Summary: To live our lives in the presence of the Lord is sure sign of Christian maturity.
THE ESSENCE OF HIS PRESENCE
PS 16:11 – READ
LUKEWARM – I STILL BELIEVE IN YOU BUT I AM JUST NOT EXCITED ABOUT YOU.
WE CAN STAND BEFORE GOD AND NOT BE IN HIS PRESENCE.
PS 103:3 – READ
CHRISTIAN MATURITY – WHEN WE GET TO THE POINT OF HUNGERING AND THIRSTING AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS.
JONAH 1:3 – JONAH RAN AWAY FROM THE LORD
HE WENT DOWN – JOPPA, SHIP, SEA, BIG FISH...
ONE MORE DOWN AND HE WOULD HAVE BEEN DOWN...AND OUT.
THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE FLEE GOD’S PRESENCE – WE BECOME WAIST-ED.
GEN 4:16 – SO CAIN WENT AWAY FROM THE LORD’S PRESENCE AND LIVED IN THE LAND OF NOD.
NOD – LAND OF WANDERING.
WORLDLINESS – ANYTHING THAT DECREASES YOUR HUNGER FOR GOD.
DO NOT GET FILLED WITH SOMETHING ELSE.
THE WORLD IS LOOKING FOR FULFILLMENT IN EVERY ARE OF THEIR LIVES.
FULFILLMENT – BEING FILLED TO THE FULLEST
EX – GLASS OF WATER – FILL IT UP
WE LOOK FOR FULFILLMENT IN OUR:
THE ONLY PLACE TO FIND TRUE FULFILLMENT IS IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
TODAY WE ARE GOING TO SEE 3 THINGS WE MUST DO IN ORDER TO BE FULFILLED IN LIFE.
I. PREFER HIS PRESENCE – EX 33:7-11
MOSES PREFERRED THE PRESENCE OF GOD OVER EVERYTHING ELSE.
ISRAEL DID NOT PREFER HIS PRESENCE – SO GOD LEFT THEM.
WHAT DO WE PREFER OVER GOD’S PRESENCE?
- THE TV,
EX – LEVELS OF LOVE –
A LITTLE GIRL STAYED FOR DINNER AT THE HOME OF HER FRIEND. THE VEGETABLE WAS BUTTERED BROCCOLI, AND THE MOTHER ASKED IF SHE LIKED IT. THE CHILD REPLIED VERY POLITELY, “OH YES, I LOVE IT.” BUT WHEN THE BOWL OF BROCCOLI WAS PASSED, SHE DECLINED TO TAKE ANY. THE HOSTESS SAID, “I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU LOVED BROCCOLI.” THE GIRL REPLIED SWEETLY, “OH, YES MA’AM, I DO, BUT NOT ENOUGH TO EAT IT!”
IS THIS HOW WE ARE WITH GOD?
PR 27:7 – READ
II. PURSUE HIS PRESENCE – EX 33:12-17
MOSES PURSUED GOD’S PRESENCE
MULTITUDES PRESSED INTO JESUS – THEY SOUGHT HIM OUT.
EX – JACOB – WRESTLED WITH GOD UNTIL HE BLESSED HIM.
APP – WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME WE WRESTLED WITH THE LIVING, LOVING GOD.
WE SPEND MOST OF OUR LIVES CHASING AFTER THINGS THAT CANNOT POSSIBLY FULFILL US.
EX - CHASING SHADOWS Max was a handsome Irish Setter which my brother’s family had agreed to "baby sit" for the weekend. I also was visiting them that weekend and was keeping an eye on Max while they ran some errands. It was a bright, hot, Georgia afternoon. Max was resting in my brother’s large fenced-in back yard. I was sitting on the back steps, petting him and admiring his beautiful long wine-colored coat, when all of a sudden Max leapt up and tore out after some creature which had caught his eye. As he ran, I looked out ahead of him and sure enough, there it was, the shadow of a bird which was flying over the yard. As the shadow neared the end of the yard, it "flew" into the shadow of a tree which reached out onto my brother’s property. When the two shadows met, the bird’s shadow disappeared, but that’s not how Max was interpreting the experience. He was still almost at a full run, for a mature, but somewhat inexperienced Irish Setter, when he reached the tree’s shadow. The abrupt disappearance of his prey was very confusing for Max. With every muscle in his body tense, claws dug into the dirt, tail high and wagging with excitement and anticipation, ears forward, tongue out and panting, eyes wide open and searching everywhere in the immediate area for his illusive game, Max was the perfect image of myself when I have fallen for the deception of the enemy. So willing, or determined, to expend any amount of energy for something that looks real or right and calls on my natural abilities in just the right way... but there is no substance, only shadow, and that which is real I have missed by a long shot. The obvious difference in Max and me/us is that, hopefully, we don’t keep chasing shadows all day long, or life long. By the end of the afternoon, Max was exhausted! Isn’t that what chasing shadows does to all of us?
III. PRACTICE HIS PRESENCE – EX 33:18-23
GOLFING TIPS As the Golfer approached the first tee, a hazardous hole with a green surrounded by water, he debated if he should use his new golf ball. Deciding that the hole was too treacherous, he pulled out an old ball and placed it on the tee. Just then he heard a voice from above say loudly: "USE THE NEW BALL!" Frightened, he replaced the old ball with the new one and approached the tee. Now the voice from above shouted: "TAKE A PRACTICE SWING!" With this, the golfer stepped backward and took a swing. Feeling more confident, he approached the tee when the voice again rang out: "USE THE OLD BALL!"