Posted by: Brian Musser | May 7, 2014

Working Together in the Spirit

Work-Ship – Week Four:  The Spirit At Work – Day Twenty-Eight:  Working Together in the Spirit

The first week we came to the conclusion that our definition of work must be based on God’s work.  If we are going to figure out what work is, how we are supposed to work and the proper place work should have in our lives it must be rooted in the way God works.  So we are in the middle of our three week exploration of the work of God organizing our conversation through the lens of the Trinity.

  • Week Two – The Father at Work
  • Week Three – The Son at Work
  • Week Four – The Spirit at Work

Today we are finishing our week-long look at the Holy Spirit and our three week adventure through the work of God.  The work of the Holy Spirit is about influence, influencing us to do good and influencing us to stop doing evil.  I’ve summarized this work with the ideas of empowering and convicting.  We’ve also discussed that the Holy Spirit’s sphere of influence is within the person.  The Holy Spirit works on and in us.  This might cause you to believe that the Spirit’s work is private and isolated within each person.  But does that idea seem to be consistent with everything we have already learned about the work of God and how God has designed us to work?  God works in the community of the Trinity with each one of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit intimately involved in the work of each other.  God has designed us to work in community.  God has designed the creation to need us to work together with God.  Work in isolation is not a piece of how God works and even though the Holy Spirit’s work within us might seem private that work is yet again designed to be done in community.

Exodus 31:1-6 (HCSB)

The Lord also spoke to Moses: “Look, I have appointed by name Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with God’s Spirit, with wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft to design artistic works in gold, silver, and bronze, to cut gemstones for mounting, and to carve wood for work in every craft. I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to be with him. I have placed wisdom within every skilled craftsman in order to make all that I have commanded you:

This is a parallel to Exodus 35:30 – 35 which we have already looked at in regards to Spirit’s work within Bezalel to accomplish the crafting of the tabernacle.  There are a few specific things in this account that I want to highlight.  Bezalel’s filling of the Spirit is placed in context with others.  He is filled to complete a task.  Oholiab’s calling is to be with Bezalel and help him.  And then God also gives wisdom to all the craftsmen of Israel to accomplish the assigned task.  So Bezalel’s empowerment to complete his task is in cooperation with the working of the Spirit within others.  Bezalel’s ability to truly accomplish his God ordained assignment is not only dependent upon the presence of the Spirit within his life but also the work of the Spirit within others.

We see this as true for the work within the context of the church as well.  On some level my ability to complete my God-ordained and Spirit-filled task is reliant upon the work of the Spirit in the lives of the other members of my faith community.  I need the Spirit to be successful in your life in order for me to accomplish what the Spirit is empowering me to do.  This is also true for conviction as well.  At times, for someone to stop doing evil it requires someone else to obey the empowering of the Spirit to be the Spirit’s voice of conviction within the situation.  This is amazing.  The Spirit works privately within each of our lives in such a way that they orchestrated into one grand symphony where the success of each of our work is interdependent upon the work of the Spirit in the multiple individual lives.

Think about that as we read:

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (HCSB)

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many. If the foot should say, “Because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I’m not an eye, I don’t belong to the body,” in spite of this it still belongs to the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body.

So the eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” Or again, the head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” But even more, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are necessary. And those parts of the body that we think to be less honorable, we clothe these with greater honor, and our unpresentable parts have a better presentation. But our presentable parts have no need of clothing. Instead, God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the less honorable, so that there would be no division in the body, but that the members would have the same concern for each other. So if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and individual members of it. And God has placed these in the church:

first apostles, second prophets,
third teachers, next miracles,
then gifts of healing, helping,
managing, various kinds of languages.
Are all apostles? Are all prophets?
Are all teachers? Do all do miracles?
Do all have gifts of healing?
Do all speak in other languages?
Do all interpret?
But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.

So as you are trying to work out of the power of the Holy Spirit both within the context of the local church body and as that body empowers you to work within the larger context of the entire creation how will the Spirit’s work on others affect your success?  Is your work dependent on the Spirit’s work in other specific individuals?

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