The Holy Spirit & The Believers Spirit
Spiritual Life #22
The Holy Spirit and the Believer’s Spirit
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Most of you know that you have a spirit but some of you might be here for the first time in these evening services and you don’t realize that your body is one part of you that you can see plainly, and you feed, and you give it drink, and you give it exercise. And inside you have another part of you, the psychological part of you that psychologists deal with and that you yourselves can deal with. And that psychological part of you is the part you know as your mind — that thinks about things, that works out equations, that considers issues when you’re buying a car, or when you’re voting for some politician. That’s your mind.
And then you have another part — a psychological part also — that is your emotions. And those are the things that feel happiness, and they can sense strong desire at times, and they can feel great affection for other people at times and that’s part of your psychological being too. And then inside your psychological part you have a third important factor that is your will. And that’s the part of you that makes decisions, that produces action in you.
And so most of us, I think, know about those two parts and we’ve been taught often, “Oh yes there’s an outer part in a human being and there’s an inner part.” But, do you realize that that’s the tragedy with most of us in Christendom? Most of us have been brought up thinking that there are just two parts and this has led to all kinds of confusion really because it is in the third part that is inside both of those that God himself works in our lives. It’s in our spirits that God works.
But many of us who are Christians learn nothing of our spirits. We’ve been brought up to think we’re bodies, and if you don’t mind using the word “soul” — because that’s actually the word that the Bible uses to designate the psychological part of us. It might interest those of you who don’t know to realize the word “psychology” comes from “psuche” which means “soul” in Greek and “logos” which is a way of thinking of your soul. And that’s what the Bible calls the psychological part of you.
In fact there’s one famous verse that many of us just can say very easily backwards, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly and keep your spirit (the inside part of you) and your soul, (the psychological part of you) and your body, whole and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus.” And it’s that verse, in fact, that we base our studies on in these evening services. It’s 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and it describes us as beings who exist on three different levels.
Now of course, many of us have heard that but won’t really take it too seriously. And so when it comes to things that God does through our spirits we immediately attribute those to our souls and we get into incredible trouble. Now, I’ll just show you one or two of these things loved ones and you’ll see it. Maybe you would look at 1 Corinthians 2:11. “For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
Now, do you see those different ways of spelling “spirit” in those two verses? You see in Verse 11, “For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit,” with a small s and in Greek there is no
article there. That is, “the” does not appear in Greek. Then do you see the last part of the Verse 11, “So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” And that’s a capital S and in Greek that has the article. And the Bible always makes a distinction between the Spirit of God and our spirits. And do you see the Bible is saying that the only way a person can know what God wants them to do in their life is that the Spirit of God inside him knows what he wants and communicates that to our little spirits. And that’s how we know whom we should marry, or what jobs we should take, or where we should spend our lives.
And of course, many of us don’t really take that too seriously. And we attribute guidance not to our spirits but to our souls. And so we end up in all kinds of contortions trying to find guidance of God through the activity of our minds. And all of us here tonight know the frustration that we come into as we try to listen to this missionary and that missionary, this preacher and that preacher, and try to work out with our minds — what does God want us to do? Or, we read all kinds of books and we try to weigh one thing that one books says God would want us to do against another thing another book says he wants us to do and we just come into confusion.
Now that’s because loved ones, we often look for guidance from God to our souls instead of realizing that the Holy Spirit gives that to our spirits. Now, we do have to do something to get him to do it but it is not that frustrating fanatic activity of our minds that we involve ourselves in. It’s similar with another thing that God does for us, it’s in Romans 8:13. It concerns the trouble we have keeping our temper, the trouble we have being critical of other people, the trouble we have with evil thoughts, that whole realm of “the good that I would I cannot do”, that whole area.
Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit,” by God’s Spirit, “You put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” Many of us read that but we don’t really believe in the Spirit of God. We don’t really believe in the Holy Spirit. And we know very little about our own spirits and so we believe, “Well, what the Bible is saying is if you put to death the things that are wrong in you, by your own will power.” And so many of us involve ourselves in all kinds of repression in regard to evil thoughts, in regard to unclean imaginations, in regard to criticizing other people; we resort to repression and at times suppression in order to get rid of these things. But do you see we’re exercising the will, the soul.
