Active and yet dead

I can do all things

I posted a photo of a secondhand sport shoes being sold in a local buy-and-sell shop. It is worth 3,000 baht and inscribed with “I can do all things.” I instinctively thought that it was from Apostle Paul, and I was pleased that a famous sports brand actually included that popular verse in one of their products. However, my friends on Facebook pointed out that cutting the verse short altered the important message that it wants to imply. And I agree.

Our goal for the church is to help our brothers and sisters grow spiritually. We are always trying to come up with fresh and practical ideas on how to make that growth possible. We listed some changes that we can adopt, such as changing worship style, hiring professionals to lead various ministries and changing church interiors.

Innovations are not entirely wrong, but Bro. Armin’s sermon reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit standing as the main ingredient in making the church spiritually alive.

Just as a body without the breath of life is dead, a church with active members yet void of the Holy Spirit is also considered a dead church.

A church who belittles or ignores the power of the Holy Spirit, relies mostly on the leadership capabilities of the pastor or elders, and focuses more on the professional skills and talents of its members is considered as a spiritually dead church. It is committing the same sin of the old covenant which is “I can do that,” setting aside God in the process.

Ellen White mentioned this in Acts of Apostles saying, “Wherever the need of the Holy Spirit is a matter little thought of, there is seen spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death.”

Let the Holy Spirit lead

The solution is to solely rely upon God’s power. As we perform our duties, as we deliver sermons, as we sing songs in the pew or pulpit, as we give our offerings, as we take part in branch Sabbath school or any outreach program, as we share Biblical insights in our social media accounts, as we give Bible studies or share our testimonies to our friends and relatives, we always need to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and cover us with Christ’s righteousness.

“The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who serve Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children. For the daily baptism of the Spirit every worker should offer his petition to God. Companies of Christian workers should gather to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely.” Ellen White, Acts of Apostles chapter 5, p. 50

Willingness and the common mistake

Bro. Armin also pointed out the common mistake that most people do in making it right with God-we want to present ourselves as clean and pure as we can before drawing near to Him. We must already be aware that we can never make ourselves clean before God no matter how much we try.

The first step to let the Holy Spirit work in us is to show our willingness to let Him in. We can come to God as filthy as rags, but with the willingness to be cleansed, He will open His arms and even reach out to us. God will never force Himself to work in us, so let us ask ourselves “Am I willing?”

May this short reading prompt us to always consider God first, and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in everything that we do.