“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready, it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, ”These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:6-9)
In our new church plants in Japan, we took the Spirit’s gifting seriously. Every new believer was expected to minister. Their task was to seek how God might use them. Our task was to help them discover the Spirit’s gifting, help develop that gift, and then to deploy the gift, making sure they were provided an outlet to use the gift to the full.
Result? In that church of believers fresh from Buddhism and Shintoism with no experience of church, within five years they had participated in planting 4 other churches, leading, teaching, preaching, deploying the gifts God was giving.
There’s a side benefit to discovering, developing, and deploying your gift. If you don’t, it not only cripples the church by that much, it cripples YOU. You can’t experience the God-intended life in its fullness without discovering, developing and using your gift. Since so few do that, many churches are limping along, trying to fulfill all the purposes of the church with 10% of the body-parts functioning. Gifting. Then…
There’s one more activity of the Spirit reaching out through you. That activity is sending. The Spirit wants to send every believer to witness by life and word, to seek the redemption of the world. The astonishing fact that the redemption the Spirit enabled the Son to purchase in his death and resurrection he now intends to complete through the likes of us! Incredible!
But that isn’t all. There’s still the final activity yet awaiting: consummation “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who lives in you.” (Rom 8:11)
At the close of his book of Revelation, He gives the invitation: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘come’!” And that’s my invitation to you today.
As we have thought for a few minutes about God’s provision for living the life he intends, for spiraling up to be more and more like Jesus, how is it with you and the Holy Spirit? Let us pause and ask the Spirit’s forgiveness for our neglect, if need be, and give thanks for this greatest gift.