On Vision Sunday Pastor Kerrin brought a great message on encountering God and not just casually brushing past Him as you would a person amongst a crowd.
It made me think about how I treat God at times as I rush even to do Christian duties.
I wonder have I missed powerful encounters with God because of even Christian busyness?
This analogy has stuck with me and was an excellent encouragement and lead in as we fasted and prayed as a Church.
In talking of the power of prayer and fasting, Jentzen Franklin says “Physical Obedience releases supernatural favour”.
He points out that acts like the raising of hands, fasting, walking forward for prayer and tangible acts of generosity and kindness release something in the Heavenlies. An example is God’s promises concerning tithing in Malachi 3:10 (NIV). There is something released when we do something.
The Holy Spirit is always ready to meet with us, but are we willing to let Him, to slow down and experience all that He has for us?
As a young man the Holy Spirit both intrigued and confused me. My Methodist upbringing had given me an understanding of the Father and then, from Godly teachers, I learned to love Jesus, but the Holy Spirit was confusing to me!
Salvation as a teenager probably introduced me to the Holy Spirit without me really knowing it was Him who kept convicting me and Him also who eventually got through to me that I didn’t have to “get saved” every time an altar call was given.
As I look back the Holy Spirit was at work in my life, but I didn’t know it.
Over these next 2 weeks I believe God wants to bring us greater understanding of the person of the Holy Spirit, to a greater personal encounter with the Holy Spirit leading us to a greater empowerment by the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
The Christian life is “not in Word only but in demonstration and power”.
To start let’s answer some questions often posed about The Holy Spirit.
1. Who is the Holy Spirit?
Luke 11:11-13 (NIV) – He is a gift freely given from the Father
John 15:5-15 (NIV) – He is the Counsellor, the Spirit of Truth
John 14:25-27 (NIV) – He teaches us and reminds us of all that Jesus has said.
He demonstrates His presence in the lives of believers through the gifts of the Holy Spirit
He was there at Creation. Genesis 1 (NIV). He is here now.
He is the third person of the Trinity, He is a person, co-existent, co-eternal with the Father and the Son. He is God. He is present here because we gather in the name of Jesus.
2. What does He do?
He gives us the power to be His witnesses through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 and 2:37-39 (NIV)
He convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment to come. John 16: 8-11 (NIV)
If He is doing this all over the world and here right now why then aren’t more people saved?
Why aren’t Christians more urgent about judgment to come and rescuing others from that judgment?
If we believe Jesus is coming again why don’t we declare it more?
Romans 1 explains this “it’s called suppression of the truth” Romans 1: 18-25 (NIV)
An explanation of suppressing truth:
“It’s a lot like when we play hide and seek with a little child, we know they are hiding in their world, but really, come on, sitting in full view in the middle of the room covered by a blanket with eyes shut to add effect does not constitute a good hiding place where no sighted adult will ever find you – yet knowing where they obviously are, we suppress this truth and diligently look in many different hiding place options when all we have to do is stop suppressing the truth and we will find what we are looking for. Wouldn’t it save a lot of time by saying to the child – stupid hiding place, found you, game over?
In the same way Christians justify sin despite having knowledge of and access to the Word, in the centre of their world and therefore access to the truth, they search in other places when what they are looking for is right in front of them, as obvious as a child hiding in the middle of a room, or a Bible right in front of them!
Yet, so often we would rather play the game called life and waste years in foolish searches than let God’s truth direct us.
We live in a society that more and more and in many different ways “suppresses truth by their wickedness” Romans 1: 18 (NIV)
Consider current irrational thinking concerning gender. The Truth says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he made him; male and female he created them” Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
Suppressed truth introduces other options because it leads to irrational thinking.
Suppressed truth has us looking in the wrong places, when the Holy Spirit is trying to guide us.
Suppressed truth prevents the Truth from being discovered.
Suppressed truth does not allow us to experience and encounter the Person and Power of the Holy Spirit.
What suppresses the truth in our lives?
It can be many things from self-focused religion to worldly options to truth, carnal thoughts and actions, unforgiveness, selfishness, unhealthy relationships and so many other different “hiding places’’ when the truth is waiting for us in the centre of our lives. His name is Jesus. He offers all that only truth can offer. Martin Luther’s reformation was because the truth was suppressed!
3. How do I encounter Him?
Seek Him, from His Word. Our Journey in late ‘70’s, a journey that came from searching His Word for truth, the Holy Spirit revealed truth to us as we searched the scriptures even when confusion from extreme teachings came along the way, but we eventually found our way to a Godly Pentecostal Church. It was a Church that opened the way for us to encounter the person and power of the Holy Spirit, because “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV).
We encounter Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit when we open up our hearts to Him and earnestly seek Him with all our heart, when we are prepared to no longer suppress truth by our chosen method and surrender our lives, in all their sin filled ways, to Him and His Word. The Holy Spirit will speak into our lives.
The Holy Spirit is here right now. What truth of God’s Word are you suppressing, what promise? Push in and pursue it. Nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 (NIV)
We all do it at times, but in this atmosphere of faith it’s an opportunity to identify it and deal with it.
Maybe through the pain of deep hurt, the truth of forgiveness is being suppressed.
Maybe through difficult relationship times, the truth of God’s unconditional love to you has been suppressed.
Maybe during financial hardship, the truth of God as your provider has been suppressed by fear of lack.
Today, identify what aspect of God’s character, God’s love, His promises to you have been suppressed and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you again to Truth, to be your comforter and your empowerer, to face whatever comes your way.
Let the Holy Spirit do His Work and introduce you to Jesus today!
Suggestions for discussion
- Discuss what you think Jentzen Franklin meant when he said “physical obedience releases supernatural favour”?
- Are you ready to receive greater empowerment by the Holy Spirit in your daily lives?
- What do you think suppresses Truth in our lives?