What gift do you long for above all else? I hope it is to see the Glory of the Lord. This is the gift Isaiah longed to receive. Consider his cry before the Lord during a particularly difficult season in the history of God's people. He prayed in Isa 64:1-4...
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence--
as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil--to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome things that we did not look for, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence. From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.
I've been there. Have you every called out to God asking to see his glory like Isaiah did? "God, please come quickly. Set the world on fire! Make your name known among your enemies and the nations! ..like you've done before! I'll wait, trusting you will come. I want to see your glory!!"
Well, what if God has already answered our cry?
Fast forward almost 800 years after the life of Isaiah.. in 1 Corinthians 2 the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 64:4 in reference to the Messiah's arrival. Paul implies here that Isaiah's cry was heard and answered. But not only in the coming of Jesus but also in the unleashing of the Spirit of God in the world through his new covenant, Spirit filled people. Christians believe that the Glory of the Lord came down when Jesus arrived.. but that's not the end of the story! Jesus came to make a way for the whole world to see the Glory of God. How?
By the unleashing of the Holy Spirit in the World through the redeemed people of God.
1 Corinthians 2:10 says: "these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." Do you know what this, and surrounding verses mean!? That the Holy Spirit knows and possesses the fullness of God! Everything there is to know about God, the Spirit knows (because he is God!) And he lives in his redeemed!
So today.. if you have surrendered your life to Jesus then His Spirit lives in you.. and your heart's cry, like Isaiah's, has been answered! "God, come down.. shake the earth.. set the world on fire.. make your name known among your enemies and the nations!" Well, he did it. By putting his Spirit in you. You might say: "But Pastor Matt, I'm not seeing the power and glory of God alive and working in and through my life!"
If you're saved, the Spirit is in you.. The lack of evidence or experience in your life is not really God's issue, it's ours. Look with me at the life of Paul for a moment to learn how to walk and live by the Spirit and see God's glory unleashed in your life and through your life in the world. Ask yourself, am I practicing the things Paul is practicing? Am I walking by the Spirit of God?
In 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 we find 4 important truths about walking in the Spirit through the life of the Apostle Paul. In verse one Paul says.. "I DID NOT come with eloquence or human wisdom." Here we see that Paul laid his own thoughts and plans. He rejected all influences that might direct his heart, actions and words. He repented of maintaining control over his life and ministry and he let the Holy Spirit lead him. This is the hardest part! To walk by the Spirit we must also repent and relinquish control over every aspect of our lives yielding to the Holy Spirits leadership and guidance in every moment and in every decision and in every word. This requires an active practice of the presence of God though prayer.
In verse 2 Paul says.. "I know NOTHING but Christ and him crucified." Paul centered his life.. his mind and heart on the person and work of Jesus. When Paul fixed himself on Christ and the Gospel, laying everything else aside, the Holy Spirit took his hand and led him in the way of Christ. To walk by the Spirit we must open the Word of God and fix our eyes on the life, character and sacrifice of Jesus.. yielding our will as the Spirit leads us to follow Jesus' example. We must confirm everything the Spirit leads us to do or say with the truths of the Word of God.
In verse 3 Paul says: "I came to you in weakness and with great fear and trembling." Paul recognized that he walked under the mighty hand of God as a representation of Christ in the World. God called Paul to become a demonstration of Christ's life and a preacher of Christ's truth. And God has called us to do that too! Living out this responsibility was only possible when we embrace weakness and proceed with our mission by the Spirits power. To walk in the Spirit we must humble ourselves, embrace our own weakness and proceed with a healthy fear of the Lord concerning our place in Gods plan. "For his power is made perfect in our weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9)
Then finally, in verse 4 Paul says that his "message and preaching were not with wise or persuasive words, instead they were a demonstration of the Spirits power." Paul is saying here that the words he received from God, he spoke to others in order that people might know Christ and see the power of God. We must listen to the Spirit and be committed to declare what the Spirit says to us - to other people for the sake of their grow or even salvation. This is how we see the Glory of God unfold in the world around us!
The Holy Spirit revealed the Glory of God through Pauls life because Paul repented of his own agenda and thoughts, Paul walked with Christ every before him, Paul walked fearfully dependent upon the Spirit of God and he opened his mouth to speak what the Spirit spoke to him.
Church... God has come down. He lives in you. And you have everything you need to access his power and to demonstrate his Glory. So lets become desperately dependent upon the Spirits work in us and through us in the church and in the world.