V.B.3.a Discerning the True Agency of the Spirit of God


SUBPART B – Trumpets/ Witness of the Spirit Corollary

Article 3 – The Gospel Spirituality

Section (a) – Discerning the True Agency of the Spirit of God

By Daniel Irving

The following section of this article may be viewed in video format at the link below:


i.    The True Worship of God

ii.   The True Work of the Spirit of God

iii.  The True Effect of the Work of the Spirit of God

iv.  The Holy Spirit as the True Sanctuary of the True Worshippers of God 

v.   The True Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church as the Progressive Revelation of Christ

vi.  The True Spirit of Worship in the Church as Parallel to the Testimony of Jesus Christ

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i.    The True Worship of God

There is a false spirituality that thrives in the world as a counterfeit to the Gospel.  It thrives so well in our time the true is rarely seen through its forest.  This article studies this issue of a counterfeit spirituality and some of the reasons why the fraudulent spirituality prospers in the present age. In this first section we will focus upon what is the true agency of the Spirit of God and His work in men, as familiarity with the true is some defense against the false.

Jesus spoke concerning the true worship of God.  Perhaps the most notable incident of this is found in His dialogue with a woman of a people whose culture was immersed in idolatrous practice.  In His dialogue with the Samaritan woman, Jesus described the true worship of God as having two legs.  He told her:

God is a Spirit; & they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.                                                                                    John 4:24

We can presumptuously worship God absent the component of “spirit”.  God is a “spirit” and he is not worshiped through outward forms of religion or means within the natural agency of men.   Neither is God worshiped through the means of just any spirit that might empower worship.  Rather He is worshiped through the means of the Spirit He Himself gives.  Therefore men may err along two lines in terms of the worship of God.  Any supposed worship: 1) lacking the presence and effectual agency of spirit , or 2) which comes via agency other than the Spirit of Christ is not the true worship of God.  The former constitutes the façade of spirituality, while the latter constitutes the counterfeit.  The five sections of this article will constitute a study the latter of these, that which presents itself as a counterfeit to the genuine work of the Spirit of God.

ii.   The True Work of the Spirit of God

As a study to what constitutes a counterfeit to the work of the Spirit of God, we must look to the matter of what is the genuine work of the Spirit of God.  Jesus told us what is this genuine work.  The work of God is simply faith having the Lord Jesus Christ as its object.  He said:

“This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent”.       John 6:29

Therefore the true work of God is simply faith.  But true faith must have its true object.  God has sent that true object into the world in the Person of His Son.  Therefore we begin to perceive what would constitute the counterfeit to the work of God.  This would be any spirit that directs the eyes of our heart away from that object God has sent into the world as the object of men’s faith.  We find this is exactly the context within which the Lord made this statement defining the true work of God.  The Lord had performed a miracle.  Unfortunately, the eyes of the people gravitated to fleshly concerns rather than those spiritual.  They chased the Lord around the Sea of Galilee out of concern for their stomachs!  Therefore the Lord said to them:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves, & were filled.                                                                                       John 6:26

They hunted Him across the sea of Galilee on boats after He eluded them by walking across the water.[1]  Their interest in Christ did not reach beyond natural things.  They did not hunger for things eternal, but for things material.  Even their quotation of Scripture revealed the earthly-object of their inclinations!  They said:

“Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.’”                    John 6:31

While they referred to a “bread out of heaven” they did not perceive that the bread stood only as a metaphor for something spiritual, ie. the spiritual sustenance that is ChristUnleavened 1Their efforts were to find that natural man that gave them something for their natural body.  Therefore when they quoted Scripture, it was a misapplication; much the same as when we quote the Psalm; “. .   I [have] not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”.[2]  The churched will quote this verse in presumption that it constitutes a divine guarantee against the church knowing hunger or poverty.  But the meaning is spiritual and so much more wonderful!  God will give the sustenance of Himself to the hungry soul.  Therefore Jesus tells them:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.   For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, & gives life to the world.”                                                                                      John 6:32-33

It is not any man who can give us “the bread out of heaven”, but God alone; and He gives us Himself!  And what He gives us of Himself is Christ, the living Word of God. We drink of the waters of the Spirit of faith, and eat of the bread of His living truth.  The Lord said:

“I am the bread of life; He who comes to Me shall not hunger, & He who believes in Me shall never thirst.”                John 6:35

Let our prayer be that we would be fed with the bread from heaven, or at least let us pray for the “hunger” for this bread.  For God shall fill the hungry soul with Himself.  This provision is the body and the blood of His Son, crucified for sinners.

iii.  The True Effect of the Work of the Spirit of God

Salvation is the doing of the will of God.  Jesus said: 

Not every one that says unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.       Matt. 7:21

Doing the will of God is condition-precedent to receiving the “promises of God”:

  For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God,  ye might receive the promise.                            Heb 10:36

Doing the will of God is what constitutes eternal life:

And the world passes away, and the lust thereof:  but he that does the will of God abides for ever.                           I John 2:17

Hence, we have the definition of redemption, ie. the doing of the “will of God.”[3]  Implied in John’s statement is that the will of God contemplates overcoming the lusts of this world.  This is because God’s will has something to do with what is on the inside of the man.  For the believer in Jesus Christ, the doing of the will of God may be summarized in a single word.  Paul wrote:

  For this is the will of God, your sanctification;           I Thess. 4:3

Therefore, whatever is contained within this principle of sanctification constitutes the doing of the will of God and the objective of the work of the Spirit of God in the man.  Therefore the rejection of sanctification constitutes the rejection of the work of the Spirit of God.  Therefore Paul continues:

For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.  Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.                         I Thess. 4:7-8

If the rejection of sanctification constitutes a rejection of the Holy Spirit, then what might we find characteristic of a counterfeit to the true spiritual witness?  Clearly, a counterfeit witness would be that which undermines or distracts from the work of sanctification in the man.  How might that work be hindered? The work of God is hindered by the failure to perceive and to believe the object of our faith, as . . .

“This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent”.     John 6:29

Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit, and it derives from faith in Jesus Christ as having His true and spiritual Person; which is the righteous standard of God always before one’s eyes.

iv.  The Holy Spirit as the True Sanctuary of the True Worshippers of God  

With the true standard of God before our eyes through the work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts, the true spirituality of the Church will be evident even as the moving of the wind is evident by the swaying and rustling of the trees.  The Lord said:Autumn 03

“But an hour is coming, & now is,  when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit & truth;  for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  “God is spirit, & those who worship Him must worship in spirit & truth.      John 4:23-24

The worship of God “in spirit and truth” is facilitated by the Holy Spirit through the process of regenerating faith in the object God has sent as His true and righteous standard; His Holy Person and nature manifested through Christ.   Thus the worship of God is performed entirely through the agency of God.  The effect of the true worship of God is sanctification, as His eternal, holy nature becomes our own.  Sanctification is the marriage of the Lamb of God to His Church.  The stranger is introduced to her Maker, and the repentant heart to Her Redeemer.  God speaks to the Church, saying . . .

I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.      Is. 43:15

This is eternal life.  This is holiness.  This is the place of safe dwelling and divine light; the place of which David prophesies:Clocktower 3

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after;  that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,   to behold the beauty of the LORD, & to enquire in his temple.         Ps. 27:4

Those that worship within the true sanctuary of God behold the object of His Grace, which is Christ.

Honor & majesty are before him: strength & beauty are in his sanctuary.                                                                                      Ps. 96:6

This is the agency of the true Spirit of God:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears He will speak; & He will disclose to you what is to come.  He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, & shall disclose it to you.                        John 16:13-15

The setting of Christ before our eyes is the true work of the Holy Spirit.

v.   The True Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church as the Progressive Revelation of Christ

With this understanding that the true worship of God and the true abiding in the Holy Spirit has its object in Christ and its result in sanctification, we can begin to comprehend the purposes of the Holy Spirit when they manifest.

There is a revelation to be brought, and it cannot come all at once.  The revelation of Christ is as a series of successive structures.  His revelation is “line upon line, line upon line, here a little, and there a little.”[4]  The underlying structure must be firm and square else the structure would be unsound.  Lessons not learned when first taught, cannot be used as foundation for the further revelation that would come were God to bring greater light.  And so, the lower stories must be firmly established.  The revelation of Christ cannot be borne by us all at once, thus He told His disciples:Bronze Gilding 02

“I have many things yet to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.” John 16:12

We cannot bear the intensity implicit in the full and sudden revelation of Christ.  His witness is one of glory, followed by chastening, followed by glory.   Thus the Lord described the Holy Spirit’s work as a process of conviction:

And He, when He comes, will convict the world  concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;  concerning sin, because they believe not in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.           John 16:8-10

