Church Redefined Pt 2 – The Presence of God
- Christian Evidences
- Christian Living
- Holy Spirit
- New Testament
- Old Testament
Sep 3, 2013 1851
By Tony Elshof, Wollongong Vineyard Church Plant
This message is to empower and equip you to live a better Kingdom life.
“Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.” Exodus 25:30
Neil Cole in his book, Church 3.0, broadly defines church as, “The presence of Jesus among His people called out as a spiritual family to pursue His mission on this planet.” He goes on to say that the presence of Jesus is crucial to what church is. His presence is life; His absence is death. He is the most essential portion of who and what we are.
Exodus 33:14-16 records Moses as he contends with God, “If your Presence does not go with us…what else will distinguish your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” Because Moses had lived with the tangible presence of God, he was not willing to move away from the ‘mountain of God’ to the Promised Land without it.
Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding California says, “Probably the primary quest in my life is to learn how to host the presence of God. I can’t stop reading about the life of Jesus because the example that He gave is indescribable, what He was modeling for anyone that would say yes to the summons of the Father.”
When the prophet Nathan revealed David’s sin, the King in desperately pleaded before God in Psalm 51:11, “Do not cast me from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me.” The thing that David feared the most was living apart from the intimate presence of God.
If I asked people to list their top five characteristics of church they would typically state things like: qualified ministers, church building, praise and worship; doctrinal beliefs; ordinances; outreach activities; youth programs; etc., yet missing from most people’s lists is the presence of Jesus.
Neil Cole continues, “If Jesus is missing in our understanding of church, He will likely be missing in our expression of church as well. Therein lies a huge problem in our churches. We have defined church by what we are and do, rather than by the presence of Jesus at work among us.”
The Apostle John confirms this when He revealed the heart of the end-times church in Revelation 2:2,4, “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forgotten your first love.”
Jesus made it clear in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” When we come together in one accord, then the Divine presence of God is manifest.
Robby Dawkins a 5th generation pastor with an SDA heritage, has equipped thousands of people in over 30 countries in ‘Power Evangelism.’ Robby says, “We have the ability to usher in the literal presence of God, and powerfully touch people with the Holy Spirit, and when that happens, it is a truly beautiful thing.”
If you and I are to be a people of God, we need to become a people of His Presence. Wherever you are on your journey of grace, I urge you to seek more of your Heavenly Father’s face, individually, within your family, and as a church community. Be Blessed.
A Gaither song says "He is alive, He is alive." Lord help us to live that message.
Thanks for thi!. It is so true, and I am so blessed to read it. This is what our Gospel Fellowships should be all about. The glimpses we get from the New Testament churches show us small groups that are saturated with the deep sense and excitement of the presence of Jesus at work in and through them. This can only be true when we come to him in humility, when we make his word the focus, and not our own agendas or ideas, and when we claim his promises. The Lord Jesus is still risen today! And he is alive forevermore, Hallelujah!
Jan 19, 2014
I believe in the religion of the risen Lord! I am happy to proclaim that over and over again!