Paul’s Footsteps #133

Footsteps #133

The same power that sustained the patriarchs, that gave Caleb and Joshua faith and courage, and that made the work of the apostolic church effective, has upheld God’s faithful children in every succeeding age, and today God is still using His church to make known His purpose in the earth. The Holy Spirit is the source of power for the church and its members. He is the source of spiritual power for individual Christians and the source of successful ministry by the church as a collective enterprise. It is “His glorious, unlimited resources” (Eph.3:16 NLT) that “empowers us with inner strength through his Spirit.” The power that attended the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is the same power we need today. The Spirit awaits our request and reception. Spiritual gifts are the tools the Holy Spirit uses to do the work of the kingdom. We are all responsible for turning our gifts into ministries that will advance the work of the kingdom. 

John.14 records that Jesus told His disciples about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Read that chapter for an understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role. Also, read Acts.1-5 to receive a more complete picture of the Holy Spirit’s role in the life of the church after Jesus’ ascension. 

Not until the 4th century did Christianity have a paid priesthood. During the Middle Ages, church leaders claimed that there should be a division between laity and clergy. The clergy enjoyed a higher status than the laity. Out of this concept and practice grew the idea that clergy are the authority in the church and that they do the work of the church. Members are mostly spectators who observe whatever the clergy does, and they do whatever the clergy mandates. But in God’s sight, all church members are part of “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1Peter.2:9, NIV). 

Here and tomorrow I will consider some of the specific gifts as demonstrated in scripture. For example, the missionary gift (Acts.22:21) involves the ability to use other spiritual gifts in a multicultural context. Paul’s ministry made possible the fulfilment of the mandate in Acts.1:8.  

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