THE KING IS IN OUR PRESENCE
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
26 NOVEMBER 1995
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
The sermon title that I chose for this Christ the King Sunday is "The King Is In Our Presence", and not “We Are In The Presence Of The King.”
Consider this: If we want to see the governor of this state, we would probably have some trouble doing so.
And even then, we would have to go to see him.
And it would be much harder to get to see the President.
Yet, with God, He comes to us. He is in our presence, and He is much more important than any governor or president.
And God doesn't play games with people's emotions, as most politicians do.
But we're not really talking about politicians; we're talking about the Lord our God, the King, who loves us so much that He willingly remains in our presence, just in case we need Him.
The sons of Korah knew this, and expressed it in Psalm 46:
1. God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Note what they acknowledge: God is "a very present help."
He's not away off, nor is He beyond our reach.
He is present in our midst.
2. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
3. Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
In other words, we have no need to worry about anything, for the King is in our presence.
And He will take care of us, if we will simply listen to Him.
4. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
5. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
7. The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
Speaking of Jerusalem, the psalmist says that God is in her midst; but God is present in our town, too, and is providing the same place of refuge for us.
We're the ones who wander into harm's way.
8. Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
9. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
Sometimes God allows our corrupt natures to overflow and kill each other, and even to destroy parts of His good creation; but He is still in our midst, waiting for His wayward children to return to Him.
We always think that we have to do everything, if God is slow to answer.
This doesn't mean that we stop our efforts to bring kingdom living to earth and eliminate as much pain and suffering as we can.
It simply means that if we have done everything we can, then we need to wait upon the Lord to fulfill it.
We are not to become violent like the enemies of the Lord in order to bring about "peace", because as history has proven over and over again, violence only produces more violence, and never brings lasting peace.
We to continue to do the best job we can at our work places, and let our efforts bring us our rewards.
We are not to seek our goals and advancements at the expense of others.
We keep striving after one thing or another. We live beyond our means, and that's how we get into so much trouble.
When we have friends and associates present, don't we sound things off on them, before we make our final decisions?
So, since God is in our presence, shouldn't we seek His advice as well?
We are to do as God tells us through the psalmist's words:
10. "Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
11. The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
The Lord of hosts is with us.
The King is in our presence.
Meditate carefully upon what it means to "cease striving and know that I am God."
Is God first in our lives?
He should be.
For He most assuredly is in our presence, even when we fail to acknowledge His presence.
In our Monday night Bible Study we started the Gospel according to Luke, and we were observing the situations surrounding Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, when the angel Gabriel visited him.
Let's now turn to Luke 1:67-79 and take a look at what Zacharias said following the birth of his son.
67. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68. "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
69. And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant--
Zacharias is speaking of the coming incarnation of Jesus Christ, of whom his son John was to be the prophet.
Zacharias knows that God is doing great things in the presence of His people, and he speaks forth as the Spirit leads him, as all of us should.
70. As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old--
God has always done this, and He will continue to do this, until the end of this age; for at that time He will fulfill His salvation promise.
71. Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us;
72. To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
73. The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74. To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75. In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
Our world is so corrupted that people actually fear acknowledging God's presence in their lives, because of the reproach of other people.
Because of our faith in God, and because of our unconditional compassion towards His creation, many people have made Mary and me the butt of their jokes.
These people have so blinded themselves that they think we don't even know about their hypocrisy and their hardness of heart.
And I have heard some of you express the way you have been picked at, because of your faith, and love and compassion.
But the wonderful thing about all of this is that when we know that God is in our presence, we no longer fear the things that other people say and do.
We live as the Spirit of God leads us, simply because it brings peace to our hearts and souls.
Returning to our Scripture passage, we hear Zacharias speak more personally to his son:
76. "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
77. To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
78. Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us,
79. To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace."
Do you realize that every one of us is also called upon to be a prophet of Jesus Christ? Not as John was, concerning His first coming, but in the spirit of John and Elijah, this time proclaiming His presence with us.
Whether we actually speak in words or not, we are nevertheless speaking forth our faith, or our lack of faith, by our everyday actions.
Do we let people know about the salvation and forgiveness of sins that comes from turning our lives over to Jesus Christ?
Are we beacons of light and hope shining forth into the darkness of many people's lives?
Do we guide people's feet in the true and unconditional pathway of peace?
This isn't some strange or unusual behavior that I am suggesting; it is the natural way of life of a real born again believer.
And if we are really the peacemaking children of God, we know that the King is in our presence.
We know it!
Really know it!
And, if we are really children of God, then we also know that the Holy Spirit is telling us to share the truths we know with others.
The King is here!
The King is in our presence!
Lord, help us to lose our timidity and live boldly as the Christians you desire us to be.
Your Comments are welcome
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