A comment I hear from time to time about certain churches is, “That is a Spirit-filled church!” Since those comments, I have been asking questions like, “How do we recognize a Spirit-filled church?” “What does a Spirit-filled church do?” And “Is Tates Creek Christian a Spirit-filled church?”
One mark of a Spirit-filled church is a focus on the person of Jesus Christ. John 15:27 says, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me.” Part of the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus Christ. A Spirit-filled church preaches and teaches the Person of Jesus, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and that Jesus Christ is Lord. A Spirit-filled church also preaches and teaches His Work, His Gospel. What is His Work, His Gospel? The Work of Jesus Christ consists of His Death at the cross for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection. A Spirit-filled church preaches and teaches His Word, the entirety of Scripture!
Another sign of a Spirit-filled church is a strong love for the Word of God! Love for the Word of God is evident in the preaching and the teaching. Love for the Word of God is evident by Christians spending time in the Word studying, learning, reflecting, meditating, and absorbing. The Holy Spirit is the Author of the Word of God. II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” Do we hunger and thirst for the Word of God?
An additional sign of a Spirit-filled church is godly people. How do we recognize godly people? Godly people have a strong desire to do what is right. Godly people desire to rid their hearts and lives of sin and to pursue righteousness. Sin in the life of the individual Christian and sin in the Church greatly hinder the work of the Holy Spirit. Sin hinders the influence and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Godly people also reflect the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Unity is also a sign of the Spirit-filled church. The basis for unity is the Word of God. The purpose of unity is reaching the lost for Jesus and helping new people in Christ to mature and develop in Christ. Diversity in the church presents itself in a number of ways including, but not limited to, styles of worship. Here at Tates Creek Christian we have three styles of worship: Swahili, contemporary, and traditional. Though folks may have a certain flavor in regards to worship style, they hold fast in unity to the teaching of Scripture.
Another sign of a Spirit-filled church is a large part of the congregation involved in serving ~ whether in the church or outside the church. The Holy Spirit provides spiritual gifts for every Christian. Are we using the gifts of the Holy Spirit in serving? One expectation here at Tates Creek is that every member and every faithful non-member be involved in at least one hour of service each week. A goal recently set by our Elders desires that 85% of our people be involved in one hour of service a week.
Speaking of service, our next sermon series is entitled, “Multiplying Workers,” from the Bible book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah certainly challenged all the people of Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall around the city. In Bible days, strong walls around a city spoke of protection and safety. Everyone was needed to help rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. The same is true in the church. Everyone in the church, whether member, non-member, older, or younger; is needed to help and serve. There is so much work for our Lord to do!
There are other marks of a Spirit-filled church. However, we must be very careful of trying to determine whether or not a church is Spirit-filled based on feelings. While feelings may be very real, feelings can also be very deceptive. To determine if a church is Spirit-filled, we must examine the evidence!