ENCOURAGEMENT

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS OUR COMFORTER

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



 

THE BASIS FOR CHRISTIAN ENCOURAGEMENT

The Holy Spirit is the great encourager. We have to realize there is a basis for Christian encouragement. Christians can meet for mutual encouragement because we have someone, God the Holy Spirit, and the thinking of Jesus Christ, Bible doctrine with which to encourage one another. The phrase "another Counselor" in John 14:16 contains the Greek word allos which means another of the same kind. This is the same kind of comforter, encourager, challenger, and helper as the Lord Jesus Christ.

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)

God the Holy Spirit is the paraklete. This English word in Christian theology is transliterated from the Greek noun parakletos which means encourager, counselor, helper, comforter, challenger and exhorter. The Paraklete is one of the titles of God the Holy Spirit. In our personal relationship with Him, we are controlled by the Holy Spirit when we are in fellowship. Following confession of known sin, we can grow spiritually through the intake of the Word of God. We experience comfort and encouragement from God the Holy Spirit through the application of metabolized Bible doctrine. From that vantage point, we can be a source of encouragement to other people.

The Lord Jesus Christ was a tremendous source of encouragement to His disciples during His incarnation. He was able to do this consistently in the Fellowship Sphere for Time through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. We have this very same enabling power available to us today as believers. Therefore, we have been provided the same opportunity to give the same kind of encouragement to other believers! It is important to realize that in following in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ, we actually share the same encouragement, comfort, challenge and exhortation with other believers. This is the same encouragement He shared with His disciples. Jesus Christ lived continuously in the Fellowship Sphere for Time under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit just as we can while in fellowship. The Holy Spirit reveals the Word of God to us which is the thinking of Jesus Christ. Together, we as believers can fulfill God's plan for our lives just as Jesus Christ fulfilled God the Father's plan for His life.

THE HOLY SPIRIT AS OUR COUNSELOR

The Lord Jesus identified the Holy Spirit as a counselor, an encourager, a comforter, and an exhorter at least four times in the Scripture. Jesus Christ is also identified prophetically in Isaiah 9:6 as "Wonderful Counselor." He was an effective counselor because of the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. He learned Bible Truth in His humanity just as we do - through the power of the Holy Spirit. He applied Bible truth to every situation just as we should - through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. He set the pattern for all to follow.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

The Word of God or the Bible is the thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ. In order to follow His example, you must learn His thoughts. You must have His thinking metabolized in your soul through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in order to reach out and help other believers. We are to have Bible doctrine so metabolized within our soul that we can relate the principles, teachings and concepts to others in our own vocabulary. Correct use of this metabolized doctrine will help them and encourage them.

You can be much more encouraging to others who come to you with a problem than reciting numerous Scriptures to them. This would not convey the meaning of the Scripture. It is much more meaningful to relate doctrinal concepts or divine viewpoint in your soul in your own words to others for their encouragement and blessing.

At the moment of salvation, you are immediately and forever indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Your physical body is indwelt as will be your resurrection body to come. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that gives us a resurrection body. Therefore, the omnipotence of the Spirit has a role in perpetuating, energizing and empowering that resurrection body for perfect fellowship with the Lord forever and ever.

You can never lose your salvation. If you could lose your salvation, you would lose the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ would be proven a liar. God the Holy Spirit cannot indwell anyone who is unsaved. Jesus Christ is the way, the life and the Truth. As the Truth, He said God the Holy Spirit would be in you forever and He would be with you forever. That means that you are saved forever. Only saved people are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. For every Christian, salvation and indwelling by the Holy Spirit is for all time and eternity.

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)

The phrase "Spirit of truth" in John 14:16 means the spirit of doctrine or divine truth. God the Holy Spirit enables us to understand the teachings of the Word. Apart from the filling of the Spirit, there is no objective comprehension of the Word of God. Divine truth enters your human spirit as a believer because you are filled with the Holy Spirit. The information is then transferred by the Holy Spirit to the left lobe of your brain which is called the gnous in the Greek or the perceptive lobe. Spiritual phenomena resides there as gnosis which is academic doctrine. There is no spiritual growth or advance in the Christian life based on academic doctrine. There is no entering into blessing from God as a mature believer on the basis of academic doctrine.

What you understand under the ministry of the Spirit, you must respond to with faith-believing before the Holy Spirit can transfer it to the right lobe of the soul. When you truly believe it, it becomes metabolized doctrine automatically. Application of metabolized doctrine then involves the same positive volition that you exercised when you believed it - causing it to be metabolized. You must obey Bible doctrine. Only then will you become a hearer AND a doer of Bible truth.

All spiritual activity is done through the power of the Holy Spirit only while you are filled with the Spirit. He is "The Spirit of doctrine and the Spirit of truth." The Holy Spirit is the basis for divine revelation, inspiration of Scripture, and illumination. Believers today are illumined to understand spiritual phenomena (the written Word of God taught by their Pastor-teacher) when controlled by God the Holy Spirit. No one today receives divine revelation or divine inspiration. Only the authors of the books of the Bible received divine revelation and divine inspiration.

The world cannot see the Holy Spirit through empiricism or rationalism. The understanding of spiritual phenomena can only be by faith. Only believers can have a positive faith response to Bible doctrine (non-gospel doctrine). This is because they have been regenerated already at salvation and, as a result, can be filled by the Holy Spirit. Unbelievers can only exercise positive faith belief at Gospel hearing. Believers today are also members of the Royal Family of God because they live in the Church Age.

Just before the interruption of the Age of Israel, which began the Church Age, there was a period of time called the Period of the Hypostatic Union. This was the time when Jesus Christ resided on the earth. The Dispensation of Israel began with Abraham and included the Patriarchal Age and the giving of the Law under Moses. This is also called the Jewish Age. The race came from Abraham. The nation came from Moses. The Jewish Age continued until the time of the Cross.

The virgin birth and the incarnation of Jesus Christ are part of the major or "macro" dispensation of the Age of Israel. A "mini-dispensation" existed within the Age of Israel from the time of the virgin birth until the time of the Cross, the burial, the resurrection, and the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Father's right hand. The "macro dispensation" was the Age of Israel. The "mini-dispensation" began with the virgin birth and included the Age of the Hypostatic Union and the time of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth.

The Hypostatic Union means undiminished deity and true humanity in a physical body. Jesus Christ's physical body became a glorified resurrection body at the Father's right hand. The Church Age began in 30 A.D. when the Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Spirit from the Father's right hand. This is very different from the Old Testament endeument ministry of the Holy Spirit where only a few believers received the temporary enabling power of the Holy Spirit. The purpose of this endeument ministry was to control them to perform a specific task as unto the Lord. Less than one percent of all Old Testament believers had the endeument ministry of the Holy Spirit. In contrast with the Old Testament, every Church Age believer is indwelt by the Spirit and every believer can be filled with the Spirit.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18)

John 14:18 means that we are children of God. We are not orphans, but members of the family of God. We know this because we are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus comes to us as the same kind of comforter that He sent in the Father's name. This does not mean that we are not indwelt by the Lord Jesus Christ. We are. We are indwelt by all three members of the Trinity at the moment of salvation. In John 14:18, He is emphasizing that God the Holy Spirit will be the same kind of encouragement to us. By this, we can encourage others as the Lord Jesus Christ did His disciples.

Think of it. When you are filled with the Spirit, growing in divine truth and using that truth to encourage other believers, you are standing in the sandals of the Lord Jesus Christ. You, under the control of the Spirit and with the influence of Bible truth, are the same kind of comforter, consolation and encouragement that He was. You are the same type of help and exhortation and challenge. The same quality that He gave, you can give to other people. This should be a good source of refreshment and stimulation. The knowledge that you can be the same type of encouragement to others that Jesus Christ was when He was upon this earth should be the highest source of motivation for you as a believer.

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)

Everything we have begins with God the Holy Spirit and is based on our intake, repetition, recall, and application of Bible truth. God the Holy Spirit is the teacher of the Word of God. John 14:26 illustrates the wonderful combination of power - the power of the Spirit and the power of the Word. The ministry of the Holy Spirit, while we are filled with the Spirit, allows us to understand, metabolize and apply Bible truth. The ministry of the Holy Spirit allows us to have this dual power functioning in our lives. This power is the basis of encouragement to other people. The same principle is emphasized in John 15:26.

The terms counselor, encourager, comforter, challenger, and exhorter all apply to the Holy Spirit. We should be refreshed and stimulated to know that we can be all of these to other Christians. However, you can never be any of these if you are wrapped up in your private world with only your needs. You have to be with other people to encourage them and be encouraged by them. Your encouragement from other believers coupled with the metabolization of Bible truth will allow you to encourage those of your immediate family and loved ones. You also will be able to encourage unbelievers when the time is right by giving them the Gospel and leading them to the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH

"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. (John 15:26)

Jesus Christ was telling His disciples (and us) in John 15:26 that He would send another encourager that would allow them to become as effective in encouragement to others that He had been. He was telling them that the new encourager (the Holy Spirit) would enable them to be an effective encouragement to other believers and to other people.

The day of Pentecost, in the year 30 A.D., was the commencement of the Church Age. That was when God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit to form the Royal Family of God. Without the ascension and present session of the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be no Church Age, no universal indwelling of the Spirit, or any chance for anyone to be an encouragement to other people. Jesus Christ had to be accepted at the Father's right hand as our surety, our great high priest, our representative, and our advocate or defense attorney in the Angelic Conflict. He had to ascend and be accepted in His total glorification above the heavens before He could send the Holy Spirit. In sending the Holy Spirit, He gave us the basis for Christian encouragement.

The Lord Jesus Christ could not ascend until He first descended into the heart of the earth. The soul of the Lord Jesus Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit, was taken to Tartarus in the heart of the earth to make the victorious proclamation to the demons who were in prison there. This was a part of the Plan of God for the Lord Jesus Christ that took place after His physical death, but before His resurrection. He had to descend before He could ascend. He had to make the Victorious Proclamation, then He was resurrected and ascended to the Father's right hand. Only then could the Holy Spirit descend to form the Church Age.

But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:7)

The Greek word used to describe the Holy Spirit in John 16:7 is parakletos. It is from the Greek verb parakaleo. Para means along side. Kaleo means to call. It has the connotation of someone calling you along side of them to help you or you to help them. The literal meaning of the word is to call along side someone to be a help and an encouragement to them. The interpretive meaning is to be a helper, a source of encouragement, comfort, challenge, exhortation and consolation. This is the basic connotation of both the noun parakletos and the verb parakaleo. They mean to comfort and encourage. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the same kind of encourager to us as Jesus Christ was to those around Him. Also, the Lord Jesus Christ is our wonderful counselor through His Word under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

Counseling should be an encouragement to others and is best done from the Scriptures. Counseling given by the typical psychiatrist or psychologist usually results in the patient feeling worse than they did before. They are usually very discouraged as a result and not encouraged at all.

The Word of God is our wonderful counselor and is the basis of encouragement. If you are seeking to help someone, they should be encouraged by the information that you give. Providing divine viewpoint helps other believers, especially baby and adolescent believers who cannot yet spiritually stand on their own two feet. They have not reached the place of spiritual autonomy. They are not spiritually self-sustained and need someone who is further along in the Christian life to help them. Encourage them with the divine viewpoint of life. The Holy Spirit is our counselor and should be theirs.

One of today's great tragedies is counseling based on either Freudian, Jungian or Adlerian psychology. Many psychotherapists use Jung's psychiatry and his psychology as their approach to psychotherapy. According to his own teachings, Jung was demon influenced or demon possessed. He said that he was taught by ascended masters (evil spirits or demons). His psychology is what millions of people are accepting as they seek help today.

For example, the "pop psychology" evident on the radio today is not encouraging. Let me illustrate. Recently, a popular radio "pop psychologist" was taking calls on the air. The caller presented what she felt was a terrible problem. She was in love with another woman and didn't know what to do. She was married, had children and didn't know what to say to her husband or her children about her feelings. The pop counselor related that it was obvious that she loved this woman. The counselor said nothing about the fact that Lesbianism is a perversion and is very abnormal according to the Word of God.

The counselor said nothing of the unhappy, frustrated and unfulfilled life she would have as long as she continued any Lesbian relationship. The counselor never told her to break off the relationship and to work out her problems with her husband. She was never told to hang in there and make a good marriage out of the situation for the sake of her husband and children. Instead, the pop counselor advised this woman to be up front with her family and tell her husband of her feelings and the homosexual relationship. This advice is not encouraging. It is very discouraging and destructive.

