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Maranatha and the Work of the Holy Spirit

Introduction
Performing the Work
Resources for the Project
Purposes of the Baptism of the Spirit
Spiritual gifts and the Edification of the Church
Pentecostals and Charismatics
Practicing all of God's Work


“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit...Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." (I Cor. 2:9-12)

Introduction

Introduction

The leaders and the other pastors of the Maranatha Christian Church understand that their mission is to work for the realization of the Work of the Holy Spirit and not for the progress of the denomination. This work comprises the cooperation with the Holy Spirit in Edifying the Church according to God’s plan, that is up to the Holy Spirit to reveal to the Church (I Cor. 2:9-13), using the spiritual resources that the Lord makes available to His Church.

This happened as a result of a new understanding that the Lord granted them, setting them free from a “denominational” or sectarian mindset. As a result, they started to make the distinction between the “Maranatha Christian Church” and the Work that the Holy Spirit is doing and wants to continue to do in their midst. They understood that the constant effort of the believer should consist of “being in the Work”, that is, to be involved in the Work that the Holy Spirit is doing, always willing to carry out the determinations given by the Lord Jesus to His Church.
Conditions to carry out the Work

Performing the Work

The Lord started to reveal to them that, in order for a Church to be “in the Work”, a new attitude before God and His will would be necessary, to wit:

1) obey the determinations that the Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, would reveal to the Church;

2) depend on the Lord to carry out any spiritual activity of any worth to God;

3) use only the weapons of the Lord to carry out any spiritual activity, above all fast, prayer and preaching the Word;

4) progressively know, by revelation of the Spirit, the details of God’s project for the edification of the Church; and

5) consult the Lord to make decisions to carry out the Work with security.

Resources for the Project

They also understood that the Lord granted the following fundamental resources to enable the Church to know and carry out His Project:

1. God’s Word, especially the New Testament, that contains general instructions regarding the way the Church functions; and
2. The Holy Spirit, who operates through the 9 spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12: 8-10) and the 5 ministries (Eph. 4:11).

The leaders and other pastors of the Church gradually understood that, as they used these resources, particularly obeying the orientations contained in the Word of God – the Bible – and the instructions transmitted through the 9 spiritual gifts, the Lord Jesus would be able to reveal His Project for the edification of the Church and to reveal Himself as the true Head of His Body.

They noticed that, through the 5 ministries (called the “ministry of the Word) – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher (Eph. 4:11) – the Lord would rule over His Church. The servants used in these ministries carry out God’s Work based upon the revealed doctrine of the Bible (II Tim. 3:16-17) and in the practical instructions – specific and detailed – transmitted through the spiritual gifts, testing them (I Tess. 5: 10-21) and applying them with wisdom (I Cor. 14:20, 40).

Purposes of the Batism with the Holy Spirit

There was, since the beginning, the understanding that the great purpose of the Lord when He baptizes His servants with the Holy Spirit is to grant them an anointing that would enable them to witness of Jesus with power (Acts. 1:8). This anointing started to reveal itself in the preaching of the Word. God’s Work started to have more effect on the listeners, above all when the Holy Spirit started to reveal to them the more profound meaning of the Holy Scriptures, which is beyond the letter (II Cor. 3:6, Lk. 24:27 and 45), and even to transmit to them the message that the Lord has for his people in each meeting.

However, as the spiritual gifts began to operate in the Church and the Lord started to operate signs through them, they understood another aspect of what God’s Word meant by “witnessing with power”: to witness with the aide of the Holy Spirit, who confirms the preaching of the Word in the hearts of the listeners, even with signs. Then they started to practice the use of the spiritual gifts to regulate the services not only for the edification of the believers but also for the salvation of visitors, verifying that this was the practice of the first Church recommended in the Bible (I Cor. 14:24-26).

They also understood that the other purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to allow Jesus to communicate with His Church, guiding it into all truth (John 15:13, 14) through the spiritual gifts. According to Prophet Joel, as a consequence of this baptism, His servants would receive visions, dreams, and prophecies (Joel 2:28), that is, gifts that allow the Lord to communicate with His servants. This is the reason why one of the characteristics of the New Covenant would be that when the believers would turn to the right or to the left, they would hear a voice saying: "This is the way; walk on it" (Isaiah 30:21).

They finally understood that as He baptized His servants with the Holy Spirit, the Lord has the purpose of inserting them in the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:12). Every believer that are really born again, and experimented the baptism with the Holy Spirit are integrated in the Church as true members and starts to receive the life of the Body, besides transmitting life to the Body. These believers are enabled by the Holy Spirit to carry out functions in the Church which are necessary for the edification of Christ’s body and should live to serve Him and their co-servants in obedience and sanctification.

