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Above All Else

J Oswald Sanders, Chapter 10

Acts 6:3, 5

Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them...This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

It is essential that spiritual leaders are full of the Holy Spirit - other qualities are important, being lled with the Spirit is essential - in the church today we frequently forget this! In Acts deacons were required to be full of the Spirit. They had other qualities too, but of primary concern was their spirituality. The Holy Spirit was the chief executive ofcer of all that took place in the missionary strategy of the early church. Never was authority given to secular unspiritual hands, it was only given to spiritual, Spirit lled, people.

Sanders suggests that if we follow worldly wisdom, wealth, status or any other set of criteria we remove the Holy Spirit from church leadership. The consequence then becomes grieving, quenching, spiritual dearth and nally spiritual death. appointing leaders with a secular or materialistic outlook prevents the Holy Spirit from making progress in a place

The Holy Spirit does not take hold of anyone against their will...when people who lack spiritual tness are elected to leadership positions, He quietly withdraws and leaves them to implement their own policies according to their own standards, but without his aid. The inevitable result is an unspiritual administration

The Jerusalem church responded to the request of the disciples - the result was men who not only gave out food but gave out heavenly blessings. Philip and Stephen are great examples of anointed men who were prepared to serve and gained Gods promotion. Acts continually tells of leaders who acted in the power of the Holy Spirit - 10:38 Jesus - 2:4 the 120 are lled - 4:8 Peter - 6:3, 7:55 Stephen - 9:17, 13:9 Paul - 11:24 Barnabas

The early church leaders were sensitive to Holy Spirit leading: - 8:29 Philip left revival for the desert - 10:19, 11:12 Peter overcame personal prejudice and bias - 13:1-4 Paul and Barnabas become missionaries - 16:6-7, 19:21, 20:22 Paul continually obeyed the leading of the Spirit - 15:28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: Whenever the church is involved in mission the Spirit is active.

- 20:28 the Holy Spirit made leaders in the church, not the appointment of men - this gives assurance, responsibility and authority! - Lk 24:29, Eph 6:10-18 we can only battle against the hordes of hell in HSp power - being lled with the Spirit does not mean pouring into a passive container but to take possession of the mind (see Lk 5:26, lled with awe). We need to allow our minds and hearts to be lled in the same way

- Our emotions need to be under the control of the HSp, mind, will emotions, and physical power - natural leadership gifts are sanctied and heightened when under HSp power. - Jn 7:37-39

The ling of the Spirit is essential for spiritual leadership.

Spiritual Gifts
Christians everywhere have unused and undiscovered spiritual gifts - leaders help these to be discovered and used in the KOG. Our natural gifts are godgiven - we must use them in the power of the Holy Spirit. Often, but not always, your spiritual gifts t within your personality

Samuel Chadwick (Methodist preacher) said when he was lled with the Spirit, he did not receive a new brain but a new mentality, not a new tongue but a new speaking effectiveness, not a new language but a new Bible - in effect Chadwicks abilities were given a new life and energy.