Rest In The Presence Of God: Sermon By Minister Lelli Mandela
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”
So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.Joshua 3:1-17 (ESV)
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.Revelation 22:5 (ESV)
The theme of this year for One Desire is rest in the presence of the Lord. God wants us to rest in His presence.
Revelation 22 is the last chapter of the Bible and it takes us back into eternity.
In the beginning, we were living with God as our eternal light and it shall be the same after the end of time.
When Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes 3, he was writing about the facts of life. He wrote out of his own experiences as King of Israel.
Ecclesiastes is a collection of Solomon’s personal thoughts as king; things he observed about how the natural man operates. As natural men, we are subject to these times and seasons.
Man’s nature supersedes the natural and this existed in the Garden of Eden where man had no limitations before the fall. After the fall of man, we lost access to the supernatural.
Jesus had yet to come when Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes so he only had a faint revelation of Christ. Jesus came with the intention of introducing us to the supernatural.
With the coming of Christ, God revealed His nature that supersedes the natural through the miracles Jesus performed.
God wants to show us how to access the supernatural.
Many of us know about the supernatural but it has remained nothing more than head knowledge to us. We need a revelation of it.
You can only access the supernatural by resting in the presence of God.
The supernatural helps us defy the limitations of the natural.
When the children of Israel were in a desert, they were encompassed by the supernatural state of God which kept their clothes from wearing out and protected them from sickness for the 40 years. Even in their disobedience, there was grace.
We often look at desert seasons of our lives as places where we must undergo suffering. However, hardship is about subjecting the character of natural man to the supernatural nature of God.
When we access the supernatural nature of God, it allows us to defy certain hardships of life including things like sickness.
When we talk about the presence of God, we expect that it will change our external environment. This causes us to pray amiss sometimes e.g. If we’re praying for provision, we expect an instant promotion because we’re used to how the natural works. Whereas in God, it’s not so much about the environment as it is changing your spirit man to see that your provision lies in Him not your environment.
The presence of God and accessing the supernatural may not always change your natural environment but it will change your internal environment.
God calls us to know His supernatural nature so that we may have an increased revelation of who He is and how He operates. He wants His nature to be formed in us.
Are we prepared for eternity when time ceases to exist?
God wants us to work to bear fruit not to access things.
We miss out on the supernatural when we are not in fellowship with Him. God is calling us to access His presence daily.
We also miss out on the supernatural when we make it about changing our environment to suit us rather than understanding it is about making us more like Christ.
Eternity is a factor of the supernatural. When we access the supernatural, we are able to access eternity.
The Word of God can only be relevant in your life if you understand eternity. For example, even if someone watches a sermon 10 years after it was preached, it can still be relevant to them because eternity is present continuous.
We can only access the blessings contained in the Word of God by understanding that Word in light of eternity. Rhema is not bound by circumstances.
God wants us to access the supernatural because there are issues in the natural that can only be solved by the supernatural.
God is calling us to stand out in our spheres of life like Moses did in Egypt. This requires supernatural access to the person and things of God.
For some of us, access to the supernatural has been granted but we don’t know what to do with it. We need to dwell in His presence to find out His agenda and purpose in granting us this access.
What will make you different from other people who have the same achievements and qualifications that you do? The supernatural. Walking in the supernatural will give us supernatural solutions to the problems in the world, our homes, schools and offices.
Access to the supernatural is by faith. The supernatural requires us to go beyond our five senses because it has to be perceived beyond the veil of visibility.
God requires us to show our faith by our works. Our faith needs works. Having prayed, we must act accordingly.
God is ushering us into the miraculous that comes with the supernatural.
In Joshua, the water only separated when the priests stepped on the water. We have to believe to see not see to believe.
A lot of things are stagnating in our lives because we are not moving. We are not taking action based on what God has already spoken. If God has already said it once, He expects us to steward that word with action.
Your life speaks loudly about how faithful you are to the Word of God in your life.
If you truly have faith in God, what are you doing about it?
You cannot say you trust God with resources if you cannot serve Him with what you have. If you cannot trust God with whatever little you have in your hand, don’t expect to grow in faith or in stature.
By serving God with what we have in faith, only then can we access more in the supernatural.
We fail to access the supernatural when we have the wrong expectation of how it happens.
Some of us use prayer to cover up laziness in our relationship with God. We only pray in hardship not to build our relationship with Him.
God can bring you to prayer using circumstances but He cannot force you to worship. Worship is voluntary but you cannot worship outside of a relationship.
We worship God to fellowship with Him because we love Him, not to get things.
Music is the only one expression of worship. If you cannot respond to God through worship in music, you won’t do it in other forms of worship. Your discipline (or lack thereof) in one area of your relationship with God spills into every area of your life.
Worship is meant to be more than an emotional experience. It has to bear fruit in our lives.
God is calling us to rise from apathy in our walk with Him. We cannot serve God whole-heartedly if we don’t love God whole-heartedly.
How we serve one another is dependent on our revelation of each other. Our love for God should be seen in our love for people.
If we serve authority to be seen, then that recognition is the only reward we’ll get out of it. Your motivation is wrong. Serving authority or pretending to serve well will not make up for your service to God. We must serve authority by revelation not preference.
We can only gain access to the supernatural by having a healthy relationship with God. You can pray yourself into the presence of God but you cannot enjoy the fruits of the presence of God if you have no relationship with Him.
Getting things from God should be a by-product of our relationship with Him not the driving factor. A relationship is not about getting things. It is because you love the person you’re in a relationship with.
Some people are afraid of having a relationship with God because you think it will take a lot of time. We must move away from thinking that having a relationship with God is cumbersome work.
God wants us to rest in His presence because He wants us to be like Him; He wants to impute His nature in us.
It’s time to access God’s presence because of who He is not what He has.
Let us not pretend we have a relationship with God when our lives show otherwise.
We can only access God from a posture of sincerity.
Bishop Gobanga’s Addendum:
God introduces His Person every time He encounters humanity. He can do this through any human being in your life.
If you miss out on the Person of God, you will not find rest in God.
The purpose of God is a factor of His Person.
When you touch base with the person of any human being, you can get anything from them.
A lot of the problems we experience in life will be resolved from the place of relationship not religious rules of do’s and don’ts.
Let us not relate with people based on position, background or what they have. Let us relate with them based on who they are in the spirit; the knowledge, understanding and wisdom we have been given by God about them.
Let us have friendship and relationship with God and man not personal interests.