A. W. Pink wrote:
"The god of this century no more resembles the Sovereign of Holy Writ than does the dim flickering of a candle the glory of the midday sun. The god who is talked about in the average pulpit, spoken of in the ordinary Sunday school, mentioned in much of the religious literature of the day, and preached in most of the so-called Bible conferences, is a figment of human imagination, an invention of maudlin sentimentality. The heathen outside the pale of Christendom form gods of wood and stone, while millions of heathen inside Christendom manufacture a god out of their carnal minds."
We don’t need to develop in our minds an idea of what God is like we need to go to the scriptures and let God show us who He is. This morning I want us to look at an example in the Bible of a prophet who saw God. I want us to look at the presence of God and the powerful results of His presence. You see in our world today we think we can see God and nothing happen. We think we can usher in the all mighty presence of Jesus Christ and walk away the same as we walked in. This is not how it happened in the Bible and this is not how it is today when we really sit at the feet of the Most High God and see Him as He is. Jesus Christ is a life changer; He exposes the truth and sets the captives free. He is powerful and mighty, His love cannot be equaled, His protection is sufficient and His hand is true. He will forever change a man when a man truly sees Him, even a glimpse is enough to transform a mean, stubborn, self-centered man into a loving preacher man ready to shout His glory from the roof-tops and proclaim His gospel daily. I know this because I am that man. Jesus has transformed me, and this morning He is ready to transform you. He is ready to adopt you into His family and love you like you have never been loved. If you already know Him, then He is ready to mold you and shape you; He is ready to develop you. Jesus Christ is ready to touchdown in His house today and provide life. Are you ready to receive the blessing? Are you ready to surrender? Are you ready to see Jesus? May you empty yourself today of all the world throws at you. May you allow God total control of your life this morning. He is all He proclaims to be and He will do all He proclaims to do.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said:
“ Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: “ Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “ Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “ Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Let us examine four aspects of God’s presence:
I. God’s presence comes with CERTAINTY.
This is the throne of God, let me say it again this is the throne of God. His robe filled the temple, doorposts shook, and smoke filled the room. Seraphim cried Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory. It sounds more like a Third Day concert than typical Sunday morning worship service. But do not mistake the most important part of this scripture; there was a presence in this throne room. The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ was present. There is no doubt Jesus has a mighty presence. It is something we can’t explain, but it is something when experienced leaves no doubt. The presence of God is unmistakable. There is no recipe, there is no order of worship, there are no rituals to follow to ensure the presence of God; it simply takes a heart of worship, a surrendered soul, and then a whole lot shaking starts going on. Mitchell testifies of a time he watched the presence of God overwhelm a young lady at an FCA camp. Mitchell was a leader at the camp and at the evening praise and worship service the presence of the Lord began to fall down in the auditorium and the young people were in a massive state of worship. Mitchell said, ‘He noticed this young girl sitting down and just crying out to Jesus.” He said, ‘the worship service had lasted a couple of hours, but it certainly didn’t seem like it.’ The young girl was lifting her hands and just crying out to the Lord. He never was able to speak to her that night but the next day she was in his group. What Mitchell discovered the next day floored him. The young lady was completely deaf. The night before she experienced the almighty move of God without hearing a single note, she didn’t hear the speaker, there were no interpreters at the praise and worship service, except for Jesus Christ and He was all the young lady needed. God’s presence is overwhelming and powerful. You see the throne room was like that with Isaiah. The presence of the Lord was unmistakable and Isaiah saw the Lord. When Isaiah saw the Lord, immediately He saw himself. You see the presence of the Lord places a mirror in front of us that leads to conviction.
