Presence of God – 4/23/2017
God always desired to dwell with us
If God is just visiting in your life, things will return back to normal when glory leaves.
[Psalm 27:4] – The one thingI ask of the LORD–the thing I seek most–is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.
Is God dwelling with you? Are you dwelling with God?
[Genesis 3:8-9] – the Lord God walking about in the garden, they hid because they realized their nakedness, He asked “Where are you?”
Tabernacle– “mishkan” (dwelling place, tent) – in the Wilderness
[Leviticus 26:11-12] – I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.
[Exodus 33:11] – Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
Temple – in Jerusalem
[1 Kings 8:27-30] “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O LORD my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you this day, that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place.”
[Acts 17:24-25] – The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, and human hands can’t serve his needs–for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need.
[Zechariah 2:10-11] “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.
DWELL – “shakan” or “shaken” (shaw-kan’) – to settle down, abide, dwell – this word is derived from rabbinic word “shekhinah” (Shekhinah Glory – divine presence of God)
[Matthew 1:23] – Immanuel “God with us”
[John 1:14] – And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Pitched His Tabernacle/Tent, Tabernacled with us)
[Ephesians 2:21-22] – In whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
“naos” – (nah-os’), place of divine dwelling place
[Ephesians 3:17] – Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. DWELLS IN OUR HEARTS THROUGH FAITH
“katoikeó” (kat-oy-keh’-o) – dwelling place, settle down as permanent resident
Revelation 21:3 – And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
Is God dwelling with you?
- Sin separated us from God (Romans 3:23)
- The penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
- Jesus paid the penalty for our sin (Romans 5:8)
- If we repent of our sins & confess Jesus as Lord, we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10, 13).
If you believe in JESUS – the Spirit of God is dwelling within you.
[John 14:17] He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you.
“menó” (men’-o) – stay, abide, remain
Are you dwelling with God?
HOW’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD?
Are you talking to God (prayer)?
[1 Thessalonians 5:16] Pray without ceasing
Are you listening to God (reading His Word)?
[Colossians 3:16a] – “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” WORD DWELL WITHIN YOU
Are you walking with God (in faithful obedience)?
[John 14:23] – Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves Me, He will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to Him and make our home with Him.” OBEY THE WORD
[John 15:5] – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. BEARING FRUIT
Benefits of Dwelling with God
- Protection / Safety
- Removal of Fear
- Deliverance from evil
- Long Life
The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.
Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.
Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?
Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]
Forever is a very long time. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 61 about a request: “Let me live forever in Your sanctuary.” This is not a simple request. This request is for a sinful man to spend forever with God, Holy God, in His presence.
Despite it not being a simple request, it is a request that can be met. There is a possibility for you and I to live forever in His sanctuary. To abide with Him, we must accept the Son. To abide with Him, we must have the desire. The Bible promises that when we abide in Him, He will abide in us (John 15:4).
Thankfully God sent His Son to pave the way for us to be able to come before God as unblemished spotless ones. Because of the blood of Christ, we are cleansed and we are righteous. We are called children of God through faith (Galatians 3:26). The wages of sin is death, but we accept the free gift of God, eternal life through Christ Jesus (Romans 6:23). Forever we live in Your sanctuary!
“Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings! Interlude” – Psalm 61:4 [NLT]
I was sleeping so well. All of the sudden my eyes were wide open. It was National Dog Day. But that wasn’t why Max woke me up. A storm with lightning and thunder was in our midst. Max was having an anxiety attack. My overweight dog was in big baby mode. I called him onto my bed and held him in a close embrace to calm him down. He has a special storm jacket or thunder jacket. I call it a storm trooper jacket because it’s the only way he is a good trooper through storms.
As I lay unable to sleep with my panicked canine, I considered the close embrace of our heavenly Father. When we embrace someone closely, eventually we let go. We start to feel hot. We want to change our position. We cannot spend all day in one place. We have things to do. Sometimes it is a challenge embracing anyone at all. But with God, it’s different. The embrace is never-ending. Forever, we are in safety with the close embrace of God.
God “takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV). The psalmist said that God covers us with His feathers, that under His wings we find refuge (Psalm 91:4). Today, consider the close embrace of God. Nothing can snatch you from His hand (John 10:28). Settle close to Him for refuge. Enjoy His presence. Appreciate the close embrace.
We do not think like God thinks (Isaiah 55:8). That being said, there are many times when we are unable to grasp what God is doing and we become frustrated. We may even cry out to the Lord, “You have don’t nothing,” just like Moses did.
Moses was upset with God. He was angry because his requests of Pharaoh, requests that were refused, brought about consequences. The Lord had Moses go before Pharaoh and it continued to bring trouble. But Moses couldn’t see what God was doing. He only saw the consequences. This caused him to claim God did “nothing.”
Perhaps today you are crying out these same words—You have done nothing. Perhaps you feel abandoned. Perhaps you wonder where God is even at right now because you cannot see Him moving in your life. Remember, even when you do not see God’s presence around you, He is alive and active. He continues to work everything out for His good purpose. Keep your heart open to hear Him. Dive deeper into His Word. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Trust in His faithfulness.
