Where are you at with God?
Spiritual Life #34
Spiritual Life Review
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Let us pray. Dear Father, we ask you this evening to tell each one of us what we need to hear individually from your heart. Lord, we ask you to take the words that are shared and then overrule them or use them as you plan. But Lord Jesus, we want to know what our Master says — not what man says — so by your Holy Spirit will you speak to us personally for your glory? Amen.
Loved ones, I sense that often it takes us a while to gather ourselves together again after a break. And I do sense at times that some of you are new and so I’d just point out to you that what we try to talk about these Sunday evenings is the spiritual life. And in order to talk about it in a way that helps us all we’ve tried to set up a working model that many of us feel the scripture presents us with of our personalities. This doesn’t need to be fought over, or taken, or rejected, or argued about. It’s a working model that many of us have found helpful.
And I know that when I was converted I asked somebody, “What do I do?” And they said, “Oh, you walk in the spirit.” And that’s all they told me and it was just a mess. I didn’t know how Satan was deceiving me, I didn’t know when I was rebelling myself, it was just a mess and I wished that someone had been able to explain to me what was happening. So that’s why this working model has really been so precious to many of us and has helped to make many things clear.
And it is of course this one, that you get in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And that’s the working model that we have used. And I’m sure when we get to heaven God will say, “You poor little souls, you knew so little.” And we do see it through a glass darkly so I’m sure there are many better ways of putting things but this makes sense for many of us. That here we have our bodies and inside our bodies we have our souls and inside our souls we have our spirits and that normally your body, you can see, consists of the blood, and the bones, and the flesh that you see there.
And then in your soul, that’s the psychological part of you and that consists of your mind which can reason and judge things, work out mathematical problems and argue. And your emotions that can feel, can feel feelings of sadness, can feel strong desires, can feel compassion. And then your will that can actually make decisions and force the rest of your personality to carry out those decisions. Your will can make you do things.
And then the part of us that we know so little about is our spirits. And our spirits are the part of us that connect us and our lives with God. And our spirits have ability to commune with God and they have ability to know through intuition what God wants us to do. And then they have ability to judge whether we’re doing that. Your conscience always judges you on the basis of what God is showing you. That’s where many of us get into false condemnation. We don’t respond to our conscience but we override our conscience by our minds. We take some of the current standards of our present society or our peers and we beat ourselves over the head with those things when God isn’t talking about those at all.
He’s talking through our conscience about some other things that maybe none of them know about. And
(cid:9) many of us come into false condemnation there. We override our conscience by trying to say, “Well, our group does this,” or, “Our church does that,” or, “Our minister says you should do that,” or, “My friend who led me to Jesus says I should do that.” And we get all caught up with those things that our mind is throwing at us instead of with the things that our conscience says — and our conscience judges us in the light of what God is showing us inside.
Now, I’d just very quickly say, loved ones, that most of us when we were born lived from our bodies. We lived from our bodies. The little baby cries every time it wants milk from its mum’s breast. And many of us went on through our lives that way. When we got the milk we were happy. Then it become Coca-Cola and when we got that we were happy. Then later on it became beer because that seems to affect not only our bodies and not only our desire to feel happy and satisfied inside but it made us feel happy in our emotions. And so we began to live off things that we could take into our bodies that made us feel happy as well as things that made us feel secure and filled physically.
And that’s why of course many of us went on to the cigarette smoking which kind of dulled the tension that your nervous system felt and brought some little peace to you and then we went on to more sophisticated things like marijuana, and then we went on to heroin and anything that we could take through our bodies and make us feel happier. And it was the same with all the other things that we wanted to feel. When we wanted to feel important we went out and bought a new coat. Again, we put it on our bodies, hoping to get through what we did to our bodies some sense of importance.
And so that followed on, we guys wanted a motorcycle, then a bigger motorcycle, then a nicer car. It was again, a physical thing; we were like little animals. My little dog is just so happy when you give him some meat as well as the ordinary dog food. That’s his whole happiness. Or, when you take him out for a run, just the exercise of his body he enjoys. He’s a little animal, he gets everything from his body. Now, that’s the way most men and woman are in our world, isn’t that right?
