I’ve experienced such a wonderful awareness of God’s presence in the last few months that I have no words to describe it. I’ve often found myself weeping because I’m so aware of God’s love and I feel it like a river flowing out of me. At one point a few weeks ago (while I was still visiting the United States) this awareness of God’s love grew so great that left me weeping and wailing loudly at the end of the church meeting, then I felt such a holy awe that I just stayed there for a while after and didn’t want to speak. Words cannot express such glory.
Maybe others wondered why I was wailing so loudly, but there was no guilt or condemnation in it. I had just taken communion before and it was so wonderful to take communion and know that there was nothing weighing on my conscience, only unbroken fellowship with God and unspeakable joy. Sometimes we don’t fully understand how we are responding to God’s presence, or why we are laughing or crying, but we know it’s Him.
Sometimes I try to communicate the glory I know by sharing testimonies of healing, and the healing and miracles all come out of fellowship with God. Scriptural truths can lead a person into this awareness of God’s glory and love, and today I’m sharing one such truth that the Holy Spirit has recently been highlighting to me. If you know me well you’ll recognize that it’s a different angle on something I talk about often.
God Is Invisible But He Is Seen In A Body
This phrase keeps going through my thoughts, as if God is highlighting it to me. “God is Spirit! God is Spirit!”
John 4:23-24 (NIV) Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Jesus was talking with the woman at the well. She was talking about natural things, like where is the proper place to worship God. Jesus told her that God is Spirit and the worship he seeks is in Spirit and in truth.
God is invisible because he is a Spirit, but the nature of a spirit is manifest in a body.
John 1:18 (NIV) No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Colossians 1:15 (NIV) The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Jesus, as the first sinless man since the fall of Adam, revealed the nature of the invisible God. The personality of the invisible Spirit of God became manifest through a body. We saw that God is totally good! He is pure light, and there is no darkness in Him! There is no sickness in Him! There is no evil in Him! His nature is pure love and a fierce compassion constantly moves His heart.
You Can’t See God’s Kingdom Unless You Are Born Of The Spirit
John 3:1-10 (NIV) Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
Too many Christians try to see God in the same way that people who aren’t even born again get their picture of God. They evaluate God’s goodness through their experiences, including their disappointments.
Parents have compassion for their sick children and yet feel as if God’s compassion is less. God’s goodness is a doctrine that we hold to fiercely, but many get such a twisted and disappointing perception of what “God’s goodness” looks like that the resulting conception of God’s nature has little power to produce any joy. In fact, it leaves us depressed!
I can’t tell you how many atheists I’ve heard argue “God can’t be real, because if He was real and if He was good he wouldn’t have allowed such-and-such a thing to happen to me.” Many who make this argument once considered themselves Christians, but decided that they no longer believed in God after a painful experience.
In the passage above Jesus talks about being able to see God’s kingdom and understand heavenly things. The working of God’s kingdom and the nature of heavenly things can only be understood by the Spirit. When I share the gospel I speak of what I know and what I experience. I know the life of God flowing through me, and I know it’s because Jesus died for me, carrying my sin and sickness on himself to set me free. I know it’s because He rose again so I could have new life. These things are mysteries and they can only be fully understood with the spirit. I can’t fully explain with words how the gospel works, but I can proclaim its truth and I know it does work.
Jesus said that nobody can even see God’s kingdom unless he is born again. If people who haven’t been born again of God’s Spirit can’t see God’s kingdom, we who have been born of God’s spirit certainly should not be trying to see God through the things that atheists or unbelievers look at. An atheist looks at earthly things and concludes that God doesn’t exist. Too many religious people look at those same earthly things and try to rationalize God’s goodness to fit into those things, but the truth is that God is a Spirit and he can’t be seen through earthly things.
God Wants To Be Seen Through You!
1 John 4:12 (NIV) No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Nobody has ever seen God, but those who have been born of the Spirit can see Him, not through earthly things but because they have received God’s spirit. God’s nature is love. When we give ourselves over to this Spirit whose nature is love, the nature of God’s invisible Spirit is manifest through us.
God’s spirit found a body in Christ so God’s nature could be revealed. Christ ascended and scripture says we are the body of Christ. God’s invisible Spirit now dwells in the body of every person who belongs to Christ, because God purposes to reveal the nature of that Spirit through our bodies. The nature and personality of God’s invisible Spirit become visible through our communion with that Spirit.
Next week we’ll go on to talk more about communing with God’s Spirit.