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Introduction: What does a spirit-filled person look like? How can you identify a Spirit-filled person?
- What is the criteria by which we can judge true spirituality? How can we develop spirituality in our lives? This lesson will briefly address these questions.
I. What is Spirituality -Spirit used 576 times in the NKJV of the bible Spirit – The Bible speaks often of both the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. It is not always easy to distinguish between when the word “spirit” is used. Spirit – pnuema–breath. It often represents the presence of life, or the life-giving power of God. When describing the spirit of man it also represents the inward man –[the sentient element in man, that by which he perceives, reflects, feels, desires, – Vines]
A. Vines says one of the definitions of the word spiritual describes “…things that have their origin with God, and which, therefore, are in harmony with His character…”
B. “all that is produced and maintained among men by the operations of the Spirit of God is ‘spiritual,”
C. Spirituality is defined by the activity and presence of the Spirit of God. Vines goes on to say… The spiritual state is reached by diligence in the Word of God and in prayer; it is maintained by obedience and self-judgment. Such as are led by the Spirit are spiritual, but, of course, spirituality is not a fixed or absolute condition, it admits of growth; indeed growth in ‘the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,’ 2 Peter 3:18, is evidence of true spirituality.” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
II. The Holy Spirit & Emotions: Often the work and presence of the Holy Spirit is connected with the feelings or emotions of the individual. Does the Bible support this connection? Certainly, serving God involves emotions (heart). But are feeling evidence of the Spirits work?What we can see is that the Spirit has operated in a rational manner without reference to the emotions of those with whom He worked.
A. The apostles at Pentecost – Acts 2:1- 4 – There is no reference to how the apostles felt. They spoke rationally in other languages, and it was understood by those who heard.
B. Philip – Acts 8:12-17 – (Peter &John) came from Jerusalem and the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit, no mention is made of their feelings.
C. Household of Cornelius – Acts 10:44-46 – The Holy Spirit fell on them without reference to their emotions. “..for they heard them speak..” This was a rational act.
D. The 12 men at Ephesus – Acts 19:1-7 – The Holy Spirit came on them and they “spoke and prophesied.” This was not related to an emotional experience, but a rational act.
E. The prophets of the N.T. Church – 1 Cor. 14:32 – The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. – HCSB – spirits of the prophets are under the control of the prophets
F. Feelings, emotions, or non-rational behavior was not evidence of salvation or a right relationship with God.Therefore emotions are not a measure of spirituality.
III. The Rejoicing of the Seventy: Luke 10:17-20 The seventy had two special reasons for rejoicing; 1) The personal, physical presence of Jesus, and 2) the miraculous power that they received from the Spirit. They were overwhelmed by the powerful effects of the Spirit’s work (casting out demons).
A. Some conclude that we cannot have real joy today in the absence of Jesus and/or the absence of miracles. The Lord’s answer indicates the real source of rejoicing.
B. v. 20 – “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
1. NOTE CAREFULLY: We do not KNOW we are saved because we REJOICE (experience an emotional feeling of satisfaction). Rather, we REJOICE because we know we are saved. There is a place for happiness, joy, reverence, etc. in both private and joint worship. But spirituality should not be imposed nor can it be artificially created; it should be the outcome of knowledge.
IV. How can we Know we are Saved?– Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs– heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
A. The Holy Spirit’s witness is through the scriptures ( 6:17– word of God is the sword of the Spirit). All scriptures is inspired of God and able to make a person spiritually complete (
1. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2. The apostles were led into all truth and everything that pertains to life and godliness John 16:13 – 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
3. 2 Peter 1:3 – 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4. Thus the Spirit-delivered scriptures are His complete witness to who is and is not a child of God.The objective Word of God is the standard by which we shall be judged (John 12:48 – 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.
B. Our spirit’s witness is the knowledge of our own heart and obedience before God. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit. It does not say to our spirit. Therefore my spirit must submit and agree with the witness of the Holy Spirit (words of scripture) 1 John 3:19-21 – 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
1. James Bales writes….“My spirit must agree with the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and when it does, then the Spirit’s testimony agrees with mine. But I must bring the witness of my spirit into harmony with the Spirit’s witness; instead of trying to make the Spirit agree with my arbitrary decisions.”–(James D. Bales, The Holy Spirit and the Christian, pp. 57-58.)
2. The Spirit says in Acts 2 that believers are to repent and be baptized for remission of sins. Those who obey these commands know they have remission of sins. Trusting God’s word is the source of all true faith and confidence.
3. Therefore the source of spirituality is not emotions or feelings. It begins in the testimony of the Holy Spirit. My life and emotions must be brought into subjection to the testimony of the Spirit.
V. How can we measure spirituality? By the level of subjective feeling? By the intensity of emotion?
A. Spirituality is measured by the outcome of life as directed by the word of God, and not through emotions or non-rational behavior.
B. The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of the Spirit’s presence and work (Galatians. 5:22-23). This fruit is not mysteriously or miraculously created. It germinates and grows through the power of the word of God in relation to the submission of the individual.
1. The Christian is to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18-21). Note the contrast: Be not drunk with wine – which results in riot or dissipation But rather, be filled (present tense – be continually filled) with the Spirit. Being “filled” involves being overwhelmingly influenced so as to direct activity. We must allow the words of the Holy Spirit to influence us more than any other motivating factor.
2. The result of being filled with the Spirit will be:a) Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, etc.,b) giving thanks to God and c)subjecting yourself to one another in the fear of Christ.
3. Additional examples of the outcome of a Spirit-filled life can be seen in the remaining portion of Ephesians. Wives will be subject to their husbands and husbands will love their wives (5:22-33);children will obey their parents and fathers will bring up their children properly (6:1-4); Slaves will be obedient to their masters and masters will treat their slaves properly.(6:5-9) Christians will be strong in the Lord and will stand firm against the Devil (6:10-17). This is true spirituality as it is evidenced in life!
C. How can we develop spirituality? Become more spiritual?
1. Spirituality is developed through our connection with God. Consider these essential disciplines:
a. Talk to God each day in prayer–1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 –17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Philippians 4:6 – 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; NKJV
b. Listen to God each day through Bible study and meditation–Acts 17:11 – 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
Colossians 3:16 – 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Psalms 1:1-2 – 1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
c. Pursue true holiness through comprehensive obedience to His will. God’s call for our separation from the world is a key element to our spirituality. – 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 – 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:”I will dwell in them And walk among them.I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”
d. Willingly suffer for Christ – Philippians 3:7-11 – 7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Conclusion: The spiritual weakness in any life can usually be traced to a general lack of personal devotion to prayer Bible study, and consistent obedience to the Word of God. AS a church do our assemblies promote true spirituality?
CREDITS: much of the material for this lesson was taken from Ferrell Jenkins’ publication, “The Finger of God”