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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit: How He Works

Don Stewart :: How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Church Organization and Government?

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How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Church Organization and Government?

The Holy Spirit: How He Works – Question 12

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit works in the organization, government and functioning of the church of Jesus Christ. In other words, the functioning of the church is a ministry of the Spirit of God.

The Spirit of God Governs the Church

He has supervision over the government of the church. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians about this.

Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8-12 NKJV).

The New Living Translation reads as follows.

That is why the Scriptures say, “When he ascended to the heights, he led a crowd of captives and gave gifts to his people.” Notice that it says “he ascended.” This means that Christ first came down to the lowly world in which we live. The same one who came down is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that his rule might fill the entire universe. He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:8-12 NLT).

When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and took His seat at the right hand of God the Father He sent the Holy Spirit to begin the work of building the body of Christ upon the earth. The Holy Spirit is the one who perfects believers as a bride for Jesus Christ. He does this in a number of ways.

The Holy Spirit Appoints Overseers to Lead the Church

We find that the Holy Spirit is the One who appoints the overseers of the church. Paul said the following to the elders at the church of Ephesus.

Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son (Acts 20:28 NRSV).

The leaders of the church are to be appointed by the Spirit of God. He is the One who was to guide the believers in the appointing of overseers. Thus, only those Spirit-led leaders should be making the decisions for the church.

The Holy Spirit Organizes the Church

The Holy Spirit guided the church in its organization. We read the following in the Book of Acts about the role of the Holy Spirit in organizing the believers.

And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task” (Acts 6:2, 3 NRSV).

Waiting on tables seems to have the idea of taking care of the finances. Certain men, filled with the Spirit of God, were appointed for this task. The apostles were to spend their time preaching the good news to the lost as well as teaching the saints.

Therefore, the Holy Spirit guided the church in its initial organization and was intimately involved in the appointment of overseers. Thus, we can conclude that everything that has to do with organizing and governing the church should be a work of the Holy Spirit.

Summary – Question 12
How Does the Holy Spirit Work in Church Organization and Government?

As the Holy Spirit was intimately involved with the details of the life of Jesus Christ from His conception until His ascension, we find that the same holds true for the New Testament church, the body of Christ. From its beginning on the Day of Pentecost until the completion of the church when Jesus Christ returns, the Holy Spirit is intimately involved in every matter. This includes organizing and governing.

The Bible says that once Jesus Christ ascended into heaven He sent His Spirit to organize and run the church. The Holy Spirit is the One who gives gifts to certain people to do the work of the ministry. This includes apostles and prophets.

We also read of an incident where certain men were selected to take care of the financial aspects of the ministry while the apostles did the work of the preaching of the gospel and the teaching of God’s Word.

In sum, the Holy Spirit organizes the church and He governs the church. Every aspect of church life should be under His leadership. Thus, it is imperative that Spirit-led people are in the proper positions of leadership.

What Is the Role of the Holy Spirit in the Missionary Enterprise of the Church? ← Prior Section
How Does the Holy Spirit Work in a Worship Service? Next Section →
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