The Age of the Spirit

holy-spirit-filled“How can you tell if the church if following the leading of the Holy Spirit?”  How would you answer?  I didn’t really like how the sermon ended this morning.  I thought it needed something else but wasn’t sure what it was.  Now that the sermon is over I think addressing this question might have provided a better ending.  After stating the frightening possibility that we can do all the Lower Story church stuff WITHOUT the Spirit, it would have been good to examine the difference between doing church WITH the Spirit and doing church WITHOUT the Spirit.

The difference between the two is quite noticeable.  The work of the Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  The gifts of Spirit, when used properly, produce unity in the church (1 Corinthians 12:1-14).

We can know that we are following the leading of the Holy Spirit by answering one simple question?  Are we becoming more and more like Jesus?  That’s it!  The Spirit of Jesus produces the attitudes of Jesus.   The Spirit will lead us to acceptance of Jesus’ priorities.  A church that follows the leading of the Spirit follows Jesus in his ministry of healing and helping people to find hope, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

If we leave the Spirit out as we go through the motions of doing church, we will see the “works of the flesh” being produced (Galatians 5:16ff).  There will be envy, hatred, discord, selfishness, and on and on.  The flesh and Spirit are in constant conflict.  It is a battle we as a church must be willing to fight.  This is why Paul, writing with the wisdom given by the Spirit, says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24-25).  Amen!  May we all humble ourselves so that Christ may live in us!



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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


4 Responses to “The Age of the Spirit”

  1. avatar Tommy says:

    I thought the question was a great ending to your sermon. It’s strange, I was thinking the same thing about how the inner workings of the Church are possible with or without the Spirit. How can we really tell? Not sure, except perhaps for what you mentioned above, with the “fruits of the spirit.” However, I also don’t really think we can keep the Spirit out. So, I guess what we are really looking for is if we’re really listening to the Spirit or to our own inner monologues. The fruit, as mentioned above, is a great measure, but so is, as you nailed it, discovering unity within the body. Are the hands working along with the feet? Is there discontent? Are we hiding strife under the rug? Truly working along with the Spirit brings “issues” to light and helps resolve them.

    We used to get together every…what was it, every quarter(?), to discuss church direction. These meetings were so important to the unity of our church, as it strikes me at least. Without them, our hands have started to drift one way, while our feet are going another. Our body is big, with many different folks using their gifts in many different ways; we need to be brought together every now and again to regain some measure of synergy. We have also undergone a lot of change. Though most of these changes have been mentioned, perhaps it would be better to have our collective Sheppard’s, as much as they can, explain or talk about these happenings as positive change and transformation. Sunday we were handed a “calender” of what to expect…how much better it would have been to have these things further explained in a quarterly meeting with not just our preaching minister, but our Sheppard’s guiding us in this new transition.

    After a few days of pondering this past Sunday, this is what the Spirit has led me to in prayer. I pray that what I have said will be met with the humility it was written with. I have and will continue to pray for the leadership of my church, my family.

    • avatar Byron Fike says:

      We should begin having quarterly congregational meetings soon. We stopped for 31 weeks so that the continuity of The Story would not be broken. Thanks for your thoughts Tommy!

  2. avatar Tommy says:

    Sounds good, and totally understandable why the meetings stopped. I am looking forward to their renewal.

  3. avatar Stephen Carman says:

    I know I am a bit late to this discussion. Got behind on reading/listening this week. I agree, and have experienced what I have described as glorified country clubs, in what should have been Spirit-filled churches. I believe Tommy is right that the Spirit is most likely present in all Chistian gatherings, but suspect some have allowed the Spirit to be “quenched” (pg. 827, The Story).

    I must add that in the reading I was struck by the number of mentions of Angels along with the Spirit in Acts, which I had not noticed before. I find that interesting.

    From what I see in the reading, which is difficult for a western mind to accept (we want to “understand”, manage, and control everything) is that we have two options with the Spirit: (a) receive or (b) resist the Spirit. If and when we receive the Spirit, it seems we would receive power in the form of boldness (to speak) and to minister to others. I agree we should see the full bloom of fruit you describe in your post. I would add that the fruit described in Galatians strikes me as a description of a church more than an individual Christian. If this is true, this gives me comfort when I reflect on the areas I come up short…thankful for the community of faith that surround us all and make us all better.

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