This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
I’m going to briefly recapitulate the ground that we have covered. We are talking about total man revealed in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 as spirit, soul and body. We went back to the record of creation of man in Genesis 2:7 and saw how this total personality came into being. The inbreathed breath of God from above producing spirit, the clay from beneath molded by the hand of the Creator, the union of the spirit and the clay producing a living soul, an individual personality.
We noticed that spirit is originating, soul is dependent. Spirit is outgoing, soul receives and then gives forth.
We saw that the location of the spirit is in the midst of man, in the area that is sometimes called the belly. The soul is in the blood.
We saw that through sin man’s spirit has been alienated or cut off from the life that is in God. Therefore, before regeneration, before rebirth, man is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. This death happens the moment that man turns away from God in disobedience. In Genesis 2:17 the Lord warned Adam “the day that you eat of that forbidden tree you will surely die.” Adam did not die physically for many, many years, but he died spiritually the moment he transgressed the commandment of God. At that moment his fellowship with God was broken, he was cut off. Natural, unregenerate man is spiritually dead, he’s in darkness, he’s blind, he cannot see.
When his sins are forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ, then he is made alive spiritually. He is able to see, he is reborn. The rebirth takes place through the incorruptible seed of the Word of God received by faith into the heart and there, out of that seed, the Holy Spirit brings forth a new spirit. This spirit is the product of the seed worked on by the Spirit of God. The seed is the Word of God.
1 Peter 1:23:
“Being born again not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.”
The nature of the seed determines the nature of the life that comes out of the seed. Out of incorruptible seed comes incorruptible life. Out of divine seed comes divine life. So, this new spirit that is born into us is one which is incorruptible, which cannot sin. “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin, neither can he sin for his seed remaineth in him.” This is not spoken of the total personality; it’s spoken of the regenerated spirit within the total personality. That spirit is incorruptible, it is divine, it is sinless, it is the “Jesus nature” reproduced by the Spirit within the believer for Jesus is called “the word of God.” And, the eternal Word, through the preached Word, by the operation of the Holy Spirit is reproduced within the spirit of the believer. This is a new creation. It is not something patched up, it is something totally new. Second Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ, a new creation has taken place, old things have passed away, all things are become new and all things are of God.” That’s a very complete statement. There is nothing of the old carried over into the new. If any man be in Christ it’s totally a new creation. It’s the Jesus nature, the Word of God nature reproduced by the Spirit of God within the believer so that every believer is entitled to say, as Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me.”
And in Ephesians 3:17 he prayed for the believers “that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.” And in Colossians 1:27, “This is the mystery which has been kept hid from ages and from generations; but now is made known to his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery which is Christ in you.” This is the new race, the God/man race, the Emmanuel race.
Jesus, who is God and always will be God, became man not temporarily but permanently, a new creation. Jeremiah 31:22, “The LORD will do a new thing, a woman shall compass a man.” This is the incarnation. When the Son of God came down into the womb of the virgin Mary, He became human and He is permanently human. First Timothy 2:5: “There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.” There’s nothing more thrilling in all Scripture than to think that there’s a man sitting at God’s right hand on the throne. He always will be man. Let me not create any false impression. He never ceased to be God, but He became man.
In the typology of the tabernacle which, God permitting, we’ll look at at the close of these studies, you have the three colors: blue, purple and scarlet. These have a significance. The blue is divinity, the scarlet is humanity, and the purple is the perfect blending of the blue and the scarlet. That’s the incarnation. It’s not the end of the blue, it’s not the end of the scarlet, but it’s the combination. Purple is blue and scarlet combined. That’s the God/man race and it’s a royal race, it’s a kingly race, because purple is the color of royalty. We have been made kings and priests unto God and our Father. We are priests after the order of Melchizedek. Not after the Levitical order, but after the order of which kingship and priesthood are combined. For in the Levitical priesthood the priesthood went to the tribe of Levi; the kingship went to the tribe of Judah. But in Jesus, who came of the tribe of Judah, kingship and priesthood are reunited in one person.
