When God Shows Up

People generally come to God for one of two reasons: either their life has ended up in a mess and they’re left with no other option. Or they find themselves in a situation where the presence of the Holy Spirit becomes so strong that their resistance and confusion melt away and they rush into God’s arms. In other words most people turn to God either because they’re desperate or because they’ve been awakened by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 4:27-42).
What Jesus taught His disciples before the crowds of Samaritans arrived at Jacob’s well was that they were about to see many turn to God because a miracle would take place. Large numbers of people were going to quickly come under conviction and surrender to God. The time between hearing and believing would be miraculously shortened to such a degree that those who were presenting the gospel would end up working side by side with those who were helping people receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The disciples were about to be part of a quick work, so Jesus was preparing them so they would understand what was happening; and at the same time He was cautioning them to remain humble in the midst of such amazing fruitfulness.
In Judea Jesus had already begun seeing great fruitfulness (John 4:1), but in the future the fruitfulness would only continue to increase, and His disciples needed to know why it was happening. They needed to know how to react when it happened. They needed to understand that the huge in gathering of souls (more story tellers) that would begin was the result of the power of God.
The importance of power
Now let’s talk about God’s power. You can do everything else right, but if God’s power isn’t there then nothing happens. You can talk about it, believe in it and pray for it, but if the power is not there, nothing happens. It’s not something we can control; it’s something we can only seek and wait for until it comes. What is it? Or rather we should ask, Who is it? It’s the active, tangible presence of the Holy Spirit which at times can become so strong that we can actually feel something or observe Him at work. Human efforts to serve God by themselves can be well-intended but very limited in what they accomplish. But when God’s power shows up, those results change dramatically.
When we proclaim Jesus Christ, or pray for the sick, or help someone receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, or engage in some type of spiritual warfare, the outcome will be decided not so much by what we say or do but by whether or not God actually shows up. And when He does everyone knows it (John 3:8).
Preparing for the Spirit
There beside Jacob’s well Jesus taught us that we must partner with the Holy Spirit if we want to see miraculous harvest. So what must we do if we don’t want to rely on our own human efforts? How do we position ourselves so God’s Spirit can perform His wonders among us? There is many more insights that could be added to this list, but here are a few that are essential. As a disciple of Jesus Christ each of us must:
1) Make a deep commitment that we will never minister apart from God’s power.
2) Realized that the Holy Spirit will always come to help us when we as Jesus’ disciples see Him. (John 14:16, 14:26).
3) Understand that preparing for power is a process that may vary in length and intensity depending on the situation, but will usually require such forms of preparation as intercessory prayer, fasting, worship praying in the Spirit, spiritual warfare and even physically cleaning a place before we begin to minister.
4) Watch for God to initiate and lead all ministry. He alone knows what that person needs to hear and when they are ready to receive. If we lead, the entire process breaks down.
5) Expect miraculous results. When God initiates and the power shows up, amazing things will always happen.
6) Never lose perspective and think we caused such wonderful results. We must remember that God was at work long before we arrived and that He will continue working long after we leave. Joyful thanks is our proper response for the privilege of ministering in the power that comes only because we belong to Jesus.
Great expectations
This passage is full of great expectations. Jesus was preparing His disciples for supernatural levels of fruitfulness. If they followed His example they too would share in His promise that the power of God would bring people to faith in strange, difficult places, in brief periods of time and in unreasonably large numbers. And Jesus would say the same things to us today. As His disciples, if we will follow His example, the power of God can still reach people today. If we will listen to Him carefully and let His words sink into our hearts, never again will we be able to look at a situation and feel defeated. Instead, we’ll watch for His leadership, wait for His power and expect a great harvest.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and the ends of the earth.”
Discussion Questions
1. Can you think of a time when the Holy Spirit led you to do or say something to someone and you obeyed? What happened? Did God show up?
2. Have you ever been surprised to find that someone you thought would never be interested in God had become a believer? Did you ever find out why? If so, what did God see in them that you couldn’t see?
3. Have you ever felt the power of the Holy Spirit? Tell us when and where. What did you feel or see?