In all my 40 years of ministry I have never seen such deception and lack of being led by the Spirit of God! So many young people simply do not know how to here God’s voice – they think they need to go to a prophet for guidance. Sadly today many believers are ignorant of this fact and so deception is rife! It is actually unscriptural to go to a prophet for guidance or direction. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us specifically; “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
Led by the Spirit or or own mind? “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the (mature) sons of God.”
Now I am not against prophets or prophecy, but going to one for guidance is operating under Old Testament teaching. Modern prophets should give us confirmation to what the Spirit within is showing us – not leading and guiding us!
I would love a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say ‘God told me!” In many cases they have simply made up their mind what they want to do and to avoid corrcetion they resort to ‘God told me”. For a start God NEVER violates His word – NEVER! Nor does He change His mind.
I Was In The Spirit On The Lord’s Day
The Synoptic Gospels have little to say about the person and work of the Holy Spirit. But in John’s Gospel, he spends three chapters (John 14-16) teaching on the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of the believer. There are, in fact, 19 references to the Spirit in John’s Gospel. John –alone – had a revelation that it’s the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of the believer to lead, guide, show us things to come, and transform believers into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” (John 16:13).
The Apostle John’s writings contain an abundance of revelations on the Holy Spirit: His divine Person, His presence, His attributes and His operations. In his Gospel John wonderfully presents the Holy Spirit as relational, personal and intimate: One who longs to breathe new life into those who come to Jesus and to sanctify the Beloved in the Word by washing them with the sanctifying power of the His Word.
John is an artist weaving his story with increasing intensity and passion to get his readers to understand who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He now requires of us as believers. John’s Gospel is a powerful insight that beckons Christians to study it in order to help them to grow in the truth of Jesus. God’s people, through the work of the Holy Spirit, are empowered to know and make known the supremacy of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What Does The Term ‘In The Spirit’ Mean?
“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,…” (Rev. 1:9-10 NKJV).
John writes how he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day”. So what does it actually mean to be ‘In The Spirit’?
Scripture tells us there are two realms;
The Natural and The Spiritual
“But it is not the spiritual life which came first, but the physical and then the spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 15:46 Amp).
So it must be possible for believers to transcend the natural realm and access the realm of the Spirit. First and foremost, if you want to hear from – or be led of the Lord – we must put ourselves in a position where we can hear him speak to us.
Paul writes: “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.’ (1 Corinthians 14:2 NKJ).
It’s important to notice that when we pray in the Spirit (Speak in tongues) we don’t speak to MEN but to GOD. We communicate directly with the Father! Notice also that it’s when we are ‘in the spirit’ we begin to speak the mysteries of God. Isn’t this exactly what John was experiencing on Patmos when he wrote the Book of revelation? If he had to be ‘in the Spirit’ to receive this revelation, it stands to reason we would also have to be in that state to understand the book, or have a revelation of what its saying to us.
When we pray in tongues we bypass our natural minds and access the realm of the spirit. The Spirit within can begin to lead us, guide us and show us things to come.
Verse 14 confirms this: “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”
Praying in the spirit enables us to shut down our own mind and access the Spirit and allow Him to ‘download’ the information and wisdom of God. That simply amazes me, how we can access the mind of the Lord.
I have heard such erroneous teaching that it’s not God’s will for everyone to be filled with or baptised in the Holy Spirit, but Paul tells explicitly tells us; ‘I wish you all spoke with tongues; (verse 5).
So Christians can be “in the Spirit” and there is a state called “in the Spirit” which is different from normal living. It involves a deeper level of communion with the spiritual realm and with God.
The phrase “in the Spirit” is used three other times in the book of Revelation.
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.” (Rev. 4:2 NKJV).
“So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” (Rev. 17:3 NKJV).
“And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” (Rev. 21:10 NKJV).
So we understand the term “in the Spirit” in Revelation to mean a state of heightened spiritual perception. It enabled John to move into spiritual realities and to access things that he could not access under normal physical limitations.
Kenneth Wuest translates it this way; “I entered into a different experience in the sphere of the Holy Spirit (His absolute control) on the Lord’s day..”
While Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible describes it as: “a term used of being wholly in union with the holy Spirit and yielded to him.”
So from this we understand that when John says he was “in the Spirit” he’s explaining that he was in a state of spiritual ecstasy, he had prayed and worshipped in the Spirit until his natural mind had quietened sufficiently to allow the Spirit to come to the forefront. Indeed John had completely surrendered himself and was in harmony with the Holy Spirit.
But how did he get ‘in the Spirit’? John writes more about the realm of the Spirit than do the other Gospels, so obviously he had more revelation in this area:
“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:25-27).
Notice again here that ALL of the writings about being in the Spirit, taught by the Spirit, guided by the Spirit are recorded ONLY by John. How was he able to do this? Because of his ongoing, living relationship with the Lord and ongoing revelation of Jesus? I cannot emphasise strongly enough that if we want to achieve anywhere near what ‘The Apostle of Love’ achieved we too will have to maintain an ongoing, living, personal relationship with the Lord – the Living Word of God.
I will have more to say about this later.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the (mature) sons of God.”