LIVING IN THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There are only two ways a person can live. One is in the adamic nature. The other is in the Holy Spirit. Each thought we think, each word we speak, each deed we perform, is from either the adamic nature or the Spirit of God.
It is God’s will that every saved person think, speak, and act in the Holy Spirit. We of the Church are a firstfruits of what one day will be true of every person on earth—on the present earth when the Lord returns, and also on the new earth.
We Christians find that each day we are challenged to turn away from our fallen nature and choose to behave in the Spirit of God.
Table of Contents
LIVING IN THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16)
The Holy Spirit Is God
We of the Pentecostal movement need to understand the Holy Spirit is God. We are baptized into the name of the Father, into the name of the Son, and into the name of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God along with the Father and the Son. Although He is an integral part of the one Godhead, we see that the Spirit is an individual Person in His own right, in the following passage:
Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 12:32)
We can be forgiven if we speak a word against the Lord Jesus, but if we speak against the Holy Spirit we will not be forgiven. I think this statement reveals clearly that the Holy Spirit is a Person in His own right.
In our Pentecostal services we stress speaking in tongues, and also a good feeling we may have from time to time accompanied by various actions as we may feel inclined. The tongues and the feelings constitute a large part of our understanding of the Holy Spirit.
I believe few believers speak in tongues more than this writer. I have been speaking in tongues for over fifty years and find this gift to be an invaluable aspect of the Christian experience, so valuable in fact that it is difficult to imagine what life would be like apart from frequent speaking in tongues.
Yet we must realize numerous believers speak in tongues at one moment and then slander their neighbor at the next moment. How can this be? It is because speaking in tongues is a gift we can exercise at will and is not an evidence that we are walking in the Spirit of God. People who are walking in the Spirit of God do not slander their neighbor!
As far as our feelings and actions during a fervent service, these may be the result of various spirits present at the meeting, and how we act out is the result of our own personality responding to how we feel.
We need to understand the Holy Spirit is God, not tongues, not prophecy, not a feeling. He may provide these but He is God, not manifestations.
It has become fashionable to pray to the Holy Spirit or to attempt to command the Holy Spirit. These two practices are unscriptural and should not be pursued.
The Holy Spirit always is pleased when we exalt the Lord Jesus and pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been charged by the Father to form a perfect bride and bring her to the Lamb. He is not to be prayed to, worshiped, or commanded.
Only the Lord Jesus administrates the things of the Spirit of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ has gone into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. God has sent the Holy Spirit into the world as a Counselor, that He might take of the things of Christ and give them to us.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16,17)
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit leads us in our Christian walk. The Bible enables us to discern what is right and wrong. But the Holy Spirit is the One who actually guides us each day.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)
Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)
The Jews of the old covenant were led by the cloud and the fire.
On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. (Numbers 9:15-23)
If God would lead His people under the old covenant in such a remarkable manner, how much more will the Spirit of God lead us today if we will learn to pray and look for the Spirit’s leading?
The Lord Jesus Himself was led by the Spirit at all times.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, (Luke 4:1)
In fact, both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus were filled with the Spirit and were guided by the Spirit during their lifetimes.
Speaking of John:
For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. (Luke 1:15)
If we should be brought before public officials because we are a Christian, we are not to take thought about how we are to answer. The Holy Spirit will govern what we say in that hour.
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. (Mark 13:11)
The Holy Spirit Directs Our Sanctification
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
The foundation of Christian teaching is the forgiveness, the righteousness ascribed to us, that comes to us as a result of the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
However, Romans 8:4 (above) is overlooked more often than not. In order for the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses to be ascribed to us we must live according to the Holy Spirit. This means we must:
- Pray, read our Bible, gather with fervent saints (as possible), serve, give, and do all else associated with the Christian discipleship.
- It also is of the greatest importance that we count ourselves as crucified with Christ and raised with Christ to the right hand of God in Heaven.
- We must deny ourselves, take up our personal cross each day, and follow the Lord Jesus.
- We must keep the commandments given by the Lord in the Gospels and through His Apostles in the Epistles.
