Welcome to


Presents Bible Messages By Dr. Stuart E. Lease

Sponsored by:

Please choose one of the following:
Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease


GOD: “THE HOLY SPIRIT — His Performance

Our FATHER— We rejoice in Thee, the Great God of the Universe. We thank You that You are Three in One: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and that You Three agree in One, and that You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not the author of confusion, but of peace. And we trust tonight that as we give attention to Your Holy Word, which You have given to us to guide us, that the Spirit of truth will guide us in all truth. We pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.
At the outset of this message, I want to read the statement from the Statement of Faith of our College, LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE. For a number of years, we did not have a very clear statement in regard to the Holy Spirit; but in light of some recent happenings and events and activities, we felt it necessary a couple years ago, to develop a fairly definitive statement in regard to the Holy Spirit. I’m going to read it, and then I’m going to relate it to our message tonight as well as tomorrow night.
In regard to the Holy Spirit: “We believe that the Holy Spirit took up His abode in the world in a special sense from the Day of Pentecost, dwells in every believer, and by His baptism unites all Christians in One Body— the Church Universal. In this age the Holy Spirit carries out the ministries of restraining evil in the world, convicting people of sin, righteousness, and judgment, regenerating all believers, indwelling and anointing all Christians, and sealing them until the Day of Redemption, baptizing them into the Body of Christ all who are saved; and filling each yielded believer for power and service. We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit are permanent and are to be used throughout the entire Church Age. Other gifts were temporary and were given in the Apostolic Age for the purpose of founding the Church. Having fulfilled their purpose, they are not necessary and thus are not given today. These include the gifts of: apostleship, prophecy, miracles, healings, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. Now that is a rather explicit Statement, and from a few people we have gotten reaction against it. From most we have received encouragement and support, because we have taken a stand in regard to this. I want to say as a friend of mine used to say at Lancaster and in regard to myself, “We want to be clean, but not mean.”— and while we may and do disagree with some believers in regard to the work of the Holy Spirit today, we do not want to be mean in regard to them; but we do want to “be clean” and clear concerning our own position in this matter and in this regard. Now, I want to speak in regard to The Holy Spirit’s Performance tonight in a three-fold way: First, The Dispensational Setting for His Work; Second, The Distribution of Spiritual Gifts; and then finally, The Distinction between Foundational and Structural Gifts.
First, The Dispensational Setting. When our Lord Jesus was on earth [in Luke chapter 11 and verse 13] in regard to the matter of prayer, the Lord Jesus said, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Now there are some who erroneously, I believe, site this passage as a practice for us to follow today. In other words, pay to God to receive the Holy Spirit. Please notice and remember that this was set forth prior to Pentecost and relates to the activity of the Holy Spirit before He came to indwell believers. This distinction is set forth for us by the Lord Jesus in His promise concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit when in John 14 He indicates in verses 16 and 17, “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you [and that’s prior to Pentecost, He dwelt with believers. And even apparently on some occasions at least in His ministering activity would depart from believers, not that they necessarily lost their salvation, but they lost their power for service], and shall be in you [and this is looking forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit after the Lord Jesus was glorified].” Now you see another reference to that in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly [or innermost being] shall flow rivers of living water.” Now notice verse 39 of John 7, “(But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive [that is, the future]: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) And it was only after the Lord Jesus was glorified that the Holy Spirit was then sent to earth to indwell believers. Now, we sometimes distinguish the Old Testament, by calling it the Period of the Age of the Father; and it was when the Father was engaged in His activity here on earth primarily in relation to Israel, the chosen people of God. The Period, of time on which our Lord Jesus ministered here on earth, is referred to as the Age of the Lord Jesus, the time when during His earthly sojourn, He lived and ministered here upon the earth.
