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Encountering God // How do I walk with God // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2023 10:12 am

Encountering God // How do I walk with God // Pastor Josh Evans

Union Grove Baptist Church / Pastor Josh Evans

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March 15, 2023 10:12 am

In week #2 of the series "Encountering God", Pastor Josh looks at Psalm 15 and how we must prepare ourselves to come into the presence of God.

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Amen.

Amen. Great music here today. If you have your Bible, go to Psalm chapter number 15.

Psalm chapter number 15. And I tell you, some of these songs that we sing, I get pretty excited down on the front row about them. And I want you to understand, you know, I come from a church with the church I grew up in. You just kind of, you didn't have to sing well, you just belted it out.

How many of you know those kinds of churches? You know what I'm talking about? It's the kind that like, hey, you don't have to sound good if you want to sing in the choir. You just get up there and sing as loud as you can. And that's all that people want to hear.

And so that's kind of what I'm used to. And so I just kind of, I'm probably the loudest one in the room. I don't know how many people can hear me down front, but I'm belting these songs out. And I tell you, I just really believe that if you mean what you're singing about, there's going to be a song in your soul.

And I tell you, it's like sometimes I find myself just singing these things at all times of the day. And I think that's how it is. I think that's a little bit of glimpse of what heaven's going to be like. And so if you don't like music or you don't think music is important in church, you're not going to enjoy heaven a whole lot.

All right. And so it's going to be a time where we are around the throne of God and lifting our praises forevermore to Him. And I'm so excited about that. Psalm chapter number 15, Psalm chapter number 15. And we are continuing a series that we started last week entitled Encountering God. Encountering God, it's a study that we're working through some of the Psalms. We're not going to look at every single one of them, but we're going to look at several of them over the next several weeks. And we're going to talk about what it means to encounter God. We are going to take a little bit of a break in this series here in a couple of weeks to talk about vision like I mentioned it earlier, and then we'll kind of pick back up. But I don't know about you, but I love reading through the book of Psalms.

They're encouraging. In fact, I started several months ago a devotional book that walks us through all of the Psalms. And that's kind of what God used to tell me, hey, let's do a series on the book of Psalms because he has a lot to teach me about it.

And that's what we are going to work through over these next several weeks. But the book of Psalms is really about this idea of encountering God. The entire book is a book of songs that were written to be praises to our God. You know in the New Testament it says we should sing Psalms as well as hymns and spiritual songs. These are really written with the idea of singing them as praises to God. Many theologians would say this, that they believe that the Psalms should be used in every Christian's daily approach to God. So they are ordained way to learn our devotion to Him. It's insight into how we encounter God and how we come into a relationship with Him, how we approach His presence and we learn what He is like.

Many of the Psalms that we're going to look at over this series speak directly to some of the most practical questions that we face in the Christian life. Last week we looked at the question, how do we be happy? How can we remain happy?

In fact life is so unhappy, how do you remain stable and be happy no matter what? And today, the question that I want to look at today is how do we daily walk with God? How do we daily walk with God? Psalm 15 really encompasses this. And I don't know if you ever wonder this, how do we need to, this question, how do we walk with God? It carries on the idea and it begs further question and further follow up about this, how do we even approach God?

How do we approach Him? When I was speaking I did a series here at Union Grove, it's been I guess over a year ago now, but God did something in me that really taught me something as I was teaching that has really changed the way that I approach the Word of God, how I approach any time that I'm trying to get into the presence of God through my personal quiet time, through church, through any of this stuff, prayer, whatever. And it's this, is that when Jesus in the New Testament was speaking and He's using parables and things like that, He gives this parable, the sower. And here's the thing, as the sower is spreading seed, you know the story, is the seed falls upon all this different ground. Some of it was you know the wayside, the rocky ground, the thorny ground, and then He said but some fell upon good ground. And here's what Jesus taught me in that moment is He taught me this is that as I was spending time studying for that, the seed is not the problem. It is the heart in which the seed is falling on that can be the problem. If you've ever approached church and you're like man, that person across the aisle, they really seem like they are in the presence of God or you're walking out to church and somebody tells you something about what God did in their heart in the message or through the worship or at the altar or whatever.

