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Description: Impatience, jealousy, anger are not part of the normal life of one who believes they are Christian. Are they part of your life?
Spiritual Life #48
Spiritually or Soulishly?
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Okay, let us pray. Lord Jesus we thank you for the great privilege of having an evening like this
together. And Lord we realize how few places in the world a group of people like ourselves can
gather in quietness and peace and simply concentrate on what you’re teaching us. And we thank you
for that privilege. And we realize Lord that we’ll look back to these Sunday evenings often in
years to come and be thankful for them and realize that these were precious times. So Lord, we
would appreciate them at this moment, and we would rejoice in what we have tonight. And we know
Lord as we do that you will be faithful, and you will speak to speaker as well as to audience, and
you will reveal yourself to all of us here in words that are deeper than mere man’s. And we thank
you for that Lord. Amen.
I know that those of you who have been coming for several weeks will be patient. I just explain,
brothers and sisters who are here for the first time tonight, that what we talk about in these
evening services is the spiritual life. And we’re trying to do that under a certain framework that
we believe the Bible outlines to us. And as with all man’s attempt at summarizing what the Bible
teaches, I’m sure it’s only partially true and when we get to heaven we’ll laugh at our silliness.
But, it does seem that the Father shows us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, that there is a spirit, and a
soul, and a body in our personalities. “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.”
Then if you track those through the Old and New Testaments, you find that when the spirit is
mentioned it normally refers to one of these three functions and that’s why we’ve put those three
functions inside the spirit. [He shows a graphic of the personality showing 3 concentric rectangles
with the ‘spirit’ being the innermost, then the ‘soul’ around the spirit and the largest outside
rectangle being the body. The ‘spirit’ contains communion, intuition and conscience. The soul
contains mind, emotions and will. The body is the physical being that the outside world sees.]
The ability to commune with God, the ability to know what God wants you to do directly from
himself, your conscience which makes you act up to the best that you’ve heard through your
intuition. Then your will, and your mind, and emotions are part of your soul. That’s the
psychological part of you. And then your body is in itself a trinity also.
And when we talk about the spiritual life, that’s the kind of life that we mean. [He shows on
diagram arrows from God into our spirit and from our spirit out into our soul and then from there
out into our body and out to the world.] That’s the way God intended us to operate, from his Holy
Spirit, loving him above our homes, above our cars, above even our children, above our jobs, above
our own selves — loving him and wanting to please him with all our hearts. And then, as a result
of that, his life would begin to come through us, we’d become like him, just like every husband and
wife becomes like each other as the years pass, we’d become more like God and his Spirit.
You may say, “Well, what is his Holy Spirit?” Well, he is a real person, but you can tell a little
— the kind of spirit that begins to come to you from a friend. You get to know a friend closely,
and if you really love that friend, you become more and more like him, because you admire him, and
you respect him, and he does you. And so you both melt more and more together. So there is a
naturalness about it. Now, I agree with you, that there’s something added about the Holy Spirit of
God, because it’s not just a feeling or an atmosphere. He is a real person. But he does that kind
of thing. He brings two friends closer and closer together, and makes them more like each other.
And that was God’s plan for us, that the life of his Holy Spirit would come through us in communion
and prayer, would direct us through our intuition what we should do; our conscience would constrain
our wills to obey that, and our will would direct our mind to understand the details of God’s will
for us that day, and our emotions would express the joy of our friendship with him to the world.
[He shows again on diagram arrows from God into our spirit and from our spirit out into our soul and
then from there out into our body and out to the world.] So it would be an outgoing life. So the
world would be filled with the blessedness of God, and the unity of God, and the liberty of God
through his people. And that was God’s plan.
And so that loved ones, is what we talk about when we talk about the spiritual life. Now, at these
present weeks we’re trying to deal particularly with the spirit. So we have dealt to some extent,
with the experiences that lead us into our relationship with God. We have spent the past two years
doing that. But now we’re beginning to talk about this area of the spirit. [He indicates ‘Spirit’
on the diagram.] And we have in previous weeks dealt with the ability to commune with God, our
intuition, and our conscience and now we’re beginning to talk about what it means to walk after the
Because you see, that’s the way God intended us to operate. He intended our body to get its
direction from our soul and our soul to get its direction from our spirit, and our spirit to get its
direction from God himself. And so what we’re talking about in these weeks is walking after the
spirit. Now, what many of us, of course, have done for years is, we’ve operated the way the great
bulk of mankind operates which is that way. [He shows diagram again, and shows arrows coming in from
the world to the body and in to the soul and in to the spirit.] That is, the great bulk of mankind
at the moment operates from the world in. They don’t operate from God out; they operate from the
world in. They’ve abandon God, they don’t want him. They don’t want to depend on him. They don’t
want to love him. They want to be their own God.
