Here are my sermon notes from Sunday 15th August 2020.
In this new season, we are exploring different ways to meet together. As we do this we want to make sure we do not lose our identity as a charismatic church.
Charismatic means gifts
In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he uses the Greek word “Charisma” at least seven times and in every case, he is referring to the "gifts" of the Holy Spirit. So when we talk about being “charismatic” we are meaning so much more than mere singing, or hand-raising. So when we talk about being charismatic we are saying that we are a people who see the Holy Spirit's gifts when the church gathers.
WE MUST UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE COME TOGETHER IN WORSHIP
In Old Testament times God's people would go to the temple to encounter the presence of God. It's not that God was confined to the temple, but it was the centre of his presence on earth, a special place where his Glory dwelled. This was a foreshadowing of what was to come. The presence of God filling the Jerusalem temple pointed forward to a time when God's presence would fill his people. Encountering
The Presence Of God Individually.
Paul picks up on this in 1Cor3-16
Don’t you realise that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? NLT
I found it strange during lockdown when some people said they found it difficult to meet with God. Christians have the Spirit of God living in them now which means that we can encounter God in our homes, in the garden, in the car, at work, and even on Zoom!
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you can experience God’s presence - why? - because he lives in you!
Encountering The Presence Of God Together.
Amazingly that is not all of it! As well as being individually temples of the Holy Spirit, the church is also a temple for the Spirit of to dwell when we come together in worship.
Listen to what Jesus’ friend Peter wrote in 1Pe2-5
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.
Paul says the same thing in Eph2-22
Through him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by his Spirit.
Jesus himself said, Mt18-20
For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
Do you see what this means? Whenever Christians gather together, perhaps on a Sunday, or a prayer meeting, or when we get together with two or three to pray for something. In those times we should be expecting and looking to encounter the presence of God.
THE BIBLICAL PATTERN
We started off by talking about wanting to be Charismatic but actually, we just want to be Biblical. If we are following the Biblical pattern for our meetings together then we will by definition be charismatic.
God has always given his people a pattern for worship.
In the Old Testament during the time of Moses God gave specific instructions for the design of the tabernacle and how worship was to be done. He said you need to have these curtains and they need to be this particular colour. And in you to do things like this and do other things like that. There was a clear pattern given by God to the people that was to be followed properly.
In the New Testament early church, we find that God once again has given us a pattern for worship to follow.
Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarise. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you. NLT ,
Expect the Expected!
In our meetings, there should always be an expectation that something happens.
As living stone's we come together to be the dwelling place of God; the place where the Holy Spirit dwells. And the evidence of this is charisma - the gifts of the Spirit.
The expectation that when the church gathers together the Spirit of God will manifest
Himself and there will be spiritual gifts.
Not only that but it's clear that the presence of God manifests itself through the contributions of individuals in the church. "When you come together, each one has..." That's talking about you and I. So this is not about the special ones with spiritual superpowers - the expectation is that everyone should be ready to contribute.
"When you come together, each one has..."Not when you come together the worship leader has or the preacher has, or the prophet has...".
So are we coming regularly with a readiness to and willingness to contribute? Are we intentionally looking for ways to build others up? Let's come with an attitude that says I want to be here and I want to add value.
So if we are to be truly charismatic there are three things we must grasp.
Charismatic means Spirit-Filled People.
To be charismatic is to be full of the Holy Spirit and using the gifts of the Spirit.
Getting filled with the spirit is not a one-off opportunity. We are told in Eph5-18
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit
That is, be continually filled with the Spirit.
Charismatic means for God, not us!
If we feel we are not “getting anything out of it” by being together then perhaps we are looking for meetings that please us rather than God? Let’s be keen to meet together believing our presence adds value to the whole. And when we meet let’s seek to make our focus the wholehearted passionate worship of Jesus.
Come prepared to participate and bring contributions that will build one another up.
Charismatic Worship Must Trump Contemporary Every Time!
There are many churches out there that could be described as "happy-clappy" and contemporary. They raise their hands in worship, they sing modern songs, they've got multimedia presentations and so on. But these churches are not charismatic unless people are encountering the presence of God and there is evidence of spiritual gifts in their meetings.
When the church gathers there should be joy, spontaneous praise, thanksgiving, tongues and interpretations, excitement, prophecy, healings, miracles, salvation. There should be a sense of not knowing what's going to happen next. We mustn't get drawn into the trap of thinking that unless everything is slick and trendy people won’t join or will leave.
We do not want to be a contemporary church, we want to be a charismatic church.
And we want to be a charismatic church for the simple reason that a charismatic church is a Biblical church. It's not just some alternative way of doing church for those who like that sort of thing; it's Biblical!