On The Holy Spirit

By Herbert W. Armstrong

November 1981


I want to get back to a subject I was talking to you about the last time I was here, about three weeks ago. And I'd like to turn to a couple of scriptures, first in the 8th chapter of Romans. Let's get to something a little more spiritual. In Romans the 8th chapter verse 7 speaks of the carnal mind, the natural mind. That is not, doesn't say, an especially evil mind. It's just the mind everybody's born with.

Romans 8:7 The [natural, or]carnal mind is enmity against God.

That is, hostile against God. Do you realize that? That the natural minds of men are hostile against God? I find that people who don't know God (or even if they think they are in some church, and they really don't know God though they think they do), if I begin to mention any of the truth of God, they want to change the subject in a hurry. It's very unpleasant to them, because they don't realize it but their minds are HOSTILE against God. They are uncomfortable when you talk about God to them. It's just like they say, "Well, God, what are you trying to stick your nose into my business for? What are you trying to get from me, God? I want you out of my life." They think God is trying to harm them. They're afraid of religion. They don't understand.

Romans 8:7 ... hostile against God: for it is not subject to the [law] of God, neither indeed can be.

Take the Protestant religion. There is one basic truth ... It isn't truth. One basic belief, that they have; and that is the law is done away. They believe you repent. Mostly they don't even put repent into it. But if they do, you are just sorry for what you have done. You accept Christ. Now, it's all {1} and you go right on. Of course, you go on still doing it again.

To them, to repent doesn't mean turn around and go the other way. It doesn't mean give up the way you've been living. They don't understand it at all. But if you accept Christ, you're going to go to heaven when you die. Otherwise, because of Adam's sin, you're consigned to go to hell. And most of them think that. HOW MANY OF US have believed that kind of rot, brethren? Too many of us have let that rub off on us, and we don't understand the real truth.


Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [That's the natural, fleshly mind -- the way we're born.] (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, IF [IF ... ] so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

Brethren, DOES THE SPIRIT OF GOD DWELL IN YOU, AND HOW DO YOU KNOW? I want to tell you that many of you don't know whether the Spirit of God is dwelling in you or not. LISTEN TO ME, BRETHREN. I WANT TO WAKE YOU UP! A LOT OF YOU DON'T KNOW THAT, AND YOUR WHOLE ETERNITY IS DEPENDENT UPON IT.

Romans 8:9 Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit [that's Spirit with a capital "S," meaning the Holy Spirit.], if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

IS the Spirit of God DWELLING IN YOU? How do you know? What does the Spirit of God dwelling in you do? What change does that make, if any, in your life? any change been made in your life?

Romans 8:9 Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.

Maybe you have said, "I accept Christ." You have been baptized in water. You have been received into the Church; and you say you are a Church member; you are a member even of God's Church. But IF the Spirit of Christ -- the Holy Spirit of God -- is not dwelling in you, and unless you are being led by it and you are following it, you are not a Christian. You're just a member of an organization.

Do you know what is the Spirit of God? Did any change ever take place when the Spirit of God came into you? Now turn on to another verse, verse 14:

Romans 8:14 As many as are LED by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Are you being LED by the Spirit of God? Now is that just something you talk about? Or is something real that has really happened and changed your life? Is your life different? Is it led in a way by the Spirit of God now that it was not before your conversion? How do you know what is the Holy Spirit? How do you know whether you have received the Holy Spirit?

Do you know that there are perhaps a few million people in the United States (I know it's many hundreds of thousands.) who believe there's only one way you know whether you have received the Holy Spirit, and that's if you 'speak in tongues.' Well, that's what they think is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit.


Now we are going to have to go into a lot of these things a lot more than we have in the past, brethren, because I THINK WE DON'T FULLY UNDERSTAND. AND I WANT TO GET THIS CHURCH ON THE TRACK! I want you to be able to rise and meet Christ in the air, and to be changed from mortal to immortal, from human to divine so that you are an immortal divine being when you meet Christ up in the air. And I am afraid that many of you ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT. Listen to me! I'm talking to YOU, brethren.

What good does it do me to pour out my heart to you if you don't listen, if you don't believe? Jesus came and preached to thousands, and only 120 out of those many thousands believed what He said. He fed the 5,000, they listened to Him; but He said, "They didn't come to listen to what I said. They just came to get their bellies filled."

