Summary: Do you desire the presence of God? Ah, but are you willing to make the changes and pay the price that comes with the presence?
Evidence of the Presence
Psalm 27: 1-6
The Psalmist was making a clear declaration, that weighed up against anything else he could do with his life, spending time in the presence of God was his main ambition.
No person throughout scripture ever had a meaningful experience in the presence of God without there being very real evidence.
Jesus time on earth was a dramatic outplaying of the fact that wherever the presence of God goes there is going to be evidence, and there is going to be a reaction.
Some of the reactions were commitment and adoration directed at the father and the Kingdom of God, while some reactions were open hostility and hatred, such as those of the Pharisees.
Let’s then look at some of the evidence and some of the reactions.
Matthew 9: 9-13
What happened here with Matthew was a typical response – he just left his livelihood and followed.
Peter, James and John – all fishermen – left their nets and boats
In each of these cases they found themselves staring into the Light of the World who stood in front of them and shone a light and their current situations and revealed them for who they really were – they saw deficiencies in themselves, and deficiencies cry out for solutions.
Jesus presence in front of them was a drop of cold water on a parched tongue
Everything He is overcomes everything that we are and things that appeared important suddenly appear futile, and we need to take it one step further and ask ourselves what should stay and what should go.
The idol Dagon in 1 Samuel 5 kept falling on its face when the ark of the covenant was placed next to it, and no matter how they set it back up again, it just kept falling.
When Jesus’ light shines on us, what will stand and what will fall?
The sad thing for many of us is that we are content to never dwell in the presence, to avoid any close contact with the one we call Saviour, just in case something we had set up falls and is exposed for what it really is.
Jesus said ‘I am the Light of the World, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life’
He doesn’t just bring light – He is Light and when He is present in us things that were once hidden become exposed – that’s why the Word tells us to guard our hearts, take every thought captive, and to live lives that speak of the God we follow.
This exposing by the Light of the World can be very frightening and is not for the faint-hearted
Jesus can really upset the apple-cart when we allow Him full access, like a ticket you wear around your neck at a concert or conference that allows you to move around freely.
Does Jesus have an ‘All Access’ ticket around His neck when He moves in your life?
Evidence of the presence of God is always enough for a verdict – there are no half measures with God, only with us.
WE block access because of
a) Fear –‘What will He make me change?’
b ) Willfulness – also called stubbornness – ‘I’m not prepared to put my flesh aside’
c ) Human Nature – we’re not comfortable when we’re not calling the shots
The fact remains – God wants it all and He wants it now – resistance is futile if you desire victory.
Still. God operates within the restrictions we place on Him, so that when we do give Him full access we can’t say that He bullied us into it.
Zaccheus – granted full access to Jesus because the presence of God exposed firstly His hiding place and secondly his sin.
Jesus asked him nothing – John 19 – The Light of the World just presenced Himself in front of Zaccheus and shone a light into the dark recesses of his heart, and Zaccheus blurted it out.
When the fishermen left their nets they were leaving income – we know it wasn’t forever, but suddenly it seemed secondary to the presence of Jesus – they spent more time in His presence after this than they did on the boat.
Warning – this is no game – seeking out God’s presence is exciting, exhilarating and challenging, but His presence is not to be toyed with.
Yet every believer needs to come into the presence of God so that He can do some sorting.
We’ve touched on His anointing here, but we’ll know when His presence is here – he makes His presence felt