Jun
11

Responding to the Presence of God (Pt. 3 of 4 Pt. Series)

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Responding to the Presence of God

by Pastor Pete Tackett

Hebrews 13:15

Background:

• We have begun 2013 with a series called, In HIS Presence.

• Prayer is not a thing you put on your daily checklist.

• It is more about walking daily and living moment by moment in his presence.

• Aware of his nearness, all presence, and understanding that his presence means he is there for every minute and every decision. For every good thing and every bad thing.

• All of it is filtered through his father’s heart.

• Prayer is the natural continuation of a life spent in His presence….John 15:7 – I remain in Him; His words speak and remain in me; then I can pray confidently knowing his will and be assured of the answer.

• We discussed practicing His presence in Isaiah 30:15 – by withdrawing from busyness, quieting our spirits in His presence, and being confident of His love and heart for us.

• Today, we move on to more of the whats of prayer. Even today, though, it is not about a checklist for God…He already knows.

Context:

• Hebrews 13:15 “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.”

• This little verse gives us a picture of what happens when we live our lives with an awareness of His presence.

• The writer, probably Paul, is writing to the Jewish believers, and has covered some incredible soaring theological points in the first 12 chapters. Now, in chapter 13, it is almost as if he thinks of this list of things he meant to say and just starts bullet pointing them.

• Love, each other. Remain morally pure. God is with you. Remember your spiritual leaders. Don’t get caught up in doctrinal minutia and strange teachings.

• One of those things he felt he needed to get in was the correct response to the reality of Christ in our daily lives.

1. The Supernatural Response to the presence of God is Praise.

• “Therefore” – because Jesus suffered, we suffer. Throwback to v. 12

• Pretty easy to say, even a good spiritual theory.

• Becomes much harder in the crucible of life.

• It is why the writer defines and underlines it.

• He defines it as a sacrifice.

• The word, sacrifice, here has overtones of the old testament sacrifices – can even be interpreted as the word, victim.

• Recognizing that we are victims – of life; of God’s plans and hopes, we must sacrifice ourself, saying God is still God and His plan is still best.

• It is the same word used in Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”

• Follow the progression of thought over the past few weeks.

• We live our lives in the presence of God. We understand he is always present. In the good and bad experiences of life, trust that his father heart wants whats best for us.

• So, even when it feels bad, we can offer a sacrifice of praise, knowing that a good God with the heart of a father, ultimately has a better understanding of pain and pleasure than I do.

• So, when it happens, we offer a sacrifice of praise.

• The old song says, “I will praise Him in the storm.”

• Make no mistake about it…it is an OFFERING.

• He insists that it must be continual.

• Greek word, (de-a) means ongoing through place, time, and means.

• Praise that is for good things and good times only is not praise.

• True praise is the ability to worship him in whatever spot you are in; whatever stage of life you are in; and whatever resources you have.

• It is rooted in a couple of profound yet simple truths.

• I deserve nothing. I can’t ask about bad things and good people, because there is none good, no not one.

• Every thing I have is a result of his overwhelming love and mercy.

• Acts 17:28a “for in Him, we live and move and have our being.”

• Lamentations 3:24-26 “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

2. The Supernatural Mode of Praise is Confession

• Here is what praise really looks like “the fruit of lips that confess his name.”

• Fruit – the Bible always uses the word fruit to indicate something that happens as a result of something.

• The natural result of a fig tree is a fig. The natural result of planting corn is more corn. The natural result of a life lived in the presence of God is lips that confess His name.

• Confession here is not the same as agreeing about your sin.

• As a matter of fact, it means to celebrate the object of confession, in fact your translation may say praise.

• Stay with me. The result of living in the presence of God is that you see things the same way God sees them.

• You live minute by minute, day by day, aware that He is God, He is present, he loves you and wants whats best for you.

• When cancer strikes; when death occurs, when jobs are lost; because of your intimate love affair with him, you don’t go nuts, screaming Why? Instead, you listen, you pray, you think, but most of all, you praise Him. You give thanks for the journey and for his daily mercies.

• Doesn’t mean you are grateful for the circumstances, but that you are grateful for the presence of God in the journey.

• I Thess. 5:18 “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

• This is the life of presence that results in praise.

• Listen carefully. You are not ready to ask God to remove the circumstances until you can thank him and praise Him and confess his name in the midst of the circumstances.

• This is a supernatural working of time spent…long times spent in His presence.

• The result is that you declare his name over the circumstances of your life. You recognize that He is Lord and He knows best and He wants best.

• You speak out freely about His mercies and his grace even when you are hurting.

• This is how you respond to His presence.

• The object of your confession is HIS Name.

• It invokes everything about God…his authority, his love, his mercy, his compassion, his father heart.

• Sometimes, in the valleys of life, all you can do is whisper his name.

• That is why you see some folks just cry out, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.

• They are confessing his name over the circumstances of life.

• Hard to do when you have not lived in His presence in the good times.

Conclusion:

Gloria Gaither wrote these words years ago.

• Jesus, the mere mention of His name can calm the storm, heal the broken hearted, and raise the dead. At the name of Jesus, I've seen sin-hardened men melted, derelicts transformed, the lights of hope put back into the eyes of a hopeless child…

• At the name of Jesus, hatred and bitterness has turned to love,forgiveness and arguments cease.

• I've heard a mother softly breathe His name at the bedside of a child delirious with fever, and I've watched that little body grow quiet and the fevered brow cool.

• I've sat beside a dying saint, her body racked with pain, who in those final fleeting seconds summoned her last ounce of ebbing strength to whisper earth's sweetest name–Jesus, Jesus…

• Emperors have tried to destroy it; philosophies have tried to stamp it out. Tyrants have tried to wash it from the face of the earth with the very blood of those who claimed it. Yet still it stands.

• And there shall be that final day when every voice that has ever uttered a sound–every voice of Adam's race shall raise in one great mighty chorus to proclaim the name of Jesus–for in that day "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!!!"

• Ah–so you see–it was not mere chance that caused the angel one night long ago to said to a virgin maiden, "His name shall be called Jesus." Jesus–Jesus–Jesus. You know, there is something about that name…

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