Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

09/16/2018 A.M.

 

Experiencing The Glory of God

John 1.1-18... Colossians 1.15-19... And Hebrews 1.1-4

 

The Jews had a word for it.... SHEKINAH... (SH-KI-NA).

The Shekinah of God was His visible manifestation.

 

You knew God was present because the light His glory was there... You could see it.

In Exodus... His daytime glory was described as a column of smoke... Or a cloud...

•A column of smoke by day...

•A column of fire by night.

 

Sometimes His glory was just a bright light... Even a blinding light...

• The prophet Habakkuk describes his fiery glory as the sun blazing in the sky… His

splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hands.

• In the angels’ announcement of Jesus birth to the shepherds… A great light shown about them.

• His appearance to Paul on the Damascus road was blinding...

• This same brightness appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos.  

 

The Old Testament word is... KABOD... (K-BOD).

Jewish tradition tells us that this bright light could be seen in the Most Holy Place... Between the Cherubim above the Mercy Seat... Atop the Ark of the Covenant.

 

This concept appears to be supported by First Samuel 4.4... Where Scripture says...So the people sent men to Shiloh... And they brought back the ark of the covenant of the LORD     Almighty... Who is enthroned between the cherubim.

 

This morning... I want us to see what we can learn about our relationship to God by examining some scriptures where… His SH-KI-NA... His K-BOD… Is seen.

And then make some spiritual applications.

 

First from Exodus 13.20-22.... We begin reading with the verse numbered 20... They set out from Succoth, and camped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.

 

If we turn one page in our Bible… Look at Exodus 14... Verse 19 beginning... The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

 

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.

 

The SHEKINA of God... His glory... His kabod... His visible manifestation is the Pillar... The column of cloud... Smoke by day... And column of fire by night.

 

Let’s see what we can learn here... READy?...

 

First... His presence... His Glory... Showed them the way.

God’s presence gave Israel direction… And will us.

 

Question and application... Where do you and I get our direction today?

• From God?...

• From the world?...

• From the self-help bookshelf?...

• From some Johnny-come-lately business guru?...

• From inner-self.

 

Here it is church... Since the world began… God’s people have never been self-directed people... Not individually... Not corporately.  

 

In fact… It’s submission to God’s direction that makes us His people to begin with.  Nobody can be God’s person... Or people without following His directives.

 

Now I hope you understand that His direction today doesn’t come from a cloud... But from the Word… God is present... Very present...

• In His word... In His will...

• And in His people... Who submit to His will through the Word.

 

Secondly... This pillar of fire gave them light.

It would be impossible to move a million-plus people through the Sinai desert wilderness without some kind of signaling device... But with the glory of God overhead they could move anytime… Anytime.

 

Question and application... Ever feel like you have been swallowed up in ethical darkness?... Not knowing which way to turn?... What’s the right decision?... Perhaps you’re in such a dilemma… today…right now.  If not it won’t be long until such darkness will come.

 

Like Israel... There appears no way out of this situation?

Pharaoh’s army is behind us... The Red Sea is in front of us... Where do we turn?

 

Well…We learn here that when we allow God’s presence in our lives...

There is not only direction...

There is light to move by.

God does not leave his people stranded.

 

David said... Be still. Be quiet...Listen... Read... know that God is near.

The New Testament tells us that...

  • Jesus is our light...  I am the light of the world...

  • I am the light and life of all people...

  • I am the way... The truth... And the life...

  • Jesus is the express image... The exact reflection... The perfect manifestation of God.

  • In fact... Jesus said... If you have seen Me... You have seen the Father...

  • Jesus came into the world to show us the Father... To make Him known.

  • Jesus came as ... A lamp unto our feet... A light for our pathway.

Those who depend upon Him never have to live in darkness.

 

Listen to this from the Apostle John... If we walk with light as He is in the light... If we will walk with Him... We will never again become lost in the darkness.

 

The Bible teaches that the darkness will never...Never... Overcome the light.

Do you believe this?... I hope you do.

 

Let’s notice something… According to Exodus 14.20... This light was not seen by everyone.  God’s people could see it... But the Egyptian Army saw only blackness... To them it was dark.

 

What does this say to us this morning?... The illumination of the word is only for those who search for it... Not for all the world.

 

Jesus spoke of those...

Who have eyes... But do not see...

Ears who do not hear...

And minds... Hearts that do not perceive... Do not understand.

