|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2008|
|When does a Christian receive the Holy Spirit, and what is the Spirit’s role in the life of that Christian?|
Turn with me to 1 John 2. The title for this message is “The Believer and the Holy Spirit.” Now I know every time we start it sounds like a broken record, but I think we continually need to keep in front of us why the book of 1 John was written. It was written to combat false doctrine. As a matter of fact, look in 1 John 2:26: “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.” Now there were those who had gotten into the church and obviously the Gnostics of that day, the Gnostic heresy was one that denied the Lord Jesus ever being the God-man. Of course, they believed that all flesh was evil and the spirit was good, therefore, God would have never taken upon Himself a human body. Of course, John sets out to tear that doctrine down.
The particular brand of Gnosticism that we are dealing with in 1 John is that which came from a man by the name of Cerenthus, called the Cerenthian heresy. Cerenthus said that Jesus really was the son of Joseph and Mary and that at His baptism the Spirit came to indwell Him, then at His crucifixion the Spirit left Him. So he never really was God except for that period of time the Spirit came to live in Him, indwelt Him, but then left Him. The Docetic heresy came out of that Cerenthian heresy which said that Jesus was a ghost, He was an apparition, He never had a body to start with, He just looked like He did. Therefore, they denied everything the Lord Jesus came to do.
Obviously, you will have no sin to deal with because the flesh is evil. The Gnostic heresy allowed for sin. You can’t help it anyway. You live in a body. Why you just live in a carton and you are spiritual inside that little carton and whatever the carton does, your body, you are not responsible for, you don’t have to deal with sin. Of course, obviously that is wrong but that is what the Cerenthian heresy said, the Gnostic heresy of Cerenthus.
Well, John writes, “Listen, this is a believer. This is an unbeliever.” And in doing so in such a beautiful way he just erodes all of that false doctrine that had gotten among the believers. So far we have seen the believer and sin in 1:6-2:2. We have seen the believer and obedience in 2:3-6. We have seen the believer and relationships in 2:7-11. We have seen the believer and the world in 2:15-17. And the last time together we saw the believer and truth in 2:18-25. And now I want you to see the believer and the Holy Spirit of God especially in the matter of discerning against truth and error, how to make the decision, is this really true or is this error? How does the Holy Spirit help us?
Now John picked up on the thought of verse 20 of chapter 2: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know…” Now remember, that word “anointing” is the word chrisma and it comes from the word chrio and that is a spiritual anointing. There are two words for anoint. One word means simply to massage, almost in a medicinal way. That is the word used in James 5. But this word here is that spiritual anointing.
When you look at the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, you will find that when any king was anointed by the High Priest, it was always this word, it was the chrisma or chrio and it was always with oil that they were anointed. Of course, we see many scriptures in the Old Testament that verify that. But in the New Testament as we saw last time, the anointing is without oil. Oil does not do one single thing in the New Testament. It is the Holy Spirit, a person, that anoints us in the New Testament.
That is what the Apostle Paul said in Acts when he said the Lord Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit of God. Now, in Romans 8:9 it nails it. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit of God, friend, you are not a believer. Romans 8:9 says, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you, but if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” So the anointing is the person of the Holy Spirit of God that comes to live in our life the moment we receive Christ.
Now verse 27 of chapter 2 picks up on that word “anointing” again and it doesn’t mention Him as a person, it just calls Him the anointing. It says in verse 27, “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
Now, we want to look at the Holy Spirit, this anointing that came into our life when we got saved, enabling us to do what we couldn’t do before. Remember, the context is in verse 26 that I read earlier. You cannot force these verses from the context that they are in. Verse 26 says, “These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.” So we are in the context of people coming in with false doctrine. We are in the context of false teachers. And that is where we find this anointing and we find Him being the Holy Spirit of God and we find our relationship to Him and how He helps us in understanding the difference between truth and error.
There are two things that I want you to see. First, the Apostle John wants us to know that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives us discernment concerning false doctrine. That is who it is that lives in us. When we are around false doctrine, it is the Holy Spirit that is going to let us know, yes, no, whatever. He is going to always give us that discernment concerning false doctrine. We have already read Verse 27: “And as for you, the anointing, [remember that anointing is the Holy Spirit] which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things.”
