A Voice in the
"However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all Truth; for He will not speak things originating from Himself, but whatever He hears He will speak.." (vs13)
This is, perhaps, the #1 key verse regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit today. If people would compare their theologies to this one verse, it is likely that 90% of today's errors regarding spiritual matters would disappear. In this passage Jesus explains the Holy Spirit's ministry. Any theology and teaching -must- be in agreement with this passage, or it is in error.
First of all, Jesus explains to the disciples that He is leaving for awhile. He has already said He is going "to prepare a place" (14:2), and that He is coming back to "receive" the Believers to Himself. (14:3) In 14:18 He also, however, encourages them that He is not leaving them high-n-dry as "orphans" while He is gone, but that He is "coming". He explains that "the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.." (14:26) Now, here, in this passage He explains how that is to happen, and what the Spirit's ministry is.
First of all, we should understand that the Spirit's ministry is not limited to Believers. There is one theology that teaches that a person is saved, and then they must 'pray' to receive the Holy Spirit. And so, if any sort of spiritual activity is observed, the person in whom such activity is visible is, thus, presumed to be a "Christian".
Thus, understand at the outset, that -all- Christians have the Holy Spirit. It is not necessary to 'pray' for a special 'anointing'. When a person is saved, they are "born of the Spirit" (Jn3:6, Gal5:25, etc); and if a person is lacking God's Holy Spirit, Scripture is quite clear: such a person "is not His". (Rom8:9) They are not saved. Those groups that spend their time praying for "the spirit" to anoint/fill them? They are not saved. They are not Christians. (by definition)
On the other hand, if you see God's Holy Spirit working in someone's life, that does not say they -are- saved, either. The Holy Spirit's work is not limited to Believers. Back around Noah's time it is recorded, God saying, "My Spirit shall not continually strive with man, for indeed it is in flesh to sin.." (Gen6:3) Jesus informs us that part of the Spirit's work is that of "convicting the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment". (vs8)
Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.." (6:44) However, if "no one has seen God" (1:18), how can Jesus' statement be true? Because God "is Spirit". (4:24) In response to recent considerations about "testing" those claiming to be saved, prior to accepting them into Christian service, one subscriber shared how when certain 'strangers' came to their home that they expressed something of the order, "The Spirit of the Lord is in this place!" Apparently these 'strangers' were also Believers. Believers can know each other by the "witness" of the Spirit. (Rom8:16) And it is the same Spirit who convicts the unbeliever; as the subscriber also said that some can't leave their home fast enough.
The Holy Spirit gives a "bond" between Believers, and also provides the 'pepper spray' that chases them away when they are not. When a Believer is around unbelievers, without a word being spoken, often the unbelievers will accuse the Believer of "criticizing" and "judging" them. Remember, the Believer hasn't said a word. Who is it 'judging' them? The Holy Spirit, into their -own- conscience. The Holy Spirit "convicts" the sinner. When God 'draws' a sinner to Christ, it is through the Holy Spirit convicting the sinner of his sin; and thus, of their need to come to Christ for forgiveness.
And just as Believers can know each other through the Holy Spirit, the world also knows the Believer through the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit convicts them of sin, He also convicts them of what is righteous. One reason today's ecumenism and one-world religion accepts some denominations, and not other small-obscure groups, is because they know through the Spirit's conviction what is sin and what is righteous.
And thus, they also -know- the judgment that is due them. Why do you suppose certain elements are so 'militant' to promote their abortion and gay agendas? Because they actually -know- they are sinful, but have jaded themselves against God's judgment; they have deliberately "seared" their consciences. (1Tm4:2) And the only way they can continue on against their conscience is to "kick against the goads". (Ac9:5) And the only way they can do that and not feel the "pain" is to mind-numbingly turn off their consciences, and "[cry] out with a loud voice, [stop] their ears, and [run] at [them] with one accord.." (Ac7:57) like they did when they martyred Stephen.
However, on the other hand, just because something "spiritual" might be in evidence, does not guarantee that it is -God's- Holy Spirit, either. Just as "many antichrists have risen up" (1Jn2:18), there are also "deceiving spirits" who proclaim "doctrines of demons". (1Tim4:1) And they appear "as ministers of righteousness". (2Cor11:15)
And while writing this, as I happened to take a little break right 'here' to go do a little shopping, one of my stops was to get some 2003 calendars. (After the holidays they are 50% off.) As I was browsing the various categories (with their pictures), there was one with the title, "Places of the Spirit". The pictures had to do with ancient ruins dealing with Greek mythology, oriental pagoda, structures from India... along with a few hut-like structures from central African regions, and things dealing with overt witchcraft. And none of them even hinted at any pretenses towards "Christianity". And yet they were invoking the term, "spirit". So, yes, God is Spirit; but God's enemy works in the realm of the spiritual, also. They are the forces of "..spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies.." (Eph6:12)
So how does one discern between the demons, and God's Holy Spirit? Jesus explains the Holy Spirit. If what you see is not like Jesus' description of the Holy Spirit, you can be certain it is satan's counterfeit.