 

Paul tell us in First Corinthians chapter two that…God’s truth… His light… Comes from words taught by the Holy Spirit… Expressing spiritual truth in spiritual words… And those without the Spirit do not accept or understand these truths.

 

I know people who have a thousand questions about...

• The Bible...

• God...

• Jesus...

• The church...

• Salvation...

• Truth...

• Grace...

• Baptism...

• Worship...

• Heaven...

• Hell...

• The state of the dead... Etc..

 

They know a lot of Bible... And a lot about the Bible... But they seem never to put it all together into anything meaningful... It certainly never impacts their life… Never changes their lives.

 

What is the problem?...  These people aren’treally searching for God and truth on His terms… With the idea that when they find the truth… see the light… They will change.

 

Paul speaks of these in Second Timothy 3.7… Those always learning… But never acknowledging and submitting to truth.

 

The Hebrews’ Writer tells us that there is… No forgiveness… No other sacrifice… For those who know the truth and refuse to obey it.

 

Don’t be like this… Accept and obey truth when and where you find it.

So the application question becomes… Do we want to know God?...

• His will?...

• His way?...

• His truth?...

Do we really want to walk in His light?

 

Church… In the New Testament… Knowing God is equal to having a Father/son relationship with Him… Knowing Him is obeying Him.  In fact… Scripture tells us that one day Jesus will come in judgment on those who… Do not know HIM… And those who do not obey His word in the Gospel.

 

So…If Jesus is the Light of the World... To walk in the light is to follow Him… Ask what would Jesus do in this dilemma… In this ethical darkness.

 

Know this…

• Jesusis God Glory…

• His Shekinah…

• His Kabod!

 

This helps us understand what Paul meant in Romans 3.23 when he said... For all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

 

Walking in the light is our…

• Becoming like Him…

• Conforming to His image…

• It’s having His… Heart… Attitude… Disposition… And Behavior.

Jesus is the light we are to walk in.

 

Are we willing to be like Him… And none other than?... Are we?… Really?

In doing so… We enjoy the forgiveness of our sins through His blood.

 

You see… We must learn to be like Israel in the wilderness… When the glory of God moved they moved… When it stood still they stood still.

 

At Mount Sinai… Moses said… If your light is not going with us...Don’t let us leave this mountain... Amen?... Amen!!

 

Indeed!!... Our every spiritual move must be based upon… His word… His truth… His light… Based upon what would jesus do… What Jesus did do?

 

Number three... With the presence of God comes Protection!

This column of light kept armies separated.

It was impossible for Pharaoh to harm Israel.

 

In rhetoric Paul asked... Who... What... Can separate us from the love ofGod?...

• From His divine care...

• Concern...

• Protection...

• Guidance...

• Provision?...

No... In all these things we are more than conquers... All things work for our good if...

• If we be His children...

• If we’re serving in His presence...

• Walking in the light...

• Living under His glory cloud...

• Within His KABOD.

That’s Romans 8… Go home and read it again!

 

Question and application...

• Are you... Am I living under His cloud?...

• Is God present in our lives?...

• Are we Spirit-led people?...

•Are we becoming more and more and more like Jesus

I pray that we are!!... And I pray that we believe…

• God is with us…

• Protecting us in life and in death.

 

Here it is church… We want God to protect us from death… While His promise is to protect us in death.  For the child of God… Death is simply a door from this world to His world… from painand suffering to eternal Peace and Joy!

 

Here’s another point... God’s glory builds faith.

Listen to Exodus 14.17... The Egyptians will go into the Sea after you... And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.

 

God says... When you see what happens to Pharaoh and his army... You will see My Glory... And that Glory will strengthen your faith.

• They heard and felt an east wind blow all night…

• They saw the waters part... A path appear…

• They witnessed the destruction of their enemy...

• Later… They experienced manna from heaven... Quail from the desert...

• Water from rocks...

• Healing from a serpent on a pole.

You see...  Living in the presence of God... Under his direction... Walking in the light of his glory... Enables us to build... And strengthen… our faith.

 

Now... Let’s talk about where God’s glory is today.

I think it appropriate to read from Exodus chapter forty… He set up the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and put up the screen at the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled upon it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Whenever the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, the Israelites would set out on each stage of their journey; but if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day... And fire was in the cloud by night, before the eyes of all the house of Israel at each stage of their journey.

