Are You Spiritual Or Soulish?
Derek Prince
Audio icon
Who Am I? Series
Share notification iconFree gift iconBlack donate icon

Are You Spiritual Or Soulish?

A portrait of Derek Prince in black and white
Part 2 of 4: Who Am I?

By Derek Prince

You're watching a top ten sermon by Derek Prince.

This page is currently under construction.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Be encouraged and inspired with this Bible-based sermon by Derek Prince.

Analyze the components of total human personality from creation to climax. Confronts you with yourself: your potential, your problems, and your ultimate destiny.

Sermon Outline

This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.

Download PDF


This is the second session in our series which is entitled “Who Am I?” We are seeking to find out from the scripture what we really are inside and what our total nature is like. I pointed out last night that man cannot know himself accurately except as he sees himself in the mirror of God’s word. So we have been looking in that mirror to find out what we’re really like.

Last night we spoke about triune man at creation. And that little rather amateurish diagram up there was what I put up last night. I think probably I should discard that and do a little explaining. It’s very crude, please forgive it, it’s the best I can do. This represents reverently the Spirit of God. You see, one of the interesting things about this revelation is the Bible reveals that God is triune: Father, Son and Spirit. And it says God created man in His own image and in His own likeness. Now the word image in modern Hebrew is the word from which we get all the words connected with photography. So it means outward image, outward likeness. But the inward likeness is contained in the other word. So we find that a triune God created a triune man.

And so, the Lord breathed into a body of clay the spirit of life and the scripture says man became a living soul. So man’s nature is triune. The highest part of his nature is the inbreathed spirit that he received from God. The lowest part of his nature is the dust or clay that came from the ground. The union of these two was creative and brought into being something that had not existed before: a living soul. So man consists of spirit, soul and body. And God’s purpose was that man should relate to God directly through his spirit.

But along came that wicked serpent, Satan, and he approached the soul of man—not the spirit but the soul—with his temptation. And in doing so he succeeded in, I would say, deflecting man’s soul away from its vertical relationship to God through the spirit, and turning him away in rebellion. So this line here represents the influence of Satan on man’s soul. I said last night, and it’s important you see it, our spiritual battles are nearly all fought out in the realm of the soul. That’s the battlefield.

In doing that, he severed man’s connection with the Spirit of God and cut him off. And the scripture says man is alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that’s in him. The results essentially were that man’s spirit died, his soul became a lost rebel, and his body was subjected to corruption.

However, praise God, in His mercy, God could not leave man in that condition. And so in the fullness of God’s time there came a person whom the Bible calls the last Adam, Jesus of Nazareth. He was not last in the sense of historical sequence but He was last in the sense that the entire evil inheritance of the whole Adamic race came upon Him, He bore the total penalty for all the transgressions and disobedience of the whole race, He died as the last Adam. And when He was buried, that evil inheritance was buried, closed off and shut away. And when He rose again He was the second man, a new kind of man, a race that had never existed before in which God and man are combined. You could call it the Emmanuel race. And, on the resurrection Sunday evening He appeared to His terrified disciples shut away in a room, breathed upon them and said, “Receive holy breath.” Or, receive the Holy Spirit. And in that way, in a certain sense, the old creation was reenacted in the new creation and the same person that had breathed the Spirit of life into the body of clay in the garden breathed into those disciples a totally new kind of life. A life that had triumphed over sin, over death, over hell, over the grave and over Satan. And they were born again. They received a totally new kind of life. They came into New Testament salvation.

And everybody who becomes a true believer in Jesus Christ has an experience that corresponds to that. You don’t become a Christian by joining a church or even by being christened or baptized or signing your name. The only way you can become a Christian is by meeting Jesus personally. He said, “I am the door. By me if any man enters in, he shall be saved.” You don’t meet Him in physical presence but you meet Him through the Holy Spirit and He breathes into you exactly the same kind of life that He breathed into the disciples in that upper room. And you are born again and you receive within you a life that is undefeatable.

