Day: April 9, 2013
C. S. Lewis
Being sheltered by God while on house arrest is the perfect cloud of love anyone could imagine. He is my source of joy and peace while serving this sentence. My wife and I are in love with the fact that He is grooming us while in this storm of being stripped of independence and pride. To get time to study and be ushered into His presence while doing it is an awesome experience.
NTRODUCTION: “Clouds” are mentioned several times in the Scripture. They are closely identified with God.
Isaiah 19:1 – “Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt:”
Rev. 14:14 – “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”
Can you name some instances where God uses a “cloud” in Scripture?
• To guide the Children of Israel through the wilderness.
• God spoke to Moses in a cloud on Mt Sinai.
• God appeared to Aaron on the Day of Atonement, at the Mercy Seat, in a cloud.
• The glory of the Lord left the Temple in Jerusalem, in a cloud.
• When Elijah predicted rain, his servant saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand.
• God spoke in a cloud at the transfiguration of Jesus.
• Jesus ascended in a cloud.
• We will be caught up in the clouds at the Rapture.
TONIGHT, I want us to take a look at several instances where God used a “cloud”.
1. – Genesis 9:13-14 – God teaches us about His PROMISES.
The RAINBOW is one of God’s covenant signs to the world … THAT … there will never be another flood like that one. It’s a PROMISE from God. It had never rained before the flood (Genesis 2:5-6). When God caused the great flood, He caused it to rain for 40 days & 40 nights. Can you imagine what Noah must have done, when he finally got off the ark, and saw a dark cloud in the sky? He might have run back to the ark … UNTIL … he remembered God’s promise … the RAINBOW.
MAYBE … there are some dark clouds in your life. Remember the cartoon character who always had a black cloud following him everywhere?
We often sing the song:
“Tho clouds may gather in the sky, and billows round me roll;
However dark the world may be, I’ve sunlight in my soul.”
We need to look BEYOND the dark clouds to the RAINBOW that God always has for us. There can’t be a rainbow, without clouds! You’ve heard the old saying, “Beyond every cloud there’s a silver lining.” While that may not be true, there’s always a RAINBOW of God’s presence beyond every dark cloud.
Dark clouds may be brought over our life by God – 9:14. When they come, they are there so we can see the RAINBOW of His grace and glory. There is no dark cloud without a RAINBOW of promise. Dark clouds always mean showers of blessing. Romans 4:21 – “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
2.- Exodus 13:21-22 – God teaches us about His GUIDANCE.
Where the cloud went, Israel went. When it moved, they moved … when it stopped, they stopped. God used the CLOUD to guide them through the wilderness. They didn’t have a road map, roads or a guide … they had a CLOUD. They didn’t need to stop and ask for directions (Moses was a man … he wouldn’t have anyhow!).
The cloud didn’t go faster than they could follow … BUT … they had to keep up with the cloud. They could see it … it didn’t go away … it was always there.
IN LIKE MANNER … we walk by FAITH, not by SIGHT. We can’t SEE the cloud … BUT … we still have a Guide thorough the wilderness of our life. We need to keep our eyes on Him. He will never lead you astray.
3.- Exodus 14:19-20 – God teaches us about His PROTECTION.
NOW … the cloud goes behind the children of Israel. They didn’t need to be guided across the Red Sea … it has opened up for them. What they needed was a GUARD at their rear … BECAUSE … the Egyptian army was closing in on them. The cloud became a partition between them and their enemy.
God stands in the clouds, as a partition between you and your enemy, the Devil. Psalm 34:7 – “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
4.- Exodus 16:10-12 – God teaches us His PROVISION.
God had guided them, and protected them thus far … Would He NOW, not PROVIDE for them?
God continues to provide for us, His children. He provides for us ABUNDANTLY:
• Abundant Life – John 10:10 – “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
• Abundant Power – Ephes. 3:20 – “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”
• Abundant Supply – Philip. 4:19 – “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
When Israel looked at the clouds, it reminded them of God’s presence … His guidance … His protection … His provision. Will God do any less for us? My, how God has provided for you & me.
• Have you missed a meal in the last couple of days?
• What kind of a vehicle did you drive up in?
• Did you walk in, or did they have to carry you in here tonight?
