In the day in which we are living, it’s always important that we keep our eyes on Scripture. It’s easy to focus on the news and the corruption we are seeing in our country as the election draws near.
I’m hearing hopelessness and fear on the lips of many. We live with uncertainty looming before us.
The days are perilous. The faith of many is growing weaker. And the church is divided.
So today, I want to pull your eyes away from all that stuff and onto God. We will watch God at work throughout the Bible.
I’m so excited to bring this message before you because I need it, too. It’s perfect for today.
There’s nothing that makes my pulse beat faster with enthusiasm than to watch God show up.
To begin, let’s ask ourselves: When does God show up?
God shows up…
When chaos abounds!
There’s not a better time to see chaos than right after Jesus left the earth and the disciples were confused, the early believers were trying to make sense of everything, and the religious leaders were walking around with pious attitudes enforcing more laws and secretly planning what to do with these Jews-turned-Christians.
A city was in an uproar. Jesus had just been put to death, and now His followers were declaring His resurrection. And the pious leaders were shaking their heads and scheming how to get rid of them.
It was in the midst of this chaos that God showed up in a mighty way. We read the story in Acts 2. About 120 believers had gathered together to wait (as Jesus commanded – Acts 1:4), to pray, and to worship. Then all of a sudden the windows flew open with a hurricane-forced wind and they saw tongues of fire resting on everyone.
And then they began to speak in other tongues. The Holy Spirit had come to indwell believers.
Those in the crowd taking it all in were amazed. Some doubted but many believed.
What a faith booster for those present. Joy replaced sadness. Belief took the place of doubt. Boldness challenged timidity.
There’s not a more powerful act of God than right here in this Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost. A perfect beginning to the new Church.
God showed up to restore order!
God shows up…
When things look hopeless!
Let’s turn back our calendars about three years before the Day of Pentecost. Israel had been through many ups and downs throughout the centuries.
But by the first century, Rome had come in and commanded ownership of the land and its people. Some of the Roman leaders were harsh dictators.
The people of Israel felt like they were living in a foreign land. And they hadn’t heard God speak for 400 years. No word! No messages! No prophets! No visions!
The religious hierarchy had become more prideful and had succeeded in adding many of their own man-made rules to the laws God had given to Moses. Their freedoms had been taken away.
On top of all that, there was great tension between Judea in the south and Galilee in the north. True segregation.
No doubt, hopelessness had seeped in (perhaps unnoticed). The people went about their daily activities, but wondered if God would ever fulfill His greatest prophesy – the Messiah who would come and deliver them.
Then one day, a voice was heard crying in the wilderness. The voice of John the Baptist, the one who came as a forerunner for Jesus. Paul writes: “When the time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Galatians 4:4).
John prepared hearts until Jesus arrived. Jesus wasn’t just an ordinary leader, but He truly was the Promised One. He came full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
For three years, the people of Israel listened to Jesus teach kingdom truths. They witnessed incredible miracles. Beautiful light snuffed out the darkness.
God showed up to bring hope!
God shows up…
When evil pervades!
God hates evil. And so He loves to show up right in the midst of it.
There was such evil surrounding the death of Jesus. False witnesses had come forward. Scheming to get what they wanted. Bribery between the walls of the palace. Hatred in the hearts of the religious leaders.
Lies. Deception. Corruption. Crooked leaders.
And in the midst of all this, Jesus was put to death. To die a sinner’s death on a cross. A horrible form of punishment.
For six long and grueling hours Jesus hung on that tree, until He breathed His last. His faithful ones watching from a distance. Crying. Weeping. Grieving.
But then God showed up in miraculous ways. The moment Jesus bowed His head and gave up His spirit, the Bible tells us that dead people came back to life and went into the city, the rocks split open, the curtain in the temple was ripped from top to bottom, a great earthquake shook the ground. and the centurion witnessing all these things declared: “Surely He was the Son of God”. Matthew 27:50-56 gives a full description of what happened at this moment.
You see, when evil reigned, God showed up to bring truth!
God shows up…
When His people are threatened!
Oh my goodness, there’s nothing more sickening to God’s heart than when His people are threatened.
After the Day of Pentecost, the early church was booming. People were converting to Christianity by the thousands. In the midst of their tremendous growth, Stephen had been stoned by an angry mob (Acts 7:57-60). And then the Apostle James was arrested and killed (Acts 12:2).
Now here’s what we need to know: God will avenge the blood of all those martyred for their faith (Joel 3:21). So while many have died for the cause of Christ, God will show up to judge those who put them to death.
Returning back to Acts, right after James was killed, Herod arrested Peter and intended to do the same to him. As Peter rested in jail that night chained up between two soldiers, we read: “Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. ‘Quick, get up!’ he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists” (Acts 12:7).
Peter was freed! And the church rejoiced.
Imagine how their faith soared.
So when God’s people were threatened, God showed up to restore joy and in some cases, swift judgment.
I hope you’ll refer back to this message as things heat up.
Just remember that… GOD WILL SHOW UP!