DEGREES OF HIS PRESENCE
I trust that God will use this message to stir a longing for His presence! We need to rekindle our longing for God's presence.
- I sense that Covid has caused many people to draw back from pursuing the presence of God.
- This could be due to survival mode? But those days are now over. And we are getting re-focussed on the Altogether-Lovely-One.
The psalmist said: Psalm 84:1-2 (NKJV) - 'How lovely is Your tabernacle, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.'
There are 6 points that I would like to share with you.
1. GOD'S OMNIPRESENCE
a. In the word omnipresent, the prefix 'omni-' means 'all'. So, when we say that God is omnipresent, it means that He is present everywhere.
- He is present everywhere at the same time and at all times.
- He is omnipresent even if we are not conscious of His presence. He is still there. Just because we might not discern His presence, doesn't make Him any less present.
b. Note this: No molecule or atomic particle is so small that God is not fully present to it, and no galaxy so vast that God does not circumscribe it.
c. Psalm 33:13-14 (NKJV) - 'The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth.'
- So, if God 'sees' every person, it means that He is present to every person (and every situation).
d. There is no place on the face of the earth where you can hide from God's omnipresence!
- Psalm 139:7-12 (NLT) - David said: 'I can never escape from Your Spirit! I can never get away from Your presence! If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I go down to the grave, You are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there Your hand will guide me, and Your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night- but even in darkness I cannot hide from You.'
2. GOD'S CORPORATE PRESENCE
a. Matthew 18:20 (NKJV) - Jesus said: 'For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I AM THERE in the midst of them.'
- TPT - 'For wherever two or three come together in honour of My Name, I am right there with them!'
b. This tells us that whenever God's people come together (even just a few), God makes Himself PRESENT in their midst. Isn't that so wonderful? This shows us that God is not a distant or impersonal God. No, He is a personal and relational God. He loves to present Himself among His people.
- When your small group gathers (10 or 12 people) God is present. Even when no one shows up and it's only you & your spouse, God is present.
- When a church gathers (200 or 300 people), God is present.
- The principle can be applied to all meetings where believers gather with JESUS as the focal point.
c. Psalm 22:3 (NKJV) - 'But You are holy, who INHABIT the praises of Israel.'
- The Hebrew word translated 'inhabit' is ya?shab [yaw-shab]. It means to sit down; to dwell; or to settle. And that's exactly what God does in our praises.
- It's as though God is so blessed when we offer up sincere praise that He takes up residence (or dwells) in those praises.
- In her book 'Extravagant Worship', Darlene Zschech writes: It's amazing to think that God, in all His fullness, inhabits and dwells in our praises of Him. ... Our praise is irresistible to God. As soon as He hears us call upon His Name, He is ready to answer us. That is the God we serve. Every time we begin to praise God, His presence comes in like a flood. Even though we live in His presence, His love is lavished on us in a miraculous way when we praise Him!
3. GOD'S INDWELLING PRESENCE
This is an amazing aspect of God's presence.
a. Colossians 1:26-27 (NKJV) - 'The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.'
- What is the mystery? That Christ would actually live on the inside of us!
- God had it in mind all along! No one knew His amazing plan. It was hidden for centuries and for generations. But it has now been fully revealed.
b. When does God enter in? Well, the moment you receive Jesus as Saviour is the moment He takes up residence within YOU. It is God's indwelling presence.
- Brother Lawrence worked in a monastery and he learned to practice the presence of God. He became so aware of God inside!
- We need to become aware of that same reality!
c. There's another verse which confirms God's indwelling presence:
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV) - 'Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?'
- What an awesome privilege to have God's presence living on the inside of us!
- By the way, because God is holy and He lives within us, we should see ourselves as holy and sacred unto the Lord.
4. GOD'S MANIFEST PRESENCE
a. God's manifest presence is when His presence is made MANIFEST.
- In other words, His presence becomes evident and apparent to us. This is when we truly experience the Living God!
- Some use the phrase: 'God's presence was tangible' - it doesn't mean that you could physically touch it, but it means you could experience it in a very real way!
b. There are many occasions, here in our worship times, when God MANIFESTS His presence. It moves beyond the 'corporate presence' and becomes the 'manifest presence' of God.
- Those times are so exciting!! It's in those moments that we are touched by God in an unusual and special way.
c. On the Day of Pentecost, the presence of the Holy Spirit was manifest in a powerful way!
- Acts 2:2-4 (NKJV) - 'And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.' [This was God's manifest presence]
- What was the result of God's presence being manifest? The disciples were completely transformed. And then they turned the world upside-down!
d. In our daily walk with God, we all go through times when we don't necessarily 'feel' God's presence. But then there are times when God reveals Himself to us in a special, manifest way.
- It could be a song God brings to mind, an unexpected encounter with a friend, a prompting to pray, an overwhelming feeling of peace, a sense of His closeness.
- God can manifest Himself in a variety of ways. But the point is that He makes Himself known!
e. Should we seek after God's manifest presence? Absolutely!
- It's not that we focus on feelings or that we seek after signs.
- But our expectation is to engage and encounter the Living God! And He loves to manifest Himself to us.
- John 14:21 (NKJV) - Jesus said: 'He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and MANIFEST Myself to him.'
- What a powerful truth! As we love & seek God, He will manifest Himself to us!
f. You may ask: Why the need to experience God's manifest presence? Because, it encourages our faith! It shows us that God is real! And it demonstrates His power!
- Statement - The whole point of God's manifest presence is that our awareness of Him is awakened!
5. GOD'S GLORY PRESENCE
a. This needs to be mentioned.
b. God's glory presence is when God shows up in His grandeur, His splendour, and His magnificence! It usually brings everything to a standstill, because His glory is so overwhelming.
- People fall on their faces before the Lord. Repentance breaks out spontaneously and everything is laid bare. There is great wonder and awe and God is glorified!!
c. This is what happened when Solomon dedicated the new temple:
- 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (ESV) - 'The house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.'
- The Hebrew word translated 'glory' is ka?bo?d [kaw-bode]. It means: weighty splendour. [It's the weighty presence of God]
- We desire the weighty, glory-presence of God!
6. HUNGER AFTER THE PRESENCE OF GOD
a. We can talk about the presence of God until we are 'blue in the face'. But if we don't cultivate a hunger for God then we will never experience His glory.
b. There is something new stirring in my heart about God's presence.
- In some of our services recently, I noticed how God's presence was more evident than in previous times. It got me thinking.
- It was then that I realised how Covid & Lockdown had caused many of us to draw back from pursuing God's presence. We fell into survival mode.
- But that was then, and this is now. And now is the time to seek God's presence in a DEEPER way!
- I declare: 'We will seek God's presence!!'
c. Psalm 27:4 & 8 (AMPC) - David said: 'One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple. ...You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].'
- Basically, David was saying: God's presence is the one thing I desire! There's nothing like His presence! It's my absolute necessity!
- What a top priority it was for David! May it be just the same for us!
By Pastor John Roebert
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