RELIGION COLUMN: Holy Spirit Authority needed in church

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

By Jake McCall

The Gospels and the Book of Acts give reference to Christ’s Great Commission. At the end of Matthew in chapter 28, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:18-29). Then at the beginning of the Book of Acts He says, “But you will receive power (means authority) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8). So here is what Jesus is doing after his resurrection – He is saying all authority has been given to me – “Go therefore and make disciples.” But wait! In Acts 1:4 Jesus says, “But wait for the promise of the Father” because you cannot truly be my witnesses until I ascend and pour out my Spirit upon you because if you go out in your flesh then you will not be my witnesses; you will be your witnesses. Therefore even though the disciples witnessed, with their own eyes and ears, all that Christ did, they were unable to be an adequate witness. Isn’t that incredible? Those who witnessed first-hand the wonders of God the Son were unable to effectively be a witness to others. Jesus is saying that their flesh will betray Him for their own sake if they do not wait for the Holy Spirit. Now if the actual witnesses of Jesus were unable to be true witnesses, what does that say about you and me today – over 2000 years removed from the life of Christ on earth? It tells us that we have no business being in the witness business on our own because we will betray Christ.

And that’s the problem with our flesh – it looks at that cross and says “don’t take up that cross because that will not be good for me.” That is why we need the filling of the Holy Spirit – to see that cross, to see the glory of Christ, and to take up that cross. Not because it satisfies the desires of the flesh but because it glorifies our King, which is completely satisfying. Now, what we do not need is just a portion of His Spirit or a drop or a controlled amount. What we often do and what I often do is look for just enough of whatever God has to offer to where my life isn’t really affected all that much. In contrast, the Bible speaks of the Spirit being poured out, of being full of the Holy Spirit, of being baptized in the Spirit. If we just get a little taste of the Spirit, we will not walk in the Spirit. So if you have felt dominated by your flesh and if you have been seeking your will, your glory, your comfort – trusting in your abilities and in your righteousness – you are like me. And if you are like me and the above things are true then we need to ask God for His unending, abounding grace and for the Spirit of Christ to usher in to our lives and we need to seek God in His Word. This is not to say that we hesitate or postpone being a witness for Christ. This is to say that we ask for the knowledge of humility so that we approach our commission with Christ in mind and not ourselves in mind. This is how people are saved. This is how the authority of Christ is given to His Church. This is how we study and store up His Word. This is how we are effective witnesses of Christ, instead of witnesses of ourselves. This is how we take up our cross and this is how we give glory to Christ. This has nothing to do with our flesh. This has everything to do with the Holy Spirit.

—Jake McCall is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. He is the pastor at Grace Fellowship Presbyterian Church. His column appears each Thursday.