PART 5 CHURCH TEACHINGS
PART 5 CHURCH TEACHINGS
To Learn about the Ministry of the Holy Spirit
I wonder how many Christians never get to this place in their walk with God. I think in most cases, it’s because of a lack of teaching on the Spiritual Growth Doctrines and an overemphasis on performing good works. In certain instances, it could be that the Christian has heard the proper teachings on spiritual growth but chooses not to appropriate them. The Christian journey does require some work on our part. I don’t mean work relating to participating in the do’s and don’ts of the church, but in getting our mental perspective aligned with the Word of God.
If you are born-again and are attending a church where the gospel is being preached, where Foundational and Intellectual teachings are being presented, and where you are being taught how to address your weaknesses, then you are in a great place. If when you sin you confess it to God the Father and apply the spiritual process of recovery, then you have arrived at the pinnacle of your spiritual walk. You are now operating under the filling or rule of the Spirit. You are no longer just living in the Spirit meaning that the Spirit lives inside us, in our human spirit, but now you are walking in the Spirit. To learn more about what this means, please go to the book of Galatians.
Walk in the Spirit
Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The apostle Paul is instructing the Galatian believers saying that in view of the fact the new divine life resident in their being was supplied by the Spirit30, let us also walk in the Spirit.
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?
It means they were to conduct themselves under the guidance, impulses, and energy of that life.31 Another way of saying this is as we walk by faith by thinking with a new perspective this will bring all the infinite resources of grace to the aid of the saint, and put in operation all the activities of the Spirit in his behalf.32 Did you get that? I’ll say it again in a different way. As we choose to do our part by hiding the Word away in our heart and reflecting upon it throughout our day, this causes the ministry of the Holy Spirit to be effectual in our life. Wow!
Walking in the Spirit doesn’t mean that we have entered into some religious system of trying to please God. This is what many churches espouse and I will say that has an allure to it. All of our life we have been involved in endeavors to try to attain this or that. Unfortunately, in the Christian realm this same mindset continues.
We try to impress the pastor with our volunteering. We try to please God by obeying the commands of the church without any inward changes taking place in our life. Well, I have great news for you. You don’t have to continue on participating in this manner any more. Now that you have been made aware of how to activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your own life, the realities of His ministry will begin to become more and more apparent to you.
What are the realities of the Holy Spirit’s ministry that will become more and more evident to us, when we walk by faith?
So, with a lot of ado, here is the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the yielded believer.
- As He revealed to the disciples an understanding of the future events to come along with the new covenant revelation pertaining to the church, so He will provide for us the assurance of gradual and growing acquaintance with the truth which is revealed.3
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
- He can communicate to us by conveying words that we are only able to hear exclusively in our mind, irrespective of who may be in our vicinity, which might direct us to go up to a certain individual and engage in a dialogue with them about God’s Son.
Acts 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
- He can cause different members of the body of Christ to:
~ Prophecy (the anointed speaking forth of words of edification (to build up), exhortation (a call to encouragement), comfort (consolation - includes the healing of distress, of sorrow, of persecution, and of suffering34).
~ See visions (the appearance of the objects or events to pass before the mind35 while being awake).
~ Dream dreams (the appearance of the objects or events to pass before the mind while being asleep).
Acts 2:16-17 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
- He can warn us to not go to a certain place by having His directive conveyed to us by another member of the body of Christ.
Acts 21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.
- He helps us by disabling the power of the corrupt inclinations and passions of the body thus causing them to cease to be active, as we endeavor to cherish and cultivate His influences.
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
- He gives us a witness (evidence) of His presence with our human spirit in a joint-testimony to the fact that we are a child of God36. It is manifested,…'in His comforting us, His stirring us up to prayer, His reproof of our sins, His drawing us to works of love, to bear testimony before the world, etc.'37 He also produces in us the appropriate effects of his influence…"love, joy, peace, long-suffering…38
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
- He helps (shares with) us to carry the heavy load of our infirmities (trials and troubles; physical, emotional, and spiritual disabilities; the general weaknesses of the spiritual life). When we are operating in weakness or in trials or troubles, we do not know the particular things we should pray for in connection with a certain circumstance.39 In any of these instances, He intercedes (for consultation, conversation, or supplication) to God the Father according to His plan for our life with groanings (sighs) that need no spoken words to express His thoughts. This intercession is ultimately on our behalf, because he stirs up in our hearts those desires which we ought to entertain40 in the midst of whatever we are going through.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- He illuminates us, helps us to understand the things (the spiritual benefits) that God has graciously bestowed on us at salvation.
