Knowing His Presence
If you'll spend a little time with your Lord, and if you'll listen to what He says to you through His Word and by the Holy Spirit, you'll know something of His presence.
And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? [chuckle] Bless your heart. I trust everything’s going alright at your house, and that your heart is fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ in faith, in trust, in obedience. “Trust and obey,” says the old song, “for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” You trust him for the things you can’t handle, and you obey him in the things you can handle. Simple yet profound, and it is the way to walk with the Lord.
Well, we’re looking at John chapter 17, we’ve come now to the verse 24. And our Lord Jesus says “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou has given Me, be with Me where I am.” Now he’s asked a certain thing, a certain number of things about his disciples. He says, “Keep them.” He says, “I pray for them.” And he says, “Keep them. Keep through Thy own name those whom Thou has given Me.” And then he says later on, “I pray that you would keep them from the Evil One.” Then he prays, he says, “Sanctify them.” He is still asking for some things for us. Sanctify them through Thy truth. And then he says, “I pray that they all may be one as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.”
Now he says, “I want them to be with Me.” So here you have the full scale of Christ’s desire for you and for me. He wants us to be kept. He wants us to be protected from the Devil’s attacks. He wants us to be set aside entirely for God’s use. The word sanctified means set aside for God to use. He wants us to be one in Christ, and he wants us to be with him. And so he goes from time right into eternity in the scope of his praying.
Small thought here: learn to connect your praying with eternal issues. And I’m not advocating the procedure that some skeptical waggers called pie in the sky by and by. That isn’t the point. Most praying is incredibly banal and shallow. We have a laundry list of things we want, and we list them off to God and sign off and go on about our ways. Learn to connect your praying with eternal issues, eternal truth, and God’s plans for eternity.
I can guarantee you two things. One, it’ll give you an entirely different viewpoint. Paul says, “We look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. They give you a different point of view on life and all that it involves. Eternal truth, eternal issues, and God’s eternal plans. Link your praying to that.
Now there is no law against praying about the things you need. Paul said, “In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,” everything that is, “make your requests known unto God, and the peace of God will fill your heart, guard your heart.” So we’re encouraged to pray about everything. Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint.” So there’s no restraint suggested in this matter of praying about what you need. But the underlying current of prayer, the saturating atmosphere of prayer, to change the figure of speech, may very well be broader around to where you’re thinking in terms of eternal matters. You wanna ponder that?
I can’t begin to tell you what to say. But I can tell you, that if your heart is fixed on eternity, you’ll pray differently about temporal matters. Remember the verse I quoted from 2 Corinthians: “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Fix your attention on eternity, and you will pray differently about today. Good idea? He said, “I want you to be with Me where I am.” Why? “That they may behold My glory which Thou has given Me; for Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
Now see, the Lord Jesus Christ laid aside all of His heavenly glory to come down the stairways of the stars. Born of the Virgin Mary in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, placed the little newborn baby in a container that would have held straw for the animals, hay or straw manger.
Humble, humble beginnings. Humble upbringing in a carpenter shop. He laid all of the glory aside. Now the disciples saw it even partially and briefly on what we call the Mount of Transfiguration. Read the story in Matthew 17. They saw His glory just briefly, and I’m sure only partially. John, the apostle, had a glimpse of the glorified Christ as he writes about Him in the first chapter of Revelation.
But I’m convinced that the full glory of the Lord Jesus is something that a human being here on earth simply cannot stand anymore than you and I could stand to look at the sun or an atomic explosion. The full glory of Christ is something that has to be seen with resurrection eyes, and it will happen. Job said, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, that after my death, those skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, Whom I shall behold for myself and not another.” The prospect of being with the Lord and of looking upon Him as He is, and of being able to stand it and to understand and contain all that it means is part of the glorious hope.
Paul writes about it-he says, “The Lord shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. The dead in Christ shall rise first, then we, which are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall be caught up together with them in clouds.” Dr. Pettingill used to say, “That’s clouds of believers, not ‘cloud’ clouds.” “Caught up together with them in clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be,” what’s the next words? “with the Lord.”
Now you connect that passage to John 17 in verse 24. “I want them to be with me. So shall we ever be with the Lord.” Paul said in the Philippians: “I would rather depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” So you and I are traveling toward that time when we will be with Him and His prayer about us will finally be answered. He wants you with Him. He wants you with Him. Not that you should do anything or say anything, but that you should be there, for the great heart of God longs to share His love and His power and His compassion with you.
Well, you and I are still on Earth. We haven’t gone to Heaven yet. I’m breathing pretty well today, thank you and feel like I might live for quite a while. I’m gonna work on it anyway. We’re still on Earth, we haven’t gone to Heaven yet. So then what? Oh, you can know because the indwelling Holy Spirit has as His job to manifest Christ to you and through you. You can know something about this, being with the Lord.
When I was in the pastorate, I made about a thousand calls a year. Three times a day, go tell somebody about Jesus. In the process, I had many wonderful experiences. I remember the day I approached the door, looked through the window and saw the master of the house smoking a big fat cigar. At the same time, he saw me coming and he put the cigar under the sofa pillow. [laughter] Well he invited me, “come in pastor” so on and so on. We sat there, and I saw this thin wisp of smoke coming out from under the sofa pillow where he was seated. And I said to him, “You better put that cigar out, you’re gonna burn the place down.” He was so embarrassed ’cause he thought he had hid it. [chuckle]
Oh, dear. But there was another call I made and no one seemed to come to the door. And then after a while, this young mother came to the door smiling shyly, and she had a little three year old holding her by the hand. And as they stood in the door, where they said, “Pastor, we’re sorry we didn’t come to the door right away. We were talking with Jesus, just practicing the presence of God.” Well, I thought that was great. Just the presence of God, a little three year old being taught early in life, that you can sit still and talk with God and be in His Presence.
Jesus said, “I want them to be with Me.” Well, He said, “Lo, I am with you all the way even to the end of the world.” So His Presence is available right this minute. Small thought here. You can’t hurry the presence of God. “Be still,” the psalmist says, “and know that I am God.” It takes a while to be still. Your mind keeps churning on with all different kinds of thoughts, and you need just to wait before God until He quiets your spirit.
And you are indeed still before Him, and then as you worship, and as you praise, as you confess your sins and shortcomings, as you trust the precious shed blood of Jesus to cleanse you, as you respond to the promptings of the indwelling Holy Spirit, I can promise you beloved, you’ll know something about the presence of God. You can’t hurry it, you can’t dash in with a laundry list, and say, “Here, God, this is what I need today.”
But if you’ll spend a little time with your Lord, and if you’ll listen to what He says to you through His Word and by the Holy Spirit, you’ll know something of His Presence. Jesus wants you to do that. He says, “I want them to be with me.” Ultimately, that means in His Presence in Heaven. Presently, it means that He wants to be with you where you are. You want to wait on Him, and you want to let Him fill your life with Himself. This is part of what He wants, and I’m sure you too, long for that experience, the presence of Christ.
Dear Father, today, let us know the presence of Jesus, I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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