And you walk out and you're thinking man, I didn't get anything out of that today. You say why is that? Oh man, it's got to be the pastor. He's just not a good communicator.

He's not a good preacher. Or it's got to be those singers. Man, they don't sing the songs I want them to sing. Or it's got to be, you know, they don't sing good enough. I can't even enjoy it.

Right? And we have all of these excuses, but perhaps it's the ground upon which the seed is falling on and that's your heart and maybe your heart isn't being prepared for the preaching of the word or for receiving that. You see, all of these questions and these ideas are found into this idea. How do we walk with God? How do we stay in the presence of God? How do we worship Him?

Or how about this? How do we approach Him? How do we approach His throne? When we go into the presence of God, how do we come into that?

How do we walk with God? We asked this question in verse one of Psalm 15 and we're going to look at the five verses here today, but he asked this question in verse one that kind of blows my mind. David is writing and he said this in verse one, Lord, that is Jehovah Yahweh, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

So he's really asking this question. He's saying, Lord, Jehovah, who shall abide or live in the presence of God? Who shall daily walk in the presence of God? Who should be in the presence of God? Now here's what's interesting and I'm going to kind of walk you through this just a little bit because verse one I think is really helpful for you to understand the context of why David is asking such a question.

It's a question that you and I might ask and we might get a little bit of a different response and I want you to see that today because the context in which he is writing is a little bit different. Psalms 15 is not talking about how to be saved or to gain access to Him. It is important as we look at this Psalm that it is not talking about how you can be saved. The Psalm is actually talking about Christians and those who have trusted in God how we are ought to live and act when we come into the presence of God.

It's a Psalm about how we as Christians, followers of Jesus, should approach the presence of God. Now without getting too deep into this, I really want to propose to you just this idea that I think we as a culture, especially in our churches today, Christians in general, we have gotten extremely casual about the presence of God. We have gotten so casual in how we approach the throne of God, how we approach Him, how we recognize Him, how we talk to Him. We've gotten so casual in how we approach Him. Here in Psalm 15, David is really telling us that it's not a casual thing to approach the throne of God at all.

In fact, it's the very opposite. He's going to challenge us that this Psalm is not about gaining access to Him. We have access to Him. This is about living in the presence of God. The Psalm here, Psalm 15, it was written when David was carrying the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. You can read about that in 2 Samuel 6. Remember, without going into it too deep, in 1 Samuel, the Israelites were struggling with the Philistines, their enemy, their arch rival, and they were struggling with them, and they carried the Ark of the Covenant into battle with them.

God didn't want them to. Well, Philistines, they captured Israel, and then they took the Ark from them. The Ark signified the presence of God. In 2 Samuel 6, David, he recognizes we've got to get the Ark, it signified the presence of God. We have to get the presence of God back into the camp of Israel. So in 2 Samuel 6, he marches down with his army, and they take the presence of God back.

Here's what I want you to understand about that. The presence of God is important to your life. In fact, we are nothing without the presence of God.

You need the presence of God. And so in the Old Testament, the Ark was a picture of the presence of God. He asked this question, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Now, I don't want to get too deep into some of this because some of you might not be interested, but I'll tell you, you need to at some time read the book of Leviticus and go deep into the tabernacle and why that is significant for your life, and why it's significant for my life. And so David is asking this question, who shall abide in thy tabernacle without going too deep into this? I want you to understand that the tabernacle, it really had these three different places in it.

It had what they called the outer court. It had the outer court, and that's where people could get help, and the priests would mingle, and they would come to them, and the Israelites could access that area. But then there was another layer that only the priests could go that was called the holy place. You can read about that in the book of Leviticus. Now, I don't know how many of you are going to leave here and say, I'm going to do what pastor said. I'm going to start reading in the book of Leviticus. Leviticus is a very difficult book. I remember as a teenager, I would go to church.

I grew up in church my entire life, and preachers would get up, and they would harp and yell, and they'd be like, hey, you need to be in your Bible every single day. Well, I didn't know what that, I was just like, okay, I'll do it. So I'd make a decision, I'd go home, and I'd start in Genesis 1. And I'd be like, wow, Genesis is an interesting book. There's a lot of wild stuff that happened in the early days, okay? And it was intriguing.

