The Holy Spirit and the Church

The six phrases below (mostly from Galatians 5 & 6) remind us of the importance of the Holy Spirit to the life of the Church.

  1. Walk by the Spirit
  2. Be led by the Spirit
  3. Bear the fruit of the Spirit
  4. Keep in step with the Spirit
  5. Sow to the Spirit
  6. Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit! (Ephesians 5:18)

The same Spirit who placed us in the Church (I Corinthians 12:12-13), dwells in each believer (I Corinthians 6:19-20) and transforms us into the image of Christ (II Corinthians 3:18). This transformation is both an individual and community experience.

Notice the connection between the Spirit of God and relationships in two sets of verses:

  • Galatians 5:15 – “But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”
  • Galatians 5:16 – “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

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  • Galatians 5:25 – “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives”
  •  Galatians 5:26 – ”Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”

“The life giving power of God’s Spirit is effective only in those who continue to let the Spirit change their lives” (Douglas Moo)

The work of the Spirit is evident enough to distinguished people by it: 

  • Description of Barnabas – “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” (Acts 11:24).
  •  Acts 6:3 – “choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. ” 

Being “full of the Holy Spirit” is treated as an objectively measurable and visible description of character and life.

What is the evidence of Spirit-filled character in an individual or a community? 

  • “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT).
  • “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” … “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you” (Romans 8:5,9, NLT).
  • “You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit” (Galatians 6:7-8, NLT).
    • Sow to the flesh – a choice to cultivate and plant thoughts, attitudes and behavior in the direction of:  Galatians 5:15; 19-20, 24-25.   
    • Sowing to the Spirit – a choice to allow the Holy Spirit to be the permeating and dominating reality in your life. Turning yourself – your thoughts, attitudes and actions to the fruit of the Spirit. Since each part of the fruit of the Spirit is also found in the N.T. as a command to obey, walking by the Spirit is dependent on choices we make.

The Spirit’s work and the five primary resources God provided for our growth:

  1. God’s Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-21; Galatians 5:16-17, 22-23)
  2. God’s People (Hebrews 3:13-14;13:17; Ephesians 4:11-16) (Dwelling place of the Spirit) 
  3. God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12; I Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:21-25; I Peter 1:23) (Sword of the Spirit)
  4. God’s throne (Hebrews 4:16; Colossians 4:12; I Peter 5:7-8) (Intercession by the Spirit)
  5. God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:1-11; James 1:2-5) (Transformation by the Spirit – II Cor. 3:18)

My prayer for you – “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16).

Steve Cornell

About Wisdomforlife

Just another worker in God's field.
This entry was posted in Christian life, Christianity, Church growth, Church membership, Holy Spirit, Sanctification, Spiritual growth, Spiritual transformation, Walking with God and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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