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Saturday, June 28, 2014

From The Prophetic School: The Dominance Of The Spirit Over The Soul

Man consists of three basic elements: spirit, soul, and body. 

We know this is true, for Paul wrote, And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I Thessalonians 5:23

Paul saw the three basic elements of which man is constituted.

He prayed that during the end time, before the coming of the Lord, He would sanctify, or preserve blameless, our spirit, our soul, and our body.

In a literal translation of Genesis 2:7 we read, So then Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed in his nostrils the breath of life ( The Hebrew word for breath is neshamah; it also means "spirit" ) ; and man became a living soul.

We know that man's physical body was taken from the earth. God told Adam, "Dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return" ( Genesis 3:19 ).

Then his spirit was divinely in-breathed and he became a living soul.

In the New Testament there are Greek words which should be defined. Pneuma is the word for "Spirit." It could mean the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, or the human spirit.

This is seen in John 3:8: The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

The word Pneuma is used in this verse for "wind" and for "spirit." It follows the same pattern as neshamah, the Hebrew word for "spirit" in the Old Testament, which means "spirit" or "the breath of God."

The word pneuma refers to the spirit of man, the seat of his God~consciousness or his consciousness in the spirit realm.

Understand clearly that it is in this spirit realm where God dwells, and it is to this human spirit, the pneuma, that God communicates.

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24.

God is looking for such to worship Him ( verse 23 ) , which would indicate that God is basically concerned about your spirit being right with Him. God is a Spirit; you are a spirit, soul, and body, and He wants your spirit to communicate with Him.

Revelation does not come to the physical senses of a man unless those physical senses are joined in a very close relationship to his spirit.

What we are striving for is that our spirits and our five natural senses be so closely linked together that when God speaks to us, we are actually able to sense it with every one of our senses.

Since the fall of man, the spirit realm has not opened up to our five senses, even for the man who has accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. We do not hear, we do not see, and we do not smell the spirit realm.

Only when the human spirit becomes highly developed by great discipline can the gap be bridged between the conscious mind and the spirit.

Very few people ever accomplish it.

When you pray and seek the will of the Lord and God speaks to you, His answer often follows a devious route of being received by your spirit, then passing through various filters into subconscious mind.

Finally it comes up into your conscious thought and you realize, "I have a word from the Lord. I have an answer."

There will be a day in which the Lord will open up this realm and you will see, feel, and hear; but now the body is in a state of mortality, and because of its mortality it has been cut off from the divine awareness and spiritual awareness.

So we live in one world, while there is another world all around us- the spirit world. We strive to develop a consciousness and an awareness of the realm of God, the realm of angels, the realm of devils, but we do not yet have it fully.

The soul is the seat of our self~consciousness. In the soul the self dwells.

Our reasoning, our emotions, and our affections are all active on a conscious and often on an unconscious level.

The Greek word for soul is psuche, of which the word psychic and psychology are derivatives. A psychologist says in effect that he is a man who deals with the soul of an individual.

This is rather strange many fields of psychology today teach that man does not have a soul. The very word psychology is self-contradictory; the science of the soul teaches that you do not have one.

Yet psychologists know there is something beyond what we have ever discovered about the mind of man.

They are trying to explain the extrasensory perception abilities and the ability to foretell events which many people have. All of these matters are a great quandary to them.

Another Greek word in the New Testament is sarx, meaning "flesh." This is the seat of your sense~consciousness.  

In the soul, your emotions, your will, and your conscious reason reign.

In your spirit, revelation reigns. Your soul is able to study, to learn, and to absorb, but your spirit can actually appropriate things.

What is taking place in the human soul of an unregenerated man?

In Rotherham's translation we read, ...My spirit shall not rule in man times age~abiding, for that in their going astray he is flesh ( or "they are become flesh" ).... Genesis 6:3, ( alternate reading in the margin ) .

This means that the unregenerate man is in a fallen condition. His spirit is separated from God, and his fleshly nature is dominating his life.

This was the cause of the great flood ( Genesis 6-8 ) : men went after the ways of the flesh. God saw the wickedness of man, the corruption and violence that was upon the earth, and He was grieved in His heart that He had made man.

In this great triangle- the triune nature of man consisting of spirit, soul, and body- the body had taken ascendancy in that ancient day; so the Lord destroyed the world.

