Sermon December 9, 2006 : An irresistible presence

Posted in Sermons
  • Presenter: Brandt Gillespie
  • Date: December 9, 2006
  • Location: Congregation Lion of Judah, Boston MA

We just quiver in response to the fact that you, the holy God ….., would invite us into union and communion with ….. Lord is a miracle that we are completely undeserving, we are completely unable to find anything ….. us, but for your blood, but for your grace, but for you coming and doing what you do when you transcend earth and heaven, space and time.

Lord it’s what we long for and what we are experiencing and we say, Lord, we are grateful. We say we are grateful. Lord, it’s your presence that we long for, that we earn for, it’s your glory that makes life bearable. Lord, it’s when you come and visit us and we experience you and you take and make alive all the deadness God, that otherwise is ruling, we see it ruling in the planet in so many ways. But God when we come into your presence we are just made alive. We just say, thank you Lord. Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.

I’m going to invite you to be seated but I really want to stay really present with what God’s doing here, and do our best to be fully conscious and fully aware of what the Lord is wanting to get done.

Today I was looking at some of the scriptures that really pertain to the life of Saul in particular. You know, Saul is such a mixture of so many things that we see. We observe him and we see the bigger and the strength and the potential, I suppose, in so many ways, and that becomes what we fixate on during the early seasons of his life.

And then we see the tragedies that befall him, the weaknesses that are exposed in him and the character that remained undeveloped and the inability for him to really fulfill everything that I would guess looking at it, that God would have intended for him, that is that amazing, wonderful potential that is present in everybody, and realized in some measure and some degree and not realized in some other measures and degrees.

If you have your Bibles I will invite you to turn with me over to First Samuel, chapter 10 and you might leaf on over and just put your finger into chapter 19, because we’re going to visit that as well.

But looking at verse 1 of First Samuel 10 it says: “… Then Samuel took a flask of oil and he poured it on Saul’s head and he kissed him saying, has not the Lord anointed you leader over his inheritance? When you leave me today you’ll meet two men near Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah, on the border of Benjamin, and they will say to you, ‘the donkeys you set out to look for have been found and now your father has stopped thinking about them, and he is worried about you. He is asking, what shall I do about my son?’

And verse 3 it says, “…. Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, another a skin of wine. And they will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. And after, you will go to Gibeath of God where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres and tambourines, flutes, harps being played before them and they will be prophesying the spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power and you will prophesize with them and you’ll be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled do whatever your hand finds to do for God is with you.

Go down ahead of me to Gilgal and I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.

As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart and all these signs were fulfilled that day. When they arrived at Gibeath a procession of prophets met him, the spirit of God came upon him in power. He joined in their prophesying. When all those who had formally known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, ‘what is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

A men who lived there answered, ‘and who is their father?’ So it became a saying, is Saul also among the prophets? After Saul stopped prophesying he went to the high place.

Now Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, ‘where have you been?’. ‘Looking for the donkey’, he said, but when we saw they were not to be found we went to Samuel. Then Saul’s uncle said, ‘tell me what Samuel said to you’. Saul replied, ‘he assured us that the donkeys had been found’. But he did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about the kingship.

Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah and he said to them, ‘this is what the Lord, the God of Israel says, I brought Israel up out of Egypt and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you, but you have now rejected your God who saves you out of all your calamities and distresses and you have said, ‘No, set a king over us’. So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans’.

When Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was chosen. Finally Saul, the son of Kish was chosen but when they looked for him he was not to be found.

So they inquired further of the Lord, ‘Has the man come here yet?’ and the Lord said, ‘Yes, he has hidden himself among the baggage’. They ran and they brought him out and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others.

Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.’

Then the people shouted, ‘Long live the king’.

We’re going to go in a minute over to First Samuel chapter 19. We’re going to look at another piece of Saul’s life. But I wanted just bring our focus and our attention back to verses 5 and 6 and 7. The word that came to Saul as a young man, after he will go up to Gibeath of God where there is a Philistine outpost as you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place, with lyres, tambourines, flutes, harps, being played before them and they will be prophesying and the spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.

