Summary: Breakthrough will only come in our lives when we enter into God’s presence – God’s presence should be the goal of every Christian. Fears flee and hope rises up as we are surrounded in His love and power

Breakthrough with God’s Presence

Thesis: Breakthrough will only come in our lives when we enter into God’s presence – God’s presence should be the goal of every Christian – to experience Him everyday and in special moments. When His presence comes into our lives everything else fades away! Fears flee and hope rises up as we are surrounded in love and in His power.

Point 1: Today is Pentecost Sunday – a day celebrated by the church throughout the world when God showed up in the Upper Room as described in Acts 2 and when He poured out His Holy Spirit on the church. Jesus told the disciples to go tarry and wait for this gift to happen and it did – God showed up through the presence of the Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is all about God’s Presence:

• His presence dwelling in us.

• His connection with us personally.

• His teaching us truth and guiding us.

• His empowering us in this life.

• His comfort and peace.

• His gifting for us.

The Holy Spirit and God’s presence changed everything for these disciples!

• The once afraid disciples became bold as lions.

• The fear departed and courage to stand up for truth prevailed.

• Their faith was set free and they were set free.

• Fisherman and ordinary people became phenomenal speakers and preachers.

• Ordinary men and women did miracles.

• Ordinary men and women spoke prophetic words to others which pierced their hearts to see God and experience God.

Let’s read our Scripture text for today: Acts 2:1-13

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God–fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.

7Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?

8Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?

9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome

11(both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Point 2 - Thoughts on our Scripture text:

What does Pentecost Sunday tell us? What does it mean?

Answer: It means God’s presence came and indwelt within mankind – our bodies became temples for the Holy Spirit – mankind was filled with the presence of God. They were not drunk with wine but filled with the presence of God – New wine – refreshing and it made them rejoiceful. It changed everything for these people.

God’s presence changes everything for those who experience it - when we experience His presence for ourselves as Jesus promised in Acts 1:4-5: “…Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father Promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” His presence ignites a flame in our hearts, minds and spirits. It empowers us to be who God called us to be! But we can only do the mission of God when we stay connected to His presence – it’s the life source for living a spirit-filled life – Connecting to God’s presence through Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the keys to living the abundant life spoken of in the Bible!

Listen to Jesus words in John 15

The Vine and the Branches

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

14You are my friends if you do what I command.

15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

17This is my command: Love each other.

Point 3: Thoughts from John 15 passage:

Breakthrough comes into our lives by being connected to God – to His presence – to His Holy Spirit – to His son Jesus – to His teaching of being connected and attached to the vine of life.

This is how the Spirit filled Christian is to live – this is how they experience the fruits of Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit! It’s all about connection – it’s all about learning to cultivate and experience the presence of the Lord in our lives.

This world seeks to disconnect you from the vine of life – Satan the dragon has sent his demons to disconnect you from God – from His presence – Why so you become trapped – so you lose hope – so you become chained by the bondages of this world. These chains will keep you from connecting and experiencing the presence of God. Satan knows if you cultivate the presence of God in your life he cannot stop you! But if he can get you to disconnect from the life giving vine of Life – from God and His Spirit and Son – if he can get you to disconnect you will wither and die – just like vines disconnected from the main vine will in real life.

When was the last time you experienced a spiritual breakthrough with God’s presence? Did you know that God continuously desires to break through our doubts, our fears, our pain and our shame with His presence? His entire nature is about releasing us from bondage and darkness, breaking through to free us, to give us light, to increase our faith and joy and this happens through us connecting with Him.

Breakthrough for many Biblical characters and for myself have always come when God’s presence shows up in my life, in my trial, in my crisis, in my doubt, in my sin! When he shows up everything changes!

The Hebrew Word prez´ens: In the Old Testament nearly always the rendition of ???????, pa¯ni¯m, “face” (Gen 3:8; Ex 33:14 f; Ps 95:2; Isa 63:9, etc.); occasionally of ?????, ?ayin, “eye” (Gen 23:11; Dt 25:9; Jer 28:1, 11, etc.)

The idea here is when God’s presence shows up you get a glimpse of God’s face - you see Him face to face and in His presence comes the breakthrough. Breakthroughs in life come with connecting with God – experiencing His presence.

In Greek, “presence” has an exact equivalent in pa???s?´a, parousi´a, but this word is rendered “presence” being with someone face to face – looking them in the eyes.

Question to ponder: When was the last time you where in God’s presence and looked Him in the eyes and saw His face?

Illustration: Tell stories of when you experienced Gods presence – the connection to the vine of life!

In worship – just last week at our first drive in service I felt God’s presence during worship – it was so refreshing and energizing!

In prayer – I remember at different times whether it was praying in the gym or prayer walking when all of a sudden God’s presence came upon me and it lifted my weary soul or spoke to my heart and mind words of encouragement.

When I have gone to IHOP or other conferences my goal in going is to learn yes but more importantly to meet with God – to connect with Him face to face – eye to eye. When this happens I always come away rejuvenated, inspired, encouraged, fired up and refreshed.

I have experienced God’s presence while watching anointed movies – it’s like God walks into the room while I am watching them – I feel Him I sense Him and stirs something in my soul and Spirit. I experienced this a few weeks ago watching I Still Believe and a series on Jesus called Chosen! Wow God’s presence – His love – His touch entered into the room as I watched these stories and the Jesus connection.

Reading a great inspired and anointed book has ushered me into God’s presence – I can be in the middle of reading and then what I read opens up Heaven and I feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me in the moment about a certain truth to share or a personal message to me as to what I just read. It’s implanted on mind and heart and charges my spirit.

Driving in the car has brought special moments with Jesus and God’s presence – I experienced last time I drove to Ihop in Kansas city God’s presence filled the truck and I knew He was with me encouraging me – recharging my heart and soul. I experienced his presence driving to see my Grand Pa who was dying and felt God’s presence as I drove and even saw visions of my family as I prayer listened to worship music and was strengthened for the task at hand.

In nature I have experienced the beauty and the presence of God – especially hunting and taking in the beauty of nature sitting in a tree stand right after a first snow. Boating on the St Croix river in Wisconsin.

In the middle of the night I have been awakened by God’s presence – to speak something into my heart – to encourage my wounded and broken heart. Share about Sand Hill Lake experience!

Unexpected places that I experienced the presence of the Lord like in a grocery store in Karlstad speaking to someone who I did not know who was discouraged about her church but then having words of encouragement for her.

The key to these stories that I want you to hear today is the connection I had with the presence of the Holy Spirit for a spiritual breakthrough.

T.S. – It should not surprise us that the Bible paints a clear picture of How God desires to have connection with us – to be in fellowship with us – to show up in our life so we can experience His goodness and His power for breakthroughs.

I. The main story woven through the Bible begins and ends with the presence of God.

a. For example: In the book of Genesis, The Garden of Eden is the first couple’s home but, more importantly, it is God’s sanctuary a place that He walks in – where His presence is found – where he talks and communicates with Adam and Eve —the garden or temple area is where the Creator and his image-bearers relate and connect (Gen 3:8).

i. Adam and Eve actually carried on conversations with God – think about that for a moment. To talk to God face to face – eye to eye!

1. Genesis 3:1-5: It’s obvious after God created Adam and Eve he talked with them – face to face – in person! He gave them instructions of what they could and could not eat!

2. Genesis 3:8 “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

a. Could you imagine being in the garden and being able to talk to God face to face – eye to eye?

b. I look forward to this day when I get to Heaven – to literally be in God’s presence!

b. We see God and His presence highlighted in the beginning of it all in the Garden of Eden – But let’s fast forward to the end of our Bibles and we see a very similar picture but on a more grandiose scale at the climax of History.

i. Revelation 21:1-4: 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

1. One author at Crossway stated, “All of heaven has collided with the whole earth to make a perfect sanctuary for God to dwell with man (Rev 21:1-4). In the book of Revelation, Eden has returned and expanded into new heaven and new earth where all of God’s people enjoy his presence eternally.”