I loved it. Get into Exodus, I was like, man, this is really good. Leviticus, by March, I'm done with my Bible reading plan every single year. Because Leviticus is a very difficult book for us to understand.

I understand that today. But in the tabernacle, you can read Leviticus 16, Leviticus 23, give all these specific instructions about the tabernacle and about the details of the tabernacle. But there were these three layers, the outer court, then you have the holy place, then you have this other layer called the holy of holies. Now here's what's significant about the holy of holies. You could only access the holy of holies once a year, okay? And the only person that could access the holy of holies was the high priest. The high priest, he was the only one that could go into the holy of holies. You say, what was significant about the holy of holies? Here's what was in the holy of holies, the Ark of the Covenant. You see, the holy of holies, this sacred chamber that could only be accessed once a year was so important to the people because that is where the presence of God rested. That's where the presence of God was stronger than ever before.

And you say, okay, they could go once a year. Why is this significant for us and why is David essentially asking this question, who shall abide or who shall live in thy tabernacle, in the presence of God? The reason that this is significant is the only day that the high priest could go into the holy of holies was a day called the day of atonement. The day of atonement. How many of you have ever heard that phrase before?

Okay, make sure you're tracking with me. If you've never heard it before, I encourage you to look at it. I'll give you kind of a brief overview of what that day signified. The day of atonement was once a year where the high priest would go into the holy of holies, the sacred place, and he would actually sacrifice for the sins of all people, of the entire nation of Israel. He would go in there and there would be a special ritual for how they went about it. Now, I want you to understand how the high priest had to approach the throne of God, how he had to approach the ark of the covenant.

Remember the ark is the presence of God. You say, why do we have to have all these rituals and what Psalms 15 is about, and we're going to jump into this, why do we have to approach a god a certain way? It's throughout the entire Old Testament, there's a certain way that we should approach God Almighty.

It was true in the Old Testament and it's true in the New Testament. So the holy of holies once a year could be accessed by the high priest. The high priest had to separate himself about a week before he went in.

Say, why is that? So that he could not be around anything that was filthy or sinful before he went into the presence of God. There was a whole process where he had to bathe. Leviticus 16 talks about this, he had to bathe real good and he had to put on perfect white linens before going into the presence of God.

And when he went in there, they had to tie like a rope to him in case he died in there, they would be able to pull him out because he was the only one that could go in there. You say, what in the world did the high priest do when he got into the holy of holies? He went into the holy of holies and he would sacrifice, he would sacrifice two goats. Say, what were they?

Bullocks. And he would sacrifice both, and the first one was actually a sacrifice, a blood sacrifice, and that would atone for the sins of all of us, or all of Israel. And he would do that. But then, here's what's interesting, there was another goat that would come in, and here's what that was called. The scapegoat.

The scapegoat. And this other goat would come in and that would carry on all of the sins as well. The first one was to atone and pay for the sins of the children of Israel. The second one was actually to be placed, all of their sin, all of their wrongdoing, and here's what they would do. They would take that goat, it would live, and they would take it way out into the wilderness and they would let it loose. And that goat, the scapegoat, would actually leave carrying all of the sins of the children of Israel upon the scapegoat as it wandered around in the wilderness.

That's exactly what would happen. Once a day, all of that would take place called the Day of Atonement. Well, David is writing, knowing all of that, and he says, who can abide in the tabernacle? Here's why it's significant for you and me, and then we'll get to our text.

Sorry, this fascinates me, and so just, I hope you're following me. Here's why that's significant to us. You know what kind of separated the Holy of Holies from everything else? A veil. There was a curtain that separated it, and the only person that could go on the other side of that curtain was the high priest. Was the high priest. Well, if you know your New Testament, you would know that Jesus, when he came to this earth and he stood on a cross and he took the sins for you and for me and said it is finished when he died and breathed his last breath.

You know what happened? The veil in that tabernacle was tore into. You say, what does that mean for you and me? It means that access into the presence of God is not just the high priest.

You want to know why? Because as Jesus coming to this earth and dying for us, he became our high priest to where now through Jesus, the very son of God, you and I have access into the presence of God. That's why it's significant for you to understand what David is talking about here. He says, who can go into the tabernacle? I want you to understand today, the answer for you, who can get into the presence of God? It's anyone who trusts in Jesus as their savior.

