There is nothing like excitement in the air! One reason I enjoy football so much is because it’s a game where something big can happen at any moment: a 40-yard rush, a sack, or sometimes a goal-line stand.
How can I get so excited over sports and games and yet not have that enthusiasm every time I enter the church house to worship God? I am gathering with believers in the name of the resurrected Son of God, and someone is going to take the eternal word of God and declare it! People will be singing of God’s greatness and glory, and prayers will be lifted up for grace to come down. Oh yes, this is far more infinite than a game. So, why do I find myself going through business as usual, instead of thinking – rather, instead of hungering and believing – that God is going to do a work?
Do I believe God is going to save a sinner that is very near Hell? Do I believe God is about to restore some backslider? Do I believe someone’s heavy burden is about to be lifted – maybe even mine? Do I believe God is going to meet with me this day and speak to my heart while the preacher is preaching?
It seems that if my eyes were on Jesus, then I would have a spirit of expectancy. Like the man watching the final play of the Super Bowl, knowing something big is about to happen, where is my expectancy?
It reminds me of the church at Laodicea, a group of people who were happy with empty motions and routines, believing everything was just super. The Bible says of that church:
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked
In many churches, there is no spirit of expectancy. We come, sit, endure, and go home. It is nothing to tell our friends about, and it is something we will go through again later because we are supposed to. There is no expectancy of God doing a work in hearts.
Every service should have a spirit of expectancy in the midst. People should enter the meeting house, knowing, praying, and believing that God is at work.
I do not want empty motions of religion! I believe God is great, and I want to have all He wants for me in every service!
So, what must I have if I would have a spirit of expectancy in every church service?
1. I Must Believe in the Power of the Word of God
2 Timothy 3:15-4:2 (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (4:1) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
• This is a belief that I need sound preaching.
• This is a belief that there is nothing like the Bible, and it will change my life! I get to hear it’s truth declared!
• This is a belief that God has something for me, today, and He has me in the service for a reason!
2. I Must Pray for God to Speak to Me
Luke 11:9-13 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
• There is no substitute for prayer! The church must ask God to stir them!
• The First Century church believed that God would meet every need in answer to prayer. The Twenty-first Century church must have the same confidence!
• The way to obtain a spirit of expectancy is to come to every service, praying and asking God, “Lord, speak to me!” “Lord, help me!”
3. I Must Be Willing to Obey
John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
• To come to the meeting without a willingness for God to work is deny one’s self what he could be by the power of God
• Every opportunity to hear the preaching must also be an opportunity to examine one’s self and say, “Lord, I am Thine!”
For the church at Laodicea, the issue was a matter of their hearts. They had become lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. They were involved in activities, and they came to the church services. So, one could not call them cold. Yet, they did not burn with a spirit of expectancy, so one could not refer to them as hot. They were lukewarm, and it was a heart problem.
The only cure is to repent and return to the Lord. The church must, in their daily lives and especially in the meeting, come with a firm belief that God is at work, and that He desires to work in each person of the church individually and the church corporately.
Revelation 3:18-19 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Every service, let me go to church, praying, believing, and expecting that God is doing something and that I cannot wait to see what it is!