Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Judge Yourself So God Doesn’t Have To

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Judge Yourself So God Doesn’t Have To

God hates sin. Yes, He loves the sinner, but He hates sin. God takes sin very serious because He knows it will separate you from His presence. God hates wickedness and lawlessness.

Psalms 45:7 NKJV
“ You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

Hebrews 1:8-9 NKJV
“ But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

It is sad to say, but sin is just as prevalent in many churches as it is in the world.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Believers are to be different than the world. God has called believers to be in the world and not of the world, however too many are becoming just like the world. Instead of conforming to the Word of God they are allowing the world around them, and their flesh to conform them into the image of the world. Part of that conforming includes accepting sin – sins are often renamed so they don’t seem so bad.

Within the church today many…
* people fail to judge sin – in their own lives and within the church.

* believers are often accused of judging others or perceived as intolerant when they speak out against sin.

* people try to cover over secret sins.

* do not see sin as something that will cause a person to spend eternity in the lake of fire. They fail to take sin seriously.

* false teachers are preaching that God is love and He would not send anyone to hell, therefore there is no need to worry about sin. God is a God of love and a God of judgment to those who reject His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

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Dear Father,
Thank-you for Your everlasting love for me and for the bride of Christ. Nothing can separate us from Your love, but we know that sin can separate us from Your presence. Even in our sin You love us and try to draw us back to You. By the power of the Holy Spirit, help us to take sin very serious – may we view it as You do. You are a God of righteousness – cause us to be people of righteousness. Fill us with Your power to put away every form of wickedness and lawlessness. Even though we are in the world, may we truly be different than the world. Help us to have a Biblical view of sin, not the world’s view. Each day may we conform more and more to Your Word. As the bride of Christ may we never fail to judge our own sin or try to cover up secret sins.
In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Preparation

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Preparation

There are 232 times that the word prepare is mentioned in the Bible (prepare to give an offering, prepare for battle, prepare to take possession, prepare your hearts, to prepare to meet with God….). The dictionary describes preparation as the action or process of making something ready for use or service or of getting ready for some occasion, test, or duty.

Everyone is praying for something. Everyone wants revival. We know that in God’s presence miracles happen, needs are met, chains are broken and restoration takes place. Church as usual is not going to help or meet the needs of those who are dying spiritually, bound by addictions, physically sick, emotionally hurting, with feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, rejection, financially desperate, or needing God’s direction.

We must have God’s manifest presence. But are we (not the pastor, but everyone that calls them self a believer) preparing for God’s presence? Are we preparing a place for God to dwell, not visit, but dwell. We must be a carrier of God’s presence, our homes must be a dwelling place for the presence of God and so must the churches.

Examples Of Preparing A Place For God’s Presence From The Bible
1. Shunammite Woman

2 Kings 4:8-10 NKJV
“Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, ‘Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ And it happened one day that he came there, and he turned in to the upper room and lay down there.”

Because she had prepared a place for the presence of God, when trouble came she was able to stand. She knew the promise that she was given and when circumstance said different she was able to say, “All Is Well”.

The woman was able to carry her dead son to Elijah’s room – to the dwelling place of God’s presence. When we prepare a place for God’s presence we will be able to carry our dead promises, dead dreams, dead relations and everything the enemy has tried to kill in our lives there for God to breath life into them.

2. Esther

Esther 5:1-3 NKJV
“Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, across from the king’s house, while the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, facing the entrance of the house. So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.
And the king said to her, “What do you wish, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given to you—up to half the kingdom!”

Esther had already established an intimate relationship with the king before the desperation arose. Some people wait till a crises arises then they begin to draw close to God. Like Esther, if we already have an intimate relationship with the King before trouble arises we will have instant, direct access to the King. Our relationship with the King will change circumstances, if we draw close to Him, instead of away from Him.

In order to go into the presence of the king, Esther was willing to risk everything. Esther prepared herself to go in before the king by putting on the things that she knew he liked (her royal robes) and the perfume that she knew would get his attention. Prior to becoming queen, Esther had spent a whole year in beauty treatments and in all likelihood the king knew her smell from all others. Esther stood in the outer court and waited until she had His undivided attention and then she was able to go into the throne room.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In the above verses the word KNEW refers to an intimate relationship with Jesus, not a general knowledge of or a casual relationship with. What are you doing to establish an intimate relationship with the King of Kings?

We too, must prepare to go into the King’s presence. We must put on our royal robes (the robe of righteousness) and the fragrance of worship.

John 4:23-24 NKJV
“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The dictionary describes spirit as the life force of person or the vital force that characterizes a human being as being alive. It also describes it as enthusiasm and full of energy. Truth is described as honesty, sincerity and loyalty. If a person wants to be a true worshipper their entire life must reflect their love, reverence and respect for God. Your life (words, thoughts, actions) must show what you believe about God.

God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is not seeking people to worship Him with their mouths or even with their hands. Worship is a matter of the heart.