Now, the Apostle John, in trying to show us that we have the Holy Spirit, we have a tremendous help when it comes to false doctrine, makes a point about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit that is needed in our day. I want to tell you, folks, if you can’t see this, you have missed the whole thing. This is really not his point, but in making another point, he just sort of skips over something that has hung people up for years in America particularly in the 20th century about the Holy Spirit. He says, “And as for you, the anointing which you received.”
Now the tense of that is aorist active indicative. Now what does that mean? Well, aorist tense means at a certain point in time you received this anointing. Indicative mood means that it is a certain fact. You can write it down. It is historically true. It took place. Active voice means you were totally involved in the encounter. You yourself received the anointing at a certain particular point in time. Now, according to verses 12-17, who is he talking about? You see, in the doctrine that is going around these days, you get Jesus but you don’t get the Holy Spirit or if you do get the Holy Spirit, you don’t get the anointing. They say that the anointing is one thing and the Holy Spirit is something else. What I am trying to show you is the anointing and the Holy Spirit are the same thing. And the anointing is the enablement of God to do what God has assigned to each individual.
Now who is he talking to? Verses 12-17 say there are four different groups. There are babes in Christ, those who are growing in Christ, those young men in the very prime of their life and then the old men, all of them in spiritual connection here. We are talking about spiritual children, every one of them at a certain point received the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. It is amazing to me how simple that is, but how many people make it something else. “Oh, have you received the anointing of God?” Yeah, I did. When I got saved I received it. And I want to tell you something. Every time He is empowered in my life, that anointing continues to work. It is His enablement to carry out the assignment God has given to each one of us. They all received the anointing. Boy, that puts a dent in the doctrine of the 20th century.
And as for the anointing which you received, he goes on to say in the verse, “from Him.” From whom? From Christ. What we have from Christ, folks, could never come from man. We have an enablement. We have an anointing. We have the Holy Spirit of God. Man cannot give someone else that. God gave Him to us. You see, Jesus made us a promise in John 14:16-18. He says, “And I will ask the Father and He will give you another helper that He may be with you forever, that is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it does not behold Him or know Him. But you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”
Now you know the context of John 14. That is chapters 13-16. It is the special time that He had with His disciples before He went to be crucified. Chapter 17 is His priestly prayer, 18 starts the events that take Him to the cross. Judas had been dismissed because Judas was really not one of them. He went out from us, as we saw the last time. And so now He has this precious group around Him and He is trying to explain to them in these verses, “I must go to the Father. If I don’t go to the Father, then you don’t understand how much better it is going to be if I go to the Father. If I stay here with you, I can only be in one place at one time. But I am going to be with the Father and then I will not be with you, I will be in you. Which would you rather have? Would you rather have Me with you or would you rather have Me in you.”
You see. And He is telling them that in chapter 14 and He says there in verse 16, “I will send another helper.” Now there are two words for another. The word heteros, which means another of a total different kind. We get the word “heterosexual, heterogeneous” from that. Then there is the word allos, and we get the word ally which means another of the exact same kind.
Oh, folks, you see, there is only one God in three persons. What He is saying is, “I am going to come back but I will come back in the person of My Spirit and I will live in you.” How long will He stay with you? He says, “I will send you another helper that He may be with you forever.” And then in verse 18 look at what He says, “I will not leave you as orphans.” Now look, “I will come to you.” Now wait a minute. Do we get two or do we get one? How many do we get? Jesus is simply saying, “I am coming back, but I am coming back in the person of My Spirit called the anointing and I will come to live in your life and I will come to anoint you with power.
Now we go back to 1 John 2:27, “The anointing which you received from Him abides in you.” Present indicative active. Present tense means constantly, daily, all the time. He, the Holy Spirit, the anointing, is living in us. I remember I was teaching on the Holy Spirit one time and I was showing them how the Holy Spirit comes to live in the life of a believer and this one elderly lady just sat there and looked at me in awe the whole time I was teaching. I noticed it. I noticed it because she was captured by what we were saying. And afterwards she came up to me and she put her little feeble arms around me and she said, “Bro. Wayne, you are the first person in my whole life that ever told me that God actually lives inside of me. When I go home tonight in my little trailer that I live in with my daughter, I know that when my daughter leaves, I am never alone again. He lives in me. He lives in me!” And she said, “I come forward tonight just to let you know that I want Him to rule my life and I want to be surrendered to Him as long as God leaves me on this earth.” She was 84 years old. I want to tell you one thing, friend, I guarantee you from the day she was 84 until the day she met Jesus was probably one of the most exciting days of her entire life to know that God did not leave us as orphans. He sent His Spirit to live in us and He consistently abides in us.
