IS THE CHURCH A PART OF THE WHOLE? Part 3

The following is from a handout to the ‘Newcomers Class’ that is conducted by an area congregation on Sunday mornings.

HOLY SPIRIT LED:
“While the staff and shepherds lead this church, we firmly believe this is done through processes of discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we make decisions through much prayer, Scripture reading, and discerning together with the church to determine God’s call for our congregation.”

I want it to be clearly understood that the following article does not in any fashion impugn the integrity, sincerity and motive of my brethren who believe in what is written in the preceding paragraph. But a person or persons can be sincere in one’s belief and yet be sincerely wrong when it comes to doctrine and biblical subjects. In my personal growth regarding the teaching found in the Word of God, I have had to change my understanding on certain subjects.

When as individuals or leaders of a congregation make any decisions and especially pertaining to what God would have us to be and to do, we should search the Holy Scriptures and pray to God for wisdom in our decisions. But it is in the statement, “While the staff and shepherds lead this church, we firmly believe this is done through processes of discerning the leading of the Holy Spiritthat concerns me. It is certainly true that the Holy Spirit leads us as taught by the apostle Paul in Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.” What all this verse entails, it is absolutely clear, the Holy Spirit does lead us. The question is how does He lead us?

Brother R. L. Whiteside wrote the following in his commentary on Romans 8:14: “The statement indicates a continuous process. Nothing is here said as to how the Spirit leads people; but as Paul is still developing his theme that the gospel is God’s power to save, it is certain that the Spirit leads through the power of the gospel. The gospel was revealed by the Spirit. In that revelation the Spirit tells us how to live, and sets motives before us to induce us to follow his directions. But if the Spirit, independent of the gospel, leads people to become children of God, then the gospel is not God’s power to save. We are sure Paul did not make an assertion about the Holy Spirit that contradicted his theme and his argument.”

The following passages clearly teach that all the Holy Spirit desires for us to know regarding our salvation, our worship to God and living a faithful Christian life in Jesus Christ. Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”2 Timothy 3:16, 17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Peter 1:2, 3: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  Jude 1:3: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” According to the words of Jesus as found in John 16:13, The Holy Spirit would guide the apostles “into all the truth.” And this would be true with all the writers of the New Testament, our guide in religious matters today. To teach that the Holy Spirit has revealed additional truths takes away from the power of the gospel and the complete will of God for us to learn and obey.


For many years, brother Guy N. Woods was the moderator of the Open Forum conducted during the annual lectureship at Freed-Hardeman University. On occasions brother Woods asked brother Gus Nichols to come to the stage and assist him in answering some of the questions. These two Christian gentlemen were good friends and respected one another very much. Now, the reason I am mentioning this is because these great students of the Bible did not agree on how the Holy Spirit indwells the Christian. Brother Woods was adamant in believing that the Holy Spirits indwells the Christian indirectly through the inspired Word of God. Brother Nichols was as firm in his understanding in the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the child of God. 

IS THE CHURCH A PART OF THE WHOLE? Part 3 (Continu


Both of these Bible scholars agreed that the only way that the Holy Spirit communicates to mankind is through the Holy Scriptures.

Another observation that must be made and that is, the Holy Spirit does not contradict Himself! So, whatever man might claim that the Holy Spirit has revealed to him it must be in harmony with the Word of God that was inspired by the Holy Spirit!

For example, where in the New Testament does the Holy Spirit teach that “…God’s kingdom is made up of all who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of God’s son Jesus Christ and accept him as Lord and King”? That is contradictory to what Jesus Christ taught in John 3:5: “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (baptism, re) and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”   The    Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostle Peter on Pentecost, commanded the believers to “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37, 38) The souls who responded to the commands of Peter were added to the church (Acts 2:47). The “saints and faithful brethren in Christ” in Colosse were delivered “from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” They were also “called in one body” which is “the church” (Colossians 1:2; 13; 3:15; 1:18). Therefore to be in the kingdom is to be in the body which is the church of Jesus Christ because they are the same here on earth in this present age.

 And how do we enter the body/church/kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul answers this question in 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” The saints and brethren” in Colosse who were  members of the kingdom/church had been “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12).

My personal desire is best expressed by Paul in 1 Timothy 2:3, 4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” A preacher is like a clerk in a ‘Men’s Store’ where the owner of the business has set the price for each item of clothing. As a clerk, he cannot sell to anyone a suit or a pair of pants cheaper than the price set by the proprietor.  God in His infinite grace, love and mercy, has set the terms of pardon as found in the Holy Spirit inspired New Testament; and, no one has the authority to change those terms.

THE BIBLE
“The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.”