The significance of a place comes from the people who are present at the place.
The Tent of Meeting is significant because God is there
– When Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud (representing the presence of God) would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. (Exodus 33:9)
Solomon’s Temple is significant because God is there
– As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. (2 Chronicles 7:1)
– God promised Solomon, “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” (2 Chronicles 7:15-16)
A New Testament Breakthrough – We are the temple
– You are (referring to a group of Christians gathering together) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him (Christ) you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-21)
– When we come to worship on Sunday, we do not just come to a high school. We are coming into the Presence of God. We are the temple. God dwells among us by the Spirit.
Response of people in the presence of God
At Exodus times:
– And when all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise up and worship, each at his tent door. (Exodus 33:10-11)
At Solomon’s times:
– When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord (2 Chronicles 7:3)
At Isaiah’s time:
– “Woe is me! For I am lost; For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:1-5)
Our attitude coming into God’s presence
– Our attitude shows a lack of reverence – casual, carefree, indifferent, selfish, self-centred, arrogant, prideful
– The word “reverence” means an attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.
– To come in fear, knowing that we are sinners living under the wrath of God
– To come in awe and respect, knowing that if it weren’t for his grace and mercy we would probably die on the spot.
Receiving grace and forgiveness
– Those who approach God in reverence and in repentance will not be disappointed. In the presence of God they will find compassion, grace, and forgiveness. (Isaiah 6:6-7)
– In the same way, we can come to the Lord’s table with reverence and eager to receive grace and forgiveness (1 Corinthians 11:23-31)
Preparing to worship next Sunday
(1) On Saturday evening, pack everything you need and load them into the car.
(2) Talk to your children. Help them understand why it is important for the whole family to arrive early.
(3) Set an alarm clock, 15 minutes earlier than usual.
(4) Go to bed early.
(5) Sunday morning, wake up on time and wake everybody up.
(6) Head out 15 minutes earlier than usual.
(7) Prepare yourself before entering the sanctuary
(8) Find a seat and prepare your heart. Put your phone and books away.
(9) Take out a pen and a notebook. Wait in expectancy in the presence of God.
(10) Pray and confess your sins, especially the sin of self-centeredness, arrogance, and pride.
(11) When the music starts, take your hands out of your pockets. Engage in worship.
(12) When the pastor is speaking, know that you are not just listen to a sermon. The Holy Spirit is also speaking to you.
(13) If you feel challenged, do not be offended. Listen to the challenge by the Holy Spirit.
(14) Quietly pray. Write down the challenge. Write down your prayers in the journal.
(15) After receiving the benediction and the sending, give thanks in your heart – thank the Lord for His presence.
(16) As you walk out of the school, you are being sent from God’s presence into the world to serve Him. Bring the peace of God with you.