"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Ephesians 5:18-19....."Are we like the early Christians, rejoicing and praising God. filled with gladness and joy so that we amaze the world and make them think at times that we are filled with new wine? Let us avoid all excesses, let everything be done decently and in order, but above all, quench not the Spirit. Rather be filled with the Spirit and give evidence that you are." Martyn Lloyd-Jones..."The unpredictable and often uncomfortable work of the Comforter need not be feared or avoided....We should expect the Spirit to do remarkable things." Brett McCracken
Someone once said of His denomination, "We are a Holy Spirit centered people afraid of the Holy Spirit." I doubt his group alone is guilty of that. To some degree, I believe we all are. Why? Surely ignorance is a great part of it. McCracken says that one great reason so many believers find the Holy Spirit so intimidating is that because so little is spoken of and taught about Him in the Church. I think another, perhaps even greater reason is that we have became so dependent upon our own rational thinking and understanding. If our rational minds cannot grasp it, explain it, then we tend to reject it. James Robison said that the people of God are to live in and with a spirit of amazement at the ways and works of God. How many of us really do?
Vance Havner said that too many believers are living in a pre-Pentecost experience with Him. There may be a personal knowledge of Christ, but the power of His Spirit is lacking. Those who gathered in the upper room had that knowledge, yet they were directed to wait for the baptism of His power by His Holy Spirit. He said that "Some mistake the indwelling of the Spirit for the infilling." A.W. Tozer said that if there is anything a man desires more than the fullness of His Holy Spirit, that man will never experience His fullness. Where are we seeing that desire and yearning in His Church? Where are we hearing it preached and proclaimed? Havner said that "God will reward the man who forgets all else, seeking the double portion of 'power with God and men.' "
This is something more than just seeking to have rousing worship services where our emotions may be stirred but our hearts and spirits remain untouched. This is something more than just trying to stir up the ashes and, as Havner says, "Getting a few sparks instead of being set on fire by God." My particular group has a wonderful old hymn that contains the words, "Oh, I never will forget how the fire fell." Yet everywhere in our fellowships, in all fellowships, are those who have not forgotten because there's nothing to remember. The fire has never truly fallen upon their hearts. I'm not speaking this is self-righteous judgement, but with an aching heart. In the OT, fire consumed the offering that was placed upon His altar. Our God is a consuming fire, but we have allowed so little of that fire to consume us because we place so little of ourselves upon His altar.
Lloyd-Jones speaks of all being done in order. We've got that part down. How many preachers and worship leaders would be flustered, even lost, if the Holy Spirit were to break into the planned order of service? Do we realize how much, even if it's unconscious, we want to control the gathering and what happens? I'm guilty of it. Most of us are. When the Comforter truly reigns, it can be decidedly uncomfortable to our flesh. Chris Tiegreen writes, "God can be honored in the past and hoped for in the future, but He can never, never be allowed to intrude in the present." When the Spiritual gifts of the Lord are allowed to be in operation, all of our natural gifts have to yield. That is uncomfortable, scary, and unpredictable. That is also the New Testament church. Dare we have it to be our church?
I'll end with this. When the Holy Spirit truly reigns in us and in our gatherings, the result is something much greater than that which produces some warm spiritual feelings, but leave us unchanged. When He reigns in our midst, we encounter Him in His reality, and these encounters transform us. That's scary to our control driven, rational minds. But that's also Church, Body Life, as He wills it to be. Will it be so for you and me? We who call ourselves the Church.