Using Correct Terminology (Part 13) - Led by the Spirit (Part A)


Led by the Spirit (Part A) 19. Led by the Spirit A. Charismatics, and too often other professing Christians, frequently say they are "led by the Spirit" to do various things. i. It is scriptural for Christians to be "led by the Spirit of God" (Rom 8:14), or to be "led of the Spirit" (Gal 5:18). ii. But the following questions need to be asked and answered. a. What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? b. How does the Spirit lead us? c. How do we know when the Spirit is leading us? B. What most people mean when they say they were led by the Spirit to do something is that they had a strong feeling that they should do it. i. They will say things like "I feel the Spirit leading me", or "I feel like the Spirit is telling me to do thus and so." a. They are equating the Holy Spirit with an emotion. b. Emotion n. – 4. a. fig. – Any agitation or disturbance of mind, feeling, passion; any vehement or excited mental state. b. Psychology. A mental 'feeling' or 'affection' (e.g. of pleasure or pain, desire or aversion, surprise, hope or fear, etc.), as distinguished from cognitive or volitional states of consciousness. Also abstr. 'feeling' as distinguished from the other classes of mental phenomena. c. Such people are being led by their hearts (the seat of emotions), rather than God. (i) Following one's heart is dangerous (Pro 28:26; Mar 7:21-23; Jer 17:9). (ii) We must lead our heart by sound reasoning from a solid understanding of the scripture (Pro 23:19; Pro 4:23), rather than being led by it. d. People think they feel God's presence when they feel certain emotions. (i) Emotions are a poor indicator of God's presence. (ii) Jacob was in God's presence, and he didn't even know it (Gen 28:16). (iii) God's prophets, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21), experienced a wide range of emotions from joy to sorrow to depression to indignation (read the Psalms). (iv) Our emotions are therefore not a measure of whether the Spirit is leading us or not. ii. People can be led by things other than God. a. People can be led by idols (1Co 12:2). b. They can be led by hypocrites and their own lusts (2Ti 3:6). c. They can also be led away by false teachers who wrest the scriptures (2Pe 3:16-17). d. It is therefore very important to understand what it means to be led by the Spirit and how to distinguish the Spirit's leading from our own emotions and lusts. iii. It is much easier to follow one's own emotions and lusts than it is to do the hard word of learning the scriptures and making the difficult decisions which the Bible leads us to make. C. What does it mean to be led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14)? i. Led ppl. – [Pa. pple. of LEAD v. 1] ii. Lead v. – I. To conduct. 1. trans. To cause to go along with oneself. 2. a. To accompany and show the way to; to conduct, guide, esp. to direct or guide by going on in advance; to cause to follow in one's path. iii. The Holy Spirit leads children of God by showing them God's ways and directing them to follow in God's path. iv. The question then becomes: how and by what means does the Holy Spirit do that? a. It will be shown in the next section that the Holy Spirit leads God's children by means of the Holy Scriptures. b. Christians are filled with the Spirit by having the word of God dwell in them richly (Eph 5:18-19 c/w Col 3:16). c. God pours out His Spirit to His children by making His words known unto them (Pro 1:23). d. It is therefore through the word of God given through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21) that the Spirit leads men. D. How does God lead us? i. To be led of the Spirit is to walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:18 c/w Gal 5:16). a. One walks in the Spirit by walking in the word of God (Psa 119:1) and thereby walking in God's ways (Psa 119:3). b. Walking in the Spirit is not walking in the counsel of the ungodly, but rather in the law of God (Psa 1:1-2). ii. God leads us in His truth (Psa 25:5). a. God's truth is found in His word (Joh 17:17). b. Therefore, God leads us by His word, the Holy Scriptures. c. The LORD shows us His ways and teaches us His paths through His word (Psa 25:4-5; Psa 86:11; Psa 119:15).
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