Summary: Discover how God’s Spirit reforms His Church
(Message title and Scripture passage taken from John Maxwell’s series, MAKE YOUR MOVE)
I was talking with a couple of people this week about how God’s Church can be the positive influence in people’s lives. But I’m also aware that there are flaws within God’s Church. Some of the flaws come as a result of the culture influencing the Church. Other flaws come as a result of the Church being made up of flawed people.
The Church, instead of being a safe place and a model community, has at times misused her authority over the last two thousand years. Power abuse, financial dishonesty, sexual immorality, divisiveness, unwise decisions and other worldly problems exist in God’s Church. According to John Maxwell, who trains church leaders, 3,500 to 4,000 churches close each year.
What hope do we have to reform God’s Church? Does God’s Word, the Bible address these problems? The answer is “yes.” We find records of worldly problems in the Church even in the New Testament, in particular, in the Corinthian Church. The good news is that we also find God’s solutions through the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church.
Our text for this morning is 1 Corinthians 2:1-3:9. We won’t examine the solution to every problem faced by the Corinthian Church and by the modern church, but we will look at the foundation for reforming God’s Church.
This passage is possibly the first record of the Apostle Paul talking about God’s Spirit. And Paul talks about God’s Spirit releasing power, revealing wisdom and rationing ministries to accomplish the work of the Church. Let’s look together to see how God’s Spirit enables us to reform God’s Church.
First, when God’s Spirit moves into God’s Church, God releases His power. 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
The Apostle Paul is letting us know that the power of God’s is not found in eloquence, education, or an abundance of money or talent. The power of God’s is found in people who let God’s Spirit freely work, shape and use them. Jesus said to His disciples who were to become the first church, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…(Acts 1:8).”
E.M. Bound wrote, “God’s Spirit does not release His power through mechanics or methodologies, but through men.” I have seen how God does this in faithful messengers of the good news of Jesus Christ.
How many of you have been to a Billy Graham Crusade? I’ve brought people to Billy Graham’s crusades. He’s not persuasive. Yet, hundreds of people come forward to receive Jesus Christ when Billy Graham preaches about the good news of God’s salvation. That was God’s Spirit releasing His power.
Someone told about a lady who brought her friend to listen to C.H. Spurgeon. After the service, the lady asker her friend, “What do you think about Spurgeon?”
Her friend answered, “I wasn’t thinking about him at all. I was thinking about God who loves me so much that He would send His own Son to die on the cross for me.” That was God’s Spirit releasing His power.
I’ve seen this happen in my own life. When someone I talk with decides to trust Jesus Christ to restore him or her to God, I’ve not been able to find out what I said that convinced him or her to believe. I’ve asked, but they’ve always said, “I don’t know. It wasn’t anything you said.” That was God’s Spirit releasing His power.
When we know that God releases His power to do the work of His Church, we don’t have to manipulate people. We don’t pressure people into trusting Jesus Christ. We don’t pressure people into obedience to God. We don’t pressure people into serving through or giving to the Church.
We simply let God’s Spirit move in. We trust God to provide the power. We are faithful to the historical truth of Christ’s work on the cross. We love others as Christ loved us. God does the rest.
Second, when God’s Spirit moves into God’s Church, God reveals His wisdom. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
The Apostle Paul recognized that two kinds of wisdom are available: The wisdom of this world and the wisdom that is from God. The wisdom of the world is based on tradition, training, experience and self-interest. The wisdom from God is based on God’s infinite knowledge, some of which is recorded in the Bible.
The reformation of the Church in the 1400s to 1500s gave credit to the Bible and to people such as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldreich Zwingli. But I believe the credit should go to God’s Spirit. Without God’s Spirit, the wisdom and truths of the Bible would not be revealed to men.
The world’s wisdom says, “If there is eternal life in Heaven, you’ve got to work hard to get there. You have to either perform religious rituals or good deeds. Anything worth having is worth working for.”