THE REVEALING OF HIS PRESENCE
By Dan Luehrs
"And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light" (Matthew 17:2).
Peter, James, and John were due for a reality check. The Father was going to reveal His Son to them this day in all His glory. Right before their eyes His body was changed from a natural human being, into a supernatural being, still while on this earth. His face shone like the sun and His clothing was like lightning.
Such glory would be hard to comprehend. Some people may make fun of these men for acting so foolishly and say, "If I would see Jesus, I would ask Him why these bad things happen in my life." Hold it there! Let me tell you from experience, if you saw Jesus in His glory, you would not ask Him anything! You would be in shock as these men were, not knowing what to say or do. In fact, when John seen Him, he fell as dead men before the presence of His glory. "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man… (Revelation 1:17).
I believe something more was going on here than Jesus just showing off His glory. The disciples were given a crash course teaching of the glory that was to come. Jesus taught them in Matthew 13:43, "Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." In fact, Peter never forgot about this, and spoke of this experience even until his death to remind us of it, "Until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).
According to Paul's writing in 2 Thessalonians 1:10, His presence is going to be manifested through His saints. "When He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed for our testimony to you was believed."
"When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).
In January 1995, I had just returned home from a church service. As I sat down to watch TV, I got the shock of my life. Jesus came walking through the window and stood right in front of me! He said, "My coming is soon, and you have a few people in your church that are not ready. I will give you some messages to prepare them." My first thoughts were, “He's physically coming back now!” So I told the congregation this the next Sunday, and some truly repented of their sins with tears. What I didn't understand until a year later was that He came to our church in the form of His presence and not in a bodily form. It's kind of like the man who Jesus spoke to when He said, "I am coming to your house tonight!" So, the man prepared for Jesus to come. When there was a knock at the door, it was a poor boy that needed some food; so he gave him some. Then there was another knock at the door. It was a street person that needed a place to stay, so he gave him a room. Now the man went to bed and said, “Lord, I thought you were going to visit me tonight?” Jesus said, "I did, through these people that came to visit you." He will often answer our prayers much differently than how we think!
We had been praying for three years for revival to come to our church in South Dakota. In 1995 it did come, in great power and glory, lasting one and one-half years! People were healed, saved, and baptized in the Holy Spirit with ease. But great persecution arose from the religious spirit within the church, causing the revival to die out.
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne" (Matthew 25:31). Very clearly Jesus is telling us how we are to expect Him: In His glorious presence!
"And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).
What kind of sign shall appear? A supernatural wonder in the sky shall shine forth for all to see! But if Jesus is going to appear in bodily form, how could everyone see Him? Because they will see Him in His body, the Church, in all her glory! "That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:27). The cloud means He is returning in something massive and covering the earth. The sign will be Jesus coming in a great cloud of witnesses! "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us..." (Hebrews 12:1). Not only is there a cloud of witnesses in heaven, but we who are on earth and remain!
HIS GLORY IS COMING AS THE SUN RISE
"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day" (Proverbs 4:18).
In the morning, the sun does not come up all at once, but comes up gradually until there is “THE FULL DAY.” When I was first saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, we would have what I called "Holy Ghost Nights." This is when the Holy Spirit showed up in awesome power and glory in our services. This only happened once a month or so. But now, when I go into my prayer closet or a prayer meeting and church services, His presence shows up in a awesome manner.
Even as the sunlight, His glory is becoming brighter and brighter on this earth, until the full day. "His radiance is like the sunlight..." (Habakkuk 3:4). And it will be seen by all nations. "But indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD" (Numbers 14:21). We are living in such a day!
OUR DAY OF RECOMPENSE IS COMING
"Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, How have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings" (Malachi 3:8).
The book of Malachi deals with the unfaithfulness of God's people in their service and giving to Him. Even when God tells them what to do, they argue with Him by telling Him that the wicked are better off than these who are obeying His word. "You have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the LORD of hosts? So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up, but they also test God and escape" (Malachi 3:14-15).