I mean, right on up the most sophisticated, the most mature, the most balanced people — they seem to live to get more and more things for their bodies — food, or shelter, or clothing — so that they can kind of make themselves happy, and secure, and important. And that’s what you call the life of fallen man, you see. That’s man without any belief that there’s a God who loves them. That’s man who believes, “I have to make it in this life on my own. There may be a God but he doesn’t really care about me individually and I don’t think I can get anything from him that is important to me so I have to grab it from the world, and from other people, and from events as I go through this life.” Now, that’s a fallen man, you see.
That kind of man you can see works from the outside in, works from the body in. Now, there comes a time for most of us when the Holy Spirit eventually gets through to us and says, “This isn’t the way to live. You can see you’re getting madder, and madder to get more and more clothes for yourself, more and more money for yourself. You can see you’ll destroy anybody who gets in your way. You can see you want to climb over anybody to get an important job.” You can see that these are sins, these are wrong, this isn’t the way God meant you to live and your conscience is struggling. Because your conscience is the only part of you that is even half alive of your spirit, because our spirits are dead, you see.
But our conscience is kind of struggling inside to make itself felt. Our conscience rises to that and when some pastor preaches to us and says, “You’re not meant to be at rivalry with one another,
you’re not meant to be envious with one another, you’re not meant to drink until you’re absolutely irresponsible and hurt all those around you.” Then our conscience rises from within and says, “Yes, that’s right.” And many of us sense then, we are lost if we continue in this way. And so we sue for forgiveness to God. And we go before him and we confess these things and we say, “Lord, we don’t know what happened at Calvary but we know that you’ve given Jesus to die so that you could forgive us. Lord, we confess our sins and we repent.” And then at that moment God’s Holy Spirit comes into our spirits and so we’re regenerate, we’re born of God.
Now, the problem is that for a while we are so delighted that Jesus’ Spirit has come into us that we are utterly preoccupied with Jesus. We are. We see that in desperation we would go to hell unless he saved us and we sue for forgiveness and he becomes everything to us. And for a week, two weeks, three weeks, three months, in some cases two or three years, we walk absolutely preoccupied with Jesus. That is, we walk from the inside out. We walk by the direction of our spirits.
It isn’t long before we begin to say to ourselves, “Well, now maybe we could have some of the things that we enjoyed before and have Jesus also. After all, it would not hurt to have a little of the satisfaction that I had before so maybe I can start taking a few things through my body again.” And so the next time Jesus tells us to do something, we say, “Well, I’m a bit tired and I’m a bit worn this evening and it’s cold outside and I’d just like to sit and watch television.” And we begin again to live the old fleshly life.
Now loved ones, that’s called the carnal Christian, you see. That’s what a carnal Christian is. A carnal Christian is one who is born of God and who listens to Jesus’ Spirit partially in their lives — but when it’s not convenient for them and uncomfortable then they live as they used to live. And that’s what Paul means you remember when he said to the Corinthians, “You are carnal because you behave like ordinary men.” That is, like men who have not been born of God.
And that’s what happens. The carnal Christian is only a Christian in his spirit. Outwardly in his life he is like ordinary people. He loses his temper, he gets angry, he’s proud, he’s envious, he’s jealous, all the things that he was before he ever met Jesus. And so often you know, they cry, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord? Where is that soul refreshing view of Jesus and his word?” And carnal Christians often wish they could get back the first love they had but they don’t know how to do it because they’re living partly from Jesus’ Spirit and partly the way they used to before they ever met God.
And you know of course, the decision that has to be made then is, “Am I willing Lord to be absolutely, and utterly, and irrevocably changed?” That’s the question. That’s what Jesus’ death really means. We were all crucified with Jesus. All our personalities that worked in that way were crucified with him and the Holy Spirit soon begins to present to the carnal Christian the fact, “You are either going to go to hell if you keep going the way you’re going because you’ll sin every ounce of my spirit out of you. My spirit will not always strive with man. Or, you’re going to have to accept what I did for you in my Son on Calvary. I did not just put him forward as a bribe to get me to forgive you for your sins that you continue to live in. I put you into my Son and your in-turned carnal personality I destroyed. I can make that real in you if you are willing to live only and always off my love and off my spirit and never again to live off the approval of other people that you look for, the satisfaction that you look for, and comfort for your body, and in importance for yourself. If you’re willing to live off my love alone — not of the world’s, not of other people’s.”
And that is a crucial critical time for all of us when we have to decide, “Am I going to put Jesus first and foremost in my life? Am I going to depend on his love only and die to the love of other people? Or, am I not?” And that’s what many of us have referred to as being crucified with Christ, or making a full surrender, or being filled with the Holy Spirit, or being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Because of course, the surrender is not the baptism but when you surrender completely Jesus baptizes you with the Holy Spirit and what you find is you find your life becomes all that way. Where before it was a battle suddenly your life is filled with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit begins to move out that way and that’s often what we’ve said is the mark of the spiritual life.
The mark of the unregenerate life is that everything goes in. The mark of the carnal life is that some comes out and some goes in and there’s a conflict between. The mark of the spiritual life is that it’s a flow outwardly, it’s a flow outward all the time. So that in man/woman relationships you’re no longer looking for what you can get from this girl or from this guy but you’re preoccupied with giving to them. In situations in the office you’re no longer preoccupied with whether I’ll get the best job or the best desk but you’re concerned with other people because you’ve died to anything that man can do to you. It’s an outward going life.
It’s no longer preoccupied with ensuring your own future and your own little nest egg but it’s an outgoing life that is preoccupied absolutely with Jesus, and God his Father, and with other people. So that’s the spiritual life. And you remember, we have put it like that, that that was God’s plan. That his Holy Spirit would come in through us in communion, tell us what to do, our conscience would constrain our will to obey that, our will would direct our mind to understand it and to explain it and send out the necessary directions to our body, and our emotions would express the joy of our fellowship with God and that whole love, and peace, and joy of God would flow out to other people.
And of course what we did was to begin to take it all in from the world and to turn our backs on God completely so that our bodies began to concentrate on getting joy rather than giving it. Our mind concentrated not on understanding what God was telling us because we were no longer hearing that but on manipulating the world and events to suit ourselves. And our will was absolutely under the domination of our mind and emotions which in turn were dominated by our bodies so that our will was virtually useless to us. And so what happened was our spirits absolutely died and we were dead to God.
And of course what we described was the turning back of that completely. The coming alive of the spirit and yet the inward and outward struggle of the carnal Christian and then coming back to the place where you’re filled with the spirit and the spirit is beginning to move out through you. Now loved ones, I do think even though it may spoil it for some of you, I do think I should stop there and say are there any questions that anybody has about it?
Question From Audience (inaudible):
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
When you turn your life over to Jesus completely, when you make a full surrender, when you’re baptized with the Holy Spirit, when you’re fully crucified and raised with Christ, is that it? And some people have said, “I’m saved, and sanctified, and petrified.” And I think some loved ones do. Some loved ones feel, “I’ve arrived, that’s it. I’m bound with ribbon Lord, come and collect me any time.” And they just sit there and I think many loved ones do. But, that’s not God’s plan at all
because here’s what happens. The Holy Spirit when you say, “Holy Spirit I’m willing to live the life of Jesus completely. I’m willing to die to outward things, and people, and events. And I’m willing to do whatever you tell me Lord Jesus. I’m willing to obey you completely whether it means I be blotted out or not, I’m willing.”
Once you say you’re willing the Holy Spirit comes in and fills you and then he has to begin to actually bring that about in your personality. And that’s what we call walking in the spirit. Then the real work begins because this will has been under the domination of the mind and emotions for years and it is virtually useless. This mind has been used to manipulating people for years and it’s hard to change. The Holy Spirit, day after day after day, brings about the dying of the Lord Jesus in us until that is completed. And it should come to a place where it was in Paul where he could say, “Death is at work in me so that life is at work in you.” But no doubt, that will in a sense, continue until we meet Jesus face-to-face and until every vestige of his body is changed.
Question From Audience:
After you have made a full surrender to Jesus could you still be smoking cigarettes?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Well, I mean I’m not fighting cigarettes. Maybe you could if the Holy Spirit hadn’t convicted you of it but it seems to me after the fullness of the Spirit, when the Holy Spirit witnesses something to you as being wrong then you have the power to obey him. You have the power to walk right into obedience. That’s why I say about the cigarettes because in fairness loved ones, there are some of us here – do you remember there’s a word in Corinthians that says, “The spiritual man or woman is judged by no one.” Do you remember that?
Well, you see what the word is saying is you’re responsible to your conscience. You’re not responsible for what someone else says is wrong. So some loved ones can be dealt with by the Holy Spirit on some issues and not on others. Now, you have to be fair with everybody and let them be dealt with as the Holy Spirit desires but all I would say sis is, that if the Holy Spirit convicts you after the fullness of the Spirit, after being crucified in Christ, you have the power to walk in obedience and that’s why it says, “You’re freed from sin.”
It means that you’re freed from the power of sin. You’re freed so that you can obey God. Before I was filled with the Holy Spirit I wanted to obey him but I could not. The good that I would I could not do. But after that I was able to do it. You are free to obey.
Question From Audience:
But if your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, could smoking be okay?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Alright, brother is going to push me up to the wall on cigarettes. you know. And, I’m not a smoker, brother. And brother is saying your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. All I want to say to you, loved ones, is you have to love each other. You have to love each other and you have to see that you may have been convicted brother about that and you may say, “Listen, this is clear to me — why isn’t it clear to everybody else?” But loved ones we are all different and really it’s very
important in a body of Jesus that you love each other and that you give each other the time to see what the Holy Spirit is convicting you about.
And what I’ve found is when you start being legalistic with each other the conviction of the Holy Spirit is driven out of that body, really, really. Once you start judging each other it’s self guarding against self you know. Oh, I remember I must tell you, I had a dear friend, an old Welsh pastor in Belfast. Now, I was at that time a happy intellectual cynical Methodist pastor and he was of all things a pastor of a gospel hall. Now, I thought, “A gospel hall pastor? He has no degree, he has no qualification, what does he know?” But of course you know the way God has of getting it together and we met at a funeral in Belfast once and I just saw the life of Jesus in him.
And I remember him telling me about one man who was converted at one of his meetings. At that time I was a bit skeptical of conversion and I knew it happened to John Wesley but I wasn’t sure it happened to anyone else. And he told me about a man who was converted at one of his meetings. And he came up to him and said, “Pastor, what will I do?” And he was a Welsh man and he said, “Good boy, what do you mean, what will you do?” And he said, “I will have to give up my job.” And Pastor Evans said, “Why? Why would you need to give up your job?” And he said, “Well, I’m a bar man.” And you know, I was sure that Evans, being the old miserable fundamentalist he was, he’d say, “Yeah, give up that place of hell, and get out.” And Evans said, “No, no good boy. You stay and you do what the Lord tells you.”
And oh, it was light to me because the bar man two weeks later was told by God to start distributing tracts with the drinks. And eventually he lost his job. But, it was such light to me, you know, that you don’t tell each other what to do, you respect Jesus’ Spirit in each other and you encourage each other to listen to the Spirit of Jesus. And loved ones, we should do that, and do study his word, and share his word with each other but don’t share condemnation upon each other. You remember, when the Holy Spirit comes he will convict the world of sin. He, not Ernest O’Neill, or Leighton Carlson, or Stan, or Emma, or Clyde Anderson but the Holy Spirit.
