This Could Turn into a Rant!
In the interests of full disclosure, this question was asked before the question I posted about this morning. You can read the earlier post here.
The question was: Do you see the Holy Spirit working in this church?
When that question was posed by the Teacher, you could hear a pin drop; silence.
This morning’s question was posed next because there was no response at all to the first question. That struck me as telling, but I’m a mere visitor, a “new kid” you might say, so I could be mistaken. I certainly hope so.
I know one thing for sure: If I could go back to where I’ve recently come from, and I asked that question to a similar group of people, they would have all said yes to that question, and then cited example after example of the Spirit working in their midst, not to mention in their lives. Silence? There’s no way you would’ve shut them up after asking a question like that…
The Holy Spirit works in many ways within the life of a church, if the church has the same covenant priorities as the Spirit, namely making disciples.
Are you thinking that I am repeating “making disciples” too often?
How can I say it too often? It is our commission! (Matt. 28:18-20)
Sadly, making disciples gets little more than lip-service all too often. So many of us, and so many of our churches are more concerned with maintaining our traditions than with making disciples! Yes, that’s right, maintaining traditions, like having the music just like it always was, or by having a certain order of things, or dressing a certain way, or using certain words or expressions. It might be having a certain kind of seating, or a certain kind of bulletin, or whatever it might be…
It might even be the annual church ice cream social that only the old-timers attend.
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Our traditions are not what make disciples for Jesus Christ, our godly relationships are what it takes to accomplish our commission. This is not to say that our old ways are terrible or wicked, but rather to say that our priorities must not be on their maintenance, since we have received no such command from the Lord. His command is about making disciples. If we can make disciples according to the ways of the past, great. If not, what choice will we make?
I can say one thing for certain, based upon personal experience: When our priorities change and come into line with those of the Holy Spirit, the transformation of the local church will amaze you, and you, too, will rant about it!