Summary: All people are called to be sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit. How? More than anything it is what you let God do to you.
Leading With the Holy Spirit
“I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.” Romans 15:14
Intro: We have all heard of the “rat maze experiment.” They put a rat at one end of a maze and a piece of cheese at the other end. At first the rat bumps around until it finally finds the piece of cheese. The next time they put the rat in, he bumps around a little less and gets the cheese faster. After a while the rat will zip through the maze and have the bite of cheese in its mouth in a few seconds. Even after you take the cheese completely out of the maze the rat will still make a beeline for the end of the maze. But it want be too long before the rat figures out the cheese is gone and so he stops going. That’s the difference between rats and people. The rat stops.
Even though I tell this illustration in fun we all get into the same ruts over and over again. We go back to the same habits, the same hang-ups. We routinely struggle with the same weaknesses, repeat the same mistakes. We are constantly dealing with the same brokenness, the same hurts, the same sorrows and grief, the same temptations, the same sin. Do you stop and ask, “What have I learned from my past? What must I do differently this week? What do I need to change?
Today we are going to talk about “Leading With the Holy Spirit.” Specifically from both a perspective of being a pastor but also for the perspective of you as laity.
But first let’s look briefly at the roll of the Pastor. Clergy have one distinctive difference from laity. Clergy are licensed or ordained. I was ordained by Bishop Morgan, who was ordained by Bishop Hodge, who was ordained by Bishop McMurry, who was ordained by Bishop Key, who was ordained by Bishop Andrew, who was ordained by Bishop M’Kendree, who was ordained by Bishop Francis Asbury, Asbury was ordained by Thomas Coke, who was ordained by John Wesley.
Clergy are ordained to fulfill the leadership role of the people of God through the ministries of Service, Word, Sacraments, and Order. It has been said many times and with simple truth, that if a pastor ever has to point this out during a discussion, then the pastor has already lost the debate. That’s why I say it today in this teaching context, not in a confrontational moment but so that everyone might understand our form of church government and Discipline.
“Even though clergy are set apart by the Church for ordained ministry, pastors are subject to all the frailties of the human condition, and pressures of society, and yet we are required to maintain the highest standards of holy living in the world.” Book of Discipline ¶ 304.3. This sentence has different meanings to different people but to me it simply means that pastors are not perfect. It just means that pastors are called to love one another and show that love like Christ did to everyone who he met. The Apostle Paul makes this clear in Philippians 3:12. He speaks of his own life and writes, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of me.” Paul admits it—he wasn’t perfect. But he was striving. He was growing. He was making progress in his Christian life.
Much like you must do in your own personal spiritual life: If He Touches you – then you have to Talk about it.
If He Heals you – someone should Hear about it. If He Saves you – then you ought to Share it. If He Delivers you – you have to Declare it.
As we journey along the path of our life and mature more in our walk by faith with Jesus, as we draw closer to our end, we have to admit that our lives will never perfectly reflect the truth we preach. But it is by Grace. "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 It is in our weakness that Christian character develops. It is in our flaws that we find forgiveness for self and others. As we recognize our limitations, our lack of talent, our lack of power, we learn to depend more and more on God and we deepen our worship. As we admit that we point other people to Jesus through God’s strength not our own. None of us can save anyone by being perfect. That was the failure of the Old Testament Law. But when I a sinner, repent of my sin and know that Christ on the Cross has rescued, redeemed, atoned, made up for my mistakes, you and I can share that experience with the world. Then, that makes us messengers of God.