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Robert Morris — His Presence


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All right, I want you to turn in your Bibles to Genesis 3, and if you want a second scripture — it's kind of become tradition here to always have at least two Scriptures, and I think that's good. Of course, we have a lot more in the message, but maybe turn to at least two, Genesis 3 and Jonah 1. So, those two Scriptures. We're going to begin a new series called "Living in His Presence". And, I want to explain it to you some. The message this weekend is just simply called, "His Presence".

So, I need to explain some things to you about His presence. There is the omnipresence of God, the inner presence of God, and the manifest presence of God. Now, let me say that again. The omnipresence of God means that God is everywhere. The inner presence of God is when the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, inside of us. Jesus said He's been with you, but He will be in you. And then, the manifest presence of God is when He makes His presence known among us, and I'm going to explain more about that in this message. One Scripture on the omnipresence of God, Psalm 139:7 says, "Where can I go from Your Spirit, or where can I flee from Your presence"?

So, God's everywhere. But, I'm really going to focus in this series on the manifest presence of God, and I'm going to focus on worship and how important worship is to experience the made known, the realized presence of God, and can you live in that presence? And you know, when we're in worship, many times you'll sense the presence of God, right? But can you walk or live with the presence of God every day, every week? And I think you can. And I told you that last summer, a year ago, God really convicted me that I had just gotten in the habit of leaving worship out of my quiet time. I was praying and reading my Bible, but I used to always worship first, then pray and read my Bible. And then you know, you start getting busy, and you know you need to pray and read the Bible.

Those are disciplines of the faith. But I'd really gotten out of the habit of taking time to worship God, and He used this phrase with me, and I told you about this last year. He said, I want you to stop having drive-thru quiet times. And so, this past year has been just a phenomenal year for me of living in the presence of God, and I want you to get in on that. I want to share with you what God's doing in me, all right?

So, let's talk about a few things. Number one, His manifest presence. Let's talk about His manifest presence. God started this whole thing, walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, right? That's the way the whole thing started out. But what did we lose when Adam and Eve fell, and what did Jesus come to restore, and I believe it's His manifest presence. So let me show you, in Genesis 3:8. This is after they ate the fruit. Here's what happens. Genesis 3:8, "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden".

Sin always causes us to try to hide from the presence of God, even in a worship service. If you blew it this last week, Satan will do everything he can to tell you, you shouldn't worship today because that'll mean you're a hypocrite. No, when you blow it is when you really need to enter the presence of God, and you can enter His presence boldly, even when you make a mistake, because of the blood of Jesus. But it says they "hid themselves from the presence of God". Okay, so this can't be talking about the omnipresence of God, because if God's everywhere, which He is, how can you hide from His presence? They were hiding from His manifest, his made known presence.

Let me show you another Scripture. Exodus 33:14-15, "And He", that's God, "said", now He's talking to Moses, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest". Then he", Moses, "said to him, "If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here". Okay, so how could God's presence... how could He say, "My presence will go with you", when God's everywhere? It's because He's not referring to His omnipresence. He's referring to his manifest presence. I'm going to walk with you on a daily basis, like I walked with Adam and Eve. I'll go with you. Moses says if you don't go with us, I don't want to go. That's what we're talking about. We're talking about God's manifest presence.

All right, so let me give you an example to help us understand the manifest presence of God, and the omnipresence, all right? If I said there is a multi-billionaire in the service at every campus, every campus, right now, there is a multi-billionaire in the service. Okay. His presence would be among us. But if he got up and began to give... let's say it this way, began to do what only a multi-billionaire could do. If he began to walk around, at every campus, and give every person a million dollars, he would be manifesting his presence. He'd be making his presence known. Let's wait just a minute to see if a multi-billionaire wants to manifest his presence, all right? I'm just kidding. Do you understand the difference? It's one thing to just have him in the room. It's one thing for him to give you something that other people couldn't give you. Are you following the illustration? Listen, when we come to church and we worship God, or we enter into our quiet time, God wants to manifest His presence. He wants to make His presence known, and He wants to do something for you that you can't do for yourself. That's His manifest presence. All right?

Now, I want to talk to you about points two and three, about entering and leaving the presence of God, and we're going to start with leaving the presence of God. So, point two is leaving His presence. Is it possible to leave the presence of God, since God's omnipresent? Well, it's not possible to leave His omnipresence, but it's possible to leave His manifest presence. Think about Adam and Eve hid from the presence of God. That was Genesis 3. If you're still right there, look at Chapter 4. In Chapter 4, Cain murders Abel. And then, notice what it says, Genesis 4:16. "Then Cain", watch, "went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod". That was a place where they took a lot of naps. I'm sorry. Sometimes I just can't... you know, I just have to say it. All right. "On the east of Eden". But he went out from the presence of God!

How can you go out from the presence of God, if God's everywhere? Well, you can't go out from His omnipresence, but you can go out from His manifest presence. And then, Jonah, if you're over there, Jonah 1:1. "Now the Word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me". But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish", watch this, "from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, he found a ship going to Tarshish, so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord". This is the Bible. He's fleeing from the presence of the Lord. So, he's not fleeing from the omnipresence, he's fleeing from the manifest presence.

So, how do you leave the presence of God? Well, it's real simple. You don't do what He told you to do. He told Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree. They ate from the tree. They left the presence of God. They hid themselves from the presence of God, and then they actually had to leave Eden. He told Cain to deal with his attitude about God accepting Abel's offer and not Cain's. He didn't deal with his attitude. He murders his brother, so he leaves the presence of God. He doesn't do what God told him to do. He told Jonah to go to Nineveh. Jonah didn't do it. He'd left the presence of God.

Now, I want to focus on, even though it's obedience, I want to be careful with that word because a lot of us have a negative connotation of the word obedience. So, I want us to really focus on doing what God says. I want you to think about, we just had a series how the Holy Spirit leads us, in the series. You know, we started the year with the Holy Spirit, really receiving the Holy Spirit. Then we talked about learning to hear His voice.

Now God leads us into a series where part of this is about doing what He says. Now that you've heard Him, what are you going to do? In other words, let's say God spoke to you a year and a half ago, when I did the series, "The Blessed Life". Let's say God spoke to you about tithing, but you're not tithing anymore. Well, are you not living in His presence? You're really not. Now, listen carefully to me... if God spoke to you and you're not doing what He told you to do. What if God spoke to you about ending a relationship that's a bad relationship for you, but you're not doing it? You're leaving the presence of God. Are you all following me? When God tells you to do something and you don't do it, then you begin leaving His presence.

I'm talking about willful disobedience, all right? I'm not talking about making mistakes. We're all humans. We're all humans, we all make mistakes. Like, if Debbie asks me... let's say Debbie said, hey, would you pick something up at the store on your way home, and I forget to pick it up. That's one thing. But, what if I just decide not to pick it up? That's another thing. Do you see what I'm saying? I'll share something with you. Some of you know that I'm seeing Dr. Henry Cloud, professionally, just to help me. He's a psychologist, so I'm a little crazy. So, but he's also a life coach for celebrities and CEOs, and he kind of helps you deal with stuff that you don't know that you're going to have to deal with one day. And so, I've been spending time with him, meeting with him, seeing him, you know. And so, I'll meet with him all day. I'll do an all day time, and then at lunch, Debbie comes and has lunch with us.

So, a few months ago, we were meeting together, and he says, is there anything y'all want to talk about together? And, we had just had a discussion... that's the Greek word for a fight, okay? I know it's stupid, but about closing the kitchen cabinet doors. For some reason, Debbie just does not close the cabinet doors. And for some reason, that really bothers me. Not that I'm any of those words you say, you know, that it bothers people like that. So, we had this discussion about, why can't you just close the cabinet doors, you know? And it turned into a fight, okay? So I said, do you want to talk to Dr. Cloud about that? She said, sure.

So I explained to him that I'll come in and the cabinet doors, you know, are not closed. And he said, and that bothers you, why? I said, we're not talking about me right now. She's crazy, too. Okay? I'm trying to talk about her right now. I said, the problem is that she doesn't like it when I correct her. He said, and you feel the need to correct her, why? This isn't going the way I planned, Dr. Cloud. I thought you would get onto her about this. So we started talking about it, and this is what Debbie said. She said, what bothers me is that you always pick out the one thing that I don't do, and you don't compliment me on the ten things that I do.

This would be a good time to nudge someone in the ribs. But since then, I'm not letting the cabinet doors bother me anymore. Now, I still close them when she's out of the room, because they're supposed to be closed, you know. But I don't do it when she's in the room because, listen: living in her presence is more important to me. And I don't mean that she's going to leave, or she's going to kick me out. I don't mean that. I mean, listen, you know this. If you're married, you know what I'm talking about, or if you have a close friendship or something. You can be in a person's presence, and not in her presence. You can be in the same house and not experiencing the joy of the presence of that person. Are you all hearing me?

Okay, you can come to church, and you can even pray and read your Bible, and not be fully experiencing His presence. I'm just starting with this series. I'm telling you, God wants us to live... He wants us to live in His presence. So, you can leave the presence of the Lord. And here's number three, entering the presence. So we talked about how you leave the presence of the Lord. How do you enter the presence of the Lord? Now, there are many ways you can enter the presence of the Lord, but I'm going to focus on one primarily in this series, and that's worship, because I feel like that's what God wants me to focus on.

So, let me show you a couple of Scriptures. Psalm 95:1-2, "Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving". Psalm 100:1-2, "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing". Now, we're going to talk about in this series that music and singing, and praise and worship, might be more important than you think to entering the presence of the Lord. And you might say, well, I'm not musically inclined. I'm not talking about how inclined you are. We're talking about praising one who's the one worthy of praise. And I'm not a good singer. I know that. I've had too many people share that with me, you know.

I remember one time I was sitting beside a pastor in a church where I was going to preach, and so we're worshipping God together, and then during the time where you're supposed to turn and, you know, greet people, encourage people, he said to me, you remind me of a jailhouse singer. And I thought like, you know, Paul and Silas, you know, singing praises to God in the jail. And so I said, you mean like Paul and Silas? He said, no, you're always behind a few bars, looking for a key. Well, thank you, Brother Jerk. And apparently, my lack of music inclination went to my son, James. And, Josh played the drums growing up, and Elaine can sing, and Debbie can sing. But, James just ain't got it. And I'll tell you a story about James. It's kind of a funny story in our family.

When he went to Shady Grove Christian Academy — which is where our Grand Prairie campus is and that came out of Shady Grove Church — and it's called Stonegate Christian Academy now. But anyway, when he attended there band was a requirement, like when you were in junior high. And so, he was required to be in band, and the band director called Debbie and me in one day, and she said, you know, I've been teaching band for 20 years, and I honestly believe that every child can learn to play an instrument... except James Morris. And he's the only person that this lady has ever kicked out of band. And she said, I tried everything. She said, we don't even have a triangle, you know, in the band, but I went and bought a triangle. And she said, you just can't even believe how — I mean, he's just back there, just banging. And she said, so I think it'd be better if he would, you know, do study hall or something during band.

So, he got kicked out of band. But, a few weeks ago we bought some furniture, and I borrowed his pickup truck to go pick up the furniture. And when I turned the key on, he had worship music playing in his truck. You don't have to be a musician to worship God through musical worship. You don't have to be musically inclined, but I'm telling you, and you know. You know what I'm talking about. You've been in worship services before where you've sensed the presence of God, like He was just all over the place, and you sensed Him more closely than you ever sensed before. I've brought people to the church, some that don't even know Christ, some that are new in their relationship with Christ, or some that are strong believers but they don't attend a church that has this style of worship, and they say things like this. Boy, that is good music.

And I even had a friend of mine that was very new in the Lord, and he would just bring people every week, and here's what he'd say to them. Just wait until the music starts. You're not going to believe how good the music is here. Okay, listen. We're not talking though about talented musicians. We're talking about... what they didn't understand was, he was trying to say to them, and he didn't know how to say it, you're going to feel God when they start singing. You're going to sense God's presence.

That's what I'm talking to you about. I'm talking to you about entering God's presence, but here's the sad thing. I'm just always straight out with you. Some of you only enter His presence once a week, when you come to church. And then you try to make it the whole week without ever entering His presence again, or living in His presence. And here's a Scripture. I love this Scripture. Especially when I've had a bad day, I love this Scripture. "His mercies are new every morning". I mean, when I've had a bad day, I don't want to talk to you. I just want to go to bed so I can wake up and get back in His presence.

So, last year when the Lord spoke this to me... hey, you have left worship, really, out of your quiet time. And I'm a pastor, I should know better. But, I'm also a human. So, I went in and I thought, if I don't do anything else, I'm going to enter the Lord's presence, and I put on some worship music, just right there on my laptop, you know? And then I entered the presence of the Lord, and it was powerful. And that day, everything went right. I mean, my timing was perfect. Everywhere I went, everywhere I pulled up, every phone call I made, every word out of my mouth, you know, encouraging someone or answering a question. I mean, it was like the perfect day, and the presence of God was with me all day, but that's not the end of the story.

The next day, I went in. Man, I love living in Your presence. I'm going to enter Your presence. I entered the presence of the Lord, and that day, everything went wrong. I missed my timing on everything, you know? It's kind of like the garage sale, the thing you wanted... oh, someone just bought that. You know, that collector's item, that baseball that's worth a million dollars? We sold it for $2. You know, something that's like that. Everything goes wrong. Everything went wrong the next day. I said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing. Listen to me, though. But the peace and the joy of the Lord was with me just as strong that day. And then I thought, you know, you're going to have good days and you're going to have bad days, but I'd rather have them both with Jesus. I'd rather be in His presence all day, no matter what the day brings. Through all of the highs and lows of life, I'd rather walk with Jesus and live in His presence.
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