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Acts 7:47-49 HOW TO PRACTICE THE PRESENCE OF GOD
Intro: Ill. God is not an absentee landlord! He doesnt save us and then leave us here to do the best we can. Many feel that God does just that! He saves us and then He shoves us out into the world. They think that maybe He looks in on us occasionally to see how were doing. That just isnt so! There are two passages in the New Testament that speak about the whereabouts of God - Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5. These remind us that God is ever with his children. We are never out of His presence. I want to speak about this matter of Gods presence and attempt to clear up any confusion that there might be in this matter.
I would like to pose a question to you this morning. Where does God live? Well, some would answer The Church, we do call the church The House Of God, but God doesnt have His address at the church. David tells us in Psalm 139:7-12 that God is everywhere all at once. Yet, God does have a house. In fact, He has possessed several throughout the ages. Today, I want to help you to practice the presence of God. I want every one of us to be able to know and enjoy this sweet, abiding presence minute by minute as we travel through life.
To be able to practice His presence, or live in the reality of it, you must first know where He is. Allow me to share with you this truth: God has made and used four different houses. How each one fits into Gods plan will help us to be able to experience the joy of His awesome presence.
I. GODS PRIMARY HOUSE
A. The first place God chose to dwell was in Adam.
B. The Design - Adam was a three-part house. He was made in the image of
Almighty God - Gen. 1:26. He reflected the triune nature of God - 1 Thes. 5:23. Ill. Gen. 2:7 - Adam was Gods primary design. (Ill. Body, Soul, Spirit - The body allows access to the physical world. The soul allows access to the emotional world. The Spirit allows access to the spiritual world. The spirit is what separates man from the animals. It makes us unique because the spirit can be indwelled by God and it is the spirit where we have the capacity to worship God.
C. The Desecration - Ill. Adams sin - Gen. 3. When Adam sinned, he died -
not physically, but spiritually! Adams sin defiled the house and God moved out! God will not abide in a dirty house.
D. The Desolation - After Adam sinned and God moved out, Adams house
became desolate. In other words, the fact of his death became evident - He was separated from God! He began to suffer under the curse. When his spirit died, (Death is literally separation!), his soul took over. Man, from that day to this has lived life as he pleases - Ill The natural man! The natural man is lead by his soul, because apart from God, the spirit of man is dead!
Literally, the house was left desolate! (Ill. A live Christmas tree - When the tree is cut, it is dead. It may retain the look of life for a while, but as sure as a few week have passed, the truth of its death will be evident.) Ill. The same is true of the human house that is empty of God.
E. The Destruction - Eventually, Adam died physically as well - Gen. 5:5. The
house he lived in was destroyed and returned to the elements from which it came - Gen. 3:19. That same end awaits every one of us here today! (Ill. Death is stalking! Are you prepared?)
F. Ill. This is a true picture of everyone who is without God!
II. GODS PATTERN HOUSE
(Ill. This is the Temple. It served as a visible pattern for mankind, so that men could see the type of dwelling God would use.)
A. The Design - This house was made of three rooms. The Outer Court, the
Inner Court and the Innermost Court. In its design, it corresponds to each of us. (Ill. The Outer Court - The human body - The place of sacrifice - Rom. 12:1-2) (Ill. The Inner Court - The human soul - The place of gathering and hearing of the Word - The place of reason and understanding) (The Innermost Court - The place where the priest met with God - The place of worship and personal communion with God.)
B. The Desecration - Through idolatry and sin Israel desecrated and defiled the
Temple. Therefore, God moved out! - Ill. Matt. 21:13.
C. The Desolation - Ill. Matt. 23:38 - Notice your not Gods The people
still carried out all the ancient rituals, but God was gone! Sadly, they didnt even notice! (Ill. Many churches are in the same situation right now. All the ritual, none of the glory! - Ill. 1 Sam. 4:21 - Ichabod!)
