Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Intimacy with God = Intimacy with Community | Bill B
This message was preached by Bill B at Word of Grace Church on the September 13th, 2015. To listen/download the audioplease click here
God has had me on a journey in my relationship with him. I wanted to be a man of God and so I studied His word, gave myself to community. Intimacy is a God given desire. He does not want you to know about Him but to know him in your heart. We are too focused on head knowledge and intellectual insight.
The essence of Christianity is to live in union with Him. That’s the journey every Christian should be on. Then Christ flows through us and that’s attractive to some and some will reject it. We are called to be Jesus on the earth today by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Q. How do we journey into this intimacy?
In Acts 2, it depicts that deepening your intimacy with Christ through the dynamic relationship we have with one another. Without this, we will never fully know intimacy with Christ.
In this passage, Peter is not preaching something but someone, i.e. Christ. The Holy Spirit through Christ brings us into communion with the Father. We can get confuse with the Trinity- its unexplainable but they live in a love relationship with one another. They pour themselves out for each other and so should we for each other.
We need a spiritual encounter with Him. What we know and see is not enough. He is wooing us into a deeper communion with Him.
In Acts 2:37, the new believers ask, “Brother, what then shall we do?” This should be our response when we read the word or listen to a sermon. Faith is being built into the life that God has called us into. In verse 38 is where it all begins.
The first call is to repent. We hear this a lot in the Christian circles. Just turning away from wrong is a shallow understanding. Some feel true repentance means you won’t sin again. That is not true. Repentance is sorrow over my sin. It is also a journey, not an event. Repentance is turning toward Christ and we are dependent on God to change us. We work at it but with His strength.
Then he says, be baptized. It is the union of the physical and spiritual. We receive the person of the Holy Spirit and we need to live into it. We are united with Christ at Baptism. That is exciting! It’s all about relationship and intimacy with Jesus.
We don’t understand all of it but we walk in it by faith. In verse 38, it says, receive the Holy Spirit and not eternal life. To be in union with Jesus is eternal life. Right in Genesis, we were created to live in communion with Him.
In Verse 41, three thousand get added to the number. One sermon, 3000 people saved! That is a miracle.
After baptism, they began to meet together in smaller groups, sharing life together. How we develop intimacy is by listening to God’s word and saying yes together to what God has spoken.
Today we are very independent in our decisions. We make individual and corporate decisions for God. This means, I need to sacrifice what I desire for the greater good. An individual is an individual. A person lives in community. If you want to live an individualistic life, then Christianity is not for you.
Obedience is relational. Jesus said, if you love me, you will obey what I have commanded. Love is expressed through obedience. God does not demand us to join him, he invites us to do so. Our faith is a faith of beauty and not of laws and judgements.
So we make personal and corporate decisions. We are created to support one another. They were continually devoting themselves to fellowship i.e. a common life with one another.
They broke bread together. They ate together. When we participate in this it is faith that is needed. When we participate in the communion, we take in Christ by faith. Christ is in me right from the start but there is a journey of having him in you deeper too.
Jesus said, remember me. Remembering means to re-member or be re-joined or attachment. As we remember there is a greater attachment to Christ.
Prayer: The early church had prayers that they said together as a community. Today we do it in singing. We join in one voice together. Prayer is first and foremost communion with God, being in the presence with God.