It bothers me that we think we get to shape the Church after our own desires. Then again, we are the people who keep trying to shape God after our own image. It really is a shame because we are limiting the beauty, wonder and testimony of the Church. We want to keep her as this pristine, dignified institution that has nothing of any value to offer the world except a desperate hope in times of desperation. We offer community services and programs. We also put on a pretty good concert but we aren't what we are suppose to be because most of the Church denies our identity.
It upsets me to hear people dismiss the supernatural aspects of the Church by saying that it only existed during a certain age. Let's pick the office of the Apostle just as an example. Because it doesn't fit in with the corporate structure of some of the denominations they have denied the authority of this important office in the Church along with other ones that reveal our lack of the Holy Spirit. As Paul describes the make-up of the Church you tell me if any of these manifestations of the Spirit sound temporary to you:
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28)
This is not an exhaustive list but some examples Paul is giving to make a point. Some of you would be familiar with the five-fold ministry, those offices that have been given as trainers in the Body of Christ:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service. (Ephesians 4:11-12)
It was Jesus who gave us these people as our trainers, to prepare us for works of service. In this sense works of service is the works of the Holy Spirit, the supernatural workings, part of the manifestation of the Spirit in the Body of Christ. Where do we find this in the Body today? Rarely will we find it as we continue to build our own corporate kingdoms, built in our flesh instead of the Spirit of God.
Not every manifestation of the Spirit is of the miraculous variety. There is a mini version of 1 Corinthians 12 found in Romans 12 where Paul lists some of the gifts of the Spirit:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)
But don't think these are any less powerful or less important or any less from the Spirit of God. Each of these gifts are not found in ourselves naturally nor do they come from years of studying man's methods in university nor by following man's wisdom. No, these gifts are the manifestation of the Spirit, giving people ability where none should exist. It is in these gifts, offices and works of the Spirit that we should be serving not in our own thinking, attitudes or natural abilities. This is how drunken and broken men became such powerful preachers and evangelists. Not because they went to great theology schools but because they were filled with the Holy Spirit, anointed for their task.
We are the Body of Christ and that is not a natural thing of this world. We are not a corporation and we do not follow the party line. We have one head and he is Jesus Christ. We are united by the Holy Spirit, held together by him and empowered by him for our position and purpose in the Body.
My point is that we are living the wrong reality of the Church if we are trying to function without the Holy Spirit and his design for the Body. We can`t design her any way we feel like. We are as guilty as the Israelites who built the golden calf in Moses`absence. We are fashioning the Church in a manner that we are more comfortable with and we are creating a god that better suits our chosen life-style. We are forgetting what it is to "fear" God. We are getting it wrong. We need to turn away from what we have done and start seeking God's design again. We need the Holy Spirit. We need to be the Body of Christ. We need to take up our position so that Jesus can be glorified through the Church once more.