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 avail themselves of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, let alone know what it’s all about. 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 chose not to appropriate them. The Christian journey does require some work on our part. I don’t mean work relating to participating in the dos and don’ts of the church but in getting our mental perceptions 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 you, in your human spirit, but now you are walking in the Spirit. To learn more about what this means, please go to the book of Galatians.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The apostle Paul was instructing the Galatian believers saying that in view of the fact the new divine life resident in their being was supplied by the Spirit,34let 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.35 Another way of saying this is as we walk by faith by thinking with a new divine perspectives in all areas of our life, 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 [on] his behalf.36 Did you get that? I’ll repeat it in a different way. As we choose to do our part by hiding the Word of God away in our hearts 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 it has an allure to it. All of our former 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 participating in this manner anymore. Now that you have been made aware of how to activate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, 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, let me inform you of the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of a yielded believer.
- As He revealed to Jesus’ 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.37
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’re only able to hear exclusively in our mind, irrespective of who may be in our vicinity that might direct us to go up to a particular individual and engage in a dialogue with him/her 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:
Prophesy (the anointed speaking forth of words of edification (to build up), exhortation (a call to encouragement), [and] comfort (consolation - includes the healing of distress, of sorrow, of persecution, and of suffering38).
See visions (the appearance of the objects or events to pass before the mind39 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 not to go to a specific 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 (the fruit of the Spirit).
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’re] a child of God.40 It’s 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.'41 He also produces in us the appropriate effects of his influence…"love, joy, peace, long-suffering…42
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
- He helpeth (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’re operating in weakness, trials, or troubles, we [don’t] know the particular things we should pray for in connection with a certain circumstance.43 In any of these instances, He maketh intercession (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 entertain44 in the midst of whatever we’re 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, helping us to know (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 leadership gift) to each believer as proof of His presence to be exercised for the profit (the edification) withal (of the church). Here are some of them.
1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
The word of wisdom can be described as insight into doctrinal truth. It could also refer to supernatural wisdom about how to solve a practical or spiritual problem.45
The word of knowledge is the revealing of a fact in existence (of the present or past) that can only be supernaturally revealed. In other words, this is not something that could be known [naturally,] but something one’s eyes have not [seen] and ears have not heard.46
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
Faith is a peculiar impulse, … that came upon the apostles when any difficult matter was to be performed, which inwardly assured them that God's power would assist them in the performance of it.47 Another way of describing this gift is to say that God brings about a supernatural change with no human effort involved. God does something on our behalf but independent of us. This gift can also operate in areas of divine protection and divine provision.48
Healing is the power to heal various kinds of illnesses or diseases. Healing can come through a prayer of faith and the laying on of hands by the elders (James 5:14-15) or by speaking a word from the Lord for specific healing (Acts 3:6). We can pray and lay hands on the sick as we respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit (Acts 28:8).
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
The working of miracles has to do with God entrusting a believer with strength or energy, that we don’t normally have. Another way of saying this is a believer does a supernatural act by the divine energy of the Holy Spirit.4
Discerning of spirits is the divine ability to the presence and activity of a spirit that motivates a human being, whether good or bad.50 Their doctrine is subject to examination, and what they are saying is considered as to whether it proceeded from the Spirit of God.
Prophecy is the anointed speaking forth of words of edification (to build up), exhortation (a call to encouragement), and comfort (consolation- includes the healing of distress, of sorrow, of persecution, and of suffering) for the church.51 Its exercise is not solely intellectually based. [It’s] calling forth words from the Spirit of God.52 [It’s also] designed to warn men and [women] of sin or shortcomings.53 Someone who has this gift might also predict future events if they were called to the leadership gift of prophet.
Divers kinds of tongues mean speaking in a foreign language that one has not learned, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The gift of tongues speaks to God and to the sinner, while prophecy speaks only to the people.
Interpretation of tongues is used to explain the meaning of the words that were spoken in a foreign tongue into the known language of the hearers.
- 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 holiness54) from glory to glory (one degree to another - from justification to sanctification to glorification55), when we with open (uncovered) face, keep on beholding (reflecting) as in a glass [mirror (the symbol of God’s Word)] the glory of the Lord Jesus (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 life56 and as such no longer relies on any commands 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, freedom from the power of sin in our daily life, along with freedom from the Law with its demands and threats57, when we’re 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.58
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 the inner man (in our human spirit, where He lives and works) so that we’re 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.59 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).60
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’re 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’re on this spiritual journey. When each of us does our part, He works in our life.
I know what you might be thinking. This sounds crazy. Anyone can say that they heard from God. This might have been true in the early church, but this is no longer the case today. My pastor tells me to obey their instructions, volunteer in church, and help those in need. This is all that is required of us.
I can understand the response. Christians that proclaim that God has said something to them or that He has directed them in a manner to exercise what would be described as a gift of the Spirit has what verification? In my younger years in the faith, I was involved with a worldwide ministry that didn’t believe in the gifts of the Spirit. So, neither did I.
At this time, I was attending Bible college. Then, word got around campus that there was a special speaker who was asked to speak at an upcoming evening service. I showed up wondering what he had to say. He talked about how God had come through for Him in many different miraculous ways. All I could think of was, really?
He proceeded to ask a few college students to come up to the stage with a Bible in hand. When they arrived, he asked each of them to pick out one verse in the Bible and keep their finger on it. One at a time, he asked them to come forward, and he quoted the chapter and verse of the Scripture that they chose. While I found this interesting, I still wasn’t sure if it was legit.
The next day, I heard about a high school soccer game occurring on campus. As I was walking to the field, guess who was walking right in front of me, the speaker from the night before? He turned around and walked over to me, and said, this will be the score of the game. I stayed for the entire game. Do you know what? The score was exactly what he said?
Whether you believe in the gifts of the Spirit is not the issue. The issue is learning how to walk in faith. As you do, the reality of the gifts of the Spirit will come into play in your own 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’re attending provides Foundational, Intellectual, and Spiritual Growth Doctrines, and we appropriate them, this no longer becomes a place of duty 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 corporate presence of the Holy Spirit. And as such, the spiritual qualities of the character of the Spirit begin to be developed and expressed to everyone and in everything we do. Shouldn’t these truths characterize the church of the assembly of believers that we have chosen to fellowship with?
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 a 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 proper, how would we be able to 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. There are teachings that are disputable. There are teachings that will destroy us. There are teachings that are authoritative. And finally, there are teachings that are controlling by destructive habits.
In the forthcoming chapter, we’ll begin to look at each of these types of teachings. We’ll start by looking at those that are disputable.
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37The Biblical Illustrator 2002, 2003, 2006. BIBLESOFT. WEB. Access Date ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
38Lester Sumrall. “The Gifts and Ministries of the Holy Spirit,” Lester Sumrall Evangelical Association, 1982
45Jewish New Testament Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 1992. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 26 October 2021 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
46Lester Sumrall. 47The Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit - BITS N PIECES OF GOLD. 24 March 2012 ˂http://bits-n-pieces-of-gold.weebly.com/9-gifts-of-the-holy-spirit.html>.
51“Motivational Gifts – What are Spiritual Motivational Gifts?” 24 March 2012
54Adam Clarke’s Commentary.
55Bible Knowledge Commentary.
57The Bible Exposition Commentary.1989, 15 January 2016˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
58Weust’s Word Studies.
59The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.
60The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament.