Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 08/30/09
The Believer's Responsibility.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. (EPH 5:18-21)
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a part of a believers responsibility. We do not feel the filling of the Holy Spirit, but we do experience the results of it. In verses 19-21, Paul gives us insight into three of the manifestations of the filling of the Holy Spirit: Joy, Thanksgiving, and Humility.
Joy means having joy in your heart. To sing and make melody in your heart means that you have a joy that is inexpressible. This doesn’t mean you are singing all day, but the singing represents the happiness of God in your heart. Psalms and hymns are only as good as the words that they consist of. Therefore, it is not just singing, or joy that’s in view, but the content of doctrine that makes it precious. The singing and melody with your heart is directed at the Lord; this is a beautiful picture of fellowship with Him.
The second manifestation listed is thanksgiving. The filling of the Holy Spirit will result in an appreciation in the believer’s heart for all that. God has done for him, and that results in giving thanks for allthings.
The third manifestation is humility towards one another (Mat 23:11-12).
So, how do we know that we are filled with the Spirit? Well some of the results are just that: Joy, Thanksgiving, and Humility. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit these will not be manifested, which makes a profound, gracious point. You don’t have to try to be happy, thankful, or humble. You do have to be filled with the Spirit, and then allow Him to manifest these qualities in you.
These qualities fall under the fruit of the Spirit. Under the Law it was the best man could do, under grace it is the best God can do. Between the Law and grace there had to be a man who could stand in the gap. God chose Paul who received the revelation in the desert of Achacia. These truths have to be revealed to the believer by means of the Spirit. Without that you will never get it because the Spirit is your true teacher. We are reasonably instructed to be filled with the Spirit. This is supported by the fact that Christ instructed His disciples that no service should be undertaken before the Spirit came upon them.
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (LUK 24:49)
And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:4-8)
Again, between the Law and grace there had to be a man who could stand in the gap. God chose Paul who received revelation in the desert and communicated the full realm of the ministry of the Spirit and how it is received and applied. However, Paul is not your true teacher, he is a communicator just like a pastor is. God the Holy Spirit is your true teacher. The work of the Spirit in and through the believer has both a positive and a negative. Positive - that which is good. Negative - victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The word of God emphasizes that we are to be occupied with the positive; the divine good. That is Jesus Christ operating in this world through His church that has been cleansed with the water of the Word and the confession of sin. When we are occupied with the positive, divine good production of the Spirit within, then the negative will be overcome.
In the positive the Spirit has 7 ministries to the believer that we have seen briefly, one of which is the filling of the Spirit. After salvation it is the filling of the Spirit alone that is directly related to Christians as the ground and source of the spiritual life. The filling of the Spirit gives the believer the power to do divine good. This positive aspect of the Spirit (Filling of the Holy Spirit) in the believer’s life is manifested in 7 ways:
-The fruit of the Spirit;
- The function of the spiritual gift;
- Praise and thanksgiving;
- Teaching of the Spirit;
- Leading of the Spirit;
- The life of faith;
- Intercession of the Spirit.
These 7 manifestations of the Spirit in the Church is not to place an ideal before the believer in which he is to try in his own strength to realize; rather it is the presentation to him of that blessed life which he may anticipate as the result of the Spirit’s operation in and through him.
Let’s look at the fruit of the Spirit and see how grace operates through the Holy Spirit to actualize the ideals of the spiritual life within us, and apart from any human works or merit.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. (GAL 5:16-17)
Under the Law it was the best man could do, under grace it is the best God can do.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (GAL 5:19-23)
There is no system of rules to follow by which a believer may have this fruit, rather they are manifested by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. The word “fruit” is in the singular, and there are 9 manifestations listed (in GAL 5:19-23) of that fruit. The Holy Spirit isn’t going to give you one and neglect the other 8.
Understanding of the mechanics of the Spiritual life brings believers into unity because it is all based upon one God through His grace, therefore He, as the Head of the body, brings us into union with each other. What is your motive? It is not a thing that you try to get, it is a thing you already possess. You have the “pleroma” of God. Your entire Christian life is dependent upon the Holy Spirit. It’s not only the Spirit, but without the Spirit the plan falls apart. The divine plan for the believer’s daily life as given in the word of God includes the method by which that life shall be lived.