 

You see... When Moses finished the work on the Tabernacle... Then the… presence of God... His Shekinah... His Kabod…came down…. Entered this portable sanctuary to the extent that Moses could not go in.

 

You will recall that... Later in Jerusalem... God’s glory filled Solomon’s temple on dedication day in a similar blinding manner.

 

Question and application.... Where is God’s glory...His Kabod...His presence…today?... Right now?… This moment?

• Is it in Jerusalem on the Temple Mound?

• Is it still somewhere in the Sinai desert?

• Is it over the Ark of the Covenant wherever it is?

 

Where does Paul say God Dwells today?...

• Is it in this building?

• Is this room God’s sanctuary?...  God’s Home?... His abode?... I think not!!

 

Do you see his glory floating around… Somewhere?... Anywhere?

 

Where would we expect to find... To see God’s glory today?... Any ideas?

 

Listen to some New Testament Scriptures that address this question about where is His...HisKABOD today...

 

John 14.23... Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home... Our abode with them.

 

I Corinthians 3.16 & 17... Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?... God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

 

I Corinthians 6:19-20... Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you,which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

 

Ephesians 3.16-17... I pray that out of the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

 

1John 4.13 & 15... We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us his Spirit... If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.

 

Now… Listen to Paul’s conclusion from Romans 8.9-11… You are controlled… Not by the sinful nature… But by theSpirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ… And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you… Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

 

Who can deny this morning that God and Christ live in His people through the Spirit He has given us... Indeed... We are His temple... Temples not made with hands.

 

God’s glory… His spirit… Resides in the hearts of his children... Obedient...Baptized believers.

 

Question... Is God living in me... You?

 

Can others see God’s glory in us by the way we live... Our attitudes... Our disposition?

Only…Only… Only… To the extent that we are producing the Fruit of the Spirit…

• Love…

• Joy…

• Peace…

• Patience…

• Kindness…

• Goodness…

• Faithfulness…

• Gentleness…

• And self-control…

In our lives… Only if we have the heart disposition and behavior of Jesus.

 

Now I would be amiss… If I didn’t give you the negative side of God’s presence… His glory NOT being in us.

 

God will not make himself manifest... Will not live in those people...

• Who will not follow him...

• Keep His commandments...

• Walk in the light of His glory….

• Strive to be like Jesus

 

In the opening chapters of First Samuel... Eli is the priest of Israel. He has two sons... Hophni and Phinehas.  Because Eli was out of touch with God... The religion of the Jews had run amuck.

• His two sons committed sexual immorality inside the Tabernacle Court… Can you imagine?

• They stole meat from the alter offerings.

 

Things got worse... The Philistines... Killed 4000 Israelite soldiers... Then 30,000 more were killed... And they captured the Ark of the Covenant.

 

Included in this second slaughter were Eli’s sons... Hophni and Phinehas.

When the runner came to tell about his sons’ death and the capture of the Ark... Eli fell off his seat and broke his neck and died.

 

When PhineHas’ pregnant wife heard the news about her husband’s death... It threw her into labor... And she gave birth to a son... Do you know what she named him?  Do you know?... ICHABOD... Word sound familiar?... What does Ichabod mean?... The glory of God is gone... Has departed.

 

You see...  God will not live in...

• People who will not walk in the light...

• Those who will not hold to truth…

• Those who will not live In the glory of HIS Word...

• Those who no longer are intrested in becoming like Jesus.

• Those who insist on living by a Frank Sinatra theology... I’ll do it my way!!

This must never... Never include us... RIGHT?

 

More Questions and application.

• Can our family...

• Children...

• Grandchildren...

• Our neighbors...

• Friends...

• Coworkers

• Even our enemies...

See God living in us?... Can they see his kabod?...Is his light on in us?

 

Or has our personal or corporate church life deteriorated to the point that His presence is all but indistinguishable in us… As his child or as a church??

 

Well…Is Christ living in us?...

    • lighting our path?...

    • Protecting us....

    • Giving us direction?...

    • Increasing our faith…

    • Are we enjoying the blessings of walking in the light?

    • CAN OTHERS SEE Jesus IN US??

Only…Only… If we are his child... By faith... Repentance... And Baptism.

 

Only if we’re committed to living in such a way that God will live in our hearts… If you love me… You will keep my commandments… And The Father and I will come and make our Abode in your heart.

 

If this lesson has spoken to you in such a way that you need to respond to this invitation... Then come now... As we stand and sing this invitation song together.