I would like to invite you today to open your Bibles to the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans and also to the twentieth chapter of the Book of Proverbs.
Now that’s Romans chapter eight and Proverbs chapter twenty.
We’re going to be speaking to you on the subject How to be Led by the Spirit of God.
I think that this is a good message – or Bible lesson – to be teaching and studying at this particular time and let us purpose – I’ve purposed in my own heart and I trust that you shall too – purpose in our hearts that we this year will be led by the Spirit of God every step of the way.
Now here in Romans the eighth chapter we read in the fourteenth verse:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”.
Well we who are sons of God – we who have been born again then - according to this text, may expect to be led by the Spirit of God.
In the sixteenth verse Paul also states:
“The Spirit itself [or Himself] beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God”.
Then let’s look here into Proverbs the twentieth chapter at the twenty-seventh verse.
That’s Proverbs chapter twenty verse twenty-seven:
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord searching all the inwards parts of the belly”.
One translation reads:
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord…”
Now that means that God will enlighten us and guide us through our spirits.
However many times we seek guidance every other way except the way that God said that it was going to come.
We judge many times by our own physical sense.
But nowhere does God say that He will guide us in that area.
Too often we look at things through a mental standpoint.
But God said that the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, which means that He will guide you through your spirit.
Now friends we need to realize this that man is a spirit being, that he has a soul, and that he lives in a physical body.
Nowhere in the Bible does God say that He will guide us through our soul.
Nor does He declare that He would guide us through our physical body.
No. He said He would guide us through our spirit – that the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.
You see man as I said, is a spirit being: because he’s made in the likeness – the Bible said – in the image of God.
You remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well of
Jesus said that God is a spirit.
Well then if God’s a spirit and man’s made in the likeness of God and image of God, then man must of necessity be a spirit.
Paul in speaking of physical death tells us that when the body is dead and in the grave that the real man lives on.
Notice in Philippians the first chapter the twenty-third and then the twenty-fourth verse.
Philippians chapter one verse twenty-three first, Paul said writing to the church at
“For I am in a strait betwixt two having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better”.
Now to show that he was talking about physical death, he went on to say in verse twenty-four:
“Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful to you”.
To abide means to live. Nevertheless to live in the flesh is more needful for you.
You see he’s saying, “I’m gonna live. But to live in the flesh is more needful for you because if I was here in the flesh then I could teach you, I could preach to you, I could minister too.”
Now he’s actually saying, “I’m going to depart. I am going to be with the Lord.”
Now who was he talking about when he said, “I”?
Well he wasn’t talking about his body for his body wasn’t going to depart.
Thank God we will have a new body one day.
But Paul said in II Corinthians 4:16:
“Though our outward man perish [or as the margin says, is decaying] yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
There is an outward man and there is an inward man.
The outward man is not the real you. The outward man is only the house you live in. The inward man is the real you.
Now we must find out what our spirit is before we can understand how God will guide us through our spirit.
So the question we might asked is, “What is our spirit?”
Notice what Peter said in first Peter the third chapter the fourth verse, just these words from that verse:
“…but let it be the hidden man of the heart…”
Now notice that Paul called him there in II Corinthians 4:16 the inward man; or Peter called him here hidden man of the heart.
Now that gives us God’s definition of the spirit of man.
When the Bible speaks of the heart it’s speaking of the spirit or the inward man, the hidden man. This is the real man.
Remember in II Corinthians 5:17 the Bible said:
“Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature” – Paul is talking here about the inward man, the real man.
Now you certainly didn’t get a new body when you were born again, but the real you became a new man in Christ.
I think a lot of times our terms are so indistinct in describing things that uh they are confusing.
It would be better to say them just like the Bible says them.
Now for instance in I Thessalonians 5:23 Paul writing to the church at Thessalonica said:
“I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Now here Paul is praying for the church at Thessalonica and he begins with the inside and comes to the outside. He begins with the inward man and comes to the outward man.
Most people misquote that and they put the body first instead of the spirit because they’re more body-conscious than they are spirit-conscious.
They’ll say you know that he said, “I pray God that your whole body and soul and spirit…”
He didn’t say that! He started on the inside: “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body…”
You see we need to think of ourselves as spirit beings, possessing souls, and living in bodies.
Now what is the difference between or from the spirit and soul?
The spirit and soul are not the same. So many time people think so. But that’s not so. Hebrews 4:12 said:
“For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the DIVIDING ASUNDER OF SOUL AND SPIRIT…”
We’ve not been able to divide them as we ought because we are more soul-conscious than we are spirit-conscious.