Such counselors have no absolutes when it comes to morality. They have no absolutes regarding monogamous relationships within marriage. They do not properly advise people to face their spouses and to work out their problems based on their own virtue. To solve your own problems, you must have strength of character based on virtue.

Counseling should be an encouragement. The Holy Spirit was to be another encourager or counselor who would continue the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. This work included encouraging and helping believers so they could, in turn, encourage and help fellow believers. The Spirit of truth is seen repeatedly in John 14 through 16. This source of encouragement is God's message of truth revealed by the Holy Spirit. God's primary source for encouraging Christians everywhere is with truth revealed by the Holy Spirit. The source of truth is the Scriptures.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)

Believers who hear the Word taught and continue with concern only for themselves are self-centered. Believers cannot grow to maturity without understanding that unconditional love for others is vital to their own spiritual life. They must continue to take in the Word which will result in the application to others by helping and encouraging others.

Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:2-4)

The term "his neighbor" is a fellow Christian because unbelieving neighbors cannot have edification. Only Christians can be edified and matured. The Lord Jesus Christ had us in mind when he bore our sins on the cross.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Scriptures are the source of our encouragement. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that all of Scripture is "God breathed" or is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Peter also referred to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in revealing the Word of God. It is under the ministry of the Spirit and the ministry of the Word that we offer encouragement to the human race.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:5-7)

We must keep our emphasis on the correct function of our priesthood. It is the priesthood that enables us to grow spiritually and to receive blessings from the Lord. We can then be a blessing to other people by giving encouragement under our ambassadorship.

EXTREMES THAT ELIMINATE THE POSSIBILITY OF ENCOURAGEMENT

There are two extremes applied to the Christian life which frustrate encouragement. These two extremes can eliminate the possibility of encouragement. They are Operation TAA and Operation TEA. Operation TAA is the Total Academic Approach to the ministry of the local church. Operation TEA is the Total Experiential Approach. These are two extremes which can frustrate the reality of encouragement.

Operation TAA - The Total Academic Approach

The believer should place a strong emphasis on studying, understanding and obeying the Scripture. This is because Bible doctrine is God's revealed truth to mankind. It is the understanding of and obedience to Bible truth which becomes the basis for encouraging other believers. You cannot encourage people from a void or vacuum in your soul. You must have maximum metabolized Bible truth in the soul to encourage, challenge, comfort, and exhort other believers. The tendency that we have under Operation TAA is to neglect the role the Holy Spirit plays within our lives.

God has always existed. From eternity past through the future, He has and will manifest himself to us. He is one in essence, but three in personality. There are three separate and distinct persons who are co-equal and co-eternal. God the Father is the author of the divine plan. God the Son is the executor of the divine plan. God the Holy Spirit is the revealer of the divine plan. The Holy Spirit is NOT some impersonal academic apparatus. Believers who follow Operation TAA or the total academic approach to the spiritual life neglect the major part that God the Holy Spirit plays as a person within our lives.

This attitude leads to a form of academic arrogance or an intellectual Christian experience where the Holy Spirit is regarded as totally passive. The Holy Spirit is regarded as an idea (an "it" instead of a "he"), an influence, a force, or the equivalent of the Word of God itself. This is blasphemy. This concept is one of the tenants of hyper-fundamentalism. The correct teaching is belief in the orthodox and cardinal doctrines of Christianity. Hyper-fundamentalism, on the other hand, is a school of theology that says there is a Jewish Church and a Gentile Church and they go overboard on dispensationalism.

Another area of erroneous teaching is the idea that God dictated the entire Scripture verbatim and did not inspire it through the personality and vocabulary expression of the human authors. That is, God the Holy Spirit just grabbed Moses by the scruff of the neck and said, "This is exactly what I want you to say, word for word and your personality, your genius and your literary expression does not enter into the picture." This belief would make the Bible equal in importance with God himself. The Bible would then become equal in importance with God the Holy Spirit. This is not true.

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

God the Holy Spirit is greater than the Bible. This is because the Bible is a compilation of written manuscripts resulting from His inspiration of the human authors with divine viewpoint and instruction for mankind. Also, the Word of God or the Bible is the thinking of Jesus Christ printed in book form.

