As you perhaps know, there has been a silent divorce in the church today—all over the world, it seems to me—between the Word and the Spirit. One difference between "Word" people and "Spirit" people is this: Word people stress the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as in Galatians 5:22-23; Spirit people tend to emphasize the gifts of the Spirit, as in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.
The same Holy Spirit is the author and giver of both! If you and I have the Holy Spirit, we are without excuse if we do not manifest both. There should be equal care in us that we do not neglect either the fruit or gifts of the Spirit. The first qualification for demonstrating the fruit and gifts is to acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord God. No one can say that Jesus is God—from the heart—except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3).
I had a man come to me who feared he had blasphemed the Holy Spirit and that there was no hope of forgiveness for him according to Matthew 12:31-32: "The blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven ... neither in this world, nor or in the world to come." I asked him, "Do you believe in your heart that Jesus is God?" After he responded affirmatively, I assured him, "Worry no more, worry no more." No one can say that Jesus is the Lord except by the Holy Spirit. A person who has blasphemed the Spirit cannot say from the heart that Jesus is God.
We need the Holy Spirit to qualify us to have the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit in order to manifest the fruit and the gifts.
Equally important is that we need the Spirit to understand the Word—holy Scripture. The Bible is a supernatural book. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, "for they are foolishness to him" (1 Cor. 2:14b). To understand the Bible, you need the Holy Spirit. It will not be your education or IQ that enables you to understand God's Word; only the Holy Spirit can show what is there. Jesus said the Spirit would "guide" us to all truth (John 14:26), that is, that we might be shown what is there but which was hidden from us until the Spirit illuminates His word to us.
We need the Spirit in order to receive or give a rhema word, which I take mainly to mean a word of knowledge or prophetic word. Caution: Rhema ("word") and logos ("word") can be used interchangeably, so we must not push any distinction between them too far. That said, only the Spirit will enable you to give a genuine word of knowledge to another. And if you are seeking a "word" from God, only the Spirit can make this happen. Be careful that you do not "work it up," accepting a counterfeit.
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit," says the Lord (Zech. 4:6b). This refers to an unfeigned anointing. You cannot work up the true Spirit of God or make things happen through Him. You can work up "might" (help of man). You can bring in carnal weapons (power). But the Holy Spirit is sovereign—like the wind that comes and goes at will (John 3:8). You cannot tell Him what to do. If you think you can, your God is too small.
To see God work, we must not divide the Holy Spirit, that is, "use" Him to accomplish our ends. This means we will extol the gifts of the Spirit as much as we do the fruit of the Spirit. We must bow to the Holy Spirit, bending the knee to Him. As the leper approached Jesus, "If You are willing" (meaning Jesus did not have to be willing), "You can make me clean" (Matt. 8:2). "Without Me you can do nothing," Jesus said (John 15:5b).
This is the same with the Holy Spirit. We are fools if we fancy we can make things happen, pretending to do miracles or grant prophetic words. This is what leads to burnout and is the recipe for becoming yesterday's man or woman. We are equally fools if we think we can outsmart God by not walking in the Spirit by demonstrating His fruit: love, joy, peace and so forth.
Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947) prophesied that there would be a day when the Word and Spirit would come together. He said it would result in the greatest move of the Spirit ever—an event that would sweep all over the world. God, hasten the day!
The simultaneous combination of the Word and Spirit will mean spontaneous combustion. If you and I are going to get in on this, we need to prepare for it now in our personal lives, to be sure we are giving equal attention to both Word and Spirit, to the fruit and gifts of the Spirit.
R.T. Kendall is an author, teacher and preacher. He now has a number of books in print, including the latest, Whatever Happened to the Gospel? (Charisma House). He was the senior minister at London's Westminster Chapel from 1977 to 2002. He has earned multiple degrees, including a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford University and a Doctor of Divinity from Trevecca Nazarene University.
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