Summary: When God visits His people He comes not just to heal and deliver, but ultimately to transform us (thoughts from "From Visitation to Habitation" by Francis Frangipane.)
A Holy Visit From God
Reading- Foxes Book of Martyrs- Stephen.
Stephen- first martyr of- Christian church- 34-36AD.
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. NASU
He ended up in a controversy with the Jews/arrested.
Stephen eloquently presented his case in Acts 7.
Foxes Book of Martyrs makes this statement …
His words resonated with the kind of passion that flows from a simple man who has grasped a great idea, or has been grasped by a vision larger than himself. (Voice of Martyrs, Stephen)
Jesus Christ, the life that He lived, the miracles that He performed, the message that He taught,
had taken a hold of Stephen’s heart and mind.
Stephen saw the message of the Gospel in bigger terms than just what God wanted to do for Him.
He reached beyond his own personal needs to share w/others the opportunity to experience God’s grace
Too often we reduce the Gospel to what God wants to do for me, how can He fix me/my situation.
As with Stephen, God wants us to be so infused with Him, His Life, and His Word, that it takes a hold of us and results in a holy boldness that empowers us to live a godly life and to become Kingdom minded people. Gary Stebbins
In other words, God’s grace becomes so infused in us and reflected in the way we live, such that
we no longer live for ourselves, but for God.
Bridges of Peace seminar- western versus the Hebraic approach to life and the scriptures.
The western approach is to understand/reason it out.
The Hebraic mindset instead focuses on-
how do I do this, how do I live this out,
how do I apply this truth to my life.
Something had grabbed a hold of Stephen and made him willing to die for what he believed, or more
accurately, for the One in whom he believed.
God wants to take a hold of our heart in the same way.
He wants to visit with us in such a way to transform us to be the man or woman He created us to be.
God sees each of our lives- He saw my days and the purpose for which He has for me.
I am not here by accident, but by design.
God sent His Son to die for me so I might be able to live/fulfill the life that He ordained for me to live.
Jn 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. NASU
God so loved ME, that He sent His Son for ME, that I might not perish, that I might have eternal life.
As God visited w/Stephen and captured his heart, He wants to do the same for us.
Perhaps we can learn something from the Lord’s visitation to Jerusalem …
Destruction would come upon Jerusalem because they did not properly respond to God when He came.
What is the purpose of a visitation of God?
When God visits His people, He is comes for two primary purposes …
1. to destroy the works of the devil and
1Jn 3:8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.NLT
2. to build His Life/Kingdom into our lives
Jn 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. NASU
Visitation- to inspect or examine.
Visitation is a time not only when God comes to deliver/heal, but also to inspect and examine.
God’s ultimate goal for our lives is transformation.
God delights in delivering us from sin, sickness, disease, oppression.
Those deliverances are very real and an important part of the message of the Gospel.
There is a willingness in the heart of God to deliver, heal, work miracles, today, as well as then.
However the healing/deliverance are for a purpose.
The most important thing that God came to us for, is not physical preservation, but His presence.
Often Jesus ministered to the felt needs of the people.
But ultimately, He had their spiritual needs in mind.
When Jesus comes to our lives to deliver/heal, He will also examine our lives to see if we are
responding to Him w/increasing obedience.
Our obedience creates a different future for us.
How we respond to God determines how God responds to us … ie. Adam and Eve.
Adam and Eve set the course of their lives by how they responded to God’s instructions to them.