And every time you let the Holy Spirit have his place in a community there’s life and light you see. Because, what you do is you bring light, you bring light. You can’t bring life but you bring light. Light that blinds, and hurts, and pierces, and dazzles, and leave the poor soul thinking, “Oh yeah, I shouldn’t do that, I shouldn’t.” But, no life to walk into the light. But when the Holy Spirit comes he brings light and he brings the life to walk into it and so there where that is practiced you get a body of children of God who grow beautifully and naturally into the image of Jesus.
Question from Audience:
What if you have given your life to Jesus and you do want to obey him but you cannot? Does that mean you have not been filled with the Spirit, or you have not been baptized with the Spirit, or you haven’t been crucified with Christ?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
I would rather put it this way brother, that the Bible says that Christ died for all therefore all died. And I’d rather start on that note of God’s word, that all of us have been crucified with Christ in reality. God has put us all into Jesus. Even Ayatollah Khomeini has been put into Jesus and crucified there and resurrected with Jesus. But, unless he is willing to believe that and to
submit to that he will go into outer darkness. And so all of it has been done, we have been crucified with Christ — but if we are still walking in Romans 7:15, “the good that I would I cannot do and the evil I hate is the very thing I do”, then we have not yet allowed all that God has done for us in Jesus to be made real in our lives — and yet we can and there is something more.
Brother, I’d rather put it that way because if you put it the other way, if you say, “Oh no, you haven’t been crucified with Christ, or you haven’t been baptized with the Holy Spirit,” then everybody gets worked up arguing about those things you know. And they try to protest, “Oh no, I spoke in tongues so I am baptized with the Spirit.” Or, “I am crucified with Christ but I just have problems that you don’t have.” That’s silly stuff, you know, don’t let’s argue over the semantics. But it does seem clear, loved ones, that the Bible says, “He who has died is freed from sin.” That’s what the word of God says in Romans 6, “He who has died is freed from sin.”
And there is a place that you can come to in Jesus that you’re so absolutely identified with him and with his will for your life that you can be free to obey what he tells you. Loved ones, hold on to that, never give that up. Even if like me you agonize over it, and you wear yourself out day-after-day falling, and getting up, and falling, and getting up. And I remember it was just encouragement to me when I read, “A saint is not one who never falls but one who gets up every time.” And I got up until I was tired of getting up but I said, “I’m going to keep getting up and keep doing it.” And there will come a place when the Holy Spirit will show you in what way you’re not really willing to rest in Jesus only and to live the life that he wants you to live.
The Holy Spirit will begin to show you where the disobedience is. Interestingly enough, not so much in your outward life probably but in your inward motive life. He’ll begin to uncover the selfish motives you have, “I’m doing this for the glory of God, and for myself. For the glory of God, and for myself.” He’ll begin to show you the motive life, the reactions. Have you ever noticed that when you squeeze an orange what is inside comes out? Have you ever noticed that when you’re squeezed what is inside comes out? When circumstances press you, when you’re caught off balance, when you’re pressured, what is inside comes out and you are utterly horrified at what is in there.
Now, the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to you your responses, and your reactions, and your motives, and your inward desires, and he begins to expose to you a whole area that many of us know little about. The area not of outward sin, not of acts and words that you know are wrong — we get certain victory over those when we’re born of God — but inward sin. Inward sin of that prideful attitude, a kind of jealous attitude, a discomfort when somebody is praised and you aren’t praised, a feeling that I’m as good as them, an irritability about somebody, a desire for other people to look up to you and to notice you in conversation. That whole area of inward sin, the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to you and begins to show you that you haven’t a crucified heart.
And loved ones, that’s the beginning of the great dealing that the Holy Spirit leads you into in order to bring you to complete resurrection with Jesus. And there is a way through, there is a way through to the other side of Calvary. Carnal Christians live on this side of Calvary. Spiritual Christians live on the other side of Calvary and there is a way through. Yes, oh yes. And hold on to it, don’t ever give it up.