In order to do something that God’s dear word says, we can only do by the Spirit of God. God’s Spirit alone can bring us victory in those things. But many of us don’t take the Holy Spirit too seriously in our lives and we don’t know much about the difference between our own spirits and our souls and so we try to live in victory by the power of our own wills, or by the power of our own minds. And you know how many books even there are today in the book stores that talk about renewing the mind and that’s the way to get victory over unclean thoughts. There is a renewing of the mind to be done but that itself is not the way into deliverance over unclean thoughts. The way into deliverance is the Holy Spirit. He alone can keep your own spirit clean and therefore will keep your mind and your emotions clean.
I’d just ask you to look at one more loved ones, that is something we face who spend a lot of time in the business world or in a secular realm of any kind and it’s Ephesians 6:12. “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Now, that is a description of spiritual warfare. But many of us know nothing of trusting the Holy Spirit in our office and so our office is a place with a lot of swearing, and a lot of criticism, and a lot of uncleanness.
But we know nothing of trusting the Holy Spirit to work in the spirits of our colleagues and so we see spiritual warfare as a mental gymnastics and we come in and we think being prayed up is feeling you could just take the whole office and throw it anywhere you want it. And it’s a feeling that whatever they say I can say something better. And then somebody does say something and we exercise not our spirits but our minds, we exercise our minds against that person. “Lord, stop him saying that, stop him saying that.” And it isn’t long after an hour or two of that before we are absolutely worn out like wet rags; we are washed out because we’re trying to fight spiritual warfare by the exercise of our minds and emotions.
Now loved ones, those are some of the things we get into if we don’t recognize the difference between spirit — our own spirit — and our souls. And if we don’t recognize the ability of the Holy Spirit of God to change our spirits and to influence them and to strengthen them. And really, that’s the secret of it all. The secret is that the Holy Spirit alone can touch your spirit. You cannot touch your spirit, all you can do is fulfill the conditions which will permit the Holy Spirit to touch your spirit — but you yourself cannot.
Many of us, because we don’t recognize the difference between soul and spirit, we come to meetings like this and we go home with loads, and loads, and loads of notes both on paper and in our minds and we’re always trying to apply what this speaker said and what that book said. And there’s very little rest in our lives, very little relaxation in Jesus because of course, we know little of the Holy Spirit working in our spirits. Now loved ones, the truth is he is the only one who can do it. The Holy Spirit alone can touch your spirit. Of course the tragedy in the fall was that our spirits died, you know that. That’s what happened; our spirits died.
One of the ways I tried to see it in my own mind was, you know when you have a friend and there’s a kind of conflict that comes up between you and it’s never really settled and you feel resentment towards them. You know that it effectively prevents you feeling any empathy with them. It’s as if you can’t get through, it’s as if – even if it’s husband and wife, or brother and brother, or brother and sister — it’s as if this resentment has brought a blindness so you can’t sense them anymore, you can’t feel what they’re feeling. It’s as if there’s a great barrier between you.
Now, it seems as if that’s what happened when we rebelled against God and determined to live our own lives. It seems that there was an insensitivity to God that came in that prevents us knowing him. I don’t know if you have learned to appreciate anything in your life that you didn’t appreciate before. I know that I had no time for classical music at all until eventually I got used to the bit that Churchill also used to play before his speeches and that was part of Beethoven’s Fifth. And I kept on listening to Beethoven’s Fifth and then I liked the quietness of old Chopin and his preludes and I got to understand that a little. And then I got a little further into Opera and now there’s a whole side of classical music that I really enjoy.
Now, I didn’t know it before. It was as if it was all there but I couldn’t sense it, or I couldn’t appreciate it, or I couldn’t understand it. I don’t know if you have experiences like that, maybe it’s food with you. I can think of some food that I just did not appreciate at all before but gradually you develop a sensitivity to the thing and you begin to understand it. Now, it seems that that’s what it’s like with us. Our spirits, because we’re living independent of God, are dead to him, they aren’t sensitive to him. They can’t understand him.
Now, notice it’s not that they’re dead to everything. When Wordsworth says, “I have felt the
presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts, a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean, and the living air, and the blue sky, and in the mind of man.” [Tintern Abbey] When he says that kind of thing in the midst of the Lake District in England, his spirit is somehow contacting what the Bible calls the elemental spirits of the universe. And you see, there is a spirit behind the universe besides the Holy Spirit of God. There are spirits that are connected with the evil spirit Satan who rebelled against God and there are many spirits, human spirits that are dead to God but are alive to these elemental spirits of the universe.
