Church articles

We Believe

A Spirit-Filled Church

Rev. Gavin Perkins

June 2024

A few months ago in our monthly Newsletter, I wrote about what it means that at the heart of our identity at St Jude’s we are “Evangelical, Reformed, and Anglican”. In this article I want to add to that description that we are also Pentecostal, Charismatic and Spirit-Filled.

Different understandings of the work of the Holy Spirit have led to a great deal of division in recent decades. Some churches seem to make much of the Holy Spirit, while others seem to ignore him. Some claim the Spirit leads them into extraordinary experiences, while others might feel inadequate that they’ve never seen or done such things.

While there is room for disagreement and discussion as to precisely what the Spirit might or might not do today in the lives of believers, what I want to do here is to focus on the main work of the Spirit – a work which is vital to the spiritual life and maturity of every believer.

The chief work of the Spirit is to unite us to the Son and so bring us to the Father.

We are reminded that no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3), and that if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9). Unless you are Spirit-filled you cannot be a Christian. Or to put it another way, if you trust in Christ as Lord and Saviour then you are Spirit-filled by definition. Of course, if a church is full of such people, it is a Spirit-filled church.

As the Spirit unites us with Jesus, we can call upon God as our heavenly Father. God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father’.” (Galatians 4:6). “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. (Romans 8:14-16)

What an extraordinary ministry of the Holy Spirit this is!

This means that any church that honours Christ as Lord and Saviour and calls upon God as our Heavenly Father is also a Pentecostal church. It is a church that lives in the ongoing power of the gift of the Holy Spirit that was given first on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.

We are also a Charismatic church because we believe that it is by his Spirit that God  changes,  gifts, and equips us to serve Christ in the world (‘charismatic’ just comes from the Greek word for ‘gifts’ referring to the spiritual gifts given by God to his people) We expect the Spirit of Truth to grow us in our understanding of the truth of God’s Word. We expect the Spirit of Holiness to grow us in holiness of character and life. We expect God to change and transform us by his Spirit.

Of course, different churches have different cultures and patterns of behaviour. They sing differently. They speak and behave differently. Much of that difference comes from little more than social and cultural background. What matters is not those cultural differences, but the wonderful reality that we can share in the work of Christ by his Spirit and together can call out to our God, Abba Father.

In Christian Fellowship,

Gavin Perkins