Question from Audience (inaudible)
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Somebody put it this way, that if the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism and washed over him as oil, then that Holy Spirit touched every part of his body and you are the members of Jesus’ body. And if you’re a little finger, or a toe, or a part of the arm, the Holy Spirit covered you also. And it’s a matter not of trying to get into all that but of living in that reality. Of living in the freedom that God has already worked in you. And loved ones, the truth is that in order to escape the baptism with the Holy Spirit you have to actually believe a lie. You have to believe that you are not in Christ, that you were not crucified with him.
You have to believe a lie in order to escape the fullness of the Holy Spirit and to escape the victory. And so it is important I think to see that the only reason that you don’t experience it is because of the resistance to what God has already done for you and done to you. And it’s not something you have to get into, it’s something you have to accept not only in your mind but in your will and live that way.
Question from Audience (inaudible)
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Oh yeah, that God may keep your body, soul, and spirit blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus. It seems to me that it ties up Emma, you remember, with Paul’s phrase the body of sin, this body of sin. It is an important chapter about the general subject that we’re discussing. Maybe if you look at Romans 6, you’ll see that the promised result of being crucified with Christ is that you’ll be free from this “body of sin” the King James says or “sinful body” the RSV says.
Romans 6:6, “We know that our old self,” that old self that was used to living off people, and events, and things, “Was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed.” And really the King James Version is the best translation, “So that the body of sin might be destroyed.” And the body of sin is the body that has been used by the power of sin for years. The body that has been used by this power that lives independent of God and it seems to me it is that body that will be rendered blameless, Emma. So that it will become instead of a body that has wrinkles of irritability, and of anger and worry on its forehead, it will be a body that is clear eyed, and that is at peace, and that mirrors the joy and the love that Jesus has with his Father.
Question from Audience (inaudible)
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Brother what God has shown me especially, as Campus Church is a non-denominational church, and especially as I know many of you here tonight are from other churches, what the Father has shown us over the years is do not get embroiled in purely doctrinal arguments. Try to see under the truth of eternal security and under the truth of being able to fall from grace because those are the two positions as you know. And the person who believes in eternal security will quote a verse like, “I have them in the hollow of my hand and none shall pluck them from the hollow of my hand.” And then those who believe in being able to fall from grace will quote the verse in John 15 you remember, that says, “The branches in me that do not bear fruit he will take away and cast into the fire.”
And so what God has shown me is, will you stop arguing over those two things and will you see that
what I’m trying to present to you here is that there are two situations that are very possible. And then he showed me, what is the practical outworking of these two things? Well, I’ll tell you, if I believe in eternal security and you bring to me somebody who is not acting like a Christian then you know how I answer you. You say to me, “They were Christian but they’re not acting like a Christian now.” You know what I say? I say, “They never were Christian. They never were Christian.” That’s what I say as a believer in eternal security. I say, “They never were Christian so what they need to do is confess their sins and repent and receive Jesus.” Isn’t that right?
Now, say I’m a man that believes that you can fall from grace and you bring this person to me and you say, “He was a Christian but he’s not acting like a Christian now.” I say, “That’s right, he’s fallen from grace.” “What should he do?” “Confess his sins and repent and receive Jesus.” So you know, it was light for me when I saw, don’t get wound up over whether you can fall from grace or whether you can’t. The outworking of the two is the same.
And I think what is very important is to see that you can resist God’s Spirit. You can stop breathing his Holy Spirit into you. Nee puts it this way, he believes in eternal security, and he says, “You become like one who is dead.” So whether you believe that way or whether you believe as I myself would tend to believe, that you can lose everything, that you can fall from grace. Yet, still the result is that you look like a dead person.
So brother yes, I would say that we had better see that there were men and woman that were warned in Hebrews not to harden their hearts less they lose what they had received. And we had better see that we cannot play around with this, that when a person comes to a place where he says, “Whatever I do, whether I murder my mother, whether I’m angry every day, whatever I do I can never miss heaven.” That person is close to heresy and close to apostasy.
