Following The Narrow Way To Heaven
Written by Michael Wyatt
Thursday, 12 February 2009 03:16



By Michael Wyatt



The past decade has witnessed a new surge of interest in the Bible doctrine of the Holy Spirit (often referred to in the King James Version as the Holy Ghost). Hundreds of articles have appeared in various periodicals and local church bulletins. Dozens of new books and tracts have been published on the subject. Several debates have been conducted dealing with the indwelling and the work of the Holy Spirit. And, in our pulpits we have heard more and more preaching on the Holy Spirit, especially with reference to the influence or indwelling of the Spirit in the life of the Christian.

Though there may be a few references to the Spirit’s indwelling in this lesson, our purpose is not to discuss the indwelling of the Spirit. We are aware that the brotherhood has experienced considerable controversy over the “how” of divine indwelling, but I am not aware of any, to my knowledge, that have questioned the “fact” of indwelling. We may never in our lifetime understand everything about it we would like to know, yet believing the scriptures, we accept the abiding presence of deity as a great heavenly blessing upon us. I believe that we can have some degree of variance in our understanding of the subject and still maintain fellowship on this issue. We must try our very best not to allow this to become a divisive issue. And so, while we were asked not to deal, per say, with the indwelling issue, there may be a reference on occasion that appears.

It is my emphatic conviction that we must refute “far out” views, and the tendency to abandon objective truth to venture into the uncharted realm of subjectivism. From Holy Spirit testimonies and so called experiences to claiming direct guidance separate and apart from the Word of God; we must not keep silent concerning these false doctrines. More will be said later in the lesson on those far out views. In Paul’s parting words to the Corinthian Christians, he said,

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you…The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Corinthians 13:11, 14)


Yes, Christians are assured by the plain teaching of the Bible that deity is with us and abides in us. We do not have to fully fathom it. We do not have to try to define it with some formula. We accept it by faith, from the Word of God, and rejoice!

On the whole, I believe that the new surge of interest in the Holy Spirit can be productive of far more good than harm. There have been many confused and mislead by the fanciful doctrines of men instead of the truth of God’s Word. Some of that may have been caused because of a lack of teaching on what the Bible says on the subject. The good that may come from this surge is that many may once again open their Bibles and come to the correct knowledge on the subject, and no more be carried off by “every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14). In a day when materialism, secularism and immorality are on the rise, it is truly heartening to see so many trying to counter these deadly influences by seeking a more spiritual relationship with God. This surge may cause more of us to give the Bible doctrine of the Holy Spirit the emphasis it deserves in our preaching and teaching.

Today, we want to take another look at the subject of the Holy Spirit, by looking at who the Spirit is; His role as teacher and guide; and how the Holy Spirit wields an influence in our lives. We will also look at miscellaneous doctrines of the Holy Spirit and what the Bible has to say on the subject.



The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have worked together in every dispensation of the world. They cooperated together in the creation of the world and the church. The fact that they work together even now on behalf of those who shall inherit salvation is abundantly clear from numerous passages.

There are numerous places in the New Testament where we find the Holy Spirit named

along with God the Father and Christ. At the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan River, you find Jesus in the water, a voice from heaven declaring, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” and the Spirit descending in bodily form as a dove and lighting upon Jesus (Matthew 3:16-17). In John 3:34, we find that Jesus, while on earth, possessed the Spirit without measure: “For God gave not the Spirit by measure unto him.” Just before leaving this earth and ascending to Heaven, Jesus gave His Apostles the great, world-wide commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). As we noted above, Paul closed his second epistle to the church at Corinth with this Divine benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:14). In these and many other passages the Divine Three are named together, indicating a perfect unity, oneness and harmony of the Godhead.

