Summary: One of the great gifts that God has given us is His Church. God uses our fellow believers to help us grow in Christ—and to know His Will.
A Christian businessman’s job suddenly ended. He couldn’t imagine what he was going to do or why he was laid off. He said, “I prayed and asked God to show me if I should take that job, but I never heard anything. So, I took it.”
A pastor friend asked him, “What did your wife think about you taking that job?”
“She was against it from the beginning.”
“Did you have friends praying with you about this decision?”
“I had some friends from church pray with me about it. Several of them raised concerns, but none of them had led a company that size.”
“So, the pastor said, you asked God to guide you and then you ignored everything He said through the believers He placed around you.”
Can you identify with that story?
One of the great gifts that God has given us is His Church. God uses our fellow believers to help us grow in Christ—and to know His Will. For the past month, we have talked about God’s Will vs. our will, what the Bible says about God’s Will, and what part the Holy Spirit plays in God’s Will. Today, let’s talk about God’s Will and what part the church plays in that.
One of the primary ways God speaks to us is through other people. Like the business man in our opening story, we can be so set on what we want, or be so confused by our circumstances, that we don’t recognize God’s guidance. God may use someone else to help us see His Will.
But in order for you to be sure that God is using someone to show you His Will, it’s important that they first acknowledge the lordship of Christ—both in their words and in their life. In other words, if you don’t see and have never seen that person’s words line up with their actions, you may want to question, “Is God using them to show me His Will, or is it just that person trying to persuade me to think and do as they do?”
Well, that’s what Paul is addressing in 1 Cor. 12. READ 1-3. The Corinthian Christians that Paul was writing this letter to, used to worship idols. And even though these idols were mute, they led people astray. You might ask, “How could a lifeless idol lead someone astray? Sometimes money is an idol. Can money lead people astray? You see, people fashion idols to satisfy their own desires. If your god can’t talk, you tend to hear exactly what you want.
But in contrast to that, the Holy Spirit is a real person who actively guides people He doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear, but He always tells us what we need to hear. And if we truly seek to hear His voice, we can receive His loving guidance.
Before we even come to a saving faith in Jesus as our Savior, God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s first tole is to convince us that Jesus is Lord and Savior. We will NEVER come to that belief apart from the Spirit’s work. So, Paul is saying that anyone who is led by the Spirit Can’t blaspheme or reject Christ. Now listen to this:
Once we experience salvation, the Holy Spirit enters a person’s life. There’s no way around that. If you accepted Christ as your Savior, then the Holy Spirit lives in you right now. And there is nothing in Scripture that says that you can make Him leave. Sure, we can GRIEVE the Holy Spirit with our sins, and we can STIFLE His work, but He’s here to stay.
So, when a person professes to be a Christian but then later renounces Christ, it’s evidence that they never truly had the Spirit residing in them in the first place. They didn’t LOSE their salvation because they went through the motions and never had it to begin with. God speaks to use through His Word, He speaks to our hearts by His Holy Spirit, and He speaks to us through those who acknowledge and live out the truth that Jesus is Lord.
Paul goes on to say in 1 Cor. 12: 4-6. READ. In the NT, God placed His people in the church. Today, that universal church is seen in countless local churches all around the world. Each church is part of the body of Christ. Each has its own assignment. Churches “DO CHURCH” in many different ways. Our church service is different from any church down the street or on the other side of the world, but we all serve and worship the same God.
In comparison, our bodies consist of many different parts. Each part is distinct from one another, but they all depend upon and support one another for our bodies to function properly. In fact, Paul addresses this in verses 14-22. Let’s skip down to that for a moment. READ.