|The presence of God 1 Mark Jones|
This message was preached by Mark Jones at the Igatpuri Regions Beyond "Gather 2014" leaders retreat. He provoked us to keep the main thing the main thing. For the audio please click here.
What does it mean to be in the presence of God and how to live in presence of God?
Q. What distinguishes you from everyone else on the planet? Your methodology, worship, the way you do church, the preaching, your skills…
Everything that we do and can do except one, can be done by the world- and often, they can do it better and on a global scale. But what makes us different? When we walk into the nations, what will make us different? Moses was also very concerned with this question. With great enthusiasm he tried to deliver Israel the first time and he was exiled. He failed. Then he had an encounter with God and was commissioned and was very aware now of his weaknesses and limitations. He said do not let us leave this place unless your presence is with us. God said he would send an angel. But Moses did not want any substitute other than the presence of God.
Today, where churches are growing around the world, there is a temptation to go for substitutes because we lack the faith to go for the presence of God. Moses did not accept a substitute.
So I want to ask you to put your heart before God and completely deny all substitutes. In meetings like this we can often centre it around a message, a visiting preacher, when we should centre around the presence.
Sometimes we talk about the presence of God. But what is your expectation if the presence of God comes? What do you think will happen? Will we be the same when we leave from here?
Q. What does it mean to “press in to God”?
Simply this- that when you think you have prayed enough, start praying. When you think you have worshipped enough, start worshipping.
Would it not be strange if we preach on the presence of God without experiencing it?
It means, God dwells among us- its also very known to us. God’s presence is here but do you know the presence. We have become a dwelling place for God. His presence is here. Almighty God dwells upon us now. That should cause us to shout, get radical!
God dwells among us with an agenda. He is powerful and almighty. We have a problem- we don’t know how to exist with the presence of God. Some are afraid of him and do not feel worthy. However, he knows how to exist with us. He is eagerly awaiting for us to draw near to him and he with us.
God existed for all time. He is not a figment of someone’s imagination. He desired to establish a world where he would create a people for his own pleasure and that we would live in perfect peace and harmony. The earth belongs to the Lord and all its fullness.
The earth belongs to the Lord, but Satan had some issues. So 1/3rd of angels along with Satan were cast upon the earth. God created a garden and created humanity who walked with those in the garden and they communicated with him in harmony. God wants to restore this.
The presence of God is not about feelings but God dwells with an agenda and it’s important that we understand that. We were called to rule the world, subdue the nations. God’s plan was that this paradise would expand from Eden and fill the earth and live in such a way that the glory of God would cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
Adam and Eve had Eden to work in to understand his authority and as they did this faithfully what they had as a promise they could experience.
When God’s presence is there, his authority is there as well. The only way to understand the spread of the presence of God is to understand his authority. God wants to bring transformation, not just change.
There is no church for us to learn before we achieve it. The more we look for methods and strategy it will take a long time. We are regions beyond and I wonder how many regions there are beyond?
In the Old Testament, the Spirit was not poured out yet. But he did not abandon them in judges we see after ‘the Spirit came upon him’- Samson, Gideon…
God never gave up on his people. In Haggai it says that the later glory will be greater than the former.
The baptism of Jesus comes and heaven opens up. “This is my son in whom I am well pleased”. The Spirit of the Lord descended upon him and he demonstrated what humanity could look like living in the presence of God. Wherever he went, there was transformation.
The woman with the issue of bleeding understood something of the presence of God. She knew she only needed to touch him. Mark 6- when he went to the villages, people just wanted to touch the helm of his garment and many people got healed. Jesus was a man with whom God was with. This is what we will look like if we dwell in his presence. He was showing us how to live.
In his presence the rule of his domain was at work. Seek first the Kingdom of God and this includes the presence of God and the agenda of God. It’s not a lovely feeling. When we encounter the Spirit of God, the presence of God, we will undergo transformation.
The disciples were eager for what Jesus had promised and suddenly a violent wind with tongues of fire came. Now Jerusalem, which was in excess of a million from every nation, all of them had their world changed with that violent wind. Those of Jerusalem heard the sound of the presence of God and all came to hear it. God poured out his presence and he said this is a new day of the presence of God.
What we now have far exceeds what the people in the Old Testament had. Peter and John walk up to the temple, the kingdom of God is within them. They walk past the lame man but on this day, we pray in Jesus name. It’s not more food or more change. How could they do that? They knew how to dwell in the presence of God- knew the authority of God.
God has not changed today. Satan trembles at the thought that we might know how to dwell in the presence of God.
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