Skip to main content

The Spirit-filled Church: Grieving the Spirit

In Ephesians 4v30 we're warned against grieving the Holy Spirit. This is towards the end of a chapter that began with instruction to maintain the unity of the Spirit (v3). In God's amaing plan to bring everything under Christ's rule he creates a united people. That unity in Christ happens through by the Holy Spirit. The third person of the trinity who unites us.

The body is to grow by exercising Christ's gifts so that it doesn't get blown around by the waves and winds of false doctrine. John Piper illustrates this as a challenge not to be jellyfish and leaves, but rather to be made into dolphins and trees... transformed together by Christ... transformed as we live together and speak the truth to one another.

The argument continues with more and more focus on the way God's people speak to one another. The essence of relationship is speech. We could speak lies to one another, arguing and fighting. Or we can speak truth and peace. Anger that leads to sin gives the devil a foothold in the church, which is a far cry from the unity of the Spirit.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -- Ephesians 4v29-32

We're called in our relationships not to oppose the Spirit, not to grieve him... What then? We should throw out bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, slander and malice. These are the chief ways that the Spirit is grieved: broken relationship in the church.

The unity of the Spirit is not a vague concept, rather it is God's supernatural work of creating the unity of the church. People who would once have been alienated from one another now in unity. Not that relationship is not possible outside the church, but the unity God is creating is to be deeper and longer lasting....

The Spirit-filled church must commit to relationships and not tearing one another down. Speaking the truth of the gospel in our relationships... supporting one another. Likewise there can be no churchless Christianity... becoming a Christian brings us into relationship with God and Christians. And in those relationships we cannot say I love you but that doesn't mean I have to like you. True relationships require commitment, time and communication.

Grieving the Spirit happens in broken relationships. We're in disobedience to God and are paining the Holy Spirit. We must repent. And where possible seek reconciliation. The Spirit has created unity, let us live in that.... Pursing kindness, tenderheartedness, forgiveness... just as we are forgiven in Christ.
"Let us cry aloud to the Holy Spirit, who is certainly grieved with his church, and let us purge our churches of everything that is contrary to his Word and to sound doctrine, and then the Spirit will return, and his power shall be manifest" -- CH Spurgeon


Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use ( tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue

2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin

3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong

4. Cornerstone - Hillsong

Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…