THE MANIFEST PRESENCE OF GOD
INTRO: The longer I live, the more I study, the more I experience of God, the more I realize the most wonderful fulfillment in my life: to know God intimately and to enjoy Him personally—enjoying the manifest presence of God. The following can keep us from sensing and enjoying God’s presence.
I. BLUNT DISOBEDIENCE
> The Israelites were disobedient.
- The Israelites chose to make a golden calf to worship after all of God’s provision for them (Exodus 32).
- Moses was grieved by their idol worship and immorality.
- Moses told the people that they had committed a grave sin.
- Moses went back to the mountain to plead for God’s mercy on the people despite their sin.
- The Lord said, “I will not go with you” (v. 3).
- They still had the Lord’s protection and provision (v. 2).
- But if the presence of God doesn’t go with us, we have nothing.
> When we don’t have God, we try to do things on our own.
- We fail miserably.
- Some churches accomplish much without the Holy Spirit.
- Sometimes we make a commitment to God but don’t have His presence in our life.
- We can be so wrapped up in what we can get that we forget about God’s presence in our lives.
- We may look at ourselves and wonder what is wrong.
> People who blatantly disobey God don’t have an intimate relationship with the Lord.
- This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us assurance through the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13).
- Romans 8:16: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
- The Holy Spirit reveals it to us.
- When we willingly disobey God, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19: “Do not quench the Holy Spirit.”
- To quench is to pour cold water on a fire.
- The Holy Spirit is like a fire; when we don’t honor His presence, we quench the Holy Spirit with our sinful attitude.
- When we grieve the Holy Spirit, it will seem that God is not real to us anymore.
- We can only grieve those who love us.
- We are not to give a place to the devil.
- The Holy Spirit wants us to know that if we make a place for the devil, he will gladly take it.
> The Israelites had the pillar and the cloud, but we have the Holy Spirit in us.
- The Holy Spirit gives us assurance of salvation.
- He is in us when we have accepted Jesus as Savior.
- The most active part of the godhead is the Holy Spirit.
- He is always leading us and protecting us.
- The Holy Spirit wants to make God real to us.
- John 14:21: “…The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love them and show Myself to them.”
- This is the key verse to enjoying the manifest presence of the Lord.
- The Lord’s desire is to reveal Himself to us so that we can experience Him.
- We can experience a portion of heaven now if we seek God’s presence in our lives.
II. HALF-HEARTED DEVOTION
> We can’t walk the fence.
- We are either for God or against Him.
- In Exodus 32:4, the Israelites took their gold, molded it into a golden calf, and called it a god.
- Instead of trusting God, they trusted the work of their hands.
- We mold an idol and then the idol molds the man.
- Anything that we serve more than God, trust more than God, or desire more than God is an idol.
- Do we love our family or our spouse more than the Lord?
- It will keep us from experiencing the manifest presence of the Lord.
- None of our relationships can take the place of our relationship with God.
- When we love God first and keep Him first, we are better able to love others.
III. DETHRONED DEPENDENCE
> This is when God is on the throne but then we choose to turn away and worship something or someone else in God’s place.
- The Israelites put the golden calf in God’s place.
- Sometimes we do that.
- We experience success, and then we believe it is our ingenuity that has made us successful.
- We fail to give the credit to God.
IV. ADAMANT DEFIANCE
> Adamant – refusing to be persuaded or to have your mind changed.
- We want God to come our way instead of us turning to God.
- We are selfish; we want things our way.
- The Lord said to Moses, “These people are a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 32:9).
- This is the opposite of being pliable or moldable; we don’t want to change.
- We refuse to yield to God’s correction and direction.
- God wants to restore our relationship with Him.
- If God speaks to us, do we obey Him?
- Has God been telling us to do something, to go somewhere, to give something?
- Have we said no by ignoring God’s prompting?
- If this is true, we shouldn’t wonder why it seems that God is far away from us.
- We don’t want to just go through the motions.
- We need to seek His presence in our lives.
CONCLUSION: Is God real to you? He wants to be real. Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:21).