What difference would it make in your life right now if you knew that God were here? What difference would it make in your situations, in your relationships, in your work, in what you do or don’t do? The Bible says that God is here and, in fact, he is not far from each one of us. Join me as I share some of my own encounters with the living God and three things I believe He would tell each of us. (Recorded February 23, 2001)
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“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
Introduction: God really is right here with us. Knowing this fact changes the way we live and think.
An Easter Egg is something creators hide in their creations, such as this on in Star Wars Episode I. You’ll see an exotic yet strangely familiar species in the senate rotunda if you look closely. Click the link below to see it:
God is visible throughout His creation as well, so that those who seek Him will find Him.
Acts 17:26-27 says “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”
I want to tell you about three times when I sensed Jesus was very close to me. What He said to me during those times is what I believe He says to each one of us, all the time, if we’ll listen.
1. “I Love You.”
I remember walking down a busy street in Houston and suddenly wondering what it would be like if Jesus were to walk right beside me. I remembered passages in the Bible where the disciples were walking to Emmaus and Jesus walked up beside them, but they didn’t recognize Him. Suddenly I sensed that He was right with me as well. I didn’t see His body or hear His voice, but I sensed He was right there with me.
I had not yet put my faith in Christ, but I told some friends later about this experience. I realized that God has been doing things for us long before we ever thought about Him. The Bible says,
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The first thing God wants to tell each of us is this: “I love you.” He’s being trying to tell us this long before we ever gave Him a thought. He even sent His Son Jesus to tell us and to die in our place, while we were still sinners. He doesn’t wait for us to clean up our act to tell us, He’s trying to tell us this all the time, and when we realize it’s true, that’s when we’ll clean up our act.
If God were here, the first thing He would want to tell you is: “I love you.”
2. ”I Need You”
Another time I remember sensing the presence of Christ was one of the most profound experiences of my Christian life. Watch the message to hear the story!
“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” (Romans 8:11).
The Holy Spirit lives in those who have put their faith in Christ. If you don’t sense His presence, you can pray and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit in a way that you will sense Him, know Him, and be a vessel to be used by Him.
The Holy Spirit will not force himself on you, but waits to be invited in. Jesus said in Luke 11:9-13:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
3. “I Know You”
Another time I remember sensing Jesus right near me was about five years ago. I had just quit my secular job to go into full-time ministry and God was calling me to do something I couldn’t believe. I felt He specifically wanted me to go to Israel right then at the beginning of my ministry.
I had never thought about going to Israel and wasn’t sure what to do. I was alone in the house laying down on the couch with my Bible in hand and just wished God would sit right next to me. Everything was moving too fast and I just wished I could feel His presence and know that everything was all right.
Then these words came into my mind, just a thought more than anything: “Open your Bible and look at the third line down.” Now the Bible’s a powerful book and God can speak through anything in it, but I know that it’s not magical in the sense that we can just open it and think that whatever it says is what God wants to say to us right then. But I felt clearly directed to do this.
So there I was lying down on the couch, and I opened my Bible. It turned to Psalm 139 and I read from the top of the page to the third line down. It said:
O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. (Psalm 139: 1-3)
God said to me as I laid there on the couch, “Eric, I know you’re lying down!” He really was right there with me on the couch. He’s never far from any one of us. In fact, the Bible goes on to say that there’s nowhere we can go that He won’t be there with us.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in– behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (Psalm 139:4-10)
If God were here, this is a second thing I believe He would say to each of us, “I know everything about you.”
This is both comforting and convicting, for God will never leave you alone. If you’re doing what’s right, hallelujah, you’ll feel His comfort. But if you’re not, you’ll feel His conviction. I encourage you to live your life knowing that He’s right beside you all the time. I assure you it will change the way you live and think.
Conclusion: If God were here He would tell you three things: “I love you, I need You, and I know you.”
Put your faith in Christ, ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, and live each day knowing that He’s not far from any one of us.