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My God is Near

To Live is Christ/To Die is Gain  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Living in the Presence of the Lord

A preacher goes into the church sanctuary one morning to pray.  He is startled by a strange man kneeling in a pew who utters such a desperate cry that the pastors heart is shaken.  “If you’re up there, prove it!” the man shouts.  “Show me!  If you’re God, you can prove it!”  In the man’s voice is a combination of anger and despair.  “I’ll never ask you this again,” the man says coldly, and then with a fury . . . he shouts again, “Are…you…up… there?” 
The preacher slides into the pew across the aisle and kneels on the worn cushion.  “You may be asking the wrong question,” he says, quietly.  “I believe the question you may want to ask is not, ‘Are you up there?’ but, ‘Are you down here?’” 
“What kind of joke is that?” the man replies.
“It isn’t a joke,” the pastor assures him.  “God wouldn’t be God if he were only up there.  In fact, another name for [God] is Immanuel, which means ‘God with us.’”
Philippians 4:5 KJV 1900
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Phil 4:
When Paul told us that “The Lord is at hand” he was reminding us of the fact that Christ is always near, I wander if he was thinking back to his experience on Mar’s Hill...
Acts 17:22–27 KJV 1900
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
Paul told the people of Athens that the false god’s that they were worshipping and sacrificing to, trying in vain to get their attention and help them, while this entire time The True God was right there, “Not far from every one of us”
If Haply they might feel after him, like a blind man feeling around trying to find his way.
The Ark of the covenant represented God’s Presence
Psalm 139:1 KJV 1900
1 O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.
Psalm 139:1
Psalm 139:7–12 KJV 1900
7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; Even the night shall be light about me. 12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; But the night shineth as the day: The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
David understood that there was no distance that he could put in between himself and God that would hide him from God’s presence.
Undertandably, for those who do not know Chirst as their savior, or are living in sin, this can be a very scary thought.
But For the Christian, This should be a comfort and not only that, should shape the way you live your life. In Paul gives a few ways that practicing God’s Presence in our lives would change us.

Act Joyfully

Philippians 4:4 KJV 1900
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Paul emphasizes the fact that we should live in Joy by purposely repeating himself. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say Rejoice.
I understand we go to a baptist church and it has not been normal to show emotions in church for fear that someone might think we are gong charismatic. But there is nothing wrong with being Joyful during the services. Remember Joy is not necessarily an emotion, it is a state of being, but many times this joy overflows our hearts and comes out to our faces. It might look like a smile, a raised hand, an “amen”.
The world is depressed. Just look at the amount of people out there who are on anti-depressants. And no wander - look at the state of the world in which we live. That is why, more than ever, we need to show them the Joy that comes from the Lord!
When a song moves you
1 Peter 1:8 KJV 1900
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Peter says our live for christ should leave us speechless with Joy. The more we understand his grace, his love, his mercy, the more joy should fill our hearts.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by emotions that you couldn’t talk? Thats the idea hear. To be so enraptured in your Lord that you can’t even respond!
Joyful in Trials
James 1:2–3 KJV 1900
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
1 pet 18
Even in our trials we can find joy, because we know that God uses them to grow us!
Hebrews 12:2 KJV 1900
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2
Notice what Paul says here - for the joy that was set before him - Jesus was able to endure the Cross, the Shame - knowing the Joy that would come when he had finished the task of redeeming mankind and would sit down on the right hand of God. The Joy of lost souls coming to Him for salvation. The Joy of Christians Growing and learning.
Act Joyfully

Pray Faithfully

Philippians 4:6–7 KJV 1900
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The word Careful means to be anxious. Paul tells us that if we trully understand that Christ is with us, that His is near, them we would turn to him in prayer, letting him know what is on our hearts, and thanking him for his many blessings that He has already given!
Phil 4:
Ephesians 6:18 KJV 1900
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Paul tells us in Ephesians that we are to pray always, in all conditions, for all things! Pray without Ceasing Scripture says. When its hard, Pray. When it is easy, Pray. When it seams like God isn’t listening, Pray.
Take Daniel as an example...
Daniel and the lions den
Daniel 6:18–21 KJV 1900
18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
Daniel 6:18-2

Think Righteously

Philippians 4:8 KJV 1900
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Phil 4:
I used to tell teens when they asked me about certain movies or music, I would point them to this verse. I called it the Test. If it passed this test, then it would be ok.
True - Does it have integrity or promote integrity
Honest - Is it worthy of Respect
Just - Is It morally right according to God’s Standard of His Word
Pure - Does it promote innocence or ridicule it.
Lovely - is it pleasing to the senses
Good Report - do others who are spiritual think speak well of it
Virtuous - does it promote excellence
Praise Worthy - is it biblically worthy of praise

Live Contentedly

Philippians 4:11–13 KJV 1900
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Phil 4:11-
1 Timothy 6:6–8 KJV 1900
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Hebrews 13:5 KJV 1900
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Give Generously

Philippians 4:15–19 KJV 1900
15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. 16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. 17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. 18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
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