Series: Intimacy; Relationships; Oneness

Sunday am 21st October 2018 – Kobus Swart

Ps. 37:4; (John 8:44); (Gen. 3:1, 11); (Gen. 1:26); Ps. 133; (Mark 9:7); John 15:12-17;  Matt. 16:13-18, 21-23; (Gen. 4:1, 17, 25 – KJV); Matt. 7:22-23 

‘Intimacy’ is a theme that runs throughout the Bible and is at the heart of a true relationship with God. It is a word that is misused and miss-applied in the world. We often read,Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart(Ps. 37:4). If we truly understand the word ‘delight’, it involves intimacy with God. It means that I will not desire anything that He did not put in my heart to desire. When you have a desire from God, He first triggers a longing in your heart for an intimate relationship with Him. That is where it starts. Whatever else I desire in this life, my first yearning should be to have an intimate relationship with God. If it does not start there, we will look in other directions for our desires to be fulfilled. All of us desire spiritual experiences but spiritual experiences must start with you having an intimate relationship with God, out of which multiple spiritual experiences will flow. 

Why is the Church so trapped in their own earthly desires that they miss the point of making it first priority to have an intimate relationship with the Creator? There is only One, Yahweh God, the One and only living God. He desires to have a personal relationship with you more than we desire to have it with Him. He created us in His image and likeness. 

Nobody knows how long Adam and Eve walked in the garden before the Fall. It could have been eons. They must have had an amazing life in the Garden of Eden, having a daily intimate walk with God in the cool of the day. If there is anything satan would like to steal from us, it is that intimate relationship. He was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He used a truth to deceive because they were already like God (Gen. 3:1). They were created in His likeness and His image (Gen. 1:26). He convinced Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which was forbidden by God. Satan had one thing in mind – to destroy the intimate relationship between man and God. Take this seriously. Evaluate your life, evaluate your decisions, weigh your desires again and again before God. Get your priorities right. First priority is to spend time with God and get to know Him. 

Before the fall Adam and Eve were naked. Do we understand the word ‘intimacy’ in relation to ‘nakedness’? The moment they fell they realized they were naked and hid themselves from God’s presence. Satan wants us to wear ‘fig leaves’ so that when we talk to God, there is something between us. God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Gen. 3:11). They had been naked all the time (meaning an open intimate relationship with Him) and it had never been an issue. They had eaten of the tree of good and evil. You can tap into ‘good’ knowledge yet having eaten from the wrong tree. The issue is we have to eat from the tree of Life! The tree of Life will bring back transparency, vulnerability and intimacy. Take off your mask! Stop acting!

We think that when we are ‘together’ we are corporate. No, you can be together, even holding hands and you can still sit in your own private little chamber. Corporateness is more than just being together. It is more than unity. We have to upgrade to oneness. It means we are transparent, we are vulnerable, we understand intimacy. Where brothers dwell together in oneness; that is where God commands His blessing (Ps. 133). Jesus the son of God, who was the Word made flesh, who was God in the flesh, who walked in the supernatural, only picked twelve men to become His disciples. He could have had a mega-church but chose to only work with twelve. One will put a thousand to flight; two will put tenthousand to flight!

Jesus’ active ministry was only for three years. Only at the age of thirty at His baptism did the heavens open and God confirmed it and His ministry was launched (Mark 9:7). Towards the end of His ministry after He had called the twelve by name, He gave the group a different name. Transparency, openness – “Now I call you friends” (John 15:12-17). Would you lay down your life for your friends? What keeps people from getting too close to another? Fear! What is missing in churches is true friendship. That is why we encourage smaller (cell) groups, as part of the local church, where you can build friendships. There God commands His blessing. I encourage all of you to find the nearest home group and connect, bring down your walls, become transparent and see how the Lord is going to bring oneness and blessing. Not very long after that, Judas betrayed Jesus. 

The apostle Peter became one of the chief apostles after the resurrection but Peter was impulsive. When Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”, which came to him as a revelation from the Father (Matt. 16:13-18). Soon after that when Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection, Peter rebuked Jesus saying, “God forbid it Lord!”. Jesus said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matt. 16:21-23). What did Jesus mean? Did He mean that Peter had become Satan? No. Jesus identified the spirit that spoke through Peter. Sometimes people say hurtful things. What should you do? Not bad-mouth them, but rebuke the principality that hovers over that person that gives him or her that utterance. You have the authority to cancel that, so that you can save the person who is your friend. Sometimes the Jezebel spirit operates in a church. What is the Jezebel spirit? It manipulates spiritual authority, talking with a divisive tongue. Let us learn from the way Jesus treated the utterance from Peter by getting satan out of the way. 

May God give us wisdom in this corporate environment of oneness and love and intimacy! Each of us needs intimacy and friends we can trust. We must become transparent and vulnerable. God has given us authority to deal with the spirit of lawlessness and to deal with a divisive spirit like that of Absalom. What did Absalom do? He stood at the gate and tried to get followers after himself, when he was not called to be the leader. Churches are full of these manifestations. May the Lord give us ears to hear and deal with that spirit the right way. 

Intimacy also refers to sexual intimacy between husband and wife. In many places in the Old Testament it says, “The man knew his wife and she gave birth” (Gen. 4:1, 17, 25 – KJV). The word ‘knew’ here means intimacy. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (Operating in spiritual gifts)And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’(Matt. 7:22-23). God knows all of us but this means something deeper. God is looking for intimacy. 

Eugene Petersen wrote: “Friendship is a much underestimated aspect of spirituality. The greatest thing anyone can do for another is to confirm the deepest thing in him or her, to take the time and have the discernment to see what is most deeply there and confirm by recognizing and encouraging it. Each of us has contact with hundreds of people who never look beyond our surface appearance. We have dealings with hundreds of people, who the moment they set eyes on us, start calculating what use we can be to them and what they can get out of us. Get to know a person deeply, confirm what God has made that person to be. Then you get somebody who enters your life who is not looking for someone to use, but finds out what is really going on in us, is secure enough not to exploit our weaknesses, or attack our struggles or our strengths, recognizes our inner life and understand the difficultly of living out our inner convictions, confirms what is deepest within us, a friend” Let us become serious about intimacy with God. It is not about spiritual experiences. Spiritual experiences will follow intimacy with God. If you have the spiritual experiences without the relationship, you can go off track.