And so what has happened is their own spirit has died, and it’s no longer in existence. And they’re
left without any dynamic in their lives. And so they’ve turned from God to the world to find the
security, and the significance, and happiness that they once got from God’s love. And now most of
mankind lives to get security, and significance, and happiness from the world.
And so what has happened of course is, that among other things, the spirit has died and the soul
itself — do you see it has itself become perverted? It had to. The soul has to operate a
different way when it depends on God to the way it operates when it depends on the world. You can
see that. When it depends on God then the soul is used for different things. The will for
instance, commands the mind and emotions. It directs them in accordance to what it itself is
receiving from the spirit. The mind concentrates on understanding God’s will and God’s plan, and
working it out in deductive detail in whatever job you happen to have — in what carpentry you do,
in what business you carry on. The emotions are used to express the joy of your fellowship and your
love of God to other people. So the soul operates that way when it operates from God out in a
spiritual way. But when it operates from the world in, do you see that those functions become
If you have no sense of identity because you have no sense of God’s love you have to get a sense of
identity from somewhere. Otherwise you feel you’re a nothing. And so where we get it is from the
grade curve. We get it from the grade curve, and all variations of the grade curve. We pit
ourselves against other people and prove to ourselves that we’re better — maybe not than 79 others,
but than two others. We’re better than them. And so we make ourselves feel some significance and
Now to do that, of course, the mind can no longer afford just to be interested in understanding
God’s will. It has to manipulate like mad! It has to manipulate people so that it gets itself into
a position where it seems and feels important. It’s the same with the emotions; if the emotions no
longer get joy from God, and from their fellowship with God, the emotions have to get joy from
somewhere else. They can’t concentrate just on expressing joy. They themselves are empty and so
they concentrate on getting joy from others.
And I don’t want to mention it too much, but many of us, in family life, have seen the results of
that. I mean, we have seen the way mothers and fathers — instead of giving to the children have
used the children. And we’ve seen the way the children, instead of giving to the mums and dads,
have used the mums and dads. And indeed, we’ve seen the way a husband will concentrate on getting
joy from his wife rather than giving joy to her, and vice versa. In many family relationships you
can see the effect of such a perversion of the soul.
Now loved ones, that’s what has taken place. So when most of mankind are in that situation, they
have a spirit that is dead towards God; they have a soul that has become utterly perverted in its
functions; and they themselves have chosen the world, and live off the world completely, and don’t
live off God at all.
Now obviously, one of the big steps is when you make the choice to live off God instead of to live
off the world. Many of us feel that that’s at the moment of the new birth, but so many of us have
experienced only a partial new birth that often that choice becomes a little later — after we have
become a little more knowledgeable about Jesus, and we see that there’s a real choice.
And many of us have found ourselves to be carnal Christians. We have found that our spirits have
become alive, but we ourselves have continued to operate ‘in’ from the world. And so we’re carnal
Christians; we still depend on the world for our security, significance, and happiness. That’s what
explains — oh in Ireland, the great thing was we had ‘sales of work’. They were dreadful,
catastrophes. You had ‘sales of work’ to get money for missions; you sold things, and people —
ladies — baked cakes. And then you sold them at half what it cost them to bake them — typical
kind of Christian inefficiency that we operated on. But that’s what caused the lady to be offended
because her cake was not noticed by the pastor or by the other people. That’s why you got that kind
of thing in churches. Because many people were born of the spirit — their spirit had come alive —
but they themselves were still operating on the basis of getting the approval of others in the
church. That’s why men would get caught up in running for office in the church. They would be born
of the spirit, and they would want to love Jesus, but they themselves wouldn’t have actually chosen
to live off God. They’d have chosen still to live off the world. So they still prized the approval
of their peers and the respect of their friends.
So that’s what you call a ‘carnal Christian’, loved ones — a person who is born of the spirit but
is still living from the world in. And that we talked about last day. That of course, is a
question of rebellion. A carnal Christian is involved in downright rebellion. He’s involved in the
exercise of a selfish will, because he has chosen still to depend on the world for the things he
ought to get from God.
