Being Church: Naturally Supernatural

Author: Gareth Russell Date: Sunday, January 15, 2017 Campus:

Being Church: Naturally Supernatural
Grand Union Vineyard Church
Sunday 15th January 2017

As you know the church is the people. We are are a living community and we want to live naturally supernatural lives which means every day we live in the possibility with the sense that God could be speaking to us and through us.

Everybody gets to play.

Whether you are a brand new Christian, you’ve been a Christian for years. Whether you are young or old, confident or fearful....we have all be invited to accept this incredible identity as God’s children.

Jesus came to restore our identity, not simply to reconcile us to God the Father but to restore us to what that a actually means.

We are not strangers, we are not victims, we are people with a message, people who are declaring to the world that all who call on the name of Jesus will be saved.

When we choose to surrender our lives to Jesus, we are restored to what we were originally created to be: children of God, eternal beings, created in the likeness of God.

When God created Adam, he breathed into his nostrils, he blew his breath into his nostrils and we sing that song, “it’s your breath in our lungs”, it’s that same breath in us.

In that moment Adam was filled with God’s spirit and we are to live lives full of the spirit of God.

So when we say in our services, “come Holy Spirit”, we are saying breathe in the presence of God and His Holy Spirit, because that is what we were designed to be.

We were designed to bear His image. Just like children sometimes look like or act like their parents, we were designed to act like God.

And God is supernatural.

We were designed to walk free of shame and walk freely in His absolute and unconditional love for each one of us, and then to reflect that same love to the actually BE love to those sat around us here and those we come into contact with outside this building.

As we do it, we follow the leadings of God. We follow His nudges. That’s our identity, it is so life giving.

When we start listening to God, it is not just life giving to those outside of the church, it is life giving to us.

Give example.

We have an amazing God and He is speaking and encouraging us through one another. I am sure I could ask many of you here today to give me examples of times you have needed to hear God and you have had someone speak into your life words of encouragement and that has been a moment of breakthrough for you.

God is inviting us to join him. It’s about following those little nudges. Following those senses that we have. Oftentimes, we don’t know if it is God or it isn’t but He’s inviting us to take courage and to obey Him.

Debby Wright who with her husband John lead the Vineyard Churches movement in the UK tells the story of a member of their church who with his friends felt a nudging from God to go and stand outside the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.

So off they went, and as they were standing there they came across a guy in a wheelchair called Charlie. They started talking with him and they ended up praying with him and this guy opened his heart to Jesus and had this experience of the Holy Spirit.

Charlie was so excited about this experience that he had that he asked the guys to call his mother. So he gave them his phone and he said she’s not well and she could really do with what you have just done for me. So as they called Charlie’s mum, another couple of guys walk passed and they seem to know Charlie and they ask Charlie what’s going on.

And Charlie says to them, “you’ve got to get these guys to pray for you, they are amazing.” So these other guys ask to be prayed for.

Just then a lady walks by and she also knows Charlie and Charlie says to her that she had to get prayed for, because of how amazing this was and sure enough the guys prayed for her, she was led to Jesus and she had an incredible experience of the Holy Spirit.

These guys simply responded to God’s nudgings. They had no idea what God was going to do with them once they got to the medical centre, but they had a sense He wanted them there.

You see God’s kingdom is advancing. God’s kingdom is God’s perfect will moving forward and expanding across the world.

It’s being unleashed and all we have to do is pay attention to where we think He might be leading us.

We get to extend God’s kingdom together, everywhere in ever way - even supernatural ways.

We are a sent people. We’ve been called to come close to God to be embraced as His children but as we get close to Him, He also sends us out.

This year for me personally and for us as a church, I want to go deeper with God. I am not satisfied with where I am at. I want to have more passion, more understanding, more opportunity, more gifts of the Holy Spirit, I want more fire in my belly.

But the thing is, when we go deeper with God we can’t help but express who He is and that means we are also a sent people.

Jesus sent the twelve disciples out to do what he had been modelling for them - “go out and heal the sick” - he then sends 72 others out and he says to them in Luke 10:9: “Heal those there who are ill and tell them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.””

You see, the Kingdom of God is close to us, it is around us - as we step into obedience to God, we are stepping into extending His Kingdom.

His Kingdom coming to us, His Kingdom around us. His Kingdom expressing the nature of God and it is really close.

When the 72 went out, they saw amazing things happen and the Bible says they returned with joy. It is a wonderful thing to live what is in the Bible.