I think that’s what you’re contacting when you deal with a spiritualist, or a fortune teller. In fact, that’s what you’re dealing with, I think, when you meet loved ones in the Mormon Church who have really submitted themselves utterly to it. You’re not dealing with someone who is just misled mentally and intellectually; you’re dealing with someone who has willfully followed an alternative to the plain presentation to the way Jesus gives. And so with people like that you’re contacting the elemental spirits of the universe. But our spirits are dead to God’s Spirit. That is, they don’t sense what he wants us to do.
Now loved ones, that’s the situation when the Bible says we’re dead in our sins. It means not that we’re physically dead, though we will eventually be physically dead, but it means we’re dead towards God. It doesn’t even mean that your spirit is absolutely destroyed. Your spirit is in some sense alive because conscience is one function of your spirit and most of us, however far we are from God, have some awareness of conscience. So most of us have a little, little sense of our spirits being alive inside but the majority of us, that’s all we have.
We’re really insensitive to God. That’s why we have such trouble sensing what he wants us to do, you see. Because we have died in our spirit-sensitivity to him and so we’re left with our souls and our bodies and most of us live that way. Most of us live by the dictate of our bodies actually. Most of us are just funny little animals, just little dogs, and monkeys, and birds, and cows, that’s what we are. We need more food so we get a better job so we can buy better food, or we need better clothing for the winter so we’re dominated by the need to get money for better clothing, or we have a nice home but we’d like a better shelter to keep us out of the rain more comfortably. And most people in the world run their lives by the domination of their bodies, not by the spirits which are utterly dead.
Some of us, especially those of us who have been involved maybe in some education, feel that we’re a little above that and we run our lives according to whether we’re very mental intellectual people or whether we’re very emotional people. And so some of us are utterly dominated by our emotions, we are. We go places where we will enjoy things and that’s the first question we ask ourselves, “Are we going to enjoy this?” Well then we go. And if we’re not going to enjoy it then we won’t go. And if we don’t enjoy it we don’t think it’s good. And if we do enjoy it we think it’s great. And many of us are utterly dominated by our emotions and we know that because we’re up and down, up and down all the time according to whether we’re in a happy situation or sad situation. And indeed, let us think of one unpleasant thing that is going to come up tomorrow and we just are down in despair. We’re just so utterly dominated by our emotions.
Some of us are very mental or intellectual people. We’re coldly intellectual and we calculate everything according to what our mind thinks is wise to do and we leave very little room for kindness or tenderness with other people. And in fact, many of us are utterly repelled by the view we get of ourselves because we find we’re always trying to manipulate others with our minds. I
don’t know if you’ve ever woken up some day and realized, “Oh, how I manipulate people. How I’m always trying to work things to my advantage. How every situation I go into I try to ask myself, ‘What’s in this for me?’”
Well many of us, you see, are utterly dominated by our bodies and our souls in some way. Many of us are very strong willed people. We just enjoy willing, it doesn’t matter what the result is, we just enjoy exercising our will. And we spend most of our time getting our own way in situations. We find it’s ridiculous of course because we’ll at times oppose somebody and we’ll at times agree with somebody who thought that same thing as that other person and we just exercise our wills against one person and for another person just because we want to exercise our wills. In fact, we object just because we want to be objectionable.
And many of us are dominated by our minds, or emotions, or our wills, or our bodies. Now loved ones, that’s because our spirits are dead to God and the only way for our spirits to come alive is if the Holy Spirit sensitizes them again to God. Now, there’s no other way.
I think it’s really important for you to grasp that. That there is no external thing that can make your spirit alive to God, there isn’t, there just isn’t. And there’s no external thing that can keep your spirit alive to God, there isn’t. That’s one of the great relaxing relieving things about becoming a child of God; it is all God’s work. Only the Holy Spirit can make your spirit alive to God, no one else can, only the Holy Spirit.
Now, it might be good just to look at that because I think many of us accept it but really it isn’t nailed into our hearts and our heads. And maybe it’s good to look at it in the most obvious form in John 3:6. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit.”
And when you become a child of God the Holy Spirit regenerates your own spirit. Now you may say, “Well, when will he do that?” Well it’s a very definite transaction, loved ones. I’ll just run through it very quickly and then I think you’ll see it very plainly. That’s the kind of outline that we’ve often shared, as you remember, about our own psychological makeup. And of course the will of God was, you see, that the Holy Spirit in him would come into us. And that’s the way our whole personality would function.
