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Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 5, Chapter 1

Jesus-Dependence
Equals Effective Ministry

Chapter Illustration

Page 1 of Pages 2, 3, 4, 5
Study Questions

Through the last four Sections we have demonstrated through the complexity of man’s constitution, that in order to be effective in our relationships to God, ourselves, and others, we must look to Jesus and to Jesus alone and not act out of our own initiative, but only out of the initiative of Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

THE PROBLEM OF SELF-INITIATIVE

We have shared extensively that God’s order for man is God communicating to us His wishes through our spirit to our soul, our soul then chooses to carry out God’s desires through the body. But how do we find out God’s will for our lives through our spirit. First, understand that we do not do it by trying to access our spirit ourselves.

Before the fall of man, man accessing his spirit was not a problem because man had the moral righteousness of God ruling over his soul and body. However, when man fell his soul and body were corrupted so that they are now in bondage to and serve sin. To try and solve our problems through the will, reasoning and energy of the soul and flesh will not solve the problem because to do so is to energize the soul and flesh to sin. This is why we are not to act out of the initiative of the flesh.

Doing good things or trying to solve our problems through the energy of the soul and flesh appear good, but when you do this you also energize the soul and flesh to sin because sin rules over the soul and flesh and will continue to do so until they are transformed into the likeness of Jesus’ current soul and body in the resurrection. No matter what good we try to accomplish through the soul and flesh, the soul and flesh’s power to sin will do more damage than any supposed good.

God isn’t looking for religious people, He is looking for people who will be ruled by Him through their spirits and walk in obedience to those things He reveals to them through their spirits. This includes His clear will revealed to us in His Word. When we obey His Word we are acting out of His initiative not our own.

To be ruled by our spirits does not mean to try and access our spirits. God is Spirit, Jesus tells us in John 4:23-24, and the Old Testament clearly reveals to us that God speaks to us through our spirits through visions and dreams which are then manifested in our thought life. Ezekiel the Prophet records,

"And I looked, and behold, a likeness as the look of fire; from the appearance of His loins and downward, like fire; and from His loins and upward, as the look of brightness, like the color of polished metal. And he put forth the form of a hand, and took me by the lock of my head. And the Spirit lifted me between the earth and the heavens, and brought me to Jerusalem— in the visions48 of God—to the opening of the inner gate facing north, where there was the seat of the images of jealousy, which causes jealousy." (Ezekiel 8:2-3)

Ezekiel expresses that he received this communication through this "spirit" which in all probability was an angel. The communication was in the form of visions. But note that he states clearly that these visions were of God. Ezekiel did not willfully form the pictures or access his spirit himself. God took the initiative and accessed his soul through his human spirit and gave him these visions.

"And the Spirit lifted me and brought me into Chaldea, to the exiles, in a vision by the Spirit of God. And the vision48 that I had seen went up from me." (Ezekiel 11:24)

Ezekiel again explains to us that God communicating to him was through a vision by His Holy Spirit and by His initiative.

Because God Himself is Spirit, He communicates with us through our spirit. Many Scripture references show us that the Lord communicates with us through our spirit through visions and dreams. Moses records in Numbers 12:5-6,

"Then Yehovah came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward, He said, ‘Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, Yehovah, shall make Myself known to him in a vision.48 I shall speak with him in a dream49.’"

The Psalmist writes: "Then you spoke in a vision50 to your holy one" (Ps 89:19). Isaiah in Isaiah 22:1 talks about the "Valley of Vision50" referring to the spirit world. Clearly there is a connection between the spirit world and our spirits. God, angels, Satan and his demons can all communicate with us through our spirits. The creation of images or visions in our minds connects our soul with our spirits and gives us access to the spiritual realm just as we receive visions and dreams through our spirits.

We have now established that visions and visualization are the language of the spirit. Visualization is an encouraged practice of the New Age, Yoga and other cults. This is because it puts them into contact with the spirit World. What, However, does God have to say in His word about humans creating their own visions or visualizing? Isaiah records about God speaking to him against apostate Israel,

"Thus says Yehovah of hosts concerning the Prophets51 ‘Behold, I will feed them wormwood, and make them drink the water of poison; for from the prophets of Jerusalem, ungodliness has gone forth into all the land.’ Thus says Yehovah of hosts, ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophecy to you; they make you become vain52; they speak a vision50 of their own heart53, not out of the mouth of Yehovah. They say to those who despise Me, "Yehovah has said, You shall have peace!" And they say to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, ‘Evil shall not come on you!’ For who has stood in the counsel of Yehovah and has seen and heard His Word? Who has listened to His Word and heard?" (Jeremiah 23:15-18)

"Then I said, ‘Ah, O Lord Yehovah! Behold, the prophets are saying to them, "You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine; but I will give you true peace in this place."’ And Yehovah said to me, ‘The prophets prophecy lies in My name. I did not send them and I have not commanded them, nor did I speak to them. They prophesy to you a false vision and a worthless divination, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says Yehovah concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, and I did not send them; yet they say, "Sword and famine shall not be in this land": By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed.’" (Jeremiah 14:13-15)

In these passages a definite pattern unfolds. First, the prophets erred in their visions. Therefore they are unable to judge correctly. They were not walking according to God’s will. Second, what they prophesied they had not received from God but had created themselves. The Scripture states that they spoke a vision of their own heart, out of their soul, not as a result of a revelation from God through their spirit to their soul. Thirdly, the people who accepted the teaching of these false visions were willing to do so because they themselves were following after their own lusts, desires and visions instead of seeking God’s will for their lives.

Moses records Yehovah speaking in Genesis 6:5, "Then Yehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent54 of the imagination55 of his heart was only evil continually." The word imagination is the word in Hebrew rx,yE (yetzer). If you remember from Chapter 7 in Section 1 I shared that this word is the same word Moses uses to express God’s forming man from the dust in Genesis 2:7, that God uses to express man only having wicked imaginations in his heart continually in Genesis 6:5 which is the same word Isaiah used in Isaiah 26:3 to describe the mind. It was through forming a vision that God formed man, but God is telling us here that man is creating in his heart, his mind only evil visions and imaginations continually. This is because man’s soul and flesh are in bondage to sin.

Why were these people’s visions and imaginations so wrong? Because they were centered in self and in self gratification rather than in the will of God. They were visualizing what they wanted, not what God wanted.

Lastly, the Scripture shows us very clearly that people using visions from out of their own will get entangled in the spirit world. This is why Paul states in 2 Corinthians 10:5,

"We are subverting computations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

You have heard the saying that an idle mind is the playground of the devil. It really is. Paul in this passage tells us that we are not to allow our thoughts to wonder and to meditate on vain things. When we do we become open to the suggestions and control of evil spirits through our imaginations. We are to bring our thoughts into obedience to Jesus’ Word and His will for our lives. This is why we are to daily seek Jesus diligently for His will for our lives (Eph 5:15-17). To do otherwise is to automatically open ourselves up to the influence and suggestions of Satan in our lives and to serve Satan. There is no in between. Our thoughts and imagination are to be filled constantly with God’s Word and revealed will for our lives. All vain imaginations lead to demonic influence and control. This is what Jesus was talking about in the following passages when He said,

Study Questions
Continued on pages 2, 3
Bibliography & Notes
Section 5 Chapters
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