The title has nothing to do with the line from the song that goes, “From here to the Great Unknown.”
To explain the title, go back in time with me to the sermons you’ve heard. My guess is that you heard about Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, John the baptizer, Jesus, Peter, Paul and a few others. Probably at some point in each of those sermons the preacher held one or two of these folks up as examples of how we should be. We left church wondering when it would be our time to build an ark, or kill a Goliath, or be crucified like Jesus, and go into all the world like Paul. Anything less seems to fall short of what is a “real” Christian. In other words, we were always “falling short of the glory of God.” That is until we get our act together and became like the people the preacher held up before us.
There is also that hairy problem of the Holy Spirit. If we were taught that the Holy Spirit was the Bible, problem solved, almost. Now all we had to do was duplicate the instructions in the New Testament and we would be safe. We would be lead by the Spirit of the Word, as it were. Among the problems with that is the person who could quote the most scripture would be considered the most “full of the Spirit”. (“Which version of the Holy Spirit do you want? KJV, ASV NKJV or some other? We have it in hardback and soft leather?”) We would also become literalists, which to the thinking student of scripture is impossible. So we need to find a way to decide which passages to follow and which to not. This, of course, is true even if we are not among those who believe the Spirit is the Bible.
I said the Holy Spirit is a hairy problem because when we see the passages that speak of the “indwelling Spirit” we also have to deal with them. That’s where the rub comes in for most of us. We are told that the Spirit gives us “spiritual gifts”. So we look around and we don’t see anything. If someone asks what our gift is, we are stuck. Those who try to display what they feel is theirs, seem to ruin it, if indeed they have it right. Which I think in most cases of self-recognition, they don’t. All I can say here is I think the gifts of the Spirit are best seen in us by others, and accepted by us in faith.
However, as a reading of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians indicates, the concept of the Spirit giving gifts can be a problem. As seen in the first letter, the “visible” gifts were the most sought after. But as time passed and they seemed to fade in and out of church life, so some explanation needed to be made. At some point it was decided by some that those “visible” gifts were only for a certain time and place. Therefore, they no longer existed, hence the Bible itself became the Holy Spirit. Regardless the excitement about that view and the scriptures used to defend it, it didn’t and won’t hold water, more less the Holy Spirit..
Left without a “The end!” from God, some set out to find the treasures of the lost Spirit. Meaning they wanted visible proof of the Spirit in their life. In some cases visibility became the test as to if the person had the Holy Spirit or not. This led to some faking and hypocrisy. It also leads to frustration and disappointment as well as constant questioning of oneself.
In the New Testament there is never any doubt that the confessing person (Christian) doesn’t receive God’s Spirit in their life. I’m not going to list the scriptures which would confirm that. My interest is in what a “spiritual” person is supposed to look and act like.
What does a spiritual person look like? Are there some “Christians” in any church who lack the presence of God’s Spirit in them? Don’t we look for the Moses’ and the Abrahams, and the Pauls? How many do we find that we can put our finger on and say it? On any given Sunday all across the world, churches are filled with believers who come, involve themselves in worship, and leave. If they were told to list their particular Holy Spirit gift at the door, how many could? How many would feel very accepted if they couldn’t? Why we feel that way is because those who preach and need to keep the wheels of the church turning, as well as being driven by the need to convert the world to Christ, need more wheel turners and converters. In other words, more people like Paul are needed.
Now, let’s look at the actual picture in the New Testament, at least as we have it. We know about Peter and Paul and a few other “evangelists”. We are told that on the day of Pentecost three thousand folks were converted and “added” to the church. What happened to all of them? Did they all go off preaching? Some did. But behind those who did, were the great unknown. Those who never went beyond the edge of the town or city in which they lived. They assembled to worship and praise God and went out and loved their neighbors. We can imagine (because we still see it) that they did deeds of goodness and kindness. Hopefully they never wondered if they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Hopefully they were never made to feel unspiritual because they didn’t feel the need to express visible proof of the indwelling Spirit by displaying their gift (talent).
Are there unspiritual people who say they are Christians? Yes. What’s the test? For Paul it was the result, the “fruit” of the Spirit’s presence. In Galatians 5:22ff, Paul says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love. Joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Strange, but there’s no “speaking in tongues” or “prophesying” there. Neither is there a “Be a giant for Christ”, though any one of those might cause someone to be, but not everyone.
Most of us are part of the great unknown, except to God who lives in us and makes God visible in the above (yes, visible) attributes. Do we have to be good at all of them equally to have the Spirit? No. Salvation is not by gifts, but grace.
CONCERNS: Please keep Paul Esteepe’s family and Teryn Gaynor’s family in your prayers. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Darnell Barnes. Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell throat Cancer. Please keep Jo Wagner in your prayer her cousin Harold Clark passed away . Donte McCadden, a young father with CF has been air lifted to DUKE. Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss, son-in law, David, brain Cancer Treatment. Deanna McRoy has a kind of cancer that can return at any time. Debbie McRoy’s cousin, Linda Alsup health issues along with husband, Prentice recurring cancer. Also: Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Gary Overstreet, Bill Albert, Jim Hunter, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
ROANOKE CHURCH F CHRIST
2606 Brandon Ave SW
Roanoke, Va 24015
SERVICE TIMES:Bible Study: 9:30 AM
Sunday Worship: 10:30 AM
Wednesday Evening: 7:00 PM
ROANOKE CHURCH OF CHRIST
Thank you to everyone that came out Saturday to help with the Church work Day. The Church is looking good. Thanks to all who contribute. Next Work Day will be September 7th.
Saturday, August 31st is our annual Pig Roast. We will be eating around 4:00 pm. Sign up sheet on foyer table. Please sign up today so we will have the correct head count. Please bring a side dish to go with the barbeque. Like buns, chips, etc…
Our sympathy is extended to Teryn Gaynor & Family in the death of her Stepfather who passed away in Alabama. FOUND KEYS
Found next to the annex looks like a spare car key and maybe a house key. Contact Keith or Joanne.
WELCOME To our guest speaker Vernie Bolden. We are thankful to have him as our speaker today and we really appreciate his message. Vernie is a graduate of Lexington Theological Seminary, where Jerry Sumney teaches.
ADD TO YOUR DIRECTORY
Rob & Gloria Kinney: 2033 Darlington Rd SW Roanoke, VA 24018
These are their correct phone #’s
Rob’s Phone # 540-819-3645
Gloria ‘s Phone # 540-819-3642
THANK YOU We want to thank Susan again for her trip this month to Guatemala. We appreciate her sacrifices in making this journey to represent Roanoke Church of Christ at Clinic a Ezell. Thank you, Susan for all the good you have done in Guatemala.