What I want for us to really ask and examine is the fragility of our humanity, that which is a part and a parcel of our makeup. You know, all of us are like Saul, all of us have God potential. Each and every one of us, under the anointing of God can do great miraculous and mighty things. That’s what it says. “Once these things are fulfilled do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”

When you’re under the anointing of God and I’m going to say this rather in a broad, blanket statement. I’m not going to carvel nitches where you could say, you might see this and take exception with that, because I’m sure that you could make those kinds of cases if you look at all of these things and you try to examine them under a microscope. But the reality is, when God is at your back, when he is doing the pushing, and is not initiated out of the humanity and the self and the striving and the human desire, I mean, you can be bold, incredibly, incredibly bold.

And what I felt, pastor Roberto, when I was asking the Lord about what to share here, is to look at these scriptures and to talk about this place in the light of being among the company of those who prophesize.

Now, I am not trying to get uniquely divergent …………… some kind of passage that would lead to wild, charismatic and excesses in prophesy and prophesying and all of that. And I do want to say that because language is important and it can communicate a lot of different things to a lot of different people. I’m talking about the power of God to speak forth the word in boldness and authority. I’m talking about prophesying not in the sense of just mystically foretelling something futuristically, but in the sense, I believe, the true biblical sense, that which has the broad, sweep of all of scripture, that is when the power of God comes on people. This is the language they use, they prophesy.

And we are going to look in a moment at some of the different stages that took place in Saul’s life and how did Saul when he would come under that anointing, he would be transformed and he would be changed. But how that the reality is, it’s that what happens to you, and that’s what happens to me, and that we become different people when we are under the anointing of God. we really aren’t just the same.

Now, that’s not to try to speak of some kind of duplicity, but it is when we are amerced in his presence, when we sense his presence, when we are in and around his presence is transformative. It changes our very core nature. When, as we see, the jealousy that arose in Saul’s life took root and the fear that was kind of eluded to in the very early stages there, when he was about to be announced as king, he couldn’t be found. Why couldn’t he be found? Because he was hiding in the baggage. Why was he hiding in the baggage? Because something was …… in his thinking, because he didn’t believe that he belonged, he didn’t believe that there was, you can call it shyness, you could kind of divided and try to figure out exactly what was going on psychologically inside of him as a human being when he was faced with that. Haven’t you felt that? I felt it. You’ve experienced it, haven’t you. you’ve been in certain setting, you’ve been called in to some kind of place, you’ve had opportunities and you think, ‘I’m not ready for this’, ‘this can’t be for me’.

So, it’s not like we’re sitting here looking at Saul in some kind of judgmental sense and thinking of him, you know, what was the matter with him, you know. He had Samuel, he was under the anointing, he had all of these things that were going on. The reality it’s that’s a reflection of what happens inside of us as life goes on, because we become subject to different influences and depending on the influences that we are subject to we really become very different people.

Now, I’m not trying to scare you. I don’t know what happened at the end of Saul’s life. I don’t know why he went to the witch in Endor and ultimately chose to align himself adivination with advanation, feeling somehow that he had been alienated from the loving God who had given him so much privilege and so much opportunity. And I don’t know how God is going to judge all of that. I just don’t know. I’m not here to try to figure that out, nor am I trying to paint a picture in your mind of anything in particular about him or his journey. But I want for us to do is I want for us to begin to understand something about the core of this, is to understand something about creating an environment where the anointing is present, where the spirit of prophesy in the broad sense of the interpretation of that word is resident, and where when people come in to that place they become different people. That’s where I’m going with this.