Those principles we were comfortable with as theological abstractions; the ashes of mourning, the divine rebuke, judgment, burning, etc. become living reality in Christ.  This under-girding must be prepared before every successive work of God.  The Holy Spirit deals with sin, righteousness, and judgment in this way.  Thus by the laying of “line upon line” in terms of the living Word of God, the judgment of God may go forth unto His purposes.  The righteous standard has been wrought via the meticulous processes of God, upon which God may speak and utter forth His Word.  Isaiah continues:

  Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.                 Is. 28:17

This work of conviction is the process of bringing us into the Kingdom of God; a troubling-process;[5] a process requiring the Comforter.   And if there is a death that must be died within the body of Christ,[6] we are not “in the body of Christ” any other way than through the receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore there is a time when we are alive to sin while even in the body of Christ.  This is hard doctrine, and not easily borne except through God’s patient and persistent dealings with the man through the priestly, the prophetic, and the kingly, offices of Christ.

vi.  The True Spirit of Worship in the Church as Parallel to the Testimony of Jesus Christ

The purposes of the True Spirit are identical with the purposes of Jesus Christ and coincide with the testimony He established in the earth.  Thus prophecy correlates the manifesting of the Word of God (having fulfillment in the incarnation and testimony of Jesus Christ) with the fulfillment of God’s desire:IMG_0974

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  Is. 55:10-11

The Word of God does not consist of the speaking of syllables into the air.  The Word of God is Spirit.  Jesus said:

It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing:  The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit & they are life.                    John 6:63

Prophecy is the witness of the Word of God, Who became “flesh” and walked blamelessly in His flesh before the Father.  And then, His “flesh”, He laid upon the altar at the bidding of the Father.  The bread from heaven became the seed; the burial and resurrection of which, brought the hope of life to humanity.  The apprehension of these things is itself spiritual and constitutes the true knowledge of God.  This is eternal life.

According as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life &  godliness, through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory & virtue:                                                                                                 II Peter 1:3

The Spirit of God will reveal to us the Son of God in a witness that runs much deeper than the “witness of man” concerning Christ.[7]  God will send forth His Word from His mouth; not a verbal or written statement, but rather a Person. The Word of God is the expression of His mind and is life communicated.  The Word of God is Christ.  The witness of God that is Christ , the Word of God, descended from heaven in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, bore testament in the earth, died one death for all, and ascended again into glory.  This is a process which has three definite stages.  These stages are mirrored in the kingdom of God within His Church.  Jesus said:

“The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; & goes to bed at night & gets up by day, & the seed sprouts up & grows – how, he himself does not know.  The soil produces crops by itself;  First the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head.  But when the crop permits,  he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.                     Mark 4:26-29Wheat White on Black

Jesus taught a three-phase process of; 1st the blade, 2nd the head, and 3rd the mature grain.  The blade indicates spiritual life albeit without fruit.  It signifies life in the Spirit absent the true fruit of righteousness.  This is the Gospel of a justification by faith.  However, we will receive the witness of the Word of God through having an encounter with Christ wherein we “behold” Him unto the taking away of sin.  Thus John writes:

Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins, has not seen him, neither known him.                               I John 3:6

This begins the growth of the grain and represents sanctification by faith.

Then finally, something occurs that signifies the end is about to come.  We grow into the maturity of sanctification that is the image of the Son of God.  This is the “mature grain”, which the apostle referred to as the “mature man”, and as the “fullness of Christ:”

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, & of the knowledge of the Son of God,  unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ                                                                                    Eph. 4:13

This process of maturing unto the perfect man and the fullness of our sanctification is part of this principle of ascending.  For what came down from heaven, ie. the Spirit of Christ, shall bring a return unto God.  That return will be children of God that give Him glory.  That glory is Christ, both the Lord as head, with His body, the Church.  Thus as to God’s eternal Word:

it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.                  Is. 55:11

As to our Lord Himself, on the night of His death He expressed this as follows:

 “I glorified Thee on earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.  And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.”            John 17:4-5

And likewise, the work of God is accomplished in the Church through the means of faith.  John is told in his revelation

Worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.                                                                    Rev. 19:10

The true worshippers of God shall have the benefit of the true Spirit of prophecy through having their strength sourced in the true testimony of Jesus Christ.

Having studied somewhat upon what is the true worship of God by the true Spirit in the Church, we may now consider what would constitute the counterfeit worship and the counterfeit spirit.

[1] John 6

[2] Psalm 37:25

[3] See commentary on Isaiah 52:3 discussing meaning of redemption.

[4] Isaiah 28:13

[5] Acts 14:22  “. . . & that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

[6] Romans 7:4

[7] John 5:32-36


About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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