The Holy Spirit would come into us through the communion that we have with God, and would tell us what to do through the intuition of our spirits. Our conscience then would constrain our wills. In the light of what God was showing us we should do in the intuition of our spirits. Our conscience could restrain our wills to obey the conscience. And the will would direct the mind that would then understand in mental detail what God was saying, would give the right directions to the body, and the emotions would express that joy, the joy of our communion with God and that’s the way God wanted us to work.
We, of course, did not want to operate that way. We rebelled against God and cut ourselves off from his Spirit so that our spirit died. We in fact, began to live as I was sharing a little earlier — some of us by our emotions, some of us by our minds. And above all the will, instead of obeying the conscience and directing the mind and emotions, began to obey the mind and emotions. So God would tell us, “I want you to be a carpenter.” But the mind would look around and see, “Well, no — other
people make more money than carpenters.” So the will would be dominated by the mind. Or, the Holy Spirit would tell us, “You ought to seek God this morning.” But the emotions would feel depressed and say, “Oh, I can’t. I don’t feel like it.” And so the will was utterly dominated by the mind and emotions instead of being in its previous planned position where it would rule those. And of course what happened was our spirits died and we were cut off from God.
Now, the tragedy is that our souls themselves are now in a state of perversion, you can see that. You know it yourself when you try to get your mind just to understand what God is telling you, you find your mind is doing the old business of trying to manipulate. Have you found that? Have you found yourself manipulating, the mind starts manipulating again? You’re trying with all your heart to care most what God wants but your old mind is manipulating again for your own advantage. And I wonder how often you’ve found yourself in the spot I’ve found myself. I want to give joy to other people and yet I find myself wanting to enjoy — to get joy.
And so the tragedy is our souls now have become perverted and our whole personality therefore is not working the way it was meant to at all. Many of us tried to exercise our wills. We sense God wants us to do something, we try to exercise our wills but the will won’t obey, it seems utterly dominated by the mind, and the emotions, or utterly dominated by the body at times. And so there’s this force coming from outside and the force coming from inside to prevent us from doing what we should. And it’s because of course, the soul is utterly perverted.
Now, what God did on Calvary was to take your perverted soul and destroy it in Jesus. That’s part of what that verse means: our old self, our old soul, our old perverted personality was crucified with Christ. And in order for God to come in and regenerate your spirit, you have to accept that. That’s it. It’s really not very complicated. You have to accept the new version of yourself that rose with Jesus on the resurrection morning after Calvary, that’s it.
There is a new self version of you that is waiting for you but it is the self that God originally planned, the self that he raised up in his son Jesus. A self that depends utterly on God, that depends utterly on God for your security, and for your happiness, and for your significance. And when you are willing to live that way, and for the old self — that wants to depend on things for its security, and for people for its significance, and on events for its happiness — when you are willing to let that old self be destroyed in Jesus on Calvary then God is able to regenerate your spirit. That’s it. That’s it. It’s not complex. Because you don’t even need all those words, all it says is, “Are you willing to trust God as your loving Father instead of rebelling against him and trying to do without him and depending on people and circumstances and things?” If you are, then God’s Holy Spirit begins to sensitize your spirit to God.
Now loved ones, I can’t emphasize to you how vital it is for you to experience that New Birth. It’s not enough for you to understand what we’ve just shared. You actually have to come to a place where you bow your whole life before God and you say, “Lord, this perverted soul of mind is driving me insane. I cannot do the good that I know I should do. I cannot do what you want me to do. My life is hell. Lord, whatever is needed, I’ll do it if you will make me alive to you and come into my life, and my heart, and my spirit.”
Now it takes such a submission, loved ones, in order to be born of God’s Spirit. And sometimes I have wondered, are there any of you who understand all this and think you’re born of God’s Spirit because you understand it all? I wonder is that ever the case? And loved ones, understanding it is not enough. If I could share with you my own experience, I was at the end of my rope and I was 17.
I was at university, I got my scholarship, my teaching scholarship. I wasn’t at the end of my rope that I was even strung out on drugs, or drunk every night, or in bed with somebody else every night, it wasn’t that at all. But I was at the end of my rope with the whole business of how you could make God real in your life. I could not understand how to do it.