Like Esther…
…. we too must prepare to go into the King’s presence. We must put on our royal robes (the robe of righteousness) and the fragrance of worship.
… once the aroma of our worship reaches the King we have His attention and may go into the throne room.
… we must capture God’s attention. When we capture His attention He will ask us what we need or desire.
… our relationship with the King can effect others.

3. The Parable Of The Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1- 13 NKJV

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

 

In the parable of the ten virgins we see the importance of being ready for Christ’s return as well as the importance of preparation. All ten were waiting for the bridegroom to return. When they heard the cry, “The bridegroom cometh,” they were to go out to meet him. Since it would be dark, they were to use the light from their lamps to find their way to the bridegroom. After waiting for a period of time they finally heard the cry that their hearts longed for. They arose to go out to meet him, but five of them had not prepared ahead of time for this moment. As a result they could not go out with the other five (those who had prepared) and ultimately they were shut out of the bridegrooms presence.

 

4. The Man Invited To The Wedding Feast

Matthew 22:1-13 NKJV

“And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

The man failed to prepare himself for the wedding feast – He had ignored the obligation that was expected of him. He was obligated, by accepting the invitation, to wear clean, spotless clothes. In many cases a wedding garment was provided for each guest, but it was up to them to put it on and keep it clean. It would have been insult to show up without a wedding garment or with stains on the wedding garment.

The king, when he saw the man, instructed his servants to cast the man out. The man’s failure to take preparations seriously cost him everything.

 

5. The Tabernacle In The Wilderness
We can look at the pattern that the tabernacle in the wilderness gives us to see that there is a pattern for experiencing the manifest presence of God, the glory of God.

* The Gate
The people had to first come through a gate.

We have to enter through a gate also and that gate is Jesus Christ. Repentance only comes through Jesus.

Luke 13:24 NKJV
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’

Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

* Brazen Altar
The brazen altar was in the outer court. Everyone was allowed in the outer court. There was a lot of work going on in the outer court. Everyone could see this part of the tabernacle. It was a place of sacrifice and a place of cleansing. The people then gave their offering to the priest to place on the brazen altar for them. It was in the outer court that the priests ministered to the people.

We must give to our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, ourselves. We must lay all our plans, hopes, dreams, and ideas on the altar. We must totally give ourselves to God. Worship and intimacy with God did not and does not take place in the outer court.

* Bronze Laver
The priest would get their hands and feet dirty just by performing their daily activities and jobs. Before the priest entered the holy place (each and every time) he would wash his hands and feet. Before the priests entered into the presence of God they hade to have clean hands and feet. The laver that the priest washed in was made out of bronze mirrors.

Exodus 30:17-21 NKJV
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
“You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it,
for Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it.
When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to the Lord, they shall wash with water, lest they die.
So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them—to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”

Exodus 38:8 NKJV
“He made the laver of bronze and its base of bronze, from the bronze mirrors of the serving women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting.”

The laver ( the mirrors and the water) represented the Word of God. We must look into the Word of God and see ourselves the way we truly are. Then we must allow the water of the Word to wash over us and to cleanse us. We must allow conviction and repentance to be a daily part (ongoing process) of our lives .

 

John 13:1-17 NKJV

“Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

 

After the Passover meal Jesus took a basin and began to wash the disciples feet, giving them an example to follow concerning serving and servanthood. During the conversation with Peter, Jesus makes the comment, “…“He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet…”. These words are often overlooked. Could Jesus have meant that a person who has accepted salvation (he who is bathed) still needs to keep themselves clean by the washing of the Word (wash only his feet) ?

Before we enter into the presence of God, we too, must spiritually have clean hands and feet. We too, get dirty just by performing our daily routines. Job 22:30 gives us a glimpse of why clean hands and feet are important.

Job 22:30 NKJV
“He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

* The Holy Place
The holy place was one of two parts of the tabernacle hidden in a tent. Once the priest entered the holy place he ministered to God by the light of the lampstand. The priest offered up incense to God and ate from the table of shewbread. The holy place was a place of prayer, praise, worship and communion. Pure and obedient worship took place here. The priest ministered to the Lord in the holy place. Only those who were ministering to the Lord were allowed in the holy place.

We too must minister to God by the light of the Holy Spirit. We are to offer up incense to God through our prayer, praise and worship. As we partake of communion we are eating from the table of shewbread. Pure and obedient worship took place in the holy place – the priests ministered to God in the holy place.

Luke 1:5-22 NKJV
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.
But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.”

As Zacharias was burning incense before God and receiving communion (bread and wine), he was having an intimate relationship with God. It was during this time that God sent an angel to tell him that his wife would have a baby. God meet Zacharias’ need when Zacharias was in the holy place worshipping Him. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him.

We must prepare ourselves and minister to God, by the light of the Holy Spirit, before we can enter into the manifest presence of God. We are to offer up incense to God through our prayer, praise and worship. Just as the priest partook of the elements on the table of shewbread we do the same thing when we partake of communion.

