Bondservants of God… to be Led by the Holy Spirit

by Michael Clark and Susanne Schuberth*

Bondservants of the Lord pic

Austin-Sparks rightfully observed,

Many things are being constructed to which the Name of the Lord is being affixed – things which appear fine and great and like “the Church,” but which are destined to collapse when God’s hurricane and fire test every man’s work. Good works – philanthropy, hospitality, reform, education, religion, relief, etc. – may be the products, or byproducts, of what is called “Christian civilization” …and things for which to be profoundly grateful… but let us not confuse these with “a new creation,” regeneration, a being “born from above.” (1)

Today the highly visible church systems of men have become something that has a life of its own with the leading of Christ’s Spirit among them a rare thing. There is no resemblance of what calls itself “church life” today and what happened when the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who believed in Christ which we read about in the Book of Acts. All of our best attempts to even duplicate what they had back then will fail for one reason, they are our best attempts! Either Christ builds the household of God upon Himself, The Rock, as its foundation and enlivens what He builds or it is a sham subject to the eroding winds of time and the whims of presumptuous men (See Ephesians 4:14), doomed to live without His blessing on it and subject to the wiles of the devil and his delusions.

Jesus left the Holy Spirit in His place to give life, instruction, direction and power to His body (the ekklesia of God) and His presence was so powerful in those early days that those who lied to Him dropped dead and no one dared to add themselves to those who were called and empowered by Him for fear! The body with its many God-gifted members moved in the unity of a normally functioning human body. In fact the human body is a parable of what our Creator meant the body of Christ on this earth to be… unified, coordinated, obedient to the Head as it builds itself up in the love of God. No amount of human organization can cause this to happen.

T. A. Sparks continues,

The Church is nothing which man can build by any resource in himself personally or collectively. The Church is an organism, not an organization: “Behold, I show you a mystery – we are members of His flesh and of His bones.” Build that, if you can! Launch that; organize that; “run” that! It cannot be done. It is the spontaneous outworking of spiritual forces released… in the acceptance by faith of tremendous facts concerning Christ – facts which are proclaimed out of experience in the power of the Holy Ghost. Not the theological Christ; not the doctrinal Christ; not the Christ of the letter; much less the Jesus of history; but the Christ of Eternity in all the meaning of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into the Throne of God revealed in the heart by the Holy Spirit – this alone is authority to preach, to serve, to occupy position, to “build” in relation to the House of God. It is folly to spend time and strength otherwise. It is wisdom to labor on this foundation. (1)

Paul wrote,

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… individually as he wills. (1Cor 12:4-11, ESV2011)

 Today, few who believe in Christ wait on the Holy Spirit to empower us as HE wills, rather we put our eyes on something that titillates our flesh and makes us feel important as we answer our own call. Or if we yield to the will of God in our initial calling, how soon is it until we cast our eyes on something that is more pleasing and appealing to our natural man who wants to maintain his own preeminence and wars against the Spirit within us? We get away with this in today’s church because even church leadership to whom we look to as an example has often fallen victim to such things.

In my own case, I started out with what some called a “ministry of helps.” I was with a street ministry in the early ‘70’s that had many homes and facilities for those being saved off the streets and it was my gifting to rejuvenate, repair and maintain them. I spent many an hour re-plumbing and unclogging sewer pipes in basements and such, out of the sight of those who had the more glorious positions in that ministry. You might say that I was the guy behind the scenes who kept it all going with my mechanical, electrical and plumbing skills. After leaving that group I was often the church janitor and handy man that kept “things” unplugged the sound system, etc. going.

God did not anoint me to write for him for 22 years after He filled me with His Spirit and even then my writings were not allowed to go public for another eight years. It was then a brother found me and put what I shared with him on the web. I did not call myself to this more visible ministry of blogging book writing and website publishing and to this day I am quite content to remain in obscurity in the back woods of northern Idaho, unknown by others even in my own small town.

Somebody high in Christian circles observed a few years back with pride that in the sixties men were pastors. In the seventies they became teachers. In the eighties they became evangelists and in the nineties they became prophets and finally in the beginning of this century they became apostles. It is as if church leadership is a military or corporate machine in which we are entitled to go up the ladder and achieve higher ranks and titles regardless of our original callings. Far from the minds of leadership today is the downward calling of God regarding our flesh ever descending until we, as Paul, we see ourselves rightfully as “the chief of sinners” not the chief of the apostles. Truly, Paul called it right when he said, “The flesh wars against the Spirit…”

T.A. Sparks continues,

When one called of God to do the work of an evangelist assumes the role of a teacher, or vice-versa, or anyone marked out for this particular functioning attempts to do that, or when one goes beyond their scope and assumes any prerogative which is not theirs by Divine ordering, they are in the way of an arrested ministry, and more, they will be landed into serious confusion. People and things – otherwise occupying a vital position in the Divine plan – put into their wrong places have the Divine unction withdrawn from them… The Holy Spirit’s method is to set His seal upon us as we move according to His leading; not according to our fancy, choice, aptitude, predilection or ambition. (2)

 

Bondservants of the Lord

The apostle Paul wrote,

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” (1 Cor 9:16-19 ESV)

How many bondservants of the Lord do we have leading in the churches today? How many men will do the work that God called them to without pay or remuneration from those they serve? How many find presenting the gospel free of charge out of obedience to Christ enough reward in itself as Paul (see also 2 Thes. 3:7-12)? How many leaders seek reward for their efforts because they have not been called by God and have not been entrusted by Him with their stewardship? Today, men in our pulpits shamelessly beg for money and support. If God calls a man to be His servant He meets their needs and as David observed, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Ps 37:25, KJV). It is not righteous for men and women to approach the service of the Lord as if it is a worldly profession, using worldly methods to ascend and succeed.

T. A. Sparks continues,

“Christian service” has come to be a realm in which all the acquisitive, ambitious, obtrusive, assertive, self-seeking, and numerous other elements of the natural man have been vented and taken hold. It has created a system in which human distinctions are the order of the day. Yes, and much more which it is too painful to mention.

We need an adjustment of our minds by a true spiritual perception of the real nature of service, and it will be well for us ever to remember that all work for Christ is not service to Christ (emphasis mine). A child may be very well-meaning and industrious in its “helping [out] mother”, but poor mother may find rather more work created than done.

Now let us say right away… with emphasis… that the indispensable and basic thing to real service is THE SERVANT-SPIRIT AND THE SERVANT-MIND. The matter of service is infinitely more than busy-ness in religious causes, earthly activities in Christian interests; it is the accomplishment of a heavenly will and Divine purpose which registers its impact in the breaking of another foreign will and destroying the works of the devil. This is the force of “obedience” and the “not my will” …and this is the servant-mind and servant-spirit. (1)

Paul wrote,

“For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men.” (1 Cor 7:22-23 ESV)

We are called to be the bondservants of Christ not of soulish, self-promoting men. We have been bought by Him as His own with His precious blood. No man has the right to rule over us in the place of Christ’s Spirit. Yes, we are to obey the laws of the land in which we live (see 1 Peter 2:13-17), but we are always to obey the leading of the Spirit and when these two are in conflict it is better to obey God than man.

For a while I was a part of a church that was founded in California by a charismatic leader from the Hollywood area, in fact he was involved in the music industry there before God called him. He was highly respected in the ranks of the church, but he often taught things that were not scriptural and his will and writings were respected by the church leadership under him without question. Our pastor would quote him before he would quote the Bible and was constantly reading his books and often attended seminars taught by him. He was definitely a “company man.” Finally, when I showed him how what he was teaching was contrary to the scriptures the pastor got offended and I told him that this man did not own me. I knew that I was already purchased with the blood of Christ and that I was to obey His Spirit and not the whims of men with their winds of doctrine. We were finally forced to leave that church and since then that pastor was forced to step down in shame and the denomination’s founder and his son (the heir apparent) both died not long after we left. Jesus said, “Every plant that my Father has not planted shall be rooted up.” We are called to be the bond-servants of Christ and obey the leading of His Spirit for He alone is our Savior and Lord. Sparks continues,

The Lord’s need is to have bond-servants… even though the extreme pressure at some time might make them say that they would “no more speak in this Name” … they find that they cannot forbear for long; but cost what it may, they must be in it and at it – the fire is in their bones and zeal of His House eats them up. May we be such, and may the true ground and motive of this fellowship in service be:

“I love, I love my Master,
I will not go out free!
For He is my Redeemer,
He paid the price for me.
I would not leave His service,
It is so sweet and blest;
And in the weariest moments
He gives the truest rest.

“My Master shed His life-blood
My vassal life to win,
And save me from the bondage
Of tyrant self and sin.
He chose me for His service,
And gave me power to choose
That blessed, perfect freedom
Which I shall never lose.” (1)

(1) http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/001520.html

(2) http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/003697.html

* I want to give a special thanks to Susanne Schuberth who sent me these quotes from T. Austin-Sparks and the quotes from Paul that inspired me to write this blog. Once again she and I are hearing the Lord say the same things. What a blessing to walk together in the unity of the Spirit.