First of all, we know one thing from His name, "Spirit of Truth". (vs13) If anything comes from God, such as Jesus Christ, it is characterized by "grace and -TRUTH-". (Jn1:14,17) If you see a spirit characterized by falsehood and lies, you know it is not from God; it comes from the "father" of lies (Jn8:44), satan.
One surprising characteristic of charismania and cults is that they lie. Cults lie to recruit their members. They either tell out-and-out lies, or withhold part of the truth (same thing). Just like Islam lies, claiming to be a "peaceful" religion, when in fact, their Koran teaches warfare. Quite often I have found, and others have confirmed it from their experiences, that charismania is one of the 'worst' in this. They will initiate contact with a Believer, and if the Believer suspects something is not quite right with them, and -asks- whether or not they are 'charismatic', quite often they will lie, saying they are not; when, in fact they are. They know the -truth-, and they also know that if they approach a knowledgeable Believer straight up-front, they know they will be rejected. So, in order to 'infiltrate', they -LIE-, claiming to NOT be "charismatic", trying to gain a foot-hold of camaraderie, so that they can, then, cleverly slip in their charismatic doctrines to 'wear down' the Believer. Typically, then, once discovered, they become angry and will often resort to open blaspheme, slander and other verbal abuse.
Whatever the form of the group that you confront, if they are 'secretive' about their beliefs, that is another form of lying. If you cannot get them to 'talk' and 'tell' you their beliefs, but you must, rather, 'go' hear their -guru-...that is not how God works. He says, "For this commandment which I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you to understand, nor is it far off. It is not in the heavens, for you to think: Who shall ascend into the heavens for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? Nor is it beyond the sea, for you to think: Who shall go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it? But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it." (De30:11-14) God's Spirit is -TRUTHFUL- and tells you up-front what is of God.
Next: the Holy Spirit does not create "new things". He does "not speak things -ORIGINATING- from Himself.." (vs13) And right here, this eliminates a whopping big percentage of what goes on today. The claim by many is that they are seeing visions and getting "spirit-filled" with "NEW REVELATIONS" (new truths) that their so-called "spirit" is generating. That is not from God! The Holy Spirit does not -originate- new things.
But rather: the Holy Spirit speaks "whatever He hears" (vs13) The Spirit is a messenger. In the past we have likened Him to the nervous system. Christ is the "Head" of the body, and Believers are "members". (Eph1:22-23, 5:23, Col1:18, 2:19) The Holy Spirit is the nervous system relaying messages from the Head to the Body Members, and back. And the reason Body Members know each other to be 'part' of the Body, having the "witness" (Rom8:16), is through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit "makes known to you" from Christ (vs14), and our prayers return to Christ through the Spirit. (Rom8:26-27)
So, when we hear -a- spirit speaking to our spirit, how do we know if it is the Holy Spirit, or if it is a demon? Does it present the Word to us? Remember that Jesus is called the "Word". That the Word is, -very- 'God'. (Jn1:1) Jesus said that the Spirit would take of Him (Jesus) and relay it to us. We also know that God's Word "stands firm in the heavens". (Ps119:89) The "faith" (what we believe) was "once for all delivered to the saints" (Ju3), and that if anybody (including an angel from heaven) were to come proclaiming something different, they are "accursed". (Gal1:8-9) Thus, what is God's "solid foundation" which "stands firm"? (2Tim2:19) The "Holy Scriptures" which were "breathed by God" (2Tim3:14-17), as the Holy Spirit "propelled along" the "holy men of God" (2Pt1:21) who penned the words on paper.
You see, it's kind of like giving your fingerprint as you sign up for something, and then later come back to act on that account: are you -really- who you say you are? How will the other person know? When you produce your finger, and they match your print with what they have on record. It's like the mystery saga where some pendant, art object or playing card is torn. One person takes one half, the other the other; and they go their ways and are separated for a period of time. Then at some future date when the mystery is being resolved, and the one person is sending their representative, they bestow their half to the messenger. The parties meeting in some secret place have never seen each other before, but when they meet, they produce their own individual "half" of that torn object...and they know each other is 'authentic' when the two halves 'match'.
However, you see, with the Holy Spirit the match is even closer... He is like the fingerprint. The Holy Spirit gave the words to 'write' the Scriptures. Thus, He knows what He wrote. If He whispers to your heart through His "anointing" (1Jn2:27), that 'whisper' is going to tell your heart the same thing written in the Scriptures. If that 'spirit' whispering in your ear tells you something -different- than what the Holy Spirit breathed into the Scriptures, you -know- WITH CERTAINTY that it is NOT -GOD's- Holy Spirit... but is a demon of satan.
When a Believer knows God's Word, and another person comes along claiming to be a "Christian", but is in disagreement with God's Word... they are not in agreement with 'you' (and your indwelling Holy Spirit), you -know- they are of another spirit.
"We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error." (1Jn4:6)
They are of the "spirit of error", and the Believer is of the "Spirit of Truth".