Paul’s eyes were opened as he prayed and as he was prayed for. He asked that three prayers be prayed. One, that people would be enlightened. Two, that believers would understand church life. And, three, that mouths would proclaim the Gospel. (Acts 9:10-11)
Speaker(s): Pastor Steven Scibelli, Zane Turk
Sermon # 11604
7:30 PM on 1/2/2019
Good evening. That was a great song. I really enjoyed that.
Let’s turn to Ex. 25. Three things from Ex. 25 and then we’ll pray.
vs. 8. Notice how God wants to dwell among us.
vs. 20. The cherubim are looking down at the mercy seat.
vs. 22. See how he said I will speak with you. Tonight, I’m going to talk about the presence of God in prayer. How we can have the presence of God in prayer. In prayer is a relationship. God says I will speak with you not to you. This is in the tabernacle, the Israelite camp. To get to the mercy seat, Aaron and his sons are the only ones who can go into the tabernacle. For seven days they had to be consecrated. There were a series of things they had to do and multiple sacrifices. Every day, one bull they put hands on and killed the bull and made atonement for themselves. Two rams. One ram they killed and put the blood on their thumb, right ear and right big toe but with the other ram, they would kill and eat part and sacrifice the other part. Burn it to God. Every day, after they were consecrated, they took one lamb in the morning and one at night. They would sacrifice in the morning, burn the incense on the altar and sacrifice the lamb. Every year, one offering they sacrificed on the altar of incense, the atonement offering. To get to the presence of God, only Aaron and his sons can do this and be where the mercy seat was. Only a select few could be where the mercy seat was. It makes it so much more amazing we can access the mercy seat because of Christ. Let’s walk through the same circumstances but with Christ. We have the table of show bread and altar of incense and lampstand. These are all requirements Christ has fulfilled. This is with prayer. Let’s not forget this is with prayer. Christ gave up his life, he gave up his body so we can enter the mercy seat. Now we come to the bronze laver. They would have to wash their hands and wash their feet but they could never wash their heart.
But when Christ came – it says Ps 23:3-4, who can ascend unto your holy hill except him who has clean hands and a pure heart.
When Jesus comes, he says you are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you in Jn. 15:3. You don’t need to wash your hands because you are already clean.
Eph. 5:26 it says that He will sanctify us and wash us in the water of the word. We get to the table of shewbread and Jesus says, I am the bread of life.
We go over to the lampstand and we see in 1 Jn 1:7 if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
Then we get to the altar of incense and this is beautiful that Rom. 8:3-4 the prayers of the saints arise up to God. They ascend to God and there is a golden censer, a golden bowl in front of God’s throne that holds the prayers of the saints. Our prayers actually go before God. It’s not that I have to burn anything.
I come with my heart and pour out my heart to God, Ps. 62:8. I pour out my soul to God. That yearly sacrifice they did on the altar of incense.
It says in Heb 10:3, in that sacrifice there is a reminder of my sins every year. Every year there will be a sacrifice for sins.
But this man in Heb. 10:12 after he sacrificed for sins forever, he sat down at the right hand of God. And that it was one sacrifice because he was the perfect lamb. If we think about this, Christ offered so much so I could go to the mercy seat. Why do I go so little? I’m talking to myself. Why do I spend so little time at the mercy seat where God says he will speak with me?
Prov. 6:23 the commandments of God that we keep, when we walk they will lead us, when we sleep they will keep us and when we awake, they will speak with us. That prayer is a relationship. Love is a dialogue. It’s not me giving all my stuff to God and then saying that felt great and walk away. I give God all my stuff and stay there. I can be in the presence of God and I can be at the mercy seat. Isn’t that amazing?
We read this verse in Ex 25:20, the cherubim are looking down at the mercy seat. Why? This is my closing point is that you and I receive mercy from God. We enter into the secret place with God behind the veil.
Jesus tore the veil in Mt 27:51. He tore it from top to bottom. No man could do that. And then we are in the presence of God and we pray to God and find a secret place with God and the angels are looking at the mercy seat and saying, what is this sinner doing? How come this sinner has access to God? How come this sinner is actually forgetting his sin, giving his sin to God and abiding in the presence of God? The angels are looking at each other and they are saying, wow! Look at the mercy seat. I never saw anything like this before. I saw a third of the angels go to hell with no mercy, but this sinner who has been sinning their entire life can forget their sin and be in the presence of God and rest. Isn’t that amazing?
They are looking at each other and saying I’ve never seen mercy before but I get to see it because Zeph. 3:17 God is rejoicing over the sinner who is in his presence. Isn’t that awesome? As I rest in the presence of God it gives glory to God and the angels are amazed at the mercy seat. We said that God wants to dwell amongst us. The last thing I want to talk about that Jesus did, not the last thing but the last thing I want to talk about is that He came.
The word became flesh Jn 1:14 and dwelt among us. God wanted to dwell among us so he came to earth in the tabernacle and then with his own Son. He sent his own Son. Jesus didn’t stop there.