I knew the secret was somewhere in Calvary and something to do with Jesus. I didn’t know all this stuff about the old self being crucified and all that, I just knew that the secret was somewhere in Jesus. And that’s why I’d say to all of you tonight, you don’t need to know it all, you don’t need to understand it all but you do need to have a desperation. And I remember going to Jesus and saying, “Lord Jesus, whatever, I’ll change anything in my life.” I didn’t know this business, I had never seen a diagram with arrows on it, I knew nothing about that but I knew that I had to say to Jesus, “Lord, whatever you want me to do in my life I’ll do if you will send your Spirit into me.”
I didn’t understand that there was a new self, I didn’t find that out until years later, but I did know at that early stage when I was 17 that I needed God to do something that I could not do. And loved ones, if I could share with you, I would have to confess to you it was not just glibly praying to receive Jesus. You know, I say that lovingly to you but it was not just glibly praying to receive Jesus. It was heartfelt, broken-hearted praying. It was a night spent praying. And I’ve often said to you before that I wasn’t Catholic so I didn’t know the Stations of the Cross but I knew the secret was somewhere in the death of Jesus. And so I didn’t know anything about that stuff but I gave up my own prayer time for my parents and for everyone else and I started to think about the death of Jesus.
Loved ones, I gave hours to it. And I reminds me of old Pascal, in his “Pensées” [“Thoughts”] where he says, “People say, ‘I’ve sought God. I’ve sought him and he has not revealed himself to me when they have read a book for an hour, or talked with a priest for 15 minutes.’” And I feel with Pascal. Pasqual says, “God has said that he is a hidden God and he will only reveal himself to those who seek him with all their hearts.” And loved ones, for me it was not just a glib, “Lord Jesus come into my heart.” It was a seeking and a hungering that he would send his Spirit into me. And, “Lord I’ll do whatever. I’ll stop whatever sins you see in my life. I’ll do whatever you want in order for you to come in.”
You can see what I was doing. I didn’t know I was doing this, but in fact what I was doing was admitting to God that I was living off the world and off people and was not living off him and that I was willing to live off him even though at that early stage I didn’t know all that that meant. Now loved ones, that’s the secret of it. But it requires real repentance, a real “metaneo” — the word for repentance in Greek — and it means turning around, changing your whole mind, changing your whole approach to life, changing your whole approach to your future. It means turning right around and from then on seeking only God’s will. Now, that’s what repentance is. It’s changing your whole attitude to everything and it’s changing your life, whatever way God requires, so that he will send his Spirit into you.
Now, I think that what also happens to many of us is we receive his Spirit, we do become born of the Spirit, but we’re foolish people. Because our souls have been so active for so many years, instead of listening to the spirit within us we begin to allow the soul to regain its previous position of dominance. And I mention that because I think some of you loved ones fail to respect the Holy Spirit. The blessed Holy Spirit will lead you on into a full Christlikeness if you will listen to him and if you will honor him and respect him.
But I do think brothers and sisters, honestly, I think that maybe there are too many books around and maybe there are too many preachers, and maybe there are too many cassettes running around. And maybe it’s too easy for us to be distracted into listening to all kinds of other human beings instead of going to the Holy Spirit himself. Do you remember old Watchman Nee says that in the first century Paul would go through the cities Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, preaching. Converts would receive Jesus.
Three weeks later, at the most a month later, Paul would return to Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. And at this time he would take the converts that were most mature spiritually and he would appoint them as elders. Then he would leave them, he wouldn’t see them again, maybe never see them again. Then Nee makes the comment, “Thus they had to depend on the Holy Spirit because they couldn’t depend on anyone else.” Now loved ones, sometimes, and I say it lovingly to you, sometimes I think many of you miss the Christ likeness that the Holy Spirit wants to bring in you, the growing that he wants to bring about in you, because you’ll ask anybody to get out of seeking the Holy Spirit yourself.
And I would encourage you, I think it’s great that so many of you brothers and sisters are mature and can counsel and help others, and I would sure encourage you to seek help when you’re absolutely at a brick wall but boy, oh boy, first of all go to that dear Holy Spirit who first sensitized you to your God and your Creator, and first of all allow him to teach you what he can about the situation because that’s the way you’re going to grow into the life of Jesus, by honoring and respecting the Holy Spirit.
And of course, that’s the great difference between ourselves and the Old Testament people. You know, the Old Testament knew something it seems of having their spirit renewed. You remember, in fact, we sing that song “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me”. And they knew something of having their spirit renewed, they knew nothing of the Holy Spirit coming and dwelling in them. That was only possible after Jesus died and rose from the dead and went to be with his Father. Then he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in you.
