As I mentioned last week, the sermon last Sunday was about our Conscious Dependence on the Holy Spirit. It was a great sermon & a great time at Life Group discussing it so this post is based on it. Comments in italics are from the sermon.
We are dependent on the Spirit of God whether we know it or not. But we affirm a conscious dependence on the Holy Spirit. That one word “conscious” changes things.
We read in Ephesians 2:19-22 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 that the local church (the community of believers, not the building) is God’s temple or where the Spirit of God dwells. That the “you” in these verses is a PLURAL “you,” referring to the group of local believers as where people can know and experience God. What does this mean for you and me as the local church? What are the implications for worship, for prayer, for evangelism? What blows you away by this?
Wow. What blew me away was “where people can know and experience God.” That sounds so simplistic. Well, of course, it SHOULD be where people can know and experience God. But I think the implications are so huge! My immediate thought was “are we/am I acknowledging God’s presence, worshipping His presence, celebrating His presence in such a way that non-believers could KNOW God?!?” Exodus 33:15-16:
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”
As individuals, we also are dwelling places for the Presence of God – the Holy Spirit. Of course I knew that, but these next passages really drove that point home. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
We were bought at a heavy price. How do you honor him with not just your minds but your bodies? How do you let the Spirit of God form you into the image of Jesus?
God doesn’t make us spend time with Him. He doesn’t guilt us into it. He INVITES us to have an intimate relationship with Him. Honoring time with Him and making that relationship paramount in our lives gives Him the opportunity to transform us.
And this from John 7:37-39:
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
I have always loved the term “living water.” It is so descriptive & brings to mind so many refreshing images. And desires & longings. Desires for the refreshment and peace that knowing Jesus offers if we reach out for that gift. But I had never noticed the part about “rivers of living water will FLOW FROM WITHIN THEM.” That brings up another image to me. Rivers are not ponds. A pond is self-contained, still. Rivers FLOW. It has a beginning. In this case, God calling us to Him through the sacrifice and love of Jesus and our acceptance of His love and gift. It has a destination. Eternal life with God. But rivers have a journey, a path. They meander, touching other places, other people. Rivers refresh OTHERS along the way. Wow again.
And our bodies? Since we are a temple of the Holy Spirit, how do we honor His temple? I started thinking about the characteristics and specifications of the tabernacle. In the past, I have
read TRIED to read the details in Exodus about how the tabernacle was built and in Leviticus how the Israelites were to take care of the tabernacle and how they were to approach God’s presence in the tabernacle. But I confess, it was too tedious for me to concentrate on and understand. However, now the Spirit has given me an little taste of the REASON for all the details, a tiny glimpse into what it all means, and the importance of our mind and body AS THE DWELLING PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH.
I am overwhelmed by that thought. I starting researching online to find something simple to correlate the tabernacle to US as believers – oh, silly Chrystal. How naive. I did find a few sites, but obviously this is an in-depth study that will take me a while. Obviously, I need to re-read Exodus and Leviticus with an open heart and pray that He would teach me what He wants me to know……Again, I am astounded by the sheer number of things God is trying to teach me, to show me. How will I ever find the time to read & study all that is on my heart? I will, however, list a few things that stand out about the tabernacle (some are my words, some are taken from different sites listed at the end of this post)….just food for thought. You may be seeing other posts about this topic in the future.
- The tabernacle was God’s design. It was an amazingly intricate design and everything was deliberately outlined by God….down to the smallest detail.
- It was a testimony to the character of God. The excellence of the tabernacle, both in its materials and its workmanship, was a reflection of the excellencies of God.
- The tabernacle was also a holy place, because abiding in it was a holy God.
- The inward beauty of the tabernacle shows us God wants us, as a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, to have that same inward beauty in our lives.
- The Bronze Laver, where the priests needed to wash before entering God’s presence, shows us the need to allow ourselves to stand in that place where the word of God can cleanse and sanctify us daily.
This from one of the sites:
Furthermore, the presence of God achieved by Christ and mediated by the Holy Spirit is far more intimate than that which Israel experienced. The presence of God was indeed dear to the Israelites, who had never had the presence of God closer to them. Nevertheless, God was still separated from the people. Even Moses could not enter into the presence of God in the tabernacle and only the high priest could enter into the holy of holies, and but once a year. Christ has torn the veil asunder, and He dwells within each individual believer, not just in the midst of the nation. We have a far greater intimacy with God than did the Israelites.
It is possible, my friend, that you have never experienced this intimacy with God, this nearness to Him through His Spirit. You may attend church and feel God’s presence among His people, but not in the midst of your own heart and soul. If this is so, it is likely because you have never experienced the new birth of personal conversion. To do this you must not only believe that Christ died to save sinners, but personally receive Him as your Savior, the One whom you trust solely for the forgiveness of your sins, and for the blessings of His presence, both now and for eternity. Then you will experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who assures you that you are a child of God, and who will guide you day by day.
A couple of the sites I found are listed here. HOWEVER, I do not necessarily recommend them. I do not know who the writers are and have not read the entire articles. I just used them as a starting point. I would love any of your recommendations for additional study guides.
photo credit for tabernacle and photo credit for poster