It is scary to think that there are churches in this world that don’t operate by the Spirit of God. But, who measures the amount of the Spirit? How much of Him can you have and call yourself “full”? Are there any biblical parameters to say that our church is filled?
The common understanding among people who use the term “Spirit filled church” is that there are certain manifestations of the Holy Spirit, including, among the top ones, speaking in tongues, prophesying (in their own interpretation of prophesy), miracles, and healing. All of these the Bible calls “Gifts” (Karisma = an undeserved favor) in the New Testament. The problem is that often people only emphasize these four gifts, and that’s how they measure how full of the Sprit the church is. But… what about the other 15 to 20 (depending on who you ask) other gifts mentioned in the New Testament? Are they manifestations of the Holy Spirit? Of course they are!
Let’s be clear about the term “Spirit filled church”. It is not a term you find in Scripture. So, I would say, let us be careful trying to fit something in the Holy Word of Father that causes conflict with the rest of the content. The sources that I’ve found don’t agree with the exact date, but most point at the early 1960s where the term “Spirit filled church” began to be used, and as I said before, the movement’s emphasis was on 4 to 5 spiritual gifts.
I usually tell people “if the Bible says it, we must believe it”. Therefore let’s look what Scripture says…
There are no passages in the Old Testament that mentioned speaking in ‘angelic’ languages or ‘private prayer languages’. In fact, when it comes to tongues, the Old Testament only speaks of languages spoken in different nations. God Himself created different languages at Babel, and thus caused the beginning of nations and people groups. However, there are many other manifestations of God’s Spirit, like destroying an army of enemies (Exodus 14; Judges 8), providing food and water to His people (Exodus 16), protection of His leaders (Exodus 2), countless healings, prophesy, teaching, faith, service, craftsmanship, and the list goes on. But, as in the New Testament, what tops it all is God’s LOVE. His love was manifested from the very beginning of creation. For He created us for His pleasure (Isaiah 43:7), to love us (Isaiah 43:4).
There is much to say about spiritual things. I don’t pretend for a moment to understand much of it. If you ask me how I measure the spirituality of someone, or a church, I would say by their love. You see, God is love. “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. The one who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14). Scripture says that people will know that we belong to Christ by the gift of Love (John 13:35). For without love we are simply nothing.
At Sanctuary we believe in ALL the God given gifts. Yes! We are free to exercise whatever the Holy Spirit has given us. We must remember however, that with the gifts there are responsibilities. Those are spelled out in Scripture, and rightly interpreted we can accomplish our ultimate purpose here on this earth of reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17-20; 2 Peter 3:9).
I am exited to be part of a church where God’s love is evident; where people can love freely; where we have teachers, prophets, evangelists, pastors and missionaries that are building up the church. Let us pray against the schemes of Satan who will try to do whatever to destroy.
And let us remain in these: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love (1Cor. 13).