• If you were to die before 8:30 PM, would you spend eternity in Heaven?
God provides … AMEN? What are we to think about God’s provision? 16:12b. We are to realize that God is our provider.
5.- Exodus 24:15-18 – God teaches us about His GLORIFICATION.
Moses goes up into Mt. Sinai to receive God’s law – 24:12. God once again manifests Himself in the form of a cloud. Can you just picture it? – 24:17. What a privilege it must have been to see this cloud, and hear the voice of God … and see His glory.
Can we see the glory of God today? (ASK) HOW? By looking in a mirror. Turn to 2 Corinthians 3:18.
You & I are to REFLECT the glory of God. If we aren’t, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with God’s glory. It’s because, there’s something wrong with the REFLECTORS. Maybe we’re like dirty mirrors, who distort the image of His true glory.
How can we reflect the glory of God?
• By Good Works – Matthew 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
• By Bearing Fruit – John 15:8 – “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
• By Consecration – 1 Cor. 6:20 – “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
The glory of God should be reflected in each one of us. We should be constantly “being changed” into a clear reflection of the image of the glory of God. “from glory to glory” means a PROGRESSION in Spiritual growth … from a carnal Christian to a Spiritual Christian.
6. Exodus 40:33b-38 – God teaches us about His PRESENCE.
The manifestation of God filled the tabernacle in a cloud. As Christians, we are also filled with the Holy Spirit of God. We are His “temple” … the dwelling place of God. It is because of His filling and His fullness and His presence that we can have strength and victory in the Christian life.
They saw the cloud of the presence of God every day. This should be true in our lives as well. The Holy Spirit lives within us … indwells us. We should experience His presence continually.
7.- Acts 1:9 – God teaches us about His COMING AGAIN.
Christ ascends to His Father in a cloud … the visible image of an invisible God. Jesus had broken visible fellowship with His disciples on earth, and entered His Heavenly home. BUT … 10 days later the Holy Spirit would come to indwell them. He didn’t leave them without His presence.
Just like it was a CLOUD that took Jesus home, it is also a CLOUD that will take US home. 1 Thess. 4:16-17 – all turn. The clouds we have seen here, reveals the glory of God. The only way we can go home to be with Jesus, is ONLY if we are accompanied by His glory. We have no glory of our own … we are only reflectors of His glory.
Whenever you look up into the sky, and you see a CLOUD, it should remind you of:
• The PROMISES of God … that He will never fail you.
• The GUIDANCE of God … that He will never lead you astray.
• The PROTECTION of God … that He is always there to give you victory over the Devil.
• The PROVISION of God … that He will provide all your needs.
• The GLORY of God … that He is to be seen in your life, reflecting His glory.
• The PRESENCE of God … that He will never leave nor forsake you, because of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
• The COMING of God … that Jesus will return in the clouds to take you home with Him.
Whenever the storm clouds darken your life … just remember that the light of God’s glory will always shine through. Let the clouds remind you of the presence of Christ!
STAND – PRAY
If we allow the consideration of heathen morality and heathen religion to absolve us from the duty of preaching the gospel we are really deposing Christ from His throne in our own souls.
In reality, a son of God is someone who is not born of blood, or by the will of the flesh but by the Spirit of God. According to the Torah, Quran, and The Holy Bible, Isaac and Ishmael are direct descendants of Abraham. Because of their blood relationship to Abraham, their religions, Judaism and Islam trust in their blood covenant or generational connection to God through Abraham for salvation. Nevertheless, in the New Testament, John declares that blood connections, natural generations, and earthly adoptions have nothing to do with being a child of God. He declares that the son of God is born of God through the powerful connection of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
In John 3:1-8, Jesus explains this new birth. The Scriptures read, ‘Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi. We know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying you must be born again. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’
As a son of God, we have faith in what God did by allowing Jesus to stand upon the cross in our place. Our repentance is from our unrighteous deeds and unworthy sacrifices that could not cover our sins. Our obedience comes from the acceptance of the offer of God’s salvation and His pathway to forgiveness. Our faith, repentance, and obedience prepare us for the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of God’s Spirit emerges us into the spiritual reality of God. It transforms us into new creatures in Christ Jesus. It rebirths us into the world as the enable or empowered the sons and daughters of God.
