Seeing is Believing, Believing is Seeing
My sermon tonight comes from a vision the Lord gave me this past Wednesday.
This past Wednesday when meeting with the pastor’s, we had a discussion about alcohol, and to let you know, this sermon isn’t about alcohol, but continuing, varying views were presented about personal consumption, but in general the thought was minimal or no usage was the best. We discussed how it destroys families and people, and even about in some of our family’s alcohol was abused. Mine being one of them, but we went off talking about other topics, then began praying.
As we got into prayer, and it was a very good prayer time, the Holy Spirit spoke into my mind fairly directly in the middle of the prayer time when we were all quiet at one point, and He said, “What I have is greater than alcohol.” I was like “What?” I was thinking “your right Lord.” The Spirit continued, “It is greater than the lust of the flesh, the pride of life or anything else that comes from this world.” “But why does the world crave it? I was like thinking of why? The numerous reasons why, but all of sudden my mind was cut off with the Spirit’s voice.
Shouldn’t it crave what you have?” I was thinking “yes it should.” “But does the world see in you what you have? Is it evident?” “What do you have to give?”
I quickly looked at my life, it was like this supernatural hyper quick movement of my mind about my life, how I act, think, speak, the good things, the dark things, everything in a split second. My truthful response was an emphatic “No!” I felt ashamed. Like I let my Father in Heaven down. I remember looking around the room at the guys, as they were this prayer moment of silence. Me thinking too, “is this real?” All this like in a millisecond.
Then the voice, “Do the people of this City see Me in the rest of these Pastor’s?” I didn’t really know. Knowing some of them, I am thinking yes, but really at first glance, my answer was “No”, not really in the sense of what the Spirit was implying. I knew the Spirit was implying something way beyond what I or even the other Pastor’s there would be thinking. Then the voice, “My Church?” A definite “No!” I felt bad, and convicted.
I was pondering this for a while. I didn’t say anything to the others because at first I was thinking “was I was dreaming this up?” But I knew deep down, “no, I wasn’t.”
I have felt that this summer will be a summer of growth spiritually for the church, a growth in numbers, a growth in focus, a time of spiritual renewal, and a time of freedom from the chains of this world. I see good things. But these good things will really only come from a church whose minds are completely captured by the Word and Spirit of God.
I could sense that this was what the Spirit was implying. There is another level of life in Christ that we need to walk in. It is beyond our current walk. There are people in this town who are in that level, but God wants us as a whole, His Church to be there.
And at a point in this internal Spirit directed conversation I was having with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit showed me the men in the room with me. They at one point did not look the same. They had a different persona about them. A different Spirit, like. It’s really hard to explain, but the Spirit of God was on them, there was this confidence about them I guess the best way to describe it. This look. They were Empowered, and they knew it. It was this supernatural power that was on them. They lived it, and walked, it was their life. It is what God intended for man. They knew their purpose, had direction, and they were walking in total covenant with God.
The Spirit showed me how I am so consumed with the events that happen in this world. His church is too. How we allow what goes on around us to affect us when it shouldn’t at all.
When we accepted Christ, when the Word said,
NIV 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Holman 17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”
We are not like we were before. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated, we are re-created. Just as Jesus said to Nicodemus, in John 3:3,
“no man can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
To be born again which comes from our confession of faith, it is being born, brand new like a new born baby.
Not of flesh, but of the Spirit, and the Spirit was to control the flesh. The actions of the flesh would now not take precedence over the Spirit. It would not be earthly desires that led our thoughts, it would be the desires of the Spirit which would be directed from God.
The Lord said to me, you don’t live the life I have called you to, because you don’t believe, you do not trust. Pastor Ian McFarland from Living Light prayed and ended using the word “confidence” saying to have confidence in Jesus name. The Spirit said, “you have no confidence in me.”
I was quick to retort, “Yes I do!” “I believe we all do!” I am thinking this. But He said “no, you’re not even close.” You still live in fear, he showed me some instances in my life. You get irritated at people. He showed me instances. You allow things that happen in your life to control you. He showed me those things. My brother and I was taking about how that as we are getting older, we seem to have shorter fuses when comes to things now. Well that flashed in my mind. I should have no fuse. Only like Jesus in the Temple with the money changers. That’s it, but other things rolled through my mind of my total weakness, my total depravity, and really my total need for dependence on Jesus.
“Brad do you really walk in the fullness of My Word?” My answer was, “no, but I want to. I want to look like the picture of the guys I saw in that brief snapshot in my mind.” I remembered the story of Moses in:
Exodus 34:29-30 when he came down from Mount Sinai with the 10 Commandments, “ When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.”
That’s what I thought of with the vision of the pastors, but it wasn’t just for the pastor’s, it was for the whole church.
When the Holy Spirit puts your back up against the wall, you can really see truth. We pray to see the truth, and live the truth, but we just don’t seem to do it. We don’t live the overcoming new creation life.
John 5:4, “ For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
I was struck with that thought. My faith! I was struck with a bunch of things that were racing through my mind at what I saw, happening only in minutes, what was like far much more time than that.
It’s funny that the morning had started poorly; I did not sleep the night before. My back was killing me. I couldn’t get comfortable. Didn’t get up early to pray like I like to do. When I did get up, came downstairs, Barb informed me I caught a skunk in a trap I put out. I was surprised, happy about that, but had to deal with it, no biggy, Barb went downstairs and our sump pump was plugged or something and flooded a part of the basement. She was dry vacuuming it up. I should of pulled the plug, but things looked like they were going fine. Not, ran again later and water flooded out again hitting more of the basement. I was irritated, Barb was well, not happy……. The skunk was picked up and sprayed everywhere outside. It was stinky wet time at the Williams’ home.