Somebody asked me the words that I used last night. I think I said the life we receive is divine, incorruptible—because it’s born of an incorruptible seed—undefeatable. John said whoever is born of God overcomes the world. What is born of God is born to overcome and not to be defeated. And I thought last night afterwards we could have another exciting word which is indestructible. That’s what you have inside you if you’re a child of God. Why do you walk around looking as though you’re defeated or miserable or insecure when you are the possessor of life that is divine, eternal, incorruptible, undefeatable and indestructible?

Some of you need to notify your face that’s what you have.

All right. So tonight we’re going to deal with a theme that is very rarely dealt with which is basically the relationship between the three elements of man. The spirit, the soul and the body. The title of the message that I chose is “Are You Spiritual or Soulish?” I hope by the end of this session that question will be meaningful.

Let’s turn for a moment again to Hebrews 4:12, and absorb what it says there about the word of God.

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, as a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The word of God is not only a mirror, it’s an X-ray that penetrates to your innermost being. And it divides the three elements: the spirit, the soul and the body represented by the joints and the marrow. I said I don’t believe there’s any other way that we can discern between spirit and soul except by the word of God. Secular psychology does not have any means to do so, and you’ll find most secular psychology is really unaware of the existence of the importance of man’s spirit.

I’d like to read a letter which I received just recently which was rather astonishing. It comes from a German psychiatrist in West Berlin. I’ve never met him but he apparently heard this teaching of mine on a radio tape. I can’t think how because I don’t think my radio program is heard in German, but this is his letter. And my attitude is—I hope that I’ll offend nobody by saying this—if you can convince a German psychiatrist, you can convince almost anybody! This is what he says, his letter is dated the 21st of December l988:

“Dear Mr. Prince, Never in my life has this happened to me before. Stunned by the news of your broadcasting, ‘What is Man?’ While listening to your lecture I saw for the first time in my Christian life the spiritual Hans of me somehow elevated as if on a chair and looking down onto the soulish Hans whose monument-like appearance seemed to crumble away. Regenerated, this spiritual part of me, the spiritual Hans, has survived ever since I have listened to your lecture, fueled by the Holy Spirit about five weeks ago. [This is tremendous insight:] The soulish Hans of me, in particular its intellectual and emotional areas, must be dragged to the cross. Throughout my life I have been on the outlook for some clear and whole presentation of God’s word and it’s you, Mr. Prince, God has chosen to bring me the truth. You will understand that this change in my life, this being again a triune human being, is about to revolutionize even my profession. And for the first time in my life, even now 45 years old, I see some good reason in having become a psychiatrist.”

So I hope that the teaching will do no less to each of you.

Now, when man is born again, recreated, the change takes place which I’ll try and indicate. First of all, Satan’s influence on his soul is canceled. And the separation between him and God is taken away. Can you see that? Salvation does that.

Now, let me sum up for you the effects of salvation or the new birth in these areas. First of all, it imparts new life to man’s spirit. Man is born again. His spirit is no longer dead in trespasses and sins.

Secondly, it restores his spirit’s contact with God.

Third, it releases the soul from Satan’s control.

And fourth, it restores God’s program of relationship, which is from top to bottom, if I can put it that way. So, God designed man to be directed from above through his spirit, the spirit to direct the soul, the soul to direct the body. You see that? That was the pattern. It was spoiled by sin but it’s restores by the new creation.

Let me say it again. God by His Spirit directs man’s spirit in union with him. Man’s spirit directs his soul and his soul directs his body. I’m not a technical expert, but in a way the soul is like a kind of gearbox by which the spirit gets the body to do what it wants to do. You see? Basically, in this present stage of our development, our spirit does not directly control our body, it controls our body through our soul. I’ll show you an example of that from the scripture.

I want to speak about the function of the three elements. Nelda, would you do your ministry and rub off the left-hand side and leave the right. It’s a pity to rub off those beautiful words, isn’t it?

Now then, the functions of the spirit. First of all, the spirit is God conscious. The soul is self conscious. The body is world conscious. We’ll come back to that. It’s very important because whenever a person is wrapped up in himself or herself, you know that person is living in the realm of the soul. The realm of the spirit releases us from selfishness and self-centeredness.

Now, going back to that, the function of the spirit is to be God conscious. And it’s supreme privilege is union and communion with God. Man’s spirit has the privilege of direct union with God. There’s an amazing statement in 1 Corinthians 6:17, one of the most amazing statements in the Bible. You know, if you read your Bible without being surprised, I don’t think you understand it. It is the most surprising book. We need to take verse 17 together with verse 16. Paul is warning against immorality and he says:

“Do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot [or a prostitute] is one body with her? For the two [he says] shall become one flesh.”

Now in that context Paul goes on to make the most amazing statement. He says:

“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”

I trust I’ll offend nobody but there’s a direct correspondence between sexual union in the flesh and spiritual union with God. That’s how real it is. Just as really as a man can be united with a prostitute sexually, so man’s spirit can be united with God spiritually. I want you to see it that clear and practical.

Now here’s a very important example of where you must not confuse the spirit with the soul. Paul says he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. It would be completely incorrect to say he is one soul. Because it’s not the soul that’s united, it’s the spirit. Do you understand that? He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. That’s the great privilege of the human spirit through Jesus through the atoning sacrifice, to have direct personal union with God.

I would say, I’ll come back to this in a little while, but let me ask you this question. In one word, what is the activity by which we are united with God? Worship, that’s right. That’s why I believe worship is the highest activity of a human being. And if you don’t see worship that way, I don’t know whether you understand much about worship. And you see how creative worship is, because again, taking the parallel, union is procreative in the physical, in the spiritual. I don’t believe the church is ever really productive until it worships. It’s by worship that we unite with God’s Spirit. It’s out of worship that creativity proceeds.

Now, the spirit being in direct contact with God reproduces God’s attitudes and responses. It should not be dictated to from below, it should be directed from above. I’ll give you just two examples of Jesus and Paul. These are statements made in the New Testament. I won’t give you the references because we’ve got enough references without that. But it says in the gospels three things about Jesus. He sighed in Spirit, He rejoiced in Spirit, and He groaned in Spirit outside the tomb of Lazarus. Now, when it says in Spirit, it’s very carefully distinguishing it from soul. Jesus reproduced God’s attitude and God’s response to each of those three situations. His sigh was the sigh of God over a man who was deaf and dumb. His rejoicing was over the people that had responded to the gospel, the simple, the child-like. And His groaning was over the awful sadness of Lazarus’ death.

Then it says of Paul in various passages, Paul purposes in the Spirit. That means God’s purpose for Paul became so much part of his spirit that it became his purpose. Do you see what I’m saying? And we need to ask ourselves, “What I purpose things, do I purpose them in my spirit or in my flesh?” Because Paul said the things that I purpose I don’t purpose in the flesh, that with me they should be yes and no. And I’m not changeable. You understand? When I get God’s purpose, that settles it because I purpose in the Spirit.

It says of Paul he went bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem to be imprisoned there. But he was bound in Spirit before he was ever imprisoned. In other words, God’s destiny for him to be imprisoned was already so fixed in his spirit that he was bound before he was physically bound. You see what I’m saying?

And then it says in Romans 1:9, Paul says that he serves God in his Spirit. I was teaching a Bible school, I mentioned this last night, I don’t want to go into it, but the book out of which I was supposed to be teaching didn’t make any distinctions between spirit and soul so I spent my whole time arguing with the book. And I think the poor class was thrown into confusion. But anyhow, setting that aside, one of the questions I asked the class was, “Would it have made any difference if Paul had said, `I serve him in my soul’?” Is it the same? My answer is absolutely not. But I mean, you must make your own answer.

