Empowered by the Spirit, behaving like you belong

Whether it is in the physical and emotional brokenness of catastrophes or in the day-to-day struggles common to all people, God calls Christians to live like they belong, SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards told messengers to the annual meeting Nov. 14.

Continuing the theme of “Belong” in Ephesians 4, Richards said Christians must exemplify their new life in Christ by their deeds and, as Ephesians 4:29-32 commands, their words.

But behaving like we belong to God is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit, he said.

Paul did not simply condemn the Ephesians’ offensive language and the spirit behind it, but he encouraged them with examples of best practices. Abiding by any list of “Do’s and Don’ts” is often criticized as “legalistic.” But Richards said obedience to scriptural admonitions is a “lifestyle” that allows believers to present themselves as citizens of another kingdom.

Christians do not have a license to speak as they wish but must control their words, lest they grieve the Holy Spirit. And words inspired by the Holy Spirit, like Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, are eternal. Drawing from several passages of Scripture, Richards reminded the messengers of the power of the tongue to edify or to destroy. Words can have eternal consequences.

Paul’s exhortation to remove all bitterness, anger, wrath, insult, slander and “all wickedness” can only be accomplished by the daily filling of the Holy Spirit, he reiterated. Paul’s imperative in verse 32 to be kind, compassionate and loving toward one another is a call to daily live like Christ.

Richards said he has seen that lived out in Frank Pomeroy, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, whose 14-year-old daughter was among the 26 killed by a gunman during church services Nov. 5. Before he began his biblical exposition, Richards showed a video recorded earlier that day by Pomeroy, who urged believers to turn from anger.

“We need to lift up hands of mercy, not hate,” Pomeroy said. “And we need to praise the Lord for everything that he has given us and is giving us and will continue to give us.”

Following the video Richards told the messengers: “If there is anyone who epitomizes a person who has been totally and completely controlled by the Holy Spirit of God over these last eight days, it is Frank. God has just anointed him and enabled him and empowered him. And he is behaving like he belongs.”

TEXAN Correspondent
Bonnie Pritchett
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