Hosting the Presence
Luke 3:21-22; 4:1; 14
1 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. 2 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.
The People of God orientated around the Manifest Presence of God.
The Presence is what made Israel Israel.
“If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” Ex. 33:15
The Torah was Israel’s instruction manual on how to protect the Presence.
A key facet of God’s judgment of Israel was His removal of His Presence from the Temple.
“When God’s Presence is absent it is called Exile, or the “death” of Exile. The end of Exile is the return of the Presence to the temple, and this is precisely how Jesus is at times described in the NT: John 1:14 especially!” (Scott McKnight).
The end of judgment on Israel was marked by the return of the Presence of God to the Temple. When the Presence returned to the temple, they new their sins had been forgiven. The biggest surprise of the Jews on the Day of Pentecost was that when the Spirit returned to Jerusalem it didn’t touch down in the temple. He returned to a new permanent dwelling place, the bodies of the followers of Jesus Christ.
Christian believers are God’s permanent temple. He will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Bill Johnson remarked that, “He is us by covenant and will never leave. But He is not upon us all. He is in my for my benefit. He is upon me for yours.”
What does it look like to host the Presence?
A W Tozer once famously remarked:
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
How do live so vulnerable to the Holy Spirit that if His Presence lifted from us we would be left totally exposed?
We need to walk with the Presence in mind. Bill Johnson famously asked, “How would we walk around if we walked with a dove on our shoulder?”
Paul in Ephesians 4 describes what it looks like to walk circumspectly:
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4: 30-32)
We need to be okay with the stigma of the Holy Spirit
Paul wrote to the Galatians “I bear the marks of Jesus” (Gal. 6:17). The Greek word for marks is the word “Stigma.
Part of bearing the stigma of Christ is being prepared to look like a fool in the eyes of the world.