Now, do you see loved ones, that when a person has decided that he is going, once and for all, to
die to the world with Jesus, and to live only to God for all that he needs, then the Holy Spirit
fills and baptizes that person? And they become a person filled with the Spirit or baptized with
But what we began to talk about last day is this: there are many loved ones who have come to a real
death to what the world has to give them, and have come to a place where they are filled with the
Spirit and baptized with the Spirit. But they don’t realize that they still have this enigma within
them. They still have this soul that for years, for all the years of their lives, has been
continually and increasingly perverted in its functions. And so they come to the place where they
are no longer carnal. And they are no longer in rebellion against God. And they’re willing to do
anything for God, and be anything for God. And they’re willing to put his will first in everything.
And they have no trouble seeking the approval of other people, or being annoyed when other people
criticize them. And they’re free from anger, and envy, and jealousy, and those inwards sins.
But, they don’t realize that they still have this soul within them that is working as if it was
dependent on the world. And so they still have a mind that has got used to manipulating people, and
things, and events. They still have emotions that have been used for years to getting joy, and
getting happiness from other things and other people. And they still have a will that for years has
been used to obeying and being dominated by their mind and emotions. Now that, loved ones, is what
we’d like to talk a little about tonight. It’s called soulishness.
And the soulish Christian is a Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit and has decided he is
willing to die to self and to self will, and willing to do anything for Jesus, but the soul itself
is still in a state of perversion. And so the soulish Christian is not involved so much in
rebellion as in deception. Peter, when they came to arrest Jesus in the garden, had only one
desire. And that was to defend his Lord. And he was willing, at that moment, to lay down his own
life for that. And so he whipped out his sword and sliced off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
So, his heart was good. He wanted the best for Jesus, but the methods that he used were not God’s
at all. Now, it was deception. It wasn’t that Peter was, at that moment, rebelling against Jesus.
It was at that moment that he was deceived into using the old normal methods that his soul had
devised for years: for survival’s sake, he decided to use that. Now therefore, it’s the case, loved
ones, of soulishness of an independent soul — not so much of a selfish will, but of an independent
Now, this is what we would like to talk a little about tonight. Maybe I should just mention,
brothers and sisters, since there are some of you who weren’t here last Sunday, that the question
here is that crisis experience of the cross. [He shows the diagram and indicates the backwards
personality where there is a conflict in the will.] You have to come to a place in your life where
you decide, “Lord I’m fed up with this inner conflict.” Which occurs, by the way, just about there
[He indicates the conscience in the spirit conflicting with the ‘will’ in the soul], because the
spirit that is inside you is wanting to do what Jesus wants, but the soul and the body are utterly
dominated by the world. And they have a direction coming this way. [On the diagram he shows arrows
from the world in to the ‘body, then into the soul, and then into the spirit.] And so the two forces
meet: the lust of the flesh and the desires of the spirit meet, “to prevent you from doing what you
would,” so that you cry out, “The good that I would I cannot do and the evil I hate that’s the very
thing I do.”
Now, if you’re in that situation as a carnal Christian, what you need do is decide, “Am I willing to
be crucified with Christ? Am I willing to have this old personality crucified with Jesus once and
for all, so that no longer do I live this way but I live that way alone?” [He shows on diagram a
cross over the personality with arrows coming in from the world to the body and in to the soul and
in to the spirit then he shows the diagram again, with arrows from God into our spirit and from our
spirit out into our soul and then from there out into our body and out to the world.] “Am I willing
to depend on God only?”
Now, that’s quite a big question, if you tie that down into details, because it does mean some very
practical things. If you’re willing to depend on God only it means that you have to be willing to
accept whatever criticism may come from others, and yet just let God deal with it. You have to be
willing to be downgraded and to be walked over by other people, and respond only as far as the Holy
Spirit prompts you to respond. That doesn’t mean you’re an absolute doormat, because obviously there
comes a time in Jesus’ life that he has to throw over the tables of the money lenders. But the
important thing is that you do need to come to a place where you are willing to respond only as
Jesus will want you to respond — not to respond with anger yourself just to get rid of the
pressure, but be willing to stay under it as long as God wills you to stay under it. So it means
being willing to die to your right to shake off persecution, or to shake off opposition when it
comes, and instead to be willing to respond only as Jesus guides you.
It means the same for pleasure, the whole business of pleasure. We are just little puppies. You
know that; we are! We’ll do anything if we get an extra biscuit; we will! We’ll do anything for an
extra $100 a month. And we’ll, on the whole, do anything for a little bit of praise, if somebody
just strokes us a little. We’ll just beg like mad for the rest of the month. And so it means —
coming into a death to that, means dying to being at the mercy of other people’s praises, and dying
to the right to their praises, and dying to the right for them to be pleased with you, and being
satisfied alone with God’s pleasure.