You see, I think a lot of people serve God in the soul. We’ll come to the functions of the soul in a few moments. But I hope you can see that these distinctions are not just theoretical, they’re totally practical. If you can grasp them and apply them, they’re going to change a lot of things in the lives of some of you.

Now we’ll come to the soul, the functions of the soul. The soul, as I said, is self-conscious. The soul, in a way, is wrapped up in itself. But I mean, it has to be self-conscious. I think it was the philosopher ?Decant? that said, “I think, therefore I am.” Typical of a philosopher, he had to prove to himself that he existed. But you see, what he was talking about was the realm of the soul. He knew his soul was real because he thought.

I’ve divided the soul, as you see, into three areas and maybe we should put these up. This is not my teaching by any means. I’ve just got it from somebody but I think it’s correct. The will, the intellect and the emotions. The soul is also the ego. You know what the ego is, actually, the Latin word for I. So the soul is the thing that says I. I want, I don’t want, I will, I won’t. The soul makes the decisions. When it comes to the will, the soul says I want. Basically, that’s one of the first phrases most children learn to say. I want. The soul makes decisions. I don’t have room there but you read about an evangelistic campaign, so many decisions for Christ. What made the decision? The soul. What was saved? The soul.

The intellect says I think and a lot of other things. I reason, you could say I imagine but I don’t have room to write it up there.

And the emotions, what do they say? I feel, that’s right.

And basically, unregenerate man is controlled by those three phrases: I want, I think and I feel. That’s what makes him act. In various people, various elements are stronger. Some people are more motivated by what I want, some people by what I think, some people by what I feel. But that’s the nature of the soul.

The body is world conscious. We’re not going to deal with the body tonight, we’re going to give tomorrow night to the body, God helping us. The title for tomorrow night is “Why You Have a Body.” Have you ever stopped to ask yourself that important question? The body is world conscious through the five senses. And, this is very important, the body acts out the soul’s decisions. The soul makes the decision, communicates it to the body and the body acts them out.

Now, we’ve got an example, actually, in the introductory worship. We sung part of this, Psalm 103:1–2. This is a well known psalm of David.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”

Now what was talking to David’s soul? His spirit, that’s right. You see, through faith and repentance, David’s spirit had come back into contact with God. I would say his natural spirit was restored, it was not recreated. Recreation only happens after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s the new birth, that’s New Testament salvation. But the Old Testament saints and prophets through faith came back into a relationship where their original spirit was revived and came into living contact with God. So, David wants to praise the Lord. What wants to praise the Lord? His spirit. But his spirit can’t get it to happen, see? The spirit has got to work through the soul. So the spirit says, “Come on soul, wake up. Don’t be so dull and sluggish. It’s time to praise the Lord.” And then out of David’s mouth there comes the words of praise. So the spirit directed the soul that motivated or activated the body.

Just an interesting phrase about why we have a body, we’ll come back to it. Hebrews 10:5 and 7, quoting Psalm 40 which is a prediction of the Messiah, he says:

“Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but a body you have prepared for me.”

Now why did God prepare a body for the Messiah? If you read verse 7 you find out.

“Then I said, ‘Behold, I come. In the volume of the book it is written of me to do your will, O God.’”

So, the Messiah received a body to do the will of God. In other words, the body is what acts out the decision of the spirit and the soul in this present age. Sooner or later we’ll come to what will happen in the next age, which is exciting.

