All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
May 14, 2011
or the Spirit
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2011 by Merle E. Koepke
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This is part two of this series of Mini-Books. It is very important that Christians understand this subject. Therefore, it would be very helpful to those reading this part, if they would read part one first. Understanding part one helps to understand this part.
Christians need to understand the difference between the flesh and the spirit. Christians need to understand that we were first born of the flesh in Adam. But, now we are no longer in Adam, but we are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:9).
Therefore, we are a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17). Yet, we are still the same "living soul" we were in the beginning. We still have the same physical body we had in the beginning. But, we are no longer of this world (John 17:16). We are born from above and have been given a great opportunity to walk with God. We have been given the opportunity to "now" walk after the Spirit and no longer walk after the flesh.
Now, we must be taught by God, how to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. We must learn from the Scriptures, what to do, and how to do what the Scriptures tell us.
There is a major difference between walking after the flesh or walking after the Spirit. If we do not know the difference, how can we know if we are doing the will of God or the will of man? In the Old Testament people were not born again, and not baptized in the Holy Spirit, therefore they could not walk in the Spirit.
But, Christians are new creatures in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we must now learn how to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh.
The Book of Romans is written to Christians (Rom. 1:7). In Romans 8:1-7 it says, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death...For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh...That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit...For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit...For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace...Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
This tells us that there is a major difference between walking after the flesh and walking after the Spirit. One is the opposite of the other. Christians are those who are born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:23; John 3:6).
In Romans 8:8,9, it says, "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God...But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
Anyone who does not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them is not a born again Christian. They are still in Adam, and not in Christ (1 Cor. 15:22). Therefore, those who are not born again in Christ, cannot please God. God is not pleased in anyone who is not born again into the body of Christ.
In Romans 8:6, it says, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Christians must learn how to know what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit?
God started with man living on this earth, like all the other creatures of the world. Then, through the new birth in Christ Jesus, God began a new creation, which included man living in the Spirit.
God's plan from the beginning was that man would become spiritual, and live in the spiritual realm in heaven. Therefore, Christians must learn the ways of God and how God operates in the spiritual realm. For, in heaven we will no longer be in the natural realm of the flesh, but in the spiritual realm of the spirit. In Matthew 22:29,30, Jesus said to the Sadducees, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God...For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
Those who are in the flesh have their minds upon earthly things. Their minds are upon the things that are seen, which are temporal, whereas the things of the spirit are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18).
This earth, and all that is in it will pass away (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 1 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1,27). If we are to continue with God, we must learn the ways of God, and know what God desires of us in everything we do. It all starts by learning to know the voice of the Spirit. Once we know the voice of the Holy Spirit, then we can be led by the Holy Spirit. Christians must stop being led by the flesh.
The Voice of God
The Scriptures are written in a way that anyone who reads them can understand what is necessary to know, to know the voice of God. Even those who are not born again Christians can know from the Scriptures, the will of God for their lives. God's will for everyone is that they become born again in Christ Jesus, and inherit eternal life in heaven. That is God's will for us. But, God's will is not always done. Many will follow the Devil, and spend eternity in hell. Not because God wanted it that way. But, because they did not submit to God's will. They let the Devil use others to deceive them, and they followed another spirit, which was not from God.
It is important that Christians learn to hear the voice of God, and be led by the Holy Spirit in their lives. In hearing the voice of God, we need to understand how God speaks to people.
In the beginning, the LORD God spoke to Adam in an audible voice. Adam heard the voice of the LORD God. In Genesis 3:8-10 it says, "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden...And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?...And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."
Adam and Eve were natural people (formed of the dust of the ground). They were not spiritual, as Christians are. Therefore, the LORD God spoke to Adam and Eve in an audible voice, that they could hear the voice of the LORD God with their natural ears.
This was in the beginning, when mankind was still in the flesh, and not in the Spirit. For years, the LORD God spoke to some people with an audible voice. After many years, the LORD God began to send prophets to speak to the people.