It's any of us. And so if you know, Jesus said, I'm born again. I trusted Jesus as my savior.

Guess what? You have full access into the, into the presence of God. You do not have to go to a high priest, praise God for that. He became our high priest for us to give us access into the very presence of God.

Think about it. The creator of all things, the God who came to this earth in the form of a man who told people that were dead to rise and guess what? The dead listened and they rose. People who couldn't see, he would tell them, Hey, you can see, and their eyes would open. The very same God you and I have access to.

So David says this, who shall abide? Who can be in the presence of God? Because we know because of Jesus that all of us have access to him. He can't be talking here for us.

The application cannot be about salvation. We all have access through Jesus. This is about how we should approach him, how you should go before him.

I referenced this earlier. We've become so casual in how we approach God. When I was youth pastor, I heard somebody say this. This always kind of stuck with me because I think this kind of signifies or really personifies how we approach God in our culture today. Somebody said, I can go to God anytime because, I quote, Jesus is my homeboy.

Listen, I'll tell you this. We have become as a culture very casual in how we approach our father. We look to him. Yes, he is our friend and I'm grateful for that.

He's a friend that sticketh closer than a brother and I'm grateful for that. But I think we as a culture have come to where we take him so lightly and we do not understand who we are really dealing with. And that's what David's asking. He's saying, Jehovah, God, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?

And in the next few verses he gives us who can abide in the presence of God. How should we approach the throne of God? How should you approach his presence in your daily time with God? How should you approach church when the preaching of the word of God is here and the presence of God fills this place? How should all of us come into his presence?

He mentions two things. Well, first I want you to see this, the nature of walking with God. Those who walk with God, those who spend time with him, those who spend time in his presence, what does that look like? Who shall abide in his presence? He says the first thing, those who live a blameless life.

Those who live a blameless life. Look at what he says in verse 2. He says, he that walketh uprightly.

The word or the phrase walk uprightly, it means that you walk or live in a way that is pleasing to God. So what he's saying essentially is we already have access to the throne of God. We can go to him. Jesus made a way for all of us through Jesus Christ, through trusting in him, we can come into the presence of God.

So we know that. But if we're going to live in his presence and we're going to daily walk with him, what does it look like? He says in order for you to daily walk with God, in order for you to daily spend time in the presence of God, here's what it's going to require of us. It's going to require that we live a blameless life. That we live, you say what does that mean?

What's a term that we use more today? That we live a life of integrity. That we live a life of character.

This phrase walk uprightly, it just means that we walk in a way that is pleasing to God. You know what's really sad about the world that we live in? It is really sad that we as a culture are more shocked by an act of integrity than we are a lack of integrity. Would you agree with that? You watch your TV, whether it be ESPN or whether it be a political network, whatever, here's all I'll tell you. It is just common for us to see people all over our screen today that are proving that they have absolutely no character or integrity in their life. That they look one way on the outside and look a completely different way when they are in their private life.

Now it's easy for us to get excited and yell amen and stuff like that about ESPN and about political networks and things like that. But here's what's real sad about the whole thing is that you don't have to follow too many churches around our world to find that lack of integrity is true in a lot of places like this in our world too. I follow a ton of pastors and I can't believe the amount of people that I see each and every month, pastors who get up and preach and preach and preach and have large churches, many of them, and they do not have any integrity in their life or character.

You see, it's a sad world that we live in when we are so surprised by somebody who does have character more than somebody who lacks it. You see, lack of integrity is becoming all too common in our culture today. It's becoming all too common and what David is saying is this, he's saying this, Lord, it doesn't mean you're perfect by the way, David wasn't perfect, but it means, Lord, if I am going to daily walk with you and I am going to daily live in the tabernacle, the presence of God, I'm going to have to live a blameless life. In other words, there can't be sin in your life as you approach the presence of God.

When was the last time you went into the presence of God and the first thing you did was you said, God, I want you to cleanse me of all sin so that I can come into the presence of the holy, righteous, just God. The second thing that we see here is that you have to love truth. He says, he that walketh uprightly and worketh righteousness, that's integrity, and speaketh the truth in his heart.

The scripture is true and that's the best definition for what truth is, but what he's saying is this, if you want to walk with God daily and live in the presence of God, you have to love truth. You have to stand for truth. You have to want truth. You have to study truth. We live in a culture as well that we're so quick to just believe anything we see online, right?

