The Glory of God

What impact does encountering God have on your life? This talk explores the difference encountering the glory of God in Jesus makes! The presence of God will leave a mark of grace and truth on you!

 

Be Free or be a Slave

Jesus says in John 8; “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” No one wants to be a slave to anyone or anything and yet that is exactly what so many of us are. Slaves to addictions, unfaithfulness, fear and control, to un-forgiveness, to striving for acceptance, to insecurity and so on…

Now time for the good news – the Son of God sets us free. Immediately on trusting our lives to Jesus we are deemed forgiven and children of God. We then spend our lives working out that freedom with his presence powerfully working in us. And our place in his family is permanent – we don’t get thrown out depending on our own goodness, because God is faithful and loving. Of course the prodigal son is welcomed home – he has a permanent place in the family!

Jesus life and ministry was about bringing us into the full freedom of being sons and daughters of the living God. Once we begin to follow Jesus we have that assurance of the belonging to our heavenly Father – as Galatians 4 describes; “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child.” It is that presence of God in us that we all felt last night at Manly Life – the Spirit in our hearts (this time during worship) that was crying out “You are loved”, “You are loved”, “You are loved”…

That is the starting place to understand ourselves, our true identity. Not as slaves, not as orphans, not as outsider, but as fully loved children of God. The time for sin has passed, the time for striving and insecurity is gone. Rest in the peace of being part of the family!

God’s presence or bust!

Victoria spoke last night at Manly Life on that great passage in Exodus where Moses says to God; “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

In the same passage God promises; “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

This is the ongoing story of God’s people through time – it is His presence in and through us that makes all the difference to all that we do. It should be what distinguishes us from all other people. Whether in the way we share good news, pray for the sick, act with compassion or meet together, it all counts for nothing if the presence of God is not with us. Some thoughts for us as individuals, churches and in our communities…

1. Personally we need to take seriously being the temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 6:19). The same Spirit/power that conquered the grave now lives in us (Rom 8:11), the same Spirit of Jesus is now shaping our character (Gal 5:22-26), indeed the same Spirit cries out within us that we are the children of God (Rom 8:15-16). We live as children shaped by the presence in us!

2. As churches we are known for the presence of God dwelling in our midst. Just as the early church was filled with awe, miracles, signs and wonders (Acts 2:43), our meetings today are to be characterised by the presence of God. When someone comes to one of our services we owe them an encounter with the presence of God. Whether that be in a sense of peace and grace or in mighty demonstrations of God’s power – we are to be seekers of his presence with us!

3. In our community we are to be the visible carriers of God’s presence. Jesus promised after his resurrection that “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20). Whatever we do in our communities, let it be characterised by Jesus being there with us. An act of mercy, a word of good news, an encouragement, a prayer of faith – may His presence go with us!

Theologically I believe that battle is over – the church has awoken to the need for the presence of God to manifest in our lives, in our churches, in our mission. “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And where we don’t see it yet, we keep seeking and praying. God don’t send us unless you are with us!

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