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Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

God’s Presence And Faithfulness

on October 25, 2015

GOD'S PRESENCE AND FAITHFULNESS

Memory Verse: Romans 12:1

Life Application: I am to offer my best to God.

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Bible Text

Romans 12:1

1 Peter 2:11

Luke 12:31

John 14:1-3

James 2:17

Romans 12:1

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The Feast of Tabernacles is a week long autumn harvest festival. The festival is also known as: The Feast of Ingathering, The Feast of Booths, Sukkoth, Succoth, or Sukkot (pronounced “Sue-coat”). In biblical times this feast was the most important holiday of the year. The word Sukkoth means booths, and refers to the temporary dwelling that the Jewish people were commanded to live in during this holiday, just as the Jewish people did in the wilderness after they left Egypt.

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This holiday commemorates the desert wanderings of the Jewish people on their way to the promised land. The people were caused to wander about through disobedience, but God was still with them. During this time God still protected them and provided for them. The people were commanded to build temporary dwellings (tabernacles or booths) each year to live in during Sukkot. This was to remind the people of God’s presence and His faithfulness as a provider and protector. Today the Jewish people still build a sukkot for this festival. Almost any building material will do for the sides as long as they are not of a permanent nature. The top is loosely covered with branches so that you can still see the stars through parts of it. Meals are eaten in the sukkot, accompanied by singing and rejoicing. Some families sleep in their sukkot. It is a place to discuss and meditate on God’s goodness God has redeemed us from a life of bondage to sin and brought us freedom.

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Offer Your Best

Sukkot is a season of joy and rejoicing. The men carry a citron and a lulav to the synagogue to wave as they rejoice before the Lord. The lulav has three branches tied together: a palm, a willow, and a myrtle. The citron is a citrus fruit that smells like a lemon. The lulav and the citron are symbolic of how are lives are to be spiritually. The people took great care in picking out the citron and the items for the lulav. They were careful with what they offered to God. We too should be careful with the quality of the “fruit” that we are offering to God.

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Palm

We should not be like the palm. It is not fragrant (spiritual blessings).These people live by the letter of the law but they have no love or compassion, for themselves or others.

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Myrtle

We should not be like the myrtle. It is only fragrant, but does not bear fruit. These people are sweet people, but their lives do not produce any real or lasting fruit.

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Willow

We should not be like the willow. It does not produce fruit or fragrance. We should not be like the willow. It does not produce fruit or fragrance. These people are blown around by every wind of doctrine and never really know where they are spiritually.

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Citron

We should be like the citron. It produces fruit and fragrance. These are God’s steadfast believers who live a balanced life in wisdom before God and man.

Temporary Home

We are strangers in this land ! This world is not our permanent home – it is only temporary. Any time we, as God’s people, become comfortable where we are at it spells problems.

1 Peter 2:11 NKJV

“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul”

As people in a land temporary, we must not hold on to things too tightly. Things can control and manipulate us. Things can become our gods (idols) when we begin to hold on to them too tightly. When things become your god, you turn away from the only true and living God. God gave the Feast of Tabernacle as a reminder to people of who He is. We need to seek God’s kingdom, not earthly comfort. As we seek God’s first the kingdom of God, our material needs are provided for by the Lord.

Luke 12:31 NKJV

“But seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you”

When the Israelites were wandering in the desert they all lived in tents. It did not matter how rich or poor. All men are equal before God. During Sukkot each one sits in his flimsy sukkah and considers God, not his own status or wealth.

The Feast of Tabernacles gives each person an opportunity to reflect on God’s great love and majesty. The tabernacle was a flimsy tent where the people would sit and reflect on God’s majesty. As a Christian we are a flimsy tabernacle that should reflect God’s majesty! We must be able to move when God moves. We should not get so involved with the things of the world that it prevents us from moving when God tells us to. The tabernacle (sukkah) is a flimsy structure and can be taken down and put up in a very short period of time. The sukkah was sensitive to the wind, just as we are to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. The sukkah is open to heaven – it can not be closed off. We too are to be open to God. We should never close God out of our lives. The lifetime of the sukkah is short. When the sukkah is first put up it is fresh and green. As the days go by the leaves begin to dry. Soon they are falling off as the wind blows. Our life here is short, but our hope is not in this world. God has provided a better place for His people.

John 14:1-3 NIV

”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me.”

Inside our homes it is easy to begin to feel permanent and self-sufficient and loose sight of our brief time on the earth. Since we live for only a short period of time we must use every opportunity to tell others about Jesus and the kingdom of heaven.

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Faith and Obedience

Preparing the sacrifices for the Feast of Tabernacles was costly and time-consuming. It required much commitment to God. It also required faith and obedience. Without faith and obedience the work of Jesus on the cross is of no avail. It is not enough to know the facts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We must have a personal relationship with Him.

James 2:17 NKJV

“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead”

We must personally act upon it by faith, then we will have the promised salvation. We have to receive it and live it.

Romans 12:1 NKJV

“I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”

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Every believer has much that they can give to the Lord:

1. You can give your lives to Him in service.

2. You can use what He gives you (income, food, clothing, shelter) for use in His service.

3. You can us your talents for God’s service.

4. You can share the message of God’s love and salvation with others.

5. You can allow the fruit of the Spirit in you to overflow on others.

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Sukkot is a time to consider that we are God’s creation. We are to celebrate by giving ourselves in God’s service. The message of Sukkot is total commitment to the Lord and to His work.

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Review

1. The Feast of Tabernacles is a week long autumn harvest festival. What other names is it known as?

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2. Sukkoth commemorates the desert wanderings of the Jewish people on their way to the ________________ ___________.

3. The sukkot was to remind the people of God’s ________________ and His faithfulness as a provider and protector.

4. God has redeemed us from a life of ________________ to sin and brought us freedom.

5. What does redeemed mean?

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6. Sukkot is a season of joy and ___________________.

7. What are the three branches used in making a lulav?

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8.The lulav and the citron are __________________ of how are lives are to be spiritually.

9. The people took great care in picking out the citron and the items for the lulav. How does that relate to your life?

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10. We should show love and compassion for ourselves and _______________.

11. We should ________ lasting fruit.

12. We should not be blown around by every wind of ___________________ and we should know where we are spiritually.

13. We should live a ________________ _________ in wisdom before God and man.

14. We are strangers in this land ! This world is not our permanent home. What does that mean to you?

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15.Things can control and manipulate us. Give examples.

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16. As we seek the kingdom of God , our material needs are _______________ for by the Lord.

17.. As a Christian …

* we are a flimsy ____________________ that should reflect God’s majesty!

* we must be able to _________ when God moves.

* we are to be _______________ to the Holy Spirit.

* we should never ___________ God out of our lives.

* we must use every opportunity to tell ______________ about Jesus and the kingdom of heaven.

18. Without faith and obedience the work of ___________ on the cross is of no avail. We must have a personal relationship with Him.

19. What is a personal relationship?

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