History is full of epochs – moments or sections of time that signal transforming change. You don’t always know you’ve experienced an epoch until you go through it and look back.
· For Israel
o The Exodus from Egypt
o Reconstituting as a nation in 1948
· For the World
o The Industrial Revolution
o The Renaissance
· For US
o Signing of the Declaration of Independence
o Emancipation Proclamation
· For the Church
o The Reformation
o The Great Awakening
· Our day of salvation
o Once we were blind but now we see
o Once we were lost but now we’re found
o Once we were separated from God but now we have been eternally connected to Him.
We don’t create epochs. We experience them. Epochs are the methods by which God fulfills His plans. They are His Days of the Lord.
It is God who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. (Dan 2:21)
Times and Epochs: Chronological Scheduling and transforming eras or events
After the resurrection…when they had come together, they were asking Him, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; (Acts 1:6-7)
We know them when we look back to what was predicted and connect that prediction with what went on.
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. (1 Thess 5:1-2)
Two Days of the Lord were yet on the schedule: Temple destruction and the Second Coming. Guess how many are left? But neither of these could they influence.
Thief: without warning – Predicted but not specific as to when the Day will come.
Last week we talked about The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord – the crucifixion. What seemed strange to us looking back is that none of the people involved seemed to understand what was going on. They passed through that epoch without knowing it.
Jesus death was epochal. It signaled transforming change. His was the ultimate and final sacrifice ever needed through which God would forgive people of their sins and provide access to a direct relationship because of what Jesus did.
Jesus was the truth of what God was doing, the way to what God was providing and the life that made it all possible. Now, the message was very clear: nobody would come to the Father, except by going through Him.
Then, with that accomplished, the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord fulfilled, He set up the next Epoch – another life-transforming event. Jesus told the disciples: And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
Joel calls this epoch the great and awesome day of the LORD. Major change was coming.
Where did God manifest Himself in OT? With His people
"Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people." And He said, "My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?" (Ex 33:13-16)
And in a more visible way, in the Temple
Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. (Ex 40:35)
It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. (1Kings 8:10-11)
Where did God manifest Himself in Gospels? – Jesus
Paul said: God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. (2 Cor 5:19)
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Heb 1:1-3)
The presence of God not only was Jesus, He was in Jesus. Confusing, but realize we’re dealing with God the Son and Jesus the Man. The God part was fully God. The man part was fully man. The man part, to function properly, had to be infused with the Spirit – the power of the God part. To the extent it could be said:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness (Luke 4:1)
Where did God manifest Himself in the NT and now? In His People
Pentecost was an Epoch – a life-transforming event. What was being transformed? The location of God, the point from where He would manifest Himself, from being among, with or upon His people to being in His people.
The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (Jn 14:17)
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (Jn 7:37-39)
Among the last things Jesus said was, in preparation for what was coming next: John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." (Acts 1:5)
Biblical word that the church has twisted for its own convenience: Baptized, in the true use of the word. The Spirit would immerse Himself into the life of the Christian and the Christian’s life would be immersed into the life of God.
God was with us, now He is in us by the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. The life restricted by ritual and sacrifice—dealing with God from the outside—was now released, free to experience every aspect of this life.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Cor 3:17)
Freedom in worship, freedom in prayer, freedom in serving, freedom in loving, freedom in sharing, freedom in the power to live above our circumstances.
God’s presence in the Temple is gone. Now, He is in His people. There once was a Temple of stone. Now there are temples of flesh and blood.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16)
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Cor 6:19)
Pentecost fulfilled God’s intentions. He is now in us, so how are we to respond? We are: To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:19)
Be filled with the Spirit, (Eph 5:18)
Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, [we are to live] to the glory and praise of God. (Phil 1:11)
Which brings up an interesting question: Can you have the Spirit in you but not be filled?
Remember: Filling is not containing. We contain the Holy Spirit. Filling is the result of responding to the influence of what is in us. Being filled is a surrender to the presence of the Spirit within. It is submitting to His power, His purposes. Operating by His gifts. It is allowing Him to control us which only comes when we yield our lives, our circumstances, our crises, our concerns, our confusion, our cares over to Him.
Julius Caesar invaded neighboring countries of Italy. He was in country. He had conquered the people. The people belonged to him. But it was not until the people surrendered their wills to him was he their ruler.
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [is allowed free access to your life] He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Rom 8:10-11)
The Holy Spirit in us is the outcome of our response to inviting the Lord into our lives. It is the proof we belong to God. He is the seal of God that verifies us as God’s children. Being filled is the result of greater surrender of our lives to Him.
What will that look like? Like fruit identifying its tree. Jesus said: By the fruit we know the tree. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Gal 5:22-23)
The presence of the Spirit may or may not be noticeable. The filling cannot be ignored.
How are we filled: by surrendering more area within our lives to Him. Being filled is the result of making more room for God’s presence to have influence over us. We invite His controlling influence.
We’ll see His peace calm troubled souls. We’ll discover clarity in seeking direction for our lives. We’ll experience strength to resist thoughts, actions and attitudes that destroy us or others. We’ll find the ability to love without restrictions.
- If you have received Jesus as your Savior by accepting God’s invitation to enter into a personal relationship with Him, you have the Holy Spirit living inside you.
- Having the Holy Spirit is the proof you belong to God.
- But having the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean He is impacting your life as He chooses.
- We must yield control of our lives to God’s Spirit by surrendering our life to Him.
Today could be your epoch day. Your life-transforming moment. My Heart Christ’s Home