Summary: You have been given an invitation to enter into God's Presence. Will you accept the invitation?
February 6, 2011
Text: Hebrews 10:19-25
Subject: God’s Presence
Title: Where Can You Find God’s Presence?
Open your bibles to Hebrews 10. While you are turning there I want to share a personal story with you.
In May of 1988 on the last day of school, Charlotte and I had the car packed and ready to head out on vacation as soon as the girls got off the bus. We always liked to do that because Troy schools released for the summer earlier than many other school districts did. We avoided the vacation crowd. Just a few months before Charlotte and I had been on a life changing retreat where for the very first time we experienced God’s forgiveness, mercy and grace as we gave our lives to Him. That year we were headed to Chattanooga Tennessee and then into the Smokey Mountains. I shared with you last week about how, when we were up on Lookout Mountain just outside of Chattanooga we sensed the presence of the history that had played out there during the Civil War. When we left Chattanooga we were headed to Pigeon Forge. On the way we stopped at a place called Cades Cove. This is a mountain valley that was settled in the early 1800’s. Now I am telling you all this to get to this point. As we drove around the valley on a twelve mile long one way road, stopping to look at the cabins and other structures that had been restored, the temperature of the day began to climb higher and higher, and by late afternoon had reached the mid nineties. I’m talking today about experiencing God’s presence. After we left Cades Cove to go to Pigeon Forge we were descending the mountain, and as we descended the oppressive heat on top of the mountain was replaced by a refreshing coolness from the shadows and from the water dripping through the rocky cliffs along the highway and by the mountain stream flowing along the road. We literally went from oppression to refreshing in a matter of twenty minutes. At a place where the highway leveled off we found a place to stoop and park and enjoy the coolness. I have to tell you – at that point in my life, newly saved just months before and now experiencing the glory of God through His creation – the refreshing mountain stream and the cool temperatures – I thought that I could never get any closer to God. And many of you are sitting here thinking, “I know exactly what he is talking about. I get closer to God in the woods than I can anywhere else.” Many people even use that as an excuse not to come to church.
Keep your finger in Hebrews 10, but turn over to John Chapter 7. I’m talking about entering into God’s presence in a way that will refresh you like a mountain stream. John 7 beginning with verse 37, On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. I want to look specifically at one word in that whole passage – the word, “come”. That word in the original Greek does not reflect and invitation to come to Jesus and be saved, but is it an action that is to be repeated over and over. So believers are intended to come to Jesus and drink whenever they are thirsty. Everybody say, “I’m Thirsty – Jesus, I’m coming to You to be quenched.”
Read Hebrews 10:19-25
Lord we come to You today asking that you open our spiritual eyes to see and our spiritual ears to hear the words that we are receiving under the anointing or Your Holy Spirit.
You can enter into God’s presence in order to be refreshed with living water.
Do you want to be quenched today?
I. YOU CAN HAVE CONFIDENCE TO ENTER IN AND BE REFRESHED. Look at verse 19. Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus… Look at the word “confidence” (KJV – boldness). What does that word mean to you? The word actually means “freedom to speak”. John McKay, of the NFL, tells a story illustrating the supreme confidence of University of Alabama football coach Bear Bryant: "We were out shooting ducks, and finally, after about three hours, here comes one lonely duck. The Bear fires. And that duck is still flying today. But Bear watched the duck flap away, looked at me and said, 'John, you are witnessing a genuine miracle. There flies a dead duck!'" John McKay, A Coach's Story. That is the kind of confidence that we can have. So believers have confidence (freedom to speak) for what purpose? …to enter the Most Holy Place… I want to make sure you understand the significance of this. The Most Holy Place is the innermost part of the temple or the wilderness tabernacle. The only piece of furniture there was the ark of the covenant or the mercy seat. This is the very place where the Presence of God was to dwell among His people. Now, what the writer of Hebrews is saying is that there is now a vast difference between the Old Covenant and the New. In the Old Covenant the High Priest could enter in and only once a year. Now, under the New Covenant all believers can come before the throne of grace with confidence. We have this confidence because we know that our hearts are good. In fact Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 3 that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God is dwelling in us so now there is no need to be afraid of our entering into His presence. Here is how we do it. 1) We can only enter in by the blood of Jesus. The sacrifice offered on the cross of Calvary opened the way. …20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body… The Old Covenant only provided covering for sin and it was through the death of a sacrificial lamb. But through the death of Jesus we now have a “Living” way. Death doesn’t reign in us any longer. 2) Jesus wasn’t just the sacrifice – He is also the high priest. 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God… Those two things – Jesus’ sacrificing His life for you and Jesus acting as high priest to present his blood before the Father has opened the way for us to enter in. Here is the confidence we have – God’s Spirit is in us. Would God ever deny himself? Would God ever try to keep you out of His presence? Now that the invitation is there for you look what the apostle John says I 1 John 5:14, This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.