The Slumbering Spirit
Part 1: Awake, O My Soul!
Sabbath Day Sermon: Saturday 7 February 2004
I wonder if you are one of those people who believes in Yahweh but has never experienced Him in a one-to-one personal relationship as you might a husband or a wife? You may even be one of those people who can act with others on an intellectual level but have no feelings towards them. You experience your joy and your sorrow, your exhilaration and depression more as functions of your mind than of your heart. If that is your experience then you belong to an increasingly large body of people - both Christian and non-Christian - who have what is called a 'slumbering spirit'.
Everybody knows the difference between a person who is physically awake and one who is asleep. An awake person is alert to his surroundings to a greater or lesser extent. He is interacting with his physical environment. Even a daydreamer is connected to his physical environment to some degree. Someone who is a sleepwalker may give the appearance of being awake but can walk right past people without even noticing them. I remember the first time I saw a person sleepwalking and believed they were awake. It was only the distant, blank unconnected look which made me realise that something wasn't quite normal. So it should come as no surprise to people to learn that the human spirit - which is a distinct and separate part from our outer, physical body - can also be awake or asleep. Taking the physical body and the spirit together, four general states of existence are then possible:
We all know what we mean by an 'asleep body', but what is meant by an 'asleep spirit'? We find a clue in Yah'shua's (Jesus') words when He said:
"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Master, Master, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles.' And I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'" (Mt.7:22-23).
I have, before, when addressing this passage pointed out that Yah'shua (Jesus) is here speaking to "lawless" or "Torahless" believers. These are they who believe, witness, prophesy, cast out demons, and even perform miracles. They may be eloquent preachers, evangelists and skilled teachers of the Word. But they remain lawless - they will not submit their lives to Yahweh's Torah. Instead, they appeal to 'love' and 'grace' and interpret scripture in such a way that they can edit out those commandments and laws of the Most High which they do not feel bound to obey. These things I have spoken about before. All this is confirmed in the Judaikon (Jewish) version of this passage which reads: "If you are in My bosom and do not the will of My Father which is in heaven, out of My bosom will I cast you". That this was an earlier rendering before it was translated or paraphrased into Greek, is confirmed by the apostolic father, Clement, a disciple of John, who quotes this in an early epistle of his, saying: "The Lord has said, 'Though you should be joined to Me, even in My very bosom, and keep not my commandments, I would cast you off, and say to you, 'Depart from Me, I know not who you are, you workers of iniquity''" (2 Clement 4:5 - v.15 in some editions).
The importance of commandment-keeping cannot be over-stressed. However, as we know, there is a right way and a wrong way to keep the commandments. There is one way which leads to death and one which leads to - or to be more precise is a part of, life. I wish therefore to draw your attention to another aspect of this important passage, and that is the word "know" which in both the original Hebrew and in our Greek translations conveys the kind of intimacy which belongs to the marital union. It is used of the conjunction of Adam and Eve when he "knew" her. Thus there must be a literal 'bosom-connection' with Christ, an intimate spiritual union, which we in our parlance call echad or oneness. Thus we have four more categories of relationship to consider here:
||Obedience to Torah = ECHAD LIFE (SALVATION)|
|No bosom-connection +
||Obedience to Torah = LEGALISM (DAMNATION)|
||Disobedience to Torah = HYPOCRISY (DAMNATION)|
|No bosom-connection +
||Disobedience to Torah = DEATH (DAMNATION)|
My question to you is this: which of these persons, possessing one pair of attributes, is saved? Yah'shua (Jesus) has already plainly stated that those who have a bosom-connection to Him but who disobey the commandments, are unknown to Him and fit only to be cast out, like a divorced wife! They are not saved even if they may have lived their lives thinking that they were! Someone who exercises faith in Christ, appeals to His blood and comes under His covering, becomes attached to Him in a relationship. But that is not enough! He says so Himself. Those who are in relationship with Him must obey otherwise they do not have that quality of relationship which makes it more than a mere 'bosom-attachment' or emotional tie so that it becomes echad knowing.
Thus the path to salvation involves three things:
- A bosom-attachment by faith;
- The love-response of faith which is Torah-obedience; and
- The resultant echad (oneness) or 'knowing' relationship.