So loved ones it does mean a lot of things. You see, why we get angry, why we get angry at home or
in the office is because, either the children are getting on top of us, or the people around us are
just steamrolling over us. And so we think, “I’ll roar; I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow
this house down. And they’ll see what they’re doing.” And so, that’s what anger is. It’s self
saying, “I have a right not to be treated in this way. And if I get mad enough, I know I can scare
them.” And so anger and bad temper is really based on our feeling that we have a right to be
treated in a certain way, and we have rights not to be treated in certain ways. So it’s the whole
business of rights.
So a carnal Christian has always trouble with his rights. He always feels, “I have a right to be
praised. I have a right to be looked up to.” And he could never be found on the cross. You’d
never find him on the cross. You could never find him hanging on that cross as Jesus did, with the
power to call a billion angels to his aid, with the power to strike everybody dead at that very
moment, and still hanging on the cross. You never find a carnal Christian on the cross. He
wouldn’t bear that. He would feel, “I have a right not to be on this cross.”
So loved ones, a person who is a carnal Christian needs to deal with those things. Would you be
willing to die to self with Jesus, because that’s actually what happened to you on the cross? When
Jesus died — “Christ died. Therefore all died.” And if you are willing to die with him, he fills
you with his Holy Spirit and cleanses your heart, so your life becomes like that. [He shows on
diagram again arrows from God into our spirit and from our spirit out into our soul and then from
there out into our body and out to the world.]
Now, it’s maybe good just to mention that, because I think some of you might still wonder, “Well,
what do I do if I’m back in that situation?” Well, loved ones, you need to deal with that chapter,
Romans 6 and particularly Verse 11 where you remember, God says, “You’ve to reckon yourself to be
dead indeed unto sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” “So you also must consider yourselves dead
to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” That’s the first step, the real belief and the
willingness to believe that. It’s not a matter of just believing in your head, but it’s, “Are you
willing?” The Greek word is ‘logidzo’ and it means, “Treat yourself as really dead.”
I remember, in my life, when God said to me, “Would you be willing to take your place in Jesus on
the cross?” And I said, “Lord, will you, through your Holy Spirit, show me what this would mean for
me?” And it means different things for all of us. You know that, according to the age we are and
according to the career we’re in. But I know one of the things it meant for me was, “Would you be
willing to be an apparent failure in the world’s eyes, as Jesus was? Would you be willing to be a
nothing, if it were for Jesus’ glory?” And I remember that it was then I realized that believing is
not a case of just a mental attitude, but it’s a case of a willingness. “Consider yourselves…”
means “Treat yourselves as really dead with Jesus.”
And of course, you can only believe that when you’re actually willing to be there. Do you see that?
I used to say often to God, “Oh I believe it, Lord, and I want to believe it.” But I wasn’t
willing to be there, so of course the belief was always being destroyed and torpedoed by my own real
wishes underneath. And so the battle for me, was to come to a place where I was really willing to
be crucified with Christ, and to die to self, and to live only for Jesus’ glory whatever it would
cost me, even if it cost life itself.
And so, that’s the first step loved ones, and then the second step is in Romans 8:13, the day-by-day
obedience to the Holy Spirit. Because the only way of course, for that to be made real in you, is
through the kind of obedience — instant obedience to the Holy Spirit, who alone can bring you onto
the cross with Jesus. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit
you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” And it’s only by the Spirit, by obedience to
the Spirit that you can do that.
And of course, many of us run in to real difficulties, because we come into the office the next day
— after having settled things with Jesus on the cross. And some secretary, or someone else makes
some quick comment that shows what somebody else thinks of us, and it isn’t very complimentary. And
we know they shouldn’t have said it anyway to us. But they say it, and suddenly we know it. And
it’s at that moment that we should immediately not do a thing. We should immediately look to the
Holy Spirit and say, “Holy Spirit, I have given up my rights to control this life and to defend
myself. What do you think? What do you think?” — To look immediately to him and let him guide us.
But usually it’s at that moment we say, “Listen, there’s no question about this. I mean, there’s
no problem with this. I don’t need the Holy Spirit’s help here. I can decide the way to respond to
this myself.” So it’s usually the next day that we fail at the crucial moment to look to the Holy
Spirit, whatever the cost. Because you see, the question is not whether it’s right or wrong to bear
it. That’s only a bluff by Satan. He loves to bluff us, and get us into some debate. “This is an
unreasonable thing to require you to bear this.” We should not touch that. It’s just his subtle
tricks. We should immediately turn from him and say, “No, Holy Spirit, you alone can tell me what
So loved ones, that’s what we’re talking about when we talk about the crisis experience of the
cross. Now, in me, it was an instantaneous experience. The Greek tenses imply that. They are
aorist tenses. Our old self was crucified at a moment in time, and it’s finished with. That’s the
strength of the aorist tense in Greek. So most of us who have experienced the baptism of the Holy
Spirit, or being filled with the spirit, or being cleansed with the spirit, or being crucified with
Christ, have experienced it in a moment.
