The One Thing the Church Has Ignored and Why It's Destroying Us
About a year ago it hit me like a ton of bricks. This is me. I did this.
I ignored this one gift, given to me by our Heavenly Father; and as a result, I had become dissatisfied with my own Faith.
I lacked excitement, zeal, and passion. I went to church every Sunday, never getting anything out of it. The Bible was simply words on a page. I had become a compliant and bored Christian.
But I wasn't the only one. I looked around and realized there were so many believers who had climbed into the same boat as me.
Until one day...I read something that forever changed my life. It was a book written by Francis Chan called "Forgotten God". In his book he talks about the Church's tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit, and how we are now reaping the disastrous results.
So what are the disastrous results? The Church has allowed the enemy to become far greater than the Living God, who lives inside of us. We have given Satan too much power, and it has caused us to become paralyzed: unable to move, unable to stop it, unable to experience victory, and unable to help others break free from their own afflictions.
I often find myself thinking about the Early Church. The disciples of Jesus were unstoppable. They healed the sick, the blind, and the lame. They spoke with power and authority. They were on fire for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why did the disciples - the early Church, get to experience the miracles of God and not us (the modern Church)? Why does the 21st Century Church have more pain and despair, than joy and forgiveness?
Two thousand years ago Jesus rose from the dead and appeared before His disciples. It was at this moment when Jesus sent a very specific message to the Church - "But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I (Jesus Christ) am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (the Holy Spirit) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (John 16:7 NIV) If Jesus himself thought that it was better for Him to leave, so the Holy Spirit could descend upon the Church, then perhaps we should reevaluate the way we've been living.
8 Reasons We Need the Holy Spirit
1. The Holy Spirit will give us power. (Acts 1:8)
2. The Holy Spirit helps us interpret Scripture. (Luke 24:45-47) - Lack of the Holy Spirit is the number one reason the Bible is often misquoted and/or misinterpreted.
3. The Holy Spirit will give us the gift of wisdom, knowledge, great faith, power of healing, power to perform miracles, prophesy, discernment, ability to speak in an unknown language (speaking in tongues), and/or interpret the speaking of tongues. It is up to the Holy Spirit to decide who gets what.
(1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NLT)
4. The Holy Spirit will help us pray. (Romans 8:26-27)
5. The Holy Spirit gives us love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
6. The Holy Spirit is our guide. (John 16:13)
7. The Holy Spirit is our counselor, our helper, and our advocate. (John 14:16 AMP)
8. The Holy Spirit will anoint our pastors and our teachers. (1 John 2:26-27 AMP) - Our pastors and teachers can be good speakers, well-versed leaders, and highly appointed "professors" of seminary and theology - but without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, they will have zero impact on the Church, or those far from God.
It is no accident that seven Sundays after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples, and resurrected the Church! This is exactly what we need. The Holy Spirit is the only One who will bring REVIVAL to the ends of the earth! (Acts 2:1-5)
Jesus said it best in Matthew 5: 14-15, "You are the light of the world - like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house." Our light is our salvation and the Living God (The Holy Spirit) who lives inside of us. If we the Church, do not acknowledge the Holy Spirit, then we are like a dimly lit village - where darkness lurks around every corner.
Dear brothers and sisters, we must do as Peter (Jesus' disciple) said, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38 NIV) The word "Baptism" is a transliteration of the Greek word BAPTIZO which means to immerse. In Hebrew it is referred to as MIKVEH which means an immersion. It is also symbolic of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
As always, continually pray for the Holy Spirit to work through you, so that the body of Christ will be unstoppable.
"I (John the Baptist) baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone (Jesus Christ) is coming soon who is greater than I am - so much greater that I am not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Matthew 3:11 NLT) - Before the resurrection of Jesus, baptizing was more of a ritual, similar to an alter call.
"When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God's message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to recieve the Holy Spirit. They Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 8:14-16 NLT) - This is why we say, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, AND of the Holy Spirit."
"And so I say to you, every kind of sin and blasphemy [every evil, abusive, injurious speaking, or indignity against sacred things] will be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the [Holy] Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit [by attributing the miracles done by Me to Satan] will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:31-33 AMP)