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Doctrine of the Holy Spirit - Conclusion, or Where do we go from here? Print E-mail
Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

I.  Introduction:

 As we bring our series on the Holy Spirit to a close, I want to do a couple of things tonight.  First, I would like to spend a few more moments on the corporate worship issue.  I have been thinking through some of the discussion that we had last week and would like to revisit some of that tonight.  Second, I want to conclude by answering the question: where do we go from here?  Thus, letís begin with a return to our discussion of corporate worship.

II.  Further thoughts on corporate worship:

 A.  During our look at 1 Corinthians 12-14 I read a quote from Carsonís book that bears repeating tonight: ďI suspect that there is biblical warrant for thinking, on somewhat more remote grounds, that there were aspects of corporate worship characterized by a great deal of spontaneity, Spirit-led sharing, mutual edification, and the like, and other aspects characterized by solemnity, formal reading, and explication of the Scriptures already given, enunciation of apostolic truth, and corporate prayers and singing.  So far as our practices today are concerned, this means we should give more thought to developing in our own contexts both trends found in the biblical evidence.  Even if we cannot satisfy both emphases in every service, the least we must do is develop structures in which both emphases are worked out in proper proportion in the total life of the church.Ē   Again, I think this conclusion is very helpful when it comes to discussions of corporate worship.  There is a place for both spontaneity and regularity, or planning.  We will not have a perfect balance of these every Sunday morning (or any Sunday morning).  Rather, we need to be intentional about creating times for both of these in the life of our Church, which leads me to my next thought.

 B.  We need to be intentional with all of the meetings of the Church.  There will be times that are more formal (Sunday morning typically) and less formal (Sunday nights typically).  Last week when I talked about my experiences in college, I should have offered a better explanation.  It is not really fair to compare corporate worship and what we were doing in the dorm room.  The dorm room meetings were private (to some degree) and did not incorporate preaching or the ordinances.  It was informal and spontaneous by nature, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Yet, if that was all I knew of corporate worship then it would be lacking (no preaching or ordinances among other things.  At the same time, what I enjoyed the most, the intimacy and spontaneity, can be cultivated in a more formal service, like our Sunday morning gathering.  I am not exactly certain how to cultivate that, but I think it is good for us to consider and pursue.  Likewise, we have other meeting times for more informal, spontaneous worship as well.  Thus, again, I think it is a bringing together of the formal and informal in the overall ministry of the Church that is vital.

 C.  Let me bring our doctrine of God to bear upon this.  We have said that God is both transcendent and imminent.  He is the great Sovereign of the universe, the Maker of all things, the holy, holy, holy Judge of all men.  He is transcendent and this idea needs to come through in our worship.  We need somber reverence before our God.  At times (but not always), the more formal aspects of corporate worship serve to emphasize the transcendence of our God.  Yet, God is also our Father.  He has drawn near to us through His Son.  We can boldly approach His throne in Christ.  He is imminent and this idea needs also to come through in our corporate worship.  At times (but again not always), the more informal aspects of corporate worship serve to emphasize Godís imminence.  When you put all of this together, you see the need for spontaneity and regularity, for formal and informal, for singing and shouting and for silence, for music that encourages clapping and music that encourages trembling.  Again, we will not accomplish all of this every Sunday, but it needs to be part of our corporate worship of God.

III.  Where do we go from here?  Let me suggest the following:

 A.  Read and study continually: We never need to stop learning about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  Thus, keep studying and praying through the passages that we looked at.  Keep reading good books on the topic.  I have recommended several and there are countless more out there.  One caveat for your reading purposes: do your best to know what you have in your hand when you are reading a book.  In other words, there are those who are more or less Ďcharismaticí and this is going to impact their view of Scripture and application.  Thus, just be aware of what you have.  Examine each book through the lens of Scripture and pay close attention to an authorís handling of texts.

 B.  Pray specifically: I said this last week, so I will only mention it again, but we need to be praying specifically about the gifts.  Pray that the Lord would help you to identify and use your gifts faithfully in the local setting.  Pray for gifts healing, words of knowledge, prophecy, etc.  Spend time in prayer over the gifts and over the sanctifying work of the Spirit in your life and in the lives of the people in this Church.

 C.  Love intentionally: Again, I mentioned this last week, but I cannot tell you how important it is that we love each other.  Unfortunately at times, we settle for a certain type of love that is not all that biblical.  For example, if I asked you if you loved everybody in the Church, I am sure you would say yes.  Yet, if I named individuals and asked you how you have loved them specifically, that may be harder to answer.  Thus, we need to be intentional in our love for each other.  Be committed to getting to know others in the Church.  Ask them how you can minister to them, pray for them, serve them, encourage them, etc.  Likewise, we need to be sure that when correction is needed in the Church (be it for spiritual gifts or something else) that we do this with love, following the biblical principles.

 D.  Serve joyfully: One of the best ways to find out your spiritual gift(s) is to serve.  Look for needs in the Church and labor to meet them.  As you do this, you may realize that you really enjoy helping people or praying for people or teaching people or something else.  Talk about this with others and ask them to help you in identifying and using your gifts.  I am consistently amazed at how much joy I find in exercising my gift.  That doesnít mean that it is not labor at times, but still, I cannot help but enjoy it overall.

 E.  Worship freely: This last one relates to what we have talked about the past couple of weeks.  Participate willingly and openly in the worship of the Church, whatever form it may take.  Even though the exercising of gifts will be more in private than public, we still need to be open to their public use.  Letís just be committed to the idea of coming together each week to worship God with all that we are.

IV.  Conclusion:

 Let me close with a passage.  Look at Ephesians 5:18-21.  My hope and prayer and expectation for our Church is that we would be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.  May we always be thankful for the privileged position that we enjoy, namely being indwelt by the very Spirit of God.  May we ever be amazed at Godís grace and Christís sacrifice which makes that possible.  Amen.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 August 2009 )

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