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15 comments on “Bondservants of God… to be Led by the Holy Spirit

  1. Thank you very much for this special thanks, Michael! 🙂

    Indeed, that was truly a strange leading as to writing our two latest posts. At first I was hit by some TAS quotes and saved them together with Paul’s Scriptures in a Word doc. One day passed, two days passed by… yet no idea what to write but the headline. On the third day I would ask you whether you were interested in these puzzle pieces of mine. Actually, I hoped you would fill in the “gaps” with a vivid story of yours. And you did, dear brother! Excellently written, indeed!! ⭐

    However, one day afterwards as your blog article was finished, we both felt that it was not yet the time to publish it. I sensed that I had to write an entry of my own on ‘Entering The Promised Land’ before. But about WHAT?? I only had a short quote of TAS left which you had not used in your post. Eventually, that quote turned into the beginning of my blog post from yesterday.

    In fact, what a blessing to share this spiritual walk with you, Michael!

    May God keep you in His strong and loving grip,
    Susanne 🐱

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Susanne, in the past you have written on a theme that God had been teaching you and I had the scriptures to go with it. But this time you had the scriptures and quotes and I had my experiences that fit with what He gave YOU! The Holy Spirit is just full of surprises when we wait on Him to lead us into all Truth. It is such a joy to share these leadings of His with you! True unity in Christ is such a wonderful experience as members of HIS body whom He has put together in His grand design!
      Bless you, my sister! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Could not be expressed better, Michael! 🙂

        Indeed, it is an adventure to be led by the Living God. No time to yawn – ever. Whether tears or joy come up, His leading is always unpredictable. It has been a wonderful experience to share His guidance with you, Michael. Not only as a confirmation of how God works, but also as a joy in itself. Thank you for being you, my brother!

        God bless you and keep you! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you for the post. I pray to be lead by the Holy Spirit.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fred Thoren says:

    Thank you for this, it is much needed. I know I have a facebook friend who I think says every one should evangelize. I feel I may have mentioned that in another blog comment. Any way, I do not feel as if that is what GOD wants me to do. I am not even sure if the bible study I started some time back is what GOD wants me to do as it has not been very successful.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Gordon Halford says:

    Just for clarification, there’s some text missing from one of the quotes above…
    “Christian service” has come to be a realm in which and numerous other elements of the natural man have been vented and taken hold. It has created a system in which human distinctions are the order of the day. Yes, and much more which it is too painful to mention.”
    Should be…
    “Christian service” has come to be a realm in which all the acquisitive, ambitious, obtrusive, assertive, self-seeking, and numerous other elements of the natural man …”

    …blessings… Gordon H.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kennth Dawson says:

    It is amazing to me how blind people are today even with all the modern tech stuff but you and Sue see things from the light of Gods being and it is a joy to meditate on your blog sites.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you Ken. I know that I can say for Susanne and I that we are glad that you are blessed by what we share. Any prayers for us would be appreciated.

      Bless you, my brother.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your encouraging words, Ken! 🙂

      It is good to know that only God can open the eyes of the blind and it is a joy to me whenever someone hears God speaking through what Michael and I share on our blogs.

      @ Michael
      Indeed, you said it so well, my brother. ⭐

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this profound and moving message, Michael. You are always generous in sharing your past experiences, and humble in pointing out occasional mistakes.

    Pride is such an integral part of the human makeup. Little wonder that Satan can reliably use it to undermine our efforts. The TA Sparks quote on Christian service was so appropriate. We delude ourselves that ambition and self-seeking are in pursuit of godly aims. Meanwhile, our time is wasted and our character improved not one iota.

    Blessings always,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Anna, for you kind remarks. I always enjoying hearing from you. Our life in Christ is a journey from one level of immaturity and mistakes to the next. Hopefully we are becoming less immature and move on to making less grievous of mistakes as we follow after Him. Either way He seems to have no end of patience with us as we follow His leading. Like you said, pride is our real enemy for we quit following Him and taking up our crosses when we think we have it all figured out and have arrived.

      One thing that He has been teaching me as of late is that I am not His appointed counselor to tell people where they are blowing it in their lives. My efforts to try and “fix people” always blow up in my face because it takes a level of judgement to do so and who am I to judge a servant of the Lord? Only HE is able to make them stand. Learning to pray for people without thinking myself “more mature” in the process is the challenge. Yes, pride takes on many forms.

      His blessing on you, too, dear sister! ❤
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Fred Thoren says:

        Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:” Learning to pray for people without thinking myself “more mature” in the process is the challenge. ”

        I need to work on that my self. Thank you for showing me I am not alone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        No, you are not alone, my brother. Good to hear from you again. BTW, I think the quote was from me, though I know Susanne could have written such a thing as well. 🙂

        Like

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