So, I have been teaching on the gifts of the Holy spirit for several weeks, with several more weeks to go. Perhaps the thing which stands out to me more than everything else is that God’s Word constantly affirms our oneness with each other each time the variety of spiritual gifts in operation among us are highlighted. Looking backwards over the years, I see how uninformed (misinformed?) I was about how essential it is that we validate the gifts given to the Church by and through the Holy spirit.
Scripture teaches us about the Church using the illustration of the human body. If we think of the “many parts” outside of the context of the “one body” we will ultimately view the Kingdom in error as being “one part” in “many bodies”. Some will say that they belong to the mind church. Others will seek to have a hands church or a feet church. Still others will insist that the church is to be a mouth. Desiring to be primarily sensitive and never offensive, people will endeavor to establish a heart church. Something within us desires to belong to a certain type of church instead of engaging in the hard work of being simple.
This is the challenge for the people of God toay: to remain committed to the undeniable doctrine that there is only one Church because there is only one Head, that being Jesus Christ. If there were many Christs, there could be many churches. Yet there is only one Church and it is comprised of all the body parts which God has ordained. Each local assembly should (and must) validate all of the parts of the body intentionally placed there by God. We must cultivate all the gifts that those many parts represent, instead of maximizing some while minimizing or even denying the others. We must learn to function with each other in unity of the Holy Spirit, recognizing that the gifts we do not personally possess are as essential as the gifts which we do possess. God gave the gifts of the Holy Spirit – they are His idea and therefore we need to honor them as such. As practical as they may be, denominations of the Church are not sourced in the heart of God, and the existence of these denominations merely evidence the inability of Christians to learn how to remain committed to Truth while relating to one another in humility and love. It is hard work to remain simple.
Today I worship with the Church as I gather in a local setting, filled with people who are a local representation of the universal Church. We will not all be hands, hearts, feet, mouths or minds – we are not supposed to be the same, and there will be no pressure from me upon people to pretend otherwise. We will not demand of one another to be uniform with one another. We will embrace our diversity and not be intimidated nor irritated by it. In love we will serve one another with our diverse giftings and places within the body of Christ. In worship we will exalt the Head of the Body together. We will resist the human urge to insist on conformity, and we will engage in the harder work of holy unity which pleases our King and fitly represents Him to those who are yet to know Him.
This is my commitment as a son of God, a brother to Christians and a pastor of a chosen people.