Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Disrespecting God’s Presence

This past Saturday, one of our members was speaking to another member, sharing Scriptures after the service was dedicated to the Lord through prayer. Although it was appropriate, the gathering was handed to the Lord through prayer and we had to submit ourselves to the Lord by allowing Him to minister to us. This incident was very displeasing to the Lord and the member received a message of rebuke through Charis for disrespecting God’s Presence. This is the reason for the message I’m presenting to you today. The Lord told Charis that I should write an article about disrespecting God’s Presence.

Let me fall with the door in the house (Africans/Dutch expression meaning “getting to the point” or “being direct”): disrespecting God’s Presence is a common practice in the assembly of the brethren. This might be a well observed practice by the church leadership, but the individual members of the body are often guilty of being disruptive and noisy when either a prayer or word is being delivered. This practice was strongly rebuked by the apostle Paul (Acts 16:16-18). Our Lord also strongly rebuked and silenced evil spirits when they tried to disrupt His meetings (Mark 1:23-25). In both instances, these evil spirits confessed the truth. As truthful as they were, it is DISRESPECTFUL to disrupt someone when the WORD OF GOD is being delivered!

Ways of Disrespecting God’s Presence

We often hear and read that we must not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Have you ever considered how we grieve Him? We will look at some of the ways we grieve the Holy Spirit of God; this might not be an exhaustive list, but included the most common practices in the church. I am using the word ‘church’ in a broad sense and not necessarily pointing to a particular church or congregation. The apostles always used the word church to refer to the Body of believers wherever they are or meet (Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 5:30; Colossians 1:18). In this presentation, church is simply referring to an assembly of believers in the name of the Lord. This includes your home church, your mega-church or your street assembly.

The Lord confirms this view of church by saying: “For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20 NRSV). This is referring to the spiritual Presence of the Lord. Given to our unique experience with the Lord, I will also share a few examples of corrections that we received from the Lord.

Laughing during prayer: It is sinful and grieving to the Holy Spirit of God to laugh when someone is praying. We are gathered in the Lord’s Presence and through Christ’s sacrifice we have been granted direct access to God’s Mercy Throne (Hebrews 4:16). The Lord issued a stern warning to a member of our ministry for this oversight. You will be better served if you refrain from laughing while others are petitioning the Lord for Mercy.

Speaking during preaching: It is disrespectful and sinful to speak while a minister of the Word of God is delivering a message. I got a shocking rebuke myself for distracting someone from the message that was intended to foster an obedient loving relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Talking during Bible reading: One evening, during our family devotional time, someone was reading from the Bible while some of us were smiling at an incident and this was very displeasing to the Lord. He gave each one of us a warning, saying that this is disrespectful to God. Some might find this too religious; but consider how annoying it is to talk while someone is busy speaking to you. Again, the message being read is intended for your correction or edification.

Walking out during prayer or preaching: I have witnessed how services are being disrupted when people are walking in and out during the ministering of the Word and during prayers. This is especially common in large gatherings. This is disturbing to others and to God. We have been specifically instructed by the Lord to be still in his Presence during devotional times and to keep children away from our meetings during prayers, worship or any gathering in His name. Since children exercise very poor self-control, Satan easily makes them disruptive. This may not be a problem for you if have a separate prayer room where children are not able to interrupt. As a home ministry, we allow our children time of worship by themselves, but under supervision. We also allow children to pray by themselves, and during our devotional times we pray with them. When children operate in a group, some are disruptive while they are trying to draw attention to themselves. Similarly, there are some people who disrupt services by claiming to be led by the Holy Spirit; this is unscriptural conduct. God is not the author of confusion and our spirits are under our control (1 Corinthians 14:32-33).

We often think the Lord is not interested in our services; this is so deceiving! God wants to minister to us by directing the way we conduct ourselves in His Presence.

In conclusion, what we share with you is a first-hand experience with the Lord. We deliver our messages as eyewitnesses. The Lord is confirming Biblical truth and teaches us how to apply it. So, don’t be afraid of revealed truth, whether in vision or through an inspired utterance. The tests all revealed truth must stand up to are: Does a message or vision glorify Christ? Does it lead you to fear the Lord? Are you being corrected in godliness? And, does it compliment biblical truth?

This short article is with love from our Lord Jesus Christ to you. We have also added a new vision on despising warnings; kindly heed and reap the eternal benefits!

Have you been, in any way, disrespecting God’s presence? Here is a Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Your brother in our common faith,

Glenn van Rooyen.