As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
The title of today’s message is “SO MUCH MORE”, and what that means for us today.
I am convinced in my heart that there are multitudes of people desperately searching for the ‘more’ in their walk with Christ. They fit a unique criterion of individuals who believe there’s more to be received, but have not been exposed to the truths of scripture that unlock this mystery for them. Frustration is a sad companion for these men and women of God. “Give us more”, they plead.
Through this message, I believe the Lord will bring the necessary revelation to these hungering and thirsting souls
When I make the statement that there are people searching for the “so much more”, what exactly do I mean? Scripture is quite plain concerning what must be done to receive the “more”. The truths are both simple and yet fundamental to all believers, as stated in the word of God. Sadly, the very institution, “the church”, has been the source of much confusion when it comes to understanding the ways of God and our relationship with him as Born Again believers.
) The first step that must take place is that you must be born again according to the mandate of word of God. This requires you to submit and then accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.
2) The second step is just as critical and essential. You must receive the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
Most Christians are well acquainted with the salvation experience, but feel uncomfortable and awkward with the second part; being baptized in the Holy Ghost. Why is that? If God desires to give every good gift to his children, then why do we balk at receiving this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit? The church is the reason. It claims that it was good, even necessary 2000 years ago, when the church was being established, but it has outlived its usefulness and is no longer a requirement. What a falsehood. Isn’t the church still being established today, as it was then? Absolutely! Isn’t the salvation experience still just as necessary for the unsaved today as it was then? Of course!
The salvation experience brings you into relationship with God through Christ; gets your foot in the door, so to speak. The Holy Spirit, once received by faith, improves on that relationship by teaching you the deep things of God that only he can reveal to the child of God. It pushes the door of the Kingdom wide open, where all of the pleasant things of God are found and to be enjoyed by his children – you and I. Your mind is renewed and improved daily as you enter into communion with him, through speaking in tongues.
Paul understood this completely and spoke in tongues all of the time; practically without ceasing. As a result, he had the type of intimacy with the Father, fully grasping the deep things of God that most of you have been longing for.
Have you ever wondered how is it that Paul received such great revelations and understood the deep mysteries of God that he’s revealed in scripture? Is he better, or more holy than the rest of us? Did God simply love Paul more than the rest of us? Was he uniquely special in anyway from you and I? The answer is simple – NO! We’d be fools to believe that were so, especially since his word says that he [God] is NOT a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Does this then imply that we too can have what exactly what Paul and countless other believers throughout church history possessed or experienced? Absolutely! Even in this very day.
First things first –
If for some reason you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, or have not been baptized in the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, since your salvation experience, you need to…
1) Get in touch with someone who is a spirit-filled believer, who can properly explain these experiences to you, as clearly outlined in scripture.
2) Lead you into either, or both, experience(s) so you can possess everything God desires you to have.
If you ever desire to go further in your relationship with Almighty God, then these two elements are mandatory. Those possessing only the salvation experience are greatly hindered in their walk with Christ. Don’t let that happen to you. If God gave the gift(s), who are we to say if they are valuable or not.
If you are born again and afterwards baptized in the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues, then here is what you can expect. Remember, these are two completely different experiences. Sometimes the experiences happen on the very same day, one right after the other. For others, it might happen days, months, or even years later. It depends on who the pastor or leader is and whether or not they have accepted these truths for themselves. If they aren’t baptized in the Holy Spirit themselves, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, or don’t believe the experience is relevant for the lives of believers today, it might never happen if you remain in their church. The mind must be renewed through God’s word for faith to become effective enough to receive.
So how do you go from, or beyond human knowledge into an intimate relationship with Almighty God?
First of all, as you can imagine, I cannot possibly touch on every element of this question in a short blog, because of its enormity, but here’s the key element I want you to remember – relationship.