If you say to me, “Well, does it occur just like that? Can it not be a process before it?” Yes,
you can take several months dying, but there’s a moment when the last breath is breathed. There’s a
moment when you’re dead. And the Holy Spirit witnesses to you that you’ve come to that place of
full consecration. Now, that’s what we mean loved ones when we talk about the crisis experience of
Now, when you’re talking about soulishness, you’re talking about the process experience of the
cross. That’s the experience that Paul talks about when he says, “Bearing about in my body the
dying of the Lord Jesus.” Or it’s when Jesus says, “If any man would come after me let him deny
himself daily and take up his cross and follow me.”
Now, there’s the daily cross. And you talk about the ‘process cross’ or the ‘daily experience of
the cross’ when you deal with soulishness. You can see why of course, because this inward life is a
matter of choice. It’s a matter of the will. You chose to live from the world in or you chose to
live from God out. That’s a matter of choice. That can be an instantaneous moment. It may take
you a long time to seeing all that’s involved, but there comes a time when you’ve seen it all and
you make your agreement with God. You say, “Lord, I know what I’m worth, and I give it to you.”
So that’s a matter of choice and you can see why that can be a crisis. But you can see loved ones,
these functions here [He shows diagram again, and shows arrows coming in from the world to the body
and in to the soul and in to the spirit.] have been developed over years, and years, and years.
This is a question of process. These things have to be changed gradually over a period, probably of
years. And that’s why it’s the process experience of the cross that you deal with when you deal
Now loved ones, maybe I should just mention very briefly here that when you’re dealing with these
soulish functions, what you’re dealing with is a heart that wants Jesus’ glory, but wants to bring
it about in your way. In other words, it’s not that you have the desire of the old creation, but
you’re still trying to use the life of the old creation. And you can readily see that the life that
we have developed for the sake of existing in the world is a life of its own.
We get as good a degree as we can. Then with our minds we exchange it for the best opportunity at
IBM, or 3M, or whatever corporation we’re going into, that we possibly can. And then we play the
old game with the colleagues — when they’re on our side — with the rivals when they’re on the
other side — but we manipulate one against the other to gradually scramble to the top of the heap
— as far up the heap as we can get. And that’s the kind of life that many of us are trained to
Now, do you see that’s a totally different approach to the approach that is needed when you come up
to the walls of Jericho? You come to the walls of Jericho, if you’re going to use the old method
you’re going to start looking around for some weak spot in those walls. Or, you’re going to start
bargaining off some of your cattle for some sticks of dynamite. Or, you’re going to work out how
your guys can get a big enough battering ram to go through part of the wall. But you’re still going
to use all these manipulated powers that you’ve used for years.
Now, you know the way the walls of Jericho came down. And you know the way lepers are healed — by
Jesus. And you know the way people’s lives are changed by Jesus. And you and I know that it is by
the power of God’s Spirit coming through an ordinary man or woman. And it is not by that person
figuring out how to knock down these walls themselves, or how to get across this Red Sea on their
own power, or how to get this man’s withered flesh cleaned up so that it will look healthy, or how
to get this dead person to seem to be alive. It isn’t that. It’s obviously a whole direction that
comes from God’s Spirit that entails a whole different use of our mind and emotions.
I mean, people like Joshua, were not fools. They were no different from us. People like Moses were
not dumb. They were like us; they had used the same methods for years that we have used. Suddenly
they had to learn a whole new way. They had to listen to a voice of God that was telling them to
walk around the walls seven times and to blow trumpets. They had to listen to a voice that told
them to walk into the Red Sea — walk into the Jordan even though the water wasn’t moving back — to
walk right into it. They had to listen to a voice that was telling them, “Lay your hand on this
withered leper’s flesh, and then pray and the flesh will be healed.” They had to operate in an
entirely different way.
Now loved ones, that’s what we have to come into ourselves. And the great problem with the bulk of
Christendom at the moment is that many of us do want Jesus’ glory, but we’re working in an utterly
soulish way to bring it about. And it’s not simply the businessmen that we call in for our
‘stewardship’ campaigns. That’s just a pretty obvious version of it. But it’s all the other
manipulative ways we have of trying to get people to talk about Jesus — lots of little tricks we
have to get them to talk about Jesus, to get them to read the right book. It’s all using the powers
of the soul to do God’s work.
