Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
- Revelation 3:22
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
- Zechariah 4:6
“It is possible to run a church and all of its activity without the Holy Spirit. You can organize it, get a board together, call a pastor, form a choir, launch a Sunday school and a ladies’ aid society. You get it all organized—and the organization part is not bad. I’m for it. But I’m warning about getting organized, getting a pastor and turning the crank—some people think that’s all there is to it, you know.
“The Holy Spirit can be absent and the pastor goes on turning the crank, and nobody finds it out for years and years. What a tragedy, my brethren, what a tragedy that this can happen in a Christian church! But it doesn’t have to be that way! ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:22). …
“If you could increase the attendance of your church until there is no more room, if you could provide everything they have in churches that men want and love and value, and yet you didn’t have the Holy Spirit, you might as well have nothing at all. For it is ‘ “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” saith the LORD of hosts’ (Zechariah 4:6). … [I]t is by the Spirit that God works His mighty works.”
- A. W. Tozer, The Counselor
I think the illustration that Rev. Tozer made about a church that grows without the Spirit is a stretch. How can you be alive without the Spirit? If you are not alive, how can you grow? My experience is that if a church ignores the Holy Spirit, membership (at least, attendance) drops off until they close the doors of the church.
Have you ever been in a church like that? When there is no sign of the Holy Spirit, you know that the church growth and nature of the worship will suffer. It is not necessary to speak in tongues or even jump and shout. You don’t have to scream from the pews, something liked, “Right on, Preacher! Right on!” You can sit there calmly and let the Holy Spirit flow through you without saying a word. It might get difficult at times, but in a Spirit-filled “Frozen” church, they can pull it off.
But thinking of those frozen churches, many do not speak of the Holy Spirit. It even seems that some of the pastors are afraid of Him. Yes, Him, the Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity.
But without the Holy Spirit, can God’s work be done? Sure, you can do a lot of good stuff. You can do a lot of mission work or give to missions, but are you getting God’s work done? If you do not have a channel of communication with the Spirit of God, how can God communicate to you what His perfect will is for you? Not Christianity as a whole – that loving one another and helping widows and orphans thing – His perfect will for you specifically.
If you do not have the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it is like the boy scout who showed up to the meeting with everything on his uniform messed up. There were tears in the cloth. His neckerchief was sideways and it looked like someone wanted to strangle him with it. His shoes were scuffed to no end. The scoutmaster said that he would get a demerit for a sloppy uniform, but he might break even if he had done a good turn that day, since scouts must do a good turn daily.
The boy said, “The messed up uniform is because of the good deed. I took that old lady that lives next door across the street. It took three tries, but I did it!”
The scoutmaster asked, “How did that mess up your uniform and why three tries?”
The boy was nearly in tears, “She didn’t want to go!!”
If you don’t know the will of God because the Holy Spirit is not present in the church, you may be taking little old ladies across the street when they don’t want nor need to go.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.