Ezekiel 44:10-16 NKJV
“And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity.
Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them.
Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord GOD, “that they shall bear their iniquity.
And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed.
Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.
“But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord GOD.
“They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge”

There are two different types of ministry – ministry to God and ministry to people. Worship (ministry to God) and works (ministry to people) are not the same thing. Worship is expressing great love and reverence to God. Out of the intimacy of our worship will come works. A person can work for God and not worship Him at the same time. People can work for God with sin in their life. People can even work for God and not love Him.

Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“ Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”

One day there will be people standing before God who have done many wonderful works for Him, but who did not have an intimate relationship with Him. They did not know Him and He did not know them.

Luke 10:38-42 NKJV
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Ministry to people (works) and ministry to God (worship) are both important, both are needed. However, worship is described as the good part.

* The Holy Of Holies
The holy of holies was the second part of the tabernacle that was hidden by a tent. It was there the very presence of God, the shekinah glory of God, came to dwell.

Shekinah, Shechinah, or Schechinah, is the English transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “settling” and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God.

Once a year the high priest went into this part of the tabernacle and God communicated with him. When the priest went in to God‘s presence, it had to be the way that God had instructed them.

Ezekiel 44:17-18 NKJV
“And it shall be, whenever they enter the gates of the inner court, that they put on linen garments, no wool shall come upon them while they minister within the gates of the inner court or within the house. They shall have linen turbans on their heads and linen trousers on their bodies; they shall not clothe themselves with anything that causes sweat.”

The priest could not enter into the presence of God any way he liked. Only after the priest had prepared himself and ministered to the Lord would he then go into the holy of holies where the manifest presence of God was.

There was a certain way to enter then and now. We too, must prepare ourselves and minister to God before we can enter into the manifest presence of God.
We prepare to enter the presence of God by…
(GATE) entering through the gate which is salvation through Jesus Christ
(BRAZEN OFFERING) totally giving ourselves to God.
(BRONZE LAVER) allowing the Word of God to wash us and change us.
(HOLY PLACE) offering pure and obedient worship unto God.

A few examples of the presence of God, the shekinah glory of God
1. Moses and the burning bush

Exodus 3:1-6 NKJV
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.”
So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”
And he said, “Here I am.”
Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” Moreover He said, “I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”

2. The pillar of fire and a cloud
The Lord appeared in a cloudy pillar in the day and a fiery pillar by night:

Exodus 13:20-22 NKJV
“So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.
And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”

3. God spoke to Moses out of the pillar of cloud

Exodus 33:7-11 NKJV
“Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp.
So it was, whenever Moses went out to the tabernacle, that all the people rose, and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.
And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door.
So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.”

4. God’s glory passes by Moses

Exodus 33:18-23 NKJV
“And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”
Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.”
And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock.
So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by.
Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

5. The ark of the covenant was brought to Jerusalem

1 Kings 8:1-11 NKJV
“Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the City of David, which is Zion. Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month. So all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. Then they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up. Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or numbered for multitude. Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. For the cherubim spread their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. The poles extended so that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. And they are there to this day. Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.”

6. The glory of God shone around the shepherds

Luke 2:8- 12 NKJV
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

Preparing Our Homes To Be A Habitat For God’s Presence
Each one of us should ask ourselves, “Is there life or death in my home?” There are different things in our homes that can (and will) bring about a spiritual death in our homes. The home is the heart of the family. Ultimately, spiritual death in our homes means spiritual death in our church.

It is important to prepare for God’s presence. There is a difference between visitation and habitation. In the natural, we prepare our homes different if someone comes to visit as opposed to someone coming to live with us. If we do not clean up our homes, and keep them that way, the glory of God will not inhabit our church. God will not have a double standard. He expects the same standard at home as He does in His church.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty’ ”

Job 22:30
“He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands.”

1. Recognize The Holiness Of God.
The holiness can be described as absolute perfection, absoluteness, majesty, absence of fault or impurity. Holiness carries the meaning of set apart—sanctified, consecrated, hallowed

Holiness is not merely an attribute of God- it is at the core of all that He is and all that He and does. How you view the holiness of God will effect every aspect of your life – everything with which you are involved.

Leviticus 11:44 NKJV
“For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.”

Leviticus 19:1-2 NKJV
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

We are to reflect God’s likeness in righteousness and in love. We must have clean hands and a pure heart. Personal holiness is a work of gradual development – it is an ongoing process.

We are to see things as God’s sees them. Our homes must reflect the holiness of God. Our focus should be on our love relationship with God. When you are truly intimate and in love with someone your relationship with them will restrain you from doing things that hurt or displease them. Love restrains in a good and positive way. We don’t keep God’s commandments out of fear or a have to attitude, it is out of love.

