How the Spirit is distributed & His power enhanced by havruta & spiritual community (22 July ’18) A message on how the tremendous potential of the Spirit & Word of God can be obtained in the believer’s life. A number of Scriptures give indications & pointers to the way God works in the believer’s life. For instance, “But the manifestation of the Spirit given to each one for the profit of all…” (A) Did you catch that? The Spirit is given to an individual for the profit of a body of believers–not the individual himself. I have been blessed to see incredible things done by the Spirit when individual believers in touch with the Spirit combined with other believers like individual pixels combining to make a picture, or the parts of a machine combining to make a functioning machine.
SPIRIT JOINS A BODY OF BELIEVERS. Christ said that his Spirit would be present when 2 or more believers came together.(B) God will intentionally give part of a message to individuals which when combined with what He gives others will form a systematic whole truth. The full potential of this is rarely being realized. If we were to enter a Jewish Yeshiva (school for religious learning), we would find students combining to discuss and debate the meaning of a passage. Here we see that each student sharpens the other student’s comprehension of the passage’s meaning. “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”(C) These gatherings are called havruta. Two students will debate & discuss the meaning of a passage of scripture. Each student at a havruta is a haver which means “friend”, and the two “friends” sharpen their spiritual understanding like a knife & steel. Sunday school can be like a mild form of havruta if Scripture is discussed. And we also see a similar process when our children ask us spiritual questions. Questions get us to think, so the process is mutually beneficial. EX 12:26 remarks: “When your children ask you, What does this service/ceremony mean to you?” And of course we are to be ready for such questions.
RELUCTANCE TO PRACTICE. The Amish have rejected Sunday School as worldly, and in general reject discussions & questions about passages of Scripture. Members can be excommunicated for group Bible studies. At this stage, most Amish ministers only want obedience from their flocks, not understanding. The process of havruta (found in Jewish Yeshiva’s) rarely occurs with them. While an ultra-orthodox Jew & Amishman in their wide brimmed black hats may look similar, this is an example of a major difference. The reluctance to let God’s Spirit teach for the community’s good is one major reason some Amish settlements are losing most of their young people…while on the other hand havruta has been discovered to be an indispensable part of the orthodox Jews’ ability to successfully spiritually train their younger generations. If we look at Scripture in the Word of God, we realize that we are all pieces of a body and that God’s Spirit works in all men, and as a practice gives each piece only part of the puzzle. We need each other for a more complete understanding.
VALUE OF THE WORD OF GOD. God has communicated His truths over thousands of years to men who wrote them down on scrolls. Again we see numerous people being used by God to create the message of the Bible. This is so typical of the way He works. The work of creating the Bible was not left to one person, say Moses, Christ or David, but a plethora of people. And this combination of messages into one over arching message is what teaches us that sin is the transgression of the law (D) and what that law is, and how Christ redeemed us from the guilt & penalty of sin. And this combined Bible message gives us “exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world though lust.”(E) If the full message of the Bible is only corporately realized, it shows how important the Body of Spirit-led believers are to the success of the believer. The promises of God help us obtain the divine nature.
POWER OF THE WORD. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it will not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the things whereto I sent it.”(F) In contrast with the power of God’s words, we are taught that our idle words shall be judged.(G) No wonder Christ was fond of quoting Scripture…he knew how to keep from idle chatter & spiritually unproductive words. He also knew how to disciple and work with groups of people…he was no lone ranger.
(A) 1 COR 12:7 (B) MT 18:20 (C) PRV 27:17 (D) 1 JN 3:4 cf. ROM 4:15 (E) 2 PTR 1:4 (F) ISA 55:11 (G) MT 12:36