"For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

The Bible cannot be put on the same level as God himself because you would be worshipping the Bible instead of worshiping the God of the Bible through the intake and application of Bible truth. The purpose of the Scripture is to teach us who and what God is and His marvelous plan for lives. Through this teaching and resultant positive faith belief, we worship Him, love Him, admire Him and hold Him in the highest value within our souls. There should be no person or thing more valuable to us than the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is His thinking. The one who now expresses that thinking, God the Holy Spirit, is greater than the Bible. The total academic approach actually goes to the extreme of making the Holy Spirit equivalent to the Word of God itself. This teaching is false doctrine.

The total academic approach is where the local church is thought of as only a classroom. The people in the church are thought of as students. The pastor is thought of as only a spiritual professor. The Word of God says the pastor is a shepherd who studies, teaches and leads the flock or congregation by example and by encouragement.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task. (1 Corinthians 3:5)

I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. (Ephesians 3:7)

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. (Colossians 4:12)

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. (1 Timothy 1:12)

The stimulation and encouragement that a pastor can communicate to other people by his teaching from the Word of God and by his lifestyle example is tremendous. The pastor-teacher is responsible to the Lord to lead the way for the congregation by being a source of encouragement. The pastor-teacher provides information through which people, under the academics of their priesthood, can function as ambassadors for Jesus Christ and be a help to other believers as well as a witness to the lost.

This is how we are to fulfill our ministry of encouragement and refreshment. We need to be on our toes against the danger of becoming myopic or having tunnel vision. We should not be self-centered nor adopt a total academic approach to Bible doctrine.

The correct approach is where the pastor emphasizes teaching the Scripture from the standpoint of application, walking people through examples of applications, and giving exhortation, challenge and rebuke whenever necessary. This is all a part of the ministry of encouragement. This is so people can, as a result of their spiritual growth under their priesthood, involve themselves in the action of ambassadorship which includes encouragement. The activities of Christian fellowship can be a great source of encouragement to each of us as fellow believers.

Some people get into the academic approach because of the abuses of the emotional crowd. Some people get into the ecstatic, Pentecostal, charismatic and emotional crowd because of a very dead orthodoxy in their local churches. This dead orthodoxy is when there is no emphasis placed on the application of the Word of God in ambassadorship and fellowship with other believers. This is when there is total emphasis placed on intake of the Word of God with no possibility of interaction with other believers.

We have to strike a very important balance in the local church between the academics of the priesthood and the action and fellowship of ambassadorship. In balancing the Christian way of life, there has to be the emphasis first and foremost upon Bible study. There has to be the emphasis upon the academics of the priesthood which lead, under your metabolization of Bible truth from your positive volition, to the action of ambassadorship. This is your application of Bible truth in unconditional love and becoming spiritually self sustained in your relationship with God. The spiritually self-sustained believer does not have to live his life based on the norms and standards of other believers. He lives based on the Bible doctrine metabolized and applied from his own soul. By living your life based on Bible truth from your own soul, you will not become a Bible doctrine drone.

A drone is a male bee that has no stinger, gathers no honey, and lives off the labor of the other bees. A Bible doctrine drone is a believer who has no effectiveness or impact on other people around him. He only applies Bible doctrine when it applies to himself. He only applies Bible doctrine that other believers say is the correct application of that doctrine. By this, he lives out of other’s souls. He does not become involved in outreach to other believers through fellowship and encouragement of his ambassadorship. He does not become involved in the outreach to unbelievers. By this avoidance of involvement with others, he gathers no one to the Truth through the Gospel or encouragement. He continues to take in Bible doctrine, but does not offer to help in the local church. He figures that is for those who "like" to do those things. He is a "classic" example of a Bible doctrine drone.

We have a lot of Bible doctrine drones in Christianity today. They totally live out of others' souls. They want others to tell them what to do and when to do it. They don't want to live out of their own souls. They don't want to live the plan for their lives that God planned for them in eternity past. They only want to live their lives the way someone else is living theirs. We become very much like members of a cult by being so regimented to live out of someone else's soul rather than learning, metabolizing, applying the doctrine for ourselves. By doing so, we fulfill our own priesthood and function under our own ambassadorship. We then have our own service as unto the Lord and our own production of spiritual maturity. A part of that is under our ambassadorship and within the framework of our own personality. We then become a source of challenge, encouragement, comfort, consolation, and even exhortation to other believers, if necessary. All is done in the attitude of impersonal or unconditional love. We have to balance the situation out.