But on my way I want to take you over to chapter 19. As we look at some of the more difficult things, beginning at verse 17, you have to just quickly do a little encapsulating of some of the background on this. Michal was Saul’s daughter and it was a pretty twisted relationship between Michal and Saul, the father. I don’t mean necessarily, sick sinful, in that way, but in the sense of very manipulative, very divisive, very positional, trying to figure out how to… Saul being very jealous of the fact that David was extremely successful in battle and receiving accolades from people, and try to figure out how to get his daughter hooked in and use that as a means of control. You know, you just see so much, I mean, this guy needed 20 years of work, you know, with the best of counseling to be able to try figure out all of the things that were going on inside of his heart and inside of his mind.

And Saul said to his daughter Michal, “Why do you deceive me –this is later on, she’s married to David at this point and he’s is trying to find a way of killing David and using Michal to be able to get close to actually assassinate him and so he’s saying to his daughter Michal- he says: “Why do you deceive me like this? and send my enemy -who’s David- away so he escaped. And Michal told him –her father- she said, “he –meaning David- said to me ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?

And when David had fled and made his escape he went to Samuel at Ramah and he told him all that Saul had done to him. Then, he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there.

Word came to Saul David is in Naioth and at Ramah so he sent men to capture him, but when they saw a group of prophets prophesying with Samuel standing there as their leader, the spirit of God came upon Saul’s men and they also prophesied.

Now, understand this, Saul has sent his men out to capture and to kill David. They come and they meet Samuel and they run into him and the group of people that are around him that are prophesying, and instead of being assassins they start prophesying, they come under the anointing of God’s spirit. And it just shakes things up.

Then Saul was told about it and he sent more men and they, it says, prophesied too. This is verse 21, chapter 19 “… Saul sent men a third time and also prophesied.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but that would tend to get somebody’s attention you would think. You know, you’re sending your men, your army, your stealth raiders, your commandos, your delta force, you’re sending them to go and kill who he perceived to be the enemy. And, every time they get close they run into this spirit of prophesy. They meet up with something that transforms and changes them.

And so, what does it say in verse 22? “Finally, Saul, he himself, left for Ramah and he went to the great cistern at Secu and he said, ‘Where are Samuel and David? Over in Naioth at Ramah’, they said. So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah, but the spirit of God came even upon him and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.

Then he stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why they say, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’

It’s sounds like a bizarre story and it is. It is. But I’m going to offer to you my belief in the hope that that kind of anointing is possible. That kind of presence is irresistible. I do not believe that this is just a biblical fiction, or pipe dream or something that might have happened hundreds of years ago that you know, you could look back in a historical sense, and say, well, you know, they were superstitious our whatever.

I’m here to tell you that in simple faith, in a quietness of spirit, I believe in a God who can do that in lives. I believe that that evident presence and power of God is so great that when mankind meets and encounters that kind of presence and power, there is no standing in the way.

Remember the guy who was sent to prophesy against Israel and he was riding the donkey and he couldn’t… he got up to prophesy every time against you know, Israel, and he couldn’t do it.

We are living in a culture and we are living in a time that is going to take that kind of evidence of God’s presence and power to transform. I don’t mean this in a critical way, in a critical sense. I really don’t. But all of the good psychological, analytical preaching and teaching can’t really affect this culture. We can’t use the tools of this culture. It doesn’t mean that we try to be irrelevant and that we are aware and they’re not speaking the language of the people who live in this culture in this time. I’m talking about that, but what I am saying, and I’m saying as firmly as I know how to say it, the tools and devices that the world uses to effect change in the culture, they are not going to work for us in the kingdom. They’re not going to work. They’re not wrong, and there are wonderful churches that do so many things that are really so right and no criticism of any church ever, anywhere or any person who’s doing the best that they know how to do to accomplish things. We’re all doing that. We’re all doing it. We’re doing it every day, but is going to take something outside of the realm of rationality to be able to see the transformation happen in lives, in this day and time.

