The Work of the Spirit in the Church

Eph 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head -- Christ -- 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. NKJV

Now when some people think of the work of the Holy Spirit they think of some kind of uncontrolled ecstacy. Or they think of speaking in tongues. But in this our church covenant we understand our dependance upon the Holy Spirit. In this list of many things we expect to see from ourselves and others who are members of this church, we understand that without the empowering life the Holy Spirit gives us we could never do even one of them.

 

  1. We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, to walk together in Christian Love;
    1. The greatest of all spiritual gifts.
    2. Christian love has been the distinguishing mark of Christians down through the ages.
    3. But we are to walk in it
      1. That means we don't just teach it we live it.
      2. If you have forgotten the characteristics of love look at 1 Cor. 13:4-8
        1. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. NKJV
        2. Now if your love cannot come close to that then you just don't have Christian love.
    4. Love is to be the Christian dominate characteristic.
      1. A church that is doctrinally sound but without love will cause Jesus to say-
        1. Rev 2:5-6 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent. NKJV
      2. A church that values holiness but has no love will become as the Pharisees of Jesus day, thinking they are holy but inwardly they are like a dead corpse in the grave.
      3. A church that is financially set but has no live will just consume their wealth for themselves, much like we do here in America
    5. To strive for the advancement of this church
      1. This can never be rightly done when it is for personal reasons.
        1. If the goal of the church is to grow the church they are as good as dead.
        2. We can go for the sake of the gospel, the sake of Jesus, the sake of the lost, but when we go for our own sake we might as well not go.
      2. In knowledge
        1. Not in the sciences or even religion in general.
          1. There are a good number of organizations that teach children to be good, to be moral, to not lie etc.
        2. But the church is to increase their knowledge in things pertaining to God.
          1. His attributes.
          2. His plans & purposes.
          3. His essence as a trinity.
          4. His salvation of mankind only through the sacrificial blood of His own Son.
      3. In Holiness
        1. To emulate God's character
        2. To hate sin
        3. To despise injustice
        4. To live separate from the world.
          1. 2 Cor 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you." 18 'I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty." NKJV
      4. Comfort
        1. By the aid of the Holy Spirt we are to bring comfort and support to the church.
        2. Of all the support groups in the world the church is to be the premier group.
        3. God gives comfort to His people and we are to do the same.
        4. The word for a comforter in the New Testament means one called along side to help or to carry a heavy load.
  2. To promote its prosperity
    1. The church does not measure prosperity like the bank does.
      1. Their balance sheet adds up liabilities and assets.
      2. The church measures prosperity in ministry done and souls saved, in people brought into the kingdom.
    2. That being said, it takes money to do ministry.
      1. Money buys everything from pizza to pews. It pays for the lights as well as the pastor.
    3. But the major concern is the spiritual prosperity of the church, its spiritual health which is seen in its faith, hope, and love.
  3. To promote its spirituality
    1. As I said this is the true prosperity of the church.
    2. Paul likened the local church to a persons body.
      1. There must be proper growth else a cancer set in that would destroy the body.
      2. There must be a way for the body to fight off the often infections from without.
      3. There must be a constant cooperation and dependance of one part of the body on the others.
      4. There needs to be a proper mental attitude to determine what is right and proper.
    3. Christ must be central to the true spiritual prosperity of the church.
      1. These churches that think Jesus was just a man, they are not spiritual.
      2. These churches that think Jesus did not raise from the dead are not spiritual.
    4. The Bible will be a loved book in a church that is growing spiritually.
      1. In a church where the Bible is not inspired and held to be true, you can never have spiritual growth.
      2. You have cut off one of the necessary means for spiritual growth.
    5. There will be a longing after God, to know Him and a desire to do His will.
      1. If people have a lack luster relationship to God they are in trouble.
      2. When a people forsake their love for God they abandon all hope of spiritual maturity.

The first two words of this section of the church covenant says "We engage" Do we? Is that our desire here at FBC Toulon? I pray that it is. I pray that you want to be a part of all of that.

This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com