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c. Throughout the Bible story – or history of the world we see God showing up in connecting with certain people – nations – tribes and individuals.

i. We have Moses and the burning bush experience in Exodus 3:1-6:

1. 1Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” 4When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” 5“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

a. You have God showing up on Mt. Sinai and the people seeing and hearing His awesome presence!

ii. You could talk about Samuel – David – Daniel – Ezra – Esther – Paul and a host of others. But God desires to connect with people – through the Holy Spirit and His presence – especially those who are open to connect with Him.

iii. Jesus himself spoke frequently about spending time with His father Abba!

1. Especially in prayer!

2. Knowing God and the Father’s voice directed Him.

a. He was all about doing His Father’s business

3. He even experienced God’s presence in pressure cooker moments! See the Garden of Gethsemane story from the Gospels.

a. Jesus was all about being in God’s presence – here on the earth – and dwelling in his presence – making time to be in His presence – speaking to God the Father – listening to God the Father – being directed by God the Father.

d. Quotes:

i. “The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life is the presence of God - that is, every moment to take great pleasure that God is with you.” Brother Lawrence

ii. “Joy and laughter are the gifts of living in the presence of God and trusting that tomorrow is not worth worrying about.” Henri Nouwen

iii. “The plans of God are only revealed in the presence of God.” Mark Batterson

iv. “To stand in the presence of God, that is what the Gospel is. The Gospel is not primarily about forgiveness. It’s not primarily about good feelings. It’s not primarily about power. All those things are byproducts, sparks. It’s primarily about the presence of God.” Timothy Keller

v. “The Christian life is to live all of your life in the presence of God.” R. C. Sproul

T.S. – When we looked at Genesis 3 we see what disconnected Adam and Eve from the presence of God – It was sin and sin left unchecked will always disconnect us from the presence of God!

II. Sin undermines our divine purpose and the experience of God’s presence.

a. Quote: “What is sin? It is the glory of God not honored. The holiness of God not reverenced. The greatness of God not admired. The power of God not praised. The truth of God not sought. The wisdom of God not esteemed. The beauty of God not treasured. The goodness of God not savored. The faithfulness of God not trusted. The commandments of God not obeyed. The justice of God not respected. The wrath of God not feared. The grace of God not cherished. The presence of God not prized. The person of God not loved. That is sin.” John Piper

b. Sin is the problem we all face today in the world and in our own lives – that thing called sin is what caused Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit which got them cast out of the Garden of Eden and out of God’s presence. Sin will always take us out of God’s presence!

i. Quote from Crossway: “Sin hinders everything now, especially man’s experience of God’s presence. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve are now exiles; their mission is in shambles as they stand outside of Eden. The presence of God they once knew freely is no longer free.”

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c. Quote: “We cannot enter into the presence of God while we are rebelling against God.” Aiden Wilson Tozer

d. Quote: “A man who knows that he lives in sin against God will not be inclined to come daily into the presence of God.” Jonathan Edwards

e. Quote: “We only learn to behave ourselves in the presence of God.” C. S. Lewis

T.S. – When Adam and Eve sinned and lost the presence of God – God set in motion another way to dwell with mankind to – connect with Him and His presence – the solution to the sin problem was Jesus!

III. God made a way to bring His presence back to his people – it was with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

a. Quote from Crossway: “But in grace, God steps in to pay the price. To overcome man’s sin and ensure his purposes, the Creator becomes covenant Redeemer. Through his covenant promises, the Lord restores what Adam failed to do. God makes a people and a place through the covenant all the while keeping his promises to humanity. God does all of this so that he can be our God and we can be his people (Gen 17:7; Ex 6:7; 29:45, Rev 21:3, etc.). At the heart of the covenant, then, is a relationship—one that is decidedly on his terms. God enters into his creation to create a people and a place for his presence. And so the covenant is as the Lord declares at Sinai: “I will dwell among the people of Israel and be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them” (Ex 29:45-46).

