Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Landmark of the Presence of God

Temple Baptist Church - 10-23-2011

2 Chronicles 7:1-3


A. I want to look at another “Ancient Landmark” of the local church that is strangely missing in our day
. The presence and worship of God!

1. Most church services know nothing of either. Church has become a disciplined part of the life of most of God’s people and they are faithful to the services of the church. I preached some years on the question Isaac asked of Abraham in Genesis 22, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”

2. In our day, it is the fire that is missing in most church services as they have become formalistic and dead.

B. I am not talking about a lot of spiritual hype that has been equated with worship (I am not against praising the Lord) but the true worship in spirit and truth that welcomes the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1. God has been programed out of most church services. Prayer is made at the right times, singing is done at the right times, the offering is taken up at the right time, the preacher preaches at the right time, and we get out at the right time (check out the restaurant lines.)

2. Something is missing and it is so evident: the presence of God!

C. In our text for this morning, we find the presence of God. At the end of Solomon’s prayer, the fire fell and the glory of God filled the Temple. It was so overwhelming that the priests could not enter because of it. I know that the Lord works differently in the New Testament economy but the presence of God should be evident in every service. Our Lord said that where 2 or 3 were gathered together in His name, He would be in the midst.

D. Most churches have never known His presence and He is neither welcome nor wanted in most of them. He is disruptive of their “menus” and demanding of their members. Many churches have lost the glory of His presence: religion is their game and Ichabod is their name. Some churches still have the glory of His presence: there is excitement in their praise and joy in their hearts.

E. Here are some things that the presence of God will bring to a church.

1. God’s Presence Brought Excitement In Assembly – vs. 3 “All the children of Israel saw” - Psalms 122:1 A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (What a blessing to come to church and leave having met with the Lord. Not everyone feels His presence but I love it. I come to church needing and looking for something and leave having found it. I love church! I love to come and know that He has given me some help.)

2. God’s Presence Brought Humility – vs. 3 “all the children … bowed” - Isaiah 57:15 For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (When the presence of the Lord is here, I realize more than ever my worthlessness and His worthiness. He is all that we have and all that we need. We cannot live without Him.)

3. God’s Presence Brought Worship – vs. 3 “worshipped” - Psalms 96:8-9 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (I often pray, “Dear Lord, help me to lay aside everything that will hinder my worship and help me to keep my mind and heart stayed upon Thee. Dear Lord, help us to worship you each and every time we come to your house!”)

4. God’s Presence Brought Praise – vs. 3 “all the children … praised the Lord” - Psalms 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. (I do not want the rocks to have to praise the Lord in my stead! I know that we all have hard times but the Lord has been a lot better to us than we have been to Him and I want to continually have His praises in my mouth.)

5. God’s Presence Brought Sacrifice – vs. 4 “all the people offered sacrifices” - 1 Chronicles 16:29 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (People who know the Lord and walk with Him have no problem with tithes and offerings. I know people who give 20-30 percent of their incomes to the Lord. They are not rich and yet they are rich. One man once said, “We give to God with a spoon and He gives back with a shovel.”)

6. God’s Presence Brought Involvement – vs. 6 “Priests … Levites … all Israel stood” - 1 Chronicles 13:8 And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. (I know that not everyone will get involved but those who come to truly worship will. Singing is not a chore to them; taking a part in the choir or taking up offerings; etc. are not chores to them. God involved! If you sit and watch, you are missing much because worship and praise are not spectator sports.)

7. God’s Presence Brought Sufficiency – vs. 7 “the brazen altar … was not able to receive” - Exodus 36:5-6 And they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the LORD commanded to make. And Moses gave commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, Let neither man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing. (In our day, restraining people’s giving is not an option because there is much more in the realm of missions that needs to be done but we can dream about. For me to stand here and say, “Please don’t bring any more offerings for a while because we do not know what to do with it all,” would “blow” us all away. God’s presence will cause God’s people to sufficiently give in order to have “meat in mine house.”)

Conclusion: I believe with all of my heart that the Lord wants to make His presence known in the local church so that His people know that He is real and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. God’s presence brings about the “fullness of joy” in the hearts of His people.

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