The Age of Grace, I believe, is properly referred to as the Age of the Holy Spirit, during which time the Holy Spirit is resident in believers to perform His work in this Age. To this extent, I think it is proper and profitable to see in Acts chapter 1 that Luke was writing, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which He was taken up, after that He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments unto the apostles whom He had chosen: To whom also He showed Himself alive after His passion...” And then He goes on to indicate the work that they would do in the energy and power of the Spirit of God. It is the Holy Spirit Who continues the work which Jesus began to do upon the earth, but which is now being done in and through believers who are indwelt by the Spirit of God.
Now, we’re going to come back to this tomorrow night; but I think that it is essential to recognize that when a believer receives Jesus Christ in this Age of Grace, he is immediately born of the Spirit, he is immediately baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:13), he is indwelt by the Spirit (John 14:15,16), he is anointed by the Spirit to understand spiritual truth, and he is sealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30)— sealed unto the Day of Redemption. I sometimes tell people you can remember those five points by having a Biblical, biased about it— BBIAS— Born, Baptized, Indwelt, Anointed, Sealed. All those things happen immediately when you believe in the Age of Grace. You’re Born of the Spirit, Baptized by the Spirit into the Body of Christ, Indwelt, Anointed, and Sealed.
Now there was a period of transition ad it were when the Holy Spirit initially came into the Church. We sometimes hear people say, “We need another Pentecost.” Well, we may need something of the power of Pentecost, but we don’t need another Pentecost; because Pentecost was the birthday of the Church. I heard my good friend, Paul Van Gorder speak just last week in regard to this, and he said, “The Spirit of God came just as the Lord Jesus came.” You say, “How and when?” In the fulness of time!— as in Galatians 4:4 and 5, “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His son...” So, in the fulness of time, God sent forth His Spirit; and Pentecost is the actual fulfilling of one of the feasts of Jehovah of Leviticus 23 which took place exactly on the fiftieth day after Passover; and Pentecost took place exactly fifty days after the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. And so, it was at a specific time; and Dr. Van Gorder said something that I agree with wholeheartedly. He said, “The Holy Spirit did not come because people tarried and prayed in the Upper Room. They tarried and prayed in the Upper Room because the Holy Spirit was coming. Now there is a great distinction there. And as he said, “If you knew that a particular train or a bus was coming in, say at nine o’clock.” Now you could go down there and wait and tarry for it at five o’clock, but it wouldn’t come until nine o’clock. I’m convinced, in regard to the coming of the Holy Spirit, He came at a very specific time. You say, “Was there any scripture to indicate that?” Yes, it’s right in Acts 2 and verse 1, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come...” Or actually in one of the better translations is, “When the day of Pentecost was fulfilled...”— that is, the time was being fulfilled, “they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Now it’s in regard to this matter of speaking in tongues that many are quite concerned today, and some feel that this is a natural accompanying evidence of the indwelling of the Spirit and especially of the filling of the Spirit. But let’s remember that this was something that happened only in the early age of the Church at the time of the inauguration and initiation of the Church and was used of God to communicate truth here to those who had gathered in Jerusalem. Now whether you know it or not, even among fundamental believers and teachers, there’s a debate and discussion as to whether tongues are actual known languages or whether they are ecstatic utterances that are not known; and I’ve read good books on setting forth both of these positions. I guess that I sort of take a mediated position. I take the position that they are tongues not normally known, but maybe known; and that sort of ties the two together without fighting against the other. Obviously when people are hearing them, at least most of the people, they are unknown tongues to them. Now there may be, as there were here, some who did hear in their own language the message of God. Now, not only at Pentecost did such an occurance take place, but at Samaria, when in Acts chapter 8, you have Peter going up to Samaria and verse 14, “When the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit [so here in the early age of the Church, apparently there was a praying for the Holy Spirit]: (For as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) [They did not know of the ministry of the Spirit of God.] Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
Now some say in regard to this that you must therefore have “a laying on of hands” to receive the Holy Spirit. The Mormon church teaches that this is the fourth and final evidence of the operation of the work of God on behalf of someone. Well, they say— Faith, repentance, baptism, and laying on of hands— if you’re going really to have the coming of the Spirit, and some teach you have to have the laying on of hands today.
