The Manifest presence of God
Living in Cains Court
The sun rises majestically from behind ancient mountains. What a glorious
describable scene. What is indescribable is my glorious indescribable Jesus. He rises majestically and wondrously out of the sea of the world and the mountain of His presence touches the sky and the sky that He touches is cloudless and without trouble. It looks down over a still and motionless sea. This sky, this sea is my heart warmed by the rising of the Son until it burns intensely into my soul and my flesh and changes everything. In this fire of His presence I am alive with a life that will never end. Oh glorious indescribable King, Oh Jesus.
When the Lord touches a man, it does not matter where he comes from. For the glorious power from ancient of days transcends all backgrounds. It is elemental to humanity.
The social class and background of a man is meaningless to God. It has been said that the social divisions within the Church represents the triumph of the world over the church, it is true. Perhaps a man was born into the lower social classes and lived in poverty where he learned to steal and lie and fight to survive. Then, when the ancient of days touches that man he will steal no more, even if he had to starve to death. Lying will flee and he will be engulfed in Truth, a truth that cannot be broken even if it would lead him to the gallows. For what is death to a man who was already dead, died a second time and now is alive forevermore by the very truth he can never deny.
That same man will fight no more, as the world fights. He will fight no more because he has willingly given up the world and all that it treasures. He cares nothing for his rights for he is protected by a defender who is without limit. With his defender by his side they will fight for his heart. This new heart that he has been given is something worth fighting for, for it is the secret treasure of the universe.
His enemy cares nothing for money or power or fame, his enemy knows the real treasure and comes to steal and destroy that. This is what the man of God fights for. He fights for love, he stands for truth no matter what that costs him in this life. For this life is but a passing season, no, only a day. Perhaps only an hour but more likely it is but a moment. The man of God knows this in his spirit for he has experienced eternity and in that actual experience he has tasted the fullness of Joy, so that even when he runs he does not grow weary. For he does not run in this world, he runs in the other world. And as he runs in the other world, something quite incredible happens, he begins to take flight. Suddenly he is no longer bound by the laws of nature. Two worlds collide, standing consciously in one in the flesh, running and flying in the other in the spirit. His spirit flies higher and higher and he soars into endless skies. Oh the glorious freedom of the spirit entwined in the Spirit. It knows no limitations.
Once this man has flown in these skies there is nothing in the seen world that can ever compare. Even if he was offered all the pleasures of the seen world in exchange for this entwining of Spirits in flight, he would not consider it for a moment, for that is exactly what this life is, and all that it has to offer, a moment. Will man exchange an eternity of limitless flight for a moment of earthly pleasure? Only the man who has never flown.
The man who flies , entwined in the Spirit, is like an explorer. The explorer is either exploring far off lands, or he is at home dreaming and making preparations for his next exploration. It never leaves his mind, he is there, or he is thinking of there. As with the explorer, so with the man of God. He is either flying in the endless skies of His presence, or he is thinking of it. There is a price to fly in these endless skies. The man willingly , no, eagerly empties his pockets of all that he has in order to fly once more. The spiritual currency is love for his fellow man, this is the highest denomination. In order to love our fellow man we have to have experienced the love of God. Actually experienced it, felt it, been burned by it, been changed by it, be consumed by it. Not in the head, but in the heart. The love of God is not theological, it is not theory , it is real and it is measurable. It is measured by our love for others. Then comes forgiveness.
The man is consciously aware that he has to give away the love and the forgiveness that he has received. This is the price of the next flight. He has to give his all. It will cost him dearly, it will cost him everything to fly, but he pays. He empties out his pockets until there is nothing left and once again he soars. And when that flight is over, he miraculously finds that when he returns, his pockets are once again full. So, he can genuinely give his all, not once, no, a thousand times. Each time it seems to him he is giving his all, and each time it is true. Yet this man does it over and over again because love is a dead weight in the pocket, it is heavy and restrictive unless it is given away. There is no such thing as unforgiveness either. There is only forgiveness and this too is a dead weight in our pockets until we give it to someone. Only then will we have paid the price and be light enough to fly. Only then can we make the run that leads to flight without growing weary.
