The Leading Of The Holy Spirit In The Assembly
Henry Steedman, Birmingham
It is to be feared that much passes for the leading of the Spirit which is really only the promptings of natural feeling. A valuable article in the previous issue is followed by another which further helps to put this subject in its right perspective.
The worship of God must be in spirit and truth. Such only are true worshippers and these are sought by tire Father to be His worshippers. True worship presupposes a suitable spiritual condition in the saints. Apart from this there can be no acceptable movement or expression Godward. Such a condition is essential to the leading of the Spirit (John 4. 20-24). These are the circumcision (circumcised with the circumcision made without hands), who worship by the Spirit of God, and glory in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3. 3; Col. 2. 11, 12).
One must be in the Spirit to be led of the Spirit, and that before any audible or leading part can be taken in worship, song, prayer or ministry. The leading of the Spirit is known when saints are in communion with the Father and the Son, and no wilful inconsistencies exist among them. There must needs be spirituality and accord with the Will and Word of God. Provision has been made for infirmities, varied apprehensions, measures of spiritual growth and capacity. But, as for carnal ways, worldliness or known sin in life, or evil associations, these grieve the Spirit and hinder His way in and among the believers. Quench not the Spirit (1 Thess. 5. 19).
It is futile to legislate for the leading of the Spirit in assemblies where and when the state or conditions are not agreeable to Him.
Surely there is need among us for purgation of every form of evil. The old leaven must be put away from every quarter that we may be a fresh lump. How intrusive is the flesh. How prone we are to take mere natural impulses and sanctimonious feelings for the leading of the Spirit. Let us search our own heart as to these things.
The marks of being Spirit-led are clearly set before us in 1 Cor. 14. Such an one will speak within the understanding of those who hear, whether the speaking is Godward or manward. The Spirit-led speaks to edification and profit, distinctly and instructively.
The same applies to singing, praying and giving of thanks. One might give thanks well and yet fall short of edifying others. Verbosity is irreverent and profitless to all. Our spirits should be subject to us. The lack of spiritual discrimination as to the line of things the Spirit is bringing forward accounts for interruption, when inappropriate hymns or even irrelevant Scriptures are read, or when one or more digress into long prayers or unseasonable so-called ministry is imposed on the saints.
These things ought not so to be. License and monopoly are also foreign to the Spirit’s leading. The body is not one member but many. Let there be that waiting on and for God. Let us consider one another, in honour preferring one another, esteeming others better than ourselves in all lowliness of mind. When saints are kindly affectioned one to another in brotherly love it opens the way for definite guidance of the Spirit in the gatherings.
“Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God; for to draw nigh to hear is better than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they know not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thy heart be hasty to utter anything—a word—before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few” (Ecc. 5. 1, 2).
One must be led by the Spirit of God before he can lead others according to God. Self-led ones can only lead others astray.
It is only when the Spirit leads that God is worshipped and glorified, Christ magnified and saints edified. Let each one examine himself in the light of the Word of God, and desist from everything that would hinder the Spirit.
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” How pleasing to God when saints are truly in the Spirit in subjection to the Headship and Lordship of Christ. It is an evidence of low spiritual condition when things are merely kept going in meetings.
The silence of communion is sometimes broken by intrusive pretentious performance on the part of poverty-stricken minds assuming to be led of the Spirit and instead thereof simply imposing their vain ideas on the saints.
Rather, let us worship in the Spirit, walk and serve in the Spirit, pray in the Spirit, remembering to grieve not neither to quench the Spirit at any time.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20, 21).