I am convicted in my spirit that we have turned the Body of Christ into something it was never intended to be. Our churches have become community centers, lecture halls, and places of entertainment. We go to sing great songs, listen to elegant words and meet up with good people, but where is God? Surely his holy presence must cause more to happen than good feelings from singing? Where is the power? I am telling you, there is a great power deficit in the Body of Christ today.
Earlier in his first letter to the Corinthians Paul had stated:
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)
A little later he writes again:
But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Corinthians 4:19-20)
Right now it is easy for anyone to claim to be called of God into whatever office they like. If they study hard and prove themselves to be a good person then they are in. But the Body of Christ is supernatural as we are supernatural. We can't operate the Church and treat the servant-leaders with the same system as the world. 1 Corinthians 12 should be a good indicator that we are doing church wrong. We treat church as entertainer-audience whereas the Church is a body with everyone as part of it with a specific function that everyone needs to work as a whole, for the glory of Jesus:
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7)
Let me emphasize here, "to each one". To each of us who follow Jesus Christ. To everyone of us the manifestation of the Holy Spirit has been given. Everyone. And this has been done for the common good of the Body of Christ, the Church. We are talking super natural power here. This isn't a maybe but a must. It is how the Church functions and is effective in her purpose. What are these manifestations of the Spirit? Hold on to your hat:
To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)
Again, allow me to emphasize, "and he gives them to each one". Tell me how there is any room for the Spirit to operate in our worship services today? Sure, he touches our hearts, convicts us, moves us as he is suppose to do, but where is the room for the manifestation of the Spirit to operate? Where is the teaching? Where is the expectation? There is none because the pastor must meet the expectations of the elders and congregation. In to worship, 3 or 4 songs, 20 minute message with announcements, maybe a special item of music and then back home. This isn't church, it's organized religion, but no one will admit it. Some criticize the Catholics but the Evangelicals have set up a similar attitude in their system. Oh how I pray the Spirit will blow the top off of all man-made systems so he can have the freedom to operate and to manifest in us.
You will hear people say that this no longer applies, that this age belongs to the past and we are in a new age. Really? What is their Biblical basis for that? The only thing I read in the Word is that the lack of power is a sign of the lack of Jesus:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
I hope you are feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit as you read these words - "having a form of godliness but denying its power". We have beautiful churches, great worship songs, wonderful programs but do we have the power? Do we have the manifestation of the Spirit or do we deny the power of God in this age?
We should be afraid and ashamed. We should fall on our faces and repent for what we have allowed it to become. We should seek God's mercy and grace, and open our hearts to his will and deny our own. What are we doing? What are we producing? Are we producing after our own kind? We have to stop this and seek again for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that we would become the true Body of Christ. I wish I could put this message into the hands of every Christian in North America so they could be convicted by the Holy Spirit with the Scripture I have shared.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.