Changes God requires in His church today in order to produce the perfected 'bride of Christ'




The Holy Spirit is the first key to transforming the church. Let's find out why and how.







The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
DEFINITIONS (For serious students only)



Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue




May the Lored bless you as you celebrate his birth (the day doesn't matter. He was born.) this year.






Every church and church grouping thinks they are led by the Holy Spirit! In many cases this may once have been so, but the harsh reality is, people quickly take over from the Holy Spirit.

How can I say this? It is simple. Every visitation, or revival as we call it, of the Holy Spirit since the time of the first one on the Day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, has ended, has finished. Why? Right from the beginning of the church, mankind has known better, finally manipulating the Holy Spirit visitation, until the 'gentleman Spirit' has left, saddened by our human reaction to His presence and guidance.

But do we need the Holy Spirit to guide us individually and as the church? I could quote scriptures, but what I want to do today is to take a brief look at His practical effect upon the Disciples, the initial leaders of the early New Testament church.

We have the 11 - reduced from 12, through the treachery of Judas. A rag tag bunch they were too. In spite of having lived with Jesus for 3 1/2 years, they slept, then deserted Jesus in His greatest hour of need, and one, at least, denied having ever known Him. Even after the wonder of His resurrection, Thomas still wouldn't believe until he could physically touch the wounds of Jesus.



John 20:24-8



Following His Ascension they decided, in their human wisdom, to appoint Matthias as the replacement apostle for Judas, using the Old Covenant method of casting lots.



Acts 1:20-26



A disaster! Jesus Himself, later chose and appeared to His replacement choice, that completely unsuitable candidate in the apostles' eyes, Paul.



Acts 9:10-19



Yet amazingly, something happened to change this group of 11 apostles, plus Paul, to make them all except die as martyrs for Jesus! John, the single exception, was allegedly boiled in oil without dying, then banished to Patmos, no holiday camp.

Several years ago, I visited the site in India where the now, non-doubting Thomas made landfall and converted the first Christians in India. A Roman Catholic church is on the site and a beautiful presence of the Holy Spirit permeates the surroundings. A fantastic experience! He was finally martyred near Chennai (formerly Madras) on the opposite coast of this great country. (Pictured)

What happened to so dramatically change these men? We all know!



Acts 2:1-4



Yes, the visitation, then habitation, of the Holy Spirit changed these men from misfits to martyrs!

What about the teachings of Jesus, you may well ask? Certainly they gave substance and direction to the life the apostles were now about to embark on, but the power to change them from wimps to winners for Jesus was provided by the impartation and habitation of the Holy Spirit on that day precious Pentecost day.

Throughout history, nothing has changed. Those who radically change the world for Jesus have been, and invariably still are, filled with the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, the first and primary transformation required in the church today is the restoration of Holy Spirit Power and direction.





Having considered the working of the Holy Spirit in the individual believer, now we will have a look at His role in the church.

As we approach this controversial subject, I would simply ask that you put to one side preconceived ideas of 'how to do church', usually inherited from, or highly influenced by, those who have gone before.

In the church, we have a battle between letting the Holy Spirit guide and lead us in what we do, and operating the church in what leadership sees as 'good order'. In reality, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman (gentleperson to be PC!) who does not pressure us to follow His ways. Therefore leaders, by conscious choice or simply by default, generally follow their own, their churches, or their denominations ways, in operating 'their' (but should really be God's!) church.

We (say we) welcome the Holy Spirit during worship, but once it comes to sermon time, we take over, as we believe, consciously or sub-consciously, that the sermon will be of more benefit to our people than the Holy Spirit's ministering. It is likely true that we have spent a lot of time preparing 'our specific word' for our people and surely, it would be criminal not to present it!

The people too, are conditioned to this standard form of the particular church's services, responding positively to the normal routine. 1 Corinthians 14 is often used to justify these methods,



1 Corinthians 14:26-40



However, is this the 'leader direction' that God really wants? Is it how the Holy Spirit operates? Should everything be left up to the leader, or leaders?

If you take a closer look at this chapter it is quite clear that there is considerable 'audience participation' in the operation of services. Several people will speak in tongues, others will interpret, while still others will prophecy. What Paul was getting at was not that this should be so controlled so that only the leader/s can speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. Rather, that there should simply be orderliness in doing things, with people respecting each other in how and when they do them.

Services then, should be people participatory, as led by the Holy Spirit, not as dictated by the leader of the particular meeting. The Holy Spirit is the teacher and guide of all believers, not just leadership.

Our current system stifles the working of the Holy Spirit amongst the people, to the extent that 'ordinary believers' either believe they have few, or no, spiritual gifts. If they do try to use them, they are all too often 'put in their place' by the church hierarchy. As I move between the worlds of the churched and the now, unchurched believers, I sadly yet clearly see both sides of the Christian coin.

While there are some who look for any excuse to leave the church, effectively go back into the world, the majority of the unchurched have been hurt by church leadership when truly led by the Holy Spirit to express views unacceptable to the leaders. They are therefore looking for alternative ways to express their relationship, both personally and in a group, with God.

There is, almost always, a difference between leadership direction and Holy Spirit guidance.





Next week we will look at some practical examples and see what we can learn from them to help us in our 'walk with Jesus'. My heart is not to criticize the establishment but to suggest ways in which we might do things better, to operate more in tune with Holy Spirit' ways.





Our lives, as Spirit filled believers, remain a mixture of both Holy and human spirit. Learning to discern between the two is a real challenge of discernment for us.

It gets particularly hard in the church situation where there are so many different views that expediency normally prevails.

May the Lord help us all determine His precious, pure will.


Via Dolorosa, which means the way of suffering, was the way which those condemned to death by the Romans had to proceed along, carrying the cross on their backs, with a sign bearing the prisoner’s name and his charges. Jesus’ Via Dolorosa started from the place of his trial and ended with his crucifixion in Golgotha and his burial at the Holy Sepulchre. The tradition relating to Jesus’ walking along the Via Dolorosa had its origin in Byzantine times and at first the procession would be held from Gethsemane to Golgotha. It was during the period of the crusades, in the 13th century, that the present Via Dolorosa tradition evolved. There are 14 stations along the Via Dolorosa, nine of which are on the road and the remaining five within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. STATION 1 - JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH; STATION 2 - JESUS RECEIVES THE CROSS; STATION 3 - JESUS FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME; STATION 4 - JESUS MEETS HIS GRIEVING MOTHER; STATION 5 - SIMON OF CYRENE CARRIES THE CROSS; STATION 6 - VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS; STATION 7 - JESUS FALLS FOR THE SECOND TIME; STATION 8- JESUS SPEAK TO THE WOMEN OF JERUSALEM; STATION 9 - JESUS FALLS FOR THE THIRD TIME; STATION 10 - JESUS IS STRIPPED OF HIS GARMENTS; STATION 11 - JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS; STATION 12 - JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS; STATION 13 - JESUS' BODY IS TAKEN FROM THE CROSS; STATION 14-JESUS IS LAID IN THE HOLY SEPULCHRE.



So until next week.......

His servant and yours

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Previous parts of this Series (When applicable) are available to be read at:





1253. Godliness is available to us all, but only obtained by the few prepared to pay the life price.

David Tait         




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Eagles Fly High! (Pastors, Teachers and Students): http://www.wwj.org.nz/eaglepts.php
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