Five Ways The Holy Spirit Unites Disciples of Christ
Class 4 – The Spirit Unites Disciples Because He is With Them as They Participate in Kingdom Work
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1–6 NIV11)
Main Point For Today: The Spirit unites us by being present with us and empowering us in our work for the kingdom for God
The kingdom work of Jesus was done in the power of the Spirit
To quote John Mark Hicks, “The Spirit anointed Jesus, led him into the wilderness, and empowered him for ministry in Luke 3-4.” Telios, Volume 1, Number 2, p68
“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.” (Luke 4:14 NAS95)
““THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVOURABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.””
(Luke 4:18–19 NAS95)
What does this ministry of the kingdom of God look like? It involves “heralding the good news of the kingdom, exercising authority over the principalities and powers, and healing brokenness” ibid.
Before we ask what this means for us, let’s take a moment to consider whether this applies to you and me
- The kingdom work of the followers of Jesus is done in the power of the Spirit
Jesus tells his followers to, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19 NIV11)
If Jesus did his work in the power of the Spirit, it would make no sense for him to expect us to continue his work without the same Spirit being available and necessary.
We have the Spirit (Act 2:38–39)
“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 because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11 NIV11)
The Apostle Paul claimed that he accomplished what he did for God, “by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God.” (Romans 15:19 NIV11)
He reminds the Thessalonians that the, “gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” (1Thessalonians 1:5 NIV11)
The work of Jesus was done in the power of the Spirit, our work is done in the power of the same Spirit. What does this mean and what does it look like?
- Our kingdom work today is done in the power of the Spirit
Let’s take a moment to consider what kingdom work is? What is the ministry of Jesus? What is his mission. And what does ours look like?
Our ministry and mission mirrors what Jesus did.
Therefore, we must interpret what he did into our local congregational contexts.
To quote Hicks one last time, “In the Spirit, we embrace the unity of believers through shared ministry – that is, shared participation in the proclamation and practice of the good news of the kingdom of God, which is the mission of God.” 69
What he’s telling us is that the Spirit enables our unified work in the kingdom doing kingdom work. It’s a good thing to do our individual work for God in his kingdom, but there’s something very special about doing it together. Sharing our faith together, teaching people the Bible together, praying together, sitting with people in our congregation and outside listening as they pour out their hearts, grief and hurts, fasting together, baptising people together, healing the environment together, engaging in making the world a better place and removing barriers to social and racial inclusion, engaging with other social justice issues that would bring about something closer to the kingdom vision of a peace-filled, joy-filled and united humanity under God. All done together.
- What does this mean for our congregational communities?
I have three questions for us:
What does it look like for your local gathering to herald the good news of the kingdom by the power of the Spirit?
What does it look like for your local gathering to exercise authority over the principalities and powers by the power of the Spirit?
What does it look like for your local gathering to heal brokenness by the power of the Spirit?
Spiritual formation practices: The way the Spirit unifies us as we pray in the Spirit
Send me any comments or questions
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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)
God bless, Malcolm