Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2: 9, quoting Isaiah 64:4)
The human eye is incapable of seeing—really seeing—the things of God.
The human ear is incapable of hearing—really hearing—the things of God.
The human heart is incapable of feeling or discerning or following—really knowing—the things of God.
We humans CANNOT perceive, conceive, or receive Him in or by ourselves. What hope have we…? (Our hope—our only hope—is in the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!)
We cannot not know Him through perceiving (eyes and ears). That means we cannot know God through observation and the use of our natural senses…
We cannot know Him through conceiving (heart). That means we cannot know God by reasoning or intellectual study or questioning…
We can ONLY KNOW Him through receiving God the Holy Spirit! That means that it is impossible to KNOW or LOVE Father and Son apart from the infilling and outflowing of Holy Spirit!
The Lord, speaking through Isaiah and Paul makes clear that any hope of knowing or loving God comes not by our doing but only by His giving! Holy Spirit baptism—being immersed in the Person of the Holy Spirit by the Hands of the Lord Jesus as promised by the Father—is the ONLY way humans can know God, not to mention love Him. We love Him, because He first loved us. We know Him, because He gave us the ability BY THE SPIRIT—not by our efforts!
This is church 101—the foundational stuff. Yet much of the western church behaves perpetually like the Corinthian church—infighting and backstabbing and clique-forming--claiming to love God without ever receiving Him in the first place…
Worse, some who HAVE received Him in Spirit Baptism revert to human perceiving and conceiving—causing divisions, gossiping mindlessly, and remaining perpetual spiritual infants who enjoy controlling the church over being the Church…!
As Father, Son, and Spirit were making clear to the Corinthians, Holy Spirit reception and maturation is the only way to love God and to receive all He has prepared for us!
This is so important to us as we move forward in the Appalachia Awakening. We cannot be an Antioch Church if we revert to Corinthian-style infighting. We cannot understand the convergence of Steams in the River of God unless we are flowing in the Spirit, the Rivers of Living Water!
As an Antioch Church, we act as a hub where various leaders and movements converge—flow together—to sow and plant and replicate and celebrate as God pours out His Spirit to awaken LOVE in the hearts of many who have felt unlovable—to the end that they can begin to delight in the things that God has prepared for them!
17 years ago, we were Corinth. Today, we are Antioch. It has been a hard road but look at the fruit! Look at the Love! Look at the unity! Look at what the Lord has prepared for us—a glorious harvest birthed in God-loving obedience!