Becoming Aware of the Presence of God
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
22 July, 2007 AM BBC Ballincollig
May 8, 2016 PM BBC Ballincollig
I. Introduction (Hebrews 13:5,6)
A. The presence of God - We have invented all kinds of sensors these days: radar, sonar, heat sensors, temperature sensors, motion sensors, light sensors, rain sensors – these are things can sense faint starlight in telescopes, faint winds, faint echoes of enemy airplanes at vast distances, etc
B. Many have no way of sensing the presence of God. Believe me, God is present – it is sensing Him that is our problem!
1. Does He REALLY promise to never leave us?
2. Why don’t we feel Him more?
3. How Can We Become More Aware of His Presence?
4. What’s it like when He is Near?
D. Young David had trouble sensing God’s presence
1. Psalm 10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
E. Job had a real hard time with handling it (Job 23:8-12)
1. Job 23:8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
2. Job 23:9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
3. Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
4. Job 23:11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.
5. Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
6. But in the end, he spoke as if face to face with GOD (Job 38:1-4)
F. Elijah neglected God’s presence (1Kings 19:9-14)!
II. Last Week - Experiencing The Presence of God Today – Part 1
A. The Promise of Christ’s Presence (Hebrews 13:5,6)
1. God is not far from anyone (Act 17:27) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us
2. He was always reminding people He is there
3. God’s Presence was Typified (shown) THROUGHOUT the Old Testament
a. Mount Sinai (Psalm 68:8) – awesome, fearful, VERY real!
b. Cloud by Day and Fire by Night during the travels through the Wilderness to the promised Land (Ex 23:20-22) – THE Angel of the Lord (Ps 34:7)
c. The Holy Spirit would come and go on people’s lives – as on Samson, Saul, David (Psalm 51:10,11)
d. Fire filling the Tabernacle and the Temple – the glory of His presence (Ex 33:7-11)
4. God promised that one day, He would dwell with His people, personally and permanently, by the efforts of the Messiah (2Cor 6:16)
B. The Problems with that Presence (John 1:10,11)
1. He is easily taken for granted. That’s why the atheist does not find God
2. He can be missed – go unnoticed
a. He can be in our lives and we not notice Him (kind of scary to think that we can miss the Almighty God in our midst)!
b. He was not overpowering when He was here – He is not overpowering now either
c. People misunderstand the goodness, and quietness of God - mistake His grace and kindness and patience, for absence!
d. Jesus, as the Man, was missed by so many people because they had the wrong expectations of Him – wanted a Genie, a King, but not a Saviour!
3. He really is not wanted. By nature, we don’t want Him around – anymore than we want our little brother, or our big brother around!
4. He is by nature, against us, and we against Him (Gal 5:17; James 4:4)
a. His very nature upsets us, rubs us the wrong way! As a preacher once declared, TURN THE CAT AROUND!
b. He is the very opposite of what we like, and want – He is holy
1) Wicked people will not seek after God - they live without prayer, and they live without God.
2) They have many thoughts, many projects and devices, but no seeking to God in any of them, no submission to His will nor aim at his glory.
3) Men will not seek after God because they think they have no need of him, their own hands are sufficient for them; they think it a thing below them to be “religious”.
4) Self-Sufficiency, not thinking we need God (PRIDE) sends most people to a devil’s hell!
5. When we DO want His presence, our sin that we hold onto, blocks Him (Isa 59:1,2)
C. The Person of that Presence is Jesus (Matthew 1:23)!
1. Not just a spiritual “force” or feeling, but a real Person! Physically here! (1John 1:1,2)
a. Just as REAL as your wife, your husband, your child, your parent
b. Their presence gives a feeling, but take note of their PRESENCE before looking for a feeling!
2. His name is “Emmanuel” - Jesus is “God With Us!”
III. Message - Experiencing The Presence of God Today – Part 2
A. The Place of His Presence – where is the Lord Jesus then?
1. After the resurrection, Jesus took 40 days to fully leave: Why? One of the reasons was to teach us how He would show up in our lives.
2. We need to look for Him in these areas
a. When things are going so well, you will not find much awareness of God’s presence, (even though he IS there too), like you will…
b. In your Disasters (John 20:11-16) – He is there when you feel all is lost
c. In our Failures (1Cor 15:4,5) – Peter was a failure, and yet Jesus appeared just to Him, to encourage him
d. In our Confusion (Lk 24:13-32)
e. In our Prayer times (Psalm 145:18)
f. In our Church Meetings (John 20:19,24,26-28; Matthew 18:20)
g. In our Busy-ness (John 21:5,6) – He is not for Sundays only, and for troubles only, but for all time!
h. In our Troubles and sufferings (Psalm 46:1; Heb 13:6)
i. In our Praises (Psalm 22:3)
j. Best of all, in our Conversion (Acts 9:4-6)
3. Thank God that the Lord God of heaven is not very far from anyone (Acts 17:27), except the wicked (Proverbs 15:29)
B. The Power of that Presence – The Effect of Jesus being Near You! What’s it like being Near to God?
1. It is scary – awesome! Terrifying! (Ex 19:10,11,16-18; 20:19-22) Don’t buy this lie that says there is just sweet peace only when you are close to God – no, there is also some serious fear, awesome fear that realises GOD is near, and is very big!
2. It will humble you (John 20:25-28)
3. It is clean - Your life will become cleaner and cleaner in His presence (Isa 6:1-7; Psalm 19:7)
4. Your heart will burn with right passions (Lk 24:32) the right kind of loves
a. Love for His words in this Book!
b. Love for souls getting saved like you did
c. Love for the hearing of truth and Bible preaching – won’t be able to get enough
d. Love for pure things, clean things and not filthy wicked things coming in your mind
e. Love for God – yearning to spend time walking with Him
f. Love for your family as the gift from God that they are
g. Love for the future – no fear of anything in the future now!
5. Your whole outlook will be different (2Cor 13:5)
a. A reprobate is a faker, fraud, an actor – not the real deal
b. If you truly ARE born again, if Jesus Christ truly IS IN you, then…
1) Your strength will be constantly renewed - He is your strength
2) You will have joy when it should be impossible to have it - He is your joy
3) You will be full of hope and joy – because He is your expectation
4) You will believe God when there seems to be no sense in it – because He cannot fail
5) You will be satisfied, because He is all your need – if you just know He is near!
IV. Conclusion - How Can We Become More Aware of His Presence?
In Reverse on the Powerpoint
A. Live in obedience to God’s word (John 14:21) – He is never near the rebel – He actually ignores the prayers of those that hate Him! But oh how He shows Himself in the life of his people when they do His will!
B. Praise God a lot! Bless the Lord for little things – quit complaining
C. Humble Yourself – seriously humble yourself (1Peter 5:5) to everyone around you, and then to God
1. Confess and own up to any and all sin in your heart of hearts
2. Be wrong – some of you need to be wrong about your religion, your self-sufficiency, etc
3. Accept God’s work on your life through people you don’t like!
D. Gather together as believers (Mt 18:20; John 20:19, 26) – missing church, prayer meetings, means missing the presence of the Lord Jesus!
E. Be Quiet (1Thes 4:11) – no TV, Radio, You-tube, phones, schedule. Take time everyday to train all your thoughts and your worship on Jesus, on things above, and on dependence upon God!
F. Seek Him, not just His blessings (Jer 29:13; John 6:26; James 4:8)
1. People only want a “God” that is treats them good! Quit seeking the THINGS you can get out of God, and just seek to know HIM!
2. Move closer to Him by moving things out of the way that block your closeness to Him (James 4:8)
G. Listen to Him speak from His own words – you will have “fellowship” with him (1John 1:1-4). Take the time to read and listen! He will show up!
H. Walk with God in Prayer - Pray always – That is your signal to Him, that you are seeking HIM! He is in the place of prayer (Proverbs 8:17), not of work! To sense God (who is a spiritual being), you must be in spirit yourself (praying) – (Rev 1:10)
I. Believe Jesus’ Promise “I will never leave you” “Lo I am with you…”