Sorry for the day late and the alternate posting. It seems I posted my Monday blog yesterday in this leadership blog. Here is the post I intended for you all to receive.
Being spiritual people is to be seen in our gatherings together, our families, our business in life, our friendships in life, and any and every aspect of our lives. It is meant to fill every mountain of influence in life! I don’t believe that the Church is a separate mountain of influence in the world. It is the one and only Spiritual Mountain of influence in the world. It is the influence of the rock of Christ in the cultures of humanity. The Church is to fill every mountain of influence in life. The power of the Spirit, the ministry of Christ, and the generational effects of being spiritual human beings are to fill the mountains of religion, family, education, media – arts and education, health and science, and the governments of the world. This happens when human beings are not ignorant of the things of the Spirit that empower them to be spiritual.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, Paul describes nine gifts or influencing powers of the Holy Spirit that are meant to empower human beings on a daily basis in the journey of being spiritual people in life. He then describes the uniqueness of people in their creation by God. He likens people unto parts of a human body. He doesn’t describe many body parts, because he already knew that all people clearly see the diverse and extensive makeup of a body if they think about it. It is not less spiritual to be a nose than it is to manifest the discerning of spirits. A nose should be empowered to discern things by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is how a nose testifies that Jesus is Lord and not the flesh. You make a good you, but a terrible someone else. The uniqueness of you must be empowered by the Spirit in being a true spiritual you. Without the power of the Spirit you will simply be a natural nose six days a week and then a religious spiritual pretender on Sunday in a service manifesting the gifts of the Spirit. We must be spiritual people in life.
1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.
The Church is not an institution. There is an expression of the Church when we gather together as congregations of believers, but being the Church is greater than attending meetings and participating in corporate activities. I believe there is a value in coming together as congregations. Gathering together enables us to be equipped and trained for our everyday lives in the world. Our gatherings together could be likened unto working out in the gym, or getting together for coffee, or getting together as dads and moms with our children. Even those practical things should be a part of good connections of relationships in life throughout the week. A weekly gathering is just another expression of getting together in a bigger way and it can serve as a great connection for experiencing God’s manifest presence together. It can serve to provide equipping, training, encouragement, etc. to members of the Church. It is not a substitute for being the Church, but it can be a very healthy effective expression of church as the Church. It is not a matter of structure, but one of culture. If the living culture of Christ can be found in the structure of gatherings or meetings of congregation members, the gathering can be an effective expression of the Church. A king is honored by a multitude (Pr. 14:28), so coming together in a big way with a focus of the presence of the King can be very honorable to God and give glory to Jesus name. Gathering together should be sought out and encouraged in every possible way. When we come together we can stir up love and encourage good works (Heb. 10:24, 25). These are not simply social gatherings of naturally minded people, they are gatherings of spiritual people to stir up and release the effective life of Christ to the world in which they live.
At the time of Paul’s writing there was no building structure known as ‘a church’. The Church was the description of redeemed humanity living for the purpose of Christ in the earth. The expression of the church was the joining of people in relationship with God and one another by God as a testimony of God’s governmental voice in the earth. These people were to be empowered by the gifts of the Holy Spirit in being who they each were born to be in function for the purpose of affecting the earth with the influence of the kingdom of God. Just as there are diversities of gifts of the Spirit, and diversities of functions of members, there are also different expressions of purpose and effect in the works of God through people. In the same way that Paul did not list all the parts of a body, but only mentioned some examples of body parts, now Paul mentions some examples of works of God that influence the world. These are works like governmental influence through apostles, prophets, or teachers. They include the influence of ministries of miracles and the influence of ministries of healing. There are administrative works and works of helps. There are the affects of those who fulfill the ministry of tongues – a ministry of spiritual languages. I believe that this is the ministry of ‘intercession’. There is also a ministry of interpretation of spiritual languages. I believe that there are countless expressions of various influences of works of God in the earth. Paul was not mentioning all of them, but simply expressing examples of the effects of God. These are not the ‘gifts’ of the Holy Spirit. These are the influences of spiritual people in the work of God in the earth. I don’t believe these were ‘jobs’ in a church structure. These are expressions of spiritual works that affect the world through the lives of human beings. There should be a safe place to exercise, practice, train, equip and implement the diversity of these workings. The congregational gatherings of a church can be a great place to do this. I also believe that in the natural, these things would be seen in every aspect of life in a natural way. Paul was charging the Church to do these things as spiritual people, people who have chosen not to be ignorant of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of their lives. When Paul says these things are to be so “in” the Church, he is not talking about in a church structure. There was no church structure to be ‘in’. The Greek word for ‘in’ is ‘en’ and it implies a relationship with, in, toward, etc.
As leaders we must lead to inspire others to be human beings who are spiritual in power, spiritual in ministry, and spiritual in accomplishing God’s works in this world.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson