This is week #2 of our series Christmas Presence.
Last week we talked about the presence of God.
God’s presence is inescapable and yet for many inaccessible.
God is Omni-Present meaning he is everywhere and yet for many he seems far away.
Last week we looked at a radio - and talked about how the signal for the music we hear is there whether we hear it or not - but there are many factors that can control whether or not we hear the music on the radio.
Adjusting the tuning will change what we hear on the radio. Right?
We can listen to the news, or Christian radio, or Country Music…. We just have tune the radio into what we want to hear. And that is the #1 reason we feel like we can’t hear from God is because we are out of tune with Him.
But there are other factors that can cause this radio not not work.
If there is no signal. Have you ever been out in the middle of nowhere and just can’t get a signal? Like on your phone?
Another reason is no power. If the there is no power to the radio or your cell phone battery is dead - we all know - it doesn’t matter how strong the signal or how precise the tuning - with no power the radio is dead.
So how do we access, tune in and power the presence of God?
- The Word of God
- The Holy Spirit
THE WORD OF GOD
Last week we said that the Word of God cannot be separated from the presence of God.
“If you want to know God better - the absolute first and best thing you need to do is study the Bible.”
I am not sure if I have mentioned this before - but you should read your Bible every day. Have I said that?
If you would say to me that you desire to experience God’s presence - I would say to you it begins with his Word.
I believe every follower of Christ should study the Bible every day. Why?
Joshua 1:8 ESV
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
This is where you should start to experience God’s presence.
If you are new to reading your Bible and you don’t know where to start - allow me to give you some advice.
Prayer is like putting up your antenna. There is a signal out there but sometimes you have to reach for it.
Philippians 4:6 ESV
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Remember in the last series we studied Jesus instruction on prayer.
When you pray… Link to message.
I think virtually everyone who desires to experience the presence of God - understands that you should read your Bible and you should pray.
So let me spend the rest of my time talking about the Holy Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Let me ask you a question, and I want you to really think about this.
Are you a physical being or are you a spiritual being?
Are you a physical being with a spirit - or are you spiritual being with a body?
What part of your nature to you relate to more? Your Spirit or your Flesh (Physical body)?
I want to go back to the analogy of the radio for a minute.
I said before that the MUSIC is in the room whether we can hear it or not… Right?
But that is not entirely true, is it? What is the room right now is not actually music. I mean it started as music - somebody played the piano or saxophone and recoded that into a microphone then that music was broadcast not as music but as a radio frequency that is interpreted by this radio and sent through the speaker and the result is we hear MUSIC.
The reason we can’t hear the music is that we are not a radio.
And without a way to receive that signal - no matter how present it is - we will never not hear the Music.
Our Flesh and Bone bodies are incapable of perceiving and understanding things that are of the Spirit. Which is exactly why most people don’t believe in the things of the spirit.
So keeping with the analogy of the radio:
- God in heaven is like the original music -
- We are the listener
- The signal or that radio frequency is the Holy Spirit and
- Our spirit is the radio with which we can receive it.
“God designed you to receive the Holy Spirit.”
Get your head around that. You were designed by God to receive the Holy Spirit.
Yet so often we feel like the things of the spirit are foreign to us strange to us and difficult to understand. And the #1 reason for this is we tend to stay were we are comfortable. Which is in the flesh.
If we can’t see, we doubt it. If we don’t already know it - we have a hard time believing it.
Imagine how ineffective and silly it would be to buy a radio and use it for as a lamp. Or as a TV, or as a Hammer… there are many things you could use this for. But if it is not to tune in a radio station - we are using it wrong.
God designed you to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit - and there are many things you can do with your life - But if you are not engaging with the Holy Spirit - you are using your life wrong.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
It should not seems strange to you that you were designed to be a vessel of God’s Holy Spirit.
“The PRESENCE of the HOLY SPIRIT is one of the greatest presents you will ever receive from God.”
John 14:15–17 ESV
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
“The Holy Spirit is God’s Spirit. He is the spiritual presence of God - imperceivable to the world - undeniable to a true believer.”
Let’s talk about speaking in other tongues.
I don’t know why this subject seems to make people uncomfortable. But it should not.
Excerpt from article: Charisma Magazine
“...When (churches) read Acts 2:4 (NASB)—’And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance’—some people will shift in their seats or clear their throats. This aspect of Pentecost makes people uncomfortable. We don't know what to do or say about tongues. It's just too weird for most people.”
A purely analytical approach to scripture leads to one undeniable conclusion- and that is speaking in other tongues is biblical. AND it is common among the first century church In the book of acts. Now some people conflate the subject of Speaking in Tongues as being the same as talking about the Holy Spirit.
What you should desire is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit
What you should be open to is speaking in other tongues and prophesying.
I say it like that because many people seek the ability to speak in other tongues and are only open to the Holy Spirit.
Maybe you even prayed and asked God to fill you with the Holy Sprit - and you felt like nothing happened so you have since doubted yourself & maybe even doubted God.
I want to help you today - Don’t tell God how to answer your prayers.
I have heard some preachers tell people - if you want to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, all you have to do is ask. I know that sounds good - but can I tell you today that is not the truth. It is not the WHOLE truth.
Let me give you this example: I have heard people say you can cry out the word Jesus - even on their deathbed will be saved because Romans 10:13 says “Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
That is not what that verse means. You can’t just say Jesus and be saved. I have failed as a pastor if you don’t know that…
Salvation requires 3 essentials:
- Public Acknowledgment
AND just because you ask for God to give you the Holy Spirit does not automatically mean you will receive that Gift.
Ephesians 4:30 ESV
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Look at what grieves the Holy Spirit
Ephesians 4:31–32 ESV
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Acts 8 A man named Simon tries to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:20–21 ESV
20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
The presence of the Holy Spirit is a GIFT.
And not just a gift for you to take or leave. It is the gift that connects you to God.
When the disciples saw Jesus for the last time before ascended into heaven Jesus said this,
Acts 1:8 ESV
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The presence of the Holy Spirit is a GIFT that is available to you today.