God is Really Here Among You – pt2

God is Really Here Among You – pt2

1 Cor 14

Let love be your highest goal…but also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives, especially the gift of prophecy…

Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind. It is written in the Scriptures…As they listen, their secret thoughts will be laid bare, and they will fall down on their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is really here among you.”

“God is really here among you.”

With this statement, Paul is talking about the results of something that I want to draw our attention to:

God wants to be known and experienced in our gatherings.

Have we ever considered this as a reality?

What if it is not our idea for His manifest presence in our gatherings? What if it is His?

I would submit that Our Father wants to be known in our gatherings.

As we study this, I want to look at a couple aspects of Why our Father is passionate about his Presence in our gatherings.

Consider how a teenager in our culture views the 5pm dinner.

Their parents are passionate about eating together, at the table, at 5pm every day.

To the teenager, it is a dumb rule.

Why can’t they just eat when they are hungry in front of the TV?

We understand this scenario. We, as parents and adults, understand what is going on.

There are values and passions in the parents that my not be communicated, but they are real.

They desire time with their family.

Their heart is communicated in the gathering of the family at the table.

May I submit that our Father has values for Why He loves to invade our gatherings with His presence?

1. His Presence in our gatherings helps to correct misunderstandings of who He is.  

2. His Presence in our gatherings brings freedom to His people.

1 Corinthians 14v

But one who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them.

2 Corinthians 3v17

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

When His Presence invades a room, there is encouragement, comfort, freedom, and growth that come into the lives of His children. Where He is, His goodness is being released. 

We could say it this way…Our Father longs to bring freedom. Therefore, His Presence in our gatherings, is our fundamental deliverance resource. Lives are changed…just by Him being with us.

3. His manifest Presence being accessible was His desired outworking of the Cross.

Matthew 27v51

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,

The Holy of Holies was the portion of the temple that separated His presence from the World. Only the Priest was allowed to go into this Presence, with fear, once a year.

Let’s consider this picture of what happened during the cross, and the moment the veil tears. The cross did not do this. The Father did.

What the Cross did was to make peace with the sin condition of humanity so that the glory of God would no longer need be held within the confines of this specific room in the Temple.

I would love to highlight that God, the Father, used the Cross to accomplish a desire that was always in His heart.

He desired to be known and experienced by people. 

So…with this, we understand that our Father has desires for our gatherings.

He wants His authentic Presence to invade and fill our gatherings. Not just the idea of Him.

Now, I want to draw our attention to HOW His presence is known and experienced in our gatherings. There are things we can do to create an environment for His presence. We could consider it with this question:

What can we do to Host His Presence?

Last week we looked at the first idea…

1. As we are each listening to His Voice and are actively functioning in our gifting, we are creating an environment for His presence.

“But the one who prophesies”

The prophetic is fundamentally about hearing His voice and releasing it on earth.

It is about owning my gifting.

It is about the willingness to be wrong.

It is about the desire to be Humble and teachable.

This house needs to be a safe place to try.

The prophetic if fundamentally about hearing His voice and releasing it on the Earth.

It is under challenge by the Church. Yet it is needed.

The prophetic is a responsibility.

It forces me to spend time with Him and with the Scriptures

We are to be a people who experience Him and are taught of Him.

We are to be a people that Host His Presence at such a level that it is easy for others who don’t know Him or don’t understand these things to walk in them.

Today, I want to look at a second idea…

2. As we live individually in intentional innocence, when we gather, we are creating an environment for His manifest Presence.

1 Cor 14v20

Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind.

KEY QUESTIONS to ask:

What is innocence?

What is evil?

What do the original words mean?

innocent – Having no experience

evil – of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be

of a mode of thinking, feeling, acting

base, wrong, wicked

troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful

poisonous

My question is, “What does it look like to have no experience with evil?”

In Corinth, Paul is tackling the belief that, “if I am not bothered by it, It is not wrong.”

Paul continues to work in this letter to combat the Sexual ethics and understanding of the way they see sin / life / purity.

Paul is coming from a Jewish mindset…

one that understands a wholistic view of who we are. Many of the Greeks of this day believed in a disconnected internal self…one where the actions of our body do not necessarily affect our spirit / soul.

Much of this same thought permeates our culture today. It is the environment we live in.

So, how do we read this verse? How do we hear this call from Paul to live innocent?

As a commandment? As a suggestion? Perhaps as a protective cry from a Father?

If we consider the latter, we must ask, “why?”

Why would Paul, as a Father in the faith, cry out to them to be innocent as babies with evil? 

What if Paul understands something about evil that this young culture does not?

What if we are as confused as they are?

One of the root definitions or uses of this word, “evil,” is, “Poison”

Poison is something you ingest that harms you.

Consider Paul’s teaching in 6v17-20.

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.

Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God , and that you are not your own?

For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

James will reiterate this idea in James 1v12-17

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.

Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Paul’s teaching is that when we engage in evil (immorality) evil comes into you.

You bring it into yourself, and by doing such, you violate who you are as the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.

The mandate from Paul, therefore, is to live in such a manner in our physical bodies that it brings glory to God.

Paul is calling for holiness and purity. A life detached from evil.

James teaches that our sin nature desires sin. When we participate in it, it impregnates something into us. This seed brings death. The mandate to flee deception is simple: Deal with sin for what it is…a death sentence.

When we are soft on our won sin and sin nature, we are partnering with the desires of hell for our lives.

A simple reality is that Evil affects who I am.

1 Cor 14v20

Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature and wise in understanding matters of this kind.

There is another aspect of this verse I want to focus on…the maturity Paul is talking about. What are, “matters of this kind?” 

matters of this kind – Works and movements of the Holy Spirit.

What does it look like to walk in maturity in the works and movements of the Holy Spirit?

If the idea innocence is, “to have no experience with,” then it is logical to consider the idea of maturity is, “to have considerable experience with something.” 

So, maturity and wisdom in these matters must look like a regular experiential relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Paul is admonishing the Corinthian culture, and us, to live in a regular, unbroken relationship with the Holy Spirit. 

How?

Psalm 25 declares that, “Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who Fear Him.”

What is the Fear of the Lord?

Proverbs 14v2 declares:

Those who follow the right path fear the LORD; those who take the wrong path despise him

Psalm 119v105 declares:

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.

The Fear of the Lord is living a life that is aligned with the heart and the desires of the Spirit of God.

There is a path and a way that our Father desires us to live. We must understand this.

our culture declares that the path that feels right, matches my desires…that is the path I should choose. This is the Fear of man.

In Scripture, the Fear of the Lord is always juxtaposed with the Fear of Man.

They can simply be understood as:

If I choose to live in the Fear of the Lord, the Scriptures and His desires must govern my life.

What God declares and what He desires drives my life.

But, If I choose to live in the Fear of Man, my desires and the desires of others govern my life.

In this place, the Fear of man, My emotions and the approval of others drive my life.

Living intentionally innocent means I am surveying my life and CHOOSING Him over what the enemy and my sin nature are offering. Mature in the Spirit means I am intentionally walking in a healthy relationship with the Spirit of God, where I am valuing what He values and living as He says.

In simple statement, by living this way, we are living to Host His Presence.



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