Then (Moses) said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us?
When Moses was bringing the Israelites up into the Promised Land, God was so frustrated with the people and their stiff-necked, stubborn ways, that He didn’t even want to be associated with them any more. He made an offer to Moses that they should go into the land and enjoy all the good things that God had prepared for them, but God Himself was not volunteering to go with them, in case He got so mad with them that He killed them.
Many Christians today would be very content to take God up on that offer. Just as long as they would have the things that they are believing for – the house, the car and the man!
Many are not even bothered whether or not the presence of God is in the church that they go to every week.
The question everyone is asking instead is, “Did the service meet my need?”
When sermon titles like, “How to beat stress” are so popular and common, it’s clear that the church is trying to package God to make Him appear acceptable to men, rather than lifting people to God’s level. They try to tame God and make Him one of us, when the plan of God is to raise us up and make us just like Him.
Jesus was the Son of Man, but He was also God. He sits alone in His majesty and authority. He doesn’t need us to be who He is, but we do need Him to be who we are.
How can people prescribe what they need to be taught and where they need to get to, when they don’t even understand fully where they are right now?
Yet week by week there is an emphasis on an aesthetically pleasing church experience. It is all about looking nice and feeling nice, but there is no power.
Church has become an intellectual exercise for many; at best a glorified social club where we learn about God. But it’s one thing to know about a person and a totally different thing to experience that person.
If you can predict week by week what is going to take place in church, then your Christian experience is far too natural; when all the time you and I were born again to live from our spirit, not from our soul.
The Holy Ghost has been sent to show us things to come, but Christians still feel the need to go to palm readers and they are still as worried about the future as unbelievers.
If we are going to have Bible authenticity, we have to move away from churches that are merely giant classrooms. We have to get to the place where, like Moses, we yearn for Him, and we feel that without His presence there is simply no point trying to move on.
Of course it is vital to be well taught, but we don’t just come to church to listen to an instructor. There have to be times when the pastor gets right out of the way and the Holy Ghost takes control. There must be a part of the service where the worship isn’t coming out of the instruments, but out of the depths of our hearts. There must be room for the prophet of the house to speak to the people, not about what they think they need, but from the heart of God.
People who have a shallow church experience, and who never go far in coming to a knowledge of God Himself, are always shocked, when trouble comes, at how little power they have in their lives. All the time that things are going well, they look the same as Christians who pursue the presence and power of God, but when the evil day comes, as it inevitably does, all of a sudden they are gone. Their faith rested on the wisdom of men rather than on the power of God.
When they used to build ships out of wood, they stretched ropes around the entire ship to hold it together in a storm. These ropes were called “helps”. The reason for this was because they understood that once you get out onto the sea, you cannot be merely hoping that you will make it. You have to make the vessel with the storm in mind.
The Holy Ghost is our Helper and He is the one who makes us like the wind, never predictable and never stuck. We go through the same challenges, but we come out totally differently, because when what we say we believe is tested, we can pray and hear from God; we can speak in other tongues and see the supernatural hand of God take over as power is released in our situation.
What kind of Christianity have you got? What version have you bought? Is yours the kind that looks good, but focuses on the land of milk and honey rather than the presence of God?
If the church is to become distinguished in this generation, we have to have both the Word and the Spirit. We have to be able to paint Jesus until He leaps out of the book while we are preaching and heals someone’s legs right there in the middle of the sermon. We have to have been with Him to the point where we know Him so well that we can release Him to be God in our midst.