This should at once strike a cord of terror into the vast majority of charismatics and others who claim that the Law or Torah has been done away with and that 'all you need is love' or 'grace', if I may quote the Beatles pop group. It is by grace that the bosom-attachment is made - Yah'shua (Jesus) invites us under His covering as an act of loving-kindness that requires of us a love-response, and that love-response is obedience to Torah. It is only when that love-response has been given that a true echad relationship is born and which - if we remain in obedience - can never be severed.
The great lie that Satan has introduced into the evangelical churches is that Step #2 - the love-response of faith leading to Torah-obedience - has been "nailed to the cross", and the excuse that is made is that we were never saved by obeying the Law. That, however, is a monumental red herring because any careful study of the Old Testament will plainly reveal that Israel was never saved by obeying the Law but by faith which gave as its love-response obedience to Yahweh's Law. However, this is not the focus of my address to you today. My interest primarily concerns those people who have reached out in faith to Yah'shua (Jesus), have responded in obedience to Torah, but somehow cannot feel that echad union with Messiah (Christ). In spite of following the formula, they remain dead inside themselves, and know it. For them scripture study becomes boring. For them prayer is lifeless and unsustainable. No matter how hard they try they know that something is missing and so they come to doubt their salvation. Something is wrong with their hearts.
I wish to assure any of you who have had that experience that such people who are continuing to trust Yah'shua (Jesus) and obey Torah are still saved! Now I know there are people who will tell you that if you have these symptoms of disconnectedness that it is a sin issue that is robbing you of your salvation. This is not necessarily true, and indeed usually isn't true. We are dealing with another issue altogether which I feel strongly led to talk to you about today.
If you believe with all your being in Yah'shua (Jesus) and are leaning on Him for your life and salvation, and if you are striving to respond to that salvation with sincere and diligent Torah-observance, but still feel dead and lifeless, it is because you are suffering from an inner condition called a 'slumbering spirit'. Your spirit is asleep or only partially awake. You are saved but because you cannot feel that intimate closeness to the Saviour you doubt it is real and question your salvation.
What is a 'slumbering spirit'? A slumbering spirit is a spirit that was once awake but has since fallen asleep, or has never been awakened. A slumbering spirit may be mentally active and emotionally alive - it has psychic life but not spiritual life. Or it may be a more extreme case where both spirit and psyche are asleep. But let us today focus on the spiritual part. I meet many Christians who are mentally and emotionally active - one might even say that they are 'bubbling' with life but who are spiritually asleep. Typically, they confuse their own psyche (or the psyche of others) for the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Let me remind you that the emotions and the spirit are not the same thing - the emotions may be stirred by the spirit, but the emotions are located in the psyche. To help us better understand the difference between spirit (ruach) and psyche, let us clearly identify the main functions of the human spirit. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers (as opposed to another category of false worshippers) shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers. Elohim (God) is spiritual; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (Jn.4:23-24).
Please carefully note that Elohim is not psyche but ruach (spirit)· and that genuine spirit is distinguished from all other 'spirits' by truth. True worshippers, Yah'shua (Jesus) says, will worship Yahweh (notice it is the Father who is being worshipped, not the Son) in spirit and truth. You cannot worship in spirit without truth for if you do you will be worshipping in 'another spirit'. We know from what Yah'shua (Jesus) said earlier that this means a love-response to faith which is Torah-observance. True worship is characterised by how we live our lives - how we obey the commandments.
If we are not worshipping in 'spirit' then we are not connected to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) but to some other 'spirit' - and if it is 'another spirit' then, because it is not of Yahweh, it will either be human-mediated, demon-mediated, or both. The fleshy human nature and the demons will convince us that our psyche is the Ruach (Spirit), and cause us to worship ourselves or demons even if we believe we are worshipping the Father. The fact of the matter is you can be happy, exuberant, bubbly, mentally active, and emotionally flowing and not be worshipping the True Elohim (God). I have met such people who have undergone a major crisis before discovering what the true Ruach (Spirit) is. They are deceived because their spirits are asleep.
