“At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way..” – Luke 10:21.
The assumption in this passage is that God reveals things to some people and hides things from other people. That assumption makes you wonder “Who does God speak to?” and “Why?” This week we have been trying to answer those questions. There are several main ways God speaks to us: There is the Holy Spirit, scripture, prayer, circumstances, and the church.
One of the ways we hear God speak most clearly is through the church. God places us in a church as a part of the body where Christ is the head, and we are the parts. The parts are interdependent, and God speaks through the parts to benefit the whole. Ephesians 3:10 says, “God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Every one of us has arrived at church with a heavy heart at one time or another. It could be a relationship that soured. Or a loss of a loved one. Or a job difficulty. Feelings of sadness and grief overwhelm you but you walk into church and your outlook begins to change. The worship songs soothe your soul. People in your small group tell you they are praying for you. Some recite scripture and acknowledge what is happening in your life. God uses the body of Christ to speak words of support and comfort over you. You suddenly realize that God is in the midst of this group of people.
And then you listen to the message and the words are just what you need to hear that day. God always speaks through the church. Sometimes it’s a message from the pastor or a kind gesture of a friend, but it all points you to God’s voice. As much as the church is maligned and judged today for its failures or misstep, it is also a beautiful place. God created the church to be the redemptive tool of the world, with Christ as the Head and the body, with all its different parts working together to bring redemption to the world.
Henry Blackaby, in Experiencing God, says this about the church:
“A church is a body. It is the body of Christ! Jesus Christ is present as head of a local church and every member is placed in the body as it pleases God. The Holy Spirit manifests Himself to every person for the common good. The whole body is fitted together by the Father. Members are enabled and equipped by the Holy Spirit to function where the Father has placed them in the body. The body then functions to build itself up into the Head and every member comes to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. God made us mutually interdependent. We need each other. What one lacks the other will supply.”
- How does God speak through His church?