Summary: Part One of three sermons based on how we can enjoy the practical presence of God in our daily lives
GOD’S PRESENCE IN PRACTICE.
PART ONE -THE CONDITION
‘He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’. Hebrews 13:5 [AV]
What a wonderful promise we have here in this Epistle to the Hebrew Christians. It is a promise that has been cherished and claimed over countless years by many believing people. Spoken by the Lord to Jacob, Joshua, Solomon, and here to the Hebrew Believers and I believe to all believers who will fulfil the conditions given with the promise.
It is a sad that many of the promises of the Word of God might appear to be unfulfilled when claimed. Why is that? Is it that God has changed His mind? Or is it that God is unable to do what He promised? I say a very definite NO to that. God does not change His mind, nor is He unable to do what He has promised, but the promises are sometimes claimed by people who do not understand that there is a Divine principle involved. Along with the promises there are given conditions which need to be met, and put into action, to release the potential.
This very precious promise in Hebrews 13:5 is one that is often misused; claiming the glorious promise of the Lord’s nearness without committing to personally living near to Him! If we want the Lord to be near to us, then we need to be near to Him.
On a personal level, I want to know the continued presence of the Lord spoken of in this scripture, as I feel sure you do; so let us look at the context of the promise, and as we begin to understand the conditions that are linked with the promise, let us see if we are willing to fulfil our portion, before we expect God to fulfil His part! If we comply with the Divine requirements, then it is certain that we will enjoy the Divine reward of the fulfilment of the promises.
We must start with
I believe that there are two parts to the condition given with the promise, and they deal with the OUTWARD and INWARD part of our make-up.
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money [NIV]
I am inclined to think that the concept here goes beyond money, as money is only a means to increase our Possessions, our Position and our Power before others. The thought is of our ‘always wanting more’. This is not just a seeking after improvement; seeking to improve oneself can be a good thing; but the notion in this verse is of a dominant desire for gain. This is illustrated in the words of the Lord to Ezekiel;
Ezekiel 33:31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.
The picture given is of a people who have the outward appearance of taking in the word from the Lord’s servant, but inside they are self-centred - not God-centred, listening but not applying, simply looking for an opportunity to gain more for themselves! What do I get out of it?
The Lord Jesus warned against this attitude.
Luke 12:15 He said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
Life is not about what we have, but about who we are!
The Lord Jesus goes as far as to say that a person is a fool if he gets this priority wrong!
Luke 12:21 a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”[NLT]
The answer to this appears to lie inside us, and instead of looking around with a growing sense of covetousness, we are satisfied with ourselves ‘in Christ’, realising something of what God has blessed us with! Paul exhorts us regarding this; he encourages us to have a heart full of praise, and eyes open to the blessings of the Lord.
Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
If we can understand something of this great truth then we will be content!
and be content with what you have, [NIV]
Being satisfied with present things.
Paul speaks of this as he writes to Timothy,
I Timothy 6:6-8 True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. [NLT]