, and learning. Are you?
If we have found that the teachings from leadership present the Foundational and Intellectual truths of the faith, then hopefully there will be further teachings on another group of doctrines which we just looked at in the previous chapter called the Spiritual Growth Doctrines. If this third category of doctrine is also being presented, then you have just hit, as they would say in gold mining, the motherload.
You are now in a place where a huge gold vein is ready for your appropriation. What the name of this spiritual gold vein is and what it provides you with is ready to be revealed. However, before this is disclosed to you, I would like to remind you that there was another person in the New Testament, a very well-known person, who was having difficulty with the Spiritual Growth Doctrines. And like us, what it took for him was to become aware of what the problem was in his life and the divine remedy to address it. Let’s take a closer look at what this problem was all about. Please go to the book of Romans.
Suggested Reading: Romans 7:1-8:3
7-9 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Before his conversion to Christ, the apostle Paul was a Pharisee. This was the strictest sect in Judaism. He adhered to the duties of keeping the Mosaic Law and the interpretive traditions of the scribes without fault (blameless). The moral aspects of the Law (e.g., thou shalt not covet; thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, etc.) expressed to him what he should and shouldn’t do. In that sense, the Law was right in that it described what sin is. However, when he became born anew in Christ, he was having a challenging time in his walk with God. You might ask, I don’t understand what you are saying, please explain.
Romans 7:23-24 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
We know that the Ten Commandments expressed to the Jews what they should and shouldn’t do. Don’t steal, don’t covet or desire what someone else has, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, etc. If these commandments were kept, then God would be pleased with them. But I believe what was happening with the apostle Paul was that if in his mind he thought in a covetous way, he simply thought that by not actually committing the act of coveting would take care of the issue. But it didn’t. In other words, the Law didn’t address the root cause of sin, i.e., the sin nature and the thoughts generated from it.
Romans 7:5-6 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
What he began to realize was that this new walk with God was no longer relegated to being obedient to not breaking any of the Ten Commandments or any of the other commands that were under the Law. This new walk involved addressing the thoughts of the sin nature so that he could serve God in what he termed in newness of spirit. What these words mean is to serve God with a different approach, i.e., in the power of the Holy Spirit, under a new energy and control.30
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
So, he cried out in despair and asked this question about needing help. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? This was the condition of a mind in deep distress, and conscious of its own weakness, and looking for aid.31
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
God gave him the answer to his prayer by means of divine revelation from the Holy Spirit. It was conveyed to him that it was by operating in the law of the Spirit of life that would set him free from the law of sin and death. The words the law of the Spirit means the rule of the Spirit. It was by the rule of the Spirit that he and each and every Christian would be set free from the persistent control of the sin nature.
There you have it. The name of this spiritual gold vein is the law of the Spirit or the rule of the Spirit. There is another name for this that we’ll find out about in the upcoming Scripture. Please go to the book of Ephesians.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit
The apostle Paul was conveying to the believers at Ephesus that they should stop engaging in that which would not benefit them, i.e., being drunk with wine, but rather be continually filled with Spirit. What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? The word filled refers to the believer being under the Spirit’s control. So, there it is again. The other name for this spiritual gold vein is called the filling of the Spirit.
These words suggest the idea that this spiritual condition occurs because the believer has submitted themselves to the Holy Spirit. How does this take place? A believer becomes surrendered by confession of sin to God the Father and recovery (the renewal of the mind by God’s Word). When [we’re] yielded to the Spirit, He is said to control us in our mind, emotions, and will.32
When this spiritual reality takes place in the life of any believer, the Spirit will be furnishing or supplying us with Himself, and because of such, He will guide us in His own unique ways. This begs the question.
In what ways does the Holy Spirit interact with us?
What this is really all about is what is called the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is God the Spirit being personally involved with us in our walk with Him. This is about one of the persons of the Trinity being unveiled to us while we live in this natural world. This is a spiritual connection that takes place in our life for personal edification. This is a spiritual communion that takes place in our walk that evidence to others God’s redemptive concern for them.
Are you prepared to take a look at the specifics of the ministry of the Holy Spirit that God the Father wants to take place in your life? Are you ready to read about this exciting news? Let’s go forward and learn about what this ministry is all about.
There is one more thing I want to leave you with before we go forward. That is, you guessed it, another article. This one is a personal story about how a believer’s life changed when she became filled with the Spirit. She equates being baptized with the Spirit with being filled with Him. If you have a difference of opinion as to the connection, I wouldn’t let it bother you.
What I wanted you to recognize was that she tells us about how her mental perceptions in a certain area of her life had changed, and thus, the Holy Spirit was able to interact with her more freely on a daily basis.
BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: A PERSONAL TESTIMONY
On March 8, 2017 / By Rosina / In Hearing God, Inner Life
I woke up [one-night] last week to see the moonlight edging through the curtain in my bedroom. Unable to drift back to sleep, I decided to read for a while to get my sleepy brain to override again. [So,] I read Simon Fry’s article on Being Filled with the Holy Spirit. Guess what? My sleepy brain completely flew the coop after I read that.
Lying in the dark, I thought back to my experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. [For as] long as I can remember, I wanted to follow Jesus. Sure, I went through tough times, but following Jesus was never a question for me at the deepest levels. I was always hungry for spiritual truths; even as a young [child,] I soaked up everything I could get and felt frustrated if church seemed shallow to me.
Yet my walk with Christ took a sharp turn about five years ago. For so many years, Will and I had poured everything we had into our church community. We loved the people so much (and still do) and cherished the Mennonite tradition of taking the Bible and Jesus seriously, along with the values of family and togetherness. But through a series of events, the community let us down in ways that seemed unimaginable formerly. What we gave our lives for backstabbed us. What I depended on to give us protection and [purpose] did neither.
It’s hard for me to write this, but what I knew in my mind—the fact that people [couldn’t] protect us or give life meaning—became painfully real through the hand of experience. We can try to know and do the right things and sincerely wish to honor Jesus in [everything,] but without the experience of our best efforts being stripped away, truly understanding grace is difficult.
During that distressing season, Will and I sat through a choir program with tears in our eyes as the choir sang Come to the Water. The song says, O let all who thirst, let them come to the water, and all who have nothing, let them come to the Lord. We were tasting what it was like to have [nothing;] Nothing but the Lord.
Out of that crisis began a new search for identity and purpose. One day Will and I were talking with a godly older man about our hurts and our newly-forming [dreams] when I confessed to this brother that I wanted to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I also told him about a certain spiritual gift that I really longed to have. Without hesitation, he laid hands on me and prayed for me to receive the Spirit.
Of [course,] I felt spiritually charged by our interaction with this man of God, but the proof of a deep change surfaced over the next months. For me, the most significant changes were freedom from fear, the ability to hear God’s voice, and a new awareness of God’s church.
I’ve always been a people-pleasing person. To do something drastically different from the others around me wasn’t on my radar before. Respecting others was more important than listening to God if the two happened to clash. [Oh,] I might be slightly [radical] because I always did like to think critically about issues and push the status quo if it didn’t feel life-giving to me. But to follow Jesus in drastic ways regardless [of] what others thought, especially people close to me? A totally new step.
God’s voice began coming to me much more regularly after that experience of receiving the Spirit. I would be sitting in church, washing dishes, or hoeing my garden when out of the [blue,] God would tell me something about myself or someone else. And His voice was so beautiful to hear—it never brought condemnation on me or anyone else. I began to be able to love people in a way I couldn’t love before.
Also, I started noticing God’s family everywhere. His people were not confined to my denomination! And yes, [I] knew that before, but suddenly I really knew it and was able to feel that instant connection with others who had the Spirit, even if it was a Dollar General clerk whom I had never met before! That terrible Us/Them mentality began slipping away.
How did these things alter my life? The change surfaced in our family’s move to a town where we knew nobody and where no Mennonite church existed. I was so attached to our little house in the country with our goats and chickens and fruit trees and my huge garden. I loved my community and friends (even though some of them had hurt us so much). At first, when I sensed the calling to [move,] I felt so sick about it that I would lie in bed and try to wipe the idea clean out of my mind. But Will and I had no peace until we obeyed the call—and the last two years have been the best ride of our lives! [We’re] constantly stretched and [challenged,] and blessed. Oddly enough, we have made many new connections through a move that could have seemed isolating.
Am I perfect because I’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit? No. I still struggle to grow, to learn more about radical obedience, to relate well with other people, to show kindness in daily life. And yet, the [joy factor] has increased a hundredfold. Being a Christian is fun! Without so much fear, Will and I are always up for an adventure with God.
And now I’m profoundly grateful that God lowered Himself to bless me with His Spirit. More than anything else, I want to bring His presence everywhere. I want that Presence in me to draw everyone into the same joyful existence.
While I write these things, I [don’t] wish to exude an air of spiritual superiority. I don’t feel that way at all. Christians who may not have experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit but who are earnestly seeking to follow the Lord are just as precious to Him. I have a hunch that we all need more grace than we can even imagine. And [it’s] there for us. Grace is there for us, and so is the Holy Spirit, if [we’ll] but ask.
[So,] if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Luke 11:13 (ESV)33
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32The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
33Rosina. “BEING FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: A PERSONAL TESTIMONY.” arabah rejoice. 24 October 2021 <https://bit.ly/3pyqrR0>.