The Slumbering Spirit
Part 2: Connecting to Eternity
Sabbath Day Sermon: Saturday 14 February 2004
I wonder if you have ever had the experience of meeting someone for the first time yet feeling as though you have always known them? When two people spiritually gel the normal laws of time and space seem somehow to be suspended. At the same time you can be with someone all your life and feel as though they are complete strangers.
I would like to suggest to you today that the fifth function of our spirit is to transcend time. There is something about the human spirit that somehow feels as though it doesn't 'belong here'. We occasionally become aware that we came from somewhere else and that this life's experience is somehow both temporary and alien - familiar because we were born and raised here, and yet at the same time intensely 'foreign'. And the odd thing is that after you have been born again in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) that sense of 'foreignness' only increases. We sense the world from which we came and to which we must return.
Spirits which are awake and alive possess that extraordinary resilience which allows them to arise above pain and difficulty. Those which are slumbering, however, seemed trapped in the agony of their problems and just cannot see the good that is around them. Every negative thing becomes magnified so the extent that everything positive is crowded out.
A spirit which is alive and awake has roots in life itself. A husband and wife who may be struggling with some inter-personal difficulty are, if their spirits are alive, arise above such difficulties and be sustained by the whole history of good experiences they have shared from the past. The past, in that sense, never dies but seems to transcend time. And that is because the spiritual exists above and beyond time - it possesses the quality of eternity. When such things do not exist - when a couple cannot hold together because no such spiritual experience ever occurred in their lives, then it is because they have never touched eternity together. They have never united in the 'eternallness' of the Most High God, El Elyon. They have, in their relationship, never transcended time. They have never connected in the stream of eternity which is the Ultimate Reality, Yahweh-Elohim.
Lives which have no roots in eternity must of necessity derive their nourishment from a world immersed in time. The non-spiritual person is therefore much more deeply engaged in the material world and is controlled by it. That is not to say that the spiritual man is disconnected from the material - the spiritual man is incarnated in matter and is not an aesthetic - he is supposed to interact fully with the material world but not with the spirits of it (Eph.2:2). And that's the problem: if you are not connected to the Spirit or Ruach you must of necessity - because you are a spiritual person by construction - interact with the only other spirits that there are - the demons of this world even if your own spirit is asleep. And if you seek after spirits which are not the Ruach then they will obligingly awaken your slumbering spirit to a counterfeit spiritual life. This I spoke a little bit about last week.
If we are alive in the Eternal - if our spirits are energised by the Ruach (Spirit) - then they are capable of reaching beyond time and can be nourished by the past, because in a timeless world the past is always present. In the same way they are able to be nourished by the future!
Nourished by the future? How can that be? There are two ways we are able do that, one positive and one negative. A person who is living in a counterfeit spirit - whose spirit has been awakened by a false spirit or demon - is able, like all awakened spirits, to dream and hope. Dreams that are based in lies are always ultimately crushed. When we invest energy and hope in fantasy, and when those fantasies do not come to pass, the spirit is crushed by depression. It is natural to dream and hope. As spiritual beings that is a created function of our very being.
How can one be positively nourished? Indeed, how can one be nourished by something which has not yet happened? Whatever Yahweh has ordained has, in a sense, already happened because the Word of Yahweh never returns to Him void (Is.55:11). Indeed, in a spiritual sense it would be correct to say that it has already happened because it is part of a timeless reality. It may not have happened in the temporal or physical world but that is not a matter that affects the spiritual. When we believe in something that has not yet happened, that is called faith. "Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen" (Heb.11:1, KJV). Justified faith is based on the reality of the spiritual realm; vain faith is based on the illusion of the counterfeit spiritual world.
The promises that are made to us by Yahweh - whether conditional or unconditional - have happened in the spiritual dimension even if they have not happened in our physical one. People are often baffled by the truth that the atonement of Yah'shua (Jesus) is both retroactive (going back in time) as well as being present and future. That is because the atonement, whilst it took place in time here on earth two thousand years ago, also 'happened' in the spiritual even before the world was made. This is, admittedly, a difficult concept to grasp for most, and yet it is the essence of ultimate truth and of salvation. Thus it is a sinner can come to Christ for salvation and connect to Yah'shua's (Jesus') death on the Cross as though it were happening today and for him because in the spiritual dimension it is. Or to put it another way, when Yah'shua (Jesus) was hanging on that cross paying for our sins, you and I were both there in the spiritual dimension even though we were born two thousands years after the physical event. The salvation life is therefore freshly available to every soul in every age because it happens on the invisible, timeless plane.