This man watches others with sadness as they run and grow weary, their pockets full, weighed down by the treasures of God. Kept to themselves and heavier than the manna greedily and disobediently picked up by the Israelites of old. The canker worm turning the treasures of God into something rotten and foul smelling. The treasure hoarded is the treasure destroyed.
So what do we bring to the alter? Week after week we come together and we are looking for something. Come forward and get blessed, come forward and get healed, come forward and be baptized in the Holy Spirit, come forward and get joy, come forward and get relief. Now none of these things in and of themselves are wrong and in fact they are Scriptural, but remember, we serve a real God who is interested in the things of the heart. He is more interested in the why as to the what. We do not walk in technicality, we walk in reality and this is the only realm that the Lord will deal with us in. The alter is not a place to seek anything, the alter is a place of sacrifice. Things are brought to the alter. Even in the world, when people get audiences with Pope or the President, they bring gifts, their reward is the audience itself. So what do we bring to the alter?
What can we leave at the alter of God, what is acceptable to the Lord? It is time for this generation of Christians to come to the alter, not with outstretched grasping hands, desperately seeking to fill their pockets to ensure that they can survive for another day or another week. It is time to come to the alter with a sacrifice.
A.W.Tozer said this in one of his sermons
.The difference between Cain and Able wasnt that Cain was a bad man and Able was a good man. They were both bad men. The difference between Cain and Able was that Able knew he was bad, but Cain did not know he was bad. So Able brought a sacrifice to God as if to say, Oh God I should die like this lamb. Cain on the other hand came saying, Hello, to the Father without any sacrifice. He would have made a wonderful prayer Sunday morning, while he intoned through his blessed nose. A prayer without blood and without sacrifice and without the cross and without the lamb. He brought the flowers and the fruit and he said I like you God, heres a present and God turned his back on him. But Able came, and in humility he brought the lamb, bled it there on the alter and looked up and said God, I am not worthy, and God smiled and sent fire to the alter, a witness that he had pleased God. Not because he was a good man, because he wasnt, but because he took the bad mans place in the presence of a Holy God. Cain displeased God, not because he was worse than Able. They are both sinners, born of the same fallen parents. But he displeased God, because he assumed he was all right when he was wrong. He assumed there was nothing between him and God and Able knew there was. Theres the difference.
So the Church today is positioned in the Court of the Gentiles. Outside this court is the world and it cares nothing for the things of the Lord. The court of the Gentiles is a place for those who are interested in the things of God. This is where almost all of the activity of todays Church is taking place. The court itself is outside of the structure that the Lord set up to come into His presence . This is Cains court. This is a place to dwell for those who like God but who refuse to sacrifice. Yes, they will bring their tithes and their offerings, but they refuse to sacrifice. Worship takes place here, the business of the church takes place here but the one identifying factor of the dwellers in Cains court is that they do not change. They do not change, because like Cain, they believe that there is nothing between them and God. You cannot change in Cains court, you must move into the inner rooms, the inner courts.
God is calling His Church to the inner court where we will find two things. First we find the alter then we find the laver bowl full of water. At the alter we must cry out to God
.Lord I come before you today seeking nothing. I come before you this day and lay before you the gifts of thankfulness . I praise the living God today for my deliverance . I want nothing from you Lord, nothing more than the Jesus you have already given me. Thank you for Calvary, thank you God. I praise you for a love so burning , so intense , so overwhelming that it burst into the darkness of hell and delivered me from an all consuming darkness. I thank you for the light that penetrates every particle of my being. And in that light I find unforgiveness and I lay it on the alter. I find unkindness and I lay it on the alter. Today I find jealously and I lay it on the alter. Today I find my reputation and I lay that on your alter. Today I find my family and I lay that on your alter. Today I find uncleanness and I lay that on the alter. And if there is anything else unknown in me that displeases you then please take that too my glorious king.