I go and I speak to a group of our people in some city in the United States. And maybe most of the members of 8 or 10 churches in that area will come, and there'll be a much larger group than their normal church services. Then they go back and say, "Oh, I got to see Mr. Armstrong. I got to see Mr. Armstrong, God's apostle. Isn't that great?" "Yeah well what did he talk about?" "Oh, what did he talk about? Well I don't know what he talked about. But I got to see him! Isn't that wonderful?" Now, how much did that profit them?

Take a look at me. I'm nothing. I'm a nobody. Except as the Word of God is in me and unless Christ is using me I'm nothing. You're nothing. But we can all become something through Christ Jesus, but only if we have the Spirit of God. Otherwise, we are not Christ's. And, brethren, I have been awakened lately. I am afraid that MANY OF OUR PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH COME AND SIT HERE, AND LISTEN. They don't really comprehend the message, and they are NOT CHRIST'S at all. They are not really Christian. They are not going to meet Christ in the air, and He's coming in this generation.

I WANT YOU TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY, BRETHREN. I don't know how I can ... All I can do is shout at you, or something, and hope that some of you will get the message. You need a shaking up! You just need to have someone shake you, and shake something into you. I think that a lot of you are like you read back here in Ezekiel. Oh now I forget that chapter. Well, anyway, where it says the people come, and they come as God's people. Yeah, they're members of the Church. And it's a prophecy for our day. And they listen to God's minister, and they sit there as God's people. And they'll hear your words. And lo you are unto them as one that is playing on a wonderful beautiful instrument, or singing a beautiful song (although they don't hear the words or get anything out of it). They hear your words; but they don't understand them, they don't do anything about it. It makes no difference in their lives. They come as God's people. They hear your words, but they do them not! It doesn't mean anything to them.

If I can't shake you up, if I can't send you home with a different realization than you had when you came here, I've wasted my time and my love for you. You know I don't get paid any extra for it. I don't do it to please me, or for profit; but I do want you'd realize it.


Romans 8:14 As many as are LED by the [Holy Spirit], they are the sons of God.

Now what does it mean being LED by the Holy Spirit? Let me tell you, first of all the Holy Spirit isn't going to grab hold of you and pull you along. It won't do that at all. The Holy Spirit won't get behind you, and shove and push you against your own will. It isn't going to do anything like that.

I tried to preach a sermon on it, about three weeks ago I believe it was, whenever I spoke here last. Let me see if I can. {2} Do you see the light bulb in there? That's like you if the Spirit of God is not in you. The Spirit of God comes. {3} Does it make any difference? It changed the light bulb, didn't it? Do you know the Spirit of God in you will CHANGE YOU as much as that electric current coming in there changed that light bulb? Has anything taken hold of you and changed YOU that much? Or are you still just the same as you were, but you've just joined an organization? You just sit here as God's people? Brethren, your just sitting here in a seat is not going to get you into the Kingdom of God. It just is not!


Now I'd like us to understand this just a little more. I don't have ... I've taken so much time already; I don't have much time left. I want to go back a little bit in the 7th chapter. Paul spoke about the law of God, and he said in verse 14 of the 7th chapter:

Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold unto [death].

Brethren, you and I were all born carnal. Paul said, "I am carnal." That didn't mean he was just naturally trying to be as evil as he can. It didn't mean that at all.

Romans 7:15-18 For that which I do, I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do. (16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it [the law] is good. [But he said, "I'm not good. The law is."] (17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but the sin that dwells in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.

Do you know that in you dwells no good thing? The way you were born, you are just so much dirt out of the ground. That's all. And that's where you are going to go back. And it's appointed to men once to die. And for most all people, after that the judgment. But the Church is an exception, and judgment is already on the Church. We're the firstfruits. That's what the Feast of Pentecost means every year.

Romans 7:18-22 For to will is present with me (That is, make a decision and a determination and to will.]; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. [Now we're all going to have to wrestle with that problem.] (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.

Paul believed in the law of God. He KNEW it was the way to live -- the right way to live, the way he wanted to live; but he found he wasn't living that way. Do you have that same trouble? Well, I've had it all my life; and I've had to struggle with it.

Romans 7:23 But I [find] another law in my members [And brethren that same law's been working in your members -- unless you are doing something about it. It was in Paul. It's been in me] warring against the law of my mind.

The law of his mind is the same as the law of God, which he's accepted into his mind. That's the law of out-flowing love -- first to God and then to neighbor.

