What Happens When You Come Face to Face with Him
1 John 1:1–3 (ESV)
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
o John’s testimony is a simple one. Jesus is not an illusion – ‘we saw Him’. He is not a figment of our imagination, – ‘we touched Him’. He is not a fairy tale – ‘we heard Him’.
John 17:3 (ESV)
3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
o Eternal life is not length of life. If eternal life was length of life only, then the sinner has it. Unbelievers will live forever; they are just going to live in a different place than believers will.
o Eternal life is quality of life. John states here that knowing Him, continually encountering Him, continually experiencing His presence is eternal life.
o Encountering means meeting Him face to face; it means coming into contact with Him; it means He crossed your path, He bumped into you during your day.
o The heart of man hungers for ‘encounter’.
o People want that – you want that! You want God showing up in your living room, you want Him to show up at your workplace. You surely want Him to show up in your church!
o Encountering Jesus is like having ‘days of heaven on earth’.
Times of Refreshing
Why we need an encounter
o It is training for our days as glorified sons of God. Everything in heaven is like the sense of His presence here on earth – just much, much, much greater. His presence in heaven is unhindered. There is no flesh in heaven to hinder His presence (flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom). There is no enemy in heaven – there are no devils, demons, and evil spirits there. There is no unbelief in heaven – there is no unforgiveness or lack of unity or lack of reverence in heaven. These are just some of the things that hinder His manifest presence. If you did not have these things on earth – His presence would always be manifest.
Defining our terms
o Omnipresence vs. Manifest Presence
o Omnipresence means God is everywhere present at the same time. However, God is not everywhere manifest at the same time. Do you understand the difference? Do you understand the fact that somewhere right now at this very moment a bank is being robbed – God is present at the bank – but He is not manifest, if He was manifest they would not be robbing the bank – they would be worshipping Him.
o People stumble over this and are sometimes angry with God because some negative thing happened to them – maybe they were sexually or physically abused as a child and they want to know ‘where were you’ – ‘how come you didn’t protect me?’ This is part of the answer here. God was present – but He was not manifest. The enemy was manifest. (there are other parts to this of course)
o If God’s presence is manifest, there will not be any evil manifest because those two simply do not mix.
o In fact, the testimonies where particular places experienced revival indicate that when God’s presence is manifest, the bars shut down, the strip joints close, and sin shuts-down.
o Finney’s revivals were known for this
o It happened with Paul
o In Macedonia – Paul cast the devil out of a women and it affected the money the men were making off that girl – God’s presence was manifest and evil was shut-down Acts 16:16-19
o In Ephesus – a revival broke out; sales for the Temple Diana took a hit. That is why they dragged Paul into that theater. (Acts 19:24-27)
o When we speak of encountering Him, we are not just speaking of having one meeting or one encounter!
o You would be amazed how little Jesus manifests or shows up in some churches.
o You would be amazed at how little Jesus is welcome in homes on planet earth – I am not speaking of sinners homes – I am talking about believers homes.
o ILLUSTRATION: I was visiting the home of a relative and I was walking from the kitchen to the living room in this home. I heard the Spirit of God say in my spirit, “I want you to worship me right now because there is no one in this house that worships me.” – I was in a believer’s home.
o QUESTION: Do you worship Him in your house? If you do, I guarantee you, you will have encounters with Jesus in your home – His presences manifests as you worship Him – as you tell Him you love Him – tell Him how much He means to you.
o People struggle over getting God to move – it’s no struggle at all to get God moving – God’s moving all the time – in the Genesis account, the first place we are introduced to the Spirit of God, He is moving on the face of the waters. You don’t have to talk Him into the notion of moving, you don’t have to talk Him into having an encounter with you. He wants to come and visit you – He wants to spend time with you – He wants to show you how He runs the universe. But, He only comes where He is invited.
