Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
—2 Timothy 1:7
I have often heard people say, “I went to such and such a church and I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit there.”
Were the Scriptures not accurately taught? Was Christ not glorified? Were you not convicted of sin and encouraged to press on in the faith?…
“I just didn’t FEEL the Holy Spirit”, is the response I often get.
It is here that I have that UG! moment. What such people are really saying is that they did not experience certain feelings they look for in the worship of the church. They are mistaking raw sentimentalism for the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, many Christians have been so conditioned by ecclesiastical practices they’ve never stopped to consider that what they are doing has far more in common with paganism than Christianity (a good subject for a future post!).
What a debased and beggarly replacement man has made to replace the true work and ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the place of convicting us of sin, the encouragement of Christian virtue, and the advancement of our faith in Jesus Christ, many have fallen for the fleshly substitute of human passions.
The sad thing is, because of the horrid state of Christian theology today, few even realize the dynamic. OUT is the unapologetic, authoritative preaching of the word of God, IN is the sentimental sermon, the breathy and manipulative prayers over background mood music, worship music composed and performed to entertain while engaging the senses but not the mind, flashing multicolored stage lights and smoke machines.
Speaking of the senses, we have made the idolatry of Rome with it’s crucifixes, statues of Mary and the saints and many other liturgical visuals (all designed to engage the senses) seem orthodox compared to the sensual extremes of far too many evangelical churches today.
The true ministry of the Holy Spirit is so much more than the base movement of human passions. However, we will only experience it if we reject those things which promote the man-made substitute and and be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ephesians 4:23). You may by the flesh be brought to weeping, but you will leave the same person as when you came.
The true ministry of the Holy Spirit will change you and manifest the reality that God is indeed with you.
Nay sayers will be thinking that I deny the Holy Spirit moves our passions at all. To that let me say that there is a great difference between being brought to tears over our sin, or the heights of joy over the knowledge of Christ versus being moved by the worship team and the dimming of the lights.
BUT WE CAN DO BOTH!!! Can we? Let’s put that to the test. Get rid of the band, the mood lights, the fog machines, the feel good sermons…replace these unbiblical elements of worship with the simple singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and strong biblical preaching. Would you still “feel the Holy Spirit”? Judging by the low attendance in churches that are faithful to the regulative principle of worship, probably not. It doesn’t have to be this way.