So, when we look at this I want us to ask some questions. You know, there’s a lot of example in the Bible, we could look at it, we could draw from it, and those examples in the Bible are there for the feeding of our souls, and they’re there to remind us and they’re there to speak to us. We can talk about Peter being in prison and the church being all in a panic of the fact of the despairing for what’s going to happen to him and angel comes and releases him.

We can look at Paul and Silas , ….. 16 and there in stocks. And you know, our natural mind wants to try to figure all of this out and say, yes, there was an earthquake that took place, and we look at it on a natural level and we say, yeah, they sang out and said, no, no, don’t worry we’re all here and along comes the tailor and he gets saved.

But there is something absolutely divine about the timing of being in tune with the spirit of God to be singing and to be worshiping at midnight and so they are in tune with the time that God’s going to send the earthquake and they are in place for the miracle to happen. They’re at that moment when God’s ready to step through and reveal himself and they aren’t shocked by it.

We could look and we could talk about many, many different things, but one of the points that I want to make is that we look at the condition of people and about the condition of their souls and we think, how on earth are they going to be reached? How on earth are the ungodly going to find God? How are they going to come to faith and come alive?

Well, this I want to say: when the presence and the power of God is there, just get them there. Just get them there. There are two things to happen, there needs to be a people, there needs to be a people that will lift their hearts with a purpose that they are going to preserve, cooperate with, yield to, move with the spirit of God, so that there is something of his power that is fertile. The analogy that is there is ……… about the keeping of the holy fire, the holy flame is very applicable. It’s not just something that’s distant, something that’s out there, that’s thousands of years old and that we don’t have any paradigm for today. We have a paradigm for it today. It’s a community of people. It’s a community of people that will be alive with God. It’s a community of people that will keep the presence and the power of God available, available, and that when people touch Jesus, when they walked up alongside of him, he sends the power had gone out of them, the virtue had gone out of him

God is looking for a people that as a community will determine that not in singularity, but in the sense of community, that we will keep the presence and the power of God, we’ll cooperate with the spirit of God so he can do it. Because he’s going to do it. He’s looked through history, he’s always ready.

Now, we can argue some theology here if you want, and some of you can correct me, I’m sure. But, my belief is that God is always ready and that he is waiting for us. He takes initiative. He always takes initiative in people’s lives, but it’s uniquely when there is this apex of time and people when they come together, when they are ready, when they collectively say yes to the living God. When that happens all kinds of things take place, all kinds of things take place.

I for the last many years, I’ve been doing a lot of video production work and one of the things that I was doing this past year was over at Yale and capturing some of the speakers and some other things and George……… Junior was there and he was sharing about the things that he has observed, he personally has watched and observed, and we need to pray for Fiji because of the things that are going on there in the Fijian Islands right now and I’m not quite sure exactly what all is happening. I know there is tumult and there overthrow and a general has risen up and etc. and we do need to be in prayer about that.

But he talked about how on planet earth today there is no place that he is aware of, and he does this as a discipline to study. There is no place on planet earth today that has been like it over the last 5 years where the whole region has gone from horrible, horrific poverty to abundance and blessing, that it’s not just been that people have been able to work together and get jobs and …….. the economy, and that, but it literally it has been the presence of the power of God over the area.

Coral reefs that have been dead, dead, unproductive, not producing fish, not producing life, have come to life. Ground that has not produced food when planted in, and not just through technical means of agrarian information that we might gather through our scientific mind, but supernaturally come alive to produce abundance, abundance in cooperation with a society that has moved in mass in response to God, coming to God.

And people, what I am just sharing here is that God is looking for that, there has been prophetic words that have gone on about Boston and about the region and humanly, I don’t know about you, but I have lived here long enough to feel pain in my soul at times at hearing those words.

But God is looking for a place and he’s looking for a people. I’m not going to return to the scripture and read more of it. It’s there to be read in chapter 19.

There are people walking up and down these streets, at some place, at some time it could be here. They are going to come in, in their drunken stoopers, in their drug induced, comatose shuffles and be transformed by the power of God, the presence of God. The presence of God and the power of God does that. The anointing of God does that.