They werte doing mant things which God could no longer endure on His earth. He destroyed them with a great flood because they were fleshly.

Jesus said that the same conditions will exist in the end time before the Lord returns again.

In the last days, men will be pursuing the lusts of the flesh again. Once again we see the fleshly, sensual nature taking the dominant place. This is the current culture we see all around us today; reflected in our music, our movies, our life styles etc.

The flesh and the soul dominate the life of an un~regenerated person. When an unregenerated man comes to Jesus Christ, we say that he is born again.

Jesus answered and said unto him ( Nicodemus ) , verily, verily, I say unto thee: Except one be born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Do not marvel, that I said unto thee; Ye must needs be born from above. The Spirit, where it pleaseth, doth breathe.

Other translations read, "the wind bloweth," but Rotherham presents the other meaning of the word pneuma: The spirit, where it pleaseth, doth breathe, and the sound thereof thou hearest; but knowest not whence it cometh and whither it goeth. John 3:3,7-8.

This is far more true of the Spirit than of the wind, for we do know where wind comes from and were it goes; meteorologists can trace its currents exactly.

What happens when a person is converted? When the Spirit breathes on an individual, he is born of the Spirit.

Bacause he is born from above, we cannot tell where the Spirit came from or how He moves, but we do see and hear and witness the results in that individual's life.

Thus it is apparent that God breathes upon the unregenerated man when he repents; and his spirit, which is dead because of sin, is created again in a new birth and made alive to God.

Read Ephesians 2, especially the first ten verses. There Paul wrote, "you did He make alive when you were dead through your trespasses and sins" ( verse 5 ) .

He came and He breathed upon your spirit. That spirit in you was dead, but it was regenerated and born anew when you came into God.

People often speak of saving souls; however, that is not truly a scriptural term to use. We are not trying to save souls.

That is a process which takes place over a period of time in a believer.

What we call a conversion is a matter of being made alive to God, it becomes the connecting link to God which brings life into your soul and into your body.

Let me show you how this works.

If the Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, this Spirit which raised up Christ from the dead will quicken your mortal body ( Romans 8:11 ) . It will began to feel life.

Yet, the lowest level, the physical level, will be the last part of your triune nature to experience regeneration.

When a man repents, his spirit is made anew in God. Then he goes through a process of his soul being saved.

Acts 2:47 tells us that the Lord added to the Church daily such as were being saved.

God has saved you. He is saving you, and you are yet going to be saved.

Your spirit was saved, and you became a new person when you were regenerated. Now you are going through the process of seeing your soul life saved.

Have you ever seen a new convert who has just accepted the Lord? Suddenly he is a brand new person.

You can see the joy and the blessing upon him as his spirit worships God. Where he has once been dead to God, all of a sudden he is alive to God.

But you notice also that he probably does not immediately get rid of his bad habits, such as smoking or bad habits of speech.

Maybe there are still certain traits in his emotional life, such as temper, stubborness, or a little contentiousness in his old nature.

These may be hereditary; he knows that he is a Christian, but he is still acting like his grandfather.

If a man is a new creature in Jesus Christ, why is he having a struggle with this?

God has saved and regenerated his spirit, but his soul is still in a process of being saved.

Tomorrow he may throw away cigarettes. The next day God will give him victory over his temper. For several months the man will be going through one process after another, seeing the grace of God flow down upon his spirit into his soul, until his emotions, his mind, and his will are all brought into the will of God.

That is why a new convert often wants to come down to the altar again. It is not because he believes that he is not converted, that he is not a child of God; but something within him is crying out for more of salvation.

He wants that salvation to permeate other areas of his being. He wants his soul to be saved too.

The Scriptures say, "We are of them that believe unto the saving of the soul" ( Hebrews 10:39 ) .

Then we reach the place where we sense that every day that we walk with the Lord we are coming into a place of more victory; we are becoming more of an overcomer. If it all took place at conversion, we would not need to be striving for an overcoming life.

As we walk along with the Lord, what will become of this body?

Thank God that He makes provision for it and heals your diseases, but you cannot say that your body is really saved yet.

It is saved only by the mercy of God, but you have not appropriated it. You do not burst forth into a resurrected body the moment you accept Jesus as your Savior.

you still catch a cold, little children still get the measles, and many similar problems continue to take place.

