The third type of media God uses to come to us, besides events and words, is PERSONS. God Himself is a person so it doesn’t shock us that persons are a significant form of God revealing Himself to us.
Think of it this way… in general revelation God displays His Lordship attribute of control over all things in this universe. In special revelation God demonstrates His Lordship attribute of authority over all things, including His plan to save the world. In personal revelation God demonstrates His Lordship attribute of presence among us.
Theophany is one of those ten-dollar seminary words that pastors like to use. It just means: those times when God takes on a physical form to communicate with mankind. See these passages for examples: Genesis 16:7-14; Genesis 21:17-20; or Exodus 23:31. There are many more, but this is just a sample. The form God takes might be of a man, angel, or heavenly being surrounded by the host of heaven itself.
The most significant theophany is the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to specifically, and in person, helps us all to see and know God personally. In Jesus God dwelt among us (John 1:14). All the apostles saw Him, including the apostle Paul. They touched Him, they handled Him (1 John 1:1-3). If you saw Jesus, He said you were seeing the Father (John 14:9).
At Pentecost, God also revealed Himself as the Holy Spirit. Each of those first receivers of God’s Spirit were empowered in specific ways to speak the truth of God in love to others who would also believe. And each of these new believers also received this same Holy Spirit of God inside themselves.
So here’s the thing.
The most important, the most significant, the most powerful revelation of God happens when a person formally an enemy of God, surrenders to God’s LORDSHIP, and finds new life, eternal life, in Jesus. At that very moment God begins to write His own word inside that persons heart.
Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.“ They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
This action on God’s part in theological terms is called “illumination.” It is like a light in your home on a dimmer switch. When you first turn the light on it’s low setting, while the bulb is shining, it isn’t that bright. But as you give it more electricity, the bulb gets brighter and brighter. The Holy Spirit inside of us is the first illumination. The more we turn to God’s Word, to God in person, the Holy Spirit’s power is released in our hearts and minds, making us more and more like Jesus. We have all the Spirit we’re ever going to need. What we must do is learn to yield to the Spirit’s leading, surrender to the Spirit’s power, and trust in God’s Lordship over us.
The more we turn to God’s Word, the more illuminated we become, the more we come to love it, and it becomes the central focus of our world.
This is what it means to serve God as Lord.
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