Summary: Hmm. “Filled up to all the fullness of God”, sounds nice doesn’t it, but what does it mean and how does it happen? Paul prays for the church in Ephesus where he pastored for 3 years. He prays for something profound to happen in their midst, and it star
The Fullness of God
Pt 1 – Rethinking the Spirits Role
Hmm. “Filled up to all the fullness of God”, sounds nice doesn’t it, but what does it mean and how does it happen? Paul prays for the church in Ephesus where he pastored for 3 years. He prays for something profound to happen in their midst, and it starts with one thing…
“Being strengthened with Power through His Spirit in the inner man…”
That is the idea I want us to think about over the next several weeks, it’s time for the evangelical church to rethink the Holy Spirits role in our lives and our churches. The church of today has ended up in one of two camps – The Charismatic Camp – where the Holy Spirits work is often so much the focus that the Father and Son are diminished in importance. Focus is on spiritual gifts and signs and often the sovereignty of God and the forgiveness of Christ become footnotes. Now lest you think that I am criticizing I’m not – the majority in the other camp – the non-charismatic camp - focuses freely on the Father and the Son but typically ignore the work of the third person of the Trinity in the Holy Spirit. The result is lukewarm, self centered and powerless faith journeys. Frankly I grow tired of camping out as Christians. There are enough problems to go around for whatever labels we choose to wear. Francis Chan puts it well when he writes:
“The benchmark of success in Church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit. The “entertainment” model of church was largely adopted in the 1980’s and ‘90s and while it alleviated some of the boredom for a couple of hours a week, it filled our churches with self-focused consumers rather than self-sacrificing servants attuned to the Holy Spirit.”
The struggle for most in Christian circles is fear. I believe that most people in the church are afraid of this most nebulous member of the Trinity. Afraid for several reasons.
1. Indistinct and indefinable – The Father and Son are easy concepts with familiar ideas and so are easier to wrap our hearts around. The Holy Spirit even by name makes him a bit terrifying to the modern mind. Spirits are dangerous and ethereal and downright spooky. The only ghost we like is Casper. If the Father is God over us, and the Son God with us, the Spirit is best seen as God in us. God as He comes to indwell and empower. “1 Corinthians 6:19 (NASB) Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
2. Power is scary – to be strengthened with power. A hand saw is not a scary thing – we control it completely. A Circular saw is scary – it takes time to stop. I think often we are afraid of the Holy Spirit because He is not under our control but wants us to be under His. What if he asks too much of me? What will He ask me to do? If Paul had to face imprisonment and death will I have to as well? Power can be a scary thing to us.
3. Responsibility – this is perhaps the most difficult in todays world and the scariest thing about rethinking the Sprits role in our lives. We like God in a box. We like easy and undemanding spirituality. When we begin to look at the Holy Spirit we begin to see that this is bigger than the box we have it in. When the Spirit begins to move we have
•Personal responsibility – if the Spirit of God really can indwell me and empower me then I have to take personal responsibility for myself. If “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world” is true then I can be whole, I can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control and if I don’t then maybe it’s not someone else’s fault maybe it’s because I am not deeply rooted enough in the Spirit.
•Responsibility for others – God says to Jeremiah “I will put the words in your mouth.” This means there is no excuse for not sharing my faith with others. It’s not about education, or training it’s about submission to the Spirits work.
•Responsibility to the world – “You shall become my witnesses” The Spirit was given so that we would be empowered to reach the world not empowered to enjoy our church. Think about it – that’s scary.
It’s time to rethink our idea’s of this third person of the Trinity – Paul says when we are empowered by His Spirit: