Summary: One of the avenues for the return of God's glory to his people is the committed proclamation of his word.
1. BUT BEFORE THAT . . .
* In 1992, when Mississippi Governor, Kirk Fordice stated unreservedly "America is a Christian nation" the response bordered on hysteria.
* But before that -- Congress, declared 1983 to be the "Year of the Bible" -- stating that the Bible, the Word of God, has made a unique contribution in shaping the US as a distinctive and blessed nation....Biblical teaching inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the US (Public Law 97-280, Stat. 1211, approved 10/4/1982).
* But before that -- Former Chief Justice Earl Warren, 1954, said, the history of our country and the documents/charter exhibit the same objective: "A Christian land governed by Christian principles..."
* But before that -- Abraham Lincoln, April 30, 1863, appointed a National Fast Day and declared, "It is the duty of nations as well as men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord."
* But before that -- George Washington Oct 3, 1789, "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly implore his protection and favor."
* But before that -- Mayflower Compact 1620 was a covenant "in the presence of God," "In the name of God, Amen...by the Grace of God...have undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith."
* But long before that Psalm 33:12 says, Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,
2. The American Church is desperately in need of the transcendent presence and glory of God. Ecclesiastes 3.11
a. I wonder if we have been making church too complicated or if we have forgotten too much
b. The instructions Jesus left us with are simple, not complicated -- yet at times not easy
c. Salvation is simple (Naaman)
d. Are we too independent? Laodiceans in Revelation 3.14
e. Have we treated God and His word lightly -- pick and choose; please men, not God
f. Do we attempt to be relevant over seeking the transcendent presence of God?
4. However, the presence of God can return to his people -- Ezekiel 43.1
5. Inviting God's presence by Preaching His Gospel -- 1 Corinthians 2.1-5
I. Preaching: God Telling His Story -- 2.1-2
A. The Compelling Message Through the Messenger
1. The Unexpected Love of God -- Romans 5.8
2. The Undeserved Forgiveness of God -- Ephesians 1.7
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
3. The Undeniable Presence of God -- "Immanuel"
a. With Adam in Garden
b. Abram to Canaan
c. Moses at Sinai
d. Hebrews in Egypt and Wilderness -- Tabernacle
e. Israel as a Nation -- Temple
f. With and in Jesus, even in cross -- darkness; Earthquake; Open Graves; etc.
g. With the Disciples and Us -- Acts 2
4. The Unbelievable Hope -- 1.18-19 cf. Isaiah 29.14
B. The Consuming Motivation of the Message -- 2.2
1. Knowing Jesus crucified is more than self-help
* 6 Keys to Better Parenting
* 4 Steps to Financial Independence, etc.
2. The Bible IS relevant and orders our steps; practical living -- IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
II. Preaching: God's Impact Through His Story -- 2.3-5
1. Weakness -- Paul was a physical wimp -- [Barney Fife
2. Fear and Trembling
a. Psalm 2.11
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
"Serve," "rejoice," "fear," and "trembling" describe the religious responses of the righteous in worship. They are to lead lives of submission, not rebellion; lives characterized by fear and trembling, not arrogance; lives filled with rejoicing, not the gloom of oppression.
b. Philippians 2.12
[A word about FEAR -- can be -- afraid; respectful or even knowledgeable of God -- Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 -- the servants feared their Master -- two of them with respect; one with fearfulness//Proverbs 9.10
B. The Gospel Impacts Us with Power; 2.3-5; Romans 1.16
The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
2. An Encounter with God
a. Not the wisdom or cleverness of men
b. Remember: It's not a good sermon, it is a great God