You have Paul, having had the laying on of hands. For example, as recorded in the next chapter, Acts chapter 9 verse 17 when Ananias came to Paul, “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.” Now we don’t have evidence here however that Paul even spoke in tongues. In fact, it is interesting that up in Samaria, while there was prayer and laying on of hands, and with Paul there was laying on of hands and prayer— there was not the accompanying demonstration of speaking in tongues.
You do have it at Caesarea in Acts chapter 10 beginning at verse 44, “While Peter yet spake these Words [So you have Peter preaching there at Caesarea], the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the Word.” Now remember at Jerusalem, at Pentecost, there were only Jews present. It was at Caesarea where you have the Spirit of God coming upon Gentiles. Many of us believe that this is Peter’s use of the keys of the kingdom which were given to him in Matthew chapter 16 opening the sphere of profession first to the Jews at Jerusalem and then to the Gentiles at Caesarea.
I remember my second trip to Israel, the Holyland, standing in Caesarea and having a Jewish guide who was not a believer but who knew the New Testament say to us, “You Gentile Christians ought to feel a surge, a thrill, and hope standing here in Caesarea, because it was you here, not in Jerusalem, but here that the Holy Spirit came upon Gentile believers.” Well, I must confess that I never heard a Christian preacher even say that; but to have an unsaved Jewish guide remind us of that, is really something unusual— and yet it is true. And, it is only on these two primary occasions that you have this preaching, and then you have the coming of the Spirit of God upon believers; and notice, “And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”
Now, you say that if they spoke in tongues early in the Church, the initial outpouring of the Spirit of God, why should not this be a continuing experience in the church today? If God is unchangeable, and it says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever— Why should not the Holy Spirit be the same yesterday, today, and forever? Well now folks, that verse over in Hebrews 13:8 that they quote in regard to the Lord Jesus, “...the same yesterday, today, and forever,” does not refer to what He did or does. It refers to the character of what He is. Now let me just show you how foolish it is to say that because Jesus did something some time ago, He can do it today. Let me simply say this, “Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem.” Does that means that He’s born in Bethlehem “yesterday, today, and for ever?” Jesus Christ died on the cross. Does that mean that He dies on the cross “yesterday, today, and for ever?” No! There’s some things that He does once and never again; and there’s some things He does during a period of time that He doesn’t do again. And, the same thing is true in regard to the Holy Spirit. There’s some things that He did Sovereignly, in the early age of the Church, in the initial outset of the Church that He does not do today; and we’re going to set forth some reasons for that.
Now one of the passages in the book of Acts that is very confusing and which the ones who advance the matter for the speaking of tongues and the Holy Spirit coming upon believers after believing is in Acts chapter 19, “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them [and in some of the churches that believed in the gift of tongues and the gift of the Holy spirit after salvation, they even have a cross in front of their church], Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed [and you could go into some of their churches and you’ll find that right across the front or somewhere in the church]?” Well, actually that is not what the Greek says. In the Greek it says, “Have you received the Holy Spirit when you believed?— when you believed.” Now, what does that mean? Would you go back into Acts chapter 18, beginning at verse 24 and see the background for this, “A certain Jew named Apollos, born in Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.” Now apparently, Apollos knew that Christ was coming, and that He was going to be the Messiah and that He had demonstrated Himself to be the Messiah; but he did not know or teach about the coming of the Holy Spirit. “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” But these particular ones had apparently been taught by Apollos before he had been straightened out, before he had been informed in regard to the coming of the Holy Spirit. So, when this question is raised to these followers at Ephesus, when Paul said, “Have ye received the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit.” So, they were not taught concerning that. They did not know it. “And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism [that is, to identify them with the Messiah]. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on Him which should come after him that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.” So, it shows that it wasn’t all the believers there at Ephesus. It was just a group of twelve of them who had heard Apollos, before Apollos had been clarified in regard to the teaching concerning the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So, it is rather a poor passage to try to educe, to teach that the Holy Spirit comes upon people after they believe and that there must be a demonstration of the speaking in tongues as evidence of this.
