Where two or three are gathered… (Part 2)
Last week, we looked at Matthew 18:20, where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I with them – inspired by how God is present with us as we meet together as a church, regardless of whether we join together virtually or in person. But how else do we know that God is with us? This week we take a look at God’s omnipresence as well as His gift of the Holy Spirit.
Omnipresent (all present) God
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20)
We know God is continuously present everywhere on Earth, as well as above His creation in the heavens. Although in some moments His presence is felt more keenly than others, we can be certain that He is constantly with us. As David wrote: Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me (Psalm 139:7-10).
When we consider this, we see how amazing Jesus’ arrival on earth was. God had the ability to choose literally any incarnation of Himself on Earth, and specifically chose to live as a human being among us. This demonstrates the full extent of His love, allowing Him to sacrifice Himself for us in a way we could see and understand.
Paul describes the exciting new life we have thanks to this in his letter to the Galatians: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20)
It may feel overwhelming that God, who created the entire world and each of us, walks with us every day, including when we meet with others in His name, whether that is by Zoom or in person. Yet this same God chooses to actively come near to us, as we see in His decision to send Christ to die for our sins.
Through this, the barrier caused by our sin was broken down and removed, showing how God chooses to be ever-present with His children: God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:27-28).
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth….He will glorify Me because it is from Me that He will receive what He will make known to you (John 16:13-14)
As Jesus is both fully man and fully God, He acts as a mediator between humans and God. This means we can be fully at peace with Him following Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). Yet before Jesus returned to Heaven He also promised to send a helper, the Holy Spirit.
He did this so the Spirit could constantly help us contribute to the growth of God’s kingdom by living in us, guiding us, comforting us, strengthening us, empowering us and producing spiritual fruit through us. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you (John 14:16-17)
We read of how the gift of the Holy Spirit first came to God’s followers in Acts 2:1-21: All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. This is a great chapter, in which we see some of the power of the Holy Spirit – His ability to help people understand God’s word, and each other.
As we continue to live by faith, the Holy Spirit will be by our side, helping us to grow even further. Through this we will gain even more knowledge of God’s truths promised to us. One way of experiencing this and growing together is certainly through meeting with others as part of a church, whether that is over the internet or face to face (at a safe distance!)
Even while we have been apart as a church over the past few months, many people have commented how connected they feel with each other thanks to God’s continual presence with us, no matter where we are or how we join together with others.