John 14:15-24 NKJV
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”

2. With The Help Of The Holy Spirit Clean Up Your House Spiritually
The week before Passover, the Jewish people cleaned their houses and all leaven (yeast, baking soda, baking powder…) was removed. When we see the word leaven in the Bible it refers to sin. The night before Passover the family would conduct a search for leaven. This was their way of teaching the children to examine their lives.

All the lights would be turned off and they would search for leaven in the house by candlelight. They used a candle, a feather, a paper bag, and a wooden spoon. If leaven was found they used the feather to brush it onto the wooden spoon and the wooden spoon was then placed in a paper bag and tied shut. The next day all the people would take their paper bags and place them in a pile, then they were all burnt.

* The candle represents Jesus, the Light of the World (the very Word of God)
* The feather represents the Holy Spirit.
* The paper bag represents the tomb.
* The wooden spoon represents the cross.
* The fire represents Hell (and the lake of fire)
* The leaven represents sin.

Today we don’t have to go through our houses and remove all the yeast, baking soda and baking powder, but we must examine our homes and our lives and remove all sin. If people were found with leaven in their homes during this time, they were considered unclean and they would be cut off from the rest of the people.

God desires for us to go through our homes and lives, with the Holy Spirit, and remove (forsake) all sin. Just like the whole house had to be searched and cleaned, our whole house must be also.

John 14:26 NKJV
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”

A little leaven (a little sin) if left unrepented will grow and grow.

1 Corinthians 5:6 NKJV
“….Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

Each believer needs to go through their home (and life) with the Holy Spirit and use the Light of the World (the Word of God) to guide them. Everything that causes the Holy Spirit to grieve must be removed.

Ephesians 4:30 NKJV
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

Just like Esther, we will stand before the King and what we hear will be based on: Have you clothed yourself with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and have you prepared yourself to come into His presence? When we bow before the King of Kings will you hear, “ Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in” or will you hear “Depart from Me. I never knew you.”? Will you be allowed to stay in the presence of the King or will you be cut off from His presence?

3. Words Are Powerful
A famous quote says…
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Words contain authority ( power to influence or command) and they are binding (confine, restrain, or restrict). Luke 7:1-9 gives us an example of the authority of words.

Luke 7:1-9 NKJV
“Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. So when he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to Him, pleading with Him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they begged Him earnestly, saying that the one for whom He should do this was deserving, “for he loves our nation, and has built us a synagogue.”
Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”

The more you say something, the more you will believe it. And the more you believe it, the more you will say it. Words are like seeds. They come out of your mouth, find a lodging place and evenly grow and produce fruit. The kind if fruit will depend on the seed.

Positive words assist, provide good (godly) advice or direction, are useful, make things easier or better, can prevent something negative from happening. Positive words bring life.

Negative words injure people, cause people to experience pain, upset, cause negative effects, cause a person to experience difficulties or setbacks. Negative words kill.

Concerning words, as believers we should…
* Read God’s Word aloud in our homes.

* Spend more time examining the kinds of things that come out of your mouth, especially in moments of crisis or irritation.

* Be careful with the words allowed in our homes – through conversations, music, television, internet …

* Protect against negative words in your homes ( from yourself, your family and visitors in your home.)

* Praise and worship God aloud in our homes

* Pray aloud in our homes

* Set the tone in our homes using worship music

You Are A Carrier Of God’s Presence
Not only should we prepare our homes to be a habitat for the presence of God, but there will be places that we go where we must have God’s presence – other people’s lives depend on it.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

We must be a carrier for God’s presence – Other people can sense when you carry God’s presence. People could sense that Peter was a carrier of God’s presence and it caused the people to seek him out for help.

Acts 5:12-16 NKJV
“And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

Being a carrier of the presence of God requires (or flows through)…
… preparation. Part of being dedicated (committed to a cause or person) is being prepared. Just as the priests
would take time to consecrate and prepare themselves for God’s presence, so must we.
… a life of continual sanctification. Sanctification is an ongoing process.
…that we walk in purity, holiness and humility (see yourself as God does). Purity, holiness and humility are a must if we
want to be a carrier of God’s presence in such a way that it touches and changes the world around us.
… a contrite heart.
… a lifestyle of worship.

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Review

1. Everyone has a different view about what the glory of God and revival mean.

How would you define the glory of God?

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How would you define revival?

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2. What is the difference between visitation and habitation?

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3. How are you preparing for God’s manifest presence

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4. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate the spiritual condition of your home?

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5. List some things that you are praying for and believing for God to do.

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6. What dead promises, dead dreams, or dead relations do you need God to breath new life into?

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7. What has the enemy tried to kill in your personal life?

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8. What has the enemy tried to kill in your family?

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9. What has the enemy tried to kill in your church?

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10. Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

In the above verses the word KNEW refers to an intimate relationship with Jesus, not a general knowledge of or a casual relationship with. What are you doing to establish an intimate relationship with the King of Kings?

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11. How has your relationship with God changed negative circumstances in your life?

