I love the Church in all her triumphs and defeats, her perfection and imperfection, her radiance and dirty stains. Even in all that we criticize her for Jesus has justified her so that she is his glowing, holy bride. That's you and me I am talking about. She is a beautiful mystery as well as being plainly seen and we are part of her. That is what I want to discuss with you today: how we are members of this thing referred to as the Body of Christ, the Church, the Bride.
Sometimes we look at the Church and then at ourselves and decide we are not part of it. Perhaps that is the thought that goes through your mind as you sit in the congregation and see all the beautiful talent that is around you, as you listen to the musicians, the singers, the wonderful speakers. Perhaps you sit there and feel disconnected because you have no part in it except as a spectator. Yes, that is what we have turned it into and that is what all of us have allowed it to become, but that is not what it is. If you have received Jesus Christ and been filled with the Holy Spirit you are a vital member of the Body.
There is a big question going on in the Church right now of why we are losing 60% of our young people, especially when they head off to college. As far as I am concerned there are three reasons. First, we don't ground our young people in the Word. Second, they have no understanding of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Third, they don't feel they belong because we have not allowed them to take their place and participate. We have allowed the Church to become a spectator sport and our young people are tired of watching. Read this:
Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. (1 Corinthians 12:14-16)
This is important to understand because the Word teaches that what you feel about yourself does not nullify the truth. The truth is you are an important and vital member of the Body. We need you in order to function properly. If our body lost a hand we could still manage but we would be less than what we were created for. The same if we lost a foot or an eye. We could manage but not as well as we could if we were whole. Just because you may feel you are not part of the Body of Christ does not take away from the fact you are an integral part of it.
The real fault rests with people like me, the leadership of the Body. We want so much to control everything that we don't trust that Jesus is the head and the Spirit is the controller. We think that if we don't control every person and everything that happens in our congregation that bad things will result. So we train leaders under us to control other people and to keep everyone in line. We create the "priests" and the "congregation" whereas we are all priests and we have all been called to serve according to the manifestations of the Spirit. Men like me do not get to decide; the Holy Spirit decides:
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (1 Corinthians 12:11)
I am a trainer in the Body of Christ, one of the five-fold servants to the Church. My role is not to stifle the Holy Spirit but to help train people in works of service. (Check out Ephesians 4) In other words, I am suppose to help people operate in the Holy Spirit. The leadership must empower the congregation to get out of their seats and get to work according to what each one has received from the Spirit. We try to control far too much so that we lose the freedom we have been given and we miss the anointing and power of God among us.
This means our young people head off to sit under the teaching of the world's wisdom without ever having experienced God, without having seen his hand move, without ever feeling they are part of something incredible. They go off in the flesh never having realized they are part of the supernatural move of God. That's my fault and everyone who carries the same mantel of responsibility. We have failed to be trainers and have allowed ourselves to be formed into managers. We manage the Body and we do it in our flesh. Where are the Apostles, the Prophets, the Evangelists, the Pastors and Teachers? They are all siting behind desks pushing papers, writing letters and holding committee meetings. They are performing the duties of deacons instead of training God's people how to serve in the awesomeness of the Holy Spirit. We has castrated the trainers in the Body.
I don't care what age you are, don't settle for less than what the Holy Spirit has called us to. It is time to allow a real move of the Spirit to sweep the Church and put things right. It is time for a Holy Spirit lead revolution to move through the Body of Christ, to restructure, to re-energize, to re-empower, to re-equip God's people to serve him with all their being through the Holy Spirit once more. I am willing to relinquish control but are you willing to step into your responsibilities?