And we better see that sure, God doesn’t take away our salvation every time we sin and we’re not in and out all the time but it is a relationship with the loving Father that we have and we better see that just as with our own fathers we can spoil that relationship by a lack of response, or a lack of obedience, so we can with our heavenly Father. So brother I’d rather leave it that some of us believe we cannot fall from grace and some of us believe we can, but I think the important thing is that for those who are children of God they’re bound by a higher law completely, a love of a dear Savior that bled and died for them.
And it seems to me that’s the great mark of a child of God. That they’re more concerned with, “Am I hurting my Jesus? Am I hurting my Father’s heart?” than, “Am I losing heaven or am I gaining hell?” It seems to me the only one that is concerned with ending up in hell or with losing heaven is the person who is not really a child of God. And it seems to me a child of God has some of the Father’s heart and the Father’s Spirit with them and they’re concerned with, “Lord did I hurt you? Lord Jesus have I caused you to shed your blood in vain for me?”
It seems to me the best mark of a child of God is the spirit within, a penitent soft heart that wants to obey. And that’s the mark of even a dear carnal Christian. A dear carnal Christian wants to obey, they want to obey, they want to do everything to obey. They keep coming, they keep confessing, they keep repenting. The mark of an apostate is that he doesn’t care any longer, he just settles his salvation on some intellectual concept and he doesn’t care whether he’s hurting his Father or not. Does that help, brother?
Question from Audience:
Where does that term “the heart” fit into your illustration of body, soul and spirit?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
I don’t know. I believe with Oswald Chambers that the best definition of heart appears in the Bible, “You shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and strength, and mind.” Ted is asking where heart fits in. I say initially I don’t know but I tend to go with what Oswald Chambers says that the heart is the deepest part of a person. And it depends on whether a person is being led by his body, maybe in that case that is his heart, he’s led by his body. Or whether he’s a soulish person and is led by his mind, or his emotions, that’s his heart. And of course God’s desire for us is that our spirits would be our hearts. That’s the nearest I have got beside the blood pump but it obviously means more than that. So that’s Ted, the best sense I can make.
Question from Audience (Inaudible)
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Ted says, “Don’t theologians believe that regeneration is at such a deep level that actual energy is transferred from God to the person?” And without any doubt, but I don’t think that needs to be argued on the basis of heart, Ted. I think the Spirit regenerates us here in our spirits and that’s where real new birth takes place. And the Holy Spirit transfers the energy of God to our spirits, enlivens our spirits, and fills them with his Spirit. Those are two things that take place at the new birth. You see, the Holy Spirit makes our spirits alive to God and the Holy Spirit dwells with our spirits, and helps our spirits, and gives us strength that we haven’t had before.
It’s good to be patient with each other because many of us here are at different stages. And I know some of you loved ones are saying, “Pastor, get on with what we were going to do.” But really Jesus has been kind to us, hasn’t he, and has gone back miles and miles to catch us and we need to be willing to do that with each other. And I know that many of you here have come at different stages.
Question from Audience:
Is the church as the body of Christ important in this diagram?
Response from Pastor O’Neill:
Yes, brother but not in the sense that many of us feel, you see. We have tended to become a group of children of God who do not live from God’s Spirit. I know that sounds terrible but we have tended to become a group of children of God who do not live by God’s Spirit. That’s why terms like baptism of the Holy Spirit or the reality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and particularly reality of walking after the Spirit is so baffling and bewildering to us.
Most children of God in churches operate on a horizontal level. They are born of the Spirit but then they don’t really live from their spirits, they live on a horizontal level all the time. It’s the body or soul that determine what they do. They have Bible study groups where they discuss with their minds the kind of thing you should do in this situation, the kind of thing you should do in that situation. They look forward to Sunday service so that they’ll get a little bit of an emotional strengthening with the hymn singing and seeing the rest of the people on the Sabbath day.