I could say anything I wanted to to you offline about sports, about anything, and then it's just like many of you might believe it, no matter how far-fetched it is. I see stuff on social media all the time and I'll be like, that's crazy. I can't believe that. I'm going to look it up.

This person shared it. It has to be true. And then when I look it up, I'm like, man, that's not true at all. You can post anything you want on Facebook and there's going to be some people who are going to believe it.

I mean, it's just wild. We live in a world where we've honestly lost sight of what is true, that we've lost sight of what is true. And the Bible says that he is true. The word is true.

You want to share something that's true that you can take to the bank, share the word of God with people. You got to love truth. Then he goes on verse three, you got to love people. He that back biteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor. So, so he's talking about our relationships with, with other people. He references this phrase backbiting and here's what this simply means.

We know what it is. It's gossip. It's really trying to make, if you're in a conversation with somebody about somebody that's not there and your goal in the conversation is to make the other person think less of the person not there. That is what backbiting is. If we took backbiting out of the way we talk to people, some of us would have nothing to say. Some of us would just sit there and like a bump on a log with absolutely nothing to say. Because a lot of times in our relationships, even in churches, when we get together, all we can do is talk about this person and talk about this person and talk about this teacher and talk about that person and how they raise their kids. I can't believe that kid. Why have you seen their parents?

Right? And we go on and next thing you know, you've had a fun evening, a cookout at your house and all you've done is talk about every single other person that is not there. The presence of God and those things like backbiting do not go together. That's why the Old Testament was so important about all the rituals and for you to go into the Holy of Holies because they revered the presence of God so seriously that they were not going to go into his presence with any sin, with anything in their life. They're going to get it all straightened out before they go into his presence because they're approaching the God of the universe.

But yeah, we just casually think we can just experience it all the time. Listen, we have to get ourselves right in order to access his presence, in order to live in his presence, in order to walk with God each and every day. These things have to be dealt with. He mentions in verse 4, we have to honor righteousness in whose eyes a vile person is content but he honoreth them that fear the Lord. He that swears to his own hurt and changeth not. He talks about honoring righteousness. In other words, he says that he honoreth them that fear the Lord, that fear the Lord. In other words, there is a respect. Those that walk with God each and every day have a respect and honor for those that walk with the Lord. Isn't that interesting? In other words, the people that walk with the Lord are actually the heroes that they have in life.

That's strong. And he says the ones that fear the Lord, the scripture talks a lot about what that means. And I think a lot of times we, and I'll be the first to admit, I don't know if I fully understand what the fear the Lord fully means, but I'll tell you, I think we have a very dim glimpse of what that actually is.

It is a reverence that I don't think you and I totally can understand until we see him. John, the apostle, wrote Revelation 1, and you know what he said in verse 17, I believe? He said, if I'm remembering, he's talking about when he met the Lord and when he saw him.

You know what he did? He fell as dead when he came face to face with the Father. Think about that. The apostle, John, he saw him and his immediate response is I am going to fall and I might as well die because I'm in the presence of God. That's much different than the way we approach God. You see, the fear of the Lord here, it's something that we honor. It's something that we have reverence for the Father.

I don't think that we fully recognize who we are addressing. Remember Jesus when he was doing his miracles? Remember when he calmed the sea and his disciples were there and they really saw him for what he was and who he was and what was their first response? What manner of man is this?

What manner of man is this? When was the last time that you had that response to the presence of God? Instead, the way we treat his presence is we go to his presence, hey God, I need you to do this for me. I need you to do that for me. God, I need you to provide here. I need you to answer this question.

I need you to do this, heal this person, God. Hey, give me an A on the test. God, I know I didn't study, but I know you can do it. You're all powerful. I read about you in your word.

You can do it. And we list out all of these things, right? And a lot of times it's becoming this thing, God, give me, give me, give me, give me. And I think we've lost sight of who we're approaching in the first place. We've lost sight of whose presence we are actually in. And here in scripture, when they approached the presence of God and they looked into the presence of God and they saw the presence of God and they saw him in front of him, they had a much different response than a lot of us have. They didn't just say, oh, there you are, God. John didn't see him in Revelation 1 and say, oh, there you are. I've been looking for you, God.