Now it is a very interesting thing that in none of the later Epistles of the New Testament [I don’t have time to go into each one to prove this, but we could do that]. In none of the later Epistles of the New Testament, especially the Prison Epistles of Paul, is there any reference to or encouragement of speaking in tongues. Now that in itself, I realize, is an argument from silence which having had a course in logic I realize that it’s not the primary proof, but there is some reason why this has come to pass. But, before we can deal with that, I want to point out that in the New Testament teaching of the Epistles it is clear that unless you have the Spirit of God, you do not have Christ.
In Romans chapter 8 and verse 9, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Thus, there is a relationship between having believed on Christ and having received the Holy Spirit in this Age of Grace; and it comes simply by believing, not even by asking. If there is any prayer associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit, it is the prayer that you pray to receive the Lord Jesus. If there is any laying on of hands, it is only the spiritual laying on of hands of the Lord Jesus as it were in this Age for the receiving of the Holy Spirit. I would say probably better— It is taking His hand in salvation that gives you the Holy Spirit.
There is coming a time when the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn from the world when the Church is taken out— in II Thessalonians chapter 2. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit came upon people and left them. In the Age of Grace He indwells believers at the time of salvation, when they believe and continues to do so. In the period of the Tribulation, the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn as a resident force. In II Thessalonians 2 verses 6 and 7, “Now you know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time [that is the Antichrist]. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He Who now letteth [or hindereth] will [hinder], until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked [one] be revealed...” Now I believe that this one that now hinders or restrains is the Holy Spirit indwelling believers of the Church Age in this Age of Grace; and during the Tribulation period the Church will be withdrawn, and with the Church, will be withdrawn the indwelling of the Spirit. Now some people say, “Well then, how can anybody be saved in the Tribulation period? I did not say that the Holy Spirit is no longer present. I said that He is withdrawn in His residing power in the believer.
Since the Holy Spirit is Omnipresent, as God, He will be present; and by the power of the Spirit as in any age, people will and can be saved in the Age of Grace; but there will not be this unique indwelling experience, that we of the Church Age alone have the privilege of experiencing.
Now the second major point, the Distribution of Spiritual Gifts. I see that I won’t have time to really develop this, so I’m just going to give you the outline of this, so that you can study it for yourself.
There are four passages in the New Testament that relate to spiritual gifts. [I heard someone say some time ago, one way you can remember this is l2, l2, 4, 4. You say, “What do you mean by that?” Well, I Corinthians 12, Romans 12, Ephesians 4, I Peter 4. I Corinthians and Romans, and Ephesians and I Peter; and we put I Corinthians first because there is a rather more definitive stating of gifts in that passage. Now for your notes, it’s I Corinthians 12:4-11, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:7-16, and I Peter 4:8-11. Now let me just try to give you the distinction of these four passages, then I want to go back and say something about gifts generally.
In I Corinthians 12 you find set forth the fact that spiritual gifts and the Greek word there for “spiritual gifts” of Romans 12:1 is just “spiritual” in the plural, but it means “spiritual gifts” are sovereignly and severally. Notice that word “severally” in verse 11 distributed for service in and to the Body of Christ, sovereignly and severally distributed— sovereignly by the Spirit, to those whom he chooses, and to as many as He chooses and as many kinds as He chooses— to be used to serve in the Body and to the Body of Christ, that’s the Church.
In Romans 12 you find the gifts set forth, and they are service-centered there as well. “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;” [and so forth]. So here again, it’s service-centered gifts.
