I don’t know what kind of time we are in right now. It’s popular in Christian circles to say we are in the end times. And we are in the end times, but many people I have this idea we are living in the last days for the first time in world history.
For certain the return of Christ is closer to us today than it was yesterday. Yet the fact of the matter is, we have been living in the last days since Jesus came. This of course is easy to see. The Bible writers knew they were in the last days. Paul wrote to Timothy, "In these last days there will be perilous times". The writer of Hebrews said, "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son" And they were looking for his 2nd coming as well, "while we wait for the blessed hope--the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." And one day He will return.
While we are earnestly waiting and eagerly expecting Christ return, we can experience the presence of God, mightily in the meantime. It’s not like the Christian life, has to be, get saved, and then endure life, hoping Jesus would come back now, so we could get it over with. There is power to be had now.
The Puritans used to wrestle with God, I mean – in prayer, sometimes for days on end. Everything they did, they did with the thought of God in mind. They talk about God visiting them. Yes, God is everywhere, all the time. But sometimes there is something different – something special. I have heard theologians call it ‘His Manifold Presence”.
We know God is our father, we understand that. All day long Sophie travel around the house, playing, getting into things – she knows Becky is her mother, all the time –she knows but I am just telling you there is something different and something special when Becky goes and picks up that little girl before bed time and hugs her and prays with her.
It’s like a super abundance of Momness – a manifest presence, it’s something special. Sometimes God does that with us, and when it happens, you will know and you will want it to happen again.
What you used to find as hard to set aside time for God --- you start looking forward to those times.
Has the Spirit manifested his presence in mightier ways and less mightier ways throughout history. He sure has, in Enfield, Connecticut July 8, 1741 --- Jonathan Edwards, a soft squeaky sounding man, who some say is the greatest mind America has ever produced. He was definitely not a camp meeting flamboyant revival preacher.
He did not preach in a stomping, hollering – get everybody excited type of way. He was squeaky and meek, probably most of us would have thought him annoying but the Holy Spirit was there – and as he preached, people literally were grabbing onto their seats for fear of sliding in the great gulf of Hell fixed below them.
People repented and weeped over their sins for days. And revival spread over much of what was the United States at that time, in what was known as the Great Awakening.
There is no explanation for something like this apart from God...
Sometimes we work so hard so at tidying up all the Bibles loose ends. Like somehow we need to come to the Bibles rescue – that we leave no room for the supernatural.
One time I heard a Pastor say, "Just think about what we believe? I'll line it out. A creator God saw his creation fracture. Sin enters into the world, into that fracture, and God decides to reconcile that fractured creation back to himself by a virgin – who gives birth to a Son - who lives a perfect life – he than is then killed on a cross -rises from the grave three days later – walks around on earth for another 40 days - then disappears back to heaven.
And by faith if you accept this - one day he will come back of a white horse with a sword that comes out of his mouth - a tattoo on his thigh bringing judgment to those oppose Him and final salvation to those who love Him."
My friends if this is not supernatural – nothing is. In fact if the Christian life is not supernatural it isn’t anything. It literally makes no sense unless God illumines the mind. Do you ever wonder why people have such a hard time with it. It goes against all our natural senses.
God has not abandoned His church in this day. The day of Pentecost came when God had decreed it should, and likewise Jesus will come back at the exact moment God the Father has decreed Him to and not one second less.
Know this - just because we are in the end times - doesn't mean we are working against God and being disobedient to Him if we are praying for God to send the Holy Spirit with the fire and power of revival ---
Pray expecting --- because it can happen --- and we will not regret it if it does – yet it also doesn't mean we are a failure if it doesn't come --- nor does it mean God is a liar if it does... no man knows the time or the hour...
God could pour out his Spirit in a very profound way at any given second or could split the heavens open with his returning at any given second.
But Either way – the mandate is still the same. Preach the gospel in our life and with our words - making disciples in all the world (Matt. 28:19-20). This is our mission. It is the only mission the church has ever been given...