Making the best of the Lockdown
All over the world, churches, like so many other institutions, have had to close down and/or alter their way of working.
Jesus is rebuilding His church. Covid has given Believers the opportunity to take notice, heed His presence, and pray. The direction we take will determine the substance and style of the new church as it emerges from the compulsory pause it has experienced world wide in recent months.
We, the body of believers, need to be unified in heart and mind, resting in His presence. We developed this insight in previous posts, Church needs to Change: parts 4 and 5.
We also need GOD’s wisdom to move forward, so that through His blessed Holy Spirit guidance — not our assumptions, impatience, or presumption — the church of Jesus will prosper.
From 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 we read,
“But GOD has revealed them [the things which GOD has prepared for those who love Him] to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of GOD. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is within him? Even so, no one knows the things of GOD except the Spirit of GOD. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from GOD, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by GOD. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”
Jesus said he would build this church. Through the Spirit whom he sent to us, he shares with those who will receive, all those things GOD has prepared for us. Wisdom would suggest not to get ahead of Jesus’ lead.
In order to receive, we need to abide (John 14), rest in the presence of GOD through the His Spirit, and listen before we act.
In this way, we receive guidance, wisdom, strategy — all things needed to serve in a way that will create the Church of Jesus: not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit! (Zechariah 4)
He who waits upon the LORD will renew his strength (Isaiah 40). And not only strength, but also wisdom, direction and the plans of GOD can be given to us when we wait upon Him.
Why follow the Spirit?
Jesus said, “it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)
In order for the church to be re-built, we need to do so under the direction of Jesus. It is his church, and through the Holy Spirit who came after him, he will equip us.
How do we follow the Spirit?
How do we learn the wisdom of the Holy Spirit? Through dreams, visions, promptings, words and scriptures. But if we do experience dreams or see visions, how can we discern they are of GOD? How can we depend upon the Holy Spirit to speak to us?
GOD promises to will speak to us when we wait upon Him. He spoke to Abraham. He spoke to Joseph. He spoke to Jesus and He will speak to us… And if we listen, trust and obey, we will be the vessels who advance the Kingdom of GOD, not through man’s church, but through the church of Jesus.
When we wait upon GOD, He will speak to us. He says He will and is not a liar. We test what we receive, by looking at the Word (nothing of the Spirit of GOD will contradict His Word), through sharing with others (it is known that GOD may share the same dream with more than oe person, for example), through stepping out in faith (with care, put into practise what you hear and watch what unfolds), for GOD will not ‘give us a serpent’ when we ask for a blessing (Luke 11:11).
The church needs to be given fresh vision and new life. This will come from Jesus. It doesn’t mean all that has gone before is wrong, but it does mean we’ve lost our way and spending time with the LORD will allow us to recalibrate and allow Jesus to initiate the way forward.