It is too easy to think of a Spirit-filled, on-fire church as large a congregation with great music, great facilities, great programs, and great preaching. And, to be fair, it could be. But those things would be incidental not causal or resultant. Conversely, it would too easy to think of a small church in a small town with no worship band, no building of their own, no paid pastor, and no programs as “dead”. And, to be fair, it could be. But those indicators may just be incidental to its death, not the cause of it. A Spirit-filled, on-fire church can be either large or small, found in a large city or a small country town. It could have great music or no music at all. It could have a gifted dynamic preacher as its pastor, or it may have no pastor at all. But without exception, all Spirit-filled and on-fire for God church have three essential qualities.
I don’t normally share like this so please excuse me for being a bit more personal than I am normally in these Pastor’s Desks. Last Sunday morning I awoke with a strong sense that I needed to incorporate the vision of Ezekiel’s Temple as a framework for us to think about our year ahead in my sermon for that day. I had to re-jig my presentation (which as you might be aware involves a bit more work than they way most other preachers do their slides). This is why I arrived at church a little later than I normally comfortable in doing. I was particularly gripped by this divine vision given to Ezekiel of the Holy Spirit’s outpouring in the New Covenant with Christ Himself being the Temple-Source (John 2:19-21). While I was preaching to our church community (in-person and online) I was also preaching to myself. As a result, Kim and I continued in prayer and fasting for the rest of our Sunday. I now want to invite you to consider again Ezekiel’s picture of the Spirit-filled Christian life as the map for going deeper with God.