Many Christians may have difficulties in conceptualizing the Holy Spirit in terms of a Divine Person. We have no problem in picturing Jesus as a person for He came into the world and took on the form of a man with flesh, blood and bones, just like any other man. John explains that in John 1:1-14. But the Holy Spirit never took on the form of humanity, and for this reason it is difficult for us to think of Him in personal terms. Nevertheless, the Scriptures attribute to Him qualities that are personal, such as: mind, knowledge, volition; and He speaks, bears witness, makes intercession, can be grieved, can be lied to, resisted, etc. (Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-11; 12:11; Ephesians 4:30; John 15:26; Acts 5:3; 7:51; etc.). After all, the Heavenly Father Himself was never in the form of a fleshly man, as was Jesus, and yet we have no problem thinking of Him as a Divine Person or Being. Even so, the Holy Spirit.


When Jesus was preparing His Apostles for His departure from the world, He assured them that they would not be left as orphans, on their own, without Divine guidance and help. He promised that He would send them “another Comforter” (John 14:16, 26; John 16:12-13). Because of the Comforter, they would be able to think, remember, recall and fully reveal the truth which Christ wanted all men to have as His word. And so, by this special Helper, they would be inspired revealers of the new covenant scriptures with miraculous power to confirm the word as it was being revealed.

Christ’s special promise of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles began to be fulfilled on Pentecost Day (Acts 2). The Spirit’s coming on that eventful day was accompanied by three supernatural manifestations: (1) The sound as of a rushing mighty wind; (2) cloven tongues like as of fire sitting upon the Apostles; and (3) the ability to speak so that some 17 different language groups could “…hear we every man in own tongue, wherein he was born” (Acts 2:1-11).

Later, the Spirit similarly manifested His presence at the household of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48). The purpose of a sudden, unexpected, miraculous manifestation of the Spirit on that occasion was to convince the Jewish Christians that the door of salvation, on the same Gospel terms, was open to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. Reading Acts 10:34-48, along with the first eighteen verses of chapter eleven, will reveal that the Spirit’s supernatural operation upon Cornelius and his household did not in any wise circumvent or by-pass the Gospel plan of salvation. It was only for a sign. Cornelius and his household were saved by hearing, believing and obeying the Gospel in baptism just as in every other case of conversion recorded in the Book of Acts.

The Spirit’s role in the saving of sinners, in every case, is that of teaching and convicting through the Gospel – the word of faith. Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” But the Spirit revealed the word, the Gospel message; first orally, through inspired Apostles and prophets; later, in the word of truth which the Spirit-inspired men committed to writing. In either case, the Holy Spirit operated upon the sinner, not directly, but through the word to produce faith, conviction and obedience to the will of Christ which results in salvation. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch is another example where this principle is clearly illustrated. The Spirit directed Philip the evangelist to the Ethiopian, who taught him the message of Christ, and the Ethiopian was saved when he heard, believed, confessed Christ and was baptized (Acts 8:29-39).

Even in Apostolic days, the Spirit never operated directly upon an alien sinner to save him but always through a messenger who presented the Gospel message. In James 1:21, we are all admonished to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” And, Peter explains, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever…And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:22-25).


I want to first begin this section by looking at the fanciful ideas of men. You may recall Oral Roberts said that God told him he would call him home if he did not raise eight million dollars by the end of March 1987. At the same time, Pat Robertson, according to an article in Christianity Today (August 7, 1987), was critical of Oral’s pronouncement, calling it a “fund raising tactic,” evidently doubting that God told Oral that. Pat, on the other hand, claimed he was in the presidential race “in response to the clear and distinct prompting of the Lord’s Spirit.” In response to the outlandish claims, some questions are in order: First, when did God become so materialistic as to demand eight million dollars? Second, why did God not call Oral home? Third, why would Pat question the authenticity of Oral’s communication from God? Fourth, why would the “Lord’s Spirit” demand that Pat get into the presidential race and then allow him to lose? And lastly, why has God never spoken to you and me like that? I try to serve God. I study His word, daily. I am a prayerful man. Why has God not spoken to me like that? Or to you?