This is to try to give you some kind of picture of what’s inside the believer. You see, we cannot see inside ourselves. We have no way of knowing except by the mirror which is the Word of God. If we look in the mirror, it begins to unfold to us the glories and the mysteries of the new creation in Christ because we are Jesus men, Jesus people. It says in Romans 8:29 that Jesus becomes “the firstborn among many brethren.” He is the firstborn from the dead, the first begotten of the dead. But all who put their faith in Him and His substitutionary, atoning death, burial and resurrection are begotten again, Peter says, “unto a living hope through faith in him.” We become members of that race. He is the head; we are the body. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. And so, He is the firstborn amongst many brethren.
Now I think we’ll turn to our Scriptures in the outline. We’re on Page 2 fairly near the bottom. Let’s just look at two Scriptures that we looked at in closing yesterday. First Corinthians 6:17.
“He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”
It’s not a past tense “joined,” it’s a continuing present tense: He that continually cleaves to the Lord is one spirit. Here’s where there’s a complete distinction between spirit and soul. It would not be theologically or doctrinally correct to say soul. It’s not the soul that’s united, it’s the spirit. It’s spirit to spirit. The regenerated spirit is united directly to the Lord.
And then we look in John 6:57, because Jesus in His human nature is our pattern for this life. Jesus said:
“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father...”
In His human nature, Jesus lived by His spiritual unionwith the Father. The source of His life was the Father, He lived by the Father.Then He says there’s going to be a similar relationship between Me and My disciples.
“...so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.”
So, our spiritual life is dependent upon a continuing union with Christ parallel to the union that Christ had with the Father. It’s called being joined to Him or feeding upon Him. It implies a continuing relationship,not just a one-time experience but a continuing life of total dependence upon Him.
In that I’ve sought to give you a picture of the regenerated spirit of the believer.
Now let’s look at what happens when within the believer’s body the regenerated spirit—the Jesus nature, the Son of God nature—receives the Holy Spirit. See, regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit are two completely distinctive things. Regeneration is a work of the Holy Spirit producing a new nature out of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God. Thenthat new spirit is given the privilege of welcoming the Holy Spirit into Histemple. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is welcoming the Holy Spirit into the temple.
Let’s not try and please some theologians by obscuring the distinction because the New Testament makes it extremely plain. It’s one thing to be regenerated, it’s another thing to receive the Holy Spirit in the baptism. Some people get offended when you tell them that, but they’ll just have to be offended, that’s all there is to it.
Now let’s look at what happens when the Holy Spirit comes in. First Corinthians 6:19:
“What? Know ye not...”
And wherever Paul says “know ye not,” the implication usually is that people don’t know it but should know it. And this is very true.
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Paul is reminding the Corinthian believers that the body also has been redeemed by the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Christ did not redeem us partially, He redeemed us completely. He gave Himself completely—spirit, soul and body—as our substitute that we might be completely redeemed. I want to make it very clear that the redemption of the body is not yet complete; it will not be completed till the resurrection. But, the ownership of the body is already established. The believer’s body does not belong to the devil, it belongs to the Lord. Paul says, “The Lord is for the body and the body is for the Lord.” So we make this logical distinction between ownership and completed redemption. Paul says already Christ has paid the price of His precious blood to own your body. Your body belongs to Him.
What is the purpose of God for your body? It is that your body should be the temple of God. That the Holy Spirit should have a temple within you. In this study later we’re going to deal specifically with God’s provision for the body but we will just mention this now and return to it more fully later.
Let us look at two very beautiful scriptural pictures of what happens when the Lord, the Holy Spirit, comes into His temple. In Proverbs 20 we have a beautiful picture. Proverbs 20:27. The King James Version says:
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord...”
But they didn’t have candles, they had lamps. You know that the lamp was normally an earthen vessel filled with oil which had a wick floating in it. And the light came from the oil in the wick burning.
This is the real picture.
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
So, the unregenerated believer is like the lamp without the oil and without the light. But when the Holy Spirit comes in and the spirit is set on fire, then the spirit of man becomes the lamp of the Lord searching. And notice the region of the spirit, all the inward parts of the belly. See how consistent the Scripture is about the location of the spirit?
See, until you’re regenerated and then filled with the Holy Spirit you’re in dark about yourself. You don’t know what’s inside you. And sometimes when the Holy Spirit comes in and the light begins to shine, it’s a rather shocking experience. I’ll never forget the lady who said to me—and she said it almost apologetically—she said, “You know, Brother Prince, I never knew how bad I was till I received the Holy Spirit.” I said, “That’s sure proof you’ve got the right thing.”