Operation TEA - The Total Experiential Approach

One reason the total academic approach is adhered to so strongly is because the Total Experiential Approach people never leave room for anything else in their lives and have gone to an extreme at the opposite end of the Christianity spectrum. The opposite end of the spectrum is the total experiential approach to the Christian way of life. This is a mystical, ascetical, emotional, ecstatic theology which has led to all kinds of extreme behaviors within Christendom.

These believers have decided to apply only those verses that involve emotional behavior as an outward sign that they are spiritual. They ignore the other verses that tell who the verse applied to and what it meant to them. They have distorted the interpretation and application of the Scriptures by selective application in areas where emotions and ecstatics play a large role. The total experiential approach to the Christian way of life is completely controlled by emotional response and outward behavior as signs of spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

There are no verses in the Bible where emotional response is an indicator of spirituality. Spirituality is your relationship with God based on your understanding, belief, and correct application of Bible truth in your life. The expression of your spiritual status is your ambassadorship. Remember, you cannot neglect the function of your priesthood for the sake of ambassadorship. Here, the total experiential approach believers neglect "the whole counsel of (the Word of) God."

They do not continue to assemble themselves for the intake of the Word of God, but to provide an outward and emotional display of their so-called spiritual status. This is not encouraging to others around them. This promotes self. This puts others on notice that they are spiritual, rather than taking in the Word and applying all of the doctrines of the Bible while in the presence of others.

THE FUNCTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES

People do not understand the unique role that the Holy Spirit played in the early days of Christianity. By the early days, we refer to the pre-Canon period of the Church Age.

Revealing The Word of God

God the Holy Spirit descended in 30 A.D. to form the Church Age which will be terminated by the Rapture. The pre-Canon period of the Church Age occurred from 30 to 96 A.D. This is when the New Testament Scripture was given to mankind. It was revealed by the Father, and under the inspiration ministry of the Holy Spirit, the human authors recorded exactly what God wanted us to know about the uniqueness of the Church Age, the mystery age. Mystery refers to all of the special and unique doctrines pertaining to Christianity. During the pre-Canon period of the Church Age, there were dreams, visions, trances, and there was the voice of God giving this information.

Some people today see this in the New Testament Scripture and conclude erroneously that God wants to reveal something to them personally - a dream or a vision. They believe that God wants them to become so ecstatic and emotional that they fall into a semi-conscience condition known as a trance so He can give them information directly. This is the wrong interpretation of the Word of God! The New Testament was completed in 96 A.D. It was circulated from 96 to 100 A.D. Upon completion, believers became totally dependant on the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit for Bible truths. For the rest of the Church Age, the post-Canon period of the dispensation of the Church, we are totally dependent on the 66 books of the Bible and we do not look for dreams. God now uses the spiritual gift of pastor-teacher to communicate Bible doctrine to the Church Age believer through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

The charismatics try to duplicate everything taught in John 14 through 16 within their lives and they are very sincere about it. For example, they try to duplicate miracles, signs, wonders and supernatural occurrences. The Bible does not teach this for the post-canon period of the Church Age. Remember that from Adam to Abraham was the Age of the Gentiles. From Abraham down to the Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ was the Age of the Jews. From the Virgin Birth of our Lord to His death, His burial and His resurrection and His present session at the Father's right hand was the mini-dispensation within the dispensation of the Age of Jews. Jesus Christ was born under the Law to fulfill the Law and we call that the period of the hypostatic union. The God-man Jesus Christ was both perfect humanity and undiminished deity in hypostatic union. HUPOSTASIS is a noun in the Greek which means to grab a knapsack and throw it over your shoulder and take it with you. The deity of Christ carries the humanity of Christ along.

In the person of Jesus Christ, there are two separate and distinct persons, the divine person and the human person. The divine person is just as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit. The human person just as much human as you and I, yet without a sin nature, without imputed sin and without any personal acts of sin. Jesus Christ's humanity was impeccable and sinless for the purpose of going to the cross and providing our so great and incomparable salvation - the strategic victory in the Angelic Conflict.