One day I will bring you good gifts Lord, but today I leave these things before you. I simply revel in the glorious honor that I, yes even I, can come before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
..Lord! Lord! There is a substance in your very presence. Not a substance but the substance. Permeated and infused into the very substance of your presence alone is everything that I need and more. There is life there and life most abundant. It is more satisfying than milk and honey. And exactly proportionate to the space that I created by the things that I laid down before your alter, exactly proportionate to that which I gave you, then that is what I have received from you. Into the void of that which I have given up, into that void you have poured into me life and love and joy and peace and purity and wholeness
Suddenly I grow, suddenly I move on, suddenly the Holy Spirit is upon me, suddenly I fly! Always suddenly, always unexpecntantly, your presence is always a shock, its always new, I am never familiar in your presence, always wide-eyed and overwhelmed.
The only thing that is the same is the manner in which I enter the Holy of Holys. Always with thankfulness and a willingness to empty myself to make room for you. I only ever come in with a spirit to give and somehow I only ever receive. I humble myself and acknowledge that I have these things to give you, you eagerly accept my foul smelling gifts and exchange them for something beautiful
.I give you rags, you give me wedding garments. I give you ashes, you give me beauty. I give you dry bones, you give me flesh. I give you sadness , you give me joy. I give you a spirit of heaviness , you give spirit of praise. I give you my failures, you give me a way ahead. I give you my temptations, you give me a way of escape. I give you my anxiety, you give me a peace that surpasses understanding. I give you lies, you give me truth. I give you my ambitions, you give me satisfaction. I give you past hurts, you give me reconciliation. I give you my wounds, you bind them up and they are healed. I give you my perversions, you give me purity.
I give you my heart and my soul and all that is within me holding nothing back . These are the things that I give you Lord, these are the things that I bring to the alter. It is painful and humiliating to come before your alter with only these things Lord but suddenly I find myself at the laver bowl, I have moved on beyond the alter and I am washed in the cleansing waters of heaven. This is the water and the blood, the water and the blood that flowed from Calvary, this is the cleansing power and place after the sacrifice. And all at once
..I am Adam and you say, come Adam, walk with me again in the cool of the day
I am Able and you say to me come into my presence for your sacrifice before the alter is acceptable, now you are clean and may stand in the light of my presence. Eat and be filled with the Bread of life. For you have laid your sins before me and are cleansed and now stand in the light of my presence. Illuminated by the lamp stand of the holy place, you may now be filled with the bread of life, the bread of heaven. As you partake of the shewbread you shall be sustained and you will grow and move on to the incense. Now your prayers truly rise to me because you have participated through humility at the brazen alter. You are washed in the Blood of Jesus, you have stood in the light , the light of Jesus and have been fed by the bread, Jesus is the bread. Now ascend, now arise, now come aloft to that most intimate place. Arise with the incense and find me there and be changed.
I am Abraham and you say to me I have found faith in you , I know that you are willing to sacrifice all that you have, all of your future and your reputation and follow me , follow my word
.I am David and you say to me You are the man, you have been exposed by my word but I know that your heart is broken and contrite, you are a man after my own heart and I love you.
.I am Samson and you strengthen me once more and the adversaries kingdom begins to collapse
..I am Gideon and you say to me arise you who are few and do not be afraid of the many for I am more than the many. Here, open your eyes and see the heavenly host
I am Elijah and you say to me arise and call the people to choose this day whom they will serve. Call down fire from heaven and see the enemy of your soul destroyed
I am John the Baptist and you say to me Tell that old King he is wrong. Yes you will die, but be of good cheer, for the day is now before you when death has no more sting, the grave no more victory, it is defeated
..I am Peter and you say to me Arise Peter and go from this upper room and proclaim fearlessly from the rooftops that the Christ has come, was killed but was gloriously resurrected and sits at the right hand of the Father forevermore
I am Paul and you say to me Write down everything that I tell you. Reveal the glorious mystery of old that the Word is made flesh. The day of the new heart, the new creature has arrived and this new creature is more glorious than any temple made by man for this is my temple, and it was not built by might nor by power but it was built by my Son and the Spirit and this temple shall never be destroyed. Here is what you must suffer for revealing this, go forth and fulfill what I have called you to.
I am a nameless martyr and you say to me enter into the arena and kneel before your enemies. Yes they hate you and watch eagerly as you are devoured, but I love them and I call you to love them. I call you to break the chains of darkness by praying for them even as they destroy your earthly Tent. Let the same Spirit that dwelt in your brother Stephen, fill you with a love that is beyond human understanding, it is not natural, it is supernatural.
