I can well imagine some readers commenting on the last three numbers in this series, saying, “What possible value is it for me to know about UFOs, Crop Circles, and Star People?”
An answer is needed. The word “supernatural” means literally above the natural, and therefore has to do with anything that exists on a higher dimensional plane to that which we can observe with our five senses. I would suggest that the Christian life cannot be properly lived on any other level. Some may try, because they have a fear of anything that their five senses cannot tune into. But it is a denial of one’s new birth. Let us take stock of what this means.
To be “born again” (or more strictly from the Greek, “born from above”) is a totally supernatural event. It is the beginning of the supernatural road for man when he first comes to know the Lord. From that moment onwards he is able to tread a pathway that is prohibited to all who have not experienced new birth. Jesus said to Nicodemus, (when correctly translated), “The Spirit breathes where He wills, and you hear His voice, but you know not where He comes from or whither He goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) Have we fully understood what the Master was saying?
Although this new ability is opened to him, it does not mean that he will automatically either want to walk in it, orunderstand what it means. But there are plenty of passages in the N.T. which give understanding of this New Road. Paul had taught the Galatians about this Supernatural Road, what he called “walking in the spirit,” but they had not fully appreciated it. He therefore wrote, saying, “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the spirit, are you now made perfect in the flesh?” (Gal.3:3) The use of the words “flesh” and “spirit” were used consistently for “natural” and “supernatural”. The “natural man” is the unconverted man, but it also describes one who, although “born again”, persists in behaving as though the new birth hadn’t taken place. Hence, the new birth is not only a priceless gift and privilege, but also that which imposes a terrifying responsibility.
Bear in mind that Paul was speaking to believers when he said the following, “Those who are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh, but those who are after the spirit mind the things of the Spirit.” (Rom.8:5) A better rendering would be, Those who have an appetite for the things of the flesh are always looking for that which is purely human, but those who are developing an appetite for the things of the spirit [the new life] are looking for that which is imparted by the Holy Spirit.”
See how this operates in respect to worship. Many things can be done to make a worship service more attractive. It is easy to mistake sensual pleasure for spiritual worship. One may obtain a growing emotional uplift from the constant repetition of a chorus, and imagine it to be spiritual, whereas it is human. Many worldly people, who are not born again, like to go to churches and cathedrals to listen to “sung Eucharist” or other such services with trained choirs. They enjoy the sense of atmosphere in the place, but it has nothing to do with them worshipping God. As yet they know Him not. But is it any different for believers?
Jesus said to the woman at the well, “True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Indeed, the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) It is not sufficient to have only the “truth” as found in the Scriptures, worship must also partake of the “spirit.” This is something that has to be learned, because it is not understood with the natural human mind. “We do not speak with words of man’s wisdom, but that which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Cor.2:13)
In the days of the Old Covenant, God gave specific instructions about worship. “If you make an altar of stone, you shall not build it with hewn stones, for if you wield your tool upon it, you profane it. And you shall not go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness be not exposed on it.” (Exodus 20:25-26) Two specific instructions. All human workmanship, glorification, beautification, associated with worship merely pollutes the divine. And any attempt to rise up to meet the Lord is condemned because it exposes the human. God has graciously said He will come down to us, because we cannot rise up one inch of ourselves to meet Him. Paul said, “We worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil.3:3)
So much for worship. Let us look elsewhere. I have written about the recent rise in rage amongst evolutionists. Here is a simple case in point. The theory of evolution is an attempt to find an origin for the Universe and all life forms on the earth. Whatever form it takes, this theory is based entirely on what is observed scientifically. It has no time for anything supernatural, or miraculous. But the miracle of turning water into wine was a way of expressing creation in terms of a higher dimensional activity, an activity that cannot be investigated by science. The natural man just dismisses it with contempt. But believers should be prepared to accept Creation as part of their walk in the spirit, and not try to convince the secular world against evolution by quoting science. “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him. Neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor.2:14) For a believer to say that he believes God created the Universe, and all life forms, may sound arrogant to the unconverted man. But it is not arrogance. It’s a statement of belief, a testimony, based upon what the Spirit of God has imparted. It’s the simple acceptance of Psalm 33:6,9. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the spirit of His mouth. . . . For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood forth.”
Some believers are frightened of ghosts. They claim they don’t exist, as a means of shutting out the fear associated with their possible existence. But the Bible gives credence to the existence of ghosts, or spirits, in a number of places. For example, the disciples imagined they’d seen a ghost when they saw the Lord walking on the water. And after the resurrection the Lord spoke to His disciples in this wise, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have.” (Luke 24:39) Therefore ghosts do exist, and sometimes they are seen. But from a believer’s point of view, such manifestations must be accounted for from a spiritual point of view. It’s not good enough to dismiss the subject. The fact remains, even if the human mind refuses to entertain the fact. Some well meaning souls have prayed for ghosts that they might be enabled to “go on to where they should be,” and have been rewarded by knowing that the haunting has ceased. That is a true work of the spirit.
This is why I believe that it is not only good and wholesome to investigate such things as UFOs, Crop Circles, and Star People. It is because they are clearly a part of a higher dimensional realm, and anything in that realm, whether it be from God or from the Devil, must become a part of our learning process, that we may be equipped for action. Spiritual warfare can only be engaged in successfully by those who accept the necessity for it, prepare themselves by reading Paul’s instructions about it, and above all approach the enemy in the name of Jesus, and in the power of the Spirit of God.
On the day of Pentecost Peter quoted the prophet Joel, saying, “In the last days I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17) Unlike the O.T. days, where only specially anointed prophets received from the Lord, in these “last days” the blessings bestowed are being poured out “on all flesh”, in other words, without any form of class distinction. But these blessings are all spiritually received. Do we long for them? Do we cherish them? Or do we fight shy of them because we are not sure where they come from, and are frightened of being deceived? It is sadly possible to live the Christian life in the flesh, and hold all spiritual activities at arm’s length out of fear.
In respect of prayer, Paul said, “The Spirit helps our infirmities, because we know not what we should for pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes supplication for us with unutterable groanings.”(Rom.8:26) Again he said that we should, “pray always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit.”(Eph.6:18)
Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the spirit speaking to yourselves (i.e. to each other), in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord.” (Eph. 5:18-19) We are therefore expected to be filled with the spirit. This is often referred to as “the baptism of the spirit”, and is a must for all God’s children. It must be kept separate from the gifts of the Spirit, which are an addition. But the filling of the spirit is an on-going experience, requiring daily attention. The word is ‘present imperative’ in the Greek – “Keep on being filled.” Again Paul said, “Quench not the spirit. Do not despise prophesyings. Prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good.” (1 Thess.5:19-21)
This is my answer to anyone who prefers not to have anything to do with “supernatural things”. I would say that believers should have their minds tuned to anything and everything that is supernatural, because it is a part of the higher realm into which we have been placed as a result of new birth. We cannot help ourselves. One day we shall see that which now we can only read about, pray about, and long for, but until that blessed day arrives we can surely rest content knowing that “our citizenship is in the heavens, from which we are waiting for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our body of humiliation and make it conformed to the body of His glory.” (Phil.3:20) We shall be of no earthly use unless we are more heavenly minded.
N.B. For a fuller treatise on the subject of Worship, please refer to my article Prophetic Telegraph No.8. Also an important prophecy on Worship by Elaine Cook may be found as Wayside Pulpit No.9. Our web site is www.oxleigh.freeserve.co.uk.