Kingdom Principle: God gives, but not all receive.
Tis better to give than receive (Acts 20:35)…. Therefore God gives.
|Genesis 11:1-9||Psalm 104:24-34, 35b||Romans 8:14-17
|John 14:8-17, (25-27)|
In order to give to others, you have to have something to give. God does not seem to have the concern. God is constantly giving, in fact it is part of God’s nature to give, so He cannot cease to be giving. (James 1:17, Matt. 7:11) However not all experience God’s giving in the same manner. God gives, yet it is our posture and understanding which determines how or what we receive. To the one the gift is direction and hope filling their sails, to the other it is a violent act of destruction uprooting and destroying… to both it was the wind. God’s Spirit has been poured out upon this world as a rushing wind since before the creation blowing over the waters and filling the lungs of humanity with life. To the one this breath and wind brings life and hope. (Ez. 37:1-14, Job 33:4, John 6:63, Acts 2:2, 2 Cor. 3:6) To the other this breath and wind brings death and destruction. (Exodus 15:8, Daniel 11:4, Ez. 17:9-10, Isaiah 11:4, 27:8, 28:2, 40:7, Luke 21:10-11, James 1:6 )
Pentecost is the day the church celebrates life and hope. It has been seen as the Birthday of the church. God gave the greatest of gifts to the church on Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is the day that life entered its body and it became of source of life for all to come. The words of the Scriptures this week announce this movement: The Spirit you received; I will pour out my Spirit, the Father will give you an advocate – the Spirit of Truth, when you (LORD) sends your Spirit- life is created. The Power of God is displayed through creation, and it remains on display in the lives of those who love him. For in those who love and obey the Father, the Spirit dwells mightily. This mighty indwelling is so powerful that Jesus declares that “whoever believes in me, will do even greater works that he has been doing”. How can this be? Only by the fact that God has loosed his Spirit to demonstrate the power of God to the world and after the ascension of Christ from the world God sent his Spirit to dwell inside of those who love and obey His commands.
All that is life giving flows from the throne (Hebrews 4:16, Rev. 22:1-2)… it is an act of Heaven coming to earth. The church (in general) has labored and focused much of its work with the hope of getting people into heaven, however the true flow of God is to bring heaven to earth. Dallas Willard captures this misplaced and faulty thinking in his book “The Divine Conspiracy”. As humanity worked to build a city with a tower to heaven, their goal was to get to heaven. The story of the tower of Babel shows us that the flow of God is of the utmost importance. While humanity’s effort was accomplished in unity, it produced a glorious result out of the wrong flow and motivation which led to their destruction. Imagine the irony of building a tower to the heavens while God is walking amongst you on earth (read it again – it’s in there)… How have we (the church) today fallen into the same pattern of trying to reach God, while God is dwelling within us.
The Father sent Jesus to the earth in the flesh (John 1:1-14) like never before, in doing this God established His willingness to “give” life eternally. (John 3:14-16, 4:14, 5:24, 17:3 Romans 5:21, 6:22-23, 1 Tim 1:16, 1 John 5:11) Jesus by giving his life removes any obstacle between the Heavens and earth (veil was torn), not that we must go to the heavens, rather His Spirit shall rest on earth. In fact again Dallas Willard says that the Church is in error when it preaches the message that you need to accept Jesus to get into heaven when you die – his hope for the gospel of Jesus is lead people to get into heaven BEFORE you Die. (John 3:14 says that no has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven…) Yet it is the longing of humanity to earn our way to God and God-likeness… In this pursuit God’s wind/breath is experienced as uprooting and destructive blow to their efforts… Many cultures and worldviews have told the story of what happens when humanity seeks to attain the heavens and power of the god’s, (Go enjoy the Avenger’s movies…) but it is only the God Most High that lowers himself to dwell with humanity that they may be lifted up. Pentecost redeems the Babel narrative – bringing all that was lost unto death, back to life. The greatest paradox of the Kingdom dwells in the fact that you can’t earn or attain God-like status; rather it is given freely to all who ask. Redemption is God’s greatest act of Giving. For in redemption God takes what has no value and redeems it with His value.
Babel is redeemed through Pentecost
|Movement from Earth to Heaven||
Movement from Heaven to Earth
|One common Language separated into many||
Many languages united and heard as one
|God prevents humanity from doing the impossible||
God give power that nothing shall be impossible
|The work is done by the effort of man’s labor||
The work is done by no effort of man
|The motivation is based in pride||
The motivation is based in prayer
What shall we say then this Pentecost – what are you to look for…shall we wait for flaming tongues of fire to appear on our heads, shall we debate if speaking in tongues is needed or not, shall we condemn those who are sinners, Or shall we live like heirs of the Kingdom of God, seeking redemption of every aspect of our lives that appears to lack value. Might we live as if we have already entered heaven… for if we have not, then we are apt to dangerously live our lives out of fear, not truly knowing if we are going to get in to heaven or not… this is not the fear of God’s children.
However for those who have received the Spirit of Truth, for those whom the Advocate comes alongside us to comfort us and to testify to our spirit that there is life and hope beyond what this world has to offer. This message is a hard for some and to other it brings comfort and joy… however the message is a gift to all – God’s Spirit is the greatest gift of life and love. It is the same gift to ALL people…. But again not all will receive this gift, but those who do, call on the name of the Lord and shall be saved. What do the unsaved have because of this gift? They have “heaven” on earth, because this life is the “best” they are ever going to know. What do those who receive this gift have– Heaven on earth as well– but this is because Heaven is truly breaking through to earth to give them all that the Father has for them. (Luke15:31-32)
Heaven on earth according to Romans 8 is – living in a place of no condemnation… where we once lived orphaned by death, we are now adopted as children. Where we once lived as slaves to a debt, we now are heir’s of freedom. Where we once lived and suffered without purpose, we now share in the Glory of our God…. this life is lived from the inside-out…. (where as the others live from the outside-in) It is the Spirit of God who lives in us (1 John 3:24), which was freely given (1 Cor. 2:14) that we might no longer fear being One people of the globe, but that we might move in Love and unity to proclaim the message that God gives Life to all who come to him.
Last night after the blazing heat of a few days I wanted to soak our young Avocado tree roots… so I turned the water on low and let it run – I forgot about it only to wake up the next morning to 4 inches of standing water against the house and water running into our garden on the side yard. It reminded me on a very small scale what it would be like for God to pour out his Spirit on all peoples… it was a constant flow for 16 hours… and want an impact it had…. The truth is I simply forgot that I turned the water on – my only regret is now I have to pay for the water… I view it as waste – my vegetables, grass and avocado tree view it as life… God certainly must be forgetful – and having already paid the debt – I know understand why is so willing to freely give. May we swim deep and truly be filled with the Spirit this Pentecost.