A relationship with God is totally unique and unlike any relationship you’ll ever have with members of the human race. My relationship with God is so special that I am willing to die to preserve it. As the song says, “it is the air I breathe”. It is everything I am; that I teach; that I proclaim; the foundation of my faith. These elements enable me to stand on the sure foundation which is Christ, having intimacy and communion with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Remember, you simply can’t have an effective relationship with anyone, let alone God, without first knowing the truth about the one you desire to have that relationship with. It only makes sense.
As a child of God, you should understand the unique nature and character of God, but precious few saints actually do. Many think, or are erroneously taught, that God is completely unapproachable and won’t reveal himself to sinful man. This is utter nonsense of course and is certainly not supported anywhere in scripture. In fact, God is far more anxious to reveal himself to his church, than the church is willing to believe. God wants us to discover him. It’s a part of his gloriously plan to draw all people unto himself in intimacy. Relationship is what God is all about. Remember, truth dispels rumors.
It is our responsibility, however, to understand scripture, which is all but impossible without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
He [Holy Spirit] guides us into all truth. Man’s effort to intellectually interpret scripture always ends in frustration and error. The Holy Spirit always leads us in truth to discover greater truths – “yea, the deep things of God”.
If you’re ever to have a relationship with God, then you must have a clear understanding of all that God has provided for you according to his promises.
Everything God desires to give you will come from him alone.
Here it is again…
If you are going to have relationship with Almighty God, then you need to know the truths concerning Him. The truth always makes you free.
So, once you’ve been born again and later had the second experience of being baptized in the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, then the next logical step is for you to establish a proper relationship with Almighty God. This cannot be accomplished by human effort or intellect. It must be done according to God’s instruction; his word. Any other way will result in pure frustration, since it’ll be utterly impossible to achieve.
Here’s the method…
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
When scripture tells us to draw nigh, it simply means to come near to God; to get close. This isn’t a one sided effort, like a person attempting to be close to someone who really doesn’t want it, or to be communicated with. God is nothing like that. God wants to be found and he desires relationship with his children.
Scripture shows us God’s love and desire to be united with you in this next passage.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God was in fact abounding towards us even when we were yet sinners. Another great verse confirms Rom 5:8.
I Jn 4:19
We love him, because he first loved us.
Here’s the point. You don’t need to do something special or anything at all, to get God to love you. He has always loved you! God has always been passionate about you, even though you may not yet know or understand it. His love is not diminished because you have grasped how special you really are to him.
As we all know, the whole world is filled with radio and television air waves. They’re transmitted every single second of every day – 24/7. Unless we have a proper receiver though, we’ll never know what’s being transmitted. What’s being broadcast simply does us no good whatsoever.
Think about this…
Even when you had absolutely no desire to serve God or love him, he was still reaching out to you in love, calling you to himself. As he was abounding towards you, he was reconciling the world unto himself.
The issue of relationship is not about how God needs to get closer to you. He’s already done that in its fullest measure. The issue is really all about you drawing nigh or closer to God. Most Christians don’t grasp this, so they end up floundering in their faith after accepting Christ, wondering why a relationship with God seems so impossible.
I honestly believe most of us want to flourish in our Christian faith after salvation. We just don’t know how.
If we could say there was a real goal of salvation, it would certainly have to be that of establishing a relationship with God. He is passionate to have that relationship and has gone to great lengths to achieve it. Now he waits for you to do your part by drawing nigh to him, so the relationship can be sealed.
When you have understanding of what I’m giving you, you can enter into the next step.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
The key phrase here is, “As they ministered to the Lord.”
There was a time in my life when I couldn’t fathom God ever needing or desiring anything from his creation. After all, he was God, the creator of all things. What could he possibly want or need from me? Nothing – right?!
My relationship with God always centered on what I thought he could or should do for me as a born again child of God.
Like most Christians, I had been taught that God is the source from which we draw all things, so I never concerned myself with the possibility that God had a need. It never occurred to me until years later that I would be able to enjoy ministering to the Creator through relationship.
Perhaps, like me, you too never thought about a relationship with God beyond what service and obedience you could render. It only stands to reason that most of us never really thought we had much to offer God. Boy, were we mislead.
