One of the most difficult things Jesus had to deal with in his disciples was them not having the Holy Spirit in them. Throughout the approximately 3 yrs. they were with him he taught them about the kingdom. He shared parables with them to illustrate principles and how the things of the Spirit worked. Although they were excited because of the miraculous life Jesus invited them into most of the time it seemed they were confused by the things he said. The Bible is a book written by the Holy Spirit therefore it is written to our spirit. Like the disciples we will be confused if we attempt to hear spirit words with fleshly ears.
Nicodemus is a great example of hearing through fleshly ears. Jesus told Nicodemus “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus’ response was “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Of course we know Jesus was talking of the Spirit and he said so. You see without the Spirit of God we cannot know the things of God. The truth is sometimes it seems there are even those that have been born again that have trouble hearing by the Spirit.
Another time, as the crowds following Jesus began to grow, he taught them what they thought was unheard of. He said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.” Most of the crowd that day must have thought Jesus was advocating cannibalism because many walked away whispering “This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?” After saying this Jesus went on to explain “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” This crowd didn’t have the Spirit of God therefore they really couldn’t grasp what he was talking about either.
The Apostle Paul had the same type of problem with those reading his letters. He would write something and right away respond to what he knew would be the objection. For instance in Romans 5-6 he says, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” This obviously begged the question “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be!” You see when we listen in the flesh we will always hear license. The spirit, on the other hand, doesn’t want to sin so it would never interpret this the same way. The Spirit in us is love, and when you love God you aren’t looking to get away with sin.
Now I’ve said all of that to say this. When teaching the Bible it still seems necessary to explain things that you might not think are necessary. For instance when the Bible tells us to be perfect it means we are to be perfect. When it says, be holy it means be holy. The truth is though if you ask the average Christian walking around if you have to be perfect in order to get into heaven they will quickly say No! Most of the time if you question them; and it is made clear you are talking about perfection in Christ they will agree. Why would they think you meant perfection in any other way? For the most part we are still so accustomed to flesh level living we have to qualify what we’re saying with “You mean in Christ, right?”
When studying the Bible remember “We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.”
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!”
Written by Louie