#570 (1/4/22) ENCOUNTERING GOD
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at what it means to worship in Spirit and truth.
It sounds obvious and maybe a little silly to say that we should expect to meet God as we worship but it’s something that we all regularly fail to remember. Our minds can be distracted, we daydream, we go through the motions whilst not engaging with faith and expectation.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT INTENSITIES OF MEETING
Throughout scripture, history and our lives, we know that the Spirit comes in different levels of intensity – but He does always come! In Hebrews, we read,
‘Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings…’ (Hebrews 10:19-22)
The author to the Hebrews makes it clear that nothing stops us from entering God's holy presence apart from our lack of faith. I don’t know about you, but I often go to church, Community Group, or personal prayer without a good attitude of ‘drawing near to God’; It’s those who have such an attitude of faith who are most likely to experience great manifestations of God, this is Paul’s testimony,
‘And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows – was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. ‘ (2 Corinthians 12:3-4)
Such experiences were, on occasion, a part of Paul’s devotional life; do we thirst for such time? Meeting with God in such tangible and glorious ways are to be a part of our relationship with the Spirit. We read of the early Methodist movement – it was meeting with God that empowered the Great Awakening,
‘John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield, with four other of the original Holy Club from their Oxford days, and some sixty others, gathered at Fetter Lane, London, in the evening to sing and pray. Whitefield wrote in his diary, ‘Monday, 1st January, 1739. Had a “Love-Feast” with our brethren and spent the whole night in close prayer, psalms and thanksgivings. God supported me without sleep. The hours flew by, until about three in the morning it seemed the day of Pentecost had come again. John Wesley in his journal recalled, ‘The power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from awe and amazement at the presences of His Majesty, we broke out with one voice, “We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be Lord.”’
James Harvey, the friend of Wesley at Oxford, described the change in Wesley through this anointing of the Spirit.
‘His preaching was once like the firing of an arrow, all the speed and force depending on the strength of his arm in bending the bow. Thereafter it was like the firing of a rifle ball, the whole force depending on the powder and needing only a finger touch t let it off.’