The Presence of God
A Sermon on 1 Samuel 4:21-22
21And she named the boy Ichabod, saying, “The glory has departed from Israel,” because the ark of God had been taken and because of her father-in-law and her husband. 22So she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, because the ark of God has been taken.”
21And she named the child I-chabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband. 22And she said, The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.
What has gone wrong in the church today? In this sermon on 1 Samuel 4:21-22, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that the answer is found in the church’s loss of the sense of the glory of the presence of God. The church is like God’s ancient people, the Israelites, who often strayed away from God. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says that when the Israelites lost the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines, this was because they failed to look to God’s glorious presence. They became enamored with the trappings of religion and missed what it means to know and love an awesome God. The church today is often no different. For when Christians look to institutions and politics to reach the world, they lose sight of the very God they say that they seek to proclaim. When the church has been the most impactful in the world it is when they were overcome with a sense of God’s glorious presence. This recognition of God’s glory ought to transform all believers and empower them to take the gospel to the whole world. For the church is at its weakest when it is concerned with itself and its own glory. But Jesus Christ shows us that we are to seek to glorify God and know Him truly and only then can the church serve as God has called it.
- The most vital and important thing in the life of the church is the realization of the presence of the glory of God.
- The church has tried many methods to attract people like drama, pop music, entertainments, etc. But the position continues to deteriorate. The question is what can we do? We must discover the cause of our troubles.
- We must not put our emphasis either entirely on men's actions or entirely on God's actions. We need both. We need to do the work God has commanded us to do and pray for His presence.
- We can have everything man can do yet miss the glory of God. The glory of God is the most important thing.
- The glory of God in the Old Testament was visible. The Shekinah glory was a visible representation of God's presence. For us, we know the glory of God through the Holy Spirit.
- The most important thing for us is to be sensitive to the presence of the glory of God. Nothing is more important than this.
- The first effect of realizing the glory of God is to fill us with fear, awe, and a sense of unworthiness. Men who came near to God in the Bible were humbled and alarmed.
- To know the presence of God, we must be humbled. We must undergo deep conviction of sin. There are no shortcuts to blessing. We must do the work God commands and wait for His presence.
- We must return to God's Word, the Bible. We must learn it, know it, preach it, and obey it. But we also must pray for God to return among us.
- We need to pray for revival and the manifestation of God's glory. We need to pray like William Cowper, "Return, O holy Dove, return, Sweet messenger of rest."
- God does not change. His way of dealing with His people does not change. He works the same in all ages. The idea that God's Spirit has forsaken His ways is false.
- We need to realize the presence of God Himself. His glory fills us with awe and fear and a sense of unworthiness. Do we know what it is to be humbled under God's hand?
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.