A sleeping or dead spirit cannot project backwards or forwards into time. All that exists for them is the present. They are trapped in the pain of the moment. Many of them, because the present is too unpleasant for them, retreat into fantasy worlds, aided and abetted by demons, and begin the first steps of a journey into a world of make-believe that very often leads to a multiplicity of illnesses and eventually - if allowed to completely unfold - to insanity.
A person who is spiritually asleep or dead knows only the present, and if that present is too painful, all they want to do is flee. This leads often to a denial of reality and to abnormal and irrational behaviour. I knew a woman when I was at college whose physical living space was utterly chaotic. I had been told by another woman who knew her that her college room was just one giant, total mess, with no order in anything. Things were dumped on the floor and there they remained until they were needed. The day I visited she had gathered everything up and thrown them into a pile into her built-in wardrobes. I know because she went to get something and forgot to close the door afterwards. Things weren't even properly laundered. Her temporal life was utter chaos because her spirit was asleep and she chose not to deal with the realities around her.
The phenomenon which is called a 'slumbering spirit' will, I hope, comfort those ministers who preach Ruach-(Spirit-) filled sermons to enthusiastic congregations who then do nothing to change their lives around, but who continue in their sinful habits. When this happens it is often because their spirits are asleep. They believe the message, they know the scriptures which say we are accountable for our deeds, and yet they do nothing. They act as though Yahweh isn't watching them - as though they can get away with their rebellion. They simply aren't aware because the spiritual mechanism that would enable them to change their lives simply is non-operative. They were aware in their heads that they had sinned but not in their spirits, and that's where it counts. For unless the spirit is awakened to a lively sense of sin, no amount of preaching, prayer or Bible-study is going to make a blind bit of difference.
A dead spirit has no sense of the future because it is not connected to eternity, so how can it be awakened into a lively sense of guilt over the future consequences of sin? Though they may connect to the idea that committing adultery there and then is bad because it will ruin their marriage they have no concept that such behaviour will disconnect them from Yahweh for all eternity with all the consequences of that terrible reality. They can't even see the effects tomorrow or one hour's hence. Only if they were caught in the act of adultery there and then would they feel guilty because they are only connected to the here-and-now. Do you see what I am saying?
That which we call our 'conscience' belongs to the spiritual dimension. We are all born with a portion of the Light of Christ within us (John 1:9, KJV). It is a portion of the 'divine spiritual' to enable us to discern while we search for truth. But it can be denied and suppressed - our conscience can be defiled (1 Cor.8:7; Tit.1:15). That portion of spiritual life can be rejected, and often is, and with it our means of being nudged towards truth, salvation, and spiritual awareness.
When people cannot grasp the future consequence of sin it is because their spirits are asleep. It should be obvious, then, that it is in Satan's interests to either keep those spirits asleep or to awaken them into a counterfeit spiritual life. And that, brethren and sisters, is the condition of nearly the whole human race today, including many calling themselves 'Christian'. Little wonder, then, that the end-time false prophet and antichrist will have little problem in deceiving nearly all the human race.
We have seen, now, how being spiritually asleep prevents us from interacting with anything other than the present moment of time, or demon-controlled fantasy worlds. When people are spiritually asleep they quite simply cannot communicate. And because they cannot communicate, they cannot form stable relationships. When spiritually alive people make contact and communicate with each other, it is through their spirits. This those who are spiritually dead can never understand. It baffles them. It is a great mystery to them, for all they understand is the temporal, the material, and the psychic, all of which are firmly rooted in time.
What about those people whom we call 'psychics'? Don't they demonstrate an awareness of the future? And doesn't that prove that they are spiritually alive? No, they are connected to the Second Heaven, to the world of demons, and to their own evil designs and self-fulfilling prophecies, some of which the demons are able to realise through their slaves, but others of which fail. Thus famous psychics like the Catholic occultist Jean Dixon sometimes get it right and sometimes get it wrong. When Yahweh speaks through His prophets He gets it 100% right because His medium is spirit. "Elohim (God) is spiritual, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth" (Jn.4:24).
When two spirits are alive they are able to tune into one another and empathise. Spiritually alive people meet each other through their spirits. Souls can resonate without ever speaking to one another. I had this experience on a train once in Oslo many years ago. There was a woman sitting opposite me. I saw her only for a minute or two, we never exchanged words, and she never even saw me, but I connected with her in such a way that I felt I had always known her. It happened recently with one of our brethren. The moment I read a letter from him for the first time I connected. The person sitting next to me sharing the letter was totally turned off by him. She eventually left the church and became a bitter opponent of it, but she knew neither me not the brother who wrote the letter. Her spirit was alive but connected to a false spirit so she never empathised or connected with any of us. Though she 'knew' our family well in the temporal sense, spiritually we were a closed book to her.
When people are connected spiritually, speech becomes a secondary thing. You know in advance what the other person is going to say and you don't have to spend ages explaining something complicated. Spiritual realities are shared only this isn't the psychic phenomenon called telepathy (which reads the mind through demonic mediation - the demons in the two people communicating with each other) but what I call echad oneness, because it is a connection of spirits or hearts. Many psychics wrongly assume that the Christian gift of prophecy is just a psychic gift - it isn't remotely that. They are two totally different phenomena. Psychics lose their gift when the demons in them are thrown out.
When conversations are guarded - when you are having to carefully measure your words for fear of treading on someone's toes - it is because there is no echad link. They are either spiritually slumbering or possessed of a false spirit. People who are spiritually asleep analyse and dissect each word you say: those who are spiritually alive in the Ruach (Spirit) are, whilst they are conscious of your words, listening to something entirely different. They are listening to your spirit.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone, believed they were following allong with you, to then hear them say something totally disconnected? That person was not able to read your spirit because his own was asleep. And no amount of 'explaining' will ever make him understand. Thus people misunderstand one another. I get letters from people with sharp intellects who have read my sermons and writings in the internet who have no idea what I am talking about, and who conclude that I mean the opposite of what I actually do. That is because their only source of information is their own mental data bank - that giant world called the spirit is simply closed to them. They have no understanding of it, and to talk about it is to them little different than speaking about some mythical world like Lilliput.
The difference between the writers of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) and the apostle John was that the latter knew how to articulate these things. Whereas the synoptists are merely recounting historical facts of what Yah'shua (Jesus) said and did, John has understood the theological implications. He understands the ambiguity of Yah'shua's (Jesus') sayings which led the apostles and the hearers generally to misunderstand him which Yah'shua (Jesus) had to then clarify because their spirits were asleep. When Yah'shua (Jesus) said: "Let the dead bury their own dead" (Mt.8:22; 9:60), the synoptists do not explain what he meant. Unlike John, who is a revelator, they do not interpret. Yet those who are in the Ruach (Spirit) know, because their spirits are alive, that the Saviour is not saying that corpses should bury other corpses. And when He says that we should eat His body and drink His blood we know that this is not an invitation to cannibalism but His earnest plea that we take part in His spiritual life which gives our own spirits life. So why didn't He speak directly? Why not speak openly and clearly? That is because the spiritual life is a mystical one and is only for those who seek the true life. To the rest it remains purposefully hidden.
Even if a preacher like myself should stand here and explain a mystery in simple terms, it will only be understood intellectually, if at all, by those who are spiritually slumbering. They will not be able to 'eat', 'drink' and digest. They will only be able to hear, and it will go in one ear and out through the other.
We call ourselves here a 'Johannine church' because of these things. John's writing resonate in us because we seek the spiritual depth of a life in Christ. For every literal statement there is also an inner spiritual meaning, and sometimes some statements aren't literal at all, as we have seen. His whole mode of writing is for one purpose only: "that you may believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Messiah (Christ), and that believing you may have life in Him" (Jn.20:11, RSV). This life is only possible through actively believing - through trusting faith - and then, and only then, does the slumbering spirit awaken.
John and Paul Sandford rightly observe that "people who have slumbering spirits are reduced to mental games". They never really meet anyone because they can't, because their spirit isn't able to function in that way. And that is one of the major explanations of so many of the divorces today. People with slumbering spirits cannot sustain relationships because the substance of all relationship-building is the spirit. They lack both spiritual sensitivity and awareness. You may think they are communicating because they are talking to you and hear the words you are saying, but the more you consider what has been said, the more apparent it becomes that you were both talking about different things. And thus it is when two spirits are slumbering out of their isolated unperceptive mental guesses, they do and say those things which are inappropriate to the other. Such people are reduced to impersonal, temporary encounters. Language becomes but communication on the surface of the soul; souls commune - really understand and know each other -- only through the spirit.
Next week we will see how this lack of spirit awakeness has contributed to the slide into sexual anarchy in the world, to an exponential increase in disease, and to a general lack of sensitivity and conscience. Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) prophesied that in the end-time "the love of most would grow cold" (Mt.24:12, NIV). We will see how easy it is to be really alive and make of life, no matter what its problems, a joyful encounter with eternity. Amen.
Click here for Part 3
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