That is exactly what John is saying. You have the Holy Spirit of God that lives within you daily, moment by moment. Oh, how exciting. Not with us but in us. Verse 27 says, “And you have no need for anyone to teach you.” Now you have to be real careful here. This gets tricky. Be real careful. As a matter of fact, I hope this is as exciting as it was to me. John wrote in his gospel in John 16:13, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth.” In other words, you want to know truth, someone has come to live in you to lead you into truth. That is why the Apostle Paul says, “Be controlled by Him. Let Him do what He came to do. He wants to lead you into truth. He will show you the difference of error. He will show you the difference of truth.
The Holy Spirit is the one who does two things that are so important. First of all, He enables us as verse 20 tells us, to know all things. He says in verse 20 again, “But you have the anointing from the Holy One and you all know…” Now that word for “know” in verse 20 is the word oida. And that word means intuitive knowledge. It is not something you have to learn. It is something He gives to you. When people on television sometimes and they stop in the middle of it and say, “God, did you say something to me? What? What? I had a word of knowledge.” Well, if that knowledge was true knowledge and found in scripture, it would have to be the word oida because that is something you don’t learn. That is something God gives to you at the moment. It is discernment. It is perception. And I’ll tell you what, in 1 Corinthians 12 when it says “the word of knowledge” that is not the word that is used.
There is another word gnosis and ginosko. That is the kind of knowledge that you have to learn. You have to go to school. In other words, the anointing of the Holy Spirit comes in to give us that discerning knowledge, that perceived knowledge. But that doesn’t mean we don’t grow as Christians, we don’t have to learn the word, we don’t have to listen to others as they teach the Word. The Holy Spirit is the one who gives us the ability to learn, the ability to be taught, but the ability to discern and be perceptive of what we are hearing. The Holy Spirit gives us that. A person without the Holy Spirit is a lost person. A Christian has that wonderful opportunity. He is our teacher, the one living in us that gives us true discernment.
Now, but about what? And this is where you have to be real careful. If you are not real careful you are going to miss what John is saying here. Since he teaches you all things and you have no need of anyone to teach you, then how come we have preachers and how come we have teachers? Let’s just get rid of them all. But he is not saying that. He is not saying to get rid of all preachers and teachers. That is not his point at all. You’ve got to be careful to see what this verse is saying. I know you are going to say, “Where have you been, Wayne?” But I saw this for the first time while I was studying it today. It just knocked me out of my chair. It is so simple, but I have made it so difficult over the years.
Look here: “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; [now watch this] but as His anointing teaches you about all things.” The word is peri, and the word peri means concerning all things. Oh, it dawned on me what he is saying is, He doesn’t teach you everything, but He gives you discernment about what you are listening to as you are being taught. The Holy Spirit lives in you to do that.
You are going to hear teaching until you die. You are going to hear teaching constantly. You should be. We all need to be taught, but the Holy Spirit teaches you concerning all things. In other words, when you are listening to someone and the Holy Spirit is operative in your life in the sense that you are surrendered to Him and open to Him and you hear somebody touch on something that is not truth, you may not even know the verse, you may not even know the place to turn to, but something in your Spirit says, No, that is wrong. That is wrong.
That is the Holy Spirit of God and that is what He was given to us for and that is exactly what they need to hear in the book of 1 John. They are dealing with false teachers. How are we going to know? You have an anointing of God and He lives in you and He will teach you concerning all things. Obviously God has gifted others to teach. It is the Holy Spirit, however, that gives you understanding.
But what He is talking about here is concerning all things, about all things. We have the wonderful Holy Spirit of God living in us who is consistently seeking to teach us about all things that some are seeking to teach us. You catch that? He is teaching us about it. He is giving us discernment as we are listening. Is that error or is that truth? Is that error or is that truth? Therefore, we can know all things. We can discern all things as verse 20 says. We don’t know all things. You just get saved, you don’t know all things. But you can know all things through the Spirit in the sense of that discernment He will give to you. This is why when you watch somebody like that, as I said, you get that feeling inside and you are thinking, “No, this is not right.”