The fanciful notions of men, concerning how the Holy Spirit leads people today, usually involve various means. There are those who believe that the Holy Spirit leads us by our feelings or urges. A man claimed that he accepted the “revelations” of Joseph Smith as being inspired, and that he knew he was right because of the way he felt. He even said that he had a “burning feeling in my chest.” Another man, visiting in my office, said that he had been driving down the street, not paying any attention to the houses he was passing, when the Holy Spirit made him stop his car and pull into a house of some people who needed a visit. He believed that the Holy Spirit put that feeling into his heart. I asked him if he ever went to make a visit and found the person not at home? He confessed that sometimes happened. People have feelings and some attribute those feelings to the influence of the Holy Spirit. They will affirm, “I feel led to do so-and-so.”

Some have the idea that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through our experiences. When an unusual thing happens, we sometimes hear someone say, “God must be trying to tell us something.” Others have the idea that the Holy Spirit gives some special guidance to help us understand the Bible. If that were true, then it seems one would never come to misunderstand a single passage, but would have perfect understanding of every passage in the Bible.

There is also the idea that the Lord influences man today through certain signs. One man claimed that while at a hospital he saw the face of Jesus in the grain of a wooden door in the hospital waiting room. According to the story, the man won a bass tournament the next weekend. All of these ideas strike at the basic and fundamental truth that the Bible is the complete and all-sufficient revelation of the will of God to man. If the Holy Spirit influences man today by any or all of these ideas mentioned above: feelings and urges; experiences; special guidance; certain signs; then the Bible is not what it claims. And if the Holy Spirit influences us today through these methods, one could never be sure of the will of the Lord for him or her.

The truth to the matter of how the Holy Spirit influences man today is through the written Word of God. In the Book of Acts alone there are 188 occurrences of some form of the word “speak, preach, and hear.” There is not one reference to the Holy Spirit’s leading anyone to obey God in any other way than by speaking or preaching. It has always been the case that God communicated His mind to the masses by selecting some one or some few, sending His Spirit upon that one or those few for the purpose of inspiring them. They in turn delivered the Word of God to the masses. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, James and Jude were selected by the Lord to be His spokesman to the masses during the age in which we live. He inspired them with His Holy Spirit, and they wrote the New Testament. When we are following the teachings of the New Testament, we are being led by the Holy Spirit. Paul asked the question in Romans 10:14, “…and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Again Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” That is why Jesus commanded that the gospel be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15). That is why there are no Christians, no believers in Christ, where the Word of God has not gone!

The Spirit operates through the Word of God. The Word is the instrument He uses, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). The message of God to man is all contained in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4). He has no other message for us. Read carefully: Whatever the Bible teaches the Holy Spirit supplies to save sinners, the Bible also says the Word of God supplies.

AN ILLUSTRATION: Man was wonderfully made by God. When God made man’s physical body He gave it peculiar organization. For example, God has fitted the stomach with all the power necessary to the reception and digestion of food as necessary for the body. No other way this can take place unless it is in harmony with this organization. Therefore, taking in nourishment is a vital part of living. God made the inner man. As the body has its peculiar organization, so has the mind. The mind has all its proper faculties. God has decreed for all time that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). There is no other way that faith can come. Question: Does God circumvent these organizations? For God to circumvent the peculiar organization of the physical body and strengthen it without food would be a miracle. Likewise, for God to circumvent the faculties of the mind to spiritually strengthen the Christian would be no less a miracle. Now, we cannot have it both ways. If miracles have ceased, and the Bible says they have (1 Corinthians 13:8-13), then God does not circumvent the mind of men. The Holy Spirit influences and leads us today only through the Word of God! As we walk in harmony with the Word, we are led by the One who revealed it, the Holy Spirit! If you desire to be strengthened and influenced by the Holy Spirit, then study with all diligence the Scriptures which are able to save your soul (1 Peter 1:22-25).


God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit have framed, executed, and revealed the great Scheme of Redemption. We are the recipients of the bountiful mercy and grace of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. But salvation has never been forced on anyone. It is a matter everyone must choose for themselves.

Does the Holy Spirit lead us today? Absolutely! But only by the inspired Word, given to us by His chosen disciples, that provides everything we need to make us complete!