Tuning in to the Spirit

Spirit tuning

Sunday 11/27/22

Message – Tuning in to the Spirit

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Tuning in to the Spirit

The work of the Holy Spirit is the good work of the Kingdom. “He Who began the good work of salvation in us, is also the One Who will complete it!” 

Accomplished by revealing Christ Jesus to us and through us. 

Two weeks ago we read through excerpts from John 14-17 where Jesus told us that He was going to send the Holy Spirit upon His departure, describe Whom He is and what the Holy Spirit was going to do when He came.

Those things included being our helper, our advocate, our teacher, our guide, and the One Who reveals the truth to us – meaning Jesus.

Last week I explained that in order to facilitate the work of the Holy Spirit and, as it were, be a good student of His we needed three things. Spiritual aptitude, humility and receptiveness. These were not set forth as hard and fast categories outlined in scripture specifically, but rather truths which we do see clearly portrayed in scripture as facilitating learning and being recipients of God’s Grace. So we read through 1Corinthians 1:18-31 in order to begin illustrating these attributes. 

Since last week, I decided to change the wording a little. Rather than continuing with the phrase Spiritual Aptitude I would like to shift to the words Spiritual attunement. Aptitude is not wrong, but I believe it leaves one with the notion that somehow skill is involved and that without this natural skill, one is helpless in learning from or even benefiting from the ministry of the Holy Spirit without this skill. Whereas attunement I think is better. This example is quickly moving out of common use, but if you remember the old style radio dials where you had to tune in your radio in order to listen to a station – you get a good visualization of what I mean.

There IS a certain amount of desire and seeking involved in hearing from the Spirit. Even in the natural world, one does not become a student without finding out when and where a class meets and showing up accordingly. So it is with the Spirit of God.

Last week I illustrated this by the parable of the heart soils. The first showed up, but was uninterested. The second was receptive, but only to the degree to which they saw personal benefit from it. It if required something from them, or if difficulty came – they forsook what they heard. The third group saw real value in the message, gladly received it and began to grow, but the business of life, the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of wealth gained even more traction in their hearts and the message of the gospel got choked out. Only the final group saw the real value of the message, received it and kept it – regardless of difficulties or temptations. THESE ALONE produced fruit.

THAT is a great example of Spiritual attunement, humility and receptiveness.

Now, I want to press forward into chapter 2 of 1 Corinthians, but wanted first to circle back and see how these same things are indirectly mentioned in the first chapters we visited in John 14-17

In those chapters, the Holy Spirit is said to be Someone the world does not see or know  – Jn. 14:17.

Those words say what we have been learning. The world cannot accept the Spirit of God or His work BECAUSE they do not see or know Him.

The word see means to look at, perceive, recognize and acknowledge.  

The word know means to know in a completed sense – in regard to people it would mean to know that person’s character, so it is a knowledge gained by experience. 

It is NOT simply academic knowledge about someone.

So the world cannot benefit from the person or work of the Holy Spirit because they won’t look at Him – meaning they will not respectfully give Him time. Therefore they cannot truly perceive Him, recognize Him, acknowledge Him or come to know His character.

In Chapter 2 of 1Corinthains these attunement is in part attributed to being spiritual.

Now the Holy Spirit does convict and convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment – but His work in their hearts does not produce fruit for the very reasons we have already mentioned today and last week read in 1 Corinthians 1. They refuse to give Him their attention, they are proud, self-willed and self-focused – all of which disqualify them from benefiting from His work.

Now let’s turn to 1Cor. 2

“(1) When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come with superior eloquence or wisdom as I proclaimed the testimony of God.  (2)  For I decided to be concerned about nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  (3)  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and with much trembling.  (4)  My conversation and my preaching were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  (5)  so that your faith would not be based on human wisdom but on the power of God.” 

So that your faith would be in God’s power not in man’s wisdom.

1Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

“(6)  Now we do speak wisdom among the mature, but not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing.  (7)  Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory.  (8)  None of the rulers of this age understood it. If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  (9)  But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”  (10)  God has revealed these to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.”

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!