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12. God is looking for people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. God is not seeking people to worship Him with their mouths or even with their hands. Worship is a matter of the heart. What does worship in spirit and truth mean to you?

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13. The people had to first come through a gate. What is our gate to the presence of God?

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14. What plans, hopes, dreams, and ideas have you laid on the altar?

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15. It has been said that the beginning of revival is the judgment of sin and bad habits. What sin or bad habits ( or attitudes) do you need to lay on the altar?

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16. How are you allowing the Word of God to wash you and change you?

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17. How does Job 22:30 relate to your spiritual cleanliness.

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18. Who was allowed in the holy place?

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19. God wants to minister to us just like He did Zacharias. God wants to meet our needs, but first, we must minister to Him. How can you personally minister to God?

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20. Only ministry to God took place in the holy place. What is the difference between ministry to God and ministry to people?

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21. We prepare to enter the presence of God by…

(GATE) entering through the gate which is salvation through ________________.

(BRAZEN OFFERING) totally giving ourselves to __________.

(BRONZE LAVER) allowing the Word of God to wash us and change us.

(HOLY PLACE) offering pure and obedient _______________ unto God.

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22. How would you describe God’s holiness?

 

23. What instructions does God give us in 1 Peter 1:13-16, Leviticus 11:44 and in Leviticus 19:1-2 ?

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24. What does be holy in your conduct mean?

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25. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of an importance do you place on spiritually cleaning your house with the help of the Holy Spirit?

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26. Just like Esther, we will stand before the King and what we hear will be based on have you clothed yourself with the __________________ of Jesus Christ, and have you prepared yourself to come into His presence.

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27. What does authority mean?

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28. What do positive words do?

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29. What do negative words do?

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30. Concerning words in your home, what areas do you need the Holy Spirit to help you change?

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31. God expects the same standard at home as He does in His church. What does that mean to you personally?

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32. Knowing that we are a sacred temple, how should we live?

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33. Being a temple of God, a carrier of the presence of God, is a great privilege that is accompanied by great responsibility. What are some of the responsibilities?

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34. Do you think people will sense it when you carry the presence of God?

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35. From your personal experience, give examples of where the presence of God changed a circumstance.

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Clean Up Your House

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Clean Up Your House

The glory of God will come to the church first but it will not stay unless the people take it home with them. If we do not clean up our homes (spiritually) , and keep them that way, the glory of God will not stay in our church. God will not have a double standard. He expects the same standard at home as He does in His church.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty’ ”

We must sanctify ourselves. We must keep ourselves clean if we want to experience a continuing outpouring of the glory of God. Each one of us should ask ourselves, “Is there life or death in my home?” There are different things in our homes that can (and will) bring about a spiritual death in our homes. Ultimately, spiritual death in our homes means spiritual death in our church.

The Glory Of God

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The Glory Of God

The glory of the Lord is the manifest presence of God. Whenever man comes into the presence of God there is reverence, honor and worship to Him. The glory of God is not about work, it is about worship. God will not make His home where there is sin, therefore the glory of God will not rest upon a place where there is sin ( a church, a home or a person).

Romans 3:23
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

God wants to manifest His glory. He desires for His glory to arise upon the Church and His people. God’s glory is always associated with heart worship, worship from the heart, in spirit and in truth. In order for us to experience the glory of God we must invite, prepare and maintain.

A. Invite
We must invite the glory of the Lord by make room for the presence of the Lord. God will not send His glory where He is not welcomed, respected or reverenced. Nor will His glory be manifest where He is not the number one priority. Friendship with the Lord is for those who fear Him (respect, honor, reverence.)

Psalm 25:14 NKJV
“The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant”

Moses feared the Lord and because of this God revealed His character to him. Moses made a place for the presence of God by fearing Him (reverence, honor, respect) therefore, Moses had the privilege of talking to God face to face.

B. Prepare
Repentance is very important. The glory of God will always be associated with the blood of Jesus Christ. Everyone has sinned.

James 4:17 NKJV
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

When we have doubts whether an action is right and yet go ahead and do it, it is sin. It is also a sin to know to do right and yet not do it. Sin separates us from God. No one can live up to what God created us to be because of our sinful nature. Because of our sin, everyone falls short of the glory of God (the manifest presence of God). We will not experience a habitation of the glory of God in our life when we allow sin to go unrepented of.

Romans 3:23 NKJV
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

A lifestyle of sin is lawlessness, and lawlessness is rebellion against God.

1 John 3:4 NKJV
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

If we allow sin to go unconfused, eventually, we will face an eternity away from the presence of God in the lake of fire.

Isaiah 59:2 NKJV
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.”

It is through Jesus that we win (receive) God’s favor and receive forgiveness of our sins.

John 14:6 NKJV
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ”

Jesus is the propitiation for our sins. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ, His only Son.

