WOW, what a fulfilling day this has been from this awesome and rich conference. Before I retire for the evening, I will share a small summary of today’s teachings and learnings.
The Glory of His Presence theme continues as Mark Mullery spoke this morning (Thursday) on Jesus Christ being our access into the holy place. If you recall on yesterday, Jeff dealt with Where God has chosen to dwell among His people. Well today Mark spoke on When has God chosen to dwell among His people.
Hebrews 10:19-22 - 19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
As believers, we can have the confidence to enter, without hesitation, the most Holy Place, today, because of the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s right; we can be with God today. As a worship leader, I was reminded that only One Person, and that Person is not me, can bring believers into the presence of God. That Person is Jesus Christ through the shedding of His blood. My confidence in leading worship is found in Jesus’ blood.
When Mark was sharing these verses, my mind began to think, “Where exactly is this ‘Holy Place’”? I only had to think back one chapter to Hebrews 9:22 – Christ didn’t enter the so called earthly version of the Holy place, He entered the real deal: Heaven itself (For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of true one, but into heaven itself)
OK, let’s reread Hebrew 10:19-22 again. Did you reread it? “Since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God”. Who needs a priest? Well I realized today that I need one. God could have chosen to execute people in His way of dealing with sin, but He chose to deal with sin through sacrifices. The high priest’s job was to enter the holy place and to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people. Jesus is my high priest who offered one sacrifice for my sins forever and sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 10:12). Since I have a great high priest, I can draw near to God and worship Him and He can dwell with me. God chose to dwell with His people because one day He chose not to dwell with His son. O how He desires to dwell with us.
Tonight at the session, Bob Kauflin interviewed Keith and Kristyn Getty. Keith is the writer of some of our modern hymns we sing today such as In Christ Alone and How Deep the Father’s Love for Us. On tomorrow night, Keith and Kristyn will give a concert – can’t wait for this.
Following this interview, we were once again privileged to hear God’s word. Tonight, Craig Cabaniss, senior pastor of Grace Church in Frisco, Texas preached on How God has chosen to dwell among His people. How many times have we sung, listened to sermons, and received communion and were not aware of the Savior’s presence? Sometimes it’s very easy to forget this. In I Cor 3:16, Paul asked/reminds the Corinthians: aren’t you aware that you are God’s temple and God is present with you? Craig spoke tonight that God is present with us through (1) His Preached Word and (2) the Lord’s Communion.
In II Tim 3:16 – 4:5, these are the final words of the apostle Paul (at least that are recorded). He is giving a final charge to Timothy. Paul first tells Timothy that the “book” is not the word of man but is the very breathed-out word of God. II Tim 4:1,2, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word.” This passage defines the purpose of our Sunday gatherings. We gather so that our King may announce through a “preacher” His word. Preaching is not just talk about God. Biblical preaching is talk from God. God reveals Christ to us through the means of preaching. I Thes 2:13 – When you received the word of God, you accepted it for what it actually is – it’s the word of God. When we gather on Sunday, who are we coming to hear? As we listen, what are we expecting? Are we listening actively and hungry to hear God’s word as the gospel is proclaimed? The breathed-out word of God is speaking – not the word of man – not the preacher. God has chosen this means to be present with his people. When God’s word goes forth, God is present.
God is also present through the Lord’s Supper. How is he present? The bread represents His body and the cup represents His blood. What is significant about the Lord’s Supper? Well, our sins are forgiven – we are reconciled to God. I Cor 10:16 – participation means sharing and fellowshipping. Paul is asking is there not a fellowship with Christ in the bread and the cup? Receiving the elements is like coming to the table – a place of fellowship, a meal. God’s presence nourishes us when we receive the elements by faith. When we receive communion, God is saying to us – you’re forgiven. Do you discern God’s fellowship with you during communion? We were once His enemies, but now we are at His table fellowshipping.
You know, there is much more to say about this, and I can write more, but I’ll stop here since it’s getting late and I have to get up early in the morning. In closing, Craig pointed out that we gather together to worship a personal God. We are not just moving through an agenda to make it to the end on Sunday mornings. We cannot honor God appropriately if we don’t recognize His presence. Recognizing and responding to His presence is what worshiping is about. As we sing, pray, preach and take of the Lord’s Supper, God is being worshipped. However, God is not only a spectator; He is actively present and present to speak. If we don’t see that, we’ll miss Him. God delights to speak to us and to be present with us. Anticipate His Presence.