2 Cor.12:3,4 – And I know how such a man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows — was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
Today’s church seems to want to reinvent God and Christianity into the image of the age. It’s not really just today’s church, historically that is exactly what man has done. Somehow we think we are advancing as a civilization and want to improve on God’s plan. In today’s verse Paul is describing being caught up into a place of ecstasy in the presence of God. That kind of talk is frowned on and treated as weirdly some kind of fringe version of Christianity. Paul was not a flake. He spoke in tongues (a lot), he experienced trances, for three days he was blinded by the brightness of the glory, he cast out demons, prophesied, and had visions and dreams. Today, we are satisfied with a slick message on being a better version of you with a few nice songs (nothing too intimate), and if there ever was a noise in service it is dealt with immediately. Here are some thoughts about the effects of the Spirit from Jonathan Edwards in the Great Awakening.
“If it may well be accounted for, that persons under a true sense of the glorious and wonderful greatness and excellency of divine things, and soul-ravishing views of the beauty and love of Christ, should have the strength of nature overpowered…’Tis no wonder that when the thoughts are so fixed, and the affections so strong, and the whole soul so engaged and ravished and swallowed up, that all other parts of the body are so affected as to be deprived of their strength, and the whole frame ready to dissolve; I say, ’tis no wonder that in such a case, the brain in particular which is a part of the body which we know is nextly and most especially affected by intense contemplations and exercises of mind, should be overborne and affected, so that its strength and spirits should for a season be diverted..”
So when was the last time you were in a really good, messy service? When the Holy Spirit actually moves into a congregation, good luck with keeping people quiet. There will be shouts of joy, cries and sobbing in repentance, and maybe some prophesying, or shrieking as demons come out. I love those messy services; at least I know that something is happening when people are being effected by the Spirit.