Let’s be clear. He was not killed. I realize that Roman soldiers flogged him and crucified him and that this kills most people, but for our Lord, He was not killed. No, they did not take His spirit, He gave it up on His own free will, not the will of the High Priest, nor the Jews, nor Pontius Pilate, and certainly not that liar, the devil. He decided when life would leave His body. No one took it from Him. No one forced out his spirit. He was never in bondage to the enemy, but humbled himself by choice to be a sacrifice for us.
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (NIV)
When he gave up his spirit, the body died. The strength and the life of our physical body comes from our spirit. It is the breath of God within us keeping our heart pumping and our blood flowing. When the spirit is gone, the body falls dead.
In the same way, the body of Christ, the Church, receives life, strength, and vitality from the Holy Spirit. When the Church grieves the Holy Spirit, the Church goes into cardiac arrest. A Church without the Holy Spirit is dead, dead, dead. As the body of Christ, we must remain in unity with the Holy Spirit above all things. After the resurrection, Jesus said it was good that He was returning to Heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come. The Holy Spirit would guide us into all truth, empower us for life and ministry, and convict us of sin. Jesus had spent three years teaching the disciples every single moment of the day using everything around them as object lessons trying to get them to understand, but in the end, they still did not get it. They argued with one another over who would be the greatest. Judas betrayed. Peter denied. All but John scattered. After the crucifixion, they were afraid and hid. But when the Holy Spirit came, everything changed.
Full of power and life, they spoke out, preaching the Good News without fear of their own death. They did miracles. The Church, the Body of Christ was birthed with the coming of the Holy Spirit. We must remain connected to the Holy Spirit individually and in the Body if we are going to live life as God intended, without fear, bold in our faith, changing the world one soul at a time.
Too many of us are more concerned with who is right and who is to blame when things happen in life. In America right now, we are living in a scapegoat society. No one looks for the solutions to the problems, only someone to blame. It is true from Washington D.C. to the workplace, to our personal relationships. Everyone is running after their own desires and when they don’t get what they want, they need someone to blame. It’s even true amongst Christians. No wonder churches split and shut down. We have forgotten our first priority must always remain unity with the Holy Spirit, not being right, not getting what we want, not saying things that divide, but keeping the unity with the Holy Spirit so that we can remain united in the Body. Once we get disconnected from the Holy Spirit, the Church loses its life, it’s strength, it’s vitality.
The Holy Spirit is love and love doesn’t tear down, it builds up. Love doesn’t judge and criticize, but hopes and believes. Love doesn’t show favoritism, but loves everyone, rich or poor, beautiful or not, white or black, male or female. Love always trusts giving people the benefit of the doubt, being ready to forgive an offense. If we don’t love, we push away the Holy Spirit, the source of our life, our love, and our miracles. Christians fighting without attempting to find unity are telling God to step back and stay out of it. We are told to let our conversation to be full of salt. Salt preserves and enhances taste.
Are the words coming out of your mouth working to preserve relationships or destroy them? Are your words making people’s lives taste better or turn bitter?
When we do not put unity in the Spirit first and foremost above who is right, who is wrong, what we want, what we don’t want…we are thinking pretty high of ourselves. When we escort the Holy Spirit out the door by the way we speak to people and treat them, we must really think we are something special that we can handle life without the presence and power of God. We think we are all that and a bag of chips with salsa, jalapenos on the side.
We are the body of Christ. When the Spirit is kept out of our church services, our daily walk, our disagreements and arguments, our plans, we are already dead. Without the Holy Spirit, I am already condemned-dead man walking. And in the Body of Christ, when we let little things get between us, we are digging our own grave to bury the church deep even covering the steeple topped with a cross.
Why don’t we stop fighting over things that really don’t matter? Why don’t we work for peace rather than vindication? Why don’t we let things go, forgive, and love one another? And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill the Body of Christ so that nothing can kill it, nothing can overpower it. Instead we will endure our cross revealing the love of Jesus Christ and the devil outwitted, outsmarted, and undone.
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It is great for those struggling with the circumstances in their life and why God would allow some things to happen. I wrote it from the heart after my best friend from high school shared with me his struggle to understand why God would allow Him to get cancer. I hope it is a help to all who read it. -Pastor Lee
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 4:1-16
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.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (NIV)
Heavenly Father, too often I have let little things kill deep love. I have gotten so upset over things that did not really even matter. I have become offensive and mean. I have walked away. I have retaliated. I have created division in the Body by the way I have responded to people. But Lord, I don't want to be like this. I don't want to have division and struggle especially with the people that I love the most. Help me Lord. I am desperate. I want things to be better.
Open my ears to Your Holy Spirit reminding me that I have power from on High to respond in a loving way no matter what has been done or said. I have power by the Spirit of God alive in me to put the relationship above the issue. Teach me to be ok when I don't get what I want. Teach me patience when people don't do what I believe they should. Route out of me divisive words and action. Help me to hold tightly to You more than I hold on to anything else in this world. Teach me that holding on to You is loving my neighbor, loving my enemy, loving my family, loving the church, and loving myself.
Thank you Lord for Your Strength, Your Spirit in me.
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