Charlotte, I kind of like you to share a little bit about some of the things that you saw when you were a child in your church. This is my wife Charlotte, my daughter Bony. Would you mind if she just came and shared a little bit? Charlotte’s father was a preacher for many years and she grew up in an environment where….. she’ll tell you.

I’ll just be brief but I really saw as a child a God moving in some unmistakable ways that were just so awesome that I could never, never doubt his power. And for a period of about while we lived first of all in a smaller Canadian city, which was about an hour and half east of ……. A city of thirty thousand and our church at the time was about 800 people and all our kids were born there.

We lived there 13 years, but there wasn’t a Sunday that I can even recall as a child about what families for not coming to the Lord an we just seemed to live in a constant state of renewal and revival, just incredibly so and we would have, you know, back in those days, in the fifties, had ten meetings and in the summer we’d be out in this big tent and I would see literally see, blind eyes opened, of people that we knew were blind. It wasn’t just somebody’s hype or somebody’s you know, try manipulating something. These were people who lived in our community.

And I just really could never doubt the power of God. And then when we moved to Terano, it’s a city about ten million people, it was just a mixture of people. People from all over the world, and young and old, and rich and poor, sitting side by side and it was just amazing, but we would see often street people coming in and being transformed by the power of God.

And during those years in the late sixties of course the Jesus movement began and we would have literally, rows and rows and rows of you know, young people with long hair and stinky bodies and all the rest, and they were coming to Jesus, they were coming to Jesus.

And often at time in the Sunday night service, up in the balcony would be many, many rows of young priests, Catholic, Roman Catholic priests in training for the priesthood, but they were hungry for the Holy Spirit. They were hungry for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and we saw many of them come into glorious infilling of the Holy Spirit.

God can do so very, very much. We, Brand and I, stand here as miracles tonight. We are just a regular people, we’re very ordinary people. We can tell you how God restored our marriage too. We were separated for five years, which is a long story which I certainly can’t get into tonight, but God has restored us and brought us back literally from a wasteland, an incredible wasteland. God can do anything. He really can. His power is great. His faithfulness is incredible and we just stand here tonight as miracles of that and it’s so great to be with you and to encourage you and to give you hope to keep pressing in that God really can do the impossible.

Just very simply, I want us to ask God if he would help us to really say yes, to really become a community of people available, available.

Father, please just stand. Father, Father, we want to just yield Lord to you. Father, we want to just yield to you right now. Lord, we are just really mere images of the things that we see in Saul’s life, but God we’re reminded that there are choices that are involved, there are choices, Lord that we have on the level, on the degree, on the measure that we are going to be able to say yes to you. God would you, would you just roll back the veil a little bit this night, would you just send your spirit to light upon this place. Would you give us the ability to welcome your angels to be our guides? We know that they’re there in the protective sense, we fear eyes about a lot of things concerning the work that their assignments have in regard to interfacing with us. We don’t understand it well, Lord, but we don’t even want to pretend that we have knowledge of that which is so mysterious, but we ask, Lord, would you just, just take your hand and brush back the veil.

Lord, we’re reminded of Paul’s words about the heavens were his …… how it’s a picture that is given to us of this impenetrable membrane between earth and heaven, this hard and fast, we’re here, you’re there kind of concept, but Lord, I just ask would you just thin out the membrane between earth and heaven.

Lord, just even like that translucent state so that we could lift our eyes and we could really see your glory, not just wishfully hopefully, God, not just in the sense of singing about it, God, not just in the sense of …… and yearning to be there, but Lord in a sense where you transform our realities, our preceptors become different.

Lord, we are reminded of Saul, determined in his heart that he’s going to go and kill somebody, and he walks into that environment and he can’t do it. He’s different. Lord, you and I, you and us, Lord, we have this one thing in common, we want to be at the intersection together where God and men meet. We want to get there in our lifetime, we want to say, like Job, that we would beheld your glory with our eyes, that we have seen something that is utterly transformative, Lord, because we have been where you intersect with humanity.

