The period from the ascension of Christ to the present hour has been labeled the Church Age. In reality it should be called the Age of the Holy Spirit. Yeshua (Jesus) did not tell His disciples, “The Father will teach you how to have good churches.” He promised them they would be endued with power by the Holy Spirit and be His witnesses in the earth. And my New Year’s resolution is to change my emphasis from Church first to being filled with the Holy Spirit first and endued with power to be His witness today.
The Church Age is the term most widely used to identify the years since the ascension of Christ until now. This label, I think, misdirects the focus of our faith in this generation. When Yeshua (Jesus) prepared His disciples for His departure, He did not give them instructions about Church. He taught them about the Holy Spirit directing them and guiding them and about their being witnesses in all the world to make disciples of the nations.
Christ could have said, “Go to Jerusalem and focus on gathering everyone together who believes in Me and establish an order and a structure for the Church.” But He did not do that. He said, “You are to go and receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be My witnesses.” Eventually those who had this experience were drawn to assemble together. But their assembling together was secondary to their individual experience of having this promise of the Holy Spirit resting upon them.
We have tended to lose this emphasis. To us being led and taught by the Holy Spirit has become secondary to being part of a church and being led and taught by the leaders in the church. I think we need to refocus our emphasis, and that is what I want to do this year. I want to focus myself on being filled with the Holy Spirit, not dependent on others, not dependent on something that is not provided by the Father and Christ to me through the Holy Spirit. If we can do that as individuals, I believe the Church will have the power and witness in the earth that Christ promised to His disciples.
- Luke 24:49 (NKJV). “Tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
- Deuteronomy 23:3. “No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD.”
- Matthew 16:15-18. “Upon this rock I will build My church.”
- Matthew 18:15-17. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.”
- Acts 1:6-8. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses.”
- John 14:16-18. “You know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
- Jeremiah 31:31-34. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me.”
- John 14:26. “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
- John 16:6-15. “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you.”
- John 7:37-39. “The Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
- “What was necessary and what He had promised them was the Holy Spirit, not Church.”
- “How do we learn about Christ? How do we know Christ? How do we understand Christ? By the Holy Spirit that comes to us.”
- “It’s endless what the Lord gave to us when he gave us the Holy Spirit upon His departure, and I don’t want to make it secondary to anything else.”
- The ecclesia, what we call the Church, was initiated by virtue of the experience the disciples had of being filled with the Holy Spirit and being endued with the power of the Holy Spirit to be His witnesses. I fear that we have lost this emphasis within the Church because our focus is on the Church as an entity, rather than on being an assembly of people who are filled with the Holy Spirit.
- When Yeshua used the Greek word ekklesia, He was not speaking in terms of our understanding of Church. He was speaking in terms of the assembly of the Lord or the assembly of Israel. And He applied it to those who would be taught and directed by the Father through the Holy Spirit.
- How much are we depending on the Church to provide for us what Christ has already provided through the Holy Spirit? We are to know the Lord. We are to be taught of the Lord. We are to hear His voice. We are to be directed in all things by Him. All that the Father has given to Christ should be disclosed to us. If we are honest, we must admit we do not really have that, certainly not in its fullness.