He said I want to dwell with you but I also want to dwell in you in Jn. 14:17. I’m not going to stop at just being with you. I want to be inside of you. What does this mean tonight? I want to give you a piece of what God showed me. If we really find the secret place with God if we really enter into the secret place with God, his presence will fill the room. He will meet us there. All our problems and situations and circumstances and worries when we meet with God they will be gone.
No flesh shall glory in your presence 1 Cor 1:29. When I’m with God, my life becomes carefree. I’m no longer carnally minded, but I’m spiritually minded and I can see life a different way. I can see life from the eyes of God. To be spiritually minded is life and peace. When I got to the mercy seat, I can be spiritually minded and I can rest with God and think the way God does.
Wasn’t that awesome. Men of God being raised up in the ministry.
Acts 9 we are considering prayer tonight and the rap session will be a prayer meeting. Maybe there are things you have to do after church but you might come and pray and believe God.
Acts 9:10-11 I believe these visions were an aspect of praying to God and God opening up… we heard this thought before. For behold, he prays. Such a simple portion of Scripture. Behold he prays. Oftentimes I know in my own life at times especially in our age today so often people and in Christianity people are trying to figure it out with human reason and human ability to make something happen. God says just ask me. Prayer is nothing but a love fellowship. If you are married, hopefully you like to talk to your wife. I love talking to someone who loves me. That’s J.C. I talk to him and he talks to me. Prayer is a love fellowship. Often times, you say prayer and we begin to get funny about it. I can’t pray. I find it the most difficult thing to do is pray rather than see it as a fellowship of love between you and Jesus Christ. It releases the burden and human thinking from it.
This ministry was born in prayer. How three women, two women prayed for years and years and they prayed God would raise up a man of the word and vision and he was the result of their prayers. Maybe we won’t know exactly what took place but they prayed.
Richard Wumbrandt said what took place on Straight Street was the most earthshaking event that ever took place in Acts. Saul or Paul met Ananias. He was used by God to remove Saul’s blindness….used the hands of someone in the body to remove the blindness.
As we think of prayer and the importance of prayer, we think of prayer for massive problems. A little girl came to D. L. Moody and said would you pray. I want a multi-colored ball. Moody prayed for her and said in two days, you’ll have one and in two days he brought her one. For that child something took place in her life that changed her life.
If you think of the beginning of Paul’s ministry, it begins with prayer. Two people are praying and something is taking place. Oftentimes, we see situations and nothing is taking place. Maybe aspects of my life would like to see changed and that’s for sure. And you too. Maybe we want to see things change in other people’s lives. Something happen with the job, the neighborhood, a relative, in my health. We get involved with human thinking and reason and come up with a solution and God is saying simply he prayed. That was it. I could never go to Bible school and he prayed. God said you can learn the word of God.
I was thinking of a man who is very sick today. P. Mortley …one time we went there and said he had a stroke and was unconscious and nothing could be done. Seven of us went there and laid hands on him and prayed for him and he stood up and was totally healed. That was 12 years ago. 88 (years old) in Africa is different than 88 here. Behold they prayed.
I remember when I was in my house in Kampala, Uganda, we had a prayer meeting and had this idea I got up at 2 and God said go to Ruth 2. It said let us go into the fields at once. I was talking to God. I’m in the field. The Holy Spirit was impressing on me South Africa. Going to South Africa. I woke up P. Eugene and we called back here. I pray God if this is your will, you will make this happen. I called P. Guy Duff and said if you can tell me if anything has taken place since yesterday when you sent the money. Someone put $1000 in my account and we went to South Africa. It’s now in seven countries in southern Africa.
Is Michele here? Can you come over here for a minute? I want to make sure I get this story right. Did we get arrested in Bulgaria? Were you in jail in Bulgaria? Did we have any Bibles? 50 or 100. We were inside the jail. 15 of us, but not my husband. They thought he was a native. Well, P. Scibelli was with his passport trying to explain we were a world traveling mime group and such a blessing we came to their country. And they were having none of it….and I walked out of the jail. They let us all go and put us at the border and we were free.
Behold, he prays. That’s people praying for us. Having been two million miles on the mission field in the air. Behold you pray. Remember the time in Jordan? We were in Jordan. Did you go to jail in Jordan? Yes, I did. Why did they release you and keep me? You’re the leader. We were there a couple days. They were bothering us a couple of days. We prayed and guess what happened? We had a lot of Bibles. They said Bibles were worth 7 years in prison. …help us God. Those might be big things.
I got locked up with my wife in Yugoslavia. We were both in the same cell which is awesome…we prayed and we were set free.
John Shirmer is not here but we were in Qatar and got arrested. I got angry at the policeman because he took my McDonald’s chicken sandwich….I want a chicken sandwich. I prayed and they got the chicken sandwich and we prayed and he let us go again.
You can see Peter pray in Acts 12. It’s wide open. The doors are wide open. These are absolute realities that can happen in all our lives. We get the report from the doctor but I have something else to say, behold he prays. That situation can be totally reversed. I can get totally transformed and delivered. Look at these bills and checkbook. You look at it by sight but behold he prayers.