Father, we don’t want to just be spiritualizing, we don’t’ want to just be saying words, we don’t want to be guilty, Lord, of pretence. But we are asking Lord, would you come now, would you bring us up, would you do whatever it takes, Lord, to cause the coming together of you, the holy God, we, the fragile people.

Holy Spirit, we tell you we don’t know how to do this, we don’t know how to do it. We don’t know the mechanics. But Lord, you’ve said to us that it’s really about being led by your spirit, those who are led by your spirit will be called the sons of God and we ask Lord, that you would lead us.

Father, this place, this group of people, this night, wrap us Lord in your presence. Lord, we can’t make ourselves different, some of us have been in and out of groups and in and out of therapy, and in and out of this thing and that thing, Lord, it’s you that changes and transforms.

Come, come, Lord. Come.

Holy Spirit of God, we need you now We need you, Lord

You know, in order for that kind of anointing to take place, we need to take risks, there’s a part that we need to do. We declare certain things, we declare that we believe the word of God and then we need to open spaces for that to happen and we need to take risks in terms of places ourselves in the place where the Holy Spirit can use us for that to happen.

I think tonight before we leave here, as a congregation that is seeking to be a space where God can do his work and move among us, I’d like to us any one and please do not feel at all pressured individually to do this, only if you feel that you’re comfortable with that and that God is speaking to you particularly, to come forward and I have some anointing oil here and I’d like Brand to come forward and myself and we’re just going to anoint to those who are seeking that greater flow of the spirit in their lives. I know I want that spirit to flow in my life.

And you know, it begins like that, the Holy Spirit wants to do things in us but we have to take a step. God doesn’t do everything, because if he does everything then, we’re just parasites, we don’t develop the gifts, we don’t develop the skills, we don’t develop the attitude, so it requires that the people of God who are hungry for God take steps of faith, and as we take steps of faith then God moves. That’s the pattern of scripture time and time again. We grasp on the word of God, we take a risk, we act upon it and then let him be responsible. It’s not us, I’m nobody. The oil is nothing either, these are just symbols that we activate through our faith.

So, if you want to come forward tonight in a very simple way. I just like to anoint you and pray the spirit of God in your life, the flow of the gifts of the spirit in your life. That’s what we want. We want an anointed community, an anointed community, that’s what God wants to raise in this city: an anointed body of men and women who are living the word of God, living yoked together in love and in sincerity, allowing the Holy Spirit to raise that community and make that community of power and of authenticity, where people who come from the outside and say, guau! There’s something different in this community, there’s something that I’m not used to seeing in the outside. God must be there and I want that for my life.

And if you have the faith it can happen in your life tonight. You know, this is not about any spectacular thing, I mean, it’s by faith. As we declare the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your life, the gifts of the spirit, I want you to inside of you say, ‘yes, Lord, I receive your anointing’. It’s not because of the man who’s anointing me or praying for me. It’s because you are acting through your word and I, in faith, activate that word within myself.

And I believe that tonight as I say yes to your spirit, I will receive something different and will walk out of this place with something different. And then, I’m going to begin to walk in faith as if I had received that. I will pray for the sick. I will go to bed believing that tonight you’re going to give me a dream or revelation. I will believe that you will give opportunities in my job to speak about Christ with authority and that I would bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I believe that you will heal. I believe that you will make me an instrument of your prophetic word. All these things, these are the gifts of the spirit. They can begin to flow through your life as you act in faith and as we pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit in your life.

I want you to interact with us as we in obedience ask for the anointing of the Holy Spirit on your life and believe that God will do it in his way, in his ways, not man’s way, but in his way. God will do it tonight. Let’s say amen to that.


Sermon delivered by Brandt Gillespie taped December 9, 2006 at Congregation Lion of Judah Listen | View (100K) | View (400K)

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