Chapters 15 and 16
One Key Quote
“…ministering in the power of the Spirit is an absolute non-negotiable if we want to be both true to Scripture and effective in our mission today. The church cannot afford to reduce its mission to the proclamation of a message. The message of the life available in Christ must equally be demonstrated in acts of compassion and through signs and wonders…”page 204
Chapter 15: The Spirit and the New Creation. The Holy Spirit is the agent of re-creation. Every part of Jesus’s mission is energised by the Spirit and, to share in his mission, we need the same empowering presence. The myth of Babel, where humanity tries to reach up to heaven, is contrasted now by the story of Pentecost where heaven comes down. Rather than scattered, as at Babel, there is an ingathering of different people groups and his followers are sent out as God’s servants rather than his rivals. Ezekiel 36:24-35 shows that idolatry leads to the wasteland but the Spirit leads back to the garden of Eden, to re-creation. The promise to give life to dead bones, in Ezekiel 37, is fulfilled in the breathing in of God’s Spirit to us. In the Spirit we receive the life of the age to come. If we are going to be agents of the restoration of all things, then humanity first needs to be regenerated and renewed by the Spirit. Jesus’s acting out of the prophecy of Ezekiel 47 in John 7 shows that he is the source of the Spirit – the river of life – but also that those who receive him become a temple of the Holy Spirit – the place where he dwells and also where heaven touches earth. Just as Jesus was empowered by the Spirit, his followers must be empowered by the Spirit and do the same things that Jesus did. We can actually do ‘even greater’ than Jesus now in terms of quantity and our global reach as we go into all the earth with the gospel. Being empowered by the Spirit for our mission is a non-negotiable for the church.
Chapter 16: Personal Reflections: From Brokenness to Breakthrough. PH tells the story of the tragic death of a young friend and how they continued with the recording of a live worship event that he had come over to the UK to record. He shares how they came with brokenness and tears to worship, and how the presence of God turned their mourning into dancing, without minimising the grief and the pain of loss. They poured their tears on to the feet of Jesus in worship. Their lament also turned into a shout of intercession as they refused to lose hope but trusted in his redemptive power.
Reflect and Discuss
- What is the difference between us trying to reach heaven in our own strength and heaven coming down to us?
- How can we and do we experience the breath of the Holy Spirit each day?
- How can we do greater things than Jesus did as he promised we would – see John 14:12
- How is it possible for desperate sorrow and lament to become worship and intercession?
- Ask God to use you to be involved in a miracle for someone this week as you are moved with compassion to help.
- Is there any desperate situation that you or someone you know is facing? How can you partner with God to see that situation redeemed?
Read Chapters 17-19 this coming week. They are about the Church, discipleship and revival!
There is a PDF version of this Discussion Guide here.