Summary: God meant His Church to be filled and following the Holy Spirit, You can also listen to this message at www.preaching.co.nr
It is impossible to try and consider how Church was meant to be without considering the role of the Holy Spirit. Some times the book of Acts is called the “Acts of the Holy Spirit.” The following references reveal that the activities of the Holy Spirit are pivotal to how Church was meant to be.
• Jesus instructs the apostles "through the Holy Spirit" (1:2).
• The first disciples are "baptized with the Holy Spirit" at Pentecost (1:5, 8; 2:1-; 11:15-16).
• The apostles are "full of" or "filled with" the Holy Spirit, esp. when they preach (1:8; 2:4; 4:8, 31; 11:24; 13:9, 52).
• Similarly, the Holy Spirit spoke through King David and the prophets in ancient Israel (1:16; 4:25; 28:25).
• God "will pour out" his Spirit on all people and all nations in the last days (2:17-18, 33; 10:45).
• Believers, including Gentiles, receive the Holy Spirit when they repent and are baptized (2:38; 15:8; 19:5-6).
• Sometimes the reception of the Holy Spirit even precedes baptism (10:44-48).
• Some people "test" or "lie to" or "oppose" the Holy Spirit, with dire consequences (5:1-11; 7:51).
• Deacons and other ministers must also be "full of the Spirit" (6:1-6), esp. when they prophesy (6:10; 7:55-59; 11:28; 21:4).
• The Spirit is conferred through the "laying on of hands" (8:17-19; 9:17; 19:6).
• The Spirit "speaks to" the apostles and prophets (8:29; 10:19; 11:12; 13:1-4; 21:11).
• The Spirit leads and guides the decisions and actions of the Christian leaders (15:28; 16:6-7; 19:21; 20:22-23).
As we considered last week, it is possible for us to impose cultural, denominational and personal influences upon the how Church is meant to be and I believe it is also possible for those same influences to be imposed upon how the Holy Spirit is meant to function in the Church.
• Some claim it’s the Holy Spirit telling them what to do when it is really themselves wanting their own way.
• Some have claimed God has spoken to them and have brought false prophecy, given bad advice and led people astray.
• Some people just want the Holy Spirit to do everything for them & make their every decision. This is immaturity. God expects us to grow up. If you are making a bad decision the Holy Spirit will tell you.
• Some times people are so fearful of getting it wrong that they don’t do anything the Spirit says. Better to have a go, get it wrong and experience God’s grace to allow you to have another go.
• Some just don’t allow the Holy Spirit to be active in their church. As I said last week, a church without the Holy Spirit is like a car without an engine. You’ll get somewhere in it but it will be very slow and you’ll have to do all the pushing.
Church as it was meant to be is a Holy Spirit-welcoming community of Saints. If I can put it as simply as possible, when the church is as it was meant to be, ‘the Holy Spirit filled them and they followed Him.’ So my challenge and question for us at ECC today is, ‘are we filled and are we following?’
Moody was to have a campaign in England. An elderly pastor protested, "Why do we need this ’Mr. Moody’? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?" A younger, wiser pastor rose and responded, "No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody."