Saturday, 16 July 2016

An introduction to Walking in the Glory of God.~ Ganeida

Last time we spoke of the Glory of God.  We said it is not a thing; it is the presence of God made manifest ~ all His goodness, all His character in operation.  Not the Holy Spirit.  Not the anointing. Not just an atmosphere, though it effects the atmosphere. It has weight.  It has Light. It can be seen.  It can be felt: God Himself present amongst His people bringing His peace, his shalom.  The root of shalom is wholeness & in Jewish thought is tied to the idea of shelemut, perfection. So God’s Glory has this concept of perfection, wholeness, goodness, lovingkindness, the tov of Genesis, nothing missing, nothing withheld, & everything operating exactly as it was designed to operate.  Here there is no death, no decay for God is the very source of life itself.

How many of you understand that a manifestation of God’s glory begins with us?

John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Remember we looked at this verse when we were discussing grace.

Love is agapaō, not philo, keep is tēreō, protectively watch over, commandment is entolē,but it can also mean commission. It is not our keeping God’s commands that proves whether we love Him or not.  He already knows whether we do or not, just as we know the truth about ourselves.  Rather John is saying that when we love God above all else we are motivated to keep His commandments because love desires to please. Love desires to do what’s right.

Did you notice that there is a promise attached to these instructions?
Hold that thought.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Genesis 1:27 So God created human beings in His own image.  In the image of God He created them; male & female He created them.

If we begin at the beginning what do we find?  We find mankind created in the image of God.  We are so far removed from what that meant that it is almost impossible for us to wrap our heads around it.

What do you imagine when you read: Now the man & His wife were both naked, but they felt no shame? Gen 2:25 What about Gen 3:8 ? When the cool evening breezes were blowing the man & his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden.

We have a problem.  Start with some of the physical things we know about God, not His character or characteristics but how He manifests His presence.

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth ~ John 4:23

For our God is a devouring fire. ~ Hebrews 12:29

 He walks upon the wings of the wind; Psalm 104:3

He will come like a rushing stream Which the wind of the LORD drives. Isaiah 59:19

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said… Job 38:1
And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

We have talked about the cloud of Glory that filled the temple & went before Israel as a cloud by day & a pillar of fire by night. 1 Cor 3:7 declares that man is the image and glory of God

We see that God is wind, & Spirit, & fire.  We also see that man is made in God’s image.  In the garden this reflection of God in man was perfect. He was unaware of His nakedness because he was covered by the Glory of God.  He lived in that Glory. There was no death in that garden.  There was nothing unclean or defiled until sin entered so Adam & Eve were perfect reflections of the Glory of God. When they sinned they immediately became aware of their nakedness.  Why?  Because the glory lifted from them.  There was immediate spiritual death ~ & they knew it.  They couldn’t hide their sin because the departure of the Glory left them completely exposed.

I don’t want to get side-tracked but again & again in scripture you find images that represent God’s covering from the prayer shawl of the O.T to a woman’s hair in the New. We were made to enjoy God & without Him we will literally hunger & thirst for a replacement ~ any replacement: drink, drugs, sex, money, anything at all that will give us that sense of being perfect, loved, secure.

Say with me John 14:21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Stay in Genesis with me for a moment.  Who led Adam & Eve into sin?  Satan, or Lucifer.  Now to start with I want you to just consider his names. His original name was Lucifer.  It means light bearer, heylel, in the Hebrew. Now he is known as the Prince of Darkness. He was one of 3 archangels mentioned:  Michael, the warrior, Gabriel, the Messenger; & Lucifer, the covering angel. From Ezekiel 38 we get the impression He was Heaven’s worship leader & His place was to always be in the presence of God. He walked amongst the fiery stones [E 28:14].  He was covered in precious stones.  We know all precious stones are formed in fire & the temple in the New Jerusalem is made from precious stones so Lucifer may have played a part in building that but what strikes me, & what I want you to note, is that he was continually in God’s presence until sin was found in him & he was cast out of heaven. Until that moment he had abided constantly in the presence of God.

And so you find him in the garden & I would suggest to you that his over~riding emotion on seeing Adam & Eve was one of jealousy.  They had what he had lost!  They enjoyed God’s presence free from guilt, free from fear, free from shame, untarnished by pride. They were His image bearers & not only beheld His glory but reflected His glory. Jealousy seeks to destroy what it cannot have itself.

When they sinned shame, guilt & fear were the immediate response.  They tried to cover themselves to compensate for the glory they had lost.  They sought to hide from God ashamed that their nakedness had been revealed & they were afraid for the very first time in their lives. And guess what?  Satan wanted them to stay there!  It would have been even better if he could have gotten them to eat from the tree of life as well as from the tree of knowledge because then Adam & Eve & every soul since would have been separated from God forever, just as Satan is, destined to be unable to die, never again able to enjoy the presence of God.

Praise the Lord!  He knows the End from the Beginning & had already prepared a way back to him in Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

I don’t think you’ve got it yet.  Through the shed blood of Christ & the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can enjoy the manifest presence of God!  Hallelujah!

If we are spirit filled, born again Christians we have the Holy Spirit present within us.  That in itself is an amazing & wondrous thing. His primary Job is to point us to Christ & Jesus says if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father.  Jesus is the embodiment of all God’s Glory.

You want to see God’s Glory?  You want to see God’s presence manifest in this place?  You want to see God move powerfully on these islands?  It is very simple. Nope, I’m not going to tell you to keep His commands.  That’s been tried already & we know only one person ever managed it: Jesus.  No, we must learn to love God.  We must learn how to love Him more; more than our own flesh & blood; more than our parents, more than our spouses, more than our children. We must learn how to put God first in everything we think & say & do.
Now I have thought & studied on how one goes about loving God for years.  God is Spirit.  We can’t see him, touch him, or even, mostly, hear Him ~ not in the way we do other human beings.  Again & again we see loving God tied to keeping His commandments but we know we can’t keep His commandments so does that mean we don’t love God?  When Loving God is the very first commandment.
I’m not saying I have this down pat ~ far from it ~ but I do believe God has given me some revelation on the subject.
I’m going to start with the 2nd thing from Exodus 33:8~11.
Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in the entrances of their own tents. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside. As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents. 11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
Firstly there was a time of meeting.  For us that is our Sunday worship. The people were attentive; they watched.  They were expectant.  When you come to church are you watchful & expectant? Thirdly, they were reverent.  They bowed down & worshiped.  Self~explanatory. Thirdly, Joshua tarried. Isn’t that interesting? He lingered.  Scripture doesn’t say why but I imagine there was a residue from God’s presence & Joshua soaked in that. Smart man.  This was who God raised up to replace Moses as the leader of God’s people.

God has always designated special meeting times. If you meet with Him on Sunday mornings then you want to be here eager, reverent & expectant because God has an appointment with you. He is expecting to meet with you in the worship; in the prayer; in the preaching. Are you eager to be in & out because you have other things planned: places to go, people to see, things to do? Or do you tarry, enjoying His presence? Satan will do everything possible to dissuade you, distract you, undermine you because he knows, who better, that praise & worship & reverent expectancy attract the presence of God like nothing else.

However it was a word study that gave me the greatest insight into loving God.  The word was NOT love.  It was, of all things, meditate. I need to point out here that scriptually this NEVER means emptying one's mind! 

The Hebrew is hagah. What it means is: to moan, growl, utter, speak, mutter, muse. Joshua 1:8 for example says you shall meditate day & night [on the scriptures].

 This is how it works:  Whatever we attempt in & of ourselves is doomed to failure. If we attempt to keep God’s commandments in the flesh we fall into legalism or a religious spirit.  If we walk in grace only in our flesh we end up living in lawlessness.  However the Word is living.  It is the very embodiment of Christ Himself.  When we put the word into ourselves we put on the mind of Christ. The more word, the more of Christ, the more of Christ the more the Holy Spirit can change us from the inside out!  It is sharp enough to separate our soul from our Spirit, allowing us to get free of our minds & emotions & operate in the Holy Spirit.  It exposes our innermost thoughts & desires to the close scrutiny of God so that the Holy Spirit can correct & direct.  And what happens is we begin to love God more & more! Just as Christ loves the Father! We don’t have to do anything else.  God Himself effects the changes & positions our hearts to love Him.

And the funny thing is we were made to enjoy God & live in His presence.  God delights in meeting with us.  When we do the necessary groundwork He will build on that foundation so I encourage you to build a strong foundation, one with deep roots; to learn how to tarry in His presence.  I can promise you He will meet us there & we will never be the same.

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