Now friend, I want to tell you something, we have a spirit, we have the Spirit of God living in us so that we don’t get totally off track just because somebody can do something emotional and somebody can do something they call miraculous. Hey, that is the big tragedy of living in America. We think everything that is supernatural is God and we forget somebody mimicked every miracle Moses did.
Well, verse 27 goes on and says, “Just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” What has the Holy Spirit taught us? What do we know because the Holy Spirit lives in us? Here is the security every believer needs to know about. The verb for abide is future indicative. It means you shall always, regardless, remain in Him. Once you are in Him and He is in you, you shall always remain in Him. What God did for us in sending the Holy Spirit to live in us can never be taken away from us, even if we at some time we are led astray, that does not deny the fact that we are in Him and He is in us and that is an eternal principle. He has taught us that. So we can put our feet on that solid ground. The Holy Spirit, God’s anointing in us will always be present to give us the discernment we need to survive the false teaching in this world. We have someone living in us. You don’t have to go to a hundred classes to know that. The Holy Spirit lives in us to be our divine protector when these things come our way.
Second, John wants us to know we must consistently abide in Christ and His Word or the discernment of the Spirit will not work for us. Now He is there to do it, but there is a key to this thing and I knew it was there, I just stayed with it. But look at verse 28. “And now little children, abide in Him.” You see, the difference of the abiding in Him in verse 27 and the abiding in Him in verse 28, in verse 28 it is a command. And any time you see that command, oh, he is telling us something right there. You want to the Holy Spirit to operate within you and give you that discernment of truth and error, be careful. If you are not seeking to abide in Christ, what happens is, you shut the process down and your senses grow dull and all of a sudden you might be led astray.
In the last passage we looked at, I wondered if these people being led astray were even Christians to start with. It kind of looked that way. It says we all have an anointing from the Holy One. It looks to me like if you are being led astray, you must not even know Christ. But I think I have been answered in this verse. Because he says in verse 28, “And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”
Let me share with you my thoughts on that and just let you check it out as the Bereans would check it out. The command to abide in Him is the command to abide in Christ because it says, “So that when He appears.” We know the Him has to be Christ. Abide in Him, in His Spirit. Alright, obviously it is Christ. Alright, the verb is present imperative, I have already said that. To me, John is leveling a warning at the believers. You see, to abide is described very clearly in John’s gospel and I want you to go with me there in John 15. John has already written a gospel and that gospel has this stuff just nailed down. He doesn’t get into it in detail in his epistles as much as he does in his gospel.
What does it mean to abide in Christ? What is my responsibility in abiding in Christ? John 15:4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” Now that is very significant. We must abide in Him or remain in Him, dwell in Him, live in Him. Verse 7, “If you abide in Me,” now here is one of the keys right here, “and My words abide in you.” Oh, you mean to tell me that if I am not in the Word, living by the Word, that I can’t say I am abiding in Christ?” That is exactly right. You cannot say that because if you love Him you are going to love His Word and it is the Word of God that teaches us to know Him and to walk with Him. We abide in Him that way.
It says, “Ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you.” That doesn’t mean you get every desire you want, it is the desires He has given you and you ask them back to Him. Look in verses 9-10, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” Now watch. How do you abide in His love? “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide [live, dwell, exist, remain] in His love.”
Now, John says it differently in chapter 1. He doesn’t say abide in Christ, he says walk in the light. Paul would say it differently in Ephesians 5. He says, “Be filled with the Spirit.” Peter says it differently in 2 Peter. He says, “Work out of the faith you already have.” You don’t need anything else, but see to it that it is supplied in your life. You see, it is all the same thing. As I abide in Him, it means I surrender to Him. The sphere of my life is surrounded by His Word and His will. I am energized in His Spirit and I simply just want to do whatever He wants me to do.
Now, when I live that way, I will have confidence when He comes to stand in His presence. I won’t shrink back in shame. In other words, there won’t be a lifestyle that I am ashamed of and I won’t have been led astray because I will have been filled with the Spirit, therefore, I will have been led by the Spirit and God will give me that discernment as I go through. One day Christ is coming back. No wonder so many Christians are deceived. How many of us really live out of the Word. How many of us let the Word lead us to Christ. How many of us? You see, the more I know of the Word, the more the Holy Spirit can give me the perception and discernment of what is error and what is not error. If I am not going to be in the Word at a point that is going to grow dull because I won’t know the difference.
And folks, listen, the people that are most susceptible to error are not disobedient people. They are people that are hungry for God but they are not in His Word. They are not abiding in Him. His Words are not abiding in them. And these are the people chasing after some of these weird things that are going on. It is all in their emotion. Not because of what the Word of God is giving to them. If you have the Holy Spirit living in you, the Holy Spirit living in you will let you know when there is error. But if you are not going to abide in Christ, in whose Spirit lives in you, if you are not going to do that, if you are not going to let the Word of God get into your life, then what is going to happen is, the false teachers are going to get you. You are easy prey.
If you are not going to get in the Word, friend, if you think you can just come to church and get it and that is enough for you for the rest of the week, then you are not going to live surrendered to the Holy Spirit of God. If that is what you have chosen to do, then friend, listen, you are on dangerous ground. That is what the Apostle John, I think, is saying here to put the balance to it. The Holy Spirit is there, yes, but if you are not going to abide in Christ, then what is going to happen is, you are going to be led so astray you are going to live a lifestyle that is so far off center that when Christ does come, you are so ashamed and you shrink back at His coming. So the balance is, I have to make sure that I am listening to Him and being filled with Him and submitted to Him daily so that He can operate and give me that discernment that I am so desperate for in my life.
It says in Verse 29, “If you know that He is righteous,” and he uses the first word for “know”, intuitively, “then you know” and here he uses the second word for “knowledge”, “you have learned that everyone else who practices righteousness is born of Him.” If you know, how are you going to know? Because remember, the Holy Spirit gives you that kind of knowledge. And if you are not letting Him do in your life what He wants to do, you don’t really have this knowledge.
But you know that Jesus is absolutely inherently righteous. He goes on. It says, “You know,” and this is by experience, “that whoever practices righteousness is born of Him.” And this is what that said to me. When I am living up under the power of the Holy Spirit of God, treating Him as Holy and understanding that He is righteous and He is God, I am bowing before Christ Himself, then when I am living that way, then I learn to put other people up next to the one that I am submitted to in my heart. And it doesn’t take you that long to figure out who is false and who is right. When you start matching their lifestyle to His, then you know immediately who the fakes are. It doesn’t take you long.
I was listening to a man on television one day and he was saying that Jesus was never poor. He said that when it said that He had no place to lay His head, He had really already made reservations down the road and had a nice place already kept for Him. He just simply said the inns were already full where He was and He was headed on down the road to a reservation He already had. That is the type of message that you can watch every night on some stations. And I want to tell you something, friend, when you put that up next to the one who is Holy, the one who emptied Himself of His glory and came to this earth and lived the life He lived to die a horrible death on the cross and you start saying that kind of garbage, you put them side by side and, friend, it doesn’t take you long to figure out which one is right and which one is wrong.
You see, we have someone living in us that will tell you what error is. If you are not going to get in the Word, forget it because you are going to be so confused you don’t know when He is speaking and when He is not speaking. But the more you sensitize yourself to Him, the more sensitive you become by being in His Word and obedient to His Word, the quicker He speaks because you know He is absolutely Holy and righteous and when you start hearing some of this stuff that doesn’t match to His Word and doesn’t match to His character, it doesn’t take you long to figure it out.
You see, we have a divine protector who lives within us. The anointing, the Holy Spirit. He lives in your heart and He lives in my heart. The more you stay in the Word, you will pick it up on errors in teaching so fast it will make your head swim. Don’t buy into it or friend, it will lead you down a path of living that one day you will have no confidence even to stand in His presence when He comes. You will shrink back. Do you know why? Because they have led you into a doctrine that says you can live for yourself and still call yourself spiritual in the last days. When you see Him, friend, you are not going to want to stand in His presence having lived that way, you see.
Well, I don’t know if it meant anything to you, but boy, it blessed me. I didn’t realize He taught us concerning all things. He doesn’t teach us all things. He is the one who gives revelation, certainly. He teaches the deep things of God. We have teachers, though. You don’t throw away all your teachers and don’t fire all the preachers. God can work through people that honor His Word, but He will give you a perception and a discernment at all times whether you are hearing truth or whether you are hearing error.