The Church WITHOUT The Spirit
Samuel Chadwick (1860–1932)
The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He fills the Body, directs its movements, controls its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies it’s strength. He guides into truth, sanctifies its agents, and empowers for witnessing. The Spirit has never abdicated His authority nor relegated His power. Neither Pope nor Parliament, neither Conference nor Council is supreme in the Church of Christ. The Church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure.
A ministry that is College-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles. The Church that multiplies committees and neglects prayer may be fussy, noisy, enterprising, but it labors in vain and spends its strength for nought. It is possible to excel in mechanics and fail in dynamic. There is a superabundance of machinery; what is wanting is power. To run an organization needs no God. Man can supply the energy, enterprise, and enthusiasm for things human.
The real work of a Church depends upon the power of the Spirit. The Presence of the Spirit is vital and central to the work of the Church. Nothing else avails. Apart from Him, wisdom becomes folly, and strength weakness. The Church is called to be a “spiritual house” and a holy priesthood. Only spiritual people can be its “living stones,” and only the Spirit-filled its priests.
The Church always fails at the point of self-confidence. When the Church is run on the same lines as a circus, there may be crowds, but there is no Shekinah. That is why prayer is the test of faith and the secret of power. The Spirit of God travails in the prayer-life of the soul. Miracles are the direct work of His power, and without miracles the Church cannot live. The carnal can argue, but it is the Spirit of God that convicts.
Education can civilize, but it is being born of the Spirit that saves. The energy of the flesh can run bazaars, organize amusements, and raise millions; but it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes a Temple of the Living God. The root-trouble of the present distress is that the Church has more faith in the world and in the flesh than in the Holy Ghost, and things will get no better till we get back to His realized presence and power. The breath of the four winds would turn death into life and dry bones into mighty armies, but it only comes by PRAYER!