The Pastor's Thoughts
"By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses Jesus came into the flesh is from God and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist...By this you know the Spirit of Trth and the spirit of error." 1 John 4
I'd like to return to the theme of May and June — a living congregation is a Spirit-led congregation.
There are all sorts of ways we could speak about the work of the Holy Spirit. He is our Comforter, our Advocate, our Counselor, and so much else in our life in this world. Jesus said specifically that when the Spirit came amongst us we would never be alone, we would never be without the presence of Jesus in our lives because He would be here through the Spirit.
After the Spirit brings us to a faith in Christ and His atoning action on the Cross for us, He then begins a life long process of bringing us into a sharing of the life of Christ in this world. We call that our sanctification. Jesus tells us that we are to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy. The process of becoming that person will not be completed this side of glory for any of us, but completed it will be.
We can say the same thing about our congregation. There are no pure, sinless congregations because all congregations are made up of sinful people. Someone told me not too long ago that she didn't go to church because all the people there are hypocrites. I told her she was still welcome at St. Paul's — we always have room for one more person just like us.
Does the Church fail at it's responsibliity to be light and salt in the world? Sure it does. It always has and it always will until Jesus returns. But that doesn't mean the Holy Spirit is not at work in the Church, because He is indeed, no matter how faltering our steps might appear from the outside.
All living congregations, as we define that in the AFLC, will be led by the Spirit who will guide us into the Word and into the world that we can work for the Kingdom of God. That means we must be diligent in seeking His leading and His movement, rather than trusting in our own meager efforts and ideals.