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Summary: Are there things that we can look for to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church and are these visible to those who are not part of the church

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SIGNS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH

ACTS 2:41-47

LAST WEEK WE LEARNED ABOUT THE PROCLAMATION OF THE CHURCH AND ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE PROCLAIM GOD’S WORD TO THE WORLD. TODAY WE ARE CONTINUING IN THAT THOUGHT BY BUILDING ON THE THOUGHT OF WHAT IS PROCLAIMED FROM THE GOSPEL AFTER A PERSON ACCEPTS CHRIST.

THE PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD AFTER A PERSON ACCEPTS CHRIST IS VITAL TO THE SPIRITUAL MATURITY OF THE PERSON AND IN FACT, THE CHURCH. JUST AS IT WOULD BE WRONG TO LET A NEW-BORN INFANT FEND FOR THEMSELVES IN THE WORLD, IT IS EQUALLY WRONG FOR THE CHURCH NOT TO SPIRITUALLY NURTURE NEW CHRISTIANS INTO A PLACE OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY.

HOW DO WE RECOGNIZE SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN THE CHURCH? INDEED, HOW CAN WE RECOGNIZE THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN A CHURCH? USING THE ANALOGY OF THE NEWBORN CHILD, WE LOOK FOR SIGNS OF GROWTH.

LOOKING FOR SIGNS IS A VERY NATURAL AND BASIC ASPECT THAT IS A PART OF ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIFE. WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT THE WEIGHT AND LENGTH OF A BABY WHEN IT IS BORN, AND HOW RAPIDLY THEY GROW. LACK OF GROWTH IN FACT IS WHAT WE LOOK FOR TO INDICATE IF SOMETHING IS WRONG.

WE SEE THEM IN A WALKER, OR SEE THEM STAND HOLDING ONTO A CHAIR OR A COFFEETABLE, AND WE KNOW THAT THE FIRST STEP IS VERY NEAR. WE HEAR THEM MAKE SOUNDS AND THEN THE FIRST WORDS AND THEN WE CAN’T KEEP THEM QUIET.

WE STUDY THE PROPER FUNCTION OF ALL THINGS REALLY, THEN IF WE SEE THINGS NOT WORKING RIGHT WE LOOK FOR SYMPTOMS OR SIGNS TO FIND OUT WHAT IS WRONG.

WE LOOK FOR SIGNS TO TELL US HOW TO GET FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER, WHEN WE ARE ABOUT TO COME UP TO A SHARP TURN, OR TO FIND OUT WHAT THE SPEED LIMIT IS WE LOOK FOR SIGNS. WE LOOK FOR SIGNS FROM OUR BODY TO TELL US WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE. IT MUST BE GOING TO RAIN BECAUSE MY KNEE IS ACTING UP.

EVERYWHERE WE TURN WE ARE LOOKING FOR SIGNS. WELL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD AROUND US ARE LOOKING FOR SIGNS THAT THERE IS A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH TODAY.

THE SCRIPTURE IS VERY CLEAR THAT LOOKING FOR SIGNS OF THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN AN INDIVIDUALS LIFE AND THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IS BIBLICAL.

MATTHEW 7:16-20: “16 YOU CAN IDENTIFY THEM BY THEIR FRUIT, THAT IS, BY THE WAY THEY ACT. CAN YOU PICK GRAPES FROM THORNBUSHES, OR FIGS FROM THISTLES? 17 A GOOD TREE PRODUCES GOOD FRUIT, AND A BAD TREE PRODUCES BAD FRUIT. 18 A GOOD TREE CAN’T PRODUCE BAD FRUIT, AND A BAD TREE CAN’T PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT. 19 SO EVERY TREE THAT DOES NOT PRODUCE GOOD FRUIT IS CHOPPED DOWN AND THROWN INTO THE FIRE. 20 YES, JUST AS YOU CAN IDENTIFY A TREE BY ITS FRUIT, SO YOU CAN IDENTIFY PEOPLE BY THEIR ACTIONS.”

IF IT IS POSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THEIR FRUIT, WHAT ARE WE TO LOOK FOR? HOW ARE WE TO JUDGE?

THERE ARE SOME WHO WOULD SAY THAT WE ARE NOT TO JUDGE AT ALL.

“JUDGE NOT THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED” IS THE CRY OF THE UNINFORMED.

THIS IS NOT WHAT IS SPOKEN OF HERE. THIS IS IN REGARD TO SALVATION, AND WE ARE NOT TO MAKE A VALUE JUDGEMENT ON THAT.

WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IS LIFE AFTER CONVERSION, AND THIS IS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT AREA. NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE THE RIGHT, BUT WE ALSO HAVE THE OBLIGATION TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE LIVING ACCORDING TO THE STANDARDS OF SCRIPTURE.

VERSE 16 IS CLEAR “YOU CAN IDENTIFY THEM.” THIS MEANS THAT THERE WILL BE SOMETHING SO OBVIOUS, SO CLEAR, THAT IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO MISTAKE THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE ACTION OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR CHURCH.

WHEN PAUL WROTE TO THE CHURCH AT GALATIA HE INDICATED SUCH EVIDENCES OF THE PRESENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WE RECOGNIZE THEM AS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. HE DOES THIS IN A NEAGTIVE AND POSITIVE WAY.

GALATIANS 5:19-21, 26:

“19 WHEN YOU FOLLOW THE DESIRES OF YOUR SINFUL NATURE, THE RESULTS ARE VERY CLEAR: SEXUAL IMMORALITY, IMPURITY, LUSTFUL PLEASURES, 20 IDOLATRY, SORCERY, HOSTILITY, QUARRELING, JEALOUSY, OUTBURSTS OF ANGER, SELFISH AMBITION, DISSENSION, DIVISION, 21 ENVY, DRUNKENNESS, WILD PARTIES, AND OTHER SINS LIKE THESE. LET ME TELL YOU AGAIN, AS I HAVE BEFORE, THAT ANYONE LIVING THAT SORT OF LIFE WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. 26 LET US NOT BECOME CONCEITED, OR PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER, OR BE JEALOUS OF ONE ANOTHER.

NOTE THAT IT IS THE BEHAVIOR THAT IS THE ISSUE, NOT THE PERSON. THE BEHAVIOR IS THE SIGN OF THE SPIRITUAL STATUS OF THE PERSON. IT IS CLEAR AND IMPOSSIBLE TO MISTAKE. NOTE ALSO THAT IT IS THE BEHAVIOR THAT IS CONDONED BY WORLDLY STANDARDS.

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