Introduction: What does it mean to Encounter God?
- Our goal today is not only to talk about it, but also to experience it.
- It’s one thing to hear the gospel – it’s another thing to experience it
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk – but of power… 1 Corinthians 4:20
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is – the power of God for salvation Romans 1:16
- The Word of God is not simply words in a book, it has the power to
- Transform you
- Empower you
- Equip you
My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
- Sometimes Self-discipline or hours of worldly counseling and teachings can’t do it. It is first when we Encounter the Power of the Gospel our lives really get changed!
- What does that mean to have a God Encounter?
- It’s when God shows up in your life and does something supernatural
- It’s Divine Interaction with a Purpose
- Examples of God Encounters:
When we experience
- A Miracle
- When we receive a word of knowledge or a prophetic word
- When we have dreams and visions
- Or when God speaks to us directly
- God Encounters can happen anywhere
- At church
- At home
- In your car
- At work
- Even in the shower
- During worship or prayer
- When you read the word
- Can happen when you are awake or asleep
- Can happen to believers & non-believers
It’s not only for certain people, with special callings on their lives – it’s for everyone
- Some Encounters are being initiated by God and others happen when we purposefully position ourselves to receive from God.
Example of Encounters Sovereignly Initiated by God
- JACOB’S DREAM AT BETHEL – Genesis 28
- Jacob is on the run because he betrayed his dad and stole his older brother’s blessing. He is on his way to his uncle’s house and as he stops for the night, he has a dream were God speaks to him…
The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you. I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything, I have promised you. Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place,and I wasn’t even aware of it!
Notice that even though Jacob is running away from home – because he sinned against his dad and brother, God still shows up and gives him this powerful Encounter with conformation, purpose and promise in it.
- We don’t have to be perfect – to have an Encounter with God – God is faithful
- SAUL ON THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS – Acts 9
- Saul thought he was doing Gods will but got stopped in his track and redirected
- He is going from place to place to put the Christians in prison – and had just witnessing Stephen being stoned because of his faith in Jesus.
- Jesus shows up as bright light and speaks to him – “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Jesus takes it personally when you are being persecuted because of your faith –
6) “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”9) For 3 days Saul was blind and did not eat or drink anything.10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered.11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, he could see again and he got up and was baptized.
This story is interesting because
- one Encounter leads to another Encounter
- two people are having an encounter with Jesus, Saul and Ananias
- Jesus is counting on both of them to obey in order to fulfill the purpose of God.
Sometimes God will give us an encounter, so we can go and minister to another person and they can have an encounter
We only hear about Ananias one time in the bibleJesus uses him to minister salvation and healing to Saul
- Ananias is also being used to give a word of knowledge and prophesying
- He also baptizes Saul in water and in the Holy Spirit.
- Ananias is a one man show – flowing in all of the gifts!!!
Examples of Encounters where people position themselves to receive an Encounter with God
- PAUL AND SILAS IN PRISON – Acts 16:22-33
- They have been beaten and put in prison and chained
- They begin to pray and worship God
- Suddenly a strong earthquake shook the jail
- The doors opened, and the chains fell from ALL THE PRISONERS.
- The jailer awoke and thought the prisoners had escaped.
- He wanted to kill himself. But Paul says, “Don’t do that – we are still here.”
- The jailer went into the jail and knelt down in front of Paul and Silas.
- “What must I do to be saved?”
- That night the jailer and everyone in his home got saved and baptized
Paul and Silas created an atmosphere for this God Encounter to happen.
They had 2 options:
- They could complain to God about their situation
- They could pray and worship
They positioned themselves for an encounter by praying and worshipping God and in their breakthrough, ALL the other prisoners also got set free, AND the jailer and his household also got saved and baptized that night.
Your breakthrough can also becomes a breakthrough for others.
- THE BLIND BEGGAR – Luke 18:35-43
35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”40 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God.
- This man only got healed because he pursued an encounter with Jesus.
- I think Jesus would have walked right by him, if he had not shouted
- Even the people close to him tried to stop him, but he just shouted louder until Jesus heard him
Don’t let religious people try to stop you from having an encounter with Jesus, just because it makes them uncomfortable.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8
I have noticed in my own life that
- A hunger and a thirst for more
- desperations and expectations
- Worship, prayer and fastingcreates an atmosphere for the Holy Spirt to show up
Things that can hinder a visitation from God
- We are simply too busy to meet with him
- No time for prayer, worship or reading the bible
- No hunger or interest for the things of God
Peace I leave with you; My perfect peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge. John 14:27 Amp
Then Jesus spoke to me – my peace is always available to you. And he gave me a picture of me running around from place to place and Jesus running after me with this gift of peace he wanted to give me – but I would not take the time to stop up and receive it
What About You?
- have you invited Jesus into your heart & your life?
- have you ever had a salvation encounter with Jesus?
Pray this prayer…
I realize today — that I need you in my life.
I recognize that my sins — have separated me from you.
I believe, that Jesus Christ — died for my sins — and came back to life again.
I confess my sins — please forgive me – and give me a fresh start.
I invite you, Jesus — to become my Lord and Savior.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit — and give me a new heart.
Help me to live for you — for the rest of my life.
In your precious name,