Sermon February 28, 2010: A diverse anointed community

Posted in Sermons
[Gregory Bishop (right) with Omar Soto]
  • Presenter: Gregory Bishop
  • Date: February 28, 2010
  • Location: Congregación León de Judá, Boston MA

I ask you to open your Bible with me in First Corinthians, chapter 12. Today we’re going bilingual, so thank you for your patience. We know that things get a little bit clunky but we are going to talk about why that’s worth the trouble. You know the pastor has been talking lately about us being a super natural community with a super natural mentality and a key part of that mentality is being baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Now, quick question before we get started? Who baptizes us in the Holy Spirit? Because when we get baptized with water the pastor does it, right? So sometimes I remember as a new believer, I would ask the pastor, ok, would you please baptize me in the Holy Spirit now. And they said, look I’m sorry that is above my pay.

John the Baptist says, after me comes one more powerful than I, I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one coming after me will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and with fire. Jesus is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.

Now, we pray for each other, we lay out hands but know where the power comes from. But what I want to talk about today is now the baptism in the Holy Spirit but the baptism by the Holy Spirit. It a baptism that happens at the agent, the one who is doing the baptizing is the Holy Spirit and we read about it in First Corinthians, 12. So we’re go ahead and read through here, First Corinthians 12 starting in verse 1, it says:

“Now about spiritual gifts brothers I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the spirit of God says Jesus be cursed, and no one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

“Now, there are different kinds of gifts but the same spirit, there are different kinds of service but the same Lord, there are different kinds of working but the same God works all of them in all men.”

“Now to each one the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good, to one it is given through the spirit the message of wisdom. To another the message of knowledge by means of the same spirit. To another faith by the same spirit. To another gifts of healing by that one spirit. To another miraculous power, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirit and to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same spirit and he gives them to each other just as the spirit determines.

Now the body is a unit, verse 12, though it is made up of many parts and though all its parts are many, they form one body and so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one spirit into one body, whether Jews of Greeks, slave or free and we were all given one spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part, but of many. If the foot should say, because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body, it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be. If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be. But in fact God has arranged the parts of the body everyone of them just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part where would the body be. As it is there are many parts but one body…”

I’m just going to keep going, I know it is…. Is it the Spanish up there….? Good, good, good.

“The eye cannot say to the hand, verse 21, I don’t need you, and the head cannot say to the feet, I don’t need you. On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable, we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern of each other. If one part suffers every part suffers with it. If one part is honored every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of him...” Do you want to read that whole thing in Spanish? You got the picture.

Lets pray together, Father, in Jesus name I thank you. I thank you that we are called to be part of the super natural body of Christ. It is a spiritual membership and I pray we would stand up and be counted, in Jesus name. Amen.

Baptism by the spirit into what? Jump down into verse 13, we were all baptized by one spirit into water, into what? Baptized by one spirit into one body.

Now, we are going to come back to this a little bit later, ok? But to understand that we are part of the super natural body of Christ, means knowing that the spirit has got the whole of me and has inserted me miraculously into a community of people. And that involves using the gifts that God has given to serve. It means being who I am to be a blessing to others. It doesn’t mean copying Omar… you know I remember when I was new here and I figured, I don’t have a clue what I am doing, right? So I’ll just try copying Roberto. You know, when people asked, what would Jesus do? I would say, what Roberto does, right? I discovered very quickly that I wasn’t fooling anybody. There is a saying, I got to be me.

But we do imitate the faith of our mentors and their anointing hopefully sticks to us a little bit. So, about spiritual gifts, Paul writes to the Corinthians, I do not want you to be ignorant. Now, these are people who used spiritual gifts, they spoke in tongues, they moved in the miraculous, but Paul was concerned that they were ignorant. It is possible to move in the spiritual gifts and to be ignorant about what they really mean.

Now, his first concern was to distinguish between Christian anointing and spirituality as distinguished from non Christian spirituality. It was a pagan culture. People were used to worshiping idols. They were used to doing different types of magic basically. And the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that that has nothing to do with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Think about our society, people come to Christ having practiced all kinds of spirituality. Maybe they go to card readers to somehow tell the future, or they go to a mystic, a person who reads the mind and tells them the future, a fortune teller. Or maybe they are obsessed with astrology, or they trying to figure out based on the time of year you were born, what your destiny is based on the stars.