And so they often use the body of Christ to give them strength and they’ll talk about it in those terms.
They’ll say, “I need the fellowship. I need the fellowship” It’s almost like a drug, it’s almost like a fix. “Oh, I hope Pastor gives us some food. Oh, I don’t go to this church because I don’t get any food.” And the whole emphasis is on getting something horizontally across from somebody else. Now, undoubtedly God can give us spiritual life through other people but only when we are looking primarily to him. And so the purpose of the body of Jesus brother, is not to give us strength actually. The purpose of the body of Jesus is for the Holy Spirit to be able to use whatever particular abilities he gives us in conjunction with the abilities that he gives some other members of Jesus’ body so that we are able, as Jesus’ hand is able to lift this Bible so that the other hand can open the Bible. So that is what the spiritual body of Jesus does.
So maybe Jim is this hand and he hands the book to this hand and I’m this hand and I can open the book. Or, you invite somebody to come to service next Sunday evening led by the Holy Spirit, and another brother or sister here is in touch with the Holy Spirit and they have certain abilities to talk to them in a certain way that you cannot. And they verge over towards that person and they strike up a conversation and that person is taking the next step on. That’s the purpose of the body of Jesus.
The purpose of the body of Jesus is for the ministry of Jesus’ Spirit — not to save the body of Jesus primarily. Now, actually as you do that of course, you are fulfilled also, so in a sense it does benefit you, but only through the life of Jesus flowing through you. The body of Jesus is not here to keep us alive spiritually. The body of Jesus is here so that our spirits can contribute to the general work of Jesus’ Spirit in others’ lives to the world. So the body of Jesus is to minister to the world and to minister to Jesus himself and to the Father, you see. But it’s not a psychological reinforcement society. It’s not. And whenever it is, it’s weak and that’s when people argue, and that’s when they get tired of their minister and fed up with everything, when they’re living off each other instead of off Jesus’ Spirit.
Loved ones, I’m sorry but I think we should stop now. So will you pray about the things that Jesus has been speaking to you on? And act on those. Act, because we are in Jesus. Tomorrow morning let’s act like that, let’s act like that. Let’s act in the light of the fact that we have been crucified and we have been raised to God’s right hand and that’s what we’re living. That’s where we’re living at this moment. We’re living there.
Let us pray. Dear Father, we thank you that you have said it in your own word, “those of you who were dead in your trespasses and sins God has raised up and made to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Far above all rule, and authority, and dominion, and power, and above every name that is named not only in this world but in that which is to come.” Lord thank you, that’s a clear statement to us. We can’t argue with it. And now you want us to live in the light of that.
Tomorrow morning Lord, when somebody throws a critical irritable comment to us you want us to realize that we’re at your right hand in Jesus far above any place where that comment can touch, far above any place where that comment can hurt. And Lord we’re able to express to them what you feel for them at that moment. Lord, thank you that tomorrow if somebody tells us we’ve lost our job, or somebody threatens to report us, thank you Lord that we can realize again that we were once dead in our trespasses and sins but we’ve been raised up and made to sit with you in heavenly places and there no one who can demote us, and no one can affect our lives, and we’re able to respond naturally
Thank you Lord that we don’t have to fall into lying and making excuses. We can be honest and face whatever consequences come, knowing that none of them can snatch us from our place at your right hand as long as we want to be there. So Lord I would pray for each loved one here tonight that by your Holy Spirit, dear Holy Spirit will you tell them this at the right moment? Will you be a good counselor to them and be an advocate of the Father for them, and remind them when they miss this. Remind them of their true position in Jesus at your right hand, dear Father.
And we would pray this for each other Lord that this will be a week of triumph for every one of us. Whatever happens, whatever situation occurs at work or at home, that we would live in the position that we have so that you, Holy Spirit, could make our condition match our position. Thank you Lord. Thank you that that’s your will. That if we once accept our position you make our condition match that position. Thank you, Lord.
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 coming week. Amen.