Our minds, our understanding, is a part of our soul.
You remember Paul said in I Corinthians 14:14,
“For if I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful”?
Our understanding you see is a part of our soul.
Paul said “…my understanding is unfruitful. I didn’t pray out of my soul. I didn’t pray out of my intellect or my mind. That wasn’t my soul praying,” he said, “If I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prayeth.”
Well you see we need to pray with the spirit as well as with the understanding, and uh we people who do pray in tongues and speak with other tongues uh it’s easier for us then to locate the spirit – because we know that we pray right out of our spirits, out of our innermost being.
Now I, I especially like this expression used here in Proverbs 20:27:
“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord…” now notice, “…searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
Notice what Jesus said in John the seventh chapter the thirty-seventh through the thirty-ninth verse:
“If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me as the Scripture hath said…” now notice, “…out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Now as a result of receiving the Holy Spirit, out of the belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Another translation reads: “out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”
From our discussion yesterday we found from the Word of God that the Bible teaches that man is a spirit, that he has a soul and that he lives in a physical body.
We found also that it is the spirit of man, or the spirit of man is the part of man that’s born again and receives eternal life and that becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus – that it’s not your soul that’s born again, but your spirit.
The soul is not our innermost being at all - it’s not the soul that’s born again.
Now the Bible teaches us – and we were here yesterday and I want to pick-up right here – that the saving of the soul is a process.
Notice the Epistle of James was written to Christians not to sinners but to Christians. Yet in the very first chapter - James 1:21 - James says to Christians:
“Receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls.”
So here were Christians whose souls were not saved.
You see it was their spirit that was born again, the innermost being. The real man had received eternal life and was born again but you see your soul is your mind, your intellect, your emotions.
And so his intellect and emotions which compose the soul still had to be dealt with.
They are not born again – the Bible teaches that they are renewed.
Now notice what Paul said. He talks about the renewing of the mind in Romans 12:2. He said here, again writing to Christians, he’s not writing to sinners, he’s writing as Romans 1:7 declares “to all that be in Rome, beloved of God; called to be saints,” – so he’s writing to saints, he’s writing to sons of God, he’s writing to Christians – and he said here in Romans 12:2:
“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
And so the mind must be renewed, or restored.
You know, Psalm 23 said:
“The Lord restoreth my soul.”
Now Jesus said in John the third chapter the sixth verse:
“That which is born of the spirit is spirit.”
You see it’s our spirit that’s born again.
We contact the spirit-world by our spirit.
Now we contact the mental world with our soul.
When Paul said in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new,” now he’s saying that the inward man, not the outward man, is become a new man.
You have the same body you did before you were born again.
But the man on the inside is become a new man in Christ.
One translation reads, “Therefore if any man be in Christ there is a new self”.
Now you know we sometimes here people talk about “dying-out to self”.
However, we don’t want to die-out to self. We want to do what the Bible said – crucify the flesh.
This isn’t something that God does for you.
You must do it yourself.
Notice what Paul said in Romans the twelfth chapter the first verse:
“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Now he didn’t tell you to die out to self or to the flesh, but he did tell you to do something with the flesh.
You see friend when we become born again we become a new man, a new creature in Christ.
Now the nature of God is there in our spirits. We are to listen to him, because it’s through this man, through our spirits, that God will guide us.
Now we need to do something with our bodies alright and we need to do something with our souls.
Now what do we do with them?
What the Bible said here: present our bodies unto God a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Him; and then get our minds or souls renewed with the Word of God.
How do we do that?
We do that through meditating, through practising. Uh the Word of God will get our minds renewed with that Word.
Now however that’s another subject.
We’re talking about being led by the Spirit of God.
We’ve found that He leads us through our spirits; we found that our spirits have been born again (if we’re Christians, if we’re saved; and have become a new man in Christ).
Let’s go back again to our original text, Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.”
Now look at the sixteenth verse of Romans 8:
“The Spirit itself [or Himself] beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”
Then again Proverbs 20:27, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”
Now we are to talk about how the Lord leads us by the Spirit of God.
The number one way that He leads us by the Spirit is by the inward witness.
You notice here in these verses in Romans after he had declared that His Spirit witnesses with our spirits that we’re children of God, he had also stated previously to that in the fourteenth verse, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.”
Now you’ll find that being led by an inward witness is the number one or primary way that God leads all of His children.
I know when we moved here to
In fact I’ve never missed it by following the inward witness.