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
- He distributes at least one gift (spiritual endowment; a non-office gift) to each believer, as proof of His presence to be exercised for the edification of the church.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
- He changes (transforms; a gradual change on the outside that comes from the inside) us into the same image (of Christ-likeness; of righteousness and true holiness41) from glory to glory (one degree to another - from justification to sanctification to glorification42), when we with unveiled (uncovered) face, keep on beholding (reflecting) as in a glass [mirror (the symbol of God’s Word)] the glory of the Lord (He who is the image of the invisible God).
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
- He is the one whom we should continually be dependent upon that brings us to a place of becoming a spiritually mature Christian, one who is living a well-rounded, well-balanced, mature life43 and as such no longer relies on any provision of the Mosaic Law or self-effort (good works).
Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
- He causes us to experience liberty, a freedom from the power of sin in our daily life along with a freedom from the Law with its demands and threats44, when we are operating in divine love. This love is the love produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit, and the same love with which that believer should love his fellow-believers.45
Galatians 5:13, 16 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve on another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
- He strengthens us with His power in our inner man (in our human spirit, where He lives and works) so that we are able to overcome any kind of resistance that would try to inhibit this impartation.
Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
- He empowers us to speak the Word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
- He enables us to detect truth and error and to remain ("abide") in Christ.46 This does not deny the office of human teachers in the church (Ephesians 4:11-12); but it means that under the guidance of the Spirit you must test the teaching of men as you search the Bible for yourself (cf. Acts 17:11).47
1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
- He helps us to recognize when we are swayed by His inward motions.
Galatians 5:18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Well, what do you think? Are you surprised as to the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit, which is available to each of us? He wants to partner with us while we are on this spiritual journey. When each of us does our part, He works in our life.
Ephesians 2:21-22 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
When the church we are attending provides Foundational, Intellectual, and Spiritual Growth Doctrines, and we appropriate them, this no longer becomes a place of duty to attend where we perform good works for the approval of those in leadership. Church becomes a place where God shows up in the lives of each believer and where His gifts become manifest. Church becomes a place where the ministry of the Holy Spirit is operative in each of the believers in attendance. Church becomes alive with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Shouldn’t this be the characterization of the church, of the assembly of believers?
As we continue to walk in the Spirit, certain things will come our way to try to get us off track by thinking and responding to them from human perspective. These could involve regrets from the past or present, disappointments from friends or family, demonic influences that continually bring to our remembrance an easily besetting sin, and the last but not final one is probably something you will be surprised at, and that is being unable to recognize sound teachings. Yes, you heard that right.
I think this is an extremely difficult area for any believer including myself to have discernment about. What does it mean when I say that teachings should be sound? And if they are not sound, how would we recognize them as being such?
I will say it this way. There are teachings that are foundational. There are teachings that are intellectual. There are teachings that are transformational. And then there are teachings that are manipulative or controlling and what I will call disputable. In the next chapter, I will present various teachings that are taken from the Foundational, Intellectual, and Transformational doctrines that are used in an unreasonable manner.
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33 The Biblical Illustrator 2002, 2003, 2006. BIBLESOFT. WEB. Access Date ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
34Lester Sumrall, The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit, Lester Sumrall Evangelical Association, 1982
34Lester Sumrall, The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit, Lester Sumrall Evangelical Association, 1982
37Wuest's Word Studies.
39Wuest's Word Studies.
41Adam Clarke’s Commentary.
42Bible Knowledge Commentary.
43Wuest's Word Studies.
44The Bible Exposition Commentary.1989, 15 January 2016˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
45Weust’s Word Studies.
46 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
47The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.