Summary: “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit” 1 Jn. 4:12-13.

Theme: The Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church

Text: Acts 1:15-17, 20-26; 1 Jn. 4:11-16; John 17:6-19

The Church is often described in the New Testament using different descriptive images. It is sometimes described as a family and other times as a Kingdom. The only way to become a member of this family with God as Father is to be born from above by His Holy Spirit. This new birth qualifies a person to become a citizen of the Kingdom Of God. In this Kingdom the King and ruler, Jesus Christ, demands obedience from all citizens as they carry out the various duties assigned to them. From these two descriptions, and there a lot more descriptive images of the Church, we can see that the Church is not a physical building composed of wood and stone, but the building of God composed of believers who are described as living stones. It is the Holy Spirit who makes believers living stones and without the Holy Spirit there can be no Church. The Church without the Holy Spirit is like torchlight without batteries or electricity connections without a source of power. You can have the most expensive and beautiful torchlight or the best and modern electricity connections but without the source of power they are of no use. They cannot fulfil their purpose, which is to produce light. In the same way the Church cannot fulfil its purpose without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that empowers the Church to be the light of the world. Without the Holy Spirit, the soul of the Church, we cannot do anything that pleases Christ.

The Holy Spirit is a precious gift of God to the Church and indwells every believer the moment he or she receives Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. As the Spirit of grace He is far too gracious to impose Himself on the believer or force Himself into any area of his personality where He is not welcome. He will control and direct the believer only to the extent to which the believer himself voluntarily yields and accepts His control and direction. The Holy Spirit is an integral part of the Church and His presence identifies believers as genuine children of God. The body of a child of God becomes a temple for the Holy Spirit who is the evidence of God’s seal of ownership on our lives. He testifies that we no longer belong to ourselves, but that our lives have been given over to God. This means that anyone contending with us is actually contending with God.

The Christian life is a supernatural life. It is the life of Christ lived out in every believer by means of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, when the Jews built the tabernacle in the wilderness, God gave them very explicit instructions through Moses. The book of Exodus records in great detail how the tabernacle was to be constructed. God Himself determined its length, width and height. It was to have a certain number of wooden poles laid out in a particular way. It was to have a certain number of curtains made out of a certain type of material. Everything was very detailed, and the Jews knew that they were to build that place of worship just the way God told them to. When the time came to build the temple, God once again gave explicit instructions, this time through David. When Solomon built the temple his workmen followed the plans so carefully that everything fitted together perfectly on the construction site. According to I Kings 6:7, they did not have to use any hammer or chisel at the worksite. It therefore follows that if we are to be a part of God’s building today, we have to follow His blueprints given to us in the Word of God. Everything we say and do must be guided by what God has told us. If we build on our own without God’s blueprint we will be building a life that does not impress anyone, neither God nor man. Many believers are not enjoying Christ’s new life because they have refused to follow God’s blueprint for their lives. Building a life according to God’s blueprint is the only way to the supernatural life. According to God’s blueprint we are to give up living in the flesh if we really want to experience the fullness of God’s life. The indwelling of God’s Spirit assures us that He will complete what He has begun in our lives. We however need to cooperate with God by daily studying and meditating on God’s Word and obeying His commandments.

The Holy Spirit is the voice of God to the Church. His focus is only on God and when He speaks He reveals the wisdom of God. He is the One who enables the believer to understand God’s revelations. Without the Holy Spirit the believer cannot make anything lasting out of the opportunities that life offers. The Holy Spirit also enables the believer to live according to God’s revealed will. The Christian life demands relying on God for each step we take. It demands knowing His will and doing it. It demands finding out His will and using our time and opportunities to fulfil it. It demands praying according to His will so that what God has willed takes place.

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