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Spirit and Intellect [Part 2]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2022 6:00 am

Spirit and Intellect [Part 2]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright

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Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.

There is no earthly way that you could ever, by simply reading about it with your eyes or just simply hearing about it in a natural sense, would ever be able to really be able to grasp the nature of the depth and height and width and breadth of the love of God. These things are spiritually imparted to you. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series, Word and Spirit, The Beauty of Balance, as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. Now, if you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you this resource, today's special offer.

Contact us at, that's, or call 877-544-4860, that's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.

Here is Alan Wright. In order to understand what Paul means by the natural person in verse 14, and what he means by the spiritual person in verse 15, I need to talk to you about two really important Greek words in the New Testament. And I'd like you to remember these words. The word for mind is interchangeable with the word for soul. So the word for soul or mind is the same word, and that word in the Greek language is sukay. If you were going to transliterate this into English, you know, Greek has a very different looking, different alphabet, and we bring words over into English and we try to spell them in a way that would make sense to us, transliterate it, you would recognize this word because you would spell it P-S-Y-C-H-E, psyche, okay? So in Greek, it looks like sukay, psyche. That's the word for soul. That's a word for mind. And you can remember that because psychology is the study of the mind. The word for spirit in the Greek language is the word pneuma.

If you were to bring this over, usually we put a silent P in front of it, P-N-U-E-M-A, pneuma. And what is interesting in the study of the New Testament is that while there are a lot of commentators and theologians who would say that God has made the human design such that we are soul and body and that whenever you see soul and spirit, those words mean the same thing. There are others, and I'm one of them, that would say that it seems much more convincing to me that the New Testament gives a picture of the human personality, of the human being as tripartite, spirit, soul, and body.

And part of the reason that I base this is because of a very important verse in Hebrews chapter four. Now we won't turn there, but in Hebrews chapter four, the writer is speaking of the amazing power, clarity, and incisiveness of the word of God. He's talking about how sharp it is, like a two-edged sword, and he begins to speak here of the word of God as if it is something like maybe if they'd had laser beams in that day, he might have said it's like a laser beam.

Whatever you could imagine, the kind of scalpel that could separate the most narrow of margins. And he says the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and then says is able to separate even unto bone and marrow, or joint and marrow, depending on your translation. Well, bone and marrow are in one sense the same because they're one, right?

But the marrow of the bone is different than the bone. And so in the same way he then turns and says and able to separate even spirit and soul. And when he says that, he says able to separate pneuma and psyche, pneuma and suke. Interestingly, Paul in 1 Thessalonians chapter five, when he's breathing out a wonderful blessing, a prayer for the Christians at Thessalonica, and he's praying for them, and he's praying for their prosperity and their sanctity, and he's praying for their whole spirit, soul, and body, pneuma, suke, and body, soma.

There are a number of other instances that I would point that have left me convinced of this, but part of the reason that I'm so convinced that it's best to understand ourselves as tripartite is because of 1 Corinthians chapter two. Because it's very clear when you get here to verse 14 and 15 that Paul is wanting to make a very big distinction between what he calls the natural person, according to the English Standard Version, and in verse 15 the spiritual person. The reason I told you about suke and pneuma is because the word that he uses for the natural person, this is a very tough thing to translate because there's no word in English that matches this.

What Paul actually says here for the natural person is the suke kos. We don't have a word for this. If you were trying to make this into some sort of adjective to describe this kind of person, you'd have to say the psychical person or the mind-oriented person. Probably the very best label that's been given this was an intellectual charismatic named Derek Prince who gave this word, and I think this is the best description, he called it soulish.

That's what he's saying. He's saying the soulish person, the person who is primarily living out of the psyche, out of the mind. It's not to say that that means wicked or overtly carnal, it's just saying everything's out of the mind, not connected or subservient to the spirit.

