Monday, October 24, 2016

Impressed or Indwelled?

October's sermons have centered on what Jesus' disciples said about Him.  We have heard words from Mary, John the Baptist and Philip.  Why did these people believe and what was their basis for belief?  How were they like us and how did their belief and faith go deeper to get to the very heart of Jesus? 

This week we will listen to the voice of Nicodemus as he compliments Jesus on the signs and wonders that Jesus has performed.  Nicodemus is obviously impressed.  This account from John's Gospel makes me think ... do I need signs and wonders to believe?  Am I caught up in the world's way of looking at life or does my belief in Jesus go beyond a feeling or an emotional expression about something that impresses me today but is out-of-mind tomorrow?

The magician impresses us till he runs out of new tricks.  Then we look for another magician.  The great orator impresses us till we find one better and go listen to him/her.  The Facebook video is impressive for a moment but we soon go looking for a new and better one.  These things are what happen in a consumer-based society where it is all about what we see, hear and get.

I believe we are called to something deeper.  In John's story about Nicodemus Jesus tells our secretive disciple that God operates in a way (in this case by the Holy Spirit) that has a way, path and mind of it's own.  We do not lead the Spirit ... the Spirit leads us.  God's way leads us to the impossibility of being born anew, being recreated as something starkly different than what we have been.  C. S. Lewis writes ... "God became a man to turn creatures into sons/daughters; not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man."  God does not simply want to be know as an outside force capable of producing miracles and wonders.  God wants to indwell us as an inside force transforming us into the greatest masterpieces of His new creation.  The dictionary defines indwelling as "be permanently present in something."  A temporary impression/feeling of God's presence does not constitute salvation ... God either has all of us or none of us.  To Nicodemus Jesus said, "You must be born again!" Are you impressed or indwelled? 

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