Romans 7:23-25 ... warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [It's there because Satan has put it there; beginning from the time we were a day old.] (24) O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God only can deliver us, and it's through the power of His Holy Spirit. Now first we have to come to realize we have been wrong, and realize that of ourselves we are helpless to do right; and we've got to have the help of God. And if we do that, and we REPENT of what is wrong and the way we've lived in the past that means we turn from it and we don't want to do it any more. That doesn't mean we go on living that way and say, "Well, I'm sorry. Now it's alright." You know most people in the Protestant churches think if they just say, "Well, I'm sorry. I repent." Then they go right on doing it. They haven't repented. But if they accept Christ, they think that's going to get them into heaven.


Now we know you don't go to heaven. We know you get into the Kingdom of God, and that'll be right here on the Earth. But it is not a change of place. It's a change of your state and condition. You won't be flesh and blood any longer. The only life you have now is the blood circulating in your veins and the breath of air that goes in and out of your lungs. That's what keeps you alive.

There is a spirit in you, but that spirit in you in NOT WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE. THAT DOES NOT GIVE YOU LIFE! It has nothing to do with your being alive or dead. It just functions in your mind as long as you are alive. And your life comes from the food you eat and the water you drink, feeding the body and keeping the heart pumping blood and your lungs breathing air in and out. That's all that keeps you alive. That's where your life is. That's the only life we have, brethren.

We don't have immortal souls! "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." So now you come to the 8th chapter of Romans:

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.


And the Spirit of God, the law of God, is the way of God; and the Spirit of God opens your mind to understand that way. If Adam had taken of the Tree of Life that would have opened his mind to revealed spiritual knowledge; and Adam never had spiritual knowledge. Adam said, "No. I'll just acquire my own knowledge." God made Adam so he could acquire knowledge of the physical, the material.

And do you know that in all of the colleges and universities of this world, ALL THEY KNOW and ALL THEY TEACH ... You listen! Now, get this. Understand this. All they teach is about physical material things. Spiritual principles they know nothing about. The things of God they know nothing about.

They don't know what they are. They don't know what a human being is made of. They don't know why a human being is on Earth. They don't know what God's purpose is and where we're going. They don't know the way. They don't know the cause of all of the world's troubles. They go ahead and solve their troubles; they don't know what causes troubles. They don't know the way to peace. They don't know the way to an immortal, eternal life. And God won't give you eternal life -- and it is the gift of God -- and He won't give it to you until you are willing to start to LIVE by the law of God and to LIVE GOD'S WAY.

Now God will put His Holy Spirit in you if and when you REALLY repent and accept Christ. But listen. God only gives you a little tiny bit of His Holy Spirit to start. The Bible talks about "pouring out" the Spirit, like water. You pour out water. (I've got some water here. I could pour it out.) It's like air that you can blow, and it moves; and the Spirit of God moves. But the Spirit of God will come in to you, and you only have a little of it to start with; and if you don't grow in the Spirit and in the knowledge of God, what little you had is going to leave you.


Brethren, take the parable of the pounds and the parable of the talents. The one who was given one and did nothing with it, when Christ comes, He will take away the one you had if you haven't increased it. If you have not grown spiritually -- in spiritual knowledge and in the spiritual way of LIVING so that you have actually LIVED a different way -- you will lose out entirely; and you will burn up in the final Lake of Fire. You will never be in the Kingdom of God.

God will only give immortal life to those who will live it in a way to be happy, and in a way to make other people happy, and in a way to walk with God. And two can't walk together except they be agreed. And God doesn't agree with the way you lived your life before you were converted, if and when you were converted and supposing that you were.

The Spirit of God coming into you IMPREGNATES you with divine Life. The spirit that is already in you does not give you any life. The spirit that is in you only supplies the power of intellect to a physical brain. And that physical brain is kept alive and active only by the air you breathe and the pumping of your heart and that has to be kept going by food and water out of the ground.

You are "of the ground" and "out of the ground." THAT'S ALL YOU ARE, BRETHREN. Understand it. Nobody else is teaching you that. No other church on Earth will teach you that. That's why this is God's Church! And it's quite different from any other church on this Earth, quite different.

When the Holy Spirit comes, that impregnates you with immortal Life. But listen. You are like an embryo in your mother's womb, as you were at one time; and you haven't even grown large enough to be called a fetus yet. That takes four months, when your body began to take on human form and shape. But listen. IF you were not fed on the physical food, you wouldn't have grown physically; and your mother would have had a miscarriage. You would never have been born. You would have died inside of her body; and she'd had to get rid of you, already dead. That is an exact type. IF you don't grow spiritually, you will be aborted. You will not go on. You have to GROW in the Spirit and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.


