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Seeing God

The Presence of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Create an environment where people can see the presence of God

This morning we are going to talk about a seemingly difficult subject; difficult because on the surface it would appear scripture is paradoxical in its’ approach to seeing God. Our mission statement states that we want to create an environment where people can see the presence of God. So how does that happen?
This process is broken down into three parts:
See God
Share God
Show God

1. See God

We may not see God face to face but can see the evidence of God everyday.
Exodus 33:20 NIV
But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
On the one hand scripture tells us that no one has seen the face of God, that if we were to see the face of God we could not live:
John tells us twice that no one has ever seen God, except the son.
John 1:18 NIV
No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
1 John 4:12 NIV
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 john 4:
God tells Moses that no one can look upon His face and live;
Exodus 33:20 NIV
But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
Here is the paradox; scripture also tells us throughout scripture people saw the God, even the face of God and lived. So how could scripture say on one hand that you cannot see the face of God and live and then turn around and say that people saw God and lived?
The answer to that question is much simpler than one would think; people saw God in how He chose to reveal himself. They did not see the fullness of God or the true face of God. What they saw was God as He chose to reveal Himself to them. Moses saw him in a fiery bush, Abraham saw Him as a traveller, and Jacob saw God as a wrestler in the middle of the night.
So is it possible to see God today? I believe it is but it will take some work on our part, God desires a relationship with each one of us and He does the heavy lifting but we are never called to be bystanders waiting for the presence of God to appear. If we desire to see God in our lives then we need to; pursue God, receive God and believe God.
Let me show you some examples of this:

Pursue God

Moses saw God in the burning bush which was only his first interaction with God. He was called to deliver a nation from slavery to freedom in the Promised Land, to do this Moses would have to be in intimate relationship with God and rely on His guidance continually.
Moses was called to pursue an intimate relationship with God and it was the outpouring of that relationship that freed the nation and led them into the Promised Land. So how did he pursue God and what was the result?
The answer is in Exodus:
Exodus 33:7–11 NIV
7 Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. 8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. 9 As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. 10 Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Ex
Everywhere the nation stopped Moses pitched a “tent of meeting” this was not the temple but a separate tent specifically for meeting with God. He established a place specifically to pursue being in the presence of God and the result was he saw God face to face.
Look at what happens when Moses pursues God by going to the tent of meeting; “And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.”
Moses pursued God, Abraham received God when he saw God;

Receive God

Gen
Genesis 18:1–3 NIV
1 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.
When Abraham saw God he immediately recognized Him and received Him into his home. Abraham did not look at the man there and doubt, saying; “oh I am sure that is not God, He wouldn’t waste His time on me!”
gen 18:1-3
When Abraham saw God he immediately recognized Him and received Him into his home. Abraham did not look at the man there and doubt, saying; “oh I am sure that is not God, He wouldn’t waste His time on me!”
Many fail to see God because when He reveals Himself to them they refuse to receive Him into their lives.
The third part of seeing God is to believe Him.

Believe God

Last week we saw Jacob had a dream about a stairway going to Heaven and when he awoke he knew the Lord was in that place and named it Bethel, which means ‘house of God.’
Jacob for all his faults also believed God when he wrestled with Him all night long. Jacob held onto God until God would bless him.
Genesis 32:26–30 NIV
26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. 28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” 29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
:26-
Jacob for all his faults also believed God when he wrestled with Him all night long. Jacob held onto God until God would bless him.

2. Share God

Jesus repeatedly taught about the importance, even necessity of intentional acts of servitude.
John 13:14–17 NIV
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13:

Humble Approach

We can approach people in basically one of two ways:
The world’s way which asks; “what can you do for me?”
God’s way which asks; “what can I do for you?”

Humble Action

Matthew 6:1–4 NIV
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

3. Show God

Matt 6:1
Luke 21:2–4 NIV
2 He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 3 “Truly I tell you,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. 4 All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Luke 21:

3. Show God

Using the great research tool, Google I found out the average person will meet between 10,000-80,000 people in their lifetime. If the average person meets 10-80K people in their lives think about the countless number of people you don’t actually meet but who see you throughout the day.
What kind of testimony would that be if you saw God in your life, shared God with those you meet and show God to those who you will never meet. You have the potential to influence and/or impact hundreds of thousands of people throughout your life. Some of you may be saying there is no way I can show God to everyone throughout all of my life! Imagine how often that would be!
Relax, I am going to let you off the hook by giving you only three times when you should be showing God in your life.

First, when you know someone is looking

Exodus 33:8 NIV
8 And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.
Matthew 5:
Matthew 5:14–16 NIV
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Second, when you think no one is looking

Second, when you think no one is looking

The problem is when you think no one is looking, someone is! It may not be anyone you know but there is always someone seeing what you are doing. Moses had this problem when he tried to save a Hebrew from the lash of an Egyptian.
Exodus 2:11–14 NIV
11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. 12 Looking this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” 14 The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
Ex 2:11-15

Third, when you know no one is looking

In 2014 the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, Admiral William McRaven gave a tremendous commencement ceremony speech at the University of Texas. A Navy Seal for over forty years and the commander of the Navy Seals told of ten things he learned in Seal training as principles to live by that would change your life and change the world.
The first principle was one that no one else would see and the no one would know whether you did it or not. The first principle for changing the world was to make your bed, that may sound a little to simplistic to you but he gave three reasons for doing so.
You have accomplished your first task of the day, in doing so you can move on to accomplish the second task, then third and so on.
The little things in life matter, if you can’t get the little things in life right you will never be able to do the big things in life.
If you have a miserable day and everything goes wrong, which you will all have at some point, when you go to bed that night it will be made. You will have a nice, made bed to get into and a reminder that at least something in your life is in order.
God reflects these same principles, we pursue God when no one is looking
Matthew 6:6 NIV
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
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