There’s one exception. Normally the spirit cannot operate the body directly in this present age, it has to go through the soul. Which, in a way, is a kind of bondage to the spirit. But there’s one, and I only know of one, very interesting experience which is common to most of us here in which the spirit directly operates the body. Who can tell me what it is? Speaking in tongues, that’s right. That’s why that’s such a critical experience, you understand? It’s not independent of the soul because the soul has to say, “Okay, go ahead.” And if the soul says, “No, I won’t do it,” it won’t happen. Understand? But once the soul says, “Okay, go ahead”, the soul sits back and the spirit controls the tongue. And the tongue does exactly what the spirit wants it to do. And let me tell you, while you’re speaking in tongues you’ll never say one wrong word—never. You’ll never say anything that doesn’t glorify God. Your tongue, David says, is your glory. It’s given to you for the supreme purpose of glorifying God. And when the Holy Spirit controls your spirit, and your spirit controls your tongue, your tongue all that time will do what it was created to do. And I think that’s why the experience of speaking in tongues is so tremendously significant. As far as I can think, it’s the only situation in this present age in which your spirit directly operates your body.

Now, there may be other supernatural experiences that special people have, but this is one which, praise God, is open to us all.

I remember the first time I had the experience of speaking in tongues. I had been searching, searching, searching for something that would satisfy. I tried the highbrow, the ballet, the opera, travel, I tried the lowbrow—I won’t tell you how low my brow went—I tried everything. The more I tried the thirstier I got. I didn’t know what I was thirsty for but the moment the Holy Spirit came in, I said this is it. You know what I said next? I said why didn’t they tell me about this in the church all the years that I went there. But let’s not worry with that question.

I praise God for speaking in tongues. My first wife, Lydia, who is with the Lord now, was a real warrior of the Lord. And she came into the baptism in the Holy Spirit in Denmark when it was very unfashionable. In fact, she was a teacher in the Danish State school and it was so extraordinary that her case went up to the Danish Parliament as to whether a teacher could remain in the State school that spoke in tongues. But the answer was yes, praise God. However, she resigned and went to Jerusalem instead.

But why I say that is because I think hardly a day in her life, and she lived a long life, hardly a day passed without her saying, “Thank you God for speaking in tongues.” She enjoyed it to the last day of her life. She thought it was perhaps the highest privilege of her experience. So, never belittle speaking in tongues. Don’t let it ever become commonplace. It’s unique.

You see, the writer of Hebrews says that when we receive the Holy Spirit we’ve tasted the powers of the age to come. I’ll be coming to this in a little while but, as I understand it, in the age to come our body will be spiritual, not soulish. Our spirit will control our body direct. We won’t have to bother with persuading our soul to do things. Do you see what I’m saying? But meanwhile, you and I have got a foretaste. And one reason God has given us a foretaste is to spoil our taste for the present age. Let me say that. I hope it’s had that effect with you.

Now, if our assistant, in other words, Nelda, will wipe the board clean, then I’m going to be calling on my wife in just a little while for her ministry.

Now we’re going on to comparative activities of the three areas. So to start with, we’re going to have spirit, soul and body. We’re going to take what happens in the spirit, what happens in the soul and what happens in the body that correspond. I’m giving you my understanding. You’re perfectly free to say that’s not the way it is. But all I want to do is really stimulate your thinking. I’m not concerned in convincing you of my answer, I want you to consider the question for yourself.

So, sweetheart, if you will now write up under spirit, worship. Now, John 4:23–24, Jesus said the Father is looking for those who will worship in spirit and in truth. Worship is a function of the spirit. Okay? Thank you.

Now, don’t go away, just stand there. What is the corresponding activity in the soul to worship? Prayer is good enough but prayer is all embracing, really. Praise is the answer. You see, if you remember the words of the virgin Mary, she said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” You can’t mix those two up, they’re different.

What does the body do in worship? Sing, that’s more like praise. We want something that’s... Bow, that’s right. Or knee. And you could put clap but I don’t want to offend some people so we’ll leave the clapping for the freer.

You see that? So, in the spirit we worship, with the soul we praise, with the body we knee or bow. And prostrate ourselves, clap our hands, lift our hands. And actually, since we’re total human beings, every part of our person should be appropriately involved. It’s not fanatical to clap your hands, it’s practical. I mean, it’s logic. It’s illogical to tell God you’re worshipping Him and stand there like a stiff tree trunk.