1 John 4:9-10 NKJV
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

C. Maintain
We must sanctify ourselves. We must keep ourselves clean if we want to experience a continuing outpouring of the glory of God. The glory of God will come to the church first but it will not stay unless the people take it home with them. If we do not clean up our homes, and keep them that way, the glory of God will not stay in our church. God will not have a double standard. He expects the same standard at home as He does in His church.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’
Therefore
‘Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you
I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty’ ”

Each one of us should ask ourselves, “Is there life or death in my home?” There are different things in our homes that can (and will) bring about a spiritual death in our homes. Ultimately, spiritual death in our homes means spiritual death in our church.

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The Shunammite woman wanted to make a room for Elisha. The room was to be a resting place for the man of God. Elisha represents the presence of God, therefore the room was to be a habitation (a place to live in / a dwelling place) for the presence of God.

2 Kings 4:10 NKJV

“Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ ”

The first step in preparing a place for God is repentance. A person becomes the temple of God at salvation because the Holy Spirit comes to reside (to live in) the believer.

Ephesians 2:19-22 NKJV

“Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

The Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) lives within every Christian. We are to be holy because God is holy. If we do not keep our temple clean (holy, pure) the presence of God will not stay. God’s presence will not be where there is sin.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. And God said: ‘I will dwell in them

And walk among them. I will be their God,

And they shall be My people.’

Therefore

‘Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,

And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.’ ”

 

What Can I Do For You?

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What Can I Do For You?

 

2 Kings 4:8-12  NKJV    

“Now it happened one day that Elisha went to Shunem, where there was a notable woman, and she persuaded him to eat some food. So it was, as often as he passed by, he would turn in there to eat some food. And she said to her husband, ‘Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly. Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ And it happened one day that he came there, and turned in to the upper room and lay down there. Then he said to Gehazi his servant, ‘Call this Shunammite woman.’ When he had called her, she stood before him. And he said to him, ‘Say to her, ‘Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or to the commander of the army?’ She answered, ‘I dwell among my own people.’ So he said, ‘What then is to be done for her?’ And Gehazi answered, ‘Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.’

          As Elisha traveled through Shunem, he would stop to rest and eat. In Shunem there was a family that would invite (persuade) him into their home for a meal. The Bible refers to the woman of the house as a notable woman. This woman understood and knew in her spirit that Elisha was a holy man of God. She realized that Elisha was set apart for the ministry to God. The Shunammite woman acted upon the knowledge that she had. She asked her husband if they could make a room on the roof (wall) for Elisha. This room would be set apart for Elisha when he would travel through their town (Shunem). The room would provide a resting place for Elisha and his needs could easily be met. The woman wanted to make certain that her family provided the hospitality that was due to a holy man of God. Not because she was a “man pleaser” or out of duty, but because she had a deep respect and reverence for God.

Elisha was thankful and appreciative of the effort and concern that was given to his comfort and needs. He instructed his servant, Gehazi, to go to the woman and find out what special thing could her do for her to repay her for the kindness that had been given to him. Elisha wondered if she needed him to talk to the king for her (favor with the king) or if she needed him to talk to the commander of the army for her (protection). Gehazi went to the Shunammite woman to find out if she had any needs. The woman did not need Elisha to talk to the king or the commander of the army for her. She lived in her own land with her own people. Gehazi went back to Elisha and informed him of the conversation with the Shunammite woman.

Still wanting to do something for the woman, Elisha asked his servant, Gehazi, what could her do for her. Gehazi told Elisha that the woman did not have a son. Elisha called the woman and when she stood before him he told her that she was going to have a son within the year.

The woman had prepared a dwelling (resting) place for the man of God out of respect and reverence and in turn she received what she dreamed of. She was blessed with a son within the year. We too, can and will be blessed beyond our wildest dreams if we will follow the Shunammite woman’s example. We must recognize the holiness of God, prepare a place for Him and minister to Him.

I. Recognize The Holiness Of God

Recognition is a knowing again or an acknowledgment. It also means acceptance. Recognition conveys approval. When we recognize the holiness of God we acknowledge, accept and admit that God is holy.

2 Kings 4:9  NKJV    

“And she said to her husband, ‘Look now, I know that this is a holy man of God, who passes by us regularly.”

          Recognition of God as holy is shown through our words, actions and thoughts. A person who claims to know that God is holy, but whose actions do not align themselves up with that knowledge does not truly recognize the holiness of God. It is not enough to just know something, we must act upon what we know. The Shunammite woman recognized the holiness of the man of God and she followed up this knowledge with action. We must recognize the holiness of God and then we must follow up our knowledge of His holiness with action. Acknowledgment, acceptance and admittance that God is holy will be both internal and external. Throughout the Bible we can see where when people truly recognized the holiness of God it was followed up by action. Isaiah recognized that God was holy and he followed that knowledge up with true repentance.

Isaiah 6:1-5 NKJV    

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.’ ”

II. Prepare A Place For God

The Shunammite woman wanted to make a room for Elisha. The room was to be a resting place for the man of God. Elisha represents the presence of God, therefore the room was to be a habitation (a place to live in / a dwelling place) for the presence of God.