Don’t imagine that the Holy Spirit comes in to tell you you’re perfect. If you were perfect you wouldn’t need the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes in to help you to become perfect. And very often He has to begin by showing you a lot of things: unswept corners, cobwebs, dust, and other things that were hidden away in the dark right deep down inside you. You didn’t know what was there. Now you’re beginning to discover and that’s because your spirit, which is the lamp of the Lord, has been filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit and ignited and there’s light where formerly there was darkness. I find that God takes the lamp around room by room. Do you find that? He doesn’t show us every room at the same time because we’d probably give up in horror and dismay if He did! When we think, “Lord, I got that room cleaned out, how beautiful it looks!” He says, “Now, wait a minute. There’s another door here.” There we are again.
Let’s look at the other picture in John 7:37–39:
“In the last day, that great day of the feast...”
After seven days of religious activity, Jesus said, “If you’re still thirsty, come to Me. Religion does not satisfy the thirst of man’s spirit.”
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.”
Let him receive within him. Receive what? The Holy Spirit. And when you receive the Holy Spirit then in place of being a thirsty person you become a channel for rivers of living water. I cannot think of a more tremendous transformation than that. What effects that? The Holy Spirit. When the believer invites the Holy Spirit in, presents his body as a temple and says, “Here’s a channel which I will yield for the Spirit of God to flow through,” then through that channel there flow rivers of living water. Not a river but rivers of living water. Isn’t that tremendous? Just picture the change between being a thirsty person—you don’t even have enough for yourself—and being the channel of rivers of living water.
This transformation is effected by the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It’s very clear in the 39th verse that Jesus is speaking about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. He’s not talking about conversion or regeneration. I’ll read that 39th verse:
“But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive...”
You cannot go against the words of Scripture. This is speaking about believers, regenerated persons, receiving the Holy Spirit with in the temple of their body. And then your body becomes a riverbed through which flow the rivers of the Holy Spirit. This is the baptism.
Now, it’s not my purpose in this study to deal at length with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I just want to relate it to the theme of the study and now I want to go on and deal with the three elements in a regenerated believer: spirit, soul and body. Let me point out again that the primary purpose of all this study is to illuminate the distinction between spirit and soul. There are many, many different lines that you could follow in a study of this kind but this is the line that I am seeking to follow, to make clear to you as far as I can in the time at our disposal the difference, the distinction between the spiritual and the soulish. Because, I am convinced this is practically needed. We must come into this understanding if we are to move into the fullness of what God wants for us.
We are at the top of Page 3 of the outline where it says “the functions of the three parts.” I start with a little quotation from somebody—I don’t remember who said it. It’s all right as far as it goes, it doesn’t tell you everything. “The spirit is God-conscious, the soul is self-conscious, the body is world-conscious.” Through the body, through the senses, we relate to the world. Through the soul, the ego, we relate to ourselves; we’re aware of ourselves. But through the spirit, we relate to God. You see, of course, when the spirit was dead, man was not related to God. He was not aware of God in the sense of having real contact with God.
Now, the primary functions of the spirit—and all through this I’m going to lay my main emphasis on the spirit—as I understand it, are threefold: worship, fellowship, revelation. I believe they come experientially in that order. When we go the way of worship we enter into fellowship. And when we are in fellowship we begin to receive revelation. One of my primary purposes is to enable you to distinguish between true and false revelation. Because, in the Charismatic movement I would say fifty percent at least of the so-called “revelations” are false revelations. And that, I think, is a conservative estimate.
Let us look briefly at what the Scripture says about the spirit in regard to these three functions: worship, fellowship and revelation. I hope, the Lord enabling me, to come back to this when we consider the pattern of the tabernacle, because I know of no way to illustrate better this process of worship, fellowship and revelation than by the pattern of the tabernacle.