The Bible makes it very clear, the true Christian spirituality is focused on Jesus, it focuses con the glory of God. The fundamental difference is who is in control. Typical pagan spirituality the person who is doing the magic is in control, manipulating spirits to accomplish something. But Christians by the Holy Spirit of God say Jesus is the Lord which means Jesus is in charge, that means his awesome supernatural power flows through me, but he is the one calling the shots, not us and he gets the glory. Praise the Lord. That’s the way we want it to be.

Jesus is Lord’s spirituality. Ok. Another difference, pagan spirituality you could be spiritual and do things in your own way. By the Holy Spirit of God you have no choice but to use your gifts among other Christians. But God, I don’t like them very much, I just want to be in my house and get prophesies and do my own magical tricks. God said, there are no lone rangers who are anointed by the true spirit of the living God. Different kinds of gifts but the same spirit, different kinds of service but the same Lord; different kinds of working but the same God.

If you look at that there’s the Trinity, the spirit, the Lord Jesus, God the Father, boom, boom, boom, the Trinity, three in one. Somehow God the Father is different from God the spirit. They do some different things but they are one and they are both God.

There is a saying in English, try to understand the Trinity and you’ll lose your mind. But deny it and you’ll lose your soul. It’s true. I don’t know how it’s true but God the Father, God the Son God the Spirit are equally God and they are one even though they are three.

Now, it’s mysterious but it is possible. Now, somehow in the same way God takes very, very different people and he makes them one. We’re going to talk about this further on but it talks about the different gifts of the Holy Spirit and I want to make a distinction, a gift of the Holy Spirit is not the same as your talent or your ability. Now, sometimes God takes your talent and then he anoints them and uses them but just because we are talented doesn’t mean we are gifted. That’s why I am so happy that in the dance ministry, the one we’ve heard about, that they take people and we teach about what it means to be submitted to Jesus and have the Holy Spirit anoint dance and have it be used for worship, the actual dancing is just part of the process of preparation. There are many kinds of gifts in the body of Christ.

There is a message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, now it doesn’t just mean you went to school, anybody can go to school. Now, and we like school praise the Lord, but what we are talking about is that God gives knowledge, God gives wisdom supernaturally to move in certain situations. Gift of faith, sometimes you’re praying and you just know that you know, that you know that it’s going to happen now. Gifts of faith.

I remember I’ve been to Dominican Republic on a trip once and there was a man with special needs who was mentally challenged and we were praying because there had been a famine in that region, it was around Baní and it hadn’t rained in a long time, and this man totally child was praying, God I pray you send rain today. And then he looked up and said, oh, but Gregory is visiting, then we don’t want it to rain while he is here, and he said, God can you make it rain when he is leaving. We were on our way out, there is a candy store as you leave Baní, right, the best (….) in the world, we’re coming out of the candy store on our way out of Baní and guess what starts to happen, and we’re talking of lluvia a cántaros. God send us… it is because he had a gift of faith.

Now, maybe if he had a couple of degrees in school and college, maybe he wouldn’t have had the faith of a child. Different gifting, different people, the same spirit. And the list goes on with the gifts of healing, some people who they can pray, and people are healed, it just happens through their touch, through their ministry. Gifts of prophesy, discernment, tongues, (….) The key in the text is that all is given by the spirit just as he determines and all given for the same purpose, for the common good in the body of Christ.

Are you a Christian? If you are, whether you know it or not, you have some gift of the Holy Spirit, something, you got something, I don’t know what it is, and if you use that gift all are blessed. And if you don’t use that gift we all suffer. No hiding out, no anonymous Christians, and we’ll come back to that.

Verse 12 and 13, here is where we get to the baptism. So it says, we’re all… the body is one unit, though it is made up of many parts, and then skipping verse 13 it says, for we were all baptized with one spirit into one body. And then we are going to… we’ll finish that in a second here. God, the Holy Spirit, if you really have the Holy Spirit he will take you and he will baptize you into the body of Christ.

