16th Aug 2015
God Is Closer Than You Think!
By Steve Bones
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I last shared on 10 May 2015, during Andy’s sabbatical (see my notes below), the topic being ‘God seeks relationship with you!).
Interestingly, Andy’s verses for today are as follows:
John 14:21-23 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (NIV)
Jesus said he will show himself to his disciples, and he and the Father will make their home with them, personally!
God still seeks personal relationship with you and I, as I last shared in May. This is a common theme throughout the Bible:
Gen 3:8-9 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" (NIV) THIS WAS JUST AFTER THE FALL!
Num 12:6-8 "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. (NIV)
Is this now possible for us? Consider the temple curtain torn in two when Jesus crucified.
The Gospels – Jesus was amongst us!
Rev 3:19-20 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (NIV)
For some time we have had the verse 2 Chronicles 7:14:
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
I have been thinking about what type of relationship God wants with us, and the cry of Paul’s heart:
Phil 3:10-11 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
What does ‘know’ mean? It is not the same as ‘know about’! I know about David Cameron and the Queen, but I don’t know them. Jesus wants us to know him, personally, hence we are to seek his face, his presence!
What stands in our way?
- Our pride, hence we have to humble ourselves. (fasting and/or on our knees two typical ways per the Bible)
- Fear – but God did not give us a spirit of fear!
- Unbelief – do I believe God wants a close relationship with me?
- Lack of forgiveness – per RT Kendall, the biggest problem in the church today!
- Legalism! Two common traits of legalism:
o We compare ourselves to others i.e. we are better than them
o We do nice things to ‘please’ God, like go to church on Sunday (a ‘special place’ like the OT temple in Jerusalem).
o Why did God send the 10 commandments before He sent Jesus? (See Romans 5:20) We like legalism/justice! Think of children ‘it’s not fair’. Had to prove to us we could not save ourselves before He sent Jesus to save us.
o Difference between justice, mercy and grace re speeding car driver. We need to live by grace!
Is Jesus first in our lives? Heard an interesting breakdown from J John on this topic last week:
- Interests - hobbies
- Relationships – is God above our families, spouse, children?
- Schedule (diary) – time (not just Sundays!)
- Troubles – do we turn to God at such times or keep away from church?
I would like to pray with people who want to know God better – not know more about him – but want the Father and Jesus to be more manifest in our lives as in John 14:23.
It is our call! We have to through off sins and weights (Maurice Thorne), we have to humble ourselves, we have to seek his face, his presence. We have to repent where necessary.
I like some words that are read out after a Kari Jobe song ‘Forever’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huFra1mnIVE):
My God, his grace is remarkable
His mercies are innumerable
Strength is impenetrable
He is honourable
He’s unsearchable yet knowable
Indefinable yet approachable
Indescribable yet personal
He is beyond comprehension
Further than imagination
Constant through generations
King of every nation
That’s my King! Do you know him? Hallelujah!
SUNDAY 10 MAY 2015
GOD SEEKS RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU!
Let me end with a picture from the Bible of how much God wants relationship with us from the beginning of time:
We read that when Jesus was being crucified, and there was darkness over the land, in Luke 23:45 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. (NIV).
What is the significance of the temple to the Holy of Holies being torn in two (from top to bottom per Matthew 27:51)?
Let’s see what Solomon put in the temple curtain - 2 Chron 3:14 He made the curtain of blue, purple and crimson yarn and fine linen, with cherubim worked into it. (NIV)
Why did Solomon make it like this? Earlier, God instructed Moses how to build the tabernacle and this is how he instructed the curtain to the Holy of Holies to be made:
Ex 26:31 "Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman. (NIV)
Why did God want a cherubim worked into the curtain to the holy of holies, where the arc of the covenant was to be stored?
Gen 3:24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (NIV)
So we have ended up back where we started, referred to by both Steve and Dick Chammings - Genesis 3 – God wants relationship with you! He loves you so much he sent his son to die!