When you come to Ephesians 4, the emphasis seems to be upon edification— edification through specific servants who have gifts. Now it is true in verse 7 of Ephesians 4 that every believer has gifts; but also in verse 11 there are specific gifted individuals who minister to the Church for its edification. And then when you come to I Peter 4 there are some specific gifts sited which appear to be functional throughout the Age of Grace, such as: love, hospitality, grace, speaking, and service.
Now in our Statement of Faith, we have indicated that there are some gifts that are temporary, given in the Apostolic Age for the purpose of founding the Church. I want to make two statements in regard to the gifts of the Spirit. Number one, all the gifts of the Spirit were given for the edification of the Church— NOT for the exaltation of the individual. Now that’s a very important fact, because some even today think that unless you have a particular gift you aren’t really an exalted person. Gifts were given for the edification of the Church, not for the exaltation of the individual. Second, [and it’s here where maybe some would part company with me, but I’m going to develop this point]— the infant and early church had gifts and abilities which the mature church neither needs nor should have. May I repeat that? The infant and early church had gifts and abilities which the mature church neither needs nor should have!
Some years ago Life magazine put an outstanding prize-fighter, who was just prepared to the peak of his ability in a room with a fairly new born baby [I think the baby was...I don’t know how many months old, but it was in the crawling stage, whatever that is...Mothers can tell you what that is]...Anyway, what they tried to do was to have this prize-fighter do everything that the baby did. Do you know what happened? The prize-fighter ended up utterly exhausted. That’s right. I’m not kidding. Because babies have certain strengths and abilities and so forth that we don’t have after we grow to maturity. Now I believe exactly the same thing was true in the early church. Another analogy—When you start out a car, of course you have automatic shift now...it’s a little harder to explain this; but when you start out a car on the road [You used to have to put it into Low and then you’d get a lot of power and then that would take you up into second and then third—if you had a Volkswagen like I had for a number of years, then you had to put it into fourth after that. When I was a boy, like boys like to do, was to gear it down and they’d “rev” it down into second and sometimes even down into first——RRRR. You’d get all this power.....you know they’d never get any further than anybody else. They just made a lot of noise.] And, I really believe there were gifts of power and ability that were necessary to get the church moving at the beginning, but after it’s moving, the only thing you get out of it is more noise [Oh it sounds like a lot of power.] but you really don’t get any farther at all.
Now there are two passages that we must relate to the passage here in I Corinthians 12. Notice first that the gifts of “Apostles” and “Prophets,” and so forth...[and by the way “Apostles” are not referred to but “prophecy” and things like that are referred to here in the passage]...but in Ephesians 4 where they are referred to as “apostles and prophets,” most of us believe that those were initial gifted people and gifts of apostleship and prophecy, and then in this Age— evangelists and pastor-teachers continue. You say, “On what basis do you set that forth?” Well, on the basis of Ephesians 2, beginning at verse 19, “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone...[So the apostles and the prophets were foundational in the Church]....In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord...”
Now the third point that I want to make, is to make a distinction between these foundational gifts of “apostleships and prophecy” and other temporary gifts and structural gifts which we build upon the foundation. Notice verse 22 of Ephesians 2, “In Whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Probably the most crucial passage in regard to the gifts of the Spirit, and those that are temporary and those that are permanent, is set forth in I Corinthians 13. In I Corinthians 12 they are set forth an enumeration of gifts and the relationship within the body of Christ. [By the way, you do have in I Corinthians 12 and verse 28, “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues...” So you have that for gifts there. Chapter 13 is not intended to be an isolated passage on Love. It is intended to relate to the Corinthians who unfortunately, while they had gifts of the Spirit which they exercised, they seemed to be considerably lacking in Love. In fact, most of the things that are said here were things that they boasted about, but then they didn’t have ...Love. Now what Paul indicates, beginning at verse 8 is that Love never fails...”whether there be prophecies, they shall fail [Now the Greek word there really means, “they will be abolished”]; whether there be tongues, they shall cease [and the word for “cease” there, really means is that they are just going to drop off and fade away];” and then “knowledge, it shall vanish away,” and that relates to the abolishment as well [in other words, it’s going to be a passing thing] “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Now there are many who have felt that this expression, “that which is perfect” refers to the coming of the Lord. May I say that while I respect those that take that position, I respectfully decline to agree with them. I believe that “that which is perfect” is the Written Word of God. I believe this from two perspectives. I believe that first and foremost from exegesis, but I also believe it from experience. Now since so many charismatics say, “Well, you never had the gift.”[— and I haven’t] “Therefore, you don’t know what you’re talking about. If you had an experience, then you wouldn’t talk against it.”
