ONLY By the Power of the Holy Spirit
The Disciples had followed and watched Jesus transform every life he contacted towards God’s holiness and mercy. Then terrified they fled as he was scorned, tortured, and killed. Full of wonder, they witnessed the mystery and wholly UN-natural resurrected Christ walk among them. But finally He was gone, and all that remained was His PROMISE that Pentecost WOULD come and, “very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (1.) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”
Who was this Advocate? And how could it be BETTER than walking alongside Jesus in the fullness of His Power and Love?
God was distant and abstract before Jesus. In the time of Jesus, those 33 years on earth, the incarnation of God was most completely expressed in that one body, that ONE human. AFTER the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, the incarnation of God became HERE and NOW, expressed through and guiding the Body of Christ, the church, you and me, and the millions and millions who came before, are now, and will be to come! God is in OUR MIDST RIGHT HERE AND NOW!
Now don’t let that float past you. YOU are not the fullness of the incarnation of God. I am NOT the fullness of the incarnation of God. But WE - the entire Body - in all its variants, colors, flavours, and expressions ARE the FULL incarnation of God HERE and NOW! Missionaries on the front lines of mighty spiritual battles, martyrs who worship unto death, complacent Sunday church goers… WE are the manifestation of God HERE and NOW. Conservatives, Liberals, un-political believers - ALL who believe and seek the holiness of Jesus - together WE are the incarnation of God HERE AND NOW.
Why does this matter so deeply? Because the enemy wants nothing more than to steal kill and destroy the JOY this should create within us! He wants to accuse you… or the guy down the pew from you… that we are “not holy.” He wants to minimize the reality of this Holy Spirit inhabiting the HUGE, TOGETHER “US” by picking us off one at a time. The enemy MUST try to divide the BODY of Christ because together, unified, and loving of one another’s uniqueness?! THERE IS NO FORCE LIKE US. Together, learning and practicing and growing from the Word found planted in each of us IS ALL THE POWER of the incarnate God HERE AND NOW who has already won every victory and broken every chain!
And the hard truth is neither you nor I can grow alone into Christ-likeness if we do not immerse ourselves in this difficult and self-shattering work of loving and learning from the Body as a diverse whole. I love that from the moment He departed, Jesus made certain His Gospel could not be contained within human boundaries - never co-opted by any individuals - those who seek to fracture and exclude and grab the power for themselves or their faction will always fail! The power, the beauty, the fullness of God is ONLY available as we lean into the Holy Spirit - the Living Word through those who are like us AND those who are very, very different - in faith and with love!
Only Jesus, the One, the Logos / Word incarnate, the “Son of Man” - humanity as God intended from the beginning unifies us. We come together because we NEED Him. We have this in common: “I am not the Christ, but I need Him - and I need You ALL because Christ is incarnate, full of Power, Grace, and Truth in His diverse Body HERE AND NOW.”
I hear a lot from folks who are afraid of the ways in which we have seen and experienced life, faith, and humanity differently. Folks are afraid of the differences between us and are waiting for the boundary to be made evident. But friends, you DO NOT need to fear. Jesus has already won the victory and broken EVERY boundary that separates us from Him! So with this unity, led by the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Body IS the VICTORIOUS WAY of Christ! We are living the victorious mess of the Holy Community of faith! Within this messy, beautiful design, even with the differences, is the only place to find ALL God’s holiness, ALL God’s power, ALL God’s strength to forgive and offer grace and care, HERE and NOW and ALIVE! He is the unifying POWER! Lean into Him and your brothers and sisters in Christ and learn. Lay down yourself and grow! Pick up your cross and start walking with one another in love and grace. Share Truth as you have come to understand it, but be willing to lean deeply into Truth that the Holy Spirit has planted in others!
We are each called to be Disciples of Christ (STUDENTS of Christ). But as Students we are called to be taught by God WITH one another! We are called to be broken apart alongside one another! We are called to be subservient to this “Deep calling out to Deep” - the Holy Spirit calling out and answering - from within every member of this Jesus-seeking Body. The Holy Spirit IS in you, advocating FOR you and me and those who have walked before us and those yet to come, proclaiming grace and hope and victory IS NOW AND FOREVERMORE - if we would just seek Him together! Until we lay down our self, recognizing our sin in our own self-importance, we can not live in the fullness of God’s Power and Holiness and Grace HERE and NOW. This Holy Community is diverse and beautiful!. This Holy Body is full of unique experiences and perspectives that God is sharing with we humans who so desperately needs to see and hear right HERE and NOW.
When we labored over Big Life C.C. we articulated three simple points of UNITY that clearly and completely ensure God’s Spirit incarnate could work in fullness of the Body HERE and NOW:
1. Advocate / Helper/ Counselor - Strong’s 3875 paráklētos (from 3844 /pará, "from close-beside" and 2564 /kaléō, "make a call") – properly, a legal advocate who makes the right judgment-call because close enough to the situation. 3875 /paráklētos ("advocate, advisor-helper") is the regular term in NT times of an attorney (lawyer) – i.e. someone giving evidence that stands up in court.