Brethren, listen to me. You talk about education. You go to school. You start in the first grade. They teach you to read and write and to figure. Reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic -- the so-called "3 Rs." All they are going to teach you there, and all they're going to teach you when you get to high school, and all they will teach you in the university is physical, material knowledge. They are not giving you spiritual knowledge.

When you are converted, then you begin YOUR REAL EDUCATION! You can't get it in the college, or the universities, or the schools of this world. YOU CAN'T GET IT THERE! You didn't get a real education. You only got a lot of physical knowledge. And about 50-75% of that is rot, and is wrong, and is error, and not truth. YOUR REAL EDUCATION begins when you are converted.

And you feed on spiritual knowledge, and the Word of God is that spiritual knowledge. You feed on the Word of God, instead of material food. And if you are not studying the Word of God, if you are not being educated EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE like you are just starting to school all over again, you are only starting in the first grade. As a matter of fact, you are hardly in the first grade yet. You are only in the kindergarten spiritually, when you are converted. And if you don't go on studying SPIRITUALLY and SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE ... the Holy Spirit opens your mind to comprehend it. Before that, you couldn't have understood it anyway. But when the Spirit of God comes, you can begin to understand it; and it will reveal that knowledge.

Now, it is the impregnation of divine Life; but it is only a start, if you go on. But you must grow, and grow, and grow EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE. Do you know more spiritually, do you have more spiritual knowledge than you did a month ago? Most of you don't brethren. Look in the looking glass and see; and say, "Here's someone that doesn't know any more than he did a month ago spiritually!"

SHAME ON YOU! You won't make it into the Kingdom of God if you don't change that! Am I wearing myself out, telling you that? Are you going to go away heedless, paying no attention? Nobody else gets up in front of you and tells you this. I'm the only minister that God has that can talk to you this way; and you had better open your ears and your minds and your hearts, and LISTEN or you won't make it into the Kingdom of God. I'm telling you.

The Holy Spirit then is the power that opens your mind to comprehend spiritual truth. Here are the great people who graduated from Harvard. They can't understand spiritual truth. They've just been educated in physical knowledge. Now they have to get spiritual knowledge. You can know more spiritually than they do. But do you?

We are going to school every day we live. And you gain in spiritual knowledge through the Word of God and, believe it or not (and listen), through prayer. How much do you pray? And by listening to the Word of God as God's ministers give it to you. There was a wonderful sermon preached on this platform this morning. I think most of you were not here and didn't hear it. Mr. Jackson preached a very fine sermon this morning. But that was spiritual food, and that's what we need. But we need to grow in spiritual knowledge.

Most churches don't believe in acquiring spiritual knowledge. I have a sister that's still in the same church I was brought up in, the Quaker church. She said to me one time ... She said, "Herbert, you don't ... You don't read the Bible to try to understand it, do you?" I said, "Well, of course." "Oh," she said, "but you can't understand it." "Oh yes, I can; but you can't Mary," I told her. I said, "Don't you read the Bible?" She said, "Oh yes, of course I read it." "Well why do you read it, if you don't read it to understand it?" She said, "Just for inspiration, we're not supposed to understand it." I said, "Whoever told you that? Whoever told you that was lying to you, and you'd better quit believing him; and believe what God says in the Bible. But you don't believe what God says. You say, 'I can't understand. Why should I believe what He says?'"

I make it plain. You can understand what God says to you through me. I'm trying to make it very simple, and plain, and very clear -- so you can understand it. And, if you don't accept it, that's your fault; not mine.

The Holy Spirit in you will begin to open your mind, but you must GROW in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is the last two verses of Peter (II Peter), of Peter's letters. Peter, the first apostle and the chief apostle at that time; and he was speaking the truth of God.

Now next to that, once you see and understand the truth of God, you have to use your own will to say, "That's the way I will live. And I will try to DO that way. I'll quit doing the other way."


Do you know what the Bible says about tale bearing and rumors? Well, this Church has not practiced that. We're the biggest tale bearing and rumoring Church that I EVER HEARD OF! SHAME ON WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE THAT DO IT! Now some of you right here are guilty of that. You're going to answer to God for that, if you don't stop it. Good news - do it. Good news - tell people. Bad news - shut your mouth up about it; and try to believe the best in people, not the worst.

It seems we want to believe the worst; and want to whisper that to everybody, we want to tale bear it. I say something. Someone takes an exception to it. They get on the telephone; and it goes from one end of this country to the other, to the whole membership. Read what James wrote about the tongue. That's another thing that we do that is wrong. And, if we're going to grow in God's grace and knowledge, we quit doing those things.

I've tried to clean up our women's faces recently. I think some women didn't like it. They resented it. I'm very glad that most of the women in this Church here I find ... I've had reports that most of you, when you knew I'd made that decision, took your make-up off right off the bat, even before you heard a sermon on it. Well, congratulations and thank you for doing it. But you didn't please me by doing it. You only pleased God.

Sometimes I wonder what the women would do if the men started painting up their faces in all kinds of ways. Some of these things are so ridiculous, but we don't think about that. The only thing women think of, "Other women do it. The world does it. And we must go along with the world, mustn't we?"

God says, "Come out from among them, and be separate." Do you want to still be with the world? Go to the world. Don't come into this place. This place is not of the world. We are to be different from the world. We are a separate and a holy people! And we've got to live that way.


Now, the Holy Spirit will open your mind -- if you study the Word of God, if you listen to the Word of God. And you grow in Spirit as you pray to God more and more. And pray for the brethren. Pray for people, even for your enemies. I pray for my enemies even before I do for some of my best friends and some of the brethren. Of course, God may bless them by punishment to wake them up. Maybe that's the best thing for them. God knows. I don't. But I only pray for them, not against them. I don't want any harm to come to them. I just want blessings from God to come to them. You can pray for your enemies. God isn't going to hurt them, not unless it's for their good. He won't do anything that's not for their good.

Now, next to understanding, the Holy Spirit will give you the love of God that keeps His law. You were not born with the kind of love that will perform and keep God's law. You have to have a special love that comes from God. It's impossible for you to really love God like you should. We only love Him because He first loved us. And it's His love coming through the Holy Spirit into us, and some of that goes back.

You see there are two wires going into this light. One brings the electric current in, and the other goes back. The Holy Spirit comes in; but it FLOWS, like water or like air moving. And part of it must go back to God in love toward Him, and part of it out to neighbor and love toward them. And God will give you that kind of love. It's a different kind of love than you were born with.

Next the Holy Spirit will give you the faith OF Christ. That's not some faith you work up. That's a gift that God puts in you -- that kind of faith, to believe Him -- if you study His Word, if you get to know Him. Faith is only knowing that whatever God has promised He will do. You can rely on it. That's faith.

Then the Spirit of God will give you the power to do it. And all those things will make a change in your life! The electric light coming into that bulb here changed it and made it light up, made a big change. You and I are to be the light of the world, and we are to let our light shine. Not that the world can hear what we say, but that it may see our good works and how we live.

Part of our good works they won't agree with in the world, but some of it they will. It reminds me of the first time we held the Feast of Tabernacles, or really the second time, in Mount Pocono. There was a merchant there running his store; and he said, "You people, we found when you were here last year you were just the best people we've ever knew in our lives. All the merchants and businessmen here say, 'They've never seen people like you.' Well we think you're just the best people we ever knew. There's only one thing we can't understand. Why in the world would people so good as you have to believe that crazy religion of yours?"

Well, this man answered and said, "Well that's why we're so good. It's the religion that does that, and it will do the same thing to you." And he was speechless. The world can see our good works. They know we are pretty good people. We act like good people if we act God's way.

Then, finally, if we endure to the end, if we grow in grace and knowledge -- finally, if we die, we will be resurrected in the Kingdom of God. If we are still living, we'll be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye. God will give us immortal Life. This mortal will put on immortality. That's the process, brethren.

I wish I had time. I could talk on that all day and all night. I've only said a little; but I hope you got that little, because time is up. But let's go on to the Kingdom of God. Let's get this Church ready. Let's get each one of us ... You get you ready. You can't make the one next to you ready. You can make you ready. Be sure you do. And God bless every one of you.

{1} Editor's note: Mr. Armstrong said something incoherent here.

{2} Editor's note: Mr. Armstrong must have moved the lamp on his desk, or podium, so the audience could see the light bulb.

{3} Editor's note: At this point, Mr. Armstrong evidently turned the light bulb on.