I don’t only want to learn what is in the Bible, I want to live want is in the Bible. I want to see it, experience it, touch it on a daily basis.

HOTS team and extending legs.

You see the kingdom of God is advancing. In the book of Hebrews it says that the Kingdom of God is the one unshakeable thing.

That’s God’s perfect will being done on earth is going to go on and on and on and on into eternity.

The Kingdom is not about a place, it’s not about a church building, it’s about perfect will being done and realised through us.

Every day is an opportunity. Every crisis is a potential breakthrough.

Throughout the Old Testament we see supernatural breakthroughs of the Kingdom of God, extraordinary interventions: barren women having babies, Jacob wrestles with an angel, a donkey speaks, God speaks to Joseph in dreams, we see a bush burning and it doesn’t get consumed, we see the seas part to save the Israelites, a people delivered from slavery, food falling from Heaven, the walls of a city falling down, rain falling in drought, but those things happen once in a while - sometimes hundreds of years pass and there is silence and no intervention from God.

So they are once in a while and usually for or through a very special person, like Daniel who stood up against authority by visibly praying and he was put in the lions den but the angel of the Lord shut the lions mouth and the lions did not eat him.

On another occasion, Moses strikes a rock and out of it comes water for the people of God to drink.

Elijah calls on God for fire, fire over wood that has been drenched with water to demonstrate that God is powerful - to show those people who God really is, the God of the universe.

Esther, a young woman, puts her life on the line discerning God’s voice with wisdom for the moment and following God’s leading and ultimately saving a nation.

But then we have the New Testament.

Incredible. Jesus arrival. The Son of God comes, breaks into earth with the good news of the kingdom of God. And we see incredible interventions again and again and again, He changes everything.

He came to announce the kingdom of God and to say that to all who believe in His name, the name of Jesus, that they too would see things happen.

In Mark 16:17, it says “...signs will accompany those who believe...”

If you are in this room today and you believe in Jesus, signs will accompany your life - signs of the kingdom.

It’s talking about ALL who believe, everybody is verse 18 it says “they will place their hands on people who are ill, and they will get well.”

We must expect it. People will get well when we lay hands on them.

When Jesus came, His message was mind blowing. Surrounding his message was not one miracle but another and another and another.

He showed power over sickness, He raised the dead, he stills the storms, he makes the blind see, and speaks words of revelation about the now and the not yet, he multiplies bread and fish feeding thousands of people.

All signs and wonders causing people to glorify God, and be amazed at what God is doing. He himself defeated death, he was raised and was ascended into Heaven.

But it’s very interesting, because before he began to minister He had been sent by the Holy Spirit, after He was baptised, into the desert.

It was a gruelling time, forty days with no food or water. He’s tempted by the Devil and then he comes back...but where it says he goes is to Caperneum.

Now Caperneum was known as the Galilee of the Gentiles. It was the place where the Jewish people, the people of God who believed that they were the special people - they didn’t want to live there. It was considered dirty.

And yet it is where Jesus moves.

The book of Isaiah speaks about Caperneum and Matthew quotes it in Matthew 16, he writes “Galilee of the Gentiles, the people in darkness have seen a great light.”

Jesus came as the light of the world. When we accept Jesus, we become light. Light in the world, shining in the darkness and we are not to simply keep that light to ourselves and we are to take that light to the world.

Jesus moved the blessings of light out from the place people expected it to be, somewhere that was just safe, and holy and special - no he moved it out into the world.

He revealed the kingdom to those who would not expect it, the Samaritan woman, the demon- possessed, the leper, even a Roman centurion.

David Pytches used to say, “the meeting place is the learning place for the marketplace.”

This place and Union Groups are the learning places, where we learn and we can experiment and we can try new things.

But we learn together here so we can go out and take God’s light and God’s kingdom to the world.

It is always exciting to hear of people being healed in touched in some other way by the presence of God in a church service, but to be honest for me it is even more exciting to hear when that same presence is being felt by those outside these four walls.

Jesus came to show us how we could live like with the spirit of God working through us. We are not saved to be goodie-two-shoes. We are saved with a purpose to save people into the realisation of who they really are.

Seeing God’s Kingdom come involves all of us doing a whole lot of different things - everywhere in every way being led by the Holy Spirit.

Some of you with a special prompting will be generous to someone. Some of you may be nudged to share a dream that you had about somebody or a word of encouragement to them. Sometimes

it’s a supernatural interaction, it’s reaching out and praying for someone to be healed, sharing a word of knowledge, so many different ways.

We are all called to do the stuff. Wimber video.