“Then Moses went back to the LORD and protested, ‘Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!’” – Exodus 5:22-23 [NLT]
God is holy. He cannot face sin because of His holiness. Because of the sinfulness of mankind, many times we read in the Bible that the people were without the presence of the Lord. The people were unable to be in the presence of God because they were unclean. Once a year, one person could enter the inner part of the Temple to approach His presence. Even Moses was not allowed to look upon the face of the Lord because he was a sinner, just like you and me.
When reading about Jonah, we note that he was asked by the Lord to go share a message to the people of Nineveh. He gets up and flees to Tarshish. But it doesn’t just say that he goes in the opposite direction from where he was commanded. It says he flees “from the presence of the LORD.” When the men on the boat are trying to discover the cause of the storm issues, they recognize that he is running from “the presence of the LORD.”
Every time we sin, we are keeping ourselves from fully being in the presence of the LORD. Yes, things are different today. Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose on the third day. If we believe this, we are saved. If we believe this, we are children of God. If we believe this, we can approach God. The veil is torn. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon us. But still, if we sin, we are keeping ourselves from fully being in the presence of the LORD. Do you want that? Do you desire to not be fully aware of His presence? If you want to hear His still small voice, if you want to be aware of Him—to recognize Him moving in your life and in the lives around you—turn from sin and fix your eyes on Him. Take a step towards God and experience the awesomeness of the presence of the LORD.
“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD… Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, ‘What is this that you have done!’ For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.” – Jonah 1:3,10 [ESV]
Today’s passage gets me to consider how God restores. We serve a God of restoration. Consider this—after two days He revives and then on the third day raises up. Does this remind you of anything? Earlier in the passage, it speaks about returning to the Lord. We read that God has torn and struck down. This is something that is done to prune, to grow, to stretch God’s people and produce what is meant—what is better. We read that in doing so we are healed and bound up.
The passage continues to say that we are raised up so that “we may live before Him.” I love this. Earlier Hosea speaks about being led astray, not having a knowledge of God, being far from God. Now this passage says that we will live before Him. We go from being far from Him, away from Him altogether, to being right before Him—in His presence! How awesome is that?!?
Understand friends, that our God restores. He takes that which is broken and He binds. He takes that which is dirty and cleanses. There will be breaking. There will be pruning. But there is also deliverance. There is also restoration. There is healing. Let us press on. Let us press on to know the Lord. His Word helps us to recognize Him more, to understand Him more. His Spirit reveals and reminds. Press on.
“Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:1-3 [ESV]
“And I ask Him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God” 17-19 [MSG]
17 – Rooted deep in love… founded securely on love
18-19 – Strength to comprehend…
BREADTH – extends to all
John 3:16 – For God so LOVED THE WORLD
LENGTH – everlasting duration
Romans 8:37-39 – Nothing can separate you from LOVE of GOD
DEPTH – Christ’s humility saves those from pit of sin
Ephesians 2:4-5 – When dead in trespasses made alive
Romans 5:8 – While still sinners, Christ died for us
HEIGHT – raises to glory
Ephesians 2:6 – Raised & seated with God because united with Jesus
2 Corinthians 4:14 – Raises us with Jesus and brings us into His presence
Know the Love of Christ that…
Fills you with all the fullness of God
“We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.” – Brennan Manning
Bible Study Questions:
- We usually gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the cost of that love. Many times we look at the sacrifices, the money, the time we give as a way to measure the love. How can we measure Christ’s love by what it cost Him?
- We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by how much we actually deserve the love. If we are not so nice to someone and they love us compared to someone who loves us when we treat them well, there is a difference. It’s more difficult to love some people. How can we measure Christ’s love by how much we deserve it?
- We can gauge the depth of someone’s love for us by the greatness of the benefits we receive from being loved. What are the benefits we receive from Christ’s love?
- We can gauge the depth of someone’s love by the freedom with which they love us, meaning that the person isn’t doing something because they are made to do so, but because they choose, they so desire. How free is the love of Christ?
- What gets in the way from you accepting the love of Christ? What gets in the way from you showing the love of Christ to the body of Christ (the Church)?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
Exiting the Cave Basic Review of 1 Kings 17-18 Main Passage 1 Kings 19
- There’s a great and strong wind.
- There’s an
- There’s a fire.
- There is the sound of a low whisper – a still small voice.
How do you recognize God’s presence? Desire the Presence of God “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” – James 4:8 [ESV] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and He with Me.” – Revelation 3:20 [ESV] Desire to Know God To recognize God, you should know Who He is “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [ESV] God wants you to know Him and to love Him – that’s a RELATIONSHIP Desire Leads to Readiness “Be still, and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10a [ESV] You cannot predict how God will be present from past experiences. Each moment is we should be ready for Him with great expectation but not by placing Him in some prepackaged box. If you box Him in, you’ll miss Him. Desire More of Him & Less of You “Why climb the mountains or go down into the valleys of the world looking for Him Who dwells within us?” – Augustine If you believe in Jesus Christ and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit it means that God dwells within. That means the Spirit of God dwells within you. You don’t have to ask for the Holy Spirit once you have obtained – you simply ask “More of You, less of me.” Each day. Every day. Listen. The Holy Spirit will help you, comfort you, remind you, teach you, empower you, assure you, strengthen you….