Communion with God


April 14, 1996 ~ Pickering Standard Church


I wish to speak this morning on the subject of communion with God. Communion, as used generally, intends a certain amount of intimacy between individuals. The remarkable thing about our communion with God is that it is undeserved:


Romans 5:1-8 - Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


Because of His sacrifice of reconciliation we now have the ability to enjoy God in a way that as lost sinners we never could:


Romans 5:9-11 - Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.


But, in order to enjoy communion with God, we must do more than pay mere lip service to Him. Time and time again we read in the Bible that true communion with God may only be enjoyed if we follow Him to the exclusion of all else. In the days of Isaiah the nation of Judah, alternatively hot and cold toward God, suffered from distraction. They were desirous of worshipping God but they want to worship Him on their own terms:


Isaiah 58:1-14 - Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.


The seal of the promise of our being able to delight in the LORD if we do the things that please Him is simply that this is the way God said it would be. If we are able to do this the rewards are incredible:


Isaiah 57:13-15 - When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.


Abraham's love for God, and doing the will of God, is ultimately shown in his willingness to sacrifice his treasured son Isaac:


Hebrews 11:17-19 - By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.


But even many years before this event Abraham was a man with whom God spoke; and Abraham was even able to "bargain" with God! Why? Because God knew that Abraham would be faithful and would teach his family to follow and honour God:


Genesis 18:16-33 - And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.


We can all have problems at times where our communion with God does not seem to be all that it should, where God seems distant and unconcerned with us. There is a statement that was popular when I was a teen-ager that went something like this: "If God seems like He is far away from you, guess who moved." It seems odd to believe that our God, who would sacrifice His only begotten Son for our sakes, would then deliberately distance Himself from us without provocation. As Paul stated in his letter to the Romans: If, while we were enemies of God He sacrificed His Son for us, how much more will He do for us now that through this sacrifice we have been reconciled to Him. So if God is distant from us, if we are not experiencing full communion with Him, it is more than likely that we have done something to remove ourselves from the fullness of His presence.


In Genesis 28 Moses is reciting all that God has done for Israel during their wanderings in the desert ever since He delivered them out of Egypt; and he lays before them the way of blessings and the way of curses. If Israel obeys God and is faithful to serve Him alone He will bless them greatly (v. 1-14) and that if they allow themselves to be lured away from Him he will curse them with the very curses which he placed upon Egypt during the plagues (v. 15-68). The history of the nation of Israel bears this out. Each time they forsook God things went poorly for them but when they served him and did away with all other gods they were blessed beyond belief.


Again in Malachi God criticizes the people of Israel for keeping for themselves the tithe that belonged to God, telling them that if they will only honour Him He will bless them:


Malachi 3:7-12 - Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.


And going further, on the point of truly worshipping God, He promises that those who think about Him and honour Him as their God will become His own jewels:


Malachi 3:13-18 - Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.


Think of it for a minute: God has done all that is necessary to allow us to be reconciled to Him, that the communion between Himself and man that was destroyed in the Garden of Eden may be restored. We are precious to Him if only we are faithful to Him. How do you feel about someone that is precious to you? God feels that same emotion infinitely more when He considers those who love Him and long for His companionship. God has condescended to live with us, His Spirit in our hearts confirming that we are His children:


Romans 8:16 - The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.


Surely the attraction of such communion with God should overwhelm all other attractions. Think in your own lives the misery you felt when you ignore God and the relief that you feel, and the joy that fills your heart, when you begin again to pay attention to Him. He will bless us with His presence if we desire Him above all else.