The Age of the Gentiles and later, the Age of the Jews were theocentric or God-centered periods, ages or dispensations. In contrast, the period beginning with the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ and ending with the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (the period of the Hypostatic Union) was a Christ-centered mini-dispensation within the Age of the Jews. The period immediately following - the pre-Canon period prior to the completion of the Canon of Scripture in 96 A.D. through the time of the Rapture of the Church is also Christ-centered. The period that we live in today is called the Church Age and is Christ-centered. After the Church Age comes the Rapture of the Church. Then, there will be seven years of tribulation on the earth followed by the Second Advent and the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Following the millennial rule of Jesus Christ here in the earth, the Great White Throne Judgment and then the Eternal State with all believers in resurrection bodies out of every dispensation of time in the presence of the Lord. All unbelievers, as a result of the Great White Throne Judgment, will have been removed to the Lake of Fire, which is everlasting fire and has been prepared for the Devil and his fallen angels. This is a prophecy-centered period.

The word "hell" is not found in the Bible. The Biblical words for hell are Gehenna, Tophit, Hades, Torments, Tartarus. The word "hell" is used as a substitute for everlasting fire. The souls of all unbelievers are now in the heart of the earth in a place called Torments. At the time of the Great White Throne Judgment, all unbelievers from all ages or dispensations from the beginning of man's time on the earth will be removed from the earth and, in a "resurrection unto condemnation body," cast into the Lake of Fire for eternity. We, as believers, will have received our "resurrection unto life bodies" prior to the Great White Throne Judgement of the unbelievers and will reside in the Eternal State.

Each of the dispensations has a different center and circumference. In the periods of the Gentiles and the Jews, they were theocentric or God-centered. Jehovah Elohim revealed information concerning who and what He is, His plan of salvation, His plan for the human race, especially client-nation Israel. Through them, the Messiah, in true sinless humanity, would come into the world. From the virgin birth through the Church Age, including both pre-Canon and post-Canon periods, you have a Christ-centered period. From the Tribulation through the Eternal State you have prophecy-centered dispensations. This is what we call "rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

You cannot understand the Bible on your own. If you try it without learning Bible truth from a pastor-teacher while being filled with the Holy Spirit, you will always be confused and never understand why certain scriptures in the Old Testament do not apply to our day and age. This is evident in Psalm 51:11.

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:11)

Old Testament believers could lose the filling and indwelling of the Spirit. We lose the filling every time we sin, but we never lose the indwelling.

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)

John 14:16-17 refers to the universal and eternal indwelling of God the Holy Spirit in all believers of the Church Age. This did not apply to the Gentile Age or the Jewish Age. The charismatics do not rightly divide the Word of Truth. They take things that were temporary spiritual gifts, spectacular sign gifts, miracles, wonders, supernatural occurrences and they try to superimpose them on the post-Canon period of the Church Age. They fail to heed the words of Martin Luther when he said that "emotions come and emotions go and feelings are deceiving. I put my trust in the Word of God because emotions aren't worth believing."

Illuminating Our Thinking

People who rely upon their emotions are on a high one day and they're in the valley the next day. It is Bible doctrine that gives you stability of mentality. It gives you cognitive self-confidence. It gives you a grace orientation and a doctrinal orientation to life that keeps you stabilized and on an even keel whether you're on a prosperity peak or a suffering slew. That is why we say that we "magnify the Word of God," even like God does, "above his own reputation" and we "esteem his Word (the 66 books of the Bible) as more necessary than our daily food". "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word (every doctrine) that proceeds out of the mouth of God". We do not look for supernatural occurrences.

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (Matthew 4:4)

This is what Pentecostals fail to understand. They should get squared away with Bible truth and not live on the basis of their emotions. The problem is they do not understand the concepts and modes of divine revelation and inspiration during the pre-Canon period of the Church Age. They fail to realize that in the early days of Christianity, the pre-Canon period of the Church Age, the Holy Spirit spoke directly through dreams, through visions, through trances, through the voice of God to some. These were believers enabled by the Holy Spirit to record the Scripture as the total and accurate revelation and inspiration of the God's plan for mankind.

The charismatics believe that God the Holy Spirit is continuing the process of miracles, signs and wonders today. This often causes them to interpret various mental impressions, ideas and emotions as coming directly from God or the Spirit. Emotional response is NOT a sign of spirituality! This erroneous emotionalism results in thinking and action that departs from the direct teaching of the Bible. These are pseudo systems of spirituality. They substitute an emotional state for true spirituality. True spirituality is based on metabolization of the Word of God. Emotions have nothing to do with spiritual status. Phrases often used such as "yielding," "surrendering," "crucifying the old sin nature," and "reckoning myself dead unto sin, but alive unto God" cannot produce spirituality. They produce nothing. Spirituality only occurs following confession of known sin to God the Father and results from the filling of the Holy Spirit. Repeating phrases in a state of emotion without the reality of Bible truth metabolized in your soul is not true spirituality and does not involve the Holy Spirit.

