What Will it Be Like When God Shows Up?

This is a copy of my visitor article for this week.  I thought that I would post it here to get some feedback.

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence-“ Isaiah 64:1

Two Sundays ago, I preached a message entitled, “What’s Missing from Our Church?”
If you were not there I urge you to call the church office and get the DVD of the service.  In that message I shared with you my concern that we are not experiencing the manifest presence of God in the life of our church.  As the last two weeks have gone by, I have noticed in my own heart a burning to see God at work in our midst.  To have that special visitation of His presence and demonstration of His power.  I want to see God do in our midst what only He can accomplish.  My prayer has become “Oh, that you would rend the heavens! That you would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.” This morning as I sit hear reflecting on the prayer I have begun to meditate upon what it would be like if God answered that prayer.  What would happen to our church and our community if God really did show up in our midst.  Over the next several weeks I want to explore this issue and think about what will happen when God manifests His glorious presence in our midst.

Well first of all, when God does grant us a special visitation of His presence the church will begin to deal seriously with sin.  Now that may seem odd because some would say that the church is already dealing with sin.  But I don’t think that is necessarily the case.  What I observe among evangelical churches in America is that we are very good at diagnosing and confronting other peoples sin but not so good at dealing with the sins that beset the church. For instance, in just about every American evangelical church you can regularly hear preachers rallying against the sin of homosexuality.  While I agree that this is a serious sin and that God will judge those who practice this lifestyle, I have to ask myself the question is this really the sin that is hindering the move of God in the American church today.  You can walk into any church in America and find rampant gossip, constant backbiting, divisions of every sort, hypocrisy on steroids, all of which the Holy Spirit deals with throughout the Bible and yet we focus an inordinate amount of time on this one sin that involves only a small fraction of the church.  Why is this?  I think that the reason we have chosen this one sin to make the bogey man for all the evils of society is that it easier to pick on someone else’s sin rather than to deal with our own.  While God may judge America for tolerating the sin of homosexuality, He has withdrawn His presence from the church because of our failure to deal with the sins that beset us.  Our refusal to acknowledge and deal with the sin in our midst has hindered the spread of the gospel and has kept us from being able to deal with the other sins of society.  How can we maintain any credibility in confronting homosexuals with their sin if we are not willing to deal with our own.

When God shows up in the midst of the church, however, sin is recognized for what it is and the church deals with is seriously.  When Isaiah received his vision of God in Isaiah 6 and saw his sin in contrast with the Holiness of God, he bowed and cried out, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” (Isa 6:5) Isaiah saw God but he could not help but to see His own sin in light of God’s perfection.  This is how it always is when God manifests His presence among people.  As we pray for God to move in our midst, we will know that He has answered when we begin to deal seriously with sin and see other members of the church do the same.  Pray with me that God will reveal His holiness in our midst, that the light of His countenance and glory will reveal our sin, that His grace will draw us near to the cross, and that the saving blood of Jesus will be applied to our sin so that we can be cleansed, forgiven, and enabled to once again experience the joy of our salvation.

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7 thoughts on “What Will it Be Like When God Shows Up?

  1. What a great word Boss Man. I would like to get the conversation rolling if I may. You speaking of the presence of God reminded me of the passage in Exodus when God threatens to remove His presence from the people of Israel. However, Moses rejected the idea of going anywhere without the presence of God. He understood that the Lords presence was of utter importance .He intercedes by praying to God, and as you all know, God then passes by Moses remaining with the people of Israel. I understand the context is different, and I also understand that we are not the nation of Israel. However, can we not recognize that this passage from the Word of God has implications for us today? Yes, I believe we can. We must value the presence of our King as highly as Moses did. We must yearn to be a spirit-filled people participating in spirit lead missions, preaching, worship, fellowship, etc. I have two suggestions concerning this issue:

    Biblically Saturated Minds: We must be a people that marinates their minds and hearts in the Word. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) So that we may be equipped for every good work and be trained in righteousness. If we are consumed with God and His word then by default I believe I can say we will hunger for the presence of God.

    Prayer: There is a reason Paul ends many letters with..”Be steadfast in prayer” or begins with “Continue in prayer…” We must fall in love with our Father more and more. We need to be in constant communication and fellowship with God so that we may better know Him.

    I believe these two thing would be on the top of the list if there was a “Knowing God Better for Dummies” book. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe scripture would be clear on this. We must be meditating on Gods Word, and praying for His spirit in all we do for His Glory alone. This is becoming a novel so let me close with this. If these two things are done I believe it is impossible for a believer not to be aw-struck by the Holiness of God. As a result a persons sin will be illuminated, and repented of. How can a person that is at aw with the Holiness of God not yearn for His presence.

    Therefore, let us as a people be meditating on Gods Word, repenting of sin, praying for God’s forgiveness, and return of His presence in the life of local churches and ministries.

  2. Nate,

    Thanks. I could not agree more. The point about marinating our minds in Scripture is tremendous. I believe that one of the largest problems the church faces in America is Biblical ignorance. How can we know the ways of God if we do not know the Word of God?

    Joe

  3. Greg,

    Its great to have you here. Yes, everyone calls me boss man. I think it is because I look so much like Bruce Springsteen.

  4. Well you were born in the USA out by the gas fires of the steel mill (not refinery). But I am not sure either of us were born/built to run!:) Any chance you could send me your personal phone #…somehow I keep losing it. Huguenotbible@aol.com….
    Oh, I lost almost all of my Colossians SS from last spring in a CD mishap. It breaks my heart. I may have to recover some stuff from my old Aptiva that crashed.
    In Christ Alone,
    Greg

  5. Pastor,

    Don’t know if you get notification when someone posts under the old threads so I e-mail this to you as well

    I was going back and reading some of these articles, I enjoyed this one and it’s a great question. One further point to add to that question is will we be prepared if / when He does visit us? It reminds me of Is 54: After the prophet describes the sufferings of Christ he describes the flourishing of the Church. He says in Isaiah 54:2 basically to get ready, be prepared “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. ” WE should be prepared for God to visit us – stretch out our tent curtains wide, strengthen our stakes, lengthen our cords.

    How does this apply or begin to happen at FBC? Nate hit the nail on the head, “marinate ourselves in Scripture” When the men are “renewing their minds” and discipiling their families, that’s the first step imho. Isaiah speaks of preparing the tent. It’s almost as if Isaiah is Jim Cantore from TWC, saying “get ready for a storm’s a coming, batten down the hatches, board up the windows, get some bread and water, the storm’s a coming” Except in this case it’s a good thing, it’s a visit from God, “our Husband-our Maker, The Lord almighty is His name” Isaiah follows up in vs 4-5, ” Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband– the Lord Almighty is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. ” What comfort!(especially coming out of captivity)

    Saturate ouselves in the word and then disciple our families, be prepared for God to do great things in our midst. I keep thinking about Ps 68, ” The Lord announced the Word and great was the company that proclaimed it” Let’s be prepared, let’s expect it, lets pray for the Lord to visit, and then WHEN He does, great will be the company who proclaims His word.

    Carl Stewart

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