In this body there is a condition of mortality; but God has given us the promise that because our spirits have been renewed, there will be a whole new day for the glory of God in our lives.

When we want our spiritual perception to work, we realize that as long as we are predominately soulish Christians, living by our emotions, our conscious reasoning of things, and our will, we are not moving in the realm were revelation takes place.

A person who is soulish does not necessarily become emotionally upset, for the emotions may be very introspective. The soul is the root of self~conciousness. There are many kinds of soulish people.

A soulish person may talk about wanting the work of the cross, wanting the Lord to dig in and search his heart. And he never gets out of that self~consciousness.

This may be the only thing he knows in God: O God search my heart, O God digin, dig in." Ten years later he is still searching his heart and looking inward.

When is he going to get the revelation of the Lord? He never will because he is dwelling in the realm of introspection and deep motivations, of emotions, of his will and his temper, of this problem or that problem.

Because he is continually dealing with that soul life, he never gets out of it. If he could just commit it to God and let his spirit dominate his whole life, he would find that he could appropriate from God everything he has need of.

Revelation does not come in the realm of the soul.

Could I describe to you one of the experiences that first brought me into the realization of this?

As a young man, I was raised in a variety of back grounds. One of them was Pentecostal, and I can remember going into some of those services where the people became very emotional.

They would jump and roll and become ecstatic, almost beside themselves. Can God bless a person in the midst of all that?

Oh yes. This is very much of God.

Then why don;t we jump? Because we are approaching God through our spirits, not through our souls.

It is possible for people who believe in the Holy Spirit to come into quite a soulish activity in their church. They like sermons in which the pastor uses a text from the Scriptures, tells them sad stories, and gives them an altar call.

They like sermons which get them converted all over again every week. They need activities that play upon their emotions.

It is in your spirit that you arrive at dedication. In your soul you never do.

The  people who are soulish tend to be up today and down tommorrow, because the human soul is incapable of sustaining an emotion for a very long period of time.

That is why people fall out of love after they get married; they are depending on a fleshly, soulish feeling to keep it alive.

The intellectual type of Christian is also a soulish person, because he is approaching God through his reasoning process.

Let me analyze a few backgrounds and show you the difference between the soulish and the spiritual. The soulish Christians in a Pentecostal church get all excited, but they will not have much revelation.

They have tongues and interpretation, but there is not much revelation in it because there is too much emotion.

Real revelation comes in a realm of prophetic revelation by the gifts of the Holy Spirit with a flow of discernment, the word of wisdom, and the word of knowledge.

Surprisingly enough, during a generation of Pentecostal activity, very few gifts of the Spirit were in evidence.

The gifts of the Spirit have to move on a level of the spirit, not on a level of the soul. Most Pentecostal Christians have the emotional manifestations, and that is all.

They are happy and they prophesy, "Thus saith the Lord, 'As thou art My people, bless My name forever.' " Then everyone shouts, "We heard from the Lord!" What new word did they hear?

"We are the Lord's people." We know that.

"And the lord is going to take care of us." We know that, too.

In effect, they prophesy, "Hallelujah, Gd made the sun and the moon and the stars and all of the heavens. Praise the Lord, the sun will come up tomorrow morining and we will have another day."

We know that already.

What about prophesying something that will reveal the purposes of God in the world?

Many preachers speak on end~time events, speculating who the antichrist might be. But their ideas are usually refuted later. They are moving in a realm without the depth of perception that is necessary to prophecy the things that will come to pass. This, too, is part of the soulish realm.

Pomp and ceremony and ritualism in the realm of the soul, but not in the realm of the spirit. In the realm of the spirit you do not need gimmicks. You do not need to cross yourself or have someone sprinkle holy water on you.

When you come into the realm of the spirit, your spirit is communicating with the Lord.

People come into God's end-time walk from various religions, and various soulish and fleshly levels. When they receive a living Word from God, it does something in them that will separate their soul life from the spirit life and bring them into a new level with God that they have not had before.

For the Word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two~edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.
Hebrews 4:12-13.

Hebrews 4 speaks of entering into His rest, and shows the difference between those who work in a soulish fervor and those who walk in a dedication of their spirits to God.