And that’s what the Holy Spirit does, he first regenerates you and sensitizes you to God and then he comes in and dwells in your spirit. And that’s why of course, we talk about assurance from that angle. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” There’s the Spirit of God and then there’s our spirit.
Now, if you say to me, “Well, brother how do you strengthen your own spirit?” Well I say to you, “Only the Holy Spirit can do that.” And you say to me, “Well, what condition must I fulfill to get the Holy Spirit to do that since I myself cannot touch my own spirit?” Loved ones, the Bible is clear in Acts 5:32, “God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey him.” You obey the Holy Spirit and that frees him to strengthen your spirit and to enable you to be more aware of God and his guidance in your life. You obey the Holy Spirit.
Brothers and sisters, that is everything. That’s everything. Really, you’ll never get further than that. If you obey the Holy Spirit in your life, he will strengthen your spirit with himself so that you become more and more sensitive to your dear Father in heaven and so that you can feel the way he feels. That’s the key. That is the key. The Holy Spirit has said a thousand times, “Get up at six.” You say, “Yes, someday I will.” The Holy Spirit says, “Get up at six.” You get up at six for one day and then you try the next day, then you rest from trying the next day, and then you decide to pray at night. That’s it. That’s the key.
That’s why we’re sick. That’s why so many of us are sick. Why some of you actually have virtually died as far as God is concerned because there are little things that the Holy Spirit is telling you to do and you will not do. If I could just say this one last thing, there are loved ones here tonight who are having all kinds of trouble in their personal lives and I’m going to go right out on a limb, it’s because of disobedience. That’s it. It’s certainly not because of something else that you can’t do. God doesn’t ask you to do things that he will do. But the one thing that he does ask you to do that you can do ever since Calvary and ever since God destroyed this old intractable soul of yours, you can obey. You can do what God tells you to do.
And I would just say that to you; if there’s anyone here tonight who has confusion in their lives, or anyone here tonight that has personal problems that they cannot get hold of, the Holy Spirit will solve them and lead you through them if you’ll obey, if you’ll obey. And if you say to me, “Obey what?” I say, “Obey the last thing that your conscience was troubled about. Obey the last thing your conscience was troubled about.”
And loved ones, honestly, I’ve stood on my head spiritually, I’ve wrinkled my forehead spiritually, I’ve counseled with one eye closed and my tongue between my molars, I’ve done everything to try to help those of you who have said to me, “No, no obedience isn’t my problem.” But loved ones, obedience is your problem. That’s it. Obey, God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey and who are willing to do what God tells them. And if you lack an awareness of God in your life, it’s because the Holy Spirit has not sensitized your spirit to God and he has not been able to do that because you won’t obey him. And the secret of the Holy Spirit’s relationship to the believer’s spirit is our obedience.
I’ll keep quiet and are there any questions? And I’ll tell you, this would be a beautiful family if you were all listening to the Holy Spirit. You wouldn’t find it oppressive at all and you wouldn’t fin(cid:9)d trouble with being stereotyped if you just listened to the Holy Spirit. It would be a beautiful family. There would be originality and creativity springing up everywhere, really.
Question from Audience:
How can you differentiate between the Holy Spirit and your soul and other spirits?
And brother there are many ways in which I could answer the question but maybe the best thing to say to you is that the most beautiful thing of all is that men of old did not write by their own inclinations but as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. And so, the Bible was written by the Holy Spirit and I think that the first and plainest answer is that you’ll find the Holy Spirit will always prompt you to do things that are in accordance with what he revealed in this book and so I think that’s one guideline.
I think when you make the point, how do you distinguish between the Holy Spirit and your own soul, I think that the Holy Spirit usually reveals things to you in the light of the words in Acts 13:12, you remember, where you read, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”
When you’re preoccupied with Jesus, when you’re worshiping the Father, then the Holy Spirit will speak to you. It’s very difficult for the Holy Spirit to speak to us clearly when we’re worried and preoccupied with the problem or the situation, or when we’re preoccupied with men or events. So brother I would say at least those two ways — but there are other answers to the questions. But,
one is, the Holy Spirit always guides us as he guided the people in the Bible and secondly, the Holy Spirit speaks when we’re preoccupied with Jesus and with the Father and not with our own situation or our problems.
Well loved ones, I know it would be freedom for you this week if you would start getting to know the Holy Spirit. Really, you know.