D. The Destruction - Matt. 24:1-2 - The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD
because it was unfit to be inhabited by God. He didnt need it any longer!
III. GODS PERFECT HOUSE
(Ill. Jesus was Gods perfect house!)
A. The Design - John 1:1; 14 (Ill. Jesus called His own body a Temple - John
2:19. His House was indwelled by the Spirit - Matt. 3:16-17. In fact, He was God incarnate! This Temple was designed to be the place of the perfect sacrifice!
B. The Desecration - This Temple was desecrated as no other has ever been.
Ill. Literally all the sins of humanity were placed on Him - Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24! The creature was literally able to desecrate the perfect Temple of the Creator!
C. The Desolation - When Christ became sin on Calvary, He was abandoned
by the Father - Rom. 8:32; Matt. 27:46. The darling Son of God became the object of the Fathers loathing and God judged the Son in our place. Jesus was left desolate, He died alone! (Ill. This is one of the great mysteries of the ages - That God could turn His back on Himself.)
D. The Destruction - Like the first Adam, the second Adam, Jesus, was
destroyed. Ill. Isa. 53:10. Jesus died to take away the penalty of our sins. That perfect house, like all the previous ones was destroyed! (Ill. All He suffered for us!)
IV. GODS PERMANENT HOUSE
(Ill. Here is where the pattern changes, God has stopped moving! He has taken up residence in a permanent dwelling. That dwelling is you!)
A. The Design - John 14:16 - The believer has been reconstructed and made a
fit dwelling for Almighty God. (Ill. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 - 2 words translated Temple in NT - 1). Ieron - The entire temple precinct, the temple mount. 2.) Naos - The Holy place, the sacred dwelling place of God! The Christian is literally a living, breathing Temple of Almighty God! When you get saved, God moves in!
B. The Desecration - This house cannot be desecrated! (Ill. Sealed - The holy
area has been sealed off - Nothing gets in or out!) But, what about sin? When you trust Christ, ALL sin is removed - Past, Present and Future! (Ill. Col. 2:13-14!) Sin is no longer credited to us! Rather, we enjoy imputed righteousness - Rom. 4:22-24!
C. The Desolation - This house can never be left desolate! God cannot depart!
Ill. John 14:16; 2 Tim. 2:13. The true believer is Gods house and will be forever! Eternally saved and eternally sealed - Eph. 4:30!
D. The Destruction - This house can never be destroyed. God has promised us
eternal life through Jesus Christ - John 10:28; Rom. 5:9. This doesnt mean that He wont clean house every now and then - Rev. 3:19. But, when He does, He wont move out! The Christian need never fear Hell - John 5:24!
V. A FEW LESSONS TO CONSIDER
A. Salvation - Salvation isnt about getting man into Heaven, it is about getting
God into man. It is about making dead men live. It is about living for God and doing His will as opposed to the will of the world and of the devil.
B. Security - God has stopped moving! I know I am eternally secure today
because He has promised to stay forever - Heb. 13:5. Adam fell and God moved out! He has moved into us to stay!
C. Sanctification - When Adam sinned, he died immediately in the spirit,
progressively in the soul and ultimately in the body. We are justified at the instant of salvation by the Spirit, sanctified progressively in the soul, and glorified ultimately in the body. Ill. Phil. 1:6 - God isnt finished with you yet. We arent perfect, but He likes a fixer upper! He is rebuilding, remaking, remodeling into the image of Jesus.
D. Spirituality - God lives in you! Dont just dress up on Sunday and pretend
to meet Him in church. He is with you all the time, everywhere you go. Therefore, every action in life should reflect this truth. You are Gods temple and because of this truth, every day is a holy day, every place is a holy place!
E. Service - Do not insult God by saying that He cannot use you. He lives in
you and as you continually yield to Him, and constantly depend on Him, He will use you, His temple, for His glory!
Conc: What kind of shape is Gods house in today? Today would be a good day to begin a home improvement project. Are you willing to be all that God wants you to be?