Now the Father has a completely different plan for us. And so, loved ones, it is quite a task that
the Father has to begin to break these perverted powers of our souls in order to get them back to
what they used to be and what he had originally made them to be. And it is a process experience.
Now, I’ll just mention very, very briefly maybe how it takes place, because I would like to at least
present some very definite teaching on that. Most of us are in trouble, because we don’t even know
when we’re being soulish.
Some husbands realize it when there is a disagreement with their wives, and they say to the wife,
“Alright, we have to settle this. We have to settle it now. Now, let’s get down and let’s talk
this out. Let’s not have any more cold wars, let’s just talk this thing out, and you put your side
forward and I put my side forward, and we’ll sort it out.” Three hours later they are near divorce.
And so, many husbands realize, “Yeah, I was a bit soulish.” And many of us could parallel the
thing with our roommates, and our friends. Many of us realize after the event that there’s
something we didn’t do right. Our desire was good enough, but there’s some method we were wrong in
using. And so we know the thing long after the event.
But loved ones, we don’t know it at the moment. And the only way we will realize it is by the way
that God has given us in his word. And you’ll see it there in Hebrews 4:12. And that runs, “For
the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of
soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
Do you remember we shared that we’re trying to talk tonight about whether we’re living soulishly or
spiritually, whether we’re acting from the spirit or the soul? Loved ones, God’s word is the source
of our revelation, “For the word of God is living and active, sharp…” So sharp you see — sharper
than any two-edged sword — that it can pierce to the actual division of soul and spirit. It can
tell you when you’re acting in the soul and when you’re acting in the spirit. It can even pierce to
the dividing of joints and marrow, because it discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
“And before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom
we have to do.”
So loved ones, the first step for those of us who sense we are living in some way soulishly, is to
ask the Holy Spirit whose sword this book is of course — the Holy Spirit is the one who created
this book — ask the Holy Spirit, “Will you, Holy Spirit, give me revelation through the word you
have written and show me what the intentions and the desires of my heart are? And show me when I’m
acting soulishly rather than acting from God’s spirit — when I’m using the power of my own
personality, or the power of my own manipulative ability to bring things about, instead of following
the directions of God himself.” And the Holy Spirit will do that.
In other words, there are moments at home when even the best marriage counselor and the best
psychologist would tell you to say something to your loved one. The Spirit of God is already
working in her heart, or in his heart, and has a whole plan for the fullness of their salvation
beginning to operate. And the Holy Spirit is saying, “Shut up. Just be quiet. Just be silent.”
But our souls are so active and so overdeveloped that they feel we have to do something. And the
Holy Spirit is really saying, “Be quiet.” And, loved ones, there are moments like that when more
can be achieved by God’s Spirit in your loved one’s heart than you would ever achieve over 1,000
And it’s the same in our businesses that we run here, and in your businesses that you loved ones
that run businesses, and in different jobs. So often, in our offices, far more would be worked by
the Holy Spirit, far more would be created in loved ones’ hearts, if we would play it by ear with
the Holy Spirit, if we would listen to his directions instead of continuing to do what our great
souls think are the wisest things to do. If we would just walk quietly with the Spirit of Jesus,
and be directed by him, and stop this business of pointing out to him, “What good will that do?”
We’re so stupid, you know. But that’s our attitude. We say, “What good would that do? Keeping
quiet, being silent, how is she ever going to change unless I say something? How is the situation
in the office ever going to change unless I do something about it?” And the Holy Spirit is quietly
saying, “I have things already working that you are just going to blow apart unless you keep quiet,
and keep believing me for it.”
And often the Holy Spirit is saying to us, “All I want you to do is have faith in me. Don’t help
me! Please don’t help me! Just have faith in me! Just — your place is to exercise faith that I
am working. And if you do that I’ll be able to clear this up. And I’ll tell you when to act!
There’ll be a time to act, but I’ll tell you when it is.” Loved ones, that’s the kind of knowledge
we need, moment-by-moment as we go through the day. And the Holy Spirit will give it to us if we
spend time in his dear word each day in fellowship with God, and then ask the Holy Spirit and trust
him, “Holy Spirit, will you bring to my remembrance whatever word of God is in this book that will
reveal to me when I am stepping in the wrong direction?”
So that’s the first step, loved ones. It’s a real belief in the Holy Spirit’s ability to use the
Word to bring that to you. Now, of course, it’s not as easy as that because, when the Holy Spirit
says, “Be quiet,” we won’t be quiet! We’ve been used to running off at the mouth just whenever we
wanted to. And we feel that, “We can do these things. And we can clear this thing up. We
understand this woman; we understand this guy; we can clear this up if we just get our sleeves up
and get into it.” And so there are strong powers of the soul that are so strong that the Bible says
they have to be broken.