When my eyes were finally opened, I learned many new and exciting things. I finally realized that God does have a need and I was able to fulfill that need because of what he had done in me – the new man.
I Jn 4:8
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
The very core and nature of God is his love. God is love and he loves us. He is agape love personified; pure and holy.
Anyone who truly loves has a similar need, which is to be loved in return. A tragedy occurs when someone loves another deeply, but their love is never returned.
I believe we all know that God is completely sufficient in all things and sovereign, that he requires nothing, but he longs for fellowship with his creation – mankind. Love created all things and all creation acknowledges their creator, yet nothing pleases God more than his creation of man. These are the ones God fashioned after his own image. They’re special and unique, far above everything else, including the angels. Only man will rule with him in the new kingdom.
When scripture tells us that these Christians “ministered” unto God, it’s teaching us the proper way of expressing our love back to Almighty God for the love he first bestowed on us.
Here’s what happening…
As they are together, they begin worshipping him in spirit and in truth. Their ministering is genuine and sincere and is having an impact upon God.
1) As they are expressing their love of God.
) As they are praising and exalting God.
3) As they are worshipping God.
In these things, they ministered unto God and it fulfilled his need. What a radical concept.
God paved the way for this unique relationship to be interactive. He sees that you finally grasp his great and marvelous love and are willing to acknowledge it in your worship of him. In this love he sees only you, not any of your failings. His love is made complete.
God has invited us to come and enjoy relationship, but we must heed the call and accept his invitation. We having nothing to bring or offer except our worship through thankful hearts, but it is enough.
Religion has done a disservice to believers. It told us that God was unapproachable. That is a lie!
Religion has taught us that whenever we fail or stumble, falling once again into sin that God pulls away from us until we repent. Over and over again we hear that God will not fellowship and enter into relationship with a dirty vessel.
The real shocker…
I want you to understand, that God doesn’t have any other kind of vessel to fellowship with. That’s right. The world is crammed full of impure vessels.
If religion had its way, no one would ever be good enough, regardless of what they did. They’ll inform you that God won’t have fellowship with anyone who has sin in their lives. If that were the case, God could never have fellowship with mankind. Thank goodness religion isn’t the final answer.
How did God overcome the reality of religion? He did so by sending us his son [Jesus] to reconcile the world unto himself. He took care of the sin issue so he could once again have relationship with mankind. Religion always brings bondage.
The bondage of religion is that it’s always trying to get God to move, when he has already moved in every area.
1) Trying to get God to answer your prayers.
2) Trying to get God to show his love for you.
3) Trying to get God to do something, or move in a special way when you feel he hasn’t.
4) Trying to get God to heal you.
5) Trying to get God to deliver you from your lust.
6) Trying to get God to save your spouse, friend or family member, etc.
Friends, God has already provided for every contingency. He has left nothing undone, despite what religion tells you. In fact he proclaimed that the work [all of it] was finished when he took his last breath. Why then must he ever do anything else? The reality is that most Christians don’t believe it. Instead they’re taught to lament and travail before God, pleading for another great move. Most would be shocked if I told you that God hasn’t move since Calvary. There’s no need! The only real need we have is to come into the revelation of truth that sets the captives free. If God’s word proclaims the work to be finished, why don’t you believe it? The answer has always been because of religion. Christ often rebuked the religious establishment, and those who loved it and practiced it.
The problem is not with the transmitter, it’s with the receiver.
God is transmitting his love and promises 24/7. It is always flowing 100% towards you – always abounding towards you.
You will never be able to minister unto the Lord until you draw nigh unto him in love and understanding. You’re going to have to move into faith and out of your feelings. Start believing what the word of God says to you and about you, then immediately start thanking him for everything he provided then and all that he is doing for you, to bring you into truth and relationship.
When your love flows from a heart of truth, it will minister greatly unto the Lord of Glory. He is worthy of it.
Draw nigh to God and he shall draw nigh unto you. You won’t be disappointed.