As we return to 1 Corinthians, we encounter two chapters (12 & 14) focused on the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has on occasion, and again of recent, been a contentious part of church life.
Author Frances Chan has written a book entitled Forgotten God. The point of the title is that the person and work of the third part of the Trinity is often overlooked – forgotten. Chan makes a passionate case that something is wrong in the contemporary church. “I believe that this missing something is actually a missing Someone-namely, the Holy Spirit.”
That is to say, our weakness as a church is not theological. It’s not ideas or lack of teaching, but it is a failure to live out a Spirit-filled life.
In part, I agree. Parts of the church do neglect the Spirit. There is a joke about conservative evangelicals (like us in Sydney) – that our trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Scriptures.
But it is also the case that some current Christians focus too much on the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is self-effacing, drawing attention away from himself and pointing people to Christ (John 14:26).
The work of the Spirit is multi-faceted. It includes calling, regeneration, repentance, sanctification (he is not called the HOLY Spirit without reason), adoption, assurance, inspiration, guidance and gifting.
This series cannot cover all of the above. I am not seeking to preach a series on the topic of the Holy Spirit. Rather, this series will focus on spiritual gifts, because this is the focus of 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.
Why not, alongside this sermon series, read a book like Frances Chan’s Forgotten God so as to get a fuller sense of the work of the Spirit?
Rev David Rietveld