Close Encounters

Isaac Serrano
Jun 25, 2017
1 John 4:1-6
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Have you ever had one of those truly spiritual moments? Most of us remember at least one grace-filled, awe-producing moment. Though fleeting, they put giant smiles on our faces and fill our hearts. Maybe it was a conversation with a complete stranger when you shared a bit of your story and heard his. Maybe it was holding your newborn for the first time, or maybe it was a meal you shared with your spouse or spouse-to-be in a very special place. These are sometimes referred to as “thin” moments or places where, like the sharing of oxygen through the whisper of a bride’s veil, we almost feel the breath of God. There is also the other side, where the membrane between material and spiritual is just as thin. Moments of oppression or unexplained despair can come on us like a viral flood. I remember a night a few years back when I felt an evil oppression in my dreams and I was awakened from sleep to an audible low growl with the weight of a man pressing on my chest, sending me deep into my mattress. I swear I thought I would open my eyes and see someone over me. It feels odd to admit to it, especially because I have no rational explanation for it. Truth be told, I have suffered from a heart condition called atrial fibrillation for over 10 years, but this was not my heart. The physical sensation took my breath away, and though it only lasted seconds, my sleep escaped me for what remained of the night. It was one of those moments when I felt complete vulnerability and real fear. Needless to say, I prayed. The reality of a spiritual realm is not in question for John. He wants to make sure that his listeners are aware that there are spiritual forces at play and they are not always good; but, most important, their quality can be tested. Much like his previous contrast of “love of the world” against “love of the Father” (Session 5), John brings out his permanent marker again to lay down a line between “the Spirit of truth” and the “spirit of error.”

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Isaac Serrano is Lead Teaching Pastor of South Valley Community Church. He likes talking theology, history, and culture. Isaac lives in Gilroy with his family. On his days off, he likes to go fishing and venture outdoors. Isaac serves on the leadership board for the Regeneration Project and the school board of Pacific Point Christian Schools.

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