The difference between a good meal and a great meal depends on how hungry you are when you sit down to eat. The difference between a good church and a great church depends also on the level of your hunger. So how hungry are you? What are your expectations?
The Gospel of Mark opens with the account of John the Baptist. Lets take a look at the first 8 verses. (READ).
In Luke 3:15 it says, Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John.
They were in a state of expectation. Life itself is a series of expectations. There is expectation which comes as one waits upon marriage, the expectation of childbirth, the expectation of wondering if they will grow up or while they always act this way. As one gets older in life there is the expectation of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We live in a state of constant expectation which is alright because it is part of life.
We also have spiritual expectations, expectations which bear eternal consequences and I want to talk about those expectations this evening. In John the Baptist we find great truths about our life of expectation.
John came as the prophet another prophet foretold about. Turn to Isaiah 40:3-11 (READ).
The prophet questions, “What shall I cry out?” Cry out here is your God. The cry has not gone away, in fact, it is time once again for the voice of His sheep to cry out to the Shepherd. It is time once again for those who follow Christ to prepare the way for His coming. It is time to receive the reward of the King.
Looking at the situations which are around us, what is the expectations you have to see them changed? You have been hearing this from me, but it begs to be said again, I have a great expectation for revival in Seattle, and I firmly believe each and every one of us here in this place have the ability through our lives to bring a spiritual revolution back into this land. This is not the time of comfort, this is not the time to wait for glory, this is the time to be militant and bring in the harvest of souls which have been planted all around us.
John said One is coming…I want you to know One has been here, still is here through the power of the Holy Spirit, and One is coming again to take back His church which is without spot or wrinkle. That is something to get excited about!
John knew one was coming but John was not sitting back waiting for Him to come. Look at Matthew 3:13-17 (READ).
Now when Jesus comes, where will He find you. I remember the passing of a board member in Sumner several years ago. Jack was a man of God who lived his life with expectations. The night before he died he was in church fulfilling Revelation 12:11, They overcame him, meaning Satan, by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. Jack had stood and gave testimony of the goodness of God, how through recent tragedy in his life, the passing of his mother-in-law, through a storm which damaged his storage roof, and the death of a cow they were getting ready to butcher, the Lord had been good to him. Jack had an expectation that no matter what the storms of life, God would not let him down. It reminds me of Revelation 22:7 which says, And behold I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophesy of this book. We do not know the time we have, the Lord is coming quickly, more quickly for some then others, but ultimately He comes, and the question is will He say, well done, or depart from me when He arrives. Where will you be when He comes?
What are your expectations and what are you doing right now about them. Jesus told his followers after His resurrection to wait until the Holy Spirit had come upon them. So they joined together in the Upper Room, looking not to the past events which had taken place there, but with expectation to the future. Acts 2 records how the Holy Spirit came down and they were filled with the power of God. They arrived with Godly expectations and they were not let down.
Your expectations will determine your results. If you expect little, you will not be disappointed. If you expect much, you will be rewarded with much. Things don’t just happen. For every action there is a reaction, just look to the Word of God. If you are going to attain your expectations, you are going to need to get involved in some action.
I remember being at a church where someone told me it was dead, lifeless. They had zero expectation for anything to happen so I asked what are you doing about this lifeless condition? Are you lifting your hands and praising God? Are you encouraging the pastor with an Amen or two? Are you praying for the Holy Spirit to fall in power upon the congregation? It is amazing how quick people will back down when you confront them with their own condition of lifelessness. You see, here was an expectation for something to happen which was followed by no action to bring it about. They got a lifeless service because they were lifeless.
People have said how bad things are today, they would sure hate to raise kids in this environment. Do you know people were saying that 50 years ago as well. If we expect our kids to be bad, rebellious, disrespectful, then why do we get upset when they live up to our expectations? Just a question.
Only 3% of the population in the Northwest attend church on Sunday, do you know why? They are living up to our expectations. In fact, as we move into the summer months, church’s expect attendance and giving to decline. And they will…well except here, because I am expecting to see you and more here every Sunday and Wednesday…I have an expectation of growth and together we are going to put some action behind it, invite people and watch us explode with growth…are you on board or are you bored with the thought?
Crime is on the increase. Do you know why? Criminals don’t want to lower our expectations. We are the bank robbery capital of the nation right now…the action of catching and convicting robbers will turn that around!
Jesus said things don’t have to be this way, just in case you wondered. Jesus said when the enemy comes in like a flood, when all the things we find wrong begin to happen around us, that He, Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will raise up a standard against it. Do you know what that standard is? Well…it’s you. It is the standard where you will say no to sin even if no one else will. It is a standard that will believe amidst the unbelief. It is a standard that says I will move into action even if everyone else is standing around doing nothing. It is the one who says I will be the standard bearer for God in the land today because I have expectation this world cannot fill, only God can.
Why did things happen in the Upper Room? It is because they had an expectation. Acts 2:17, In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. They expected to see the Spirit of God poured out and nothing less.
Prophesy speaks forth God’s Word. Vision sees through the fog of the world to the plan of God and Dreams see the impossible become possible through the expectations and working of the Holy Spirit.
I have an expectation of hearing the prophetic Word of God spoken on a continual basis in our sanctuary. I have an expectation to see visionaries, eagles, flock to Ballard Assembly where we see God move in the realm of doing a new thing in our midst as we provide the action to the vision. I have expectations for God’s dreamers to rise from their rest and bring to actuality the things God has spoken to them in their sleep.
I have an expectation for revival, an expectation for a revolution of Jesus Christ to spread out from this church and touch Seattle and beyond. I have an expectation for souls still to come to Christ in these last days. I have an expectation of reaping a harvest in the fields that now stand ripe. I have an expectation for men and women, youth and children to rise to the call of God in this day and do the unexpected, to see the miraculous at these altars, bodies healed, souls saved, people held in the grip of bondage released through the power and anointing of the Spirit of God.
I want to be like John ,waist deep in the water, amidst a generation crying out for answers, preparing the way for the second coming of the Lord. I don’t want to be found on the shore but involved in the chore.
I don’t know, maybe I am just a little bit radical tonight, and hopefully I am not alone. You might have come in here having lost your vision, your direction, your dream. Perhaps the prophetic voice of God has not been spoken out through you for a while, but now there is something welling up inside you, a fresh expectation and you are wanting to wade out with me.
I have an expectation for the conclusion of our service, it is seeing people from this congregation rise up getting wet again. Is the Holy Spirit speaking to you?
In Acts 2, the Spirit fell…in Acts 4 the Spirit fell again, this time on some who were there the first time, two chapters earlier. You see, they faced the pressures of life and their expectors had dried out and they needed a fresh anointing of expectation in their life, fresh insight, fresh direction.
The same outpouring of the Holy Spirit which turned the world right side up then is the same Holy Spirit who is here tonight, bring fresh expectations and a fresh perspective. I want to pray for each of you to whom the Holy Spirit is speaking tonight. Acts 3:19 says, Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Expectations demand an action…the action tonight to receive is simple…come from where you are and meet at the altar for a fresh anointing from God. Expectations without action generation an emptiness…don’t miss your opportunity as the worship team comes and leads us in songs before the Lord as the Spirit falls afresh tonight.