But then when he addresses at 15 the spiritual person, he uses that word pneuma, and he says but the pneumaticos, so it's a contrast between the suke kos and the pneumaticos. Now I don't say all that to make it complicated, but hopefully for you to see that it's imperative to understand he's drawing a contrast between the person who lives only by the mind versus the person who lives by the mind in connection with the spirit, and the spirit communes with spirit. You know when Paul says to pray in the spirit at all times, what's he saying? He's saying don't just pray soulishly, don't just pray with your mind, pray in the spirit, pray according to the word of God which is spirit infused. Pray according to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who helps us in our prayer life with groans too deep for words.

Pray according to the leading of Jesus who is your prayer partner, you see. So when you see the word spiritual in the New Testament, Paul is often just referencing the person who is born again, has received the Holy Spirit, and has cultivated that life of living out of communion spiritually with the Holy Spirit. In other words, my mind is absolutely a wonderful creation by God. Every single one of us given this incredible mind in the image of God, we are made. But only when your spirit is activated and you are listening to God and living with God and communing with God in spirit does your mind gain the clarity and creativity that God has designed for it to have. The mind in that sense is subservient to the spirit.

And when you discover this, it just changes everything in the way that you live your life. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. When you make a gift of support this month, we'll send you Alan Wright's newest audio album on CD or digital download titled Word and Spirit.

It's about the beauty of balance. Embrace the fullness of God's word and his spirit and grow like never before. With word and spirit, you'll grow up and you'll be helping someone else grow as well. And remember, when you partner with Alan Wright Ministries, you'll be broadcasting the love of God to thousands every day.

Call us at 877-544-4860, that's 877-544-4860, or come to our website, Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. Let me see if maybe a natural analogy might help explain this. Have you ever had a time in your life where it just seemed like your mind just didn't work? It's an interesting book written by an author I like, Malcolm Gladwell. And in this book, he is talking about in one chapter, the title of the chapter is Why Some People Choke and Others Panic, in his book What the Dog Saw.

And that just caught my attention because I think I have both choked and panicked in my life at various times. He used an illustration that also captured a golfer's heart because he recalled Greg Norman who was, in 1996, arguably the best golfer in the world, who had a six-stroke lead at the Masters going into hole number nine. And what happened from that point on was just unimaginable for the best golfer in the world. He hit it short on number nine, then he pulled his tee shot on number 10, missed a three-foot putt there. He got to number 12, hit it straight in the water, hit it in the pine needles on number 13, hit it in the water again on 16. And by the time that Greg Norman walked up to number 18 with his head hanging down, Nick Faldo, who had been six strokes behind, was four strokes in front of him. Greg Norman was the best golfer in the world, and he had a six-stroke lead. And all of a sudden, it was a ten-shot swing.

How can that happen? Did he suddenly forget how to be a good golfer? Did his muscles suddenly just not work? Was he suddenly just out of shape? Was he suddenly just unfamiliar with Augusta National Golf Course?

No, of course not. We all know what happened. Something happened in the mind, right? I mean, it's just we've all been at that place.

You don't have to have been an athlete to miss the key free throw that you could normally easily make. But times in which there's something you could easily do, but if you got nervous, suddenly your mind didn't work as well. Well, Gladwell distinguishes choking from something he says is even worse, and that's called panic. And panic, he says, is where you become so intensely afraid that everything turns inward and you become completely self-absorbed.

And in that situation, the mind can't hardly think at all. Ever been in that situation? Some years ago, we were in a painful lawsuit, and as part of it, I was deposed for three days straight.

One of the worst things ever. You sit on the other side of the table, you can't ask any questions. You just have to sit there and answer question after question where somebody's trying to trap you into saying the wrong thing for three days straight, trying to find a way to put words in your mouth, trying to find something wrong that you've done in the ministry, trying to find some skeleton in a closet.

For three days, this goes on. I thought I did okay, but on the third day, a different lawyer sat on the other side of the table, and for some reason, I got even more nervous. It should've been old hat by that time, but when they switched the lawyer on me, I just got extremely nervous. And he sat there and he started out. He wasn't being mean if they just said, now you're a Presbyterian pastor, right? I said, yes. He said, so at a Presbyterian church, you have elders. I said, that's correct. He said, and so your church is led by a board of elders called The Session. Is that correct? I said, yes, sir.