- We must present our body a living sacrifice as our reasonable service to God.
- We must look to the Lord Jesus for every decision of life.
- We must confess our sins as the Holy Spirit points them out, receiving God’s forgiveness, and then denouncing and renouncing our sins with all vigor. Then we must draw near to God for continued fellowship.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13,14)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)
We absolutely must do these things every day if we are to live according to the Spirit of God.
As long as we are living according to the Spirit of God, the righteousness of Him who kept the Law of Moses perfectly is ascribed to us.
The Holy Spirit guides and empowers us in all aspects of the Christian life, and always assists us as we come boldly to the Throne of Grace in order to find help in our struggle against our sinful nature.
The holy, fruitful life we are seeking can never come from our fallen nature. The fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit, not of the Christian.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)
As long as we are filled with the Spirit of God we can overcome the lusts of our flesh.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16)
We Christians are never to drink alcohol. This is because the Holy Spirit and alcohol react on our body in a manner so similar that one rejects the other. Notice in the following verse that Paul tells us to be filled with the Spirit rather than with alcohol.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:18)
We can make merry with alcohol and drugs or we can make merry with the Spirit of God. The one leads to corruption and death, the other to life and joy.
The true Christian life is impossible apart from the assistance of the Holy Spirit. This especially is true as we think of the work of sanctification, of being made holy in thought, word, and deed.
We simply cannot make ourselves holy. Our fallen nature is extremely sinful and devious. No matter how noble our resolutions may be, various aspects of our fallen nature will continue to bring us to frustration and defeat.
However, if we will obey the commands of the Lord Jesus, and seek at every moment to find the mind of the Spirit, we can go from victory to victory. The Spirit is well able to help us overcome the world, Satan, the lusts and passions of our flesh, and our self-will. The Spirit of God is God and He can summon enormous power—enough power to make it possible for you and me to say no to sinful impulses and temptations.
However, if we expect the Spirit to help us we must lead a disciplined Christian life. There are things only God can do, and then things we must do. God will not transform us morally apart from our cooperation. How God and we are to cooperate is found in the books of the New Testament.
The Holy Spirit Guides and Empowers Ministry
The Lord Jesus ministered as empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. (Luke 4:14)
Jesus is Christ, the one anointed by the Spirit of God:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, (Luke 4:18)
The power of the Spirit that rested on Jesus enabled Him to deliver those oppressed by demons. This is the authority and power of the Kingdom of God.
But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)
The Holy Spirit is God. He directs and empowers ministry. Get a sense of the authority exhibited in the following verse:
While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)
I don’t think we emphasize the above verse enough when considering the work of missions.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. (Acts 13:1)
Various prophets and teachers were worshiping the Lord and fasting. They were seeking the mind of the Spirit. It is not said they were planning missionary endeavors, although this may have been the case.
But notice how powerfully and authoritatively the Spirit spoke:
“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
We of today might discover that if we, from time to time, would wait on the Lord, the Spirit would speak with just that same degree of authority. We certainly need this today as so many different doctrines are emerging. Numerous voices are proclaiming this and that, but is the Spirit speaking?
The Jews were inquiring concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Lord directed their attention to the work of testifying of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection. But they were not to attempt such a witness in their own power.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:4)
The Holy Spirit gave the first Christian sermons:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!” (Acts 4:8)
The Spirit continued the work of bearing witness of the Lord Jesus:
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:31)
The Christian ministry is not so much that of transmitting information, although the transmission of information can be of great importance. However, even more important is the transmission of eternal life.
Moral darkness, spiritual corruption, is filling the earth today. The only way we can overcome the hideous moral depravity is by being so full of the Life of God that eternal life is transmitted to other people—not just the facts of redemption, but the very life of redemption.
The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. (John 6:63)
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:6)
It is the Holy Spirit who assigns the gifts of ministry.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (I Corinthians 12:11)
When we are filled with the Spirit of God we have the Divine authority to bind and to loose. These are the keys of the Kingdom of God.