I got this list of things I need you to do. No, when he saw me, fell down and said, you might as well kill me because I'm in the presence of the almighty God. You see, it's a fear of the Lord, fear of God. It doesn't mean we're afraid of him like you and I define fear, but it means that there is a reverence to him that when we see him and we get into his presence, sometimes all we can do is just fall before him.

Recognizing that the only way for us to go when we're in the presence of God is down so that it elevates him to where he properly needs to be in your life. You see here, David is saying, hey, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? It's people that live with integrity. It's people that love truth. Those are the ones who walk with God. It's the people that are the ones that love people and those who honor righteousness. Those who honor righteousness and enjoy the fear of God. Then he says the last thing in verse 5, he says, also he that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. So once again, he's talking about a relationship with people and he references money. He says, remember, question, who shall abide in thy tabernacle?

He's going down this list. These are the ones who can walk with God daily and have fellowship with God. And he mentions all of these different things. And then he says in verse 5, he that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He talks about our money.

You say, what's the last thing here about the nature of those that walk with God? It's this, it's those who are generous and do good with their money. He references how we spend our money. You say, why would he use money here? It's because honestly, money is really at the root of our heart. Remember in the New Testament, a lot of times treasure and heart are used in the same verses.

You say, why is that? Many times is we put other treasures, money and different material possessions on our heart. And Jesus is saying we should put him on our heart. And so he says here that those who are generous and do good with their money, he condemns those who use their money here for their own gain and do unlawful things to try and make more money. In other words, he's talking about greed. You see here, David, he condemns greed and he elevates generosity. Those who are willing to do good with their money, those who are willing to be generous, those who walk with God are not the ones that are going to have to be begged to be generous with their money in other words.

That's what he said. Those who abide in the tabernacle, those who abide in the presence of God, those who walk in fellowship with God, they're going to be generous because when you see God for who he is and you see him as truth and you see how he's treated people and you see how he's given his whole life for you, the only natural response for us when we come into the presence of God is for us to see him for who he is and then go and do as he did. You say is it about doing?

No, in fact, you can't do it. But the Holy Spirit of God that now resides in your life, he's the one who empowers you to go out and act like Jesus to the world that we come in contact with. That's what David is saying here. Those are the people that should abide in the tabernacle and walk in the presence of God. That's the nature of walking with God. I want you to see real quick as we close the stability though of walking with God. We see the nature of what it means to walk with him and how we should approach him and how we should live as a result of the presence of God.

But now we see, what does that do for you? We see the stability of walking with God. At the end of verse 5, he makes this statement that is so good. He says, he that doeth these things, he that doeth these things, shall never be moved. Shall never be moved. In other words, if you live a life of worship and you live a life in the presence of God and you spend time in his tabernacle with him, you're going to have a stable life.

It's not going to be up and down, up and down, up. It's going to provide a stability in your life. When I think of stability in the Christian life, I think about somebody who's close to me and it's my uncle. My uncle is somebody that I've always admired.

I love my uncle and it's my dad's brother. As I was growing up, my uncle, he actually was, he's a pastor, still is today, and he was a pastor in South Carolina. He was a pastor in South Carolina, so we would visit his church every now and then and go. It wasn't a big church. By the way, I don't think it has to be a big church. Some of the biggest heroes that we should have in the church world are the ones who show up each and every day and pastor some of these small churches in the world. I think sometimes we think the only healthy churches are the massive, massive churches. There's a lot of people that I know who show up each and every week and they pastor 70 people.

They're just faithful and they're doing exactly what God's doing. That was my uncle. He pastored this small church. He's pastoring this church and just doing well. Then God leads him to Michigan, which is really a lot further from family. He goes to Michigan and he's up there pastoring. You don't just stumble upon Michigan. If we go to Michigan, we're seeing him. We're never going to just run and accidentally say, oh, man, I'm an hour away. Coincidence?

Let's see you. South Carolina, a lot of times that would happen over the years. He goes to Michigan, takes his family. Our cousins are up there, the whole deal. It wasn't long after he's there. My aunt got cancer.

