Is the Holy Spirit Still at Work in Our Churches?
As believers, we understand the vital role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. The Holy Spirit brings guidance, empowerment, and unity to God’s people. However, is the Holy Spirit still at work in our churches? How can we discern His presence? Should we question it?
I heard this joke that the Trinity was planning a vacation. God the Father said He just re-watched the Lord of the Rings and wanted to revisit New Zealand. Jesus said He wanted to go back to Israel and walk again where He grew up as man. Finally, the Spirit said He wanted to go to a [denomination] church. The reason He gave was “Because I have never been.”
While some may find the joke amusing, it is not my intention to single out specific churches or denominations. The key issue is whether our church activities truly engage the Spirit’s influence, direction, and power, or if we are merely going through the motions.
Do We Even Have the Holy Spirit?
Before delving into the perceived absence of the Holy Spirit, it’s crucial to recall Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit’s abiding presence in the Church (Matthew 28:20b). After His physical departure, He fulfilled this promise by sending the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), and the Spirit continues to indwell and empower believers today (Romans 8:9).
This holds significance because the Holy Spirit is a gift bestowed upon all who believe. He serves as a deposit, ensuring our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). Through Him, we are adopted as God’s children, embraced within the fellowship of His family, and empowered by the Spirit to fulfill our divine calling. Nothing about this post is about losing our salvation or even losing the Holy Spirit.
However, the Bible’s multiple references to being filled with the Holy Spirit or even grieving the Holy Spirit means His impact on our lives is to some degree dependent on us. That’s the point here. Would we even know if we were no longer filled with the Holy Spirit? Could we tell if our church stopped following His leading?
What Would It Look Like If the Holy Spirit Left?
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. – Psalm 51:11
This verse served as the inspiration for this blog post. Although we cannot lose the Holy Spirit, as He is the guarantee of our salvation, it struck me deeply that David cherished the presence of God’s Spirit so profoundly that he fervently implored Him to remain. This emphasizes the immense impact of the Spirit’s presence and the potential consequences of losing that intimate connection. While it seems to me most of the church doesn’t know what He does or would recognize if He left.
What is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Church?
The role of the Holy Spirit in the church is primarily for its edification (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). This edification encompasses the growth and encouragement of believers (Galatians 5:22-23) AND the expansion of the body through the inclusion of new believers (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit was given to us and the church to remind us all that Jesus had said (John 14:25-26), to understand what God has given us (1 Corinthians 2:12), and to empower us to live accordingly (Romans 8:10-11).
The manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s work can vary across different denominations and take various forms. However, regardless of the specific expressions, people should not feel increasingly lonely or discouraged when attending church. A Spirit-filled church edifies its members by treating them in a manner aligned with Jesus’ teachings. Individuals will experience a sense of being seen by God and others, and they will be infused with hope for a better future.
What did Jesus say about living filled with the Spirit? Go get my book Abundant Living. You will be given two simple things you can do to stay in the flow of the Holy Spirit from what Jesus instructed His disciples.
How a Church Can Be Filled With the Holy Spirit?
The command to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) signifies our active participation in fostering this experience. While we cannot manipulate or control the Holy Spirit’s actions, similar to our inability to control God, we have the assurance that He listens to our prayers and responds.
I believe the answer is in abiding (John 15:1-8). Apart from Jesus we can do nothing, but as we remain in Him we will bear much fruit. The Holy Spirit came to remind us of Jesus and empower us to live His life. That connection is in the inclination of our hearts to stay connected to Jesus.
As we do this, we will walk in humility and confidence (we can do nothing without Him and we can do all things through Him). We will step into other people’s lives to let them know they are not alone, even when we don’t know what to say. We will trust Holy Spirit to lead us and give what is needed in every situation.
As we do the acts of Jesus, we will find the Holy Spirit right there with us.
Is Your Church Known to be Full of the Holy Spirit?
In the book of Acts, as the church was expanding, so were the demands. To address the needs of the community, the believers appointed seven individuals who were recognized for their fullness of the Holy Spirit and wisdom (Acts 6:3). This statement alone indicates they considered a difference between having the Holy Spirit and being filled. They didn’t choose only among the believers, but there was an added qualification of being filled with the Spirit. And, it was evident to others.
This makes me reflect on whether people can see evidence of me being filled with the Holy Spirit. And, with regards to this post, can others see evidence in the church I attend being filled with the Holy Spirit?
Our desire is to be the body of Christ – His representation to our world of His love and power. In order to do this, we need the Holy Spirit.
Are we making plans and decisions solely based on what appears logical? Are we merely uttering prayers at the outset of meetings, only to make decisions devoid of an awareness of our deep connection to Him? While I am aware that God graciously utilizes our humble contributions out of His love for us and others, what if we were so intimately connected to the Holy Spirit that extraordinary occurrences took place, surpassing human explanation?
This is the prayer of my life and for those that I love. This includes the church I attend.