With regard to worship let us look in John 4:23–24. This is part of the conversation between Jesus and the woman of Samaria at Jacob’s well. The woman had become convicted of her sin through the word of revelation given by Jesus, “Thou hast had five husbands and he whom thou hast is not thy husband.” Like many people, when they become convicted of sin, she became suddenly preoccupied with religion. She said, “Well now, we worship at this mountain, you worship in the temple.” I’m a Lutheran, you’re a Baptist. See? In other words, “Let’s get away from the painful issue of my personal sin and let’s get down to denominations and churches.” Human nature commonly reacts that way. Jesus said it isn’t a question of whether you worship in Samaria or whether you worship in the temple. It isn’t a question of whether you’re a Baptist or a Catholic or a Pentecostal. It’s not the place, it’s not the form; it’s the spirit. That’s what’s decisive. So He says this:
“The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
That’s a tremendous revelation—that God is looking for people who will worship Him. God is a Spirit. The Greek says, actually: God is spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. My personal conviction is that the soul cannot worship God. Only the spirit can worship God. The true worshippers must worship God in spirit and in truth. Until the spirit is regenerated, and in most cases until the baptism in the Holy Spirit, people simply do not know what worship is. The average so called “morning worship service” does not contain any worship at all. It contains praise of a kind but worship simply is not there. Worship is quite different from praise (though related to it).
Let us look at fellowship. First Corinthians 14. Paul is speaking about the experiential results that follow in the believer’s life from the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the ability to speak in the unknown tongue. He says what happens when you are baptized in the Holy Spirit and you begin to speak and to communicate with God in the unknown tongue, what is happening? It’s a tragedy that multitudes of people baptized in the Holy Spirit with the ability to speak in an unknown tongue have really no conception whatever of what it is for or what they’re doing. Consequently, they tend either to misuse it or not to use it at all. First Corinthians 14:2:
“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God...”
You are not talking toyour fellow human beings. You are talking direct to God.
“...for no man understandeth him...”
That’s very clear.
“...howbeit in the spirit [notice—in the Spirit] he speaketh mysteries [that is, things which his natural mind cannot understand].”
You see, inside you there’s a spirit that was made for God and longs to communicate with God. But, in most believers this tremendous thing that’s called the spirit has a bottleneck which is called the mind and cannot get more out to God than will pass through the bottleneck of the mind. Your mind is immeasurably smaller in its capacity than your spirit. So, there’s this inward pressure and urge and longing which never can express itself beyond what the mind will receive. God’s solution to that is the baptism in the Holy Spirit, because then your spirit can speak direct to God without having to go through the bottleneck of your puny little mind.
And in 1 Corinthians 14:14 Paul says very clearly:
“If I pray in an unknown tongue [what part of me is praying?] my spirit is praying...”
My mind is taking a rest. All right, that’s wonderful. Let your mind take a rest, it probably needs it. But your spirit doesn’t need to rest. There is neither age nor sex, in my opinion, in spirit—nor time. Your spirit wants to communicate with God and through the baptism in the Holy Spirit—and I know of no other way—your spirit is able to communicate direct to God without the bottleneck of your mind. It shares God’s secrets. Now, that’s the climax of fellowship.
With whom do you share your secrets? Your friends or your enemies? With your friends. The more intimate the secret, the more intimate the friendship before you will share it, isn’t that right? Here is the most intimate fellowship between the spirit of man and Almighty God. We are sharing God’s secrets. Our mind is not privy, the mind is kept outside. The mind has got many useful functions, as we’ll see later. But when it comes to spiritual fellowship, the fellowship is spirit to spirit. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Not one mind nor one soul but one spirit.
Then with regard to revelation let’s look in 1 Corinthians 2—and we’re going to come back to this chapter later on so we will not dwell on it but just notice the statement made there. First Corinthians 2:9–12. You’ll see here the theme is revelation.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
I understand that this is the soulish realm. The senses, the imagination, the reason cannot understand or receive the revelation of what God has prepared. Verse 10:
“But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit...”
Notice again the past tense. God isn’t going to reveal them, He has revealed them.
“...for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
There’s nothing in God which is not made available to us by the Spirit of God.
“For what man knoweth the things of man, save the spirit of man which is in him?”
