Scriptural Reading: Acts 17:21
Welcome to today’s reflection. Is it that the Christians of today want to reinvent God or the church? Our scriptural reference says, “For all the citizens of Athens and the foreigners who lived there liked to spend all their time telling and hearing the latest new things”. We cannot reinvent God or the church, and have no option than to hold onto the timeless historical landmarks as handed down to us by the Apostles. In Proverbs 22:28 (KJV) the scriptures says, “Remove not the ancient landmarks, which thy fathers have set”. Spiritually speaking, faithfully holding to the ancient landmarks allows us to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3). It is an established faith with clear definition, discernible boundaries, and well-defined landmarks. As Christ is faithful, you are placed under solemn obligation to contend (defend) for the faith that God delivered to the apostles and the saints. Hence, St. Paul says, “Now, the important thing is that your way of life should be as the gospel of Christ requires, so that, whether or not I am able to go and see you I will hear that you are standing firm with one common purpose and that with only one desire you are fighting together for the faith of the gospel”.
Dear Friend, today the Holy Spirit advises us that it is very important for brethren in faith to adhere strictly to God’s timeless truth, its unchanging boundary stones, so as to avoid the tragedy of reinventing the church and in more desperate case, God. In Acts 1:4 – 5,8, Jesus Christ instructing the Apostles said to them: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit…. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and all Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth”. It was Jesus, himself who laid the ancient landmark. Referring to the baptism by the Holy Spirit, St. Peter says in Acts 2:39 that, “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off.” At baptism we are initiated into the body of Christ, haven been cleansed of our original sin. At confirmation, the power of the Holy Spirit is imparted into the Christian with the laying on of hands by the Bishop. It is expected that with the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian such would begin to live in the instruction, direction and power of the Holy Spirit. There is supposed to be an inner transformation, without which the Christian cannot know the will of God, or be pleasing to him (Romans 12:2). Unfortunately, this great sacrament is misjudged, misunderstood and downplayed resulting in many of weak, lukewarm and nonspiritual Christians. Though they are in church, but hate things of God. Some consider prayer as burden and service in the Vineyard of God as mere waste of ‘precious’ time. They, willingly criticize other Christians striving to live out their faith.
The success of the early church in terms of the manifestation of power to witness to the gospel, despite death threats from the religious leaders, was due largely to the conviction of faith by the indwelling spirit of God. Today, this landmark of baptism of the Holy Spirit is considered as relevant only as it concerned and affected the Christians during the apostolic days. This thinking has kept many of our churches and people, weak, ignorant and largely ‘Pagan Christians’ (Pope Francis). In 1 Cor. 14, 1, 12, 26, St. Paul advises us saying: “Follow the way of love, eagerly desiring spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts to excel in gifts that build up the church What then shall we say brothers? When you came together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation, all these must be done for the strengthening of the church”. Beloved in Christ, the gifts of the Holy Spirit build the church and are to be eagerly desired. In I Cor. 2:4 – 5 St. Paul says, “My message and my preaching were not wise and my preaching were not wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but God’s power.
- Thank God for today’s reflection
- Take the Song “Come Holy Ghost, Creator come”
- Thank Him for the gifts and repent in all the areas where you are not using the gifts to edify the body of Christ
- In all the areas you have caused dissensions, quarrels and divisions in the body of Christ, repent of them seriously
- Pray for church denominations asking the Holy Spirit to fall afresh on his church
- Pray for your church leaders who stand in opposition to the movement and manifestation of the gift of the Holy Spirit; that God may touch their hearts.
Exercise: Meditate on the gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1 Cor. 12
Memory Verse: 1 Cor. 12:12