OceanSide church of Christ
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THE PRESENCE OF GOD (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Denominational people are constantly telling us about their “experiences” with God.
B. We do not have the experiences they have. In fact, we often feel that the presence of God is far from us.
C. The Bible teaches us that God is not very far from every one us (Acts 17:27). It also tells us to draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh to us (James 4:8).
D. Last Sunday evening, we discussed some of the ways that we can experience the presence of God.
1. He is everywhere.
2. Nature cries out that God exists.
3. He can be found at work in providence.
4. He can also be seen in his judgment against evil.
E. These are the broad ways God’s presence is manifest. This morning, let’s continue and look at some of the more intimate ways we can experience, “The Presence of God.”
I. GOD IS PRESENT IN HIS WORD
A. One way God is present in His Word is because He is the subject of the book.
1. The Bible begins with God (Gen. 1:1).
2. The Bible reveals “who” God is.
3. The Bible teaches us about the actions and work of God throughout man’s history.
B. The presence of God, however, is found in more than just the story of the book. The very words of the Bible itself come from the breath of God.
1. When we open the Bible, and read a verse, God is speaking to us.
a. Psalm 78:1
Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
b. II Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God…
c. Hebrews 1:2
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…
d. II Peter 1:21b
…but holy men of God spake as they were moved of the Holy Ghost.
e. Some 2800 times we read the phrases, “And God said,” and “Thus saith the Lord.”
2. Understanding this impacts what we say about what is found in the Word of God.
a. Let me see what God has to say.
b. This is what God says.
c. Look at what God has to say about this.
C. NOTE: God’s connection to the Word is what also makes it
1. Powerful (Heb. 4:12)
2. Life-giving (Phil. 2:16)
3. Soul-saving (James 1:21)
II. GOD IS PRESENT IN PRAYER
A. When we bow in prayer, we address the Father who resides within the third heaven (Matt. 6:9).
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
B. When we go to God in prayer, His ear is extremely attentive to our prayer.
1. Psalm 34:15
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
2. The psalmist is our example (Ps. 18:6).
In my distress I called unto the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.
C. In Genesis 32, Jacob is returning to see his father after some 20 years of being away. Alone near the ford Jabbok, the patriarch wrestles with God.
1. Genesis 32:24
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
2. Jacob would not let Him go until he received a blessing (Gen. 32:26).
3. After receiving the blessing the man departed. Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: …for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (Gen. 32:30).
4. This event in the life of Jacob is a picture of us as we wrestle with God in prayer.
a. We take hold of our Father.
b. We cry out for a blessing.
c. We will not let him go until we receive a blessing.
D. Any hour, any day, we can be, not just within hearing distance of God, but within whispering distance of him. That, my friends, is very close to the presence of God.
III. GOD IS PRESENT IN OUR SERVICE TO HIM
A. This was a lesson that we learned in our study of the book of Jonah in my Ladies’ Class at the East Wood congregation.
1. The opening of the book tells of Jonah’s charge by God (Jonah 1:2).
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
2. Jonah 1:3 follows immediately on the heels of his commission.
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
3. Jonah could not flee form the all-seeing eye of God. He would find that out very soon. It was his flight from God’s service that took him out of the presence of God.
B. Whatever God’s work is for us to do, we can be assured that God is therein laboring with us.
1. God does not leave us alone to do His work by ourselves.
2. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you…” We are yoked together with Him.
3. When we rebel against God. When we refuse to do his bidding. When we seek to flee unto Tarshish, we are fleeing from the presence of the Lord.
C. Those who are diligently, fervently laboring in the vineyard of the Lord are in His presence.
IV. GOD’S PRESENCE IS WITHIN HIS PEOPLE
A. The church is referred to in the Bible as “the temple of God” (I Cor. 3:16a).
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God…
B. In the Old Testament, the temple was “the house of God” or “the dwelling place of God” (II Chron. 6:2).
But I have built a house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
1. When the tabernacle was erected in the wilderness, the glory of God filled it (Exo. 30:34).
2. When Solomon constructed the temple in Jerusalem, the glory of God filled it (II Chron. 5:13).
C. All three members of the Godhead are said to dwell within the temple of God, the church.
1. God the Father (II Cor. 6:16)
2. Christ (Eph. 3:17)
3. The Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:16)
D. When we assemble with the saints, we are gathering in the presence of God.
V. GOD’S PRSENCE IS WITH EACH CHRISTIAN
A. Every Christian has Christ dwelling within and he/she is seeking to live like Christ in his daily living.
B. When others come in contact with us, they should experience the Christ (Phil. 1:21).
For to me to live is Christ…
A. The truth is that God is present in multiple places.
B. He is especially near His chosen people.
C. He is in the fabric of every human being (Acts 17:28).
For in him, we live, and move, and have our being…
1. God is why man lives.
2. Hebrews 1:3 reveals that he upholds “all things by the word of his power.”
3. Think of that. All we must do is live, and God is with us.
D. Our desire should be to live in such a way as to ultimately be able to live in the presence of God in the hereafter.
1. Revelation 21:23-24a
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it…
2. What a joy it will be to hear these words: …enter thou into the joy of thy Lord (Matt. 25:21, 23).