Have you ever felt like you were actually cursed instead of blessed for obeying God? I have! Many times the enemy would say, "What's the use in tithing, when the wicked don't pay tithes and they are more blessed than you?" When it seems like we are not being blessed, is when God is testing our heart to see if we will obey His word, no matter what. Obedience is the bottom line that God is looking for in our relationship with Him.
Thank God that this is not the end of the message. PAYDAY is coming for the faithful! God says in Malachi 3:16-17 that He has a book of remembrance written about those who feared His name and obeyed Him!
"So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him" (Malachi 3:18).
God's word is telling us that there's coming a day when the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the midst of great darkness. He will openly reward us before the people of the world and they shall truly see those who are the sons of God. For that day of testing is coming on the earth and it will reveal God’s people as people of peace and the rest, while the whole world is in great fear.
Malachi 4:1-3 reads, "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. "And you will tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing, says the LORD of hosts."
This is one of the greatest promises in all of Scripture. When there is great stress and tribulation upon the earth, the arrogant and those against God's ways will be burned up because of their fears and stress. But the righteous ones shall shine forth like the sun with miraculous power to help restore the people. In fact, we will go forth like calves out of the stall! If you have never seen calves let loose for the first time, you have no idea what this is talking about. When a young calf is let loose, it runs out kicking, excited about his freedom! This is a picture of what we will be like in our adoption as sons! We shall surely "... Tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy..." (Luke 10:19).
God, Himself, assures us of this promise. How can we not get excited about His magnificent promises? Let us be prepared for that day!
TO EXPERIENCE HIS LOVE
"That you may be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, the experience of that love which is the breadth and length and height and depth of it. That you may really come to know practically THROUGH EXPERIENCE for yourselves, the love of Christ, which surpasses mere knowledge, (without experience) that you may be filled (through all your being) unto all the FULLNESS of God, (that is) may have the richest measure of divine Presence and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself" (Ephesians 3:17-19 AMP).
There is a love that God wants us to experience. He not only has love, He is love, and He wants us to be filled and flooded with love for Jesus and others. Jesus’ prayer to the Father was, "...That the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26). Love is the very thing that God wants us to be, for the greatest thing to possess is love! (1 Corinthians 13:13).
As Ephesians 3:17 says, we must be rooted and grounded deep in love. Rooting speaks of our stability in God, and not being easily tossed here and there by the storms of life. Trees are not usually uprooted very easily, but when the storms come, their roots are greatly tested.
In the summer of 1998, many trees were uprooted in the northern United States. Some of these trees were one hundred years old or more, and the wind toppled many of them. Why? Because many were rotten or too well watered! When the property owners watered the grass around them, this caused their roots not to go deep enough.
This is like many people in our churches today that want to just go to revival meetings and get well watered in the River of God. But they never grow beyond that! When they face any suffering at all they pull back, not realizing that God is wanting their roots to go down deep through their suffering. "A great oak tree is nothing but a little acorn that held its ground!" When oak trees go through storms their roots go down. We need to realize that when God waters us in His River, He is preparing us for difficult times ahead.
We must be grounded in God's love or we will destroy people, rather than building them up. It's like electricity that must be grounded or somebody is going to get killed. In fact, so many people were getting killed by electricity that the government made it law to have a ground in our homes. Grounding is when electricity forms a low-resistance path to be discharged in the earth, to prevent it from traveling through a person.
Yet, the Church of Jesus Christ has not learned this one commandment. "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF" (Galatians 5:14). If we could learn this one commandment people would know that we are Christians (Christ's-ones) by our love.
For too long now, we have been grounding our hurts and anger into others, rather than letting it die in love. One day I awoke and the Lord said, "Let it be grounded in love." God is love and He can handle everything without being hurt! Turn to Him, He will understand. Don't turn your anger on your brethren, but love them, and fulfill the perfect law of liberty.
Our prayer today must be to become more like Him. "Therefore you are to be perfect (mature), as your heavenly Father is perfect (mature)" (Matthew 5:48).