Summary: Last week I shared my vision for this church..and that vision centered on a belief in the supernatural power of God. I shared how the early church was comprised of believers who not only heard about...but actually experienced the full gospel...with signs
THE INGREDIENTS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH
Last week I shared my vision for this church..and that vision centered on a belief in the supernatural power of God. I shared how the early church was comprised of believers who not only heard about...but actually experienced the full gospel...with signs and wonders that accompanied that gospel message.
And it was a church that grew.ƒ`They grew in spirit...they grew in faith...they grew in numbers. And I hear from so many here at this church that they would like to experience that very same thing...to have the ability to live their lives with a vibrant, powerful witness of what the Spirit can and will do in a person.
I believe that the greatest longing in the church today is the desire for something more than dull religion. People are in desperate need of something that really works... something more than a cheap emotional thrill on Sunday morning.
People are in need of the intimacy..the inspiration..and the impelling power of the Holy Spirit. And answering that cry is the key to church renewal and prophetic preaching and teaching.
But I want you to know that it is impossibleƒ`to live the Christian life without the indwelling Holy Spirit actively working in our lives. And I'm convinced that the greatest need in this church today is for a contemporary Pentecostƒ`.
Courageous discipleship and effective ministry in our society simply cannot be accomplished without the guidance and enabling energy of supernatural power. The church today, like the disciples in the Upper Room, is waiting on the edge of a miracle.
And Pentecost was a miracle...because the impossible really happened! 120 frightened, weak, self-centered, willful, and discouraged men and women were transformed into new creatures. They were infused with supernatural power..intellectually, emotionally and even physically. We certainly need a Pentecost in this church!ƒ`
In John 4:24 Jesus said "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." God is spirit...and we are created spiritual beings. We were created for Spirit-to-spirit union and communion. We spend our lives in search of that union...but it is not a futile search. Our spirit can be infused and empowered by His Spirit...as some can testify.
The final hours before Pentecost were filled with the frustration of knowing just how impossible it would be to live as Christ had taught them and showed them by His life. How could they ever live up to that? How could it happen without Him?ƒ`
They didn't realize what Jesus meant when He said He would come and make His home in them. They were thinking of Him living "with" them, but not "in" them. And until it happened, the disciples waited on the brink of history's greatest miracle...the transformation of human personality and the beginning of a new humanity. And it's on that same edge of expectation that we find so many people today.
There are many who want to experience the Holy Spirit in a way they never have before...but don't really know anything about Him. We hear and sing and talk about the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit...but our words have drifted far from the original meaning.
Because the peace, and also the power of the Holy Spirit, only come AFTERƒ`reconciliation and a surrendered will. And that is what I want to focus on this morning. All of the manifestations that began on the day of Pentecost and continue on even today are dependent upon a harmonious relationship with God. But it goes even beyond that.
The Greek word for peace that comes from the Holy Spirit means a harmonious relationship between God and us...and also between us and others.ƒ`And that was the key for the success of the early church. And believe me...we need the fire of the Holy Spirit to convince us of the fact that we are, first of all, loved without qualification...but we are also released to give loveƒ` without reservation.
The undeniable fact that we have the Holy Spirit living in us is a new and deeper capacity to love. And love is not just something that we feel inside...it must be expressed in tangible ways. This is where we run into trouble...and this is what is needed first and foremost if the church is to grow and experience all God has has for us here.
The problem of impatience with people...difficulties in forgiving and forgetting...and a reluctance to give ourselves freely to one another will kill the effectiveness of this church...and on top of that, it is a constant contradiction to our faith in Christ as Savior.
Acts 2:1 holds the key to our freedom and our effectiveness as a church..."they were all together...they were all in one accord...they all had the same goal...And that goal was to wait for the promise of the Father...in indwelling of the mighty Holy Spirit.