Spiritual gifts and the Edification of the Church

When the Lord started to reveal Himself to the first Maranatha congregation in Brazil in the latter part of the 60s, the gifts of greater evidence in the Pentecostal and renovated (charismatic) Churches were the gifts of tongues and healing. In the rare occasions when there were prophesies and visions, these manifestations were for individuals in particular; they were not used for the transmission of orientations from the Lord for the functioning of the Church.

One can notice, however, that in Acts of the Apostles spiritual gifts were above all instruments for the Lord to reveal practical orientations to the edification of the Church. Remember, for instance, the examples of the manifestations of the gifts through which the Lord revealed to Cornelius that he should call Peter to his home, revealed to Peter not to hesitate, but to preach the gospel to the gentiles in the house of this centurion, revealed to Paul that he should not preach the gospel in Asia or in Bithynia, but in Macedonia, revealed to the Church which statutes from the Old Testament should be observed by the gentiles who converted, revealed to Philip that he should preach to the eunuch of Ethiopia, etc.

The Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

According to the pattern observed in Acts, in the beginning of the Pentecostal movement in several parts of the world (Armenia, Brazil, United States, Russia, Ukraine, etc.), the Lord directed His Churches through the spiritual gifts. There were several wonderful examples of operations of the Lord with great power through the gifts in the end of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially in the beginning of these movements. Later, a few preachers started to emphasize the gifts of tongues and healing, and to limit the use of gifts of revelation (prophecy, interpretation of tongues, word of knowledge – dreams, visions and revelations) only to respond to individual need of servants, no longer to enable the Lord to direct the Church.

The same happened as the charismatic movement started, particularly in Brazil. In that time, the Lord started to direct a few groups through the spiritual gifts. Later, these groups gave up seeking the Lord in a systematic way, and started to be governed in the same way the churches that do no not believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit (direction given by an assembly or by a board) and preferred to use the gifts in the same way the Pentecostal movement did in its second phase. Finally, the gifts of revelation became more scarce, there was an emphasis in healing and the charismatic movement became characterized more by an emotional style of praise.

Ironically, today in these “charismatic” churches the spiritual gifts – whose denomination comes from the Greek word “charisma” – became scarce, and the designation of “charismatic” started to refer above all to churches that adopted a style of praise that is more emotional and choreographed directed by a group that leads the collective praise before the congregation, encouraging it to praise the Lord with bodily gestures and emotion. This phenomenon established a sad contrast between the service in the first Church – where the emphasis was in the operation of the spiritual gifts (see I Cor. 14) and the modern Churches that claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit but where the manifestations of the spiritual gifts in the services are rare.

Practice all of God´s Word

Practice all of God’s Word
It is, however, the will of the Lord to operate again in the way that He worked in the times of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as in the beginning of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. In those periods of Church History, the Lord spoke to His people, revealed His will to the Church, carrying out its role as the Head of the Church. The Holy Spirit was sent exactly to allow that the messages of the Lord Jesus reach the Church, which should be moved to act with the same submission that a normal body that is sensitive to the impulses received from the brain. Regarding this mission of the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus said: “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:13-15).

For a spiritual awakening of the Church to take place in the 21st century, it is necessary to go back to the origins, to go back to the Acts of the Apostles, to go back to the lessons of the lord transmitted to the Church in the beginning of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The Church needs to live all of God’s Word, above all to believe and practice certain fundamental doctrines that have been forgotten by Christianity, which are necessary for Jesus to indeed be the Head of the Church and, thus, carry out the Work of the Holy Spirit, which is the theoretical objective of every Pentecostal and Charismatic church: (1) Jesus as the Head of the Church, (2) the Church as the Body of Christ, (3) the power of the blood of Jesus, (4) the 9 spiritual gifts (5) the 5 ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11, (6) the rapture of the Church, and (7) glory is owed only to God.

In the headings “Basic Doctrines” and “Fundamental Teachings” of this website, there are articles about each one of these basic points for the Work of the Holy Spirit to begin and prosper in any country and in any time, since all of them are doctrines and teachings clearly presented in the Holy Scriptures. One should observe that these doctrines and teachings are not the property of a religious denomination, but were revealed in the New Testament to the Lord’s Church in any country and in any time.

 
"Surely I am coming quickly. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20)
Maranatha Christian Church