As believers, both individually and collectively, we are completely dependenton the Holy Spirit in our life and activity. As individuals we arc bornagain of the Spirit, we are sealed by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance, He isthe powerwhereby we understand and know the things which am freely given to us of God, taking ofChrist’sthings and showing them unto us. Individually our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, token that they will share in the final quickening of resurrection. Rom. 8. 11.in the crises of life. The general character of Paul’s life was awilling submission to the Lordship of Christ, and again and again the Lord intervened to direct the course of His servant, sometimes causing him to know the way wherein he should go, and at other times giving him this knowledge from the way things developed, that the path lie had taken was of God.
The Holy Spirit and the Assembly
Ifthe leading of the Spirit is a thing unknown in our daily lives it is really idle to talk about it in the assembly, it just will not happen. It is to 1st Corinthians that we have to turn in thinking of this subject in the assembly, and chapters 12 and 14 are the passages that must be considered. Many of theCorinthians had been idolaters, and the pagan temple-worship was marked by all kinds of excess, and the devotees abandoned self-control and came under the power of evil spirits. “Ye know that when ye were Gentiles, ye were led away unto those dumb idols, howsoever ye might be led." 1Cor. 12. 2 (R.V.). The Christianassembly is also directed by an unseen power, the Holy Spirit of God; but whereas the pagan temples were filled with all kinds of excess, the worship and service of the church is to be free from it, and, in order that it shall be so, the apostle lays down some guiding principles:
1. The man who speaks in the Holy Spirit magnifies the Lordship of Jesus, not only in what he says, but also in what he is, 1 Cor. 12. 3.
2. Spiritual profiting is the purpose of spiritual manifestation, 1 Cor. 12. 7. Such is the wide range of need and the variety of purposes to be served in the will of Godwhen the assembly gathers, that they can only be met by the unhindered operation of the Holy Spirit in all His bountiful variety.
3. To edify the church is to be the humble and sincere desire of spiritual men, and by this rule all exercise is to be judged, whether to approve or to keep silence. This is the burden of a large part of 1 Cor. 14.
4. The activities of the understanding and of the Spirit in those who lead the assembly are not to be divorced. Paul says “I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also." 1 Cor. 14. 15. There is therefore a great need to heed the exhortation. “Brethren, be not children in mind; howbeit, in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men,” We are not to act on impulse. We are to apply to the task of leading the church in prayer or worship, minds that have been disciplined and matured in the school of God, while seeking humbly that our contribution may be in the Spirit.
5. Spiritual men, in the exercise of their gifts, will bow to the commandments of God as revealed in His Word. They will own the teachingsof Christ’s apostles, as found in the New Testament Scriptures.
6. The leading of the Spirit does not mean the end of self-control, fur the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
These then are some of the principles by which those who seek to voice the needs of the assembly in prayer, its praises in worship, or its edification in ministry, are to be guided; and by these same principles the others are to judge as to whether or not any contribution is a manifestation of the Spirit.
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