Really loved ones, your soul is hideously developed! Really! You think at times — the tragedy is
your will is virtually non-existent. With most of us our will is virtually non-existent! It’s
utterly dominated by the body and the soul! But many of us are either very strong ‘mind people’, or
we’re very strong ’emotional people’. And those strengths are powerful because they are our only
weapon against the world, and our only weapon in our using the world, and abusing it. And so these
powers have become very, very strong.
Those of us who are very ’emotional people’ know how to use our emotions to get what we want. We
know how to use our emotions to get things done. Those of us, who have very strong minds, know how
to use our intellect to manipulate things the way we want. And so those powers immediately go into
action every time we come to a need for action or crisis. They begin to turn, almost without our
knowledge. That’s the killer! The will is never in control unless we are walking by the Spirit.
Do you realize that? It’s periodically — it grabs control at times. But it can only grab the
control that the mind, the emotions, and ultimately the ‘spirit of this world’ will let it grab.
But normally the will is very, very weak. And the mind and emotions automatically and spontaneously
operate by reflex reaction. And wouldn’t you agree that that’s the way the great number of us
operate in the world? I mean we operate -– soulish people operate by external stimuli. “Am I going
to like that person or not? He smiled, I like him. He frowned, I don’t like him. Am I going to be
happy this morning or not? The sun’s shining; I’m happy. Am I going to be happy? Oh, it’s cold,
and wet, and miserable. I’m going to be miserable today.” Most of us soulish people — we operate
by external stimuli all the time.
So you see what happens, loved ones: All this power and force come from the world — hits our mind
and emotions, and the dear little mind and emotions — they just bounce right back! [He shows on the
diagram the forces from the world coming up from the outside and hitting our ‘soul’ (mind, emotions
and will).] It’s a little reflex reaction. I don’t know if you played billiards. We played
billiards. It’s maybe not a very saintly thing to play billiards. But we played a lot of billiards
in Ireland. Do you know snooker? And you hit the white ball, and it hits a red ball and knocks it
into the pocket. It’s that kind of thing! It’s just one ball hitting another –knocking it.
That’s the way we go! It comes this way, the world hits our emotions! Our emotions bounce back!
The world hits our mind! Our mind bounces back!
That’s about as shallow a life as most soulish people live! Now, do you see that that is very
strongly developed loved ones? So it takes a tremendous break in power to break the power of those
soulish functions, and to eventually bring them under the control of the Spirit. And so just as in
this situation there was a daily obedience, so in this one, loved ones, there’s a daily experience.
And maybe you would look at it. It is so miserable that you’d better look at it and make sure it’s
in God’s word. 2 Corinthians 4:7-15. This is the kind of experience.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God
and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to
despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body
the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we
live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be
manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since we have the same
spirit of faith as he had who wrote, ‘I believed, and so I spoke,’ we too believe, and so we speak,
knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into
his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extend to more and more people it may
increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature,” our
soul, “Is wasting away, our inner nature,” our spirit, “Is being renewed every day. For this slight
momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because
we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are
seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
And particularly that Verse 16, I should make it down to 16, “So we do not lose heart. Though our
outer nature…” our outer man, that is the soul. God allows you to come into experiences as
breaking as those that Paul is outlining. And as you come into them, those experiences gradually
break down the powers of your soul. Those breaking experiences break these mighty powers. [He
indicates the mind and emotions in the ‘soul’.] Probably only a mum who has seen her son — despite
all her attempts at converting him — go into drugs, and go into promiscuity, and then end up drying
out in St. Mary’s [a hospital in Minneapolis] — only that mum has really probably come to the end
of what she could do.
And yet, it’s often that kind of breaking experience that God has to allow to come to us before he
can destroy those manipulative powers of our souls. That’s why the apostles could say, “Greet it as
pure joy when you enter into various trials.” Because they knew that everything that comes to a
child of God who wants to live a spiritual life is lovingly filtered through God’s hands so that it
is just the exact amount of difficulty, and trial, and affliction that will break the powers of that
person’s soul and bring them into a place where they at last have a soul that is submissive and is a
good servant to their spirit. So that, finally they can come into a real ministry of Jesus’ life.
But loved ones, until that happens, what most people see in soulish Christians is that great
Christian, that great personality. Most people are preoccupied with the personality because it’s
the personality that has not been broken. Most people are preoccupied with either the person’s
goodness, or their braininess, or their cleverness, or their affection, or their emotion. But they
only begin to see Jesus when that person begins to have the soulish powers within them broken, and
their own personality begins to be transparent so that people begin to see Jesus right through them
without seeing them at all.