Two procedures are possible, namely: dependence upon one’s own ability and dependence upon the power of the indwelling Spirit. These two methods are totally incompatible.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (GAL 5:17)
The Christian way of life is a supernatural way of life and it demands supernatural means of execution. The filling of the Holy Spirit; metabolization of mystery doctrine of the Church-age; execution of the Pre-designed Plan of God. You are called to walk in a manner worthy of your high election after salvation and you cannot do it. You must admit that you cannot, that you are powerless, and that only God can do it through you. The Gospel as well is a revelation from the Spirit is by means of grace though faith, not of works that no man should boast (COL 2:6).
Application in the spiritual life is always a manifestation of the Spirit who uses the doctrine in your soul. So recognize this, expose yourself to the teaching of the word of God on a daily basis, keep short accounts of your sins and confess them, and then sit back and enjoy the ride. All the eloquence in the world is not going to reach the hearts of men. Only God the Holy Spirit can do that. In fact, as you try to reach people with the gospel or with doctrinal truths it can be very difficult if they reject the Spirit. When this occurs, don’t fight against them or try to bully them with your knowledge, instead turn it over to God who is the only One who can soften a man’s heart. Switch gears from talking to the person and go to God in prayer.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (JOH 14:13-14)
There are three tenses of salvation: You were saved when you believed from the penalty of sin, you have now been saved from the power of sin, you will be saved from the presence of sin. You cannot yourself accomplish any one of these things. The teacher has to emphasize that this is of God and not of man. The lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. No one can save themselves.
The believer is given the power to overcome evil. When the positives in the plan of God are capitalized upon, the negatives - evil - are overcome. There is a plan whereby you can be more than conqueror and have power in worship and service. Those who accomplish the positives in the plan of God by their positive volition are called overcomers in the Word of God (REV 2:7; REV 2:11; REV 2:17; REV 2:26-28; REV 3:5; REV 3:12; REV 3:21).
Every Christian is fighting three simultaneous battles and these are the things to be overcome. They are: the world, the flesh, and the devil. You can’t fight a few minutes at each battle, but you always fight all three simultaneously. All are overcome by faith. You cannot fight them yourself.
We’ve focused on overcoming the Old Sin Nature (OSN) through rebound. Let’s focus for a few minutes on the world system. In Luke chapter 4, we have the three tests of our Lord’s humanity. Satan tested the first Adam and was foolish enough to tempt the last Adam. These passages show that the kingdoms of this world are in the hands of Satan. The world [kosmos] has all kinds of amusement. This is the anesthetic that the world has to deaden the pain of an empty heart. We don’t preach against the anesthetic or against worldly amusement [and nor should you] but we teach the truth [positive] and fill the heart so they won’t want the anesthetic [negative].
Like a dead leave still clinging to the tree over the winter, that is what the OSN, the world, and the devil are like. All have been defeated by Christ on the Cross, but none have been eradicated from this world. That leave cannot endure on the tree in the spring when new sap and nourishment move down the branch and a bud begins to grow underneath it. Now the leave falls off. The negative [temporal death; being overcome by your enemies] is overcome by the positive [new life in Christ].
The truth of the Word of God and the power of the filling of the Holy Spirit make up the sap that flows down the branch and removes the old dead leave and replaces it with fruit.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (JOH 15:1-4)
The branch “in Him” is union with Christ in vs. two which the believer can never lose and to “abide in Him” is communion with Christ in time, this can be lost but quickly regained through rebound.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (JOH 15:5-7)
Prove to whom? If you are a disciple God already knows it, you don’t have to prove anything to God. Here it means to have power of God within you manifest to angels and men in this world. This manifestation of God within you is not a system of works. You don’t have to go all over the world performing good deeds to be seen by people. We have overcome the world by our faith in the plan of God, and through that faith the God within us will shine forth.
Everyone has the flesh and it must be overcome, but not by you, but rather by the Holy Spirit within. (GAL 5:16-17). The flesh is enmity towards God and wars against the Spirit. It’s there in all of us and it will always be there. Eradication of the flesh is a false doctrine. God did not take the old nature out, rather added the new nature.