A SPIRITUAL LIFE – a break from the material

Posted: June 7, 2010 in Adrian Tamblyn-Watts, Listed teachings
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In II Corinthians 12:1-4 Paul speaks, possibly of himself, about the crossover between the supernatural world and this physical/natural realm in which we live. It is not as if he deems this ‘experience’ as anything extraordinary, after all, he uses the account to support another argument that he is seeking to make.

I Corinthians 2:9&10 makes a huge claim: “No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, never so much as imagined anything quite like it – what God has arranged for those who love him.” (Message). In the light of this, we would do well to acknowledge, daily, that there is more to God to get to know than we, or anyone else for that matter, ever imagined (John 16:12).

So, how can all this mystery be made known? The short answer is by revelation through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:3&5). He, the third Person of the Tri-unity, has come to lead the believer into ALL truth (John 16:13).

How is this possible?

  • We are tri-partite beings, i.e. we are spirit, we possess a soul and we live in a physical body (I Thessalonians 5:23).
  • The spirit aspect is for interaction with the realm of the spirit where God is (John 4:24).
  • Interaction with the material realm is the design aim of the physical body.
  • The soul is the receptor of stimuli/information/data etc. from both realms. It is here that decisions are made based on information received. The soul sorts through all of the information received and in so doing makes use of the filter of Scripture (assuming that such is in place), the ultimate standard for the Church in this stage of eternity. In short, the soul is the connector valve/air lock between the physical and the spiritual (cf. III John 2).
  • The soul is ‘home’ to the mind, will and emotions. Within the mind is the capacity of memory, intellect and creativity.

Genesis 3:8 proves beyond question that God’s original intent for man was to be able to interact with the realm of the spirit and the physical world simultaneously. This is a great mystery. To quote Leonard Sweet, “Christianity is a mystery religion. When you have wrung the mystery out of Christianity, you’ve wrung its neck.” In short, true fellowship with God is that intimate relationship across two realms that are in fusion (John 4:24).

In Acts 8:3a Phillip is ‘caught away’ and transported, if that is the correct word, to a town eighty miles away. Was this intended to be a one-off event? The Gospel is a power let loose in the world. The very energy of God’s Spirit is at work in all who believe.

Jesus Himself described the Holy Spirit as a wind. In John 3:8 Nicodemus is told of the unpredictability of the wind. However, He does not confine the attributes of the wind to the Holy  Spirit alone, “… so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

In John 15:15 Jesus made an astounding claim. He said all that He had heard from the [our] Father He has made known to us. That which the Father shared with His Son is now available to us in the Scriptures or supported by the Scriptures. The Church, by and large, has reduced that ‘knowledge’ into systematic theologies that can be learnt by rote. Such are devoid of mystery.

Christianity does not withhold secrets, its secrets have been willingly revealed, but it retains its mysteries. We must see doctrine, not as so many principles, but as gateways into the mystery of God. This mystery was hidden from past ages but has been revealed to His New Covenant saints (Colossians 1:25&26).

There is so much beyond the day-to-day Christian life, or what passes for it. Peter had a detailed vision which brought about huge change in the attitudes of the early Church (Acts 10:9-17). While contemplating what He had seen and heard, the Holy Spirit announced (Acts 10:19&20) the arrival of Cornelius’ delegation. These are examples of the clear and unmistakable interactions of the Holy Spirit with His people. The Holy Spirit’s involvement with the likes of Peter and Paul was not a matter of guesswork. He was a recognized partner whose direction did not require the deliberations of a committee (Acts 13:2; 16:6&9).

Jesus promised this Divine interaction in John 14:17 and 16:13. Nowhere did He imply that the Holy Spirit would need to be conjured up by some form of ritual at a particular time and place.

To speak of such things is never safe and when we realize that, we are in a place that is secure. Being blown along by God can be scary. What we must not do is block out all suggestions of a breeze and miss the mighty rushing wind altogether (Acts 2:1-4).

In our necessary journey from Athens back to Jerusalem, we must remove our Greekness and put on the clothes more suited to that of the mystic. What is a mystic? “A mystic is not someone who hears voices others don’t. A mystic is someone who is awake to the voices that everyone hears.” (Sweet). The materialistic mindset demands an image (Exodus 20:4&5; cf. Hebrews 11:6), the mystical only requires an acknowledgement of the realm of the spirit, the supernatural – a willingness to believe without crutches (Acts 17:22-34; I Peter 1:12; Luke 10:24).

Produced by: Adrian Tamblyn-Watts

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