You see the inward man, which is the spirit of man, has been born again (we’re talking about Christians now) and has become a new man in Christ; that inward man has the Spirit of God in him and bearing witness with him that he is a child of God; that inward man can be filled with that Spirit – the Spirit of God; that inward man has a voice.
Now we call that voice conscience.
We call that voice intuition.
We call it sometimes inner guidance or as the Bible calls it inward witness.
Now some people have asked the question, is your conscience a safe guide?
Yes if your spirit has become a new man in Christ then your conscience is a safe guide because your conscience is the voice of your spirit.
If your spirit is a new man with the life and the nature of God in it then it’s a safe guide.
A person who has not been born again could never follow the voice of his spirit – his spirit would be unregenerate and his conscience would just simply permit him to do anything.
But when you have the nature and the life of God in you, your conscience won’t permit you to do just anything.
If you are a born again Christian the Holy Spirit is living and abiding in your spirit - and He does not communicate directly with your mind because He’s not in your mind – He is in your spirit.
So then He communicates with you through your spirit.
That would agree with what God said in Proverbs 20:27, The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.
Now Jesus said in John the fourteenth chapter and the twenty-third verse:
“If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him, we’ll come and live with him.”
In other words He lives in us.
I Corinthians 3:16 Paul said:
“Know ye not that ye are the
Again II Corinthians 6:16 Paul says:
“Ye are the temple of the living God, as God has said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, I’ll be their God, they shall be my people.”
Therefore friends if God is dwelling in us then that’s where He’s going to speak to us – where He is – in our hearts.
I want to state it again: the very first, number one way that God leads His children, the primary way that God leads all of His children is by the inward witness.
Now too many times, as we left off yesterday saying, people think that this witness he’s talking about here is a physical something.
It isn’t at all.
He does not say that He bears witness with our body.
He does not say that He bears witness with our soul or our minds.
You see friends, feeling is the voice of our body. Reason is the voice of the soul or the mind. But conscience is the voice of the spirit.
If we go by feeling then we’re going to be in trouble.
It makes no difference whether you felt like the Lord heard you or not.
If the Word of God states it then it’s true.
If God said He heard and answered your prayer then He did.
Friends, base your faith on the Word not on your feelings.
Romans 8:16 - let me say it again - does not say that the Spirit bears witness with our bodies or with our feelings, but that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit.
Now remember this that the Word and the Spirit agree.
And of course then if the Spirit’s a leading you, very often He’ll bring Scriptures to your remembrance and of course He will guide you in connection with the Word of God.
Jesus said in John the sixteenth chapter the thirteenth and fourteenth verses:
“Howbeit when He the Spirit of Truth is come He will guide you into all truth, for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak. And He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for He shall receive of mine, and show it unto you.”
Now Jesus also said in John the fourteenth chapter and the twenty-sixth verse to the disciples, “He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.”
Jesus also said in John the sixteenth chapter the thirteenth verse, “He will show you things to come.”
Now He bears witness with our spirits, then He leads us.
Romans 8:14 said, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
Now see it’s not for us to tell the Lord how to lead us.
In the Acts of the Apostles and elsewhere in the Bible we see how at times some received guidance through a vision.
We read where others received guidance from an angel who appeared to them and told them certain things.
However friends, such phenomena didn’t happen every day in these people’s lives. They occurred once or twice in the entire lifetime of some of them.
I think too many times when God is trying to bear witness with our spirits, trying to guide us, we won’t listen because we want something else such as a vision or an angel.
The Spirit of God said something to me in this regard when I was teaching on it one time. He said, “So many of the people of God are seeking guidance through the spectacular and are missing the supernatural.”
You see friends, that inward witness is still a supernatural guidance.
Then for guidance some people put out what they call a fleece before the Lord.
Now the New Testament does not say, “As many as are led by fleeces, they are the sons of God.”
“Oh,” somebody will say, “well yes but now brother Hagin didn’t Gideon put out a fleece?”
Well sure he did.
“Well isn’t it alright to follow Gideon’s example?”
Certainly not. We’re not living under the Old Covenant. We’re not living in the day that he lived in.
You see my friends, under the Old Covenant everybody didn’t have the Holy Ghost.
You see every born again Christian does.
But you see under the Old Covenant the Holy Spirit came on the king, on the priest and on the prophet to enable them to minister and stand in the office that they stood in.
But what we would call just the average layman you see didn’t have the Spirit of God on him or in him.
And so then when God began to deal with Gideon, Gideon didn’t know whether that was the Spirit of God or not. So naturally the only way God could lead him was through his physical senses.
You see, we’re living under the New Covenant, and this New Covenant’s a better covenant established upon better promises.