Your mind doesn’t know what’s in you. There are many things in you your mind doesn’t know about but your spirit does. See, this is a thing that I’ve observed many times when a person receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit. You can have a strong, self-confident, aggressive man. He comes to the place where he receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit and when the Spirit begins to flow, that strong man breaks down and begins to sob. It’s not emotionalism, because I’ve preached the baptism in the Holy Spirit in a totally unemotional way, but I see this happen again and again. This is the way I work it out. That man had a wounded spirit. His mind never acknowledged it, wouldn’t face up to the fact. Sometime when he was a little boy somebody was unkind and cruel to him. Maybe he was five years old, and all through life he’s carried a wounded spirit. Nothing could ever get to it; nothing could ever touch it because the mind was the barrier. But through the baptism God bypasses the mind and touches the spirit and liberates that spirit. That spirit begins to pour out the things that it’s had bottled up within it for maybe thirty or forty or fifty years. Here’s where the spirit of man is brought into focus.
See, this is one of the great functions of the baptism in the Holy Spirit—it brings your spirit out into focus. For once, you know that your spirit is doing something that your mind isn’t doing. Here’s where the line is so clear. If I pray in an unknown tongue it’s not my mind that’s praying, it’s my spirit that’s praying. And really, I don’t believe the majority of people know that they have a spirit in any real, experiential way until they’re baptized in the Holy Spirit. It’s the baptism in the Holy Spirit that brings man’s spirit out of captivity and into the open. I don’t know whether you’re familiar with Charles Wesley’s tremendous hymn that says, “Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night.” And every time I hear that hymn, I think That’s the truth. Men are imprisoned spirits and the majority of churchgoers are still imprisoned spirits. They have no real ability to turn loose and express themselves.
I heard Jim Brown, a Spirit-baptized Presbyterian minister say this once. He said, “Remember impression without expression produces depression.” And that’s what most churchgoers get. Impression but no expression. So what does it produce? Depression. The more you go on pushing religion into them, the more you press them down. But the baptism in the Holy Spirit gives expression. Instead of being on the receiving end, you begin to give forth, you’re liberated.
We’re going on now with the functions of the soul. This is standard theology, it’s nothing special that I have discovered or lay claim to. It is usually said that the main functions of the soul are the will, the emotions, and the reason. The soul is the part that says, “I will or I will not.” When man became a living soul, an individual came into being unlike any other individual in the universe. Something that could say “I will” even if 999,000 people said “I won’t,” you can still say, “I will.” You’re an individual. You have a will.
You have emotions. Emotions are not evil. In fact, basically they’re good. But they are not spiritual. This is something that is so important. To be emotional is not to be spiritual. See, this is an impression that has been attached to Pentecostals. I’m not saying rightly, but Pentecostals have always been thought of as emotional. I think in many cases they have had the impression that to be emotional was to let your spirit go. It isn’t. There’s this failure to see the difference between spirit and soul.
In my own personal experience, the more spiritual I become the less emotional I am. In the sense of the less do my emotions dictate to me. I dictate to my emotions. See, that’s what I meant when I said yesterday about the feast that celebrated the return of the prodigal. They began to be merry, they began to dance, they began to make music. I believe in that but I don’t believe in letting my emotions tell me when to do it. My spirit must be sensitive to God and know when is the time to let go and when is the time not to let go. See, there are times you cannot afford to indulge your emotions. There are other times it’s good to do it.
Then, the reason, the processes of logic and imagination and inference. They’re in the realm of the soul. Ideas are in the realm of the soul. The spirit knows direct. It has, if you may use the word, intuition. The mind reasons. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things, in their right place they’re all good, created of God. But it is important to see in which realm they belong.
Let’s just say it again. In the realm of the spirit we have worship, fellowship and revelation. Basically, without being critical you can tell about how spiritual a person is by how much they have of worship, fellowship and revelation. See, I think you’d agree with me in the average institutional church there isn’t any of any because spiritually there is no life. I mean, this is not said to be critical or unkind, it’s just an objective evaluation. Furthermore, if I am right, if true worship is in the spirit and not the soul, what we have in many churches is a soulish substitute for a spiritual thing. Let me say this. Ritual and all that goes with it, and vestments and so on, I’m not saying they’re wrong but they’re soulish. Don’t ever call them worship.
Strangely enough, as a Pentecostal I do not object to ritualistic service. I don’t mind certain things being absolutely fixed in a prayer book provided there’s liberty in other areas. That doesn’t trouble me.
But that is not worship, it’s soulish. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad, but it’s just to be sure that we know where it belongs.
