The Nature of the Spirit - RR274L22a
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us worship God. The hour cometh and now is that the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Let us pray.
Almighty God our Heavenly Father we come again into Thy presence mindful of Thy mercies, Thy blessings and Thy so great salvation. Speak to us the word that we need, refresh our spirits, comfort us in our problems, strengthen in Thy service. That all the days of our life we may serve and praise Thee as we ought. Bless us now as we give ourselves to the study of Thy word in Christ’s name, Amen.
Today’s lesson is First Corinthians 14:26-34. Our subject: The Nature of the Spirit.
“How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.”
Let us pray. Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word. Grant that Thy people hear and obey, that all things may be done accordingly to Thy will and not the will of man. In Christ’s name, Amen. [00:04:37]
One of the major errors in the church when it entered...
One of the major errors in the church when it entered the non-Christian world was the common misinterpretation of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In the Greco-Roman world spiritistic utterances were ecstatic, mysterious and never easily construed. In fact, they were always subject to a double meaning. For example one ruler went to one of the pagan oracles for word as to whether he should attack a particular enemy, a very powerful imperial force. And the spirits said attack and you will destroy an empire. He did! The empire he destroyed was his own. All of the examples we have of the pagan oracles have a double meaning. As a result they were regularly misinterpreted. For the pagans the Holy Spirit was not part of the trinity, of the Godhead. And this attitude readily crept into the church. As against this ancient pagan view of an ecstatic and totally irrational spirit which spoke in strange ways, this view which crept through the church some theologians tried to counter act. But however by and large the pagan perspective prevailed. The pagan view grew more and more influential. The great statement about the trinity in the Westminster Confession of Faith in 1729 reads, and it is perhaps the best single statement:
“There is but one true and living God who is infinite in being and perfection, the most pure spirit, invisible, without body, without parts or passions. Immutable, immense, and totally beyond the comprehension of men. Now, as this definition continues it declares that the Holy Spirit is incomprehensible, almighty and most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will and for His own glory. Most loving, most gracious, merciful, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth. Forgiving iniquity, forgiving transgressions and sin. The rewarder of them which diligently seek him and with all most free, most just and desirable in His judgments. Hating all sin, and with by all no means clear the guilty.” Unquote. [00:10:42]
This is a description, not a definition...
This is a description, not a definition. And it is very much in line with Genesis 3:14 following where God tells Moses when Moses says ‘I don’t understand you God, define yourself’ and God says I am beyond definition, I am who I am, I am He who is. But then He goes on to say while He is beyond all definition, all limitation and description He reveals himself in His self-revelation. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and we thereby know Him truly. Paul’s concern thus that the church meeting and worshipping God would be carried on with Godly order. In verse twenty six through twenty nine Paul limits the speaking, he does not permit them because they say the Holy Spirit has inspired me to jump up, interrupt others and speak. He says two, maybe three, no more and in order. We have the right to commandeer no service even if we claim we have a revelation from God. They are to speak, Paul says, in rotation in an orderly fashion. Paul’s emphasis on order is very obvious. He does not permit a disorderly worship. If their speaking is of the Holy Spirit it must be part of an orderly service before God. The Spirit is not the author of confusion. This emphasis on order is applied to all charismatic manifestations, of every kind, and this tells us that Paul’s view of the Holy Spirit is one of heightened understanding and order. In verse thirty we are told that if the Holy Spirit reveal anything to someone else while another is speaking that person is to hold his peace. [00:14:11]
Again we have an emphasis on Godly orderliness...
Again we have an emphasis on Godly orderliness. Misunderstandings by the members of the Holy Spirit are not restricted to charismatics. Modernists, reformed scholars, Armenian scholars, are also prone to them. Now, Paul’s emphasis is that we cannot view the Holy Spirit as irrational, as mindless, as disorderly. The purpose of this spirit and its utterances through people is plainly stated by Paul in verse thirty one: that all may learn. Now, the force of this statement cannot be eroded, it cannot be set aside. The purpose of the service of worship is the praise of God and learning by the participants. There can be no learning without teaching. And the purpose of the Holy Spirit was to expand wisdom and understanding. When prophets speak the spirit is working within the prophet to enable his spirit to speak more powerfully and clearly. The prophets are subject to the prophets, that is under their control. The notion that the prophet is out of control is wrong. There is only one place in all the bible where the Spirit when it takes possession of a man makes him out of control. That was Saul, Saul being an unbeliever, First Samuel 20:24, when he sought the spirit its impact on him was abnormal and devastating. Not a normal one. Now the Holy Spirit is separately and supremely the spirit of wisdom and understanding the Bible tells us. [00:17:41]
His work in creation is currently very, very much misunderst...
His work in creation is currently very, very much misunderstood because in many circles creativity is nowadays associated with a mindless spontaneity rather than with understanding. As a result creation is seen as comparable to modern art. Modern art is purposeless it is irrational, it is meaningless, not so God’s creativity, not so the work of the Spirit. Paul as a result is quite insistent for God is not the author of confusion but of peace as in all the churches of the saints. Now that’s a very important clause because what Paul tells us is that the Jewish churches in Paul’s day there was peace, not confusion. Charismatic experiences as experienced in the Hebrew Christian circles were marked by peace, by order. Paul is insistent on this point. Clearly Paul’s emphasis is against that of what prevailed in Corinth and what has prevailed over the centuries. At present many churches are experimenting with alternate styles of worship. These are designed to enhance audience appeal and the assumption is not pleasing, not godly, namely that if you please man you will please God. Some forms include drama and dance, audience participation and the like. The congregation is seen as an audience not as a worshipping body. And worship is replaced with theater and drama. Such forms of apostasy have nothing to commend them. In all these things the nature of the Holy Spirit is misconstrued. The church is confused with theater and drama and God is replaced with an idea. We saw earlier the triune God is beyond definition. He reveals Himself, He does not define Himself. Paul’s efforts to know God lead to attempts to penetrate the meaning of the Godhead directly and that is impossible. [00:22:22]
John 1:18 is emphatic. No man has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him. Declaration is exegesis; we have the exegesis of God the Father and the God the Spirit in the Son, Jesus Christ. As their exegesis, He is their declaration. Thus the definition of the Trinity rests on our knowledge of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Since he is made like unto us we can know Him since He is the express image of God we can know God. For charismatics and non-charismatics to give us a neo pagan view of God the Spirit is to make knowing God almost impossible. The father is not the property of Unitarians nor the spirit the property of Charismatics. So the Spirit must not be seen as definable but as revealed. Now, we have one God, Three Persons and Jesus Christ we are told is the explanation, the declaration, the exegesis of God. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee that Thou hast in Jesus Christ Thy only begotten son declared Thyself, explained and made clear who Thou art and what Thou art. Our God we thank Thee. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions about our lesson? [00:25:20]
The word exegesis which means the correct, the faithful...
The word exegesis which means the correct, the faithful interpretation of scripture is translated in the Bible by the word declaration so that when we are told that Jesus Christ is the declaration of God, the exegesis it means that He explains God. Yes?
[Man speaking] Wouldn’t you say that in our modern churches that they have a definition of exegesis that you just gave us confused with what they consider interpretation? I’m talking about bible teachers and…
[Rushdoony] Yes, exegesis is the explanation of the true meaning of scripture.
[Man speaks again] It’s not interpretation.
[Rushdoony] Well it is in a sense is, but is the explanation, the declaration. Are there any other questions? If not let us bow our heads in prayer.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for this Thy word and for its plain speaking. Teach us to hear, to obey and to be faithful in all things. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.