We continue the blog today considering the first of 4 key dynamics of the 1st Century church that made it distinct in its culture.
Divine Presence – I think the first distinctive of the 1st Century church is that they lived in the context of divine presence. Jesus was the forerunner for this kind of life.
The gospels provide us a wonderful record of Jesus’ life and what is revealed is that it was full of divine presence. It began with His arrival here as Emmanuel—“God with us.” Jesus Himself brought the presence of God in human flesh. At the age of accountability, He was fully aware of the place and presence of the Father in His life and ministry. The Father would be dynamically present and apart of all He would say and do. At His baptism, the Spirit of God descended from heaven, rested and remained on Jesus. The Holy Spirit would lead, empower and gift Jesus to accomplish His ministry and as well, raise Him from the dead. This is quite the divine presence!! And it made the difference not only in the life of Jesus, but in His disciples and His church.
What distinguished the 1st Century disciples was that they lived in the context of this divine presence—even after His ascension. Jesus said He would never leave nor forsake them. He promised them His continual presence. Through His salvation, the disciples were born again—into a new family with a heavenly Father. And the promise of the Holy Spirit in their lives was fulfilled at Pentecost. As a result, everyone who came in contact with the disciples and the church, were impacted by the divine presence in their lives. This divine presence inspired and enabled them to do and say things they were fully unable to do or say on their own. They said God words and did God acts. THIS is what made the 1st Century church so distinct and will make the 21st Century church distinct as well.
We are to be a people of His presence. This is what made Israel distinct from other nations. They had a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. We have the abiding presence of the Trinity in our lives and when God is present our lives, all who come in contact with us are impacted.
I am going to dinner tonight with our Mission’s Board and our guest missionary. But I am not going alone. Jesus is with me and it is vital that I am cognizant of His presence, listening for His voice. The Father is present too and I look to Him for His wisdom and for what He would ask me to do or say. The Holy Spirit is in me and so I look for His leading and lean on His ability for my time with these wonderful people. It is good to be with people. But it is miraculous to be in divine presence and that is where we the get to live.