The Holy Spirit has a dirty job. He has to dwell within the people of God for the purpose of transforming us into the image of Jesus Christ.
But consider the nature of that job. It is the ultimate janitorial role. A major cleanup of the passions, lusts, desires and sinful attitudes of mankind. His role is to expel all of the filth from our nature so that we are as clean as Christ and perfected into the nature of God the Father.
Like I said, the Holy Spirit has a dirty job, and that is why it is important that we do all we can to help and not grieve the Holy Spirit as He goes about His work.
One of the most important things we must learn as Christians is how to walk by the Spirit. If we are to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, as we must if we wish to live in the kingdom of God, then walking in or by the Spirit is essential.
These few verses and the sections that follow, define what walking in the Spirit is and how we can begin to walk by the Spirit. Consider these words wisely and learn these things, for they can and must be learned and every Christian needs to be trained in these things.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18)
In my last few posts and in the book of Galatians we see Paul’s frustration with the Galatians church as they slipped away from Christ, seeking to develop a self-righteousness of their own based on the law. They had been deceived into believing that they had to follow the law to be saved and they had become confused.
In these few verses we again see Paul’s anguish for the people, how he is perplexed that they would trade the grace and power of Jesus Christ for the bondage and condemnation of life under the law.
There is a battle raging that has been going on since the very beginnings of the church, as we can see from these words written by Paul.
5 I think that I am not in the least inferior to these superlative apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not in knowledge; in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
Human nature is such that people tend to listen to those who are great orators or who have the most letters after their names. The orator is often persuasive and charismatic, and they are able to charm people to their point of view. Whereas, the scholarly and academics persuade from the position of being learned in some topic or other.
But this does not mean they are doing good or are promoting the truth. Adolf Hitler was a brilliant orator who wooed the whole world…before he set the world at war. And a great many scholars have been wrong as they followed and taught false teachings.
But in the church it is different and worse when these things collide. And this was Paul’s concern.
In my last post I discussed the fact that we are at war, but it is not a physical war against flesh and blood. Instead we are at war in the spirit for our enemies are spiritual, the primary enemy being the devil himself.
Needless to say, this is a different war, fought on a spiritual battleground. As a consequence it requires a different set of weapons from those used to wage a worldly, fleshly war. We do not use guns, knives, swords, tanks, explosives and bombs to fight this war, because the nature of this war is different.
Spiritual war is not about the capture or killing of people in the physical sense. It is about the capture of the hearts and minds, even the soul and life of people. The devil seeks to destroy our eternal life by snatching away salvation through the destruction of our faith. But in Christ we have the victory, if and when we come to Him and take the weapons of war designed to wage this spiritual war. So let us first look at the nature of this war and then consider what the weapons are we need to fight, and how to use them. Continue reading “Weapons Of War”
Deliverance is one of the many messages we hear Christians speak about. It is often used as a means to draw people into churches.
There is a church near where I lived some years ago where they had a sign out front announcing a weekly prayer meeting for people to come and get healing. And this is a great draw card because nobody likes to suffer.
Deliverance was at the root of many of the miracles Jesus performed while He walked on the earth. He healed the sick, lame, blind, deaf, paralysed and gave release from demonic possession to many people as part of His ministry. These people were delivered from all manner of afflictions and many followed Him purely because of the deliverance He gave.
But there is more to deliverance and a greater purpose, which is available to all still today through Christ Jesus.
In these last few verses of this chapter of 1 Corinthians 14 we see Paul make a couple of fascinating statements. And these are statements we need to listen to carefully with respect to the contents of this chapter because Paul makes it clear that these words are not just his thoughts and ideas, but they are the commands from the Lord.
The essence of what is written in this chapter primarily deals with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, specifically relating to speaking in tongues and prophesying. He also speaks about running the church in an orderly fashion and provides a template for how a general worship meeting should be conducted. I covered all of these matters in some detail in my previous posts on this chapter, and you can flip back to those using the “previous” tags and keys at the top or bottom of this post.
But in summary here we should look at what Paul is emphasising as being of importance, not just from his words but by the command of the Lord.
One of the great concerns Paul had with the Corinthian church was about speaking in tongues, and especially the use of the spiritual gifts in the church setting.
The church in Corinth had obviously asked Paul about the spiritual gifts for he was answering their various questions. Of most importance Paul was telling them that if they desired the spiritual gifts, they should seek those that would assist in the ministry and the building up of the church.
Now speaking in tongues is one of the most common of the spiritual gifts for it is the sign of the spirit given to those who have received the Holy Spirit, either through laying on of hands or where God has directly intervened to give them the Holy Spirit. Examples of both instances can be readily seen in Acts 19:1-6 and Acts chapter 2 respectively.
But what is most important about tongues, as well as all the other gifts, is knowing when to use them properly and in an orderly manner, and Paul speaks to this issue in this and subsequent sections of this chapter.
In my recent posts I have been looking at the gift of tongues and breaking down some of the false teachings and myths. The only truth we should listen to is the truth that is from God as written in the bible, and much of the truth about speaking in tongues is contained in the words of this chapter of the bible.
I have covered the fact that tongues was not just given to the early church for the purpose of spreading the gospel and that after the gospel age they were no longer necessary. This teaching, common in the modern church, is a lie perpetrated by those who have not received the gift of tongues and who do not understand the purpose and power of the gift of tongues.
Now this section of scripture further strengthens the fact that tongues are not for spreading the gospel. We see Paul discuss one of the purposes tongues are for and he also shows another proof why tongues were not for spreading the gospel.