We have an amazing God! Our God is one God in three persons who exist together in total unity. God the Father reigns as CEO (Chief Executive Officer) in heaven. Jesus Christ the Son came to earth and paid the debt of sin we owe, on our behalf, on the cross, so that he can forgive all our sins and save us. The Holy Spirit is the presence of God sent to lead the church and lead in the lives of every believer after the risen Christ ascended into heaven.
If the Spirit is sent to lead the church and to lead in our lives, the question is, "Are we following him?" The Holy Spirit doesn't force himself on us. If we refuse to listen to his leading and follow him, then he'll back off and let us go our own way. We don't have to follow the Spirit long before we realize that our lives are better with him leading than when we are in charge.
As we continue our study of "ACTS: The Church Alive!" this Sunday, we come to Acts 13 and the Holy Spirit tells the church something that must have been quite surprising to them. At this time Barnabas and Saul are the beloved pastors of the church in Antioch. In Acts 13:2 the Spirit says, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." The Spirit called Barnabas and Saul to leave the comfort zone of a healthy, growing and peaceful church in Antioch to become missionaries and risk their lives taking the gospel into Asia Minor and Europe beyond. Barnabas and Saul heard the call and agreed to follow the Spirit. Now the Spirit is telling the church to send them and support them in their ministry. As we will see, the church does exactly what the Spirit tells them to do.
The questions I'll seek to answer on Sunday is, "How do we hear what the Spirit is saying?" and "When the Spirit speaks, do we follow him?" Those questions apply to us as individuals. The Holy Spirit speaks to each of us. Are we living the way the Spirit wants us to live? Are we doing what the Spirit wants us to do? If the Spirit calls us to serve him in some way, will we serve him? If we continually tell the Spirit "No" and do what we want to do, we will quench the Spirit, we will pour cold water over the embers of the Spirit in our lives. One of the things the Spirit tells every believer is that they need to be part of a church where they can worship, grow spiritually and serve God. Are you following the Spirit into active involvement in the life of the church?
These same questions apply to the church. Are we listening to what the Spirit says to our church? When he speaks do we listen and do what he tells us to do? When we follow the Spirit's leading, God will bless the church. If we refuse to listen to the Spirit then the Holy Spirit will back off and we will lose our spiritual fervor and vibrancy. At First Baptist Riverside, we want to be a church that is listening to the Spirit and following him. Let us be obedient to follow the Spirit like the church in Antioch did so long ago.