And as my life was being interfered with by the Holy Spirit during prayer, He was like, “Brad…... why the reaction to this stuff?” “Why the reaction with anything in frustration or anger, or hurt, or disappointment, and we can add to that list?” “Why?” You are above this.
I am thinking…….. “I am acting like I don’t even know you God.” Or I have totally forgot what being in Christ is, being a believer. Stuff does happen in our lives……….and our enemy knows exactly what button to push on us to send us over the edge if we let him. We show him what buttons to push, so he just easily pushes them, and we go off on our merry way being frustrated, angry, afraid, or defeated.
The Spirit shoved into my face a verse he has been shoving for a while now. I have said it much here:
1Jn 4:4, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Our God is so much bigger, greater, humongous, gargantuan, universally large, than anything we deal with in our lives here on earth. Why? Why do we allow trivial things or even large things to cause us to act earthly?
Going back to the beginning of the vision, the Spirit said, “I have something greater than alcohol.” He was implying the whole Christian life. Not our Christian lives, but the Christian life He displays in His Word. Jesus displayed it. The Apostles and early believers displayed it. It is something that is not out of touch.
Some may argue about their Christian life, but if it is so great, why do we have a ~40% drop in regular church attendance in this city from over 60% 20 years ago, to ~20% today?
“greater who is in me than he who is in the world. Greater who is in me, than he who is in the world, greater who is in me than he who is in the world.” Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat.
We are a new creation; we are not of this world. Our kingdom is in heaven, so we act like we are in heaven, we talk like we are in heaven, we be heaven.
Mat 18:18, “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” How can we do this? Because we are of heaven now.
It may be hard for us to grasp this, but in the supernatural work of Jesus because of what He did on the Cross, He has established us as part of His kingdom, and not only to say we are a part of it, but to partake of it, with all of the rights, responsibilities, and power that come out of it.
When I saw the pastors in the vision in this empowered state, it was because they fully grasped who they were in Christ. They had a truth encounter with Him. They knew their mission. They knew their purpose. All of it in the fullness of the Spirit. There is no thought of the past, and no worry of the future, it was Christ, right there and now. Focus.
“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.” And not in some small way doing a small thing, but in a huge supernatural outpouring kind of way.
When you say to the mountain to move. It will move.
There is a life that the Spirit is calling us to live. The sad thing, only a few ever attain it because of unbelief, spiritual laziness, and being content with a life of low expectation. Those who make it to the mountaintop, are those who press into God. Who take Him at His Word, and keep pushing Him for more. When you push He gives more. But as you receive more, you have to give up more. That is the hard part. It is all a matter of perception.
This world has set up its standards, and we in the church are confronted with those standards as to follow or reject. The line has been blurred enough that many don’t know what is truth, or not truth. There is no discernment. Because there is no connection to the Holy Spirit. We have lost our direction. We have become spiritually numb. We live, but with limited purpose. We attempt to figure out by our own how to fulfill the purpose we think God has called us to, but we are unsure of that. We blindly attend a church service so we can think we are doing okay or what is right, or we attempt to do a “service to the community or in the church” with a works mentality so hopefully we may go to heaven.
Do we really believe? Must we see to believe? Or do we believe first so we can see? You can say both, but the Kingdom of God that is not of this world by any means that it can be seen through earthly eyes. It can only be seen by those who believe in what they cannot see, to manifest it in this world to be seen. The Kingdom of God can be seen by the Spiritual Man. And the Spiritual Man can bring forth the Kingdom of God to those who have never seen it, and many to a new belief in it.
John 5:4, “ For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Yes, our faith. To believe in the unseen, to live out the power and promise of God’s Word so that people who have never had an encounter with the living God, will see Him through us. We who are abandoned to God the Father by our own encounter with Him.
God wishes us to go after Him, like a thirsty man looking for water. But we have to be thirsty for the water that only Jesus can give us.
Jesus said in John 4:13 to the woman at the well,
John 4:13 “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 7:37 “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive”
Jesus wants the Holy Spirit to flow out of us like living water. Not only for our life transformation, but to be transformational for others who don’t even know Him. And he wants us to shake off the things of this world that bind us to turn us from the purposes he has called us to.
When Jesus said for us to be a light, what He wanted us to be, was something so glorious that darkness could never prevail against us. But that takes our resolve to break away from the thought processes of this world to have the thoughts of heaven.
To be supernaturally empowered to the point that we are not the same. We don’t look the same, act the same, think the same, or live the same, and we are Jesus to people to the point that they know that the only way they can be satisfied here on this earth is to have what we have because they have seen it in us.
The Spirit was right. God does have something better than alcohol, and anything else in this world. We have it, but we are supposed to live it. And give it. But it takes us to have a heart change to live the life that God intended, but we can only have it if press into Him and have not only His heart, but to walk in the glorious powerful life giving life He intended us to live. That life would transform other lives. Kenosha needs us to live that life. We must get out of the box that earthly thought has put us into, and into an eternal kingdom mind that all things are possible with God. But it will take sacrifice to see thy kingdom come thy will be done here in Kenosha.