Tuesday 14 July
Greg Venables shared the morning Bible Session at Sligo15 this morning. Here is a summary of what he had to say.
Reading from John 7: 37 -39. God has so much more for you - rivers of living water, not a little trickle! And God wants so much more. God wants all of you. Every single little tiny bit of you. If you were the only sinner in the world, Christ would have died for you. That is love. And it is 100%. Do not judge God in the light of your experience, judge your experience in the light of God.
When I proposed to my wife, she said not a word. But one little tear trickled down her cheek and that said it all!
God will never overcome your free will. He will always wait to hear you say welcome. Love depends on how you respond. Are you thirsty?
We are thinking about maturity - we have to get to the end of ourselves and then we can start to grow up. You have to say yes! “I am awful. I am the pits.” Sin is not just a smudge of dirt on your face - it is rebellion against the Holy God. You die when you sin. He wants us to respond and ask for forgiveness… then you are reconciled.
Saying “yes” is only the beginning. Jesus wants to give us an abundant life. Is “abundant” the adjective that would spring to mind when you think about your life?
There is nothing I can do to make someone sorry for their sins or make them repent. I can’t make them “want” it. The strongest arguments fail. All our good intentions, all our human wisdom, all the technical, scientific and medical advances have done nothing to change human nature.
God calls us to the impossible (Abraham - the father of many nations had no children). Why? So that God will get the glory. It can only happen by the power of the Holy Spirit. Religion doesn’t do it. Church services don’t do it. It is God’s power, His Spirit.
It is blood, sweat and tears! It is always like that. But it is also glory! Paul says, “We were nearly dead”… and then God raises the dead. It is called “trust” - we need to trust Him. He says, “I’ll be with you.” And you get there and you find that He is there. Most people don’t go because they don’t trust.
When we say, “yes.” God transforms you and then God transforms others. God took a handful of mediocre people! Imagine what He can do if we say “yes” to Him.
Karl Barth was asked to tell the Gospel, “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Every step of the way, God has confirmed where we should go through His word. The Holy Spirit confirming in scripture, God’s will. Expect God to speak to you.
If somebody asks me for something, I give them a straight answer. Why do people think that God plays games? If you want to know, ASK. Set time aside and listen! God does speak and it is always to do with His word.
The Son of God did nothing until He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And then at His baptism, He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
People say a lot of rubbish about the exaggerations and excesses of the Holy Spirit. If you want somewhere with no exaggerations and excesses - go to the cemetery. There will always be mess - but somehow in the mess God does His work by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When God looks at you, He says, “You are my beloved daughter, you are my beloved son.” Sanctification means you have been RESERVED. You have been set apart for Him. To do what He wants and nothing else.
The Holy Spirit gives new birth and new life. He restores our relationship with God. He leads us in worship. I can try to sing but what we do in God’s presence is not just singing, it is worship. He opens our eyes to God’s word.
You would not go a day without a good meal. But how many people go several days without the food of God’s word?
When Sylvia became a Christian, the whole family turned against her. When we were called to be missionaries the family were not polite about it. Ten days ago we had lunch with two second cousins. When we went abroad, they thought, “Something has changed them.” So they went down the road to the church and found faith. We didn’t even speak to them but they saw something in us and God worked in them!
People are dying because they can’t see Jesus. When you go there, filled with the Spirit, people see Him. He gives us supernatural gifts and He blessed and uses our natural gifts. He produces fruit and makes us more like Jesus. He gives us discernment to know His will.
None of this is automatic, it requires your collaboration. You have to say yes. You have to seek and spend time with God. You need to persevere and stand firm even in the face of opposition.
People say, "You can be religious but don’t be a nut." I say, "I may be a nut but at least I’m screwed on the right bolt!"
Let nothing stop you!