Moses was a prophet. Moses spoke to the children of Israel, and they knew the will of God by the words spoken to them by Moses. At the time of Moses, the LORD God also anointed others to prophesy and speak to the Children of Israel. Following the time of Moses, the audible voice of the LORD God was not commonly heard by the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel needed to listen to the prophets as they spoke to them, concerning the will of God.
This continued until God sent Jesus into this world to speak to those who would listen to His voice. Jesus went about, among the Children of Israel speaking to those who would listen. Many would not listen to what Jesus said. They wanted to go by what they were taught by those who claimed they were sent to teach the people.
Jesus set the example of how to hear the voice of God. One of the things that Jesus did was He spent a lot of time studying the Scriptures, and praying. At the age of twelve, Jesus spent days "...in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions...And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke 2:46,47).
By the time Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit at about the age of thirty, He already knew the Old Testament. Jesus could quote from the Old Testament any Scripture He needed, to explain who He was, why He did the things He did, and the way He did them.
Jesus used the Old Testament Scriptures to put down the temptations of the Pharisees, the Scribes, and the Sadducees whenever they came trying to tempt Him. Jesus used the Old Testament Scriptures to defeat the Devil when He was tempted for forty-days it the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-13).
In Hebrews 5:8 it says, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Jesus learned, not to speak until He knew what the Father wanted Him to say. Jesus knew what He said agreed with the Scriptures (John 8:3-11). In the Gospel of John, Jesus made mention of how He heard the voice of God, through knowledge of the written Word (John 4:34; 5:19,30; 6:38; 7:16: 8:26,28,38; 12:49,50).
After Jesus went to be with God the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to speak to those who would hear His voice. Therefore today, Christians must learn to know the voice of the Holy Spirit, and not follow the voice of another person or another spirit (Gal. 1:8,9).
If Christians are to walk after the Spirit, they must know the voice of the Holy Spirit. Christians must know how the Holy Spirit speaks to those who are born again in Christ Jesus?
If we follow the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation, we will see a pattern of how God works with people. Therefore, it is revealed in the Scriptures how to know the voice of the Holy Spirit.
In Job 32:8, it says, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." All throughout the Old Testament, God spoke to people from their spirit. The LORD God formed a spirit within man, that God could speak to man from his spirit.
Being that man in the beginning was formed of the flesh, and lived according to the desires of the flesh, God used every means He had to speak to people. God spoke to Adam and Eve with an audible voice (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:8-10). From the time God began to speak to man in an audible voice, God continued to speak to people in an audible voice.
In Genesis 15:1, it tells us that the word of the LORD came unto Abram "in a vision." From the time the LORD began to speak to people in visions, God continued to use visions to speak to people. The LORD still uses vision to speak to people today.
In Genesis 16:7, it tells us, the angel of the LORD spoke to Hagar (the mother of Ishmael). From the time God began to send angels to speak to people, God continued to send angels to speak to people.
In Genesis 20:30, the LORD God spoke to King Abimelech in a dream. From the time God began speaking to people in the dreams, God continued to speak to people in dreams, even today God does speak to people in dreams.
In Exodus, the LORD God spoke to people by using Moses as a prophet. From that time on, God has used prophets to speak to his people.
God had a plan for mankind right from the beginning of Genesis. God's plan is progressive. God starts with simple things and then proceeds to increase to the more complex things. God started with man in the flesh. Then, through the new birth, God went from man in the flesh to man in the Spirit.
When God went from man in the flesh to man in the spirit, God changed the way He speaks to those who are born again in Christ Jesus. God does things in the New Testament times by mostly speaking to man from man's spirit, not an audible voice but an inward witness.
God still uses visions and dreams, but a lot less than in the Old Testament times. God still uses Prophets, but a lot less than in the Old Testament times. God still speaks in an audible voice but a lot less than in the Old Testament times.
God still "sometimes" uses the ways He used in the Old Testament times, but a lot less in the New Testament. Why is it that way now? Simply because, God now dwells in the spirit of man. In Philippians 2:13 it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." In Hebrews 8:10, it tells us that God "puts his laws in our minds, and write them in our hearts" (Heb. 8:10). God knows when we know what to do, without speaking to us in an audible voice, or sending an angel or a prophet to speak to us.
