“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” A.W. Tozer
This blog is copied in part from one I wrote over 3 years ago inspired by a thought provoking Bill Muehlenberg article.
I was immediately struck by the content because it is a position in which I and people close to me have struggled through. The tragedy when the church remains oblivious to or totally unconcerned about losing members. In particular members who are devoted, willing and crying to do the Lord’s work.
“The very people on whom a church relies for lay leadership, service and financial support are going away.”
Whilst church members rather apply their personal agendas the Holy Spirit grows more distant. The joy and peace of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst becomes a memory.
In his blog Bill says “There would be many reasons why people stop going to church. We all might have our suggestions as to why this is occurring. I have my own ideas. Let me list a few such possibilities here:
-Many believers are not being fed from the Word of God.
-Many believers are put off by the attempt to cater solely to youth or elderly or the resolutely stagnant while ignoring their needs.
-Many believers are tired of just being bench warmers, with no role to play.
-Many believers are looking for the real deal.
-Many believers are desiring genuine Holy Ghost revival, not just pep talks, self-help seminars, and a me-centred gospel.
-Many believers are starving for the reality of First Century Christianity.”
That, in my book, is a bulls-eye.
The first question I need to answer is if this ‘drop out’ menace is the result of an egocentric leadership. Only you can answer that question in your church.
“But the problem is, so often our leaders are so busy doing church, that they do not have this needed time to reassess . . . . . “
The second question I need to answer is how many people would return and grow the church if we returned instead to Jesus worship. When I say ‘grow the church’ it is not necessarily all about numbers but more importantly all about the ‘Holy Spirit’.
I was born again as a direct result of family, friends and church leading me towards the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who was evident in the church and active in the church and filled us all in the church with His peace and love. I did not give my life to Jesus Christ as the result of a lecture, a barbecue, a fun evening or some other entertainment.
I agree those things do have a role to play in the fellowship of the church – but it is just a supporting role.
I was a willing member of the congregation as a result of sermons and talks and guest speakers focussing on the one real reason why I was a Christian. The fact Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again for me, so that my sins are forgiven.
2 Corinthians 5: 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
People may disagree when I say surely we need to invite Jesus back into the church where we can praise Him, talk to Him, worship Him and obey Him. If we don’t do that in church and if we don’t lead people towards that end then where do the Christians, the seekers and the strugglers go to for fulfilment? If we cannot or do not coach the new generation will Christianity survive?
Here’s a question for all of us.
How many people have you drawn to the foot of the Cross to meet Jesus Christ?
When last did you receive or offer prayer to invite the filling of the Holy Spirit?
The Apostles did that (and more)
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
If we do not teach our children to follow Jesus Christ, the world will teach them not to.
Never reason from what you do not know. Ramsay
People generally quarrel because they cannot argue. G K Chesterton
I have no other but a woman’s reason; I think him so because I think him so. Shakespeare