By the very Word that is coming to you, you find that litttle by little your spirit and your soul are being separated, so that your soul gives glory to God as it submits to the domination of your spirit in following after the Lord.

This means that a spiritual existence is much to be preferred over a soulish existence. If you are soulish, you will not move in a realm of revelation, nor will you move in a realm of dedication.

On that level you can move in a realm filled with feverish activities and works, feelings, emotions, and blessings. And if you do not have anything else, that is what you are left with.

For many years I walked before the Lord in the Pentecostal movement. But I came to the place where God did something else for me, and it opened up a realm where my spirit communicates with God.

That is what I want. The Pentecostal movement gauges everything by the realm of emotion, and we judge nothing by the realm of emotion.

It is the reality we find as our spirit communicates with God that counts. We must learn how to develope our spirits, and to let our spirits dominate our natures.

When you walk in the Spirit, your spirit has the power not only to alleviate, but to completely eliminate every problem in every other area.

If you learn how to walk in te Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh ( Galatians 5:16 ) .

That means you can reach the place where your spirit is walking with God and dominating the whole of your life. Then you do not need to worry about the flesh, because you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh no matter who you are or what problems ou have.

People who work with dope addicts find that an addict can rarely receive deliverance until he is baptized with the Holy Spirit. What is the significance of this?

Only when his spirit has had a complete release in God, will he find that every bondage of the flesh, no matter how deep it is in his life, is suddenly overcome, and the habits are broken.

When you learn to walk in the Spirit, you will have complete dominion over your emotions and the rest of your soul life. Then the grace and blessings of the lord will gradually permeate through your entire soul.

How does this relate to spiritual perception? What you must realize is that you cannot walk on a soulish plane and at the same time have very much spiritual perception.

You will have to get out of that realm and move into the realm of really walking in the Spirit if you want the perception to come.

We will continue reading from Rotherham's translation, I Corinthians 2:14: But a man of the soul doth not welcome the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him, and he cannot get to know them because spiritually they are examined.

A man of soul cannot welcome the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him. When people come into a church where the Spirit is really moving, it is difficult to get them to accept it.

They will not buy it because they cannot understand it; they cannot believe in it, because it must be discerned by the Spirit.

But the man of the spirit on the one hand examineth all things, but on the other, he himself by no one is examined. I therefore brethren, have not been able to speak unto you as unto men of the Spirit, but as unto men of the flesh, as unto babes in Christ. With milk have I fed you not with meat; for not yet have you been able; Nay! not yet, even now, are ye able, for ye are yet fleshly. I Corinthians 2:15-3:3.

A man's capacity for God is very definitely restricted if he is a fleshly Christian. He cannot understand spiritual things. If he is a soulish Christian, he receives a little more.

But only as a spiritual Christian is he able to move into the wonderful things God has for his life.

The activity of the human body in carnal or fleshly Christians is great.  Although they are Christians, these people do not want to give up their parties and all the rest of their worldly activities.

Many Hollywood actors and actresses follow a pettern when they become Christians. They talk about wanting Bible studies, yet they are not averse to making a sexy movie or something of that nature. They go the whole route because they are living on such a fleshly plane.

The activity of the human soul in the immature or soulish believer includes a human wisdom that is dangerous, at best, he is going to follow a form of Bibliolatry, and that is probably as dangerous as Mariolatry ( the worship of Mary ) .

This is not said to minimize the study of Scripture. We are talking about men who memorize chapter and verse, then argue and gouge one another, using their knowledge of the Word as a sword.

But it is not the sword of the Spirit; it is their personal sword, and they are lacing down everyone according to their set ideas and reasoning down everyone according to their set ideas and reasoning in a soulish realm. 

These people are not open to see the things that God wants to bring. Their beliefs are all cut and dried. They may have a nice Scofield Bible giving them all the explanations they need.

They know just exactly what it says, and they do not hesitate to quote it and explain it. When God comes along, He does not pay any attention to their walls; He just begins to bless.

They say that the day of miracles is past, and they have te Scriptures to prove it. While they say that they believe the Bible from cover to cover, in the blindness of their reasoning, they have outlawed the things in the Scriptures that God is really doing.

They are as bad as the Modernists, because in the name of the Bible they preach unbelief until people cannot get healed or delivered. The Modernists, in the name of a Bible they do not believe in, tell people that they cannot be healed.

