Saturday, December 27, 2008

200 Words #3: Born of and Empowered by the Spirit.


The DNA of a mature church in 200 Words:

#3: A Church Born of and Empowered by the Spirit.

Go outside, and feel the wind against your face.

What happened? Chances are you felt a breeze and saw trees swaying. But you neither saw the wind, nor had any power over it.

Let’s be bold: If you do not belong to Christ, then that breeze is as close to the Holy Spirit as you are ever.going.to.get.

That’s how Jesus explained ‘The New Start’ to Nicodemus. Alluding to Ezekiel, Jesus declared God as the agent of salvation: breathing life into the dead; giving new starts to sinful lives; bringing hope to those ‘cut off’. You can’t see him, nor control his grace, but his work is evident.

The Spirit is God, and yet he proceedeth from the Father and the Son. God does not orphan children. So he convicts. He intercedes. He comforts. He teaches. He empowers. He slices the heart. He decants God’s Love in Christ.

Consider another wind-like moment: Pentecost, the birth of the Church. There, typical of the Spirit, the crucified Jesus is proclaimed ‘Lord’, sinners convicted and called to repentance.

If a church is not empowered, proclaiming Christ as Lord, then it should meet outside. The breeze will be as close to God as it will.ever.get.
Discuss.

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Scripture references can be read by clicking on the yellow links, or on one page by clicking HERE. (Romans 8:9, John 3:1-8, Ezekiel 36:22-32, Ezekiel 37:8-10, Ezekiel 37:11-12, Ezekiel 37:23, 1 Corinthians 2:9-11, John 14:16-18, John 16:7-11, Romans 8:26-27, Acts 9:31, 1 Corinthians 12:11, Ephesians 6:16-17, Romans 5:5, Acts 2:1-3, Acts 2:36-38).
Pic on Flickr by Ben.

4 comments:

Sally said...

One of my favourite things about the Spirit is how he acts not just with the individual believer but also within the church body... of course, through the charismata, but not stopping there, the Spirit acts as glue sticking us together (to play on Augustine's imagary) and growing spiritual fruit (most which only make sense in a setting of more than one person). Even if we might disagree on a couple of the charismata/pneumatikon today we're agreed on their importance in building up the body. As you mentioned (sort of) the Spirit is the Spirit of Prophecy. Examples of God speaking through people in the Bible (whether it's Samuel or Isaiah or Peter at Pentecost or what's talked about in 1 Corinthians) true prophecy is portrayed as a deeply ecclesial experiences - it is something that shows and builds our dependance on eachother as the assembled people of God...the body of Christ in the NT.

The Spirit seems to be concerned with the church rather than the individual in and of herself (though if one part of the body suffers it all suffers etc)... am I streching this too far?

CraigS said...

Is there a "do" in this, or is it all "done"? Is the church automatically empowered by the spirit, or is it possible to miss the boat somehow?

Sally said...

I think Craig is right - I guess if we're here we should talk about the "filled with"/ "be filled"/ "full of" NT distinctions re the Holy Spirit too... implying there are different levels of living in the power of the Spirit?

What does it mean to be "full of the Holy Spirit"?

Justin said...

What does it mean to be "full of the Holy Spirit"?

Interesting, isn't it? It is a description...