Nevertheless, this placement or choosing as the Chosen Generation is not a mere title. It is our spiritual eyes made conscious of the fundamental gifts, discernments, and weapons available to every child of God. The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit of God connects us to the source of our election as the royal priesthood and teaches us how to use these weapons. The immense overpowering force of the Holy Spirit removes us from the world and forms us into a Holy Nation outfitted in the Armor of God. The Holy Spirit of God gives us right standing before God, so we can accept the royal gifts from the Holy Spirit of God. He grants us divine placement inside the Household of God as the peculiar sons and daughters of God.
Nevertheless, the label of Christian originated not within the household of God, but with the heathen world in Antioch and Rome. The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch came from Jerusalem because of persecution by the Jews. They were labeled as Christian as an insult meaning they were trying to imitate Jesus, the Christ. However, what the world meant to hurt the church, the reborn children of God decide to make it work for church of the Living God’s good. The designation of worldly man, the label of Christian or an imitation anointing, was transformed into a demeaning praise of God. Mistakenly, God’s new creation called the body of Christ or the people of the way of Christ decided to tack on a heathen made label. By doing this, they unknowingly diminished the power of the divinely named Church of God. What God had divinely separated from the world and called his Holy Nation quickly developed into a confusing number of different divisions called Christianity.
This is why in Galatians 1 we find these words written from Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. It addressed all the brethren that are with him and to the churches of Galatia. Paul says, ‘Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel. Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preaches any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For example, do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For example, if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren that the gospel that was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.’
What should the ministers of Christ preach? We should preach Christ, and Him crucified and glorified? Moreover, our preaching should be accompanied with the Divine power of the Holy Spirit of God. The power of the Lord should empower us to present His redeeming and life changing love to the hearts and consciences of the sinful children of God. The body of Christ should turn the world from a careless, carnal way of living by displaying to them how to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life as a son or daughter of God.
However, the label of Christianity does not allow its follwers the opportunity to do this. Christianity has turned us away from worshiping God in spirit and in truth to worshiping Him in prearranged and highly orchestrated shows and worthless ceremonies. Because the denominational Christian church does not present the Lord Jesus in unity, with simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, the label of Christianity announces the churchgoer to the world as a hollow imitation of the Anointed One of God that clings to the ideal of worldly success. When we accepted the label of heathen man, we must follow the guidelines set by that label. No matter how much we want to say diet Coke taste like Coca Cola, it is not the real thing. Likewise, because of Christianity, we cannot become like Jesus, the Christ and walk as men and women empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. As a Christian, we can only develop into an imitation of the real thing because that is what we call ourselves by our heathen label.
The reason our world continues to remain in turmoil is we, like the sons of Sceva, are trying to act as if we have what it takes by our worldly means to get the job done. Nevertheless, each time, Lucifer sends the Christian church running back into the world unclothed and naked. We have failed to understand that the reason the followers of Christ were called disciples is they learn to follow the ways of Jesus and not imitate the ways of the world. The proper meaning of a follower of Christ denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief ambition to shape his life by Christ’s precepts and examples.
By accepting the promise of new life in Christ, we receive the yoke of Christ upon us. By this yoke, the Holy Spirit of God drives us to shun the carnal and worldly ways of life. Because of the Holy Spirit of God, we can knock at Mercy’s door when we need aid in our fight against Lucifer. The authority of the sons and daughters of God enables us to stand bold in our fight as the mighty men and women of God. When the Holy Spirit wean idols and the carnal ways from our lives and replace them with the love of and for God, no weapons formed against us prosper. This is the blessing and privilege of the spiritual true believer. We partake or share in Christ’s righteousness or right standing before God. We walk so God is honored by us because we are His people. However, if a man’s family walks disorderly, it is a dishonor to the man. Since God calls us His sons and daughters, and we answer with Abba Father, it is time that we lay aside every weight that so easily besets us, so we can stand and walk like the men and women empowered by God because as a Christian, we are just an insult thrown at God by heathen man. This is my revelation for today, because I asked for understanding of why are we as a church on earth being whipped and conforming to sin and this was what I was led to study. No offence to any particular denomination, just clarity on what seems to be factually true revealed by scripture.