2 Kings 4:10  NKJV    

“Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ ”

           The first step in preparing a place for God is repentance. A person becomes the temple of God at salvation because the Holy Spirit comes to reside (to live in) the believer.

Ephesians 2:19-22  NKJV    

“Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

            The Spirit of God (Holy Spirit) lives within every Christian. We are to be holy because God is holy. If we do not keep our temple clean (holy, pure) the presence of God will not stay. God’s presence will not be where there is sin.

          2 Corinthians 6:14-18  NKJV    

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. And God said: ‘I will dwell in them

And walk among them. I will be their God,

And they shall be My people.’

Therefore

‘Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,

And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.’ ”

III. Minister To God

A minister is a person engaged in carrying out a purpose, the will, etc., of another person; to act as an agent (a person that has the authority to act for or in place of another); to be of service or aid; to be helpful. The Shunammite woman was a minister to Elisha. She was helpful to him by providing with what he needed. 

2 Kings 4:10-11 NKJV    

“Please, let us make a small upper room on the wall; and let us put a bed for him there, and a table and a chair and a lampstand; so it will be, whenever he comes to us, he can turn in there.’ And it happened one day that he came there, and turned in to the upper room and lay down there.”

           The Shunammite woman met Elisha’s needs first, then He met her need (to have a son). She did not ask for her need to be met, nor did she tell Elisha what her need was.

Psalm 100  NKJV    

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness;

Come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are the people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations.”

          When we minister to God, He will meet our needs. Like the Shunammite woman we will not have to tell Him everything that we need in order to receive it. God knows our every need, concern and desire, and He is more than able to provide what we have need of.

Conclusion

When we prepare a place for God, He will come. When we meet His needs out of  respect, reverence and love for Him, He will bless us beyond our wildest dreams. When we align ourselves up in godly order we will have our needs met. First we are to minister to God, then He will minister to us.

As you minister to God out of respect, reverence and love, not out of duty, you will hear a voice deep within asking, “What may I do for you?”

Shepherds

Standard
Shepherds

hard places - Copy      Shepherds

          A shepherd is a man who takes care of, protects, and guides sheep. Sheep without a shepherd wander, get lost, encounter predators and even die. God chose Moses to be the shepherd over His people. Moses was to lead them in their journey to the promised land. Toward the end of Moses’ life, he ask God to give them a new shepherd. One that would take his place after his death.

Numbers 27:15-17  NKJV

“Then Moses spoke to the Lord, saying: ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.”                             

 

     In this country we see less and less spiritual leaders that exhibit selfless, sacrificial service. A true shepherd, according to the Word of God, does not put themselves or their needs, wants or desires above the flock that has been entrusted to them. Godly leadership is not self-serving. A true shepherd does not seek to gain position or wealth at the expense of the flock.

Ezekiel 34:1-4  NKJV

“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: ‘Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.’ ” 

          A true shepherd will seek to serve, not to be served. Jesus is the greatest example of a True Shepherd. A true shepherd knows his position and his power, however he does not flaunt it over those that he is leading. He chooses to serve his flock rather than being served by his flock. According to the above Bible passage, a good shepherd will feed the flock, strengthen the weak, heal those who are sick, bind up the broken, bring back those driven away, and seek the lost.

Ezekiel 34:5-6  NKJV

“So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”                

          When a group of believers or a church (a flock / sheep) does not have a true shepherd several things happen. They are scattered, they became food for the enemy, they wander through all the mountains, and they go up on every high hill.

 

I. Without A Shepherd The Flock Is Scattered

Matthew 9:36  NKJV

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”   

          A flock (church) is thrown here and there without a shepherd. They are separated and driven off in different directions.

Scatter means to throw here and there; sprinkle; strew; separate and drive off in different directions; dispel. It can also mean to separate and drive away so that an original form or arrangement is lost.

          Without a shepherd many things change within a church. People can be “scattered” in their thoughts, ideas, goals, purpose, mission, and vision for the church and still be sitting under one roof. This “scattering” leads to disunity. Disunity is disunity, no matter how quiet it is. God does not bless disunity, nor does the Holy Spirit move in disunity. All the blessings that the church receives comes from unity.

Psalm 133:1-3  NKJV

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is

For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head,

Running down on the beard,

The beard of Aaron,

Running down on the edge of his garments.

It is like the dew of Hermon,

Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing–

Life forevermore.”   

II. Without A Shepherd The Flock Becomes Food For The Enemy

Paul knew that when a shepherd is taken away from a flock that the enemy will move in and devour the sheep.

Acts 20:29  NKJV

“For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”  

          A wolf will threaten sheep in two ways – from without and from within. The same is true concerning the church. The enemy will threaten the church from the outside and from the inside.

