The following is a portion of a book I have yet to finish, called “Suffering from the three C’s – Christianity Credibility Crisis.”
Every Sunday millions of believers file into church to sit in the pews and listen to one man give the announcements, one man lead worship and one give the message. If anyone wants to be involved they can serve in choir, children’s and youth ministry. To make matters worse, we now have mega churches that compound the problem. There are now more people sitting in their pews feeling unfulfilled in their spiritual life. Remember,
to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.[i]
How can a house be properly built if the hammer is never used? How can the house hold together if nobody used any nails? What good would it be to use the hammer and nails, if the boards where never cut with the saw? If the hammer could cry out, I want to be used to build the house, would it not still feel unfulfilled if it was not properly used? If after hearing the hammer’s desire to help build the house, we then grab it to cut the boards. Wouldn’t the hammer cry out, I still do not feel fulfilled! In stead of letting the hammer be what a hammer is, we would comfort the hammer by reminding it, building the house is an important thing, and it had the privilege to participate in the building of the home.
So instead of leading the people to fulfillment in their spiritual gifts and place in the body of Christ, we now emphasize personal fulfillment in life, prosperity and happiness, which is no gospel at all. Can I say that again? IT IS NO GOSPEL AT ALL! Oops, I shouted it. God has passed out gifts to men that we remain ignorant of.
This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”[ii]
If by chance we come to understand our gift, we can not break past the church structure, church order or church hierarchy. We sit in our pews and live a life dead to the spirit. The shame is, we do it to our own detriment.
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.[iii]
How can we habitually excuse the continual denial of the legitimacy of all the offices and gifts of the Holy Spirit? As the body of Christ, we are in a constant state of triage. What else would you call it, when the parts of the body are no longer allowed to function in the church? Ask any diabetic who has lost a foot or part of their leg. They know what happens when a part of their body dies, it will affect the health of the entire body. However, in Christendom we think we are exempt from such principles. We presume that one man has the office to keep the body of Christ healthy.
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.[iv]
Where does such perversion of the offices come from? Where does such apathy of the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit have its origins? We have all become complacent, no longer striving for what we read in the word of God. We place our own order of service and traditions above what Christ has called us to be. Either we are not reading the good news passed down to us from men who were moved by God, or we are ignoring what we read from these men. Do we think it lightly, that these very men and their writings testify against us.
Do we not get horrified when horror flicks from Hollywood show twisted, unnatural, tormented images of the flesh? Of course we do. That is why they are called horror flicks! It is a horror to observe this mutilation of the flesh. It is not natural. Even people who mutilate their own flesh are restrained, so they can no longer hurt themselves. We choose to criticize Hollywood, which is proper to do, and restrain those who are bent to hurt themselves, but we continue abusing the members of the body of Christ. Why is it that we can agree with what I say about natural things, but we will not agree with what I say about Spiritual things?
What are we, when we profess to believe in the gifts of the Spirit yet forbid the use of, down play or strictly control the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our meetings? We do not trust the Holy Spirit to speak to His children, so that we can all mature and reach the fullness of Christ. We are afraid that if we were to allow the congregation to move in the Spirit and to minister to each other, some form of heresy would eventually come out.
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.[v]
If a man curses God or speaks what is not supported in the scriptures, while they profess to be filled with the Spirit, they do not have the Holy Spirit. If we are confident those in the congregation have Christ as their savior and have the deposit of the Holy Spirit, why would we stop a manifestation of God? Oh I know, it doesn’t fit the day’s agenda. Oops, it is out side of the vision casting of the pastor. We do not want to spook people.
But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”[vi]
Are not those the real reasons we do not encourage people to move in the gifts of the Spirit? Is it not a control issue for us? It is easier and less complicated and less messy to let a couple of men do what the whole body is supposed to be doing. Remember the scriptures do not say to a few in leadership the manifestation of the Spirit is given it says,
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.[vii]
We have become like the rest of the nations. We have become like the rest of the world religions. God does not write his laws on their hearts; He does not pass out spiritual gifts to them. He does not give them the deposit of His Holy Spirit. The other religions can not brag that God himself has made his home in their hearts. They can not say that they are the temple of the Holy Spirit. When did He ever say to the other religions of the world,
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.[viii]
We as born again believers can! Yet we nullify that very deposit that seals us in Christ. We downplay the very gifts that God himself has passed out just as He pleased, so He could be amongst us. We are not like the rest of the religions of the world. We have the desire of all nations living in us and yet we act like the other religions, with no deposit of the Holy Spirit, let alone rivers of living water flowing out of us.
We reject Christ our king who said,
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”[ix]
We say, we will become as dead in the spirit as the surrounding religions and listen to men instead of God. Who is more right, the men who ignorantly lead people astray or the men who knowingly lead people astray.
I know that there are those of us who talk about the Holy Spirit in the service and by our lips you would think we do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit. Tell me, what persons prophesied in our last meeting? Who moved in their gift of healing the last time we met? We say that we love the Lord and His Spirit, yet we give no place for Him. When was the last time one of your youth was able to actually minister to the other believers in our service because the Holy Spirit was allowed to manifest Himself in the child through a spiritual gift? Why do we say yes to the Holy Spirit with our lips, but no with our hearts?
Who will stand up on the day of the Lords return and meet Him face to face? Who will be a real man and tell Jesus like it is? Who will lead the assembly declaring the executive decisions we made down here in his absence? Although he was never really absent because he left his Spirit with us. Who will be the first to defend the learned congregation of leaders and teachers? Let him explain why we did not live His word. Why we triumphed at the oppression of the manifestation of His Spirit. Let him defend us against the mighty wrath of the Lord, as we claim to see, yet are blind by our doctrines and denominational precedence. Please point that man out to me. Many of us may need to rely on his defense. I wonder if our defender against the anger of the Lord would look much different than the antichrist.
[i] I Cor 12:7
[ii] Eph 4:8
[iii] Eph. 4:11-13
[iv] I Cor 12:26
[v] I Cor 12:3
[vi] I Cor 14:24-25
[vii] I Cor 12:7
[viii] John 16:7
[ix] Acts 1:4b-5