Back in 1 Cor 12, we saw that Paul was explaining the prescribed path followed by the Holy Spirit in the gathering of the believers. The ministry of the Spirit and the effects of the Spirit, of healing or miracles or deliverance or power, among the body, will be with diversity, but the same prescribed path will be followed, so that we can recognize the Spirit.
Then Paul seemed to change subjects in explaining the agape love that the Father has for us and that we ought to have for each other. It is not a change of subject, as we can see from the continuation of the topic of the things of the Spirit in this chapter! Love is another aspect of the prescribed path of the Spirit! All the gifts, ministries, and activities of the Spirit are an expression of love from the Father to us, and through us to others. The chapter on love helps us to identify the Spirit, and identify the false spirits. Someone may come in among you and speak charismatically or even do miracles, but if the fruit of that does not express the love of the Father, either to us or through us to others, then, Paul is saying, that teaching, those miracles were not by the influence of the Holy Spirit.
So we have learned that the prescribed path of the Spirit means:
1) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, will testify of Jesus and exalt Jesus as Lord (Joh 15:26, 1 Cor 12:3);
2) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, will never accurse Jesus (1 Cor 12:3);
3) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, will profit the body (1 Cor 12:7);
4) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, will express agape love to us, and through us (1 Cor 13);
5) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, works edification (1 Cor 14:3-4, 26);
6) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, is peace, order, decency, and honoring of others (1 Cor 14:33, 40);
7) the gifts, ministries, and activities of the Spirit are subject to the person through whom the Spirit is working, so that peace, order, decency, and honor may be maintained. The Spirit does not “possess” a person so that he loses the exercise of his free will (1 Cor 14:32).
And something that was not mentioned in these chapters, but is mentioned elsewhere and is important to remember:
8) the Spirit, and the effect of the Spirit, bears witness to the truth and agrees with the Word of God (Joh 16:13).
This is so important, because people today have this crazy idea that the Spirit and the Word are somehow opposed to each other. That if you desire the Spirit, then God’s Word and obedience to His Word is somehow legalistic or religious. Or if you desire His Word, and obedience to the truth, then the Spirit with His gifts, ministries, and activities are to be distrusted. The Scriptures do not teach the Spirit opposed to the Word, or the Word opposed to the Spirit, but the Spirit AND the Word:
“The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.” Deu 5:4
“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Eze 36:25-27
“Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”” Mat 22:29
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Joh 4:23-24
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Joh 16:13
And many many other places throughout both testaments. The Word (Torah included) is our plumb line, our compass. It lets us know if we are still on the straight path, so that in all our ministry and operation through the Spirit, we do not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. The Spirit, in turn, breathes life into the Word, so that we can understand its message aright, and walk out its instructions in our daily lives! Walking by the Spirit does not mean abandoning the Word of God and the instructions it contains – it means obeying those instructions by the power of the Spirit (and succeeding) rather than by the (will) power of the flesh (and failing)!