Maturity and the Gifts

One thing I have observed from the Word is that every biblical record of a person exercising the power of the Spirit was a mature believer, who had been in the Word and discipleship for a long time. It seems plain to me from these testimonies that the power of the Spirit comes on the heels of an intimate relationship with the Father fostered by a deep study of, and obedience to, the Word of God. One possible exception is Balaam’s donkey, but she wasn’t a person and I think this just demonstrates that the Father can use any vessel He chooses. And don’t get me started on the puns I can make from this. Ass me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies. Another possible exception might be Cornelius in Acts 10, but it is clear from the context that he has been at it a long time. It doesn’t appear to me from the Word that ‘rookies’ had a great deal to do with relaying the power of God.

Church Dysfunction

I’ve had folks tell me that they and their churches are functioning well without parts of the Bible (or Law). They still don’t look like the first century church, but apparently that’s okay and, well, the missing laws don’t really matter. I’m told any dysfunction I see (or people measure) is a good thing due to welcoming all types with open arms. So of course this book is off base to them; they don’t see anything wrong.

I don’t agree. The mere fact that the whole of the Word is not taught or practiced by the church in general is by itself a huge indicator of building on sand. The facts that discipleship is not effective and the fruit of the Spirit is in short supply are signs that something is not right. If the dysfunction was just from welcoming any sinner, you’d think after a while the old hands would not be as dysfunctional. The fruit of the Spirit would be popping out all over. We’d easily be able to make new Bible disciples, too. But the dysfunction affects long-time attendees the same as new ones. It affects old-line denominations just like newer ones. Based on observation, education, personal experience, other people’s testimony, and professional surveys we need a lot of improvement. We need to repent and get back to the first century church whole Bible practice.

How could anyone be happy with what we’ve got? The church in Acts was full of the fire of the Spirit, growing in love and power and community. The church of today is, um, not so much. The difference is in a whole Bible belief and practice. We still have a little fire, and there are good things being accomplished. We do a good job attracting people with a rock concert or revival, and not so good keeping them going in the faith. We’re great at making decisions for Christ; not so great at making disciples. The people who think everything’s okay are either not paying attention or are like the proverbial frog in a pot of water being slowly brought up to boil (they won’t jump out and will die if you do it slowly enough). I’m sure the people before the flood thought everything was fine. Israel ignored or outright killed prophets for suggesting that all was not right in Jerusalem. The skies were clear over Sodom and Gomorrah the day it rained fire and brimstone too. Some won’t know they’ve got a sandy foundation until the storm hits.

‘Whole Bible Christianity’ chapter 1 A Part Bible Church