Word and Spirit — A Marriage Made in Heaven!
On September 3, 2012, I posted this blog. Reading it afresh last night, I felt impressed to share it again. Much of the materials were gleaned from the pens of men like Jack Taylor, Dudley Hall, R.T. Kendall, etc.
Careful observation reveals that the church has been in a state of illegal spiritual separation for many centuries. The estranged parties frequently hurl accusatory words, filled with meaning that tears down and doesn’t build up the church. On the one hand there are those we will call Word people. They come to hear the Word of God. They believe that sound doctrine is God’s ultimate priority. On the other side there are those we will call Spirit people. They come to see the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrated in signs and wonders. They believe that miracles and power are God’s ultimate priority.
Word-people can detect heresy a mile off. Spirit-people can smell dead orthodoxy a mile away. Word-people say we must get back to the preaching of the gospel that is consistent with our reformation roots. We must preach the plenary inspiration of scripture, justification by faith, eternal security, and the priesthood of every believer. Spirit-people say we must get back to the manifestations of the Spirit, operate in the gifts of the Spirit, and walk in the fullness of the Spirit, as did the First Century church in the book of Acts, and as has been demonstrated in the great moves of God in Church history.
Which is right? Which side has the correct answer – BOTH!
The Word of God is the Truth-Revealer. The Spirit of God is the Power-Bestower. All Word and we dry up, all Spirit and we blow-up, but the marriage made in Heaven of Word and Spirit and we grow-up, and grow together into a habitation of God in the Spirit.
The Word of God brings Order — (Read Ezekiel 37:1-7) This reference is to the Valley of Dry bones where the scattered disjointed valley filled with dry, dead bones come together at Ezekiel’s proclaiming of the Word of the Lord and form bodies. They looked so much better after the preached Word brought them together. Their numbers filled the valley with bodies - but with no life.
The Spirit of God begets Spiritual Life. Spiritual Life brings about an ordered realm of personal power founded in the God who is Himself spirit. Life is always and everywhere an inner power to relate to other things in certain specific ways.
The Word of God brings Revelation — without revelation there is no definition of reality, of truth.
The Spirit of God brings Illumination — without illumination there is no perception of reality.
The Word informs — The Spirit transforms.
The Word brings Light –The Spirit brings Sight.
The Word brings the Blueprint for Work –The Spirit brings the Power Tools to do the Work.
We must be careful not to become so established in the Words of a Book that we miss the One who wrote it. An indication that this is happening is that one becomes a defender of the menu, but never gets round to eating or serving to others the meal, and refuses to make changes in their life in order to obey God – (Read Acts 7).
Those whom the religious leaders of Jesus’ day most revered, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, all had to make great changes in their life to obey God. All had their comfort zones stretched. The Holy Spirit is constantly bringing His power to bear upon our lives, compelling us to leave our comfort zones in order to go on changing us from one level of maturity to another, to extend the gospel of the kingdom to the ends of the earth.
On the other hand, we must not get so enamored with a New prophetic word from the Spirit that we neglect the ever relevant Now word of Scripture.
It is always easier, less messy, and potentially less embarrassing to defend the Word of God and the Work of the Spirit in the Past than recognizing and obeying what God is doing in the Present. (Read Mt 23:29-32)
What we can’t understand we tend to withstand. What we can’t analyze to legalize in order to paralyze, we will criticize and attempt to neutralize.
On the other hand, we must not jettison our Biblical heritage for the sake of justifying experiences that people are having in the current moves of the Spirit of God around our nation and world.
A Separation has occurred between Word and Spirit when we are constantly Turning Life-Giving Principles into Legal Prohibitions – Mt. 23:4, “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.”
The focus of the Holy Spirit is always on abounding life and healthy, loving relationships. Resisting Him is indicated when one is more concerned about religious shadows than the real substance; when one is committed to keeping the rules but missing the party as was typified by the elder brother in the parable of Luke 15.
On the other hand, a separation has occurred when we become so “Liberated” in the Spirit that we become lawless libertines with no desire for holiness of life and with no distinction discernible between us and the non-believers!
Separation has occurred when we are constantly Studying What Scripture Has Said, But Never Hearing What God Meant – Jn 5:39-40
We can find ourselves like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, mistaking the menu for the meal; defending what God said in the past, but never hearing what he is saying now; defending the inspiration of the written word of scripture, but never experiencing the incarnation of the living Word – Jesus!
On the other hand, separation has occurred when we miss what God has written, by refusing to study and just listen to the Spirit.
Separation has occurred when we are found Rejecting the Reproving Work of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God and Attacking the Messengers Who Bring It – Acts 7:54,57-58 — This is true of both Spirit and Word people.
2 Chronicles 36:15-16, “And the LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.”
Father God is reconciling two estranged, well-intentioned, God-fearing, God-loving groups — Word and Spirit persons — so that those who come to hear, will see, and those who come to see, will hear. And together, we will see fruitfulness born of this union that will fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Truly this is the marriage made in Heaven! And may our Husband make us more fruitful than ever before in producing spiritual sons and daughters that will win for the Lamb the reward of his sufferings!
More in Pastor Wade's Blog
September 27, 2023Jesus Met Me on the Morning of My Funeral!
August 7, 2023What Does It Mean to Make Disciples of All Nations?
July 31, 2023Is it Too Late for a Global Awakening?