If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:23)
Every aspect of Christian ministry must be sponsored by the Spirit of God, otherwise it does not have eternal value in the Kingdom of God.
That which is of the flesh is flesh, and that which is of the Spirit is spirit.
There is such an enormous need today for the Life of Jesus Christ! The moral corruption in the United States of America, for example, is horrifying. And so throughout the world!
We may fret and fume, and seek for solutions. There is one solution—the Holy Spirit of God.
The world would see Jesus. We in our flesh cannot bring Jesus to the world. Only the Holy Spirit can bring Jesus to the world. Let us do all in our power to gain more of the Holy Spirit so the chains of Satan can be broken.
Living in the Fullness of the Spirit
I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matthew 3:11)
As I said in the beginning, we of the Pentecostal movement may have stopped at tongues and a few other manifestations. We need more of the Spirit of God. We need to be filled with the Spirit of God. We need to live in the fullness of the Spirit of God at all times. We need to be baptized with the Spirit every day from now on. God grant this!
First we must choose to obey Christ in all that He said.
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10)
We must obey His teaching if we would be filled with God.
Second, we must obey what the Lord tells us today.
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)
Third we must ask, ask, ask for the Holy Spirit.
Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:5-13)
We always are to seek God’s will in all that we pray.
However, the parable above tells us something about God’s Nature that may not always be clear to us. God responds to boldness and insistence.
We all want to have bread for those who come across our path. To give people information about the blood atonement is important. Perhaps it is more important that we communicate the Life of God to them. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power, the power of resurrection life.
I think all of us in Pentecost need a new baptism, so to speak. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to live in the fullness of eternal life.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)
The above two verses reveal that eternal life, which is the Spirit of God, comes in degrees. We can have life, more life, or life to the full. We have to take hold of eternal life. We have been called to live in the fullness of eternal life, but eternal death continually strives to keep us in the bondage of our sinful nature.
We see, then, that we need more of the Holy Spirit. We need more of the Holy Spirit so we may escape from the bondages of our sinful nature. We need more of the Holy Spirit so we can bring the Life of God to other people.
To gain more of the Spirit we must obey the commandments of Christ found in the Gospels and the Epistles.
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—(John 14:15,16)
To gain more of the Spirit we must obey what we believe to be God’s will for us, and we must do this at all time and in all situations. If we are not sternly obedient to God we are not going to be able to live in the fullness of His Spirit.
Having obeyed His commandments, having sought to find His will and perform it each day, we then must pray. We must ask and keep on asking. We must seek and keep on seeking. We must knock and keep on knocking. How long?
Until we receive. Until we find. Until it is opened to us.
It appears we often succumb to a spirit of inevitability concerning the Spirit of God:
- We speak in tongues so we are living in the Spirit.
- We go to a Pentecostal church so we are living in the Spirit.
- If God wants to use us He will move sovereignly on us and carry us out of ourselves.
- When we die we will receive more of the Spirit.
- When we go to Heaven we will receive more of the Spirit.
There is no scriptural support whatever for the above suppositions, except that in rare instances, such as in the case of Gideon, Moses, and the Apostle Paul, God does intervene sovereignly in our life. For most of us, however, we have to pray each day and desire God’s will and His Spirit. Otherwise we go through life until we end up in a nursing home, never having received the fullness of the Spirit.
Having once spoken in tongues, or continuing to speak in tongues, is not an evidence that we are living in the fullness of the Spirit of God. The fruit of the Spirit revealed in our personality is a more certain proof.
We can go to a Pentecostal church and behave like the devil himself.
There is no scriptural support for the notion that after we die we will receive more of the Spirit of God and live in the fullness of the Spirit.
There is no scriptural support whatever for the assumption that when we go to Heaven we will receive more of the Spirit of God and live in the fullness of the Spirit.
It is today that we must ask, seek, and knock. We need to do this continually. Our nation is sliding down into depths of depravity. Only the Holy Spirit of God has the power to reverse this trend. Let us be faithful to ask God, and keep on asking God, that we may live each day in the fullness of the power of His Spirit.
(“Living in the Fullness of The Spirit”, 3264-1)