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b. Crossway states, “The presence of God is the means and end of redemption. As evangelicals, we talk a lot about the presence of God but seldom look to the Bible to see what it is. When we do, we find that it is first and foremost a theme on which the story of Scripture hinges. If we read our Bibles though we begin to see a two-fold pattern.

i. First, the Bible makes clear that the presence of God is a central goal in God’s redemptive mission. All of God’s work ends with the Lord dwelling with man.

ii. Second, the presence of God is, not only an objective, it is also the means by which the redemptive mission is fulfilled. God writes himself into his own story to bring salvation. To understand our Bibles and how it changes us, we need to know God’s presence.

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c. Crossway adds, “The presence of God finds its greatest expression in Immanuel, God with us. God himself comes to save. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, entered human history to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45). In his grace, God buys us back in the most unimaginable way possible: God in Christ became a man, walked among humanity, and died for his people. In this merciful act, Christ reconciles us to himself and re-opens access to the Father so that those who were once exiled from his presence might again draw near to God (Heb 4:16; 7:19).

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1. Jesus name is Immanuel – God with us!

T.S. – God sent Jesus to open the door for Him to dwell with us again – once again His presence was available to those who wanted it! Do you want it?

IV. The divine purpose of the church is tied to the presence of God.

a. The church was set up by Jesus to introduce people to the presence of God.

i. Quote from Crossway: “The presence of God has massive implications for the way we understand the church (1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:14-7:1; Eph 2:13-22). The New Testament calls the church a temple for a reason. Through this image, we see that the community of Christ is—in this time of waiting on Christ’s return—the instrument the Lord uses to disseminate his presence to a lost and sinful world.

1. Accordingly, the church has two clear purposes:

a. 1) the church works within itself for the sanctification of its members to prepare God’s people for God’s present and future presence.

b. 2) the church works externally to share the gospel so that the lost may enjoy God’s presence now and forever as well.

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b. The church is placed here by Jesus to be a connecting point for the presence of God!

i. Ephesians 5:23: “…Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior…”

c. Many have come to church to experience the presence of God and they say it’s like coming home!

i. This is what I experienced when I first went to Outreach church in Mpls. Mn.

1. I felt God’s presence and it felt like I was home!

ii. Here is another story: He began to experience a very unusual sensation. He felt like he was going home – but he didn’t actually know what that meant. You see, he was from a broken home, having seen his parents divorced when he was only 5 years old and moved back and forth between his mom and dad over many years. It’s like coming home (when you experience the presence of God). I love to hear of people coming to church or having a God moment somewhere and they experience the presence of God.

1. Observation quote: “What he didn’t realize at that moment, but now knows very well, was that he was experiencing what it means to live in God’s presence. As he looks back at this experience later on in his life, he realizes that his flesh was experiencing the head-on collision with the warm, real, transparent light of being in God’s presence. And that sensation of feeling like he was coming home! That was the real-life demonstration of the prodigal son returning to the father. That’s the feeling Jesus was talking about in the parable. All of us have this incredible opportunity to live our lives in God’s presence. He invites us into His presence from the moment we wake up till the time we lay our heads back down. Living in God’s presence is part of the normal Christian life!”

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What do we need to know from this message?

Answer: The goal of all Christians is to experience the presence of God – in the God moments – in prayer – in church – at home or work – the presence of God when experienced changes everything! The Holy Spirit is the best way to connect to the presence of God.

Why do we need to know this truth?

Answer: Some of you are looking for Breakthrough but that breakthrough can only come by experiencing the presence of God through the Holy Spirit! God sent Jesus – Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to empower you and give you breakthrough but you have to be connected to the Holy Spirit to get that breakthrough – it will not come from self-help programs or your strength or will – you need the presence of God to engulf you!

What do we need to do?

Answer: We need to cultivate the presence of God in our lives. Connect with God intentionally – purposely – focally – why because He is ready to reveal Himself to you if you ask! He wants to reveal His presence to you – He is just waiting for you to ask for it!

Why do we need to do this?

Answer: So, we can experience the breakthrough we need! So, we can experience the presence of God through the Holy Spirit.