Saturday, December 11, 2010


Playing Holy Spirit or Allowing Him to Work through You?

In our lives as believers we understand that we are one body, and members one of another (Rom 12:5); that there is an interaction and a vitality that operates in and through us, for the mutual edification of us all.

We often have need to encourage, to exhort, even to reprove and rebuke one another, but meekly and with the sole motivation of love (1 Cor 12:25; 2 Tim 4:2; Eph 4:16 and Gal 6:1).

At times, either because the person who endeavors to correct is doing so without the proper motivation or in the wrong manner, is not received; but its also possible that the person being reproved is uncomfortable in giving up their sin or facing their compromise. In their own defense they say, "Stop playing the Holy Ghost!"

However the Holy Spirit operating by the prophets of the Old Testament, or working through the church of Jesus Christ has always sought to lead, instruct, encourage, correct the saints of God, as well as bring back those who have gone wayward.

Not only so, but the Holy Spirit is active in the world as well, pointing them to Jesus, to His grace and love, to His rightful claim as both LORD and CHRIST; He convicts and convinces of sin. He does so through the reading of the Word of God, the Law of the LORD, and He does so also through the body of Christ and its individual members:

JOHN 16:7-11
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

The Word also speaks of the Light, which is God Himself and the Revelation of His Word, that dispels darkness and reproves those that love darkness -

JOHN 3:19-20
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

People who are prone to accuse others of 'playing Holy Ghost' or being the 'Gospel Gestapo' are also inclined to use the scriptural admonition to "judge not lest ye be judged".

However if you look at MATTHEW 7 in its entirety, and the first few verses particularly in regards to this point, the admonition is "not to judge" as a warning about how we judge, for it goes on to say:

MATT 7:2
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

If we judge harshly or with undue criticism, then we will be judged accordingly by God. We are not to be hypocritical in our judgment either for in vs. 3-5 it speaks of "beams" and "motes".

And if we are not to judge (Greek word used here is krino, meaning, "to distinguish, to decide judiciously, call into question, decree, to sentence"), then how would we know who "swine" or "dogs" are as opposed to "sheep and lambs" (MATT. 7:6), or "false prophets" from true (MATT. 7:15), or "good fruit" from "bad fruit" (MATT. 7:16-20)?

Having said that, its vitally important to point out that we must not judge people's hearts or their motives, for no one truly knows of these things except for the LORD Himself:

JER 17:10
I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

ROM 14:4
Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

We can never judge the hearts of people or their motivations, however we are to discern people's actions and whether such actions are approved of God by examining the Word, as well as the words they speak, and or teachings they may give.

As for how the Holy Spirit uses the prophets of God, and the Apostles and the body of Christ in general in bringing conviction to a sinful world (and a wayward Israel), such examples are replete throughout the Word.

Examine Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, and the book of Jonah, and you will find that these men of God brought messages which spoke against their sin that so angered people that they (in most cases) slew these messengers of the LORD.

ISAIAH 1:4-6
Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Likewise review JEREMIAH 38 who stood against the sinful government of his time, and was threatened with death because of what was seen as 'unpatriotic' yet truthful in its judgment against the transgressions of Israel. As well as this, consider the first three chapters in the book of AMOS!

In the New Testament canon we have the likes of John the Baptist, Peter and Paul who delivered scathing rebukes towards those who were yet in their sins, unrepentant and in need of salvation:

MATT 3:7
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

ACTS 2:22-23
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Bear in mind that Peter himself, along with the other apostles on that day of Pentecost were filled with the Holy Spirit, and thus with such holy unction, proclaimed the truth of the Gospel, and rightly judged the people of their sin in rejecting their Messiah and allowing Him to be crucified.

This preaching brought about the desired effect; the people were convicted of their sin:

ACTS 2:37
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Such conviction was as a result of Peter's preaching, yet it wasn't Peter doing the convicting, but the Holy Spirit through him that did this work.

Likewise Paul, in dealing with the Gentiles at Mars Hill, confronted them on their ignorance and declared that God requires all men to repent of their sins:

ACTS 17:22, 30-31
Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

And as the church, we likewise shine the light of the LORD and expose the perversion and darkness that is ever-present and growing ever more in this rebellious world:

PHIL 2:15
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

EPH 5:11
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Does this mean that we are to go around, putting people under a magnifying glass and become hyper-critical of everything they say and do? Do we attempt to convict and convince people to turn from their own way of thinking and adopt our own?

No, by no means; we are to follow Jesus' example who demonstrated the Grace of God, but not at the expense of hiding the Truth of God and exposing the sin in people's lives so that they would understand their need for salvation.

If we are to judge (discern) others then we must do so righteously, just as our LORD admonished us to . . .

JOHN 7:24

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Here is an example of righteous judgment:

MATT 23:1-9 (read the entire chapter)

That is to discern after the power of the Holy Spirit of God Who alone is righteous and is Himself the Truth, and discerning by use of the Word of God (see also: 1 COR 12:10; 14:24-25; HEB 4:12; 5:13-14).
Again whether its in the restoration of a brother, the correction of a fellow saint, the proclamation of the Gospel (which requires conviction of sin on the part of the unregenerate), or in any discernment of good versus bad . . .

1 COR 16:14 
Let all your things be done with charity.

May the LORD God grant us the boldness to speak the truth in love; may He empower us to be confrontational in Christ Jesus with meekness and a heart intent on seeking reconciliation and restoration upon those in need who are rebels against God or gone wayward from the Way of Righteousness.
May we guard our own hearts, and be ready and able to receive correction from others as well. May we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in the body of Christ, and through the body towards the "crooked and perverse" nation we find ourselves in today. Amen.

agape, grace & peace,

brother James J. Fire

1 comment:

April said...

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." Psalm 118:26
"My son, do not despise the Lord's
discipline, or be weary of His reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights." Proverbs 3:11
"Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty." Job 5:17
"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives." Hebrews 12:5-6
To honor God and exercise His character here on Earth, we need to love like He does, and that means correcting those He/We love.
Thank-you for this Brother Fire.