Led by the Spirit

2. Indwelt by the Spirit

(Rom 8:9-11 NRSV) But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.

The Spirit of God lives within us if we are children of God. Where?

In the inner person – in our spirit. The only fit place for the holiness of God to dwell. He is able to lead us from within our spirits. He gives a new heart that is soft and responsive to Him.

Ezekiel teaches, ” A new spirit I will put within you, (born again) AND I will put MY Spirit within you, (the Holy Spirit) AND cause you to walk in my statutes. (being led by the Spirit)Ezek. 36:26-27

In this way, greater is He (The Holy Spirit) that is within you than he (satan) that is in the world.

(1 John 4:4 NIV “because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Romans 8:14 is a principle as well as a promise. His Spirit is one with our spirit speaks to us of our sonship and daughterhood. Our relationship to the Father is grounded in the spiritual fact of His indwelling. It is exemplified in our worship. Being led brings us into the place where we become the huios and share in the character and privilege so fully shown by Jesus.

(Rom 8:14 NIV) because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons/daughters of God.
(John 4:24 NIV) God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The inner witness

The inner witness is the primary way God leads His children.

(1 Cor 2:6-16 NIV) [9] However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— [10] but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. [11] For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. [12] We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. [13] This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. [14] The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. [15] The spiritual man makes judgements about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgement: [16] “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

“My sheep hear my voice” (John.10:27.)

God communicates with us through the spontaneous thoughts and ideas that come quietly into our minds. It seems like our own thoughts but as we wait in quiet state before Him we become more and more assured that it is the Lord. This assurance grows as we test our understanding of this inner witness. As always with the Lord’s teaching start with small things and as your faith grows you will be able to move in greater things. Our growth in certainty and trust allows God to extend our boundaries.

God may also communicate with us in visual images through the “eyes of the spirit” or vision. There are various types of vision, for example:

i. a dream or vision in the night.

(Acts 16:9 NIV) During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”

ii. a vision received as in a trance.

(Acts 10:10-11 NIV) He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.

iii. seeing outside ourselves with spiritual eyes.

(Acts 7:55 NIV) But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

iv. an “inner picture” with the mind’s eye.

These may come to us spontaneously or be a response from God to a specific prayer. Wisdom suggests we “watch” – be alert for what God is doing and saying.

(Hab 2:1 NIV) I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.

We may also discover God’s direction through study and careful analytical thought. Luke compiled his Gospel through careful investigation and planning – yet it was the revelation of God.

(Luke 1:3 NIV) Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,

N.B. if we commit our work to Him. Our heart attitude must be one of submission and dependence on the Lord. Don’t make an idol of the intellect.

(Prov 3:5-6 NIV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; [6] in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Rather, serve God with all your mind – this is the greatest commandment. While studying, remain open to spontaneous thoughts or ideas from the Holy Spirit.

Trust the voice of your spirit.

(1 John 3:9 NIV) No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.

It is not the inward nature that sins. The Lord has promised the Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of His Word.

(John 16:13 NIV) But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

Confirming and safeguarding (= making sure and checking)

i. Have peace about what you hear.

(Rom 8:6 NIV) The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
(Gal 5:22 NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
(Phil 4:7 NIV) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Col 3:15 NIV) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

ii. Conformity with the Word.

Test everything by the standards of the Bible. Ask the question,” Will doing this cause me to disobey or in any way run counter to the Bible teachings”?

(1 Th 5:21 NIV) Test everything. Hold on to the good.

iii. Keep a teachable spirit. All the witness in the world is of no use if we will not listen and obey instructions.

iv. Be humble enough to seek wise counsel if at all uncertain.

(Prov 11:14 NIV) For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.

v. Heed the spiritual gifts in the church. They may confirm what we already have in our hearts.

vi. The voice of our conscience: The conscience is made more aware, and made more alive, by the Holy Spirit. All men have a conscience, which witnesses to them concerning God’s law. This is the facility or process of thought that distinguishes good and bad, which sometimes stirs in a person a sense of guiltiness towards God.

(Rom 2:15 NIV) since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

Paul wrote that he tries to keep his conscience clear before God and man.

(Acts 24:16 NIV) So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.

He kept his judgement clear on matters of good and evil. A clear conscience is able to assess truth. But a wilful rejection of the truth causes the conscience to be seared so it is no longer sensitive.

(1 Pet 3:13-16 NIV) Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? [14] But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” [15] But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, [16] keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

God’s sovereign voice

Sometimes we are blessed by an audible voice from God or “a word from God” through prophesy or some gift of the Spirit. Do not chase after these things. God will give them when needed. This blessing must also be tested and will usually confirm something we are aware of already.