God has a better plan. God works from within our spirit, revealing to us everything to us that we need to know.
God works with us similar to the way natural parents work with their children. It is like when a child is born into this world. The parents start working with that child, knowing it does not understand the things of this world. First the parents must do everything, like feed the child, train the child to do things, and teach the child how to walk and how to talk.
This is the same way with God. When a person is born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, God needs to do everything in the spiritual realm for that new born "spiritual baby." God may speak to that child in an audible voice. God may speak to that child in a dream or vision. God may speak to that child by a prophet, or an angel.
As the child grows up spiritually, God starts working with the child in a more mature way. God expects those who are more mature to continue to mature until they become fully matured in the spirit.
Once a child goes from a babe in Christ to a child in Christ, God expects them to live and act like children, and no longer act like a baby. When a child matures in the LORD, God expects them to continue to grow up and become adults in the spirit.
When they become adults in the spirit, God expects them to act like adults, and no longer act like children or babes in Christ.
As in the world, many babies die of starvation. The food they needed to grow physically was not given to them. Because babies are not able to feed themselves (if someone does not feed them they will die).
Even children who can feed themselves, if they are not able to provide for themselves, they may die. They need food to live in the flesh.
Christians, "without spiritual food" will die spiritually, just as a baby will die if it does not have natural food to eat. Even adults in the natural world will die, if they do not have natural food to eat. Everyone needs natural food to eat to live in this world. No one can live and not die without food to eat.
It is the same in the realm of the spirit. Born again Christians need the Word of God to live spiritually, and not die. Without the Word of God to keep them alive in the spirit, they will die spiritually.
To continue to live in the spirit, a Christian needs someone to help them, guide them, teach them, and lead them in the ways of the Spirit, until they mature in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, when Jesus went to be with the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit to help, guide, lead, comfort, and teach those who are children of God.
If the Holy Spirit is not active in our lives, doing what He was sent by the LORD to do, we could also die spiritually. When Christians die spiritually, they go back to walking after the flesh the way they did before they were born again of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. That is the same as a child that does not eat food. That child will die. So it is with Christians. If they do not mature in the LORD and follow the Holy Spirit, they could die spiritually.
Once we are born again of the Spirit of God and the Word of God, we must learn how to live by the Spirit of God within us bearing witness with the written Word of God. This is how we learn to hear the voice of the LORD, which comes from within us, not from another source.
There are many today in the Churches operating from "the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:17). What they say sounds good to those who do not know the written Word of God. These use parts of the written Word of God deceitfully, to get those who are immature in the LORD to do what they want them to do. Many go around saying, "God told me to tell you so and so." Ninety some percent of the time it was not God telling them anything. It was their own way of getting Christians to do their will, so they can profit from it. Many of these have learned how to operate from their mind, by the use of familiar spirits. Satan has many people operating in Churches today, getting their information from familiar spirits.
Christians need to get to know the voice of the LORD by getting to know the written Word of God so well, that they will not be deceived by the enemy. When the enemy comes calling themselves an Apostle, a Prophet, a Teacher, or a Pastor, or someone who has some special gift of knowing things in the spiritual realm, from within our spirit we will know it is not from God.
God is working in every born again Christian, to lead, guide, comfort, help, and especially teach them what is of God and what is of man. Christians must learn the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit.
The Flesh or the Spirit
What does it mean by "the flesh?" It is so simple that educated men cannot figure it out. Only those who are taught by God, and not by man will know what it means.
In the Greek, the word for flesh is "sarx," meaning "flesh, as the meat of an animal; or of the human body." Where did the human body come from? It was made up of the elements of the earth. Therefore, included in the word "flesh" are all the elements of the earth.
By this, if Christians love the world and the things that are in the world, they love the flesh, and desire the things of the world. When this happens, the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 2:15-17). These Christians are carnally minded. Romans 8:5-7 says, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit...For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace...Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Those who are carnally minded seek the world and the things of this world. The world and the things of this world are temporal, whereas the things of God are eternal. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:18, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
To understand this better, we need to understand that which is eternal, as compared to that which is temporal. The flesh is earthly (of this earth). The Spirit is heavenly, from heaven above, where God is in control of everything (that which is seen and that which is not seen).