That's correct. He said, who are the current elders? Now we got 12 elders, and I live and work and breathe with these elders to help lead this church day in and day out. And I'm just going to tell you, in that moment, I could not think of one elder's name. I just had to sit there and say, I don't know. I had to look at the dumbest person ever to say, he was like, you don't know any of the elders? I can't think of right now. You ever had your mind just freeze up like that?

Isn't that crazy? It's not that that brain didn't have the names of the elders in there. It's just right now, I'm in a panic situation. And I just say this, if you could understand how your brain doesn't operate when it's under fear. Your brain doesn't operate very well when it's under panic.

Your golf game doesn't work very well when you're all nervous and thinking about choking. Your relationships don't go well. Your life doesn't go well because your mind isn't seeing things like it can. And if in just the natural, a little bit of peace can liberate your mind to think better, what would happen if the Prince of peace came and took up residence in your life and you learn how to commune with him and hear from him so that your spirit was constantly in communion with the Holy Spirit? I'll tell you what would happen is your mind would begin to just be exploding with imagination and clarity. Have you ever had a time in your life where the spirit hits you and all of a sudden that thing you've been trying to figure out for a long time, all the clarity comes. For me, it happens with sermon. Sometimes I could sit around for days trying to come up with a sermon, but then I get into a worship situation and the spirit comes upon me and I'm gonna give me a pen.

I can't write it down fast enough because the mind is suddenly heightened and clarified and creativity, whatever it might be that God has called you to in this world. I'm telling you, beloved, he will advance your thinking by the spirit led life. All of my life as a Christian, I was thinking the way that I'm gonna grow is I'm just gonna think, think, think, think, think, think. And some people tend to think, well, no, the way you're gonna grow is just by spirit manifestation and spirit manifestation and word and forget about thinking.

I'm here to tell you there's never a separation between these two. I always wanted to be right there in the midst of the Father's heart and I was so identified with Henry Nouwen who was a great intellectual, a brilliant, brilliant man in heaven now and his life was impacted by looking and gazing upon Rembrandt's, the prodigal son, the return of the prodigal. And his life was just changed as he looked at this Rembrandt that depicted the son, tattered as he was, in the arms of the Father while there were these detached spectators looking on. And Nouwen said, for years I had instructed students on the different aspects of the spiritual life trying to keep them, trying to help them see the importance of living it, but had I myself really ever dared to step into the center, kneel down and let myself be held by a forgiving God. I always wanted that. And I had been so trained up in my life and in my family with the value on the intellect that I thought that Christian growth for me was gonna come like that and I've discovered something totally different.

It's marvelous. Many years ago, first year that I was here at Reynolda, I was 34 years old. I was a young man with a big job and I came into a church that had people who'd been walking in the Spirit and studying the Word of God a lot longer than I'd been alive. And one day, we decided to respond to a woman who was very sick and to go and pray for her. She was out of the state.

She had been a member here. She'd had a valiant, valiant fight against cancer. God had brought her marvelous healing in her life and seven years of life that no doctor thought she'd have.

And now she'd grown older and she had a resurgence of cancer and she was very weak and either God needed to heal her on this earth or He was gonna take her home. We weren't sure what was going on but I wanted to go pray for her down in South Carolina. So my friend Bob, who is a pilot, said, I'll fly you down there.

And I said, okay, I wanna take an intercessor with us. I wanna take a prayer warrior with us. And so I called up a lady in this church.

When you get to heaven, you look her up, Dee Dennison. And Dee got on that little plane and we flew down to Columbia, South Carolina to go pray for this dear, dear lady. And as we got in the car at the airport driving over to their home, I said, well, let's pray. And I started praying the most pitiful prayer you ever heard. I was confused.

I didn't know what to do in this situation. And I said, Lord, you know how confused we are. Lord, you know how frail our minds are. And we don't even know how to pray and we don't know, Lord, what to do.

Would you just please help us? I was just sort of begging God for something here. It's what you would call a soulish prayer, right? And so I'm just going along and talking about how frail our minds and how pitiful and everything.

And Dee Dennison was very patient for a while until she couldn't stand it anymore. And so this woman of God who had been an intercessor for more years than I'd been alive finally interrupted me and she said, but we do thank you, Lord, that we got the mind of Christ. And she took over the prayer and I shut up and she started saying, Lord, thank you that because of what you've done for us, that we have the Holy Spirit living within us.

And you said that your sheep here, your voice, as many as are the children of God will be led by the Spirit of God. Oh, we thank you. You've given us the mind of Christ and you've equipped us with spiritual gifts and we thank you for this opportunity to go pray for this dear lady. We just thank you for moving in her life right now. She just started praying and I started shrinking back in the seat like this.

I thought, you know what? I want to live a life of communion with the Holy Spirit because I'll tell you what will happen. If you start getting the Spirit to have the priority in your life to tell your mind what to think, then you can start having your Spirit being, tell your mind what it ought to do. And your mind will tell your body what to do. This makes sense of places like David saying, oh bless the Lord, oh my soul, I'll tell you what to do.

Bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all of his benefits. I'm going to tell you right now what you ought to do, soul. I'm going to give you some instructions, mind, here's how you're supposed to think right now. Going through a hard time, listen to the Spirit and the Spirit will tell your mind how to think in this situation. Come on, people of God, let's don't get in despair about the darkness of this land. Let's listen to the Spirit of God who's telling us how to think about these dark times that we face, how to look at your life, what to do in that dilemma that you have in your life. You listen to the Spirit of God and you start telling yourself out of your spirit how your mind is supposed to properly think and you find that all of a sudden your mind is energized and clarified.

You know what I'm talking about? And I've got days in which, man, I feel so soulless, I'm just walking around in my head all day long. I just can't figure this out, oh, what are we going to do?

What are we going to do about that? And then I get into a context of worship and suddenly my mind explodes and I go, why was I thinking like that? Because what I'm telling you is that you were made spirit, soul, and body. And when you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit came and took up residence within you. Why in the world wouldn't we want to just commune with Him all day long?

Because guess what? He is in us, the mind of Christ Himself. What I'm saying, beloved, is that you could live a life just in the mind or just in the spirit, but if you'll take on the intellect and make it subservient to the Spirit together, you will become a high-dancing, deep-thinking giant, and that is the gospel. Alan Wright, that's good news for today in our teaching called Spirit and Intellect.

It's in the series The Beauty of Balance. Stick with us. Alan is back in a moment with additional insight on this for your life and a final word. Some traditions emphasize studying scripture and some traditions emphasize the Spirit. The path to real Christian growth is the fullness of both word and Spirit. As someone once said, all word, no spirit, you dry up. All spirit, no word, you blow up. Both word and spirit, you grow up. When you make a gift of support this month, we'll send you Alan Wright's newest audio album on CD or digital download titled Word and Spirit.

It's about the beauty of balance. Embrace the fullness of God's Word and His Spirit and grow like never before. With Word and Spirit, you'll grow up and you'll be helping someone else grow as well. And remember, when you partner with Alan Wright Ministries, you'll be broadcasting the love of God to thousands every day. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support.

When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860, that's 877-544-4860, or come to our website, Alan, I really do love this teaching spirit and intellect. How can we go the next couple of days resting in this good news that you've given us and make that applicable to our lives? Well, what it does for me and I hope for some of our listeners is it makes life and the world attractive because you are going to have your mind and your capacity to think heightened by the Holy Spirit, not diminished, no matter what it is you do in life. If you're a parent and you are daily in need of that wisdom and want to have your mind set straight on the way that you teach your children and the way you lead them, the way you guide them and love them and discipline them, surrender to the Holy Spirit. He is the mind of Christ in you. If you are a business professional and you have complicated matters that come before your desk each and every day, God's Holy Spirit is not going to diminish your capacity, but He's going to quicken your intellectual capacity. If you are a physician and you are looking to diagnose your patients, the Holy Spirit helps you. What I'm just saying is that I have found that a lot of people think there's a conflict between spirit and intellect, but there is not. There is a powerful link between the Holy Spirit and a heightened intellect. It's a beautiful thing to have. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-12 15:45:12 / 2023-04-12 15:55:07 / 10

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