I have a very good friend, in fact he’s a member of the Evening School faculty at Lancaster Bible College, who for twenty years exercised the charismatic gifts including speaking in tongues and healing and all the rest that went with it; and pastored a church for twenty years that was characterized by those activities; but the Lord from the Word of God, from this passage indicated to him, that “that which is perfect is come [the Written Word of God], do you know what he did? He taught this to his people, and he brought his church with him into a Biblical position on this thing; and I suppose that it’s been more than twenty years now since he took that stand and he has a church now of about 750 people. There’s about 100, I think, that he brought them out of the charismatic experience. It’s interesting how the Lord showed this to him, and shortly thereafter, I was attending a conference in Los Angeles, I heard Dr. Unger speak on this passage and he gave the identical interpretation that my friend gave in regard to this!
Now since that time, and I must say that neither my friend nor Dr. Unger pointed this out to me, only recently while chatting with a friend did I see that this Greek word for “that which is perfect” occurs over in James chapter 1; and to me this is a rather clincher passage! In James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift [That’s exactly the same Greek word, “that which is perfect.” Now I must confess I taught the book of James for a long time; and everybody has a little bit of difficulty with James 1:17, especially with the latter part of it, it’s “from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” But you know folks, if you relate that to the “Word of God” which does not change, you have no problem with the latter part of that verse. Now you say, “What right do you have to relate that to the Word of God?— the entire context to the passage. Notice verse 18, “Of His own will begat He us with [What?]— the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.” Then down to verse 21, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness [What?] the Engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.” Then down to verses 22 and 23, “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass...” Now notice down in verse 25 where you have it tied together with the Word, “Whoso looketh into the perfect [and there again it’s the same word as in I Corinthians 13:10]....the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein [that is, in the Word of God], he being not a forgetful hearer [and that relates back to 22 and 23], but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” So... I am convinced that in I Corinthians 13:10, “that which is perfect” is the Word of God!
Now notice in I Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spake as a child [That relates to infancy.], I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And, I believe in the maturity age of the Church, these childish things: speaking in tongues, prophecy,......[maybe I should say just a word about “knowledge”— because “knowledge” I believe relates to the conduct of church affairs which is set forth in the Pastoral Epistles which they didn’t have yet; and so that came, in the Written Word of God. Now you say, “Well then, what’s the point of the whole message tonight?” The point is what I stated at the beginning— that the Holy Spirit, sovereignly bestowed the gifts upon the Church in its infancy, which we do not seek or desire or need today; and I am firstly convinced that when we seek these, we do so in contradistinction to what the Word of God teaches. You say, “Well, what is the measure of being filled with the Spirit and being correct in relation to God? The Word of God, the Written Word of God itself, for we have this which is complete, “That which is perfect, is this Book; and it is “the faith which was once [for all] delivered unto the saints!”

Our FATHER— We commend to Thee this study in Thy Word in relation to Thy Spirit and His performance, especially in the Age of Grace. We thank You that evidence of the filling of the Spirit is that we be submissive one to another, that we be joyful and that we be thankful. May we be all these things, and above all be obedient to Thy Written Word, we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

Dr. Stuart E. Lease
August 17, 1974 pm
Ocean City Baptist Church, Ocean City NJ
Ocean City Summer Bible Conference

[include file=/StatCounter-AllPages.txt] [include file=/StatCounter-SCM.txt]