The Presence of God

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Questions to Discuss

  • What do you think of when you hear the phrase ‘The Presence of God’?
  • What passages in the Bible come to mind on the topic?
  • What is your personal experience of God’s presence?

What Do We Mean By God’s Presence?

  • Omnipresence – Psalm 139:7-10, Jeremiah 23:24
  • Indwelling Presence –Matthew 28:20, Galatians 2:20
  • Andrew Wilson Quote: “People sometimes sing, ‘Waiting here for you… we’re desperate for your presence’ without regard for the fact that the presence of God has already come to them in an irrevocable way, both individually and corporately, and Jesus has promised to never leave them nor forsake them. They talk about ‘seeking the presence’, and quote Moses’ famous prayer, ‘if your presence doesn’t go with us, don’t send us up from here’ – again, without reference to the vital points that even then, God has already promised to go with Israel, and that since Pentecost, it is simply impossible for a church who believes and preaches the gospel to somehow ‘lose’ the presence of God.”
  • Wrong to be talking in terms of ‘Is God with us or not? Or ‘Is God here or not?’ –
  • There is a question to ask in terms of what is our experience of God’s presence with us.
  • John Piper Quote: “There is a sense in which God’s presence is not with us always. For this reason, the Bible repeatedly calls us to ‘seek the Lord… seek his presence continually’. God’s manifest, trusted, conscious presence is not our constant experience.”
  • Manifest Presence
  • A. W. Tozer Quote: “The presence and the manifestation of  the presence are not the same. There can be one without the other. God is here when we are wholly unaware of it. He is manifest only when and as we are aware of his presence.”

Question to Discuss

  • What Biblical examples can you think of where people experience God’s manifest presence in this way? – Try to think of OT and NT examples. (Pentecost, repeated fillings of the Spirit, Paul in the third heaven – 2 Cor 12:2, Paul ‘in the spirit’ on the Lord’s day – Rom 1:10)

The Presence Is the Point

  • The whole point of salvation – 1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…
  • Old Testament Hope – Psalm 27:4, Jonah 2:4
  • In Creation & the Garden –Genesis 1:1 (The Heavens & The Earth together) – Genesis 3:8
  • In the Fall –Genesis 3:23-24
  • Glimpses In Genesis–Enoch, Abraham’s Visitors, Jacob’s Stairway to Heaven
  • Exodus – Q: What’s the main point? (Ex 7:16 – some translations have ‘worship’ instead of serve) Ex. 25:8-9
  • But it is insufficient – Heb 9:1-10
  • Temple – 2 Sam 7:12-13, 1 Kings 8:10-11 – Second Temple – Ezra 3:11-12
  • Ezekiel’s Temple –Ezekiel 47:1-12
  • Jesus – John 1:14, John 2:19 – His deeds were exactly what you would expect – a meeting point between heaven and Earth
  • New Creation – Rev 21:3, 21:22
  • What About Now?– John 7:38, 1 Cor 6:19 – 1 Cor 3:16
  • Terry Virgo Quote: “If the church is a temple of the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t we expect to meet him there.”

God’s Face

  • Presence = Hebrew Panim
  • Moses’ prayer  – Ex 33:21-23
  • God encourages it – Psalm 27:8
  • High priestly benediction – Numbers 6:24-26
  • New Testament fulfilment – 2 Corinthians 4:6

Questions to Discuss

  • What effect should we expect experiencing God’s manifest presence to have on us?
  • What outworking should this desire for God’s presence have on us? (Expectation of Experience – Devotional Posture – Missionary Zeal)