Perhaps no one has ever told you this but there is much more to being a Christian than worship, Bible reading, prayer and being nice to people. That is where safe people want to keep it and they feel good about those activities. However, as a follower of Jesus, a child of the living God, you have been brought into a different existence where things happen in a very powerful supernatural manner. Now, if you want to play it safe stay with the lot who want to keep Christianity a nice safe religion but if you want to love and serve God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength it is time to discover a greater spiritual maturity.
Jesus did not come to just die on the cross for us, which was a great thing in itself. Jesus also came to set an example for us of how to live by the Spirit of God. Jesus did not do anything by his divine nature but everything he did was by the Spirit of God, the same Spirit you and I have received when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. We were also joined to the Body of Christ, the Church, which is a wonderful, mysterious supernatural thing. At least it is mysterious to the world but to those of us with a mind to understand, the mind of Jesus, it is an easy matter to grasp if we are open to the leading of the Spirit. The Church is not an optional thing, we cannot serve outside of the Body of Christ.
The Church is not some building we go into in order to worship with other people. It is not a place that runs community programs. It isn't even a bunch of people who want to form a community so they can feel they belong to something. The Church is a powerhouse, a collection of Spirit-filled people who have been brought together to become united as one, to form the Body of Christ, in order to glorify God and to seek out the lost. There is real power here; power provided by the Holy Spirit who inhabits each of us who have confessed Jesus. Before we deal with the power part of it we must accept the united part and recognize the source of the power:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
"Gifts" refers to such things as revelations, knowledge, tongues, interpretations, and prophecy. "Service" is referring to the various offices in the Body, different ministries, ministers / workers, institutions, such as teachers, healers, apostles. "Works" refers to miraculous powers such as healing. These are not things that have disappeared or been removed by God, we have simply not called upon them or used them. We have allowed the Church to become dull, lifeless, lacking power. If we allowed a few generations to go by in silence, not allowing them to speak, we wouldn't loose our ability but we would have to re-learn how to talk. It is the same with this supernatural function of the Body, we haven't lost the capacity, we only need to be trained again. But consider what is being said here.
Paul writes that the gifts differ but they all come from the same Spirit. The services or ministries are of great variety but they serve the same Lord. There are different miraculous powers but it is the same God who does these things through men. There is only one source for all these which should give us a great sense of belonging together. Perhaps that is how we became so fractured, when we stopped operating in the Spirit. There cannot be division in the Body when we understand that we operate by the Spirit of God. Unity is vital as we work together for the salvation of souls and the maturity of the Body. We became divided and weak because we lacked love, understanding and the power of the Spirit.
If we try to serve the Lord Jesus Christ according to our flesh we will always be a source of division. The flesh works by selfishness, always looking out for itself, feeling offended, seeking vengeance, always wanting to be right and the center of attention. When we put our flesh under our feet and live by the Spirit we desire to become nobodies so Jesus can increase in us. We have no desire to make a name for ourselves, to become known by the world, to leave a legacy. The only name we want lifted up is Jesus, we desire for him to be the only thing seen in us and we are happy to die as nobodies having testified to the only somebody who matters. To live such a life is a powerful thing and the Spirit can then use us, filling us with great gifts, calling us into various ministries, working with other nobodies to reveal Jesus to the world. He may even decide to work the miraculous through us but in it all we understand that it is not us but the same Spirit, Lord and God doing all these things through us.
We must understand this unity we have through the Spirit before we can tackle the manifestation of the Spirit on Monday. We must understand that we are not the source but only the vessel. Read through yesterday's blog again. Pray for greater understanding for this subject of authority and unity of the Spirit. If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit ask for it over the weekend. Ask for greater revelation concerning all things spiritual and then we will be prepared to deal with the manifestations of the Spirit together.