II. God’s presence comes with CONVICTION.
When we experience the presence of God almighty first we must understand there is no mistaking the presence. Additionally, it is impossible to appear or act large and in charge in the presence of God. Humility is immediate. We know and understand just how small we are in His presence and we also understand how big He is. Problems fade away, issues dissolve and He becomes the focus. John fell on his knees in Revelation 1 when he saw God and he further declares that he fell as if dead. When we find ourselves in the presence of God almighty we see ourselves as the wretched souls that we are. We also see the world for what it is. Isaiah said he was a man of unclean lips and that he dwelled in the midst of people of unclean lips. You see Isaiah was brought into the presence of God and He came face to face with his condition and the condition of the world. We have become so tolerable of things as Christians because we no longer find ourselves in the presence of Jesus Christ. We are a people that no longer yearn for the altar, for a place we go to meet with the Lord. Most of our homes don’t have an altar. Many of our churches have service after service with none of God’s people at the altar. The altar is a place we can come and see Jesus. When we see Jesus, we then see ourselves. We should embrace the presence of Jesus and the mirror it brings because it ushers in the cleansing power of Jesus Christ. Please look at what happened to Isaiah after he looked into the mirror. He was cleansed.
III. God’s presence comes with CLEANSING.
The altar is purifying. v7…And your sin purged.
4. The purification is laser guided. v7
…Behold, this has touched your lips;
When we are drawn by the almighty presence of God to a purifying altar, it is many times scary. Think about Isaiah, here comes a seraphim with a hot coal that he has taken from the altar and he is going to place it on his lips. That would scare me to death. But we must understand that even though it is painful, the result is worth it. It is worth it because the scripture says in verse 7 your iniquity is taken away. At the altar, we find freedom. At the altar, we find purification. This purification is exactly what we need. It is laser guided. Please note that Isaiah said he was a man of unclean lips and the coal was placed on his lips. God’s purification is perfect and it is precise. We must understand that God purifies us for a reason. He cleanses us so He can send us out. We must be willing to go, we must surrender all.
IV. God’s presence comes with a CHARGE.
1. We must make ourselves available to Jesus, if we are to be used by Jesus.
v8Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Whom shall I send, And who
will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here I am!...”
2. We must be willing to go where God sends us. v8
In closing let me say finding the presence of Jesus requires you to deny yourself and surrender your heart to the pursuit. It will be at times scary, at times painful, but always rewarding. Jesus will show you who you are and provide the means to reconciliation. You can know Him and experience His love, but that will be up to you. He is here; He is waiting. If you are here today and you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then today, this moment is the moment of salvation and Jesus will set you free. If you know Jesus, but you haven’t been in His presence for so long, please come to this altar and experience His presence. Allow Him to purify you and then to send you out. Please don’t hesitate. If you would like me to pray for you and with you I would be honored. You come now and grab my hand and we will go to the Lord in prayer. If you just need to be alone with Jesus come and pour your heart out to Him, come and see His almighty presence.
1. How do you know when you meet with God?
2. How do you know you He is speaking to you?
3. How do you know He hears you?
4. Discuss an encounter with Jesus that you can identify with point I. God's presence comes with certainty.
There was a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time his throat became very dry, about that time he saw a little shack in the distance. He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water and a note. The note read: "pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need". Now the man had a choice to make, if he trusted the note and poured the water in and it worked he would have all the water he needed. If it didn’t work he would still be thirsty and he might die. Or he could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction, but it might not be enough and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began to work the handle, at first nothing happened and he got a little scared but he kept going and water started coming out. So much water came out he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled all the containers he could find. Because he was willing to give up momentary satisfaction, he got all the water he needed. Now the note also said: after you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveller.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “ Please prime the pump, believe me it works”! We have the same choice to make, do we hold on to what we have because we don’t believe there are better things in store for us, and settle for immediate satisfaction? Or do we trust God and give up all that we have to get what God has promised us? I think the choice is obvious. We need to pour in all the water, trust God with everything. Then once we have experienced what God has to offer, the living water, we need to tell other people, “Go ahead prime the pump, believe me it works”!
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
What are the strange voices you follow? I am being serious, what are the things you follow that keep you from the voice of the Lord?
1. Jesus will bring you out.
John 10:4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
How do you get to know someone's voice? Do you know the voice of God?
2. Jesus will speak to you.
John 10:4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
What voices are you following and why are you following those voices?
3. Belonging to the flock means Jesus will lead you.
John 10:3 To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
Why do resist the ownership of Jesus? How were you purchased? Based on your answer then what are you rejecting?
4. Jesus goes out before you.
John 10:4 And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
Who is leading you?
Deuteronomy 31:6-8 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” 7 Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. 8 And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
How are you strong and of good courage, list examples?
5. When He goes before you, He goes before you.
Isaiah 45:2 ‘I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron.
Are your crooked places becoming straight? Give examples. Are the gates before you breaking and being cut up? Give examples.
I wanted you guys to read and see the growth that is taking place with our Ironmen group. This is a
sermon Dennis Greene presented at brotherhood breakfast. He studied very hard and prepared diligently for this message. I have shared his sermon below read it and let me know how the Lord speaks to you through this message.
Matthew 14 22-33
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
The miracle of Jesus walking on water in this passage comes on the heels of feeding the 5000 with only five loaves of bread. It’s recorded in three gospels (Matthew, Mark, John). This passage took place on the Sea of Galilee. I have heard this passage preached a couple of times. What God revealed to me in previous sermons was
Even after Jesus spoke to them “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Peter still doubted who Jesus was. Peter said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” A lot of us, myself included, don’t understand what God is asking us to do. It just doesn't make sense because faith is not in the mind; faith is in the heart. And when the Lord asks us to do something that you and I cannot even fathom, we cannot even relate to, it doesn't fit into your schedule, it doesn't fit into your budget. God is asking us to come. That's one word, “come”. And then you look at your life, and you go, “Wow, Lord, I came to you and I’m coming to church every Sunday. I’m even doing my devotions, and we pray now. And, wow, look, I’m going through more storms. I’m going through more trials and tribulation.” And the Lord is saying, “Come.”
How often does Jesus speak to you and you doubt who he is?
Jesus spoke one word “Come” and it set Peter in motion. All it took was one word for him to overcome his fear, his doubt, and his apprehension to get out of the boat. Peter came out of the boat and started to walk on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind was boisterous, he was afraid and began to sink. He cried out saying, “Lord, save me.”
Nevertheless, what Peter did was he took a leap of faith by going from his comfort zone into the miracle zone; and he walked on water, the only other human being outside of Jesus Christ to walk on water. That's what happens when the Lord gives us a word and we're walking into His miracles and we take our eyes off of the Lord. We start to sink.
How many of you know that if God brings you to it, he's going to get you through it?
We can blame Peter for sinking, but at least he wanted to walk with the Lord instead of cowering in his comfort zone. The other 11 disciples did not get out of the boat. They stayed in their comfort zone. I'd rather get out of my comfort zone and sink trying to be like Jesus than staying over there and just being comfortable and good. Good is the enemy of great, and Peter walked into greatness even though only for a moment. It was a risk.
We have to stop believing that we don’t have faith for certain things. When we believe that we lack something, we believe that Jesus has no ability to impact that situation through us. When we live in self-imposed lack, we have no ability to live from His abundance. As long as we believe in lack, we will live in fear and not step out in the faith that God has given us.
God told us in Mark 16 to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the gospel. What is it that keeps us from doing all those things? Fear. So, how do we overcome the fears that keep us from walking in God.
When we know who we are in Christ, and we know who Christ is in us, it opens up a world of possibilities, and risk begins to come easier to us.
For some of you today, taking a risk may entail just coming to church. It's a risk of getting out of your comfort zone. Others, maybe you’d say, “I'm going to start to serve now.” That's a risk. Doesn't fit your budget, doesn't fit your schedule, doesn't fit any of your time, but you’re going to start to serve. But when you look at it, God is setting you up for you getting out of your comfort zone to walk into a miracle zone.
If you get anything, get this today. Some of the best fruit, in fact, the best fruits in life are always on a limb. Out on a limb is where you’ll find the best fruit. Stop hugging the tree because when people risk nothing, they gain nothing, and then wonder why they have nothing.