I am Frank and you say to me Follow me, hear me this day, abandon all and come into the holiest of places that I may walk with you and talk with you
I am the Church of Christ today and you say to me Oh my beloved children. I want to gather you together as a hen collects her chicks under her wings. I knock at the door of your heart. I stand at the door of my most intimate place and look and see if any has come enquiring of me today. I look into the court of the Gentiles and wonder why my church has set up camp outside of my manifest presence. Yes you know I am here, but you will not come to me. Is the things that you enjoy in the court of the Gentiles worth more than spending your time with me? Can it be that you reckon the things of the world are to be sought after but the inner sanctums are abandoned? Come children, while there is yet time. Come and find oil for your lamps today for you do not know the hour when your master will return. Will I find faith in your hearts? Will there be oil in your lamps? Do you know the cost of the harvest that produced the bread that I now offer? Can your minds even begin to imagine the horrors of the darkness of Calvary? I took my Seed and planted into the darkness of the earth. After more than three years it was finally ready to break through and just before the dawn of its rising came the darkest moment of all, Calvary. So close to breaking through to heaven, yet covered by the darkness of hell. Yet hell could not contain this Seed, hell and all of its darkness could not vanquish the light and it arose triumphantly out of the darkness of the earth. No longer a seed, the Seed had died but I took that Seed and raised it gloriously. And now the whole world could be fed by the results of that harvest. Today I have showed you how to be filled. This food is priceless, come and be filled.
So brothers and sisters, the question is, will you come and be filled? There is the presence of God, and then there is the manifest presence of God. The presence of God is everywhere. I know that theologically, I also know it to be an abstract truth to which I give assent. Are you living in the Court of the Gentiles? Do you dwell in Cains court? Is the place that you dwell in a place without sacrifice? Is the presence of God that you know only in your head? Have you experienced the manifest presence of God? Have you flown in endless skies? The manifest presence of God is experienced consciously. You are consciously aware that you are in the throne room of God. There is a heavy holiness. When you fly to this place there is only one position as you are engulfed in the awe and the majesty and the reverence, that is on your face before the living God. If you have never experienced this, then may I suggest that you seek it. You will know if you have experienced this kind of encounter with God. Is the Law on the outside trying to compel you to live a good life on the inside? Do you only ever fail? Do you sometimes cry out Oh wretched man that I am? When you fly in the endless skies of His presence, His manifest presence, then you will know that the Lord is on the inside. You will know it by four factors.
1. The manifest presence is unmistakable, it will change everything and you will be addicted to it.
2. You will want to do good from the inside out. You will not want to do any wrong, not because it is against the rules, not because you are being compelled to do things, but because you have a heart, a new heart to follow after God and to please Him and to draw near to Him and anything that will keep you from Him will have to go. Its all the difference in the world. Its the difference between light and heaviness. Its a heavy , impossible burden to keep Gods commandments, but in His presence, His manifest presence His yoke is easy and His burdens are light. He is the one that does all the work, and He delights in doing it. You are His work. In this endless sky you have ceased from your works, you have entered into His rest.
3. You will live in Victory. Yes, you will live in Victory, you will live a victorious life. Oh you will have your moments and your struggles and your trials, you will fall down but that will not be the context of your life. The thrust of your life will be victory and God will get the Glory for it is His own works, not yours. You do nothing more than yield, surrender, lay down. Ah, right there is the struggle, right there is the reason that many of us dwell in the court of the Gentiles, Cains court. It takes a sacrifice to lay it down, to yield, to surrender. Do it today.
4. Finally, your heart will burn, yes, literally burn. Ask any saint who knows the manifest presence of God and he will tell you about the burning heart. Dear brother Tozer called it the Fellowship of the Burning Heart.
Luke 24:30:-32. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us?
I urge everyone who calls himself by the name of Christ, seek out this bread that Jesus has provided and your eyes will be opened and your heart will burn. It will not be found in the court of the Gentiles, Cains court, it will be found in the inner sanctums. He has made the way, He stands at the door and Knocks. He calls to them who have never entered into the fullness to enter in, and He calls to them who know, to know once more and come and walk with Him that your hearts may burn within you. Let us all join the fellowship of the burning heart.