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.”