It’s easy to believe in hindsight that the prophets in the Bible spoke the truth about events that have now taken place. For example, it doesn’t require great vision or understanding to identify that, in fact, the original states of Israel and Judah were eventually conquered and their people taken into exile as foretold. And it isn’t a huge leap of faith to accept that the temple was destroyed as predicted or that the people of Israel and Judah were, in fact, spread all over the face of the earth as promised. It’s pretty simple to believe these and many of the other prophecies from the Bible because their fulfillment is already well established and commonly accepted as historical fact.
But, what about the prophecies that have not yet come to pass? What about the challenging sayings that have yet to be fully understood or revealed? What about the present and active voice of God speaking right now into the hearts of believers all over the world? Is God dead and therefore silent as Nietzsche supposed and so many seem to believe these days? Or is there actually a living God who speaks, inspires, and leads?
The answer may surprise you.
Jesus told His disciples that,
“You grieve because of what I’ve told you [that I am going away]. But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” – John 16
And He continued,
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth [the Advocate] comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.” – John 16
“You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” – John 16
Reading the Bible thousands of years later, it can seem trivial to accept that Jesus and the now famous prophets spoke the truth and accurately conveyed what was about to happen back in their time. And yet, when considering the message that God has now unleashed a universally available Spirit of truth that is directly revealing the will of God to believers everywhere in the present day without restriction or qualification, it can seem harder to parse.
Did Jesus actually say that? Is it actually better to live in the present day than it was to be a contemporary of Christ and walk with Him in Galilee as He suggests? Do people today have greater access to God’s Word, God’s vision, God’s heart, God’s will, and God’s voice than they did thousands of years ago?
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit just as He promised. And the Holy Spirit is opening minds, hearts, and lives in greater measure today than ever before in history.
A spiritual awakening is upon us, a revival is happening, and there are more believers around the world praying in Jesus name and receiving the Holy Spirit for themselves than at any other point in human history.
And yet, among so many and even with many in nominally Christian traditions, sects, and religions bearing the name of Jesus, there are still far too many who remain unconvinced that God is actually real, alive, vital, present, available, and active in creation.
I still remember a church I visited many years back where the scripture lesson was taken from Matthew 24,
“But those who endure to the end shall be saved.”
The pastor went on and on listing the challenges, diseases, hard times, and lack that people face every day. She spoke about cancer and aids, poverty and starvation, wars and famines, relationship challenges and personal obstacles, the list seemed interminable. And yet, after identifying so much that the enemy was doing to obstruct and destroy the work of God’s people on earth, the best upside she could muster by the end of her message was to suggest that believers should endure whatever comes against them because eventually they will die.
“But those who endure to the end shall be saved.”
Was this the gospel? Was this the Word and the will of God? Was this the message of salvation that God so urgently wants all people to hear? Was the Holy Spirit moving in the church that day?
As I sat shocked and silent in my pew wondering, I knew that God was moving powerfully in at least one heart that day. God was calling me to share the good news, the whole good news, and nothing but the good news. God was urging me to spread the Gospel, the full truth, the actual fact that God is alive, present, active, powerful, speaking, and moving throughout all of creation at every moment of every day.
The fact that some people ignore God, dismiss God, deny God, or refuse to accept God doesn’t alter the reality of God. In fact, it is a testament to God’s goodness and love that freedom is so essential to the experience of life, love, peace, joy, and fulfillment – not to mention, central to the fabric of human dignity, health, well-being, and success.
Whether you like it, want it, agree with it, or accept it – Jesus Christ died for you, rose for you, and sent the Holy Spirit for you.
So, maybe you haven’t done this before, maybe you’ve thought God was a myth or a legend, far off or unavailable, dead or imaginary. Or, maybe you have been religious your whole life, maybe you have read the Bible and prayed, attended church and taught Sunday school, and still God has remained intangible and distant, a subject of wish and desire, but not an answer or an actor in your story.
The fact is, you are the goal, you are the target, you are the planned recipient of God’s promises.
The watching and waiting is over, God is moving now. Will you follow?
Will you ask? Will you receive? Will you experience abundant joy as the Holy Spirit draws you into the presence of the living God?
“Jesus, I release my inhibitions, my worries, my misgivings, my concerns, my skepticism, my doubts, my fears, and my anxiety. I accept that I have not been a good friend to you. I have not believed you, listened to you, spent time with you, or followed you. That stops today. I want to know you and accept you for who you are. I want to understand you and embrace you, and share my life with you — for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, every step of the way, every moment of the day, from now until forever. I’m yours. So, I’m asking you directly to come into my life and save me from my sins because I know you can do it. I choose you as my God and my Savior, my best friend and my closest confidant. There is no one like you and I am so excited to see what we can do together. Here I am! Give me the gift of your Spirit, let me be born again, open my eyes, open my heart, heal my body and renew my soul, fill me with your life and make my life an offering, a witness, and a testimony to the power of your name and presence of your Spirit here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Amen”
Did you pray that prayer? Now find a good, Bible-based church and keep God first place, because He is going to take you places beyond your biggest and best dreams.
God is alive. And so the revival begins…