(Ephesians 3:21, 5:27, Hosea 6:2 and 2 Corinthians 13:14)
Written by Deacon Sebastian Acheampong
To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:21
So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. – Ephesians 5:27
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him – Hosea 6:2
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14
Our topic has “the Church” as the object of attention. It informs that the Church, being mandated to Possess the nations, cannot do away with the quality of being glorious and revived in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The objective of this write up would therefore be an exposition to bring us to a point of understanding, where every believer would be keen on being a steward of God’s glory in the church, and actively reviving their fellowship with the holy spirit; this way we become effective recruits to possess the nations.
Jesus left the disciples with the mandate of making disciples of all nations, not some nations. We as believers are to bring all nations, its inhabitants, citizens and authorities alike, to the authority and rulership of Christ Jesus. It is in this light the Church of Pentecost has acclaimed this as its overarching theme – possessing the nations, transforming every sphere of society with kingdom values and principles. Formerly, the idea of Possessing the nations was expressed as God using the Israelites to destroy all the nations along their way that were worshippers of other gods. By this way, sin was eschewed and the great name of God highly esteemed. With the advent of Christ however, a more sufficient approach has been defined; God is making his appeal through us his ambassadors to reconcile all men everywhere back to God and therefore transform all jurisdictions to conform to Kingdom Principles and Values. We are co workers to ensure that the Lord has his rightful and absolute possession of the world he created.
As rightly highlighted, there are needed qualities to make us effective in this business of Possessing the nations – being a glorious church and being revived in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. We would consider these two further.
A Glorious church
To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:21. “…Glory in the church…”. The Amplified version along with several other versions put it as “the glory in the church”. Glory is defined as overwhelming beauty or splendor. The glory in the church then is describing the overwhelming beauty or splendor in the church. The source of this glory is God himself; his presence brings the glory (1 Kings 8:1-11). The glory of the church is a reflection of the glory of God. Just as Christ is the express image of God, so is the church (the body of Christ). The more we entertain and welcome the presence of God in the church, the greater our expression of His glory – our identity would be a glorious church.
Ephesians 3:21 began by saying “to God be the Glory”, this Glory in the church. The glory is for God, the beauty and splendor are for God, it is actually to serve him. Why is that, and how is that? God being the source of the Glory in the church demands it of us to serve his eternal purpose of reconciling all men to himself (1 Timothy 2:4). The state of glory is meant to attract the unbelieving world while we possess it for God. The glorious and powerful manifestations in our fellowships, our righteous living, the sanctity in our character in all spheres, the bond of unity and love shared, our relevant inputs in societal welfare and development, are all to wow the unbeliever to Christ, to give him a picture of the better hope he is being called to, for that is the truth. Beyond being a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, we must be sure we are not disqualified to meet our bridegroom, Christ. We must therefore allow the work of Christ in his church that he may present us to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that we may be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27). This constitutes our final glory as a glorious church.
Revived in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Paul in one of his letters addressed the church at Corinth. Ending his letter, he concludes, “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14). Paul by this reveals three peculiar virtues of the Godhead indispensable in the church; the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which we have obtained salvation (Ephesians 2:8); the love of God that secured Christ as a gift to us in the first place (John 3:16); and the fellowship of the Holy spirit, our seal and guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it (Ephesians 1:13-14). We are sole benefactors of the grace and love, but for the fellowship, it is a mutual responsibility. We would pay attention to the fellowship with the holy spirit in the following chapters.
The dictionary defines fellowship as a feeling of friendship, relatedness or connection between people. Also, a company of people that share the same interest or aim. Constant communication keeps friendship alive, shared characteristics certify a relation, always staying in touch builds a connection, and finally the presence of the involved parties completes a company. The concerned parties must actively play their part for there to be fellowship. Amazingly, the Promised Holy spirit has and is constantly playing his part to keep fellowship with us: he is always speaking to us as he guides us into all truth (John 16:13); he shares and relates well with our humanity enough to make intercession for us with groanings (Romans 8:26); as our companion and guide, he is always in touch (John 14:26); and for presence, he has been poured out on all flesh (Joel 2:28). We now have to play our part to maintain fellowship with the Holy Spirit. But this is where the problem is, we are either not playing our part or doing so passively. We are hardly communicating with him in prayer, we are not identifying with his nature, we are not keeping in step with him to stay connected, and for presence we only come when we have needs. How can we have fellowship with the Holy Spirit!? We need a REVIVAL! A revived fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
To revive is to return to life, to cause to recover life or strength, to cause to live anew. Many Revivals have gone down in history, recovering the church from a state of oblivion and neglect – power was surged again through several departments and ministries in the church. Our fellowship with the Holy Spirit turns out to be one of the subjects being neglected. While some do not believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit, others have reduced him to figurative images and monuments. Some have also just resolved that the fellowship is only for a select few. But the promise is for all, even for our children. Others who do believe are rather having occasional fellowships with him, only at major church programs. We need a yearning once more for the Spirit of God, as were said of our fathers of old who would not rest until they have had their daily fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit being our seal for our inheritance in heaven, permits us to have a foretaste of this heavenly bliss (2 Corinthians 5:5). It is no surprise we receive power when he comes upon us. His manifestation in the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit set us on a divine pedestal beyond which this world can comprehend. This is what keeps our hope and faith alive, and make believers out of the unbelievers. But these manifestations can only be experienced through us if we remain constantly in fellowship with Him. Do not forget, we are God’s workmanship for every good work, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10); and we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that the excellency of power belongs to God and not to man (2 Corinthians 4:7). We are God’s priceless workforce to Possess the nations. Remaining in fellowship with the Holy Spirit makes us ever qualified for this task. Fellowshipping with the Spirit of God is indeed an amazing and honorable experience every believer must yearn to have continually and in increasing measure.
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him – Hosea 6:2. God does the revival, He brings the revival as long as we remain aligned. The Israelites shed a godly sorrow that led to repentance, so they gather themselves to return to the Lord. And here they said, having known the God they served, that after two days, he was surely going to revive them. I want to charge you dear reader, where do you stand after an evaluation of your fellowship with the Holy Spirit? Does it need a revival? Come now to God in the brokenness of your heart and ask him to revive your fellowship with the Holy Spirit. God bless you.
The ultimate and eternal agenda of God remains, TO POSSESS THE NATIONS. You and I, serving this cause must be sure to go for the glory and remain revived in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!