The Heart of Man Craves Encounter
Hungering for Balance
o You know you have that desire – you have that thought about seeing Jesus in heaven and dream of what that would be like. You have thought about running to Jesus and hugging Him and falling down and worshipping Him – that thought is in you. We love Him and we want to encounter Him!
The Word is Not All You Need
o People say the Word is all you need – the Word is not all you need.
o You need His Word and You need His Spirit – His Presence.
o What you need is balance between the two
o Moses voiced his sentiment on this issue in the clearest terms
o God gave Moses the law on two tables of stone – He gave Moses THE WORD!!! (in Exodus 20)
o Moses was not just satisfied with two tables of stone! He wanted more!
o Moses had the Word – He went up into the Holy Mount to get it personally from God.
o But 13 chapters later in Exodus, we have this conversation between Moses and God.
Exodus 33:13–19 (ESV)
13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the LORD said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” 18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.
o Notice the way this passage unfolds – Moses says show me your ways. Notice, though how God responds to this – ‘my presence shall go with you and I will give you rest’.
o His ways can be known by or in His presence.
o You can learn much about Jesus in your study. But, there are some things about Jesus that you will never learn in your study. Some things can only be learned in His Throne Room – in His presence.
o That does not mean, it is not in the Word. It may be in the Word, you just do not know it yet. It is revelation.
o There are things that you can learn in His presence that are not specifically detailed in the Word (may only be generally there)
o That part of where the Lord said to me – ‘Worship me right now because there is no one on this house that worships me’ – I did not know that the Lord monitors that – there is general teaching about worship but that specific statement said just that way is not there.
o You need His Word and you need His presence.
o That is what is in the heart of man – to hear the Word of the living God AND to experience the Word of the living God.
When You Encounter Jesus, You Encounter His Glory
o When the Bible speaks about God’s manifest presence, it is speaking about elements connected to His Glory.
o When you encounter God, you encounter His glory. People encountered the glory when they encountered Jesus.
o Understand that it’s no different today than it was then. Jesus ministered then in His earth suit. He is the same Jesus today as He was then. He just has a different suit today – a glorified suit.
John 2:11 (ESV)
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
Characteristics of the Glory
Words used in connection with the glory of God
God Encounters Israel
What Happened at Sinai
Exodus 19:10–11, 16-19 (ESV)
10 the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.
16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.
o God’s heart intent has always been to dwell with His people – to encounter then – to hang out with them.
o One of the worst days of God’s life (if we could say it that way) is when He had to drive man out of the garden – that was a bad day for Him.
o The Bible says Adam walked with God in the cool of the day – the Hebrew word – cool which is râvach, (raw-vakh’) – which can be translated ‘wind‘ – God walked with Adam in the wind of God.
§ Does that sound familiar?
Acts 2:1–4 (ESV)
1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
o Why do you suppose that God put on such a showy outward display at Mount Sinai? Why such an spectacular demonstration in the Upper Room? Why fill the room with wind? Why cloven tongues of fire?
o Why not just line them all up – lay hands on them and let them receive the Holy Spirit that way? Why these eye-catching displays?
o It is not God showing off – it is God showing up!
o When Jesus shows up, people change.
Jesus Encounters Saul
Jesus can reach the toughest cases
Acts 22:6–11 (KJV 1900)
6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. 10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. 11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
o Paul was the least likely to be saved. He was an intellectual. He was highly religious.
o Nevertheless, the glory wrapped in the face of Jesus changed him.
o The toughest cases are not out of His reach
o Some people will not experience change any other way than this outward display. Witnessing did not capture Paul’s heart. People showing him love did not arrest Paul. What apprehended Paul? – The glory got Him! The glory that is in the face of Jesus flattened him.
o He can change them and He can change you.
Mark this down, you may look at yourself in the mirror and not enjoy some things you see. Some habits, some problems, some tendencies, some thought patterns. You long to be changed – you long to be different. Jesus can change anything about you including your personality, if you simply seek and encounter Him.