Question from Audience:
If you get up in the morning and ask the Holy Spirit to tell you what you should do that day, then shouldn’t you be able to get up from your prayers and trust that the things that are coming through your mind are of him?
And I would say, yes, I think you should Emma, I think, as long as you are obeying the inclinations and the directions that he’s giving you. For instance, I think what some of us do is we leave our prayer time in quietness like that but we get into the office, or into the work situation and the Holy Spirit is saying to us, “Trust in the Lord and don’t despair, he is a friend so true.” The Holy Spirit is saying, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, do not look at the waves under your feet. But we disobey him almost, it seems, unconsciously or involuntarily and before you know it we’re all preoccupied with the situation around us and we lose the dependence upon him that we had in prayer. And then of course, all kinds of directions will flash at us through our troubled mind.
But I agree with you, as long as we stay with the Holy Spirit and obey the inclinations that he gives us – we will. But I’ll tell you what I think many of us do. The Holy Spirit often directs us but it’s something that does not seem relevant to the situation we’re in and we don’t obey him. We don’t see it as important. And I do think that many of you, brothers and sisters on campus, I think you do that. I think the Holy Spirit gives you some direction as you’re crossing over from one room to the other and he tells you to look somewhere, or think something and you don’t obey him because you think, “Oh it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what way my eyes go. It doesn’t matter what I think about.” And you ignore his voice.
And I think many of us ignore the Holy Spirit because we think, “That’s not important.” But loved ones, if you will yearn for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and lean heavily upon him, he will keep you safe. Really, he will. Oh there’s nothing so needed in this live Christendom in these days as a people that will listen to the Holy Spirit more than they will listen to preachers’ directions or books’ directions. Really.
The Holy Spirit has a unique relationship that he wants to maintain with you alone. It’s different from the one he has with me. It’s with you alone, really. There’s a unique friendship that God has planned between the Holy Spirit and you and the world will forever be at a loss unless you allow that relationship to be strengthened. You see, too many of you here tonight do not realize that God has a unique thing to do through you, unique. Now, too many of you, you see, are all conceited and we think, “Oh, he’s going to do some great thing.” No, it’s not necessarily a great thing but there’s a unique reason why you’re here on earth. There’s a unique thing the Holy Spirit wants to do through you and if you will listen to him and learn to know him, the Holy Spirit will do it. Really.
I’ll tell you one of the problems I see as a guy who’s supposedly out there in front leading. One of the things I see is there are far too many of you who are camp followers and are “yes men” and
are anxious to find out what the leader things you should do. And I think what you should do is listen to the dear Holy Spirit within you. And then you’ll see a beautiful symphony being created. Not a unison, but great harmony being created because the Holy Spirit will prompt you to do something different, and me to do something different and then — miracle of miracles — we’ll see them all coming together in a unique way that we could never have imagined. But, it’s such an exciting experience.
Instead of me saying, “Okay you should do that, you should do that and we’ll achieve this.” That’s the manmade way to do it. But, oh if you would only listen to the dear Holy Spirit there are beautiful things that he could do for you and through you to your husband, and to your wife, and to your children if you’ll listen to him. He has a unique portrait of Jesus to paint within the framework that is you. That’s it. Each of us are frames, that’s all we are, empty frames in which the Holy Spirit is intent on painting a portrait of Jesus.
And what a privilege. How exciting it is for you and me to go out of this room tonight. The Holy Spirit wants to show you things about Jesus and his desires for your life that only you can understand. That’s so exciting. That makes you so unique. And, that’s true, that’s true.
Let us pray. Holy Spirit, we thank you that you are the one who anointed Jesus at his baptism. We thank you that you’re the one about whom he spoke when he said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me and he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.’ Holy Spirit, thank you that you are that same dear person who wants to come into our lives and to reproduce a unique expression of Jesus, the son of God in us. Holy Spirit, will you begin this evening and we’ll listen to your voice, and we’ll do what you tell us, and we’ll begin to obey even the slightest thing so that our spirits may grow strong in you and may get better at knowing your voice, and better at expressing your will.
We commit ourselves to you for this evening, for an evening of quietness and peace and rest in you and trust you for a good night’s sleep, Holy Spirit. Will you keep away dreams that are not right for us and will you give our spirits rest and peace and our bodies good relaxation. And then in the morning will you raise us up with the joy and light of Jesus and the joy of the day in our Father’s world in absolute security that he has all things planned and will work all things well for us. And the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and throughout this week. Amen.