HAS THE CHURCH LEFT THE HOLY SPIRIT?
by Charles Robey
And they were all filled with the Spirit (Acts 2:4)
I can remember growing up preachers would consistently teach and preach the Holy Spirit's ministry. Church members would talk about walking in the spirit and being filled with the spirit. And church prayers would urge the filling of the Spirit. One need only walk into the church sanctuary to feel the Spirit, as the service progressed.
So, what has happened? Has the Holy Spirit been placed on a shelf? There are three persons in the Godhead - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.(Acts 5:3-4) As the Holy Spirit is co-equal with God in spirit and truth.(2 Cor. 13:14), He should defiantly be a part of our worship services.
Yes, God never changes (Malachi 3:6), nor does His Holy Spirit. The Spirit started our early church (Acts 2:1-4), and He will always be a part of our church services. He never left us, we just seemed to have left Him.
As believers, we all know that salvation begins with the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. (John 16:8-11) We are also aware that the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sinful deeds (1Cor 6:19), as well as comfort us in times of trouble. And as believers, we should hold that it is our privilege to be wholly sanctified, and that our complete spirit, soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 5:23)
If these doctrines be true, which they are, then is a pastor wasting time if the Holy Spirit is not visible in the church service? (Hebrews 10:29) You decide. I already have.(Ephesians 4:30)
When, in fact, was the Holy Spirit seemly removed from our church services ? This psychology mind-set may have actually started evolving, as the church started replacing the deity of God with a more political correct "humanistic " gospel. In other words, our walk with Christ has been substituted by a false godless human maturity. (Galatians 3:1-3)
How then may we convert back to that "old time religion" doctrinal conception? As the Apostle Paul pointed out, sanctification comes by trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit by our faith. Paul also pointed out that the Galatians were acting foolish by trusting God for salvation, yet compromising the gospel of grace by substituting a human effort for their personal holiness and spiritual growth.
One just cannot achieve a supernatural objective by a human effort alone. In our modern day church, so many are worshiping the flesh rather than relying on the Spirit. (Romans 12:6-18) ( 1 Cor 12:8-10, 28-30) Without the Holy Spirit, none of us would be saved. And without the indwelling of His Spirit, to accomplish His sanctifying, sustaining, convicting, and comforting Spirit in our lives, (Galatians 5:25) we would all be dead to the spiritual things of the kingdom. (Philippians 1:6)
Is that why our church's seem dead today? We don't need a "stand-up" comedian in our pulpit. We need the preaching of the full gospel. (1 Cor 15:1-4) We don't need the work of the Spirit
to be misrepresented or down played, as a magical member of God's Trinity standing by to pass out the secular miracles of a false gospel. (Matthew 13:38-39) We just simply need a renewed sanctifying and purifying work in our spiritual lives. Not only in our lives, but in our churches as well. (Acts 2:4) (Acts 4:31)
One main doctrine, seemly gaining ground in today's modern church, is that of being told that we may solve our problems by getting in touch with ourselves, rather than the Spirit of God. The scripture plainly tells us that the Spirit is always standing by to help intercede, when we know not how to pray for a certain problem. (Romans 8:26)
In addition, one of the most misrepresented doctrines is what I called a "humanistic" prayer life. A prayer life strictly depending on our human desires (Proverbs 16:2) (Proverbs 14:12), rather than our spiritual needs. (Jeremiah 17:9-10) In other words, who needs to pray for everyday essentials, in a prosperous country like ours? Why not save the prayers for the disasters in our life? We seem to forget, God knows all and sees all. Our prayers are not depending on our wants but our need to have fellowship with Him. (Psalm 32:6-8) There again, this is where the Holy Spirit comes into play (Psalms 111:9) (Psalms 51:2)
In conclusion: The sad reality of today's church is that it has allowed Satan's misleading to filter into the church (1 Thess 2:18), in the form of camouflaged sin and weakness. (Psalm 7:9) This misconception will surely continue to get worse until we realize that our sacred warfare is fought with spiritual weapons. (Ephesians 6:12), not manmade artillery. You see, "we" are the church and the church is "we". If we are not filled with the Spirit, how can we expect the church to be filled with the Spirit, as well? (1 Cor 2:12)
We must reject today's man-made humanistic gospel. (Acts 5:3) We must not fall into the trap of relying solely on man's ability, and simply take God's word by faith. (Hebrews 11:1,13) The church must turn back to the Spirit of God, by knowing the Spirit and knowing the power of the Spirit. (1 John 5:6)
The Galatians, as pictured in the third chapter of Galatians, tried to perfect the flesh, instead of relying on the Spirit. This was wrong then, and it is just as wrong today .
AUTHOR'S POST NOTE
The evangelical Christian church, in which I grew up, believed and preached the full gospel (1 Cor 15:1-4), including the work of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) Our morning services were labeled "Holiness Meetings", designed to foster a deeper spiritual life. Our night services were labeled "salvation meetings", with an evangelistic atmosphere.
I realize it is the privilege of each believer to react, as led by the Holy Spirit, when it comes to outward expressions of "sanctification". I can still remember my Mom, softly shedding tears when experiencing the work of the Spirit in the Sunday church service. Yes, one can still be "filled with the spirit". What about you?