When your spirit is awake you know that Yahweh is present, and you will know that it is Him and not some counterfeit because it will (a) be filled with love for others causing you to lose your self-focus, and (b) it agree with Torah! A counterfeit spirit is frequently absorbed with 'me and my wonderful feelings' and hates law-keeping - law-keeping for this spirit is anathema, throwing up a screen of blind hatred, blankness, or indifference.
When the true Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God) is in you She will, in addition, fill you with His praises. Remember, praising in itself is not evidence of the true spirit. I have seen incredible religious devotion involving exuberant praise from the heathen and heretics. I am talking here of a particular type of praise or worship. Do not be deceived into believing that all exuberant praise is from Yahweh - it isn't! True praise is rooted first and foremost in pure Ruach (Spirit) which is grounded in pure Truth. To be in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) enables the spirit of man to abide (live in) His presence in great "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Pet.1:8). When this happens it involves the whole being of the soul and not just a part - body, psyche and ruach (spirit). Thus Mary could exclaim: "My soul (whole being) magnifies Yahweh and my spirit has rejoiced in Elohim (God) my Saviour" (Lk.1:46-47, HRV).
When a person is filled with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), his own spirit is made alive. When this happens he is able to feel and sense other spirits and hearts similarly touched. When you are filled with the true love of Yahweh you simultaneously experience this great love for the whole fellowship of believers. You cannot possess the true Ruach (Spirit) and remai a solo-believer. When your spirit awakens you are immediately drawn to the spirits of others similarly awakened. But beware! Two people possessing the same counterfeit spirit will similarly be drawn to one another, because like attracts like. The difference between the bond formed by two spirits joined by the true Ruach (Spirit) and those which are not is that the former is infinitely deeper and eternal - the latter is essentially psychic and temporal.
If a believer comes up to you, and you are filled with the true Ruach (Spirit), and they tell you: "I don't understand what you are saying" or otherwise feel cold when the Shekinah glory is present, it is because their spirit is asleep or knotted up by demons.
Thus the first function of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) is to enable us to be connected in public worship. The second is like it and concerns private devotion. This is very often telling. Those whose spirits have been awakened by the Ruach (Spirit) can enter into the presence of Yahweh, bathe in His love, and soar "with wings like eagles" (Is.40:31). As they read Scripture words seem to leap off the page and fill their minds and hearts with wonder and delight, giving inspiration and setting off a chain-reaction that leads to a hunger for more. They may see visions, get perplexing questions answered, and generally feel refreshed afterwards. One whose spirit is asleep, however, finds personal devotions either an uphill struggle or pure boredom because they feel they are talking to themselves. And they probably are. They may try to find substitutes like scripture-reading but are equally uninspired there. If they force themselves to regularly study without spiritual nourishment it at length becomes a torture.
You see, the Word of Yahweh cannot be understood with the mind but only with the spirit (Job 32:8). When a spirit is awakened, the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) moves through that spirit turning lights on everywhere which in turn flood the mind and feelings with pure, clear thoughts and holy feelings. Then the Bible comes alive and it is seen to be more than mere words but actually the spirit of truth translated into words! It's what lies behind the words that galvanises the soul. But if the spirit is asleep, then the Bible remains barren and lifeless Private devotions - whether prayer or study - become an arduous duty rather than a spiritual adventure.
We have seen that accepting Christ on faith does not lead to an automatic echad oneness with Christ. Inviting a Christian brother into my home does not mean that he automatically knows me or has access to my deepest soul. And if he disregards the rules of my house I am unlikely to open up to him because he is showing great disrespect towards me. Likewise, when someone who invites Yah'shua (Jesus) into his heart then scorns Yahweh's rules for living or Torah, do you suppose that Yah'shua will open up all His secrets to him? Certainly not! Indeed, the end result is that he is asked to leave the house because he never really belonged there. The Saviour's hospitality was abused. Can a person who has accepted Christ in faith without following up in obedient love be said to be unspiritual? Clearly! And Paul said:
"The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand then because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor.2:14).
As I have said, comprehension of spiritual things is not a function of intellectual genius. Look at the bafflement of Nicodemus who could not fathom what being 'born again' meant. A brain can only process the information it has been given by assembling it on a known (albeit it invisible) framework. Spiritual information simply cannot be fastened to a carnal framework - it appears ridiculous. To be spiritual, the brain must first obtain the invisible mental framework, and that can only come from the Ruach (Spirit). I like to call it the divine template. Without it spiritual facts are just a jumble.
The third function of the spirit is to enable us to hear the voice of Yahweh. You cannot hear Him with your heart or with your mind, and here again there is terrible confusion in the charismatic movement. Unless you can distinguish beween your mind and your spirit you will never know whether you are listening to Yahweh, yourself or demons. It is not enough to be 'intuitive', see visions, or have 'inspired dreams' because these too can have multiple sources. It is a dangerous illusion to unquestioningly accept anything that is supernatural or out of the ordinary and ascribe it to 'divine revelation'. Have you ever wondered why there is so much false prophecy in charismatic circles? Much of it isn't even supernatural but mere wishful thinking.
However, an awake spirit will live in the supernatural and experience genuine prophecy, visions, inspired dreams, and the like. One must not fall into the trap of the non-charismatics by recoiling back into a natural world free of the possible distortion of supernatural counterfeit manifestations. I can understand their disgust at continually hearing "God told me this or that" and observing all the confusion - mostly they only think He has spoken to them or otherwise they have heard deceptive voices. Remember, the spirit can be worked on by both the true and the false - beware of the teaching that the spirit will only respond to the things of Yahweh, as though we have an infallible part of ourselves which we can always rely on. We can't! That is why Yah'shua (Jesus) repeated again and again that commandment-keeping in the spirit is the sign. It's why he warned us not to rely on a defiled conscience as a source of revelation (1 Cor.8:7).
Could someone in a counterfeit spirit keep the commandments? With great difficulty because they would run counter to the lies of that false spirit. The Word of Yahweh is truth, and the false cannot abide truth. Satan either wants you dead in your spirit obeying Torah legalistically (such is totally vain because obeying the commandments can't save you - many Messianics fall into this category), dead in your spirit living a lawless life (his ideal - many non-charismatic evangelicals fall into this category), alive in your spirit and disobeying Torah (for then you are in a spirit of rebellion which is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Sam.15:23) - many charismatics and non-charismatics are guilty of this), or alive in a false spirit in which case it doesn't matter what you do outwardly.
Last summer I bought a piece of classical music which I had never heard before by an unknown composer. The composition was technically faultless but there was no spirit in it. One can hear musicians of a similar disposition play flawlessly but without life.
The fourth function of the spirit is inspiration and creativity. The mind and heart are not creative in themselves. When our spirits are quickened by the Ruach (Spirit), the mind is flooded with new and exciting ideas. Whatever is created - be it music, art, poetry, or whatever - it is vibrating with life. But remember, this spiritual creativity can be hijacked by a counterfeit spirit too. I am enormously impressed by much New Age art but I know that the spirit in it is alien. It is creative but it is not glorifying the Creator but a usurper. Ministers who are filled with the Ruach (Spirit) are always bringing forth fresh insights - I am positively amazed by some of them, and delighted to see a gift of Yahweh flourishing to His glory. But some may be inspired by false spirits and lead them into false doctrine. It is complicated, isn't it? Or is it?
In drawing the line between the genuine and the counterfeit you will find that what decides and separates the two is always the Word. To draw a straight line you need two points of reference, and those two points are always "the testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus)" (which is also the "spirit of prophecy" - Rev.19:10) and "the Word of Elohim (God)" (Rev.1:9) and by extension of the former, "the commandments of Elohim (God)", i.e. Torah (Rev.12:17). Here, then, is the axis of truth:
|The Testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus)
||The commmandments (Torah)|
|The Word of Elohim (God)
||The Spirit of Prophecy|
However you swing it, no matter what direction you look in, or what angle you tackle a problem, a combination of the testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus) and the Word of Torah will resolve it, and the truth will be known. To have the testimony of Yah'shua (Jesus) and be able to understand Torah, however, what must you first do? You must believe, and once you have believed, you must respond in love by obeying:
"Obey my voice, and I will be your Elohim (God), and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you" (Jer.7:23, KJV).
We have now seen four characteristics of the awakened soul. Next week we shall continue with some more.
Click here for Part 2
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Last updated on 3 February 2004
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