The word "spirit," speaks of things "not seen." Spirits do exist, and are everywhere, but they cannot be seen with our natural eyes. You cannot feel them with your physical body. You cannot hear them with your natural ears. You cannot smell them with your natural senses of smell. But they are all over, all around, and even in people.
God is Spirit, and no one has seen God, except Jesus, who is the Son of God. In John 1:8 it says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."
The Word of God is also spirit. Jesus said in John 6:63, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Words are spirit. You cannot see words, because they are spirit.
When we consider the difference between that which is seen and that which is not seen, then we can understand the difference between walking "after the flesh" or "walking after the Spirit."
God is Spirit, and God created all things by His Word. Jesus was the Word of God in the beginning (John 1:1,2; 1 John 5:7). All things were created by the Word of God (John 1:3, Col. 1:16). All things that are seen were created from things not seen (Heb. 11:3).
To walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, we must "walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). To walk after the Spirit we must speak those things that are not as though they were (Rom. 4:17).
Being that we are still in this world but not of this world, we need to get to know Jesus, who was both, God with the Father, and Man in the flesh at the same time.
Christians are "Children of God in Christ Jesus." In Christ Jesus we are in the Spirit of Christ. We are born of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we are in Christ, and Christ is in us.
In 1 Corinthians 15:49 it says, "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." We know what it is like to be in the flesh (which is in Adam). Now, we must learn from the written Word of God, and the Holy Spirit within us, how to live in the image of Christ (Who is spiritual).
How did Jesus do what He did while He was here on earth? Find out what Jesus said, and what Jesus did? Find out how that Jesus did what He did?
By doing what Jesus did, we can know the difference between what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit. We can learn how to walk after the Spirit, and not after the flesh by following the example set for us by Jesus.
Study the four Gospels, and learn what to do, and what not to do from what Jesus taught. When studying the Gospels, separate that which Jesus said to His disciples from that what Jesus said to the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees. Separate what Jesus said to the rulers of the Synagogues, from that which He said to the others.
Look at what it says Matthew 23:1-12, "Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples...Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat...All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not...For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers...But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments...And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues...And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi...But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren...And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven...Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ...But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant...And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
In these few verses, Jesus taught us what our attitude should be, among each other and among those in the Churches today. When we get the right attitude, then the Holy Spirit will be able to teach us. Those with the wrong attitude are unteachable.
When we put things in there right prospective, we will see things the way God sees things. Then we will understand spiritual things, so that we can walk after the Spirit, and not after the flesh.
Our bodies are the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19). We need to make our bodies a house of prayer, not a den of thieves (John 2:13-16; Luke 14:45,46).
We need to learn to, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matt. 7:6). There is so much to learn from the four Gospels. Jesus is the best Teacher, for He taught by the witness of the Holy Spirit within Him.
In Galatians 5:25, it says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." If Christians want to continue to live in the Spirit, they must learn to walk in the Spirit. Those who do not walk in the spirit, could die spiritually, and not inherit eternity in heaven.
If we are not interested in inheriting eternity in heaven, then we are of no use to God. God does not need those in heaven that have no desire to be in heaven. We must desire to do the will of God, before God can help us. God cannot help those who do not want His help.
There are many Christians today who want help. But the problem is, they do not want God to help them. They want others to help them. The help they want is someone to help them continue to do the will of the flesh, and not the will of the Spirit.
Walking after the flesh will only help a person serve the Devil, and spend eternity in hell with the Devil. What would that gain for a Christian? They do not need God to help them serve the flesh. They can do that without the help of God.
Anyone can walk after the flesh. It is easy, just do not pay any attention to the Word of God, or the Holy Spirit. If we go through life without paying any attention to the Word of God or the Holy Spirit, we will end up with all the rest, who will spend eternity with the Devil.
Eternity with God does not come by chance. It comes by making a commitment to obey the LORD, and do His will. We must commit ourselves to do the will of God, otherwise we will not inherit eternity with God. Hebrews 5:9, speaking of Jesus, says, "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." We will not receive from God without obedience to the Word of God.
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