Risk is not about the results; risk is about the journey, “Come” get out of the boat….
II. We are to Love mercy. To love mercy we are to show mercy.
How have you loved mercy this week? How does your life reflect the fact that you love mercy. If you were on trial for showing mercy, what would the evidence be?
III. We are to walk humbly.
How are you humble in your life? Seriously this is not an easy question, just answering can cause us to build ourselves up. What do you do to keep you humble?
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Three things we must take from this scripture:
1. We are to act justly. To act justly we must deal fairly and honestly with others, confront evil both in ourselves and our society, and to intervene on behalf of the weak, vulnerable, mistreated, and oppressed.
Tomorrow we will cover loving mercy and Wednesday walking humbly. Today I want you to answer a few questions:
1. How has Jesus shown you what is good?
2. What does the phrase "require of you" mean to you?
3. What do you believe "acting justly" looks like?
4. “Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular-but one must take it simply because it is right.” Have you had to take a stance in your life simply because it was right? Explain.
III. Stop Leaning and Start Walking We spend way to much time worrying about how we feel about a situation and how His direction is going to effect OUR lives. NEWS FLASH it ain’t your life, Jesus Christ purchased your life with His Blood. For far to long we have said in the Christian faith everything but that. We have said what the world wants to hear, they have had their ears tickled and we have purchased them a one way ticket to hell. Eternity in a place that the bible says there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth in a lake of fire. Why? Because so many professing Christians are so weak and telling the world that there decisions are ok, preaching with our lives that there is acceptable and unacceptable sin.
acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
The Consequences are Real and Some are Final
Luke 16:19-31 The Rich Man and Lazarus
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
Today you can come to a real understanding that your choices are just that, your choices and that each and everyday the choices you make will effect your life and the hand of God in your life. I will not tell you go ahead punch a clock spend a little time at church, a little devotional time, play the game and there will be a heavenly reward for you. Instead listen to this, play games with God, do what you want to do when you want to do them, how you want to do them, come to church pay your tithes, pray a little, read a little, and say amen at the end of service with and attitude that whatever is being said doesn’t effect you and your personal life and you will find the wrath of God is as real as His Mercy. Your choices… YOUR DESTINATION!
Dr. Leo Winters
It was almost 1:00 in the morning when the phone rang in the Winters’ home. Dr. Leo Winters, the highly acclaimed Chicago surgeon, was awakened with a start. Tonight it was a young boy they said, tragically mangled in a late night accident. Couldn’t someone else handle it? Not this time. This time, his hands were possibly the only ones in the city, or maybe even the whole region, which were skilled enough to save. The quickest route happened to be through a rather rough area, but with time being a critical factor, it was worth the risk. He almost made it through the worst of the neighborhood. Almost. Then, at a stoplight, his door was jerked open by a man in a grey hat and a dirty flannel shirt. “I’ve got to have your car!” the man screamed, pulling the doctor from his seat. Winters tried explaining the gravity of his situation, but the man wasn’t listening. The doctor wandered for over 45 minutes looking for a phone. When the taxi finally got him to the hospital, over an hour had passed. He burst through the doors and into the nurses’ station, but the nurse on duty only shook her head. Too late. The boy had just died about 30 minutes earlier. “His dad got here just before he died,” the nurse told him. “He’s in the chapel. Go see him, would you. He’s awfully confused. He couldn’t understand why you never came.” Without explaining, Dr. Winters walked hurriedly down the hall and quietly entered the chapel. At the front knelt the huddled form of a weeping father, in a grey hat and a dirty flannel shirt. Tragically, he had pushed from his life the only one who could save his son!
Tragically we do the same, if we do not choose Jesus, we push from our lives the only One who can save us!!
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
When you travel down a road and you think you are traveling the way Jesus is taking you and you realize, you are not right, what do you do?
Time to Go to Work
I must be must be about My Father’s business. What are you doing in your day to day that says not to me, not to this Church, but to Jesus Christ that you are about His business?