His wife has cancer. For me as a young man, I was in grade school. I'm watching this and watching my cousins have to deal with this and go through this. She got really bad really fast. We were watching this. It got so bad that they knew that this was something that she would not be healed from. They had to make a decision like they're in Michigan. God ended up leading them to be a pastor of a church in North Carolina so they could be near family. We were able to watch them go through such a traumatic experience. Here's what's wild.

We would go up and visit. She's clearly sick and bad often. Here my uncle is, just faithful, stable, trusting God, positive.

It blew me away so much to the point that today I look at that and I just can't believe. She ends up in North Carolina. She passed away when I was a junior in high school. My uncle, I have never heard my uncle criticize that time in his life ever. You say, why? He lost his help meet in ministry. He lost so much. He was trying to follow God.

He was doing everything right. Why in the world would something like that happen to him? He never questions it. Anytime you talk to him about it, he always points to God being with him in the darkest moments of his life. And he always points to how God led him and was all the relationship and comfort that he needed in his time of need. When you hear a story like that, and many of you could come up here and share stories that are similar, people that you know.

That's my uncle story. You say, how in the world can these stories be told? How can somebody live a unmovable, stable, firm life through this thing that we call life that is so hard sometimes? The only way to do it is by abiding in the presence of God. It's the only way. The only way that you can have the stable life you're looking for, the only way that you can live firm and stand strong, no matter what life looks like, no matter if you experience loss, no matter if you have to go through something that is difficult in your life.

You say, how can we be stable on the other side? The only way is to allow the word of God and allow the presence of God to be your safe place, to be your Holy of Holies, to be the place that you go, the place that you run to. That needs to be the refuge in your life. And when you daily spend time in the presence of God, and you daily spend time in His tabernacle, in His presence, the result of that is stability, regardless of what happens in your life. So I ask you this, are you daily walking in the presence of God? Are you daily in the presence of God? Say, Pastor, I've been taking it so lightly.

I just come to church. That's the only time I'm with God. I want to submit to you that there's something much deeper about a relationship with God. You can experience the presence of God each and every day. You can live in the presence of God. And if you walk in the presence of God and you spend time in the presence of God, your life will look different and you'll have a stability about your life as a result of that, a stability that it does not matter. The winds of life, the waves that are batting against your life does not matter.

You'll have a stability about your life. Why? Because that is the fruit of spending time in His presence. Would you bow your heads with me? I'm going to ask you to stand. If you would, everybody's standing.

Nobody looking around. I really want this to be just you and God. The instruments are going to start playing, but I want this to be just a moment where you can make a decision for God here today. You say, Pastor Josh, I'm in here today and I don't have access to God because I've never trusted in the only way you can have access.

That's through Jesus. You say, Pastor, I don't know Jesus as my savior. If I were to die today, I have no idea if I'm going to spend eternity with Him.

And I'm concerned about that. If that's you in here, would you please slip up your hand? If you don't feel comfortable to do that, if you could just make eye contact with me and I would love to include you in my closing prayer. You say, I don't know Jesus as my savior. I don't have a relationship with Him.

I don't want to be anywhere. I want to be honest before God today. Listen, that's okay. So I'm talking to mostly Christians in this room. How many of you would say, I need more of the presence of God in my life? Be honest.

Hands going up everywhere. That's you. Say, I need that. I want to dwell in the tabernacle.

I want to spend time each and every morning so that my life could look different and so that I could experience the stability that that brings. I'm going to include every one of you. Many hands went up. I'm going to include every single one of you in my prayer. And as I pray, I'm going to ask you to come and make a decision at an altar. Say, do I have to come to an altar?

You don't have to, but I think there's something significant about it. We learned about it. And when we were studying Abraham's life, there's a time when we can come. It's a moment for us. I'm going to pray. And if you raised your hand and said, I want more of the presence of God, I'm going to ask you to come.

Father, we love you. God, I pray that you would give people the courage to make a decision today. Lord, we need to be a church, especially as we move forward. As we approach a day like vision Sunday, God help us if we're trying to look at the future of who we're supposed to be as a ministry here without your presence. God, we need it more than ever before. I pray God that we would live in your presence here today for it's in your name. We pray as God speaks to you, you come, we need the presence of God. You are nothing without it. You are nothing without his presence each and every day.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-26 14:37:00 / 2023-10-26 14:54:12 / 17

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