In Ephesians 1:17, Paul says:

“God has given us [or praise that God will give us] a spirit of wisdom and revelation.”

The revelation comes through the spirit. Can you write up revelation there? Revelation is something that comes direct from the Spirit of God to your spirit. It doesn’t go through your soul, your soul doesn’t have anything to say with revelation. What would be the thing that corresponds to revelation in the area of the soul? I acknowledge there are many different possible answers, but let me help you. I’m doing it. Speaking is too vague. Teaching, I was going to put doctrine which is the same. Doctrine or, I say, theology. Revelation is in the realm of the spirit, theology is a matter of reasoning. One is not suggesting that theology is wrong, but it has to be distinguished from revelation. Unfortunately, most of the church has got a lot of theology and no revelation.

And then what do we have in the realm of the body? It’s got to be something physical. What I got is sense perception. So, you get revelation in the spirit, you get theology in the mind—some people’s minds are somewhat overburdened with that—and then with your senses you perceive the natural world.

As I say, there’s nothing that’s absolutely right or wrong with this, it’s just stimulating. We’ll do one more set which is under the spirit we’ll write joy. Our joy is essentially something of the spirit. Understand? I mean, it doesn’t need to be and these words can be used differently. Now, in my language at least, what corresponds to joy in the realm of the soul? Happiness, yes. See, joy is dependent only on God, and God never changes. So we never need to be without joy. Happiness depends on situations and circumstances, your health, your financial state, the way your husband or your wife is treating you, all sorts of things. It fluctuates. Let’s give you a scripture about joy, Psalm 43:4, David says:

“Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy.”

So when God is your joy, you never need to be without joy. Unless you get cut off from God, you see? Joy does not depend on circumstances. Happiness does. Not that anything is wrong with happiness, I like happiness. But we can’t expect to have happiness all the time.

What would you say in the realm of the body? Pleasure, that’s right. I mean, again, you understand, all these you could adjust them.

So, that’s just a way to stimulate your thinking so you begin to discern between spirit, soul and body. You see what I’m doing?

All right. However, there’s a very important condition attached. Matthew 16:24–25:

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life [his soul] will lose it, and whoever loses his soul for my sake, will find it.’”

There’s a case where the word is translated life but it is soul, psuche. So, in order to follow Jesus you’ve got to do three things: you’ve got to deny yourself, your soul; take up your cross; and then follow Him. If you do not deny yourself and if you do not take up your cross, you cannot follow Him. It’s impossible. I don’t know what will happen to you in eternity but in life you cannot follow Jesus unless you make those first two steps.

What is to deny? It’s to say no, isn’t it? So how do you deny your soul? You say no to your soul. Your soul says I want. You say it’s not what you want that matters, it’s God’s will. Your soul says I think. You say what you think is not important, it’s what God’s word says. Your soul says I feel. You say what you feel is not important, it’s the impressions of the Holy Spirit that matter. You see? So, in order to follow Jesus you have to say no to I want, no to I think, and no to I feel. And multitudes of people sincerely trying to follow Jesus cannot do it because they’ve never learned to say no to their soul. Their souls still dictate the way they live. You cannot live for Christ and live for your soul. You’ve got to lose your soul to follow Him. But Jesus says when you lose your soul, then you find something.

And let me tell you, you can’t bargain with God. You can’t say to God, “Now, I’m willing to give this up if you tell me what I get instead.” No. God says, “Give it up. Then you’ll find out what you’ll get instead.” This is, in a way, the most critical point in the life of most Christians, is denying yourself and saying no to what you want, what you think and what you feel.

I want you mentally to go back to the diagram. I don’t want to put it up on the board again. You remember what happened? Along came the S and he impacted the soul and severed the spirit from God’s Spirit. And then recreation cut off his impact on the soul and renewed the spirit’s relationship with the Spirit of God. But, suppose a person doesn’t maintain the relationship with the Spirit of God. But the soul turns away again in rebellion towards Satan. The soul responds to Satan’s prompting. How many of you know Satan doesn’t give up the first time. He doesn’t go very far away, he’s there waiting for the next opportunity to inject something into your soul.

