Allowing the Holy Spirit to be the Holy Spirit?
In my May 13th blog I wrote, “After writing almost 300 blogs over the last few years about the Church from the perspective of the five fold not being “offices” by “church officials” but “passions” and “points of view” that drive believers in Jesus Christ, why wouldn’t the Church want to examine the relevancy of..... actually “cherishing its historical tradition, but allowing the Holy Spirit to teach, guide, and speak to the relevant Church of today, the 21st Century, in how to be effective in a lost and dying world?” Let’s look at that question.
I think one of the biggest challenges for the 21st Century Church is to allow the Holy Spirit to just be the Holy Spirit and allow Him to do what He has been sent to do: Bring glory to Jesus Christ and revelation of Jesus Christ to the saints, those who believe in Jesus Christ. We so often oppose the workings and leading of the Holy Spirit because we give up control. It really is a control issue. Who is in control, you or the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ? I have repeated over and over again in numerous blogs, “Can you trust the Holy Spirit?” If you can, then do it! Release Him to do His thing.
I know there is richness in traditions, for traditions are established by the ways people exposed their faith over centuries of history. When they were alive it was just living out their faith, but to us it became an acceptable “style”, a “pattern”, a “program” that proved successful, or just the way we always do it not knowing why. It is nice to know where we have come from, for that established our history, our foundation, but the question remains to where we are going? What lies ahead?
The American Church today is so different than the founding Pilgrims in Massachusetts, or the Catholics in Maryland, or Quakers with religious freedom in Pennsylvania. They came seeking religious “freedom” from the dictations of the established church with its traditions in their time. Americans today still revere their “freedom of religion” although they still think their way of practicing their religion to be the true way. There is a richness in the historical traditions of these different “faiths” or “sects”of Christianity, but I still pose the questions of where the American church is going now that there are millions in America instead of just thousands?
Culture changes with time. Today’s fast pace, entertainment centered, internet driven, money driven, multi-tasked American culture is far different than what our Founding Father’s faced, so how is the Church to respond to the change in culture in the 21st Century?
The Holy Spirit birthed the Church at Pentecost. Since that time it has been busy trying to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, often against the resistance of the established church of its time. The early Church grew when lead by the Holy Spirit. When the established church began replacing the Holy Spirit with rituals, traditions, and dogma, the Holy Spirit’s influence diminished leading the church into what we call today the Dark Ages. The Reformation brought renewal and life to the church’s acceptance to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and the church began to again flourish.
Abraham fresh faith established the Jewish faith, full of rich history with Moses and the prophets, but by the time of Christ, that very religion opposed that faith Abraham established. Instead of the “Order of Melchizedek” as Paul preached about, Jews claimed to be followers of Moses, and opposed this Jesus Movement. Over history, God had destroyed the Jewish Temple, the system of priesthood from the tribe of Aaron, the sacred genealogies, all sacred and central to the Jewish faith for a new and living way. Traditional Judahism still opposes that the old testament, the old covenant, has been replaced by a new testament, a new covenant. The very things God destroyed he fulfilled in Jesus Christ, yet tradition has been the biggest opposing force in allowing the Jew to accept Jesus as their true Messiah.
Today’s Church is facing some of the same issues. Do we need our temples, our church buildings, our cathedrals destroyed, or our clergy or priesthood system changed, or our historical genealogies of men and movements that now carry their denominational names disbanded? What is the Holy Spirit up to in order to refocus the Church of Jesus Christ back on Jesus Christ and not its traditions as He prepares the Church, the Bride of Christ, for the Groom’s return? That is the question we should be asking!
The 21st Century Church needs to ask, “What is the Holy Spirit up to?” When He tells us, which He always does as a revelation of who Jesus Christ is, then will we be obedient to that revelation and actual “prepare” or “equip” the Church for that moment? That is a question only we, as the Church, can answer, and to that answer comes the individual challenge to each believer in Jesus Christ, “Can you trust the Holy Spirit? Will You Trust the Holy Spirit?” If you say yes, to that challenge, then start listening, start obeying, and start trusting, for the Church will have to cloth itself in Bridal clothing that only the Holy Spirit can provide.
21st Century Church, believers in Jesus Christ, are you ready to respond? “Can you trust………”
(This is the 6th part of a 7 part series. I invite you to look back at the previous blogs, especially the priesthood, and join me in future blogs about the relevancy of the five fold to the 21st Century Church.)