Let’s look briefly at the functions of the body. We are going to return to this, God helping us, later in these studies. I say that the body has two primary functions in relation to our study. It is a vessel for the spirit and soul, and it is spoken of in that way. First Thessalonians 4:4. We must read verse 3 to get the context. If you read 1 Thessalonians with an open mind you find it’s a delightful epistle because it’s written to new Christians who were full of zeal, enthusiasm, love, but very ignorant about many things. Paul had to tell them in a very nice way premarital sex is out. Some of the Jesus people are just about in the same category. I mean, it’s really sweet to see it because Paul had to tell them fornication is not for Christians. We think that that could be taken for granted but no, they had to be told it. You see right here in 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4:
“This is the will of God, even your sanctification [you’re keeping yourself pure and holy], that ye should abstain from fornication.”
Most of us couldn’t conceive of it being necessary to tell churchgoers that. I mean, churchgoers may practice it, but they know they shouldn’t. But here we have people who really had to be told. To me this delights me. You know what? I like to see some really worldly people in the church because I know we’re not cut off from contact with the people who need us. You see, when we get so holy that there’s no one here that doesn’t need us, well, the time has come for the rapture.
I hope you didn’t get me wrong, I don’t think I expressed myself very clear. But I like to have raw material that needs to be trained and taught. When we’ve got no more raw material, we’re out of production! That’s why I like being with the young people, because they’re willing to be taught and they need it! First Thessalonians 4:3–4:
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel [his physical body] in sanctification and honor...”
Let me tell you good, religious, churchgoing people, that means a lot more than abstaining from fornication. Do you know another thing that’s out? Overeating because that’s destructive of the vessel, too. Isn’t it strange alcoholism is a sin in all churches and gluttony is accepted in most! Jesus had more severe things to say against gluttony than drunkenness. In fact, He warned us in Luke 21 that involvement in surfeiting could cost us our place in the rapture. “Beware, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unaware.” I find in the deliverance ministry usually the alcohol demon is easier to get out than the gluttony demon.
The other purpose of the body—and it’s closely related—is to be an instrument to fulfill the will of the spirit and the soul. See, the spirit in this world must work through a body just as Jesus to work in this world must have a body to work through. His body is the church, it’s our bodies collectively. Look in Romans 6:12–13:
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
Don’t let it. Now this is written to Spirit-baptized believers.
“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin...”
Your members are instruments. You decide to whom you will yield them. You can yield them to sin and to Satan or you can yield them to the Holy Spirit and to God.
Then looking in verse 19 of Romans 6:
“I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.”
The end being holiness. Our physical members are instruments which we have to yield to God to be used by Him for His holy purposes. This involves a decision. One part of the meaning of sanctification is to set something apart to God. So, we are told to set apart our physical members to God for His service.
Many, many years ago in the Sudan in North Africa, about 3 years after I was saved the Lord told me that He wanted to use my voice and that I was not to let it be used for things that were unholy or unpleasing to God. That’s not just for me, it’s for every one. God challenged me to make a decision. He said, “I want to use Your voice in my cause.” He caused me to withdraw myself from certain other legitimate activities. He said, “I want you to be set apart to use your voice for Me.” It’s not just the voice. It’s our hands, it’s our feet, it’s every part of us to be yielded to God as an instrument for God to use.
To me this is another reason why the baptism in the Holy Spirit is so particularly important. Because, everybody knows and the Scripture tells us there’s one member that causes more problems than all the rest put together. Isn’t that right? What’s that one? The tongue. All right. What’s God’s solution? Yield it to the Holy Spirit. To me this is so logical. I don’t say speaking in an unknown tongue is the evidence of the baptism, I say it’s the culmination of the baptism, it’s the completion of the total process because then you’ve yielded the unruly member which you cannot control to the Holy Spirit. But this is only a pattern of what God requires with all your members.
Moving on in our outline let me try to illustrate experience in each of the three areas and how they’re related and how they differ. I’ve just taken one out of many possible examples, three related words and yet different. Pleasure, happiness and joy. I suggest that we think of them as in these three realms. Pleasure in the physical, happiness in the soulish, and joy in the spiritual. In the Bible joy is always essentially spiritual. Many, many Christians have got no conception of the difference between happiness and joy but they’re completely different.