So suppose a person has been born again and then turns away from God in self will, rebellion. Could that happen, does that ever happen? It certainly does. Now, that person becomes soulish, you understand? This is a word which we don’t have in the English Bible. It’s a tragedy that we don’t. I don’t know if we have any Scandinavians here, but Scandinavian languages: Danish, Swedish and Norwegian, have the word ?shalisk?, soulish, which we need desperately. Let me try and show you what I mean. Here we have the word for soul, psuche, which is soul. The adjective from psuche in Greek is psuchekos. What do we need here? We’ve got to have word that’s formed from soul, otherwise the whole thing is messed up. You see? So we have the word soulish, which I use frequently. But I find I have to explain it to people. I looked in a large dictionary and it didn’t give the word at all.

We’re going to be talking about people who are soulish. Their spirit has been severed from a connection with God, their soul has turned back. But, they still have all the spiritual language. Their names are still on the church roll, do you understand? I want to give quickly the placements where this word psuchekos occurs. There are four passages in the New Testament, you can’t find them in any concordance because the concordances don’t take you there. Well, you could if you used [inaudible from audience]. But if you know how to use it you can get back behind the translation and get to the original. But it’s very complicated. You could look up psuchekos and find it’s translated “sensual,” “natural,” “worldly,” all sorts of things. But it doesn’t tell you what it is.

Let’s go very quickly, the first passage I want to take you to is 1 Corinthians 15:44, a rather baffling verse. Talking about the resurrection, the body we’ll have at resurrection, the change, it says:

“ is sown [that’s buried] a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”

Now guess what the word “natural” is in Greek? Psuchekos, that’s right. It is sown a soulish body, it is raised a spiritual body. I’ll just tell you how I understand that. I mean, it’s just my understanding. As I’ve said, our present body cannot be directly activated by the spirit. The spirit has to go through the soul. So, it’s a soulish body. When we get resurrected—this is exciting—we’re going to have a spiritual body. Our spirit is going to tell our body what to do and we’re going to do it. That’s wonderful. You’re going to be able to go through doors and up and down, all that. No problems because you have a spiritual body.

That’s just the first example, now we’ve got to go quickly. 1 Corinthians 2, here’s something that’s very important for counseling students and others. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:11:

“For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.”

You can only know the things of God from the Spirit of God which comes down through your spirit. Do you understand?

“Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

The only way we can know those things is by the Holy Spirit. It’s revelation knowledge.

“These things we also speak not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Or unfolding spiritual truths to spiritual persons, there’s a lot of different translations. It’s very, very important. Listen. You cannot communicate Biblical truth in secular language. You cannot use the jargon of psychology or psychiatry adequately to impart spiritual truth. You have to use Biblical terminology. That’s why what we’re studying tonight is critical, because you cannot ever really apprehend or communicate these truths till you learn to use the right words.

Then Paul goes on to say:

“But the natural man [guess what kind of a man that is? The soulish man] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no man.”

The man who is in the realm of the soul and cut off from the spirit cannot know the things of God. In fact, they seem to him foolishness. So now you know why some people make fun of speaking in tongues. You understand their problem.

Going on very quickly, James 3:14–15:

“But if you have bitter envying and self seeking in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, demonic.”

Guess what sensual is? Soulish, that’s right. So here’s a descending order. First it’s earthly, then it’s soulish, then it’s demonic. People say how can Christians be exposed to demons? That’s one of the answers. When you get out of the spiritual relationship with God and go back into your soul relationship, it’s earthly, soulish and the soul is open to demons. You see? As the soul was of Adam. And wherever there is quarrel, strife and division, it’s earthly, soulish, demonic. Could that be said of any churches? Are there any churches of which it could not be said? I’m not saying there aren’t.

