Today’s message is on encountering God. There was a transition at Pentecost, no longer was Gods presence housed in a temple or arc, but in us.
What we are contending after is gods spirit and presence... not the signs and wonders. People can fall down and have convulsions, cry etc. Don't get hung up about what's happening on the outside of the person but what gods doing on the inside of the person.
The book of Acts tells the story of the early church. There was this crazy outpouring of the spirit. Even people who didn't believe, believed. However that doesn’t mean they were part of the church, there was a cost to being part of the early church, you had to be all in, we will come back to this later.
In Pentecost the presence was so rich that people would be healed and sell all possessions to support church. The disciples were the new wine skin, the new wine the Holy Spirit. He couldn't put the new wine in the old wine skin.
God created a new church at Pentecost. Signs and wonders happened as an overflow. The church gave what they had and had a common goal of serving others.
There’s an interesting account of a couple who came to the early church with a counter spirit and pretended to sell everything to give to god, the Husband and Wife both dropped dead.
Where else do people drop dead in the bible?
In Old Testament those who had Sin in their hearts and went into the holy of Holy in the temple or touched the ark would drop dead. The point is that the living God the holy of holy is powerfully here in us, his church, the new ark of the covenant. It required you to have the same heart. At Pentecost there's a powerful revelation of gods presence. They saw the evidence, believed it and dared not take part in it.
There's a cost in following Christ. There was a time when gods presence was so real and so strong that you had to make a choice and decide if we are all in or not. Gods Church was watered down in Constantines time, when it was easier to be in the church then out. We need to recognise that sometimes people aren't ready, we need to be open loving and kind. We are contending for the fullness of gods love.
FYI Solomons porch is believed to be at a location on the steps of the temple. Only Jews can enter the temple. Women And gentiles could only get to the steps. Steps are where everybody could hear about god and encounter him.
What’s the goal?
Goal when we come together is that everyone would be edified. Tongues are good but prophecy is better as it edifies the whole church not the individual. In acts I t says that Everybody was prophesying, men and women, unnamed individuals, they were just called prophets. It was a common thing.
The prophecy requires a interpretation: Sometimes you get a download, but you need to then understand the download and interpret it. When Paul was prophesied to he had a different interpretation, he knew the scripture and understood the purpose of the message. You cannot claim to know the voice of god if you haven't studied the scriptures.
God desires to bring his kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. How does he do that... through us.
God wants you to understand how He values you and others. He wants us to have the same value system as Him. When that happens there is a unity of the spirit which opens a gateway for a powerful movement of the spirit.
Step 1 - hear Gods voice for our lives. To make the right decisions
When you step out and something bad happens, if you know that Gods directed you to the path you are on then you know that God has your back, you can have confidence that he is with you on this path. If you don't have that then we will not have peace.
Jesus is our model:
He was God, the trinity, yet he was always checking in with the Father. Checking he was on the right path. Jesus - "I do nothing of my own initiative "
If it's good enough for Jesus to then we need to too. A lot of people were brought up in Churches of judgement and rules and became leaders of judgement and rules Churches but we need to be different, and step out.
First it starts with hearing from God.
We need to get our value systems in line with God, we need to reassess our value systems. A lot of this is tainted by good or bad experiences. The Lord wants a clean house in you to show his heart and give it to you so that his heart is in your heart. That you would know that your God loves you, and you would have the capacity to see others the way He wants you to. That we would only do the Fathers work. We would sacrifice our own initiatives.