I get so frustrated with song leaders that stand up—and they’re usually Pentecostals—and say, “Now, are you happy? Put on a smile.” I can’t smile to order. When I’m told to smile to have my photograph taken, it’s a failure. I say, “If you want to make me happy brother, give me something to be happy about.” You don’t find that in all churches. Actually, God’s primary objective is not to make people happy. Any minister that lives on the level of trying to get people happy is living on a very low spiritual level. Actually, the Holy Spirit sometimes makes people acutely unhappy. Did you know that? That’s about the kindest thing He could do for them at that particular point.
There is a complete line of demarcation between happiness and joy. We have pleasure in the physical realm, in the body. It’s not necessarily evil. Pleasure is good, provided it’s enjoyed in accordance with the principles of righteousness and the leading of the Holy Spirit. God intends us to have pleasure; we’re made to respond to pleasure.
Then there is happiness. Happiness depends on situations and circumstances. If everything is going right, you’re happy. If everything is going wrong, you’re unhappy. I always take the picture of the young man who has got his girlfriend by him in the sports car driving down the highway in spring. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, he’s got money in his pocket. He’s happy. But move on 6 months to the winter. The car is broken down, his girlfriend has jilted him, he’s got no money, he’s unhappy. Well, that’s natural. There’s nothing wrong with it, either. But, his happiness is dependent upon situations and circumstances and other people.
Joy is not. Joy is dependent on one thing only and that is God. When you lose your happiness you do not need to lose your joy. See? They’re quite different. Joy is in the spiritual realm. Let’s look at three passages about joy. The first one is Habakkuk. Habakkuk, at the climax of his prophecy at the end of the third chapter, made a tremendous declaration. I would like to pass it on to you. Habakkuk 3:17–18:
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no food; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls...”
Everything has failed. Total bankruptcy. All right? Nothing prospering. What does Habakkuk say?
“...yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
There is a clear line of demarcation between happiness and joy. No occasion for happiness but joy remains untouched. Notice there’s a decision involved. “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” You can make the decision to have joy in the midst of sorrow. It’s not wrong to have sorrow, but sorrow doesn’t need to take away joy because joy does not depend on situations or circumstances.
In Acts 13:52 you have this beautiful, simple statement:
“The disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.”
You look at the context, they were new converts just come to the Lord through the preaching of Paul and Barnabas. Then Paul and Barnabas were driven out of the city, they were confronted with persecution and opposition on every hand, left on their own without their leaders. What was their condition? They were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. I suggest to you that it is impossible to be filled with the Holy Spirit without being filled with joy. Now you can measure how much of the Holy Spirit you have in you.
Don’t be cheated by your feelings or your circumstances. You may sit down and say, “Well, everything is going wrong. I can’t have joy.” You’ve made a decision. What you’ve said is, “I won’t have joy.” But Habakkuk said, “I will have joy.” Even though everything had gone wrong. See? Don’t be the slave of your emotions.
Then in Romans 5 we have this tremendous progression. Though a different word is used in each place it’s the same in Greek. It means to rejoice boastfully, to rejoice out loud, to rejoice and say it. It’s translated to joy, to rejoice and to glory in the King James, but it’s the same word all through in the Greek. Romans 5:2, the first rejoicing: “We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” We know at the end of this life when all our troubles and sorrows are over we’re going to be forever with the Lord in eternal ages of glory. So, we rejoice in hope.
Number two is not nearly so easy. In verse 3, “We glory in tribulations.” That is altogether different. You say, “Brother Prince, trouble is coming upon me.” Well, the Bible says rejoice in it. Out loud, praise God for it. Why? Because tribulation works endurance or patience, endurance works—the King James says experience, but the Greek means you pass the test. The New English Bible is the only one that comes out with anything like the correct translation. “Having passed the test, you hope.” Even though everything seems all hopeless round about you. That’s the second rejoicing, it’s in tribulation.
But the climax is in verse 11.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God...”
That’s a sonnet because when you get to joy in God, He never changes, there’s no weather up there, there’s no clouds, there’s no changes of temperature. There’s no moods with God. With Him there’s no variables, not a shadow of turning. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. When your joy is in God it’s unchanging.
So there you have it, just three parallel areas of experience. In the physical, pleasure; in the soul, happiness; in the spirit, joy.
I trust this will help you. Never again confuse happiness with joy. And remember, for the believer joy is the product of a decision.