The basis for being Spirit-filled or spiritual or in fellowship is confession-repentance. Being Spirit-filled does not result from any acts of self-determination that you make in an emotional fervor like "surrendering," "yielding," "tarrying," or "giving yourself over to God completely." Being Spirit-filled results from confession of sin where you identify and name all known sins to God the Father that you can remember having committed after the last time you were Spirit-filled. On the basis of 1 John 1:9, the believer is immediately restored to fellowship and once again filled with or controlled by the Holy Spirit. Emotion has nothing to do with it.

Emotional displays and exercising temporary spiritual gifts (spiritual gifts that functioned ONLY for the pre-Canon period) as signs of spirituality today is wrong. This does not line up with the Word of God. Temporary spiritual gifts like tongues, interpretation of tongues, discerning of spirits and prophecy are no longer needed because the Word of God is complete. We have everything that we need in the completed Canon of Scripture as the basis for our faith and conduct. The pseudo systems of spirituality, in one way or another, all relate to emotion becoming the criterion for spirituality rather than thinking. These false systems do not use thought patterns that take in, utilize, apply and obey the Word of God as the criteria for spirituality. They do not use divine norms and standards in the soul from Bible truth as the criteria.

People often confuse their feelings toward their actions as the same as what God would feel about their actions. Relationships between people can produce pleasant responses and feelings, but do not indicate God's attitude toward it. God's thinking is found in the written Word of God - no where else. Illicit relationships often "seem right" because the feelings of the two involved are very pleasant. The Word of God says this type of relationship (not based on marriage) is sin and evil action. God does not make exceptions! Emotional response or feelings have nothing to do with interpreting God's attitude. God's attitude toward all we can or should do or think is found in the Word of God, the Bible. James Brown feels good when he sings, "I feel good", but that has nothing to do with spirituality. This is an extreme example, but you can see the extremes that Christians can lead themselves into when they make emotion the criteria for spirituality rather than what the Word of God says.

Using Bible Doctrine To Encourage Others

There is no encouragement when you have a total experiential approach or a total academic approach to the Christian way of life. The secret is to balance them out. It balances out when you have in the experiential approach, ambassadorship and fellowship as a result of the academic approach of the priesthood. You have to have a balanced ministry within the local church. That doesn't mean that you should have 50 percent priesthood and 40 percent ambassadorship and 10 percent fellowship. You have to have almost 70 percent priesthood, and maybe about 20 percent ambassadorship and about 10 percent fellowship. You should prioritize your life such that you consistently attend Bible class to study the Word. You should supplement these times of face-to-face teaching with written and tape-recorded messages of your pastor's past messages or messages from other Bible teachers.

Function of your ambassadorship results from your intake of Bible truth and spiritual growth. Ambassadorship involves helping other believers, witnessing as you have opportunity, and encouraging others during fellowship or social life. Christian fellowship is even more than social life, it is a realization that we are a part of the Body and that we are sharing in God' grace provision to each of us. We share God's grace in our priesthood, ambassadorship, and fellowship. Remember the academics of the priesthood must be kept first in priority. As a result of our priesthood in a balanced ministry, the action of ambassadorship follows. The icing on the cake is the activities of fellowship.

We must remember that although the Holy Spirit's specific roles and functions have changed since Old Testament and pre-Canon times, He still desires to be perpetually active within our lives. This is particularly true through the Truth He has revealed in the Word of God. His primary function today in the post-Canon period of the Church Age is not revelation or inspiration - it is illumination. Illumination is accomplished by your intake and metabolization of Bible truth under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit. This is so you can understand what He has revealed through those who wrote the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit wants us to use what He has revealed in the Bible to encourage one another. The Word of God is the primary source for mutual encouragement. In the Bible we discover God's doctrines, His plans, His promises, and His desires for us. God the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to make our spiritual lives mature and meaningful and to keep the Body of Christ functioning according to His divine plan and purpose.


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