Now, the next passage is Jude, verses 16–19. I have to go quickly because time is running out on us. Speaking about people that are found in some churches, and notice, all these people are in the context of a church:

“...these are murmurers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts. [In other words, they haven’t said no to their soul.] They mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts; these are sensual persons who cause division, not having the Spirit.”

Guess what the word sensual is? Soulish, that’s right. Who causes division in the church? Soulish persons, do you understand? How critical it is to be able to discern this. You’ve got to see the difference between the spiritual and the soulish. And my honest comment is most Christians I meet are not able to discern. They’re continually fooled by something that is soulish which passes itself off as spiritual. I think the main activity of the soulish is to produce a substitute for the real thing.

Now very quickly we’re going to look at some suggested substitutes. This again is entirely subjective. It’s my understanding. I’m going to give you some things in the spiritual and ask you what would be the soulish substitute. First of all, worship. None of you will get the word that I will give you, but I’m going to tell you. My answer is entertainment. You see, I think the majority of Christians cannot distinguish between music that is entertainment and music that is worship. And much of the responsibility lies at the door of Nashville. Because for the sake of dollars they commercialize religious music to the point where people look to it for entertainment. Worship is not entertainment. Entertainment is getting for yourself, worship is giving to God. Understand?

All right. The next one, discernment. What’s the soulish, a lot of you could answer this. It begins with a C. Criticism, that’s right. Soulish people are critical.

The next one. Conviction. I’m sure most people wouldn’t get this, this is one of my pet peeves. My answer is guilt. My conviction is the Holy Spirit never makes you feel guilty. He’ll convict you of sin, tell you what you’ve done wrong, call you to repentance, and when you’ve repented it’s finished. I’ve learned to be extremely suspicious of people who make me feel guilty. Because usually they’re trying to manipulate me. And you see, with guilt it’s never settled. Did you do enough, ought I have done more, what did I say? It’s never over. Are you with me?

The next one is compassion. The spurious alternative in my terminology is sympathy. A lot of people want sympathy but they don’t want compassion. See? Compassion is powerful and it says change. You can be changed. Sympathy says poor me, sit down with me and sympathize with me. Feed my self-pity.

And then revelation. I want to say this is very subjective because of things I’ve been through. You may not have been through the same things. I’ll put this here because you’d never think of it. Manipulation. I think of things like this. You’re in a meeting and the preacher says, “Now, there are ten people here tonight, each of whom is going to give a thousand dollars.” Is that a revelation? It could be. But if it’s not a revelation, what is it? Manipulation, that’s right.

I have a Swiss businessman who is a friend of mine, he’s been here. He went to a meeting and they did that and he gave a thousand dollars. And he went home kicking himself all the way. He knew he’d been manipulated. And his wife said to him, “If I’d done that you would have got angry with me.” Okay? All I want to do is waken you to the difference, you understand? It’s not that I want to give you my terminology, I just want you to see that it’s for your survival, it’s essential you learn to distinguish between the spiritual and the soulish.

Now, what’s the real ultimate test? How do we know? Tell me. By their fruit. Let’s read Matthew 7, we have to close. Tomorrow I’ve got to finish this message which will be “How to Be Spiritual and Not Soulish.” I can’t give it to you here tonight because I’ve come far enough. I’ll recapitulate tomorrow. Let’s just read Matthew 7 very quickly, the end of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus was so wise. Well, we aren’t going to be doing it, we’ve passed out time. Jesus said beware of false prophets who come to you nicely dressed as sheep and inwardly they’re wolves. How will you know them? By their fruit. Check the fruit, brothers and sisters. Don’t just listen to the language.

Download Transcript

A free copy of this transcript is available to download and share for personal use.

Download PDF
Code: MV-4270-100-ENG
Blue scroll to top arrow iconBlue scroll to top arrow icon
Share on social media

Thank you for sharing.

Page Link
Link Copied!
Black copy link icon