I think your mom, where did Zane go? Look at what happened. A man of the book has been raised up.
I was thinking of the Apostle Paul. He prayed three different prayers in Ephesians. He said the eyes of understanding enlightened. First he prayed for a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him and eyes enlightened…..power. He is praying that Christians and he himself would have their eyes open to see who they are in Christ. Rather than see who you are in the flesh. Break that mirror. The prayer that Paul prayed was I want myself and others that are saved to see who they are in Christ. Rather than viewing yourself in the osn or some image people have projected at your or based on your family, culture, past or failures. I want to have God give you the spirit of wisdom and practical personal knowledge of your life…precise knowledge having your eyes enlightened.
PHOTIZO, your eyes enlightened so you might know three things: 1) Hope of your calling, what your calling is all about. The riches of the glory you have and the power God has given you. Our prayer in African missions was people would see the finished work. We wanted people to have eyes open and their understanding enlightened. God help me to see correctly. Help me to see who I am in Christ so I don’t walk around saying woe is me…on and on it goes. Rather see yourself in Christ. Amen. Satan doesn’t want you to see yourself in Christ. He wants you to see yourself in you. I’ve counseled people and they go this is the way I’ve always been. Any man be in Christ….all things new. You are new. I’m new. I’m a new person tonight. It’s not just “Happy New Year” but blessed new man and blessed one new man, the body. I don’t want them to see themselves the way other Ephesians see themselves. Great is Diana of the Ephesians. Paul knows they need to see themselves in Christ. Great prayer for our children, grandchildren, Christians I work with would see themselves in Christ. I pray I would always see myself in Christ. Poor self-image I can never do anything. That’s from the enemy…..I thank God through Jesus Christ the Lord. There is now no condemnation …in Christ. I want to pray God help me to see who I am in you. Not who I am in my culture or osn.
I was in Switzerland and escaping my name and family. I’m walking down a street in Interlock in Switzerland. I hear a guy yell, hey, Scibelli. I can’t get away.
You know where you go to get away from the osn. In Christ. My position in Christ. His second prayer is people would understand who they are in the Body. They would understand Body life. The church. For some people to understand the church, the Body of Christ. It’s not just hi/bye church. Sunday church. Once a month church. Once a year church. One man told me they had 130 visitors. They weren’t new. They were people who come for New Years. Go to get the New Year’s blessing. Sad to say my prayer is that people would see the Body of Christ. What the saints are about and the riches in the saints and the purpose of the church and the glory in the church. To him be glory in the church. My eyes would be open to see the church. Not get involved in differences. The enemy is trying to elevate these things. Look at the person next to you and say this is my sister or brother. This is my brother. These are my brothers. They’re not just acquaintances. We are brothers and sisters. Paul, by the way, it’s amazing the man who persecuted the Body was the one given the revelation of the Body. God gave him the revelation of Body life.
He prayed that people would understand in Acts 10 and 11 the Gentiles are a part of this work. It doesn’t matter someone’s age or culture. I pray, Paul said, that people would see the church, the Body of Christ and the glory in the church. I find my purpose in the church. My purpose is not in my OSN or genetics or some label someone gives me. My purpose is in the church. I heard a guy preach in Nigeria. He kept talking about the “porpoise” in the church. You find your “porpoise” in the church. What is he talking about? I realized he meant purpose. My eyes were opened! That’s his prayer that we would see the church.
His last prayer in Eph. 6 Paul said pray for me that I might be bold in my mouth. I would open my mouth to proclaim as an ambassador the mystery of the gospel. We would see the importance of the gospel and bring this message in the world. When are you leaving? I said the day P. Schaller comes home….I praise the Lord for my wife. I can be gone six months in a year and she never mentions it except the food bill goes down! She lets me pursue God…that could be the prayer for churches that they would see the mystery of the gospel. What has…we used to be the greatest missionary country in the face of the earth. That’s not the case anymore. They think because of all the technology we have and the round things in people’s roofs. It doesn’t replace the one on one. House to house, knock on door and face to face with a person. We had miraculous services as a ministry in Pakistan on New Year’s. Seventy-five students taking college classes in Pakistan…Lahore and Islamabad. We are praying and God is opening doors. Every time I take a trip overseas I want to go to a new city…his prayer was pray for me my mouth would stay open. Someone told me you have a big mouth. Exactly. I was the loudest person in elementary school. I got sent home so many times by the teacher. Satan loves to shut people’s mouths so they don’t say anything.
As we consider 2019, let’s consider these three prayers, the throne of grace, he ever lives to make intercession for us, that the weakest, newest, youngest saint praying makes Satan trembling…God hears our prayers. God, I don’t want to be in Yugoslavia on a honeymoon with my wife….happened in Austria, too. The pastor said this has never happened to me. What did you do? Nothing. I just preached and they handcuffed me.
Let’s keep praying. It’s a love fellowship. I’m praying to the One who loves me. Call upon me and he said I might answer? I will answer. Not only calling on God for certain things he said I’ll show you great and mighty things you know not of. Unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. God will do beyond what you can think.
Say halleluiah. Praise the Lord. Amen.
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