The Great British Bake Off
Its that time of year again, when many of us are glued to the TV screen watching the efforts of many would be bakers who are trying to impress the experts with that awesome bake. There’s a lot of matching of ingredients and making sure all the right stuff is included.
If the oven isn’t set correctly or you’ve missed that vital ingredient you’ll get a cake that’s possibly edible but not the wonderful creation that the recipe predicted. The failed bake gives something less than the baker intended.
There’s something very similar taking place in church gatherings every week and very often the “God intended outcome” of the gathering is very often missed. The gatherings of the saints is like a God given recipe for the outworking of both the gifts and fruits of the Spirit ……… but so often they become a different “bake” from the Masters intended creation.
The scriptures make it very clear that there is a setting for the Spiritual gifts – Love! The two other keys ingredients are “Us” and the “Spirit of God”. The “Us” doesn’t mean one gifted individual or even a selected group in our meetings. The “Us” means each one of the family of God contributing and participating in the delivery of ministry “one to another”
When we remove “Love”, “The Spirit” or “Us” we end up with something far less than God intended. Is it surprising that we don’t see the power of the Spirit moving in church gatherings in the manner in which God intended.
It took the reformers much struggle and opposition in order to bring to the church the beautiful truth that we are all “Priests” of the Most High with a ministry that works powerfully when we gather. Sadly many have become content with a half baked experience, meeting God through the ministry of the church experts, which is really a return to the priestly function of the selected few.
Paul describes the gathering of the saints.
1 Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
New Testament believers did not merely attend services. They were active, vital participants who could significantly contribute to what went on in the gathering.
God wants every ingredient “the us” to play its part and to do so in order to edify
Edifying participatory gatherings do not just happen. New Testament styled participatory worship is to be Spirit led, the Spirit uses elders to help make it edifying. They are behind-the-scene coaches, encouraging and training so that everyone operates from out of his spiritual gift and everything said and done is edifying.
Lord let us experience the wonder of edifying gatherings with Jesus amongst us and the Spirit of God given the freedom to deliver His gifts and fruit amongst us.