Anybody here has been baptized in water? A lot of people, most of us, baptism in water it’s a day you don’t forget and why? It’s not just because you’re getting soaked in front of hundreds of people, but also it comes a moment in the baptism process when you have to let go and you’re entrusting yourself to the arms of the one baptizing you. If that guy drops you maybe you get to heaven all the quicker. You let go and you let yourself be baptized, it’s a passive thing, even though you make the decision to allow it to happen.

In the same way if we really want to move in the super natural anointing of God it means letting go of how I want to use my gifting and letting the spirit take me and immerse me into the community of faith. There is no other way.

Now, there are some folks who want to be anointed alone in their house and that’s wonderful maybe their gifting is to be alone for long periods of time, that’s fine, but the true anointing will eventually immerse you into the community of Christ.

Now, here is where things get a little interesting in verse 13, it says, we were all baptized by one spirit into one body, whether Jews or Greek, labor free and we are all given one spirit to drink. The spirit baptized you in the body of Christ and the body of Christ involved at that time Jews and Greeks, people who were culturally and religiously different. A supernatural community will be a multi ethnic community.

Do you know how many countries we’ve got represented here today? We easily have 25 countries sitting right here. Now, naturally what is going to happen when people follow their natural impulses? You are going to join a club of people who are like you, people from the same country you are from, people with common interests, people you naturally feel comfortable with, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to be part of a super natural community it means you end up rubbing shoulders with people who are not naturally like you, people who are from different cultures, different styles, and different personalities. It gets very interesting. Feel the anointing.

There is another part of it. It also says, whether you are slave or free. Now, at that time they slavery so if people were a slave they were obviously part of a socioeconomic group that was much lower than people who were free. A super natural community would also be socioeconomically diverse. That means that people who may have a lot of resources and be used to being with people who of that same economic level if they want to move in the Holy Spirit of God there is none of that. A true super natural community will mix people up, and it is beautiful and complicated, and messy, messy like un reguero, I don’t, but God’s glory is manifested in those (….) we’re baptized by one spirit into one body.

Now, having said, and it is not optional. If you want to move in the spirit you are baptized into one body. That means I redefine who my people are. Now, don’t get me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with celebrating our culture, our country and loving that, you be you, you be the person who you are culturally. God knew where you were going to be born. He wanted you to grow up in that culture, it’s part of his purpose for us. And that’s a beautiful thing.

There was one member of the church I remember asking Roberto once, is this person Dominican? I wasn’t sure what country this guy was from. And he chuckled and said, is the Pope catholic? De pura cepa dominicana. And that’s beautiful, that’s good, we like that. That’s why I believe God called some churches to be ethnic specific churches so that they can reflect the glory of God in a particular rhythm, a particular style. And it’s a beautiful.

There are some churches that are just Korean churches, or Greek churches, or just Guatemalan, and there are some churches out in the countryside where they are all gringuitos blancos. It’s ok for a church to have a particular cultural identity because it’s like stained glass, it’s like God is shining through a particularly specific beautiful thing. But even an ethnically specific church, if they are really moving in the Holy Spirit of God there will be an urge to connect with people that are different from them. They are just going to feel restless and you’ll find that really anointed ethnically specific churches are good at building bridges with other ethnic community. And you’ll see that with pastor Roberto will meet, he has a lot of pastor friends, a lot. On any given day you’ll see a black pastor, Chinese pastors, a white gringo pastor coming, because there is that urge to connect, because they are part of the body of Christ.

Now, again, we are called not to be a ethnically specific church. Even when we were a church that was more just in Spanish, we got people from all over Latin America. And how many people know that you can tell, se nota, like, oh? You know, because if you go to a church where everybody is from Guatemala and El Salvador there is a certain feeling you almost feel that you are in that country. You can go in and just, you can just…. If you are from that country you can just kind of relax, like ah… estoy con mi gente, with my people, but who are my people. My people, if I’m anointed by the Holy Spirit of God, are God’s people. My country is God’s kingdom.

Now, I celebrate who I am culturally but my citizenship is in heaven and if somebody is a child of the living God that person is my brother or my sister. Now, it gets complicated but this is Jesus, it’s God’s heart for us, it’s Jesus’ heart.

Can you remember in the Bible when Jesus gets most angry? Of course, he got very angry at the Pharisees but there was another moment, when he was angry enough to get a whip. It was when they were setting up tables on a certain part of the temple. You know what part of the temple those tables were in? there was a particular court, it was called the court of the Gentiles, and we are going to read about that in Isaiah 56 because those tables were taking up space in the court of the Gentiles, and the court of the Gentiles was designed to be a place where anybody could come in and seek the living God, the God of Israel, the creator of heaven and earth.

Isaiah 56:3 says, “… let no foreigner who has bound himself to the Lord say, the Lord will surely exclude me from his people and let not the eunuch complain, I am only a dry tree…” Verse 4, this is what the Lord says, to eunuchs who keep my Sabbath, who chose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant, to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better that sons and daughter. I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off…”

And it says, “… and foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord who serve him, who love the name of the Lord…. And I’ll skip to verse 7, …. These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer….. and then a little further it says, …. For their birth offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations…”

A great multitude that no one counts is from every nation, tribe, people and language standing before the throne of the Lord. And that special part of the temple was supposed to be a slice of heaven, and setting up a table there was keeping them from coming into the house of God, and that’s why Jesus was so angry.

Pentecost. What happened on Pentecost? I found that in discipleship remarkably a lot of people don’t know. Pentecost was the day God poured out his spirit from up high with tongues of fire and people started speaking different languages and 3000 people came to Christ that day. And it makes a point of going on a long list of all the different countries that were represented that day. And God saying with a Holy Spirit of God is poured out I will bring people together. People weren’t meant to be divided, people were divided by their arrogance when they wanted to build that tower to heaven, right? And God confused the languages and separated people. But God said, in the last days when I pour out my spirit people from all the nations will be brought together again into one new people, new kingdom, new nation. It’s the anointing of the spirit of God and it’s part of our calling us a church.

You know, pastor Roberto does a lot of things that I think a huge percentage of us just don’t know about. He’s called to be a kingdom Christian with an apostolic calling which means that it’s bigger than one congregation. And God uses him to bring people together from many different cultural groups and types of churches and to pray for revival. Because to really take on the powers and principalities that Satan has established we can’t do it alone. We need our brothers and sisters at a regional level to pray with us. So if you are called to congregation Lion of Judah you are called to the same ministry.

Now, that’s uncomfortable, it can be messy, like my daughter, that’s messy. And that’s what is like. You know, I felt when I was travelling around Latin America that different countries I would visit, sometimes the same word would be perfectly acceptable in one country and in another country, I’m swearing. So, I learned something from the Colombians and tried it out, and the Puertoricans give this look like oh….. There is misunderstandings that happen and just because we are anointed by the spirit doesn’t mean the misunderstandings will stop happening.

Even little things like physical space, gringos we tend to allow just a little more space between people. And then I find sometimes I’m talking to a new one here in the church, right? And I find una persona Latina maybe just gets a little bit closer. Now, typical gringo, what am I going to do? And then what’s the Latino …… and then we are going to keep going till, next thing you know I’m against the wall. Yo he cambiado mucho, ya soy muy latinacido. He has changed a lot. So it’s ok.

But the misunderstandings are going to happen. People can even feel scandalized by other people. And sometimes we need to face to prejudices that we may have. Maybe you were raised in a family that views people from certain countries in certain ways, como más bajo. It’s time to repent. It’s time to be a different people, a peculiar people on the face of the earth. And messes will come.

You know, in the early church, we often think that early church was perfect, right? We think it was heaven on earth with the anointing. Well, you know they once had a big church fight because the Greek widows were being past over when in time to give food to the widows and the food was being given to Hebrew widows. And they thought, what are we? Chop liver …..

Now, maybe it was just an accident, we don’t know, because there were cultural and ethnic pensions, at first people thought, they’re doing this because I’m Greek. And the Apostles got involved and they designated deacons to administer the ministry. Guess what country all those deacons were from? They were all Greek. Because the idea was, we’re going to… these are folks that could easily be marginalized, so we’ll trust the spirit to raise up leaders there to help shepherd us as …. People like Phillip and Steven.

God used even the messes to bring glory and beautiful things. Now, coming back to First Corinthians 12 again, now, we’re going to see that there are two major inhibitions and I’m just going to summarize here, two impediments to us really being part of the community of God. The first I would call an inferiority complex. Maybe you are called to be a toe on the foot of the body of Christ, and you say, because I’m not a mouth, I’m not part of the body. Or maybe you are an internal organ that nobody ever sees and you think, because I’m not visible I’m not part of the body of Christ.

And God is saying that that inferiority complex has no place in the body of Christ. No burying our talents in the sand. Have you ever seen that poster were uncle Sam is pointing, I want you. God wants you, he’s calling you, he needs you to use your gift in your way in the body of Christ. That’s why it is so important to jump into things like discipleship and the cell groups, the men’s ministry, the women’s ministry, the ushers’ ministry, the children. It’s a way to say, I’m going to get involved, I’m going to get my…. And maybe I’ll discover that I don’t have certain gifts but if you’re not moving you’ll never get to find out.

If you don’t try something and fail how on earth are you ever going to find out what you can do? No inferiority complex. And then finally there is the superiority complex. The eye cannot say to the hands I don’t need you. The head cannot say to the feet I don’t need you. If anything the parts that seem weaker are most valuable.

There may be people, in fact, I’m sure there are people sitting here in this congregation that hardly anyone knows but they come, they are connected to the body of Christ and they pray for hours every night for the Kingdom of God. And you’ll never meet them probably but you need them. We need each other and we need the people who are most different from us, people whose style annoys us, we need them more than anything.

Discomfort is part of an anointed super natural community. You are not going to be comfortable in Lion of Judah so just give up on it right now and you feel that. You know, I noticed in the countries in Latin America people tended to greet each other with a kiss. Now, gringos do not actually kiss, you know, they are fake kisses. But you’ll notice that when them come to the United States there’s a lot less of that even among other Latinos. Why is that? Because our guard goes up. We’re in a diverse community and we’re just aware people are different. And that sacrifice in our comfort is part of the price we pay to move in the true anointing of God.

Being uncomfortable but being filled with the glorious joy of the Holy Spirit. Asuza’s street revival 1906, in Los Angeles, God started pouring out his spirit in this country in a way that the gifts of the spirit were manifested. The gift of tongue was revived and one of the biggest scandals is that black people and white people and even Chinese people were all praying together.

If we want Pentecost, if we want revival through our particular calling, that’s what it is going to look like.

So, I’d like to end with this calling, in verse 25 it says, “… so that there should be no division in the body but that its parts should have equal concern for each other…”

God is calling us to care, God is calling us to open our hearts. It says that, “… so that if one part suffers, every part suffers with it, if one part is honored every part is honored with it…”

God is calling us to open our hearts to be diverse anointed super natural community. So I’m going to invite you to stand up with me and I never do this but I’m going to do it just this time. I’m just going to ask you and I hate it when people… I’m going to ask you to look at the person next to you and we’re going to do a little language study, ok? We’re going to start in Spanish so that means non Spanish speaker too. I want to teach a phrase and that phrase in Spanish is ‘te necesito’. Now, I’m going to ask everybody to look at each other and we’re going to get real sappy here and say, ‘te necesito’. Just try, I love seeing the couples doing this. That’s nice. Te necesito. Ok, ok, ok, enough fraternalizing, whatever that is. Ok. Now, we’re going to try it in English. What is it in English everyone? Look at the person next to you and say it in English now, ‘I need you’.

Praise the Lord. Father in Jesus’ name. God we welcome. Your baptism by the Holy Spirit into one body. Holy Spirit take control. Do your marvelous work, do your super natural work, even do your messy work, we’re yours Lord and we yield ourselves to you in Jesus’ name. Let’s end with a song, Worship team, let’s end with a song.

Father, I pray God that you would unleash a spirit of celebration as we say yes to your call.

Sermon delivered by Gregory Bishop on February 28, 2010 at Congregación León de Judá Listen | View(100K) | View(350K) | View(1200K)

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