The world is ready to advance in every science, while most Christians are a bunch of old fogies. They ought to reach into the realm of God and be prepared to believe more.

What about some Fundamentalists?

They do not change. Their minds are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up and permanently set. They have every verse lined out, and they know exactly what is going to happen.

When one of their pastors receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he is put out of the church. This is happening all over the country.

One pastor was told, "you cannot even announce it. And you cannot talk in tongues yourself." They have him right in a corner. These pressures are getting worse all the time.

The Fundamentalists have their doctrines all worked out, and then God violates their rules. He just does not conform to the way they have it worked out.

They say that the day of miracles is past; yet the Lord keeps healing people, delivering them from infirmities, and casting out demonic spirits.

They are stuck with the fact that in their little soulish mind and realm they have worked out scriptural interpretations and rules which God will not follow.

I would say that they are guilty of bibliolatry. In their bigotry, they teach chapter and verse without illumination of the Spirit, not recognizing that God is speaking a Word, living and far deeper than any of us know.

God is opening the Scriptures, and we are seeing fantastic truths that we never dreamed of. Let us not only believe what the Lord has already shown us, but let us believe in all of those truths that will suddenly be illuminated in the Word with the dawning of the new day.

Let us believe them even before we know of the, because we know they are going to come.

I appreciate men like Charles G. Finney, who wrote revival lectures and boks that were famous and very effective in his day.

In the preface of one edition he said, "I do not want the coming generations to judge me by what I have set down in this book, because without question, the Holy Spirit will cause more truth and more light to come from day to day; and they will walk in the day of a revelation greater than we have.

I have therefore been reluctant to set down in print what is so valuable to us in this day."

Finney knew that we would have more light than his generation had, and it is true. They walked in days of lesser light, and we are walking in days when the greater light is coming upon us.

In these days, the spirit of an individual can be so illuminated that some of our young people know more about the Word of God than some of the greatest theologians knew a hundred years ago.

They will move in a realm of revelation. As their spirits read the Word, the Holy Spirit will interpret it, and they will see glorious and marvelous things happen.

Daniel was told to seal up the Book until the time of the end ( Daniel 12:4 ). then knowledge will be increased. People will Perceive with illumination upon the Word again.

Walking in the Spirit and learning to worship in the Spirit will stabilize us and keep us from the ups and downs. It will also protect us from false doctrine.

A walk in the Spirit is going to bring us to the place where we have the illumination upon the Word that will make it really live for us.

 You want to have eyes to see, and this has been prophesied. God spoke through Joel that in the last days He would pour out His Spirit. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions ( Joel 2:28 ) .

Spiritual perception will be increased. People are going to walk in the realm of enlightenment, of dreams, visions, and revelations.

"Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord; He will come unto us as the rain, " the prophet said ( Hosea 6:3 ) .

All of this has been prophesied. And we will walk in it even though Satan is doing everything he can to produce a soulish realm.

Legalism can be deadly to spiritual life. Legalistic preaching and the emotions that it generates does not seem to do very much to eliminate a walk in the flesh.

On the other hand, those who walk in the Spirit have a consistency. They always possess a kind of steadiness. Their daily worship may not be very emotional, but there is a steadiness to it, because the blessing of the Lord is continually flowing down.

We want the joy of the lord, but we do not approach God through the emotions. The soul life is a reaction to the spirit's contact with God. Which one is in domination? This is the key.

I have a stronger soul life than many religious people. When my spirit receives a blessing from the lord and it rests upon my soul, I want to act like David; I want to dance before the Lord with all my might.

I get happy because I am blessed, but I do not use the emotion to approach God. There are people
 today who work themselves up emotionally, thinking that they will reach God.

The proper approach is not through the soul. Let the soul react to God. Let it be happy, let it be joyful, let it sing psalms, let it praise the Lord. But let your spirit be in tune with the Lord.

A good deal of your personality comes forth from your vital physical forces as well as from your spirit. I believe that your spirit is more closely linked to your conscious mind than you might think.

You must see that an individual is not three separate entities wrapped up in a package. Your spirit and your soul within your body are not like two peas rattling around in a little bottle.

You are one person just as God is one person: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The great truth of the Word is that God is one, and te same is true of you.

You consist of these elements of spirit, soul, and body. Walk in the Spirit.

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