The enemy will attack from the outside. Unbelievers are a dangerous threat from the outside when we do not walk in the Spirit and begin to listen to worldly opinions. Especially when we make alliances with them.

 2 Corinthians 6:14-18  NKJV

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’Therefore

‘Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.’”  

          The enemy will also attack from within. Self-serving people are a threat from inside. During a period of time without a shepherd, the sheep must be very careful to guard them selves against false prophets (a person speaking in the name of God) who seek to build themselves up and to turn the people away from the truth.

Matthew 7:15-20  NKJV

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs  from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” 

III. Without A Shepherd The Flock Wanders Through The Mountains

Without a shepherd the flock (sheep) wanders throughout the mountains in search of grass to eat. If good food cannot be found they will eat what ever they find in an effort to stay alive. Sometimes the food that they find to eat is bad and will eventually take their life.

When a church is without a shepherd they become hungry and begin to seek out food for themselves. After being hungry for an extended period of time they will “eat” whatever is placed in front of them – good or bad.

Proverbs 27:8  NKJV

“Like a bird that wanders from its nest

Is a man who wanders from his place.” 

          When we wander away from sound doctrine, and partake of whatever comes along, it means losing our security and becoming open to new and powerful temptations. Partaking of whatever comes along will eventually lead to spiritual death.

 

IV. Without A Shepherd The Flock Goes Up On The High Hills

The high places are on the high hills. Without a true shepherd the sheep will wander up to the high places. In the Bible “high places” were places of worship on a hill or on a platform in a temple. The Canaanites usually built their places of worship on a hill. They considered the high places a gateway between them and heaven. It was their ‘way’ to their god. High places are ‘footholds’ that you allow the enemy to have in your life.

Some Israelites began to use these same places to worship God. The people used the high places to worship God, Baal and Asherah all at the same time. Trying to mix the two types of worship (true and false) together eventually led to idolatry.

Many times when a flock does not have a true shepherd they will begin to do what is right in their own sight, other than what is right in God’s eyes. They will begin to mix their own ideas and beliefs in with their worship of God.

When we allow “high places” in our lives and in our churches, we are defiling ourselves. We loose our purity and play the part of a harlot.

 Ezekiel 20:30  NKJV

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Are you defiling yourselves in the manner of your fathers, and committing harlotry according to their abominations?’ ”   

     God does not desire for us or our churches to defile our worship to Him. We cannot worship God in Spirit and in truth up on the “high places” (the high hills). When we began to mix the things of the world with our worship to God it can lead to idolatry in our lives. God has called us to be separate and to destroy all the ‘high places’ in our lives and in our churches. We are not to compromise our worship with sinful values or practices. We must maintain integrity in all parts of our lives, including our worship.

2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV

“Therefore

Come out from among them

And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,

And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you,

And you shall be My sons and daughters,

Says the Lord Almighty.”   

          The Israelites used the excuse that they did not have a place to worship God in order to use the high places. Without a true shepherd, there will be some people that begin to make excuses about the compromises that are being made.

  I Kings 3:2  NKJV

“Meanwhile the people sacrificed at the high places, because there was no house built for the name of the Lord until those days.”   

          The high places were defiled and therefore not an acceptable place for worship for God. God had specifically told the people (in the Ten Commandment) that He would not accept defiled worship. The people tried to justify (defend, to make right) their sinful actions. God tells us that obedience is better than sacrifice. Sincerity (freedom from pretense or deceit; honesty) and obedience (doing what one is told, submission to authority) are the prerequisites for worship that pleases God.

When some churches find themselves without a shepherd (or with a shepherd that is not a true shepherd) they begin to mix things of the world in with their worship to God and they too, make excuses for it. They seek to justify their “watered down” religion. They have not headed to the instructions of keeping themselves separate from the world. Disobedience in our worship is idolatry because we are putting our will before God’s will.

 1 Samuel 15:22  NKJV

“So Samuel said: ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.’ ”   

          When a person or church begins to dabble with high places (mix the things of the world with our worship to God) they will set themselves up for pain, trouble and eventually judgment. Denying God’s authority always has consequences, even when we have no shepherd!

Psalm 78:58  NKJV 

“I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense alters, and cast your carcasses on the lifeless forms of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you.”    Leviticus 26:30  NKJV

“For they provoked Him to anger with their high places And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images.”  

          When we find ourselves as sheep without a true shepherd, must be careful to stay away from the high hills. The Canaanites thought that their ‘high places’ would lead them to their god- it was their pathway to their god. Today there are many people that are trying to reach God through many different ways, other than the pathway that God has given us. A true shepherd  keeps everyone (the sheep) on the right path and to keep them off the “high hills”.

John 14:6  NKJV

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”    

Conclusion:

A church needs a shepherd. Without one the church and the people suffer. Shepherds go before their flocks and lead them. they do not “drive” the sheep in front of them. A true shepherd will feed, protect, and guide their sheep.

Jeremiah 3:15  NKJV

“And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.”