Sunday, April 03, 2005

Teaching Summary (3/31)
Being a Supernatural Church

Last Thursday we began our new series entitled, "Rediscovering Church". We started with a lesson on Acts chapters 1 & 2 called "Being a Supernatural Church". The following is a summary of that teaching.

How does God lead us? How do we know when he is speaking to us? Those are some of the questions every church must be able to answer. The early church knew the answers because they experienced the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Pentecost was the day that everything changed. From that point forward, the Holy Spirit empowered His church through personal and permanent indwelling of every believer. He distributes supernatural gifts to every believer for the sake of building up the church.

In the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit specifically led the church by performing personal transformation in the lives of believers like Peter and John (Acts 4:13). He also led the church in selecting servant workers like Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:2). Sometimes He would lead people by opening doors for the Gospel, as with Philip (Acts 8:26 and following). And He even sometimes led by closing doors (Acts 16:6-7). We know the Holy Spirit leads us the same way. He has already transformed lives, called people to serve, opened and closed doors for Harvest in our first month.

Jesus also explained how the Holy Spirit leads the church in John 16. He points out that the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, an advisor in time of need. He is also our Convictor- the one who reminds us of what's right and what's wrong, who (through the church) provides the moral compass for the world, and judges the enemy. Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is the Clarifier- the one who helps us understand the truth of God's word and who guides us in that truth. And lastly, the Holy Spirit is the great Glorifier who exists in the church to help us glorify Christ. In fact, everything He does is for the glory of Christ, which is the sole purpose of the church.

When the early church was meeting persecution, they prayed for boldness. When their persecutors got together, a Pharisee named Gamaliel spoke unknowingly wise words. He advised the council that if the purpose or activity of the church was "of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:38-39).

Gamaliel's words provide the direction for Harvest. If this is just a pipedream or whim of ours that we accomplish through human means, we're dead before we start. But if this is something God is doing, that He has called us to, and that He is empowering supernaturally through His Spirit, then we cannot fail. And we'd better hold on tight.


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