Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Sense of God's Presence

My testimony: I was drawn, convinced by God's Presence. It was inaudible, undeniable, personal, and transcendent (beyond the preacher, beyond the text) But a real "sense of God's presence."

Since then: the sense of His presence has become less and less. Result: reliance on the Scripture more. This is OK BUT the danger is that we can sterilize the Gospel by ignoring the Presence of Christ.

Jesus said a lot more than listen to, heed, obey MY TEACHINGS.

He also said, "come to ME", "believe in ME", "follow (after) ME", "serve ME".
These are relational terms and suggest a PERSONAL presence and an ONGOING presence.

"Come to" - John 5:39 & John5:40 John 6:37 & John 6:45 Matt. 11:28 & 29
"Believe in" - John 6:29 John 3:16 & John 3:36 John 11:25 & John 11:26
"Follow after" - John 10:27 John 12:26 John 21:22 - this as Jesus was leaving.

#1. These are all relational terms. - Serve ME. Learn from ME. Obey ME. Know ME. Don't be guilty of leaving out the personal relationship with Christ. He IS with us.

#2. These terms suggest a PERSONAL presence and an ONGOING Presence. Christ is God and is everywhere. He CAN be with you.

#3. This is in keeping with:
A. God's character and nature - He's omnipresent.
B. God's Word
C. Christ's promises - "lo, I am with you."
D. The Resurrection - "I will not leave you orpans. I will COME to you."

#4. This does NOT mean you always will, can, or should sense His presence.
In Acts and in the Epistles - there was a waning of appearances and miracles
In the Exodus and the conquest - there was a waning of appearances and miracles

Scripture never suggests He's less Present, only less Perceived. Psalm 88:13-18
An example: Gideon - Judges 6:12-16 Job Christ on the Cross

#1. Consider your faith more than an allegiance to Biblical truths, but allegiance to a Living Lord.
(this does not negate, devalue, or contradict Scripture.)

#2. Seek Him. Deut. 4:29 This does not mean seek an experience.
If you seek the experience, then the experience becomes Lord.

#3. Be aware of His presence. (whether you feel or sense it or not)
REST on Bible promise and what you KNOW.

#4. Acknowledge His presence. (whether you feel or sense it or not.)
Example: in worship, prayer, confession, seeking counsel, comfort, assistance....

#5. Be satisfied with His presence. (whether you feel or sense it or not.)
That is: if you are truly doing YOUR part in the relationship.

this is offered with some reservation.
BUT: if illness can be His will (example: Paul's thorn)
then WHY CAN'T darkness be the thorn? (Job, depression)

#6. Respond to His directives (whether you feel/sense His presence or not.)
Example: when you have an argument and are ready to snap back, and Prov. 15:1 comes to mind, is this YOUR recall? OR His presence?

#7. Remember, He is always right there with you.

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