And loved ones, that’s what we need. And that’s what the dear world needs. You know, so many of us
who love Jesus are really just prostituting what he has given us. And we’re still busy drawing
attention to ourselves — if not to ourselves, to our great churches; or if not to our great
churches, to our great beliefs. But the world is not seeing much of Jesus through most of us. It’s
seeing a great deal of us, and just little glimpses of Jesus. And the reason is that many of us,
though we’re born of the Spirit have never been filled with the Holy Spirit, we’re still living off
the world. And those of us who have stopped living off the world, have stopped living a carnal
life, are still living soulish lives. And we’re still trying to do God’s work with our human
abilities. And so what people see is a great work being done by human ability. So they glorify the
great human ability.
Do you remember Abraham? You remember the war that was fought, and the kings wanted to give him
some of the spoils. And he refused any of the spoils. He wanted all the glory to be God’s. And he
wanted the world to see that it was God that had made him wealthy, and rich, and prosperous, and not
men. And it’s really when we begin to come into that desire that Jesus only will be glorified, and
that people will see him alone and not us, or our organization, or our own brilliance, or our own
Christ likeness; it is only then that Jesus will begin to be lifted up. And then of course, the
promise is tremendous, “I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto myself,” and everybody will see
and be judged and judge the beauty that they see.”
So really our only task is to live Jesus up, by allowing him to be seen and not ourselves. Really,
all we have to do, is to come fully into his cross with him. That’s it. You can see how the
witnessing systems are good — the evangelizing, and the preaching, and all that. It’s all right.
It’s good. I suppose it has to be. But it’s all pretty irrelevant, really. What the world wants
to see is Jesus in the flesh. And God has promised, when they see Jesus, then they will be able to
decide for or against God. And our only job here on earth is to allow Jesus to live in us, freely,
and be seen by them.
And that’s a beautiful task we have. We don’t have to save the world. We don’t have to witness to
everybody. We don’t have to evangelize everybody. We have to let Jesus live in us, and then all
those things will come about, you see. But the beautiful thing is, then we will witness; we will
evangelize; we will save. But it’ll be him doing it through us. We’ll be acting; we’ll be
operating. But it will be in response to his directions, and there will be a beauty about it. And
of course, that’s what your dear colleagues and my colleagues want to see. The loved ones that I
work with during this coming week, that’s what they want to see. And that’s what your friends and
my friends want to see. “Sir, we would see Jesus.”
Let us pray. Dear Father, we know our own hearts yearn for Jesus. It’s good to have all the
preachers, and the ministers, and the evangelists, but we yearn for a glimpse of ultimate truth.
And we see how much mileage we’ve got in our lives out of that brief glimpse. And Lord we realize
that’s what our friends, and our dear wives, and husbands, and our children, and our colleagues —
that’s what they need. Lord we often have felt that our words have been too many, that our actions
have been too confused, and there has been too much of ‘us’ in them. And Lord we realize that when
Jesus is seen through us, there’s a peace and quiet that achieves far more than all our activity
And so dear Father, we would give ourselves to you now and ask you, by your Holy Spirit, to bring us
through to whatever state we need to be in. Father, if there are loved ones here tonight who aren’t
born of the Spirit, will you, by your Holy Spirit, reveal to them the need to truly confess and
repent of those sins and to give their lives to Jesus? If there are loved ones among us who are
carnal Christians, living defeated lives, will you, Holy Spirit, bring us onto the cross where we
have been placed by God? Will you bring us into that, in reality, in our own lives?
Will you Holy Spirit, show us what it means to reckon ourselves to be dead, and what it means,
day-by-day, to submit to you, and put to death the deeds of the body, by the Holy Spirit? Then
Lord, if there are those of us who are soulish Christians, Holy Spirit, we would ask you by your
word that you wrote in the Bible, to give us light, and discernment, and revelation so that we will
perceive when we are soulish and when we are spiritual. And then Lord, we would pray what that
lady, Jessie Penn Lewis, prayed, “Bring us into pure life whatever it costs. We give you leave to
bring whatever afflictions, or allow whatever trials you deem necessary to come to us, so that these
mighty souls of ours will be broken and remolded so that they can be servants and expressions of the
Spirit of Jesus in us.”
So Father, we would give ourselves to you as a people, that we may be among those who make it easier
for loved ones to believe in Jesus, because they’ve seen him in us — because we’re epistles read
and seen by all men.
Now 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 ever more. Amen.