"The Lord Is In This Place"
The first and chief glory of any local
church is the manifest presence of God. Without this, our preaching, our
prayers, our hymns, our gifts, and our works are all vain. If our God meets
with us, our meetings are truly fruitful. If he does not, they are empty
rituals. When our Lord threatened the church at
The manifest presence of God is the work of God the Holy Spirit in the house of God. It is the fruit effectually brought forth by him from our prayers, hymns, readings, meditations, and preaching of the gospel, the salvation of sinners, the comfort, correction, and edifying of believers in the entirety of their beings. Many attempt to fake the manifestation of God's presence by clapping their hands, singing repetitious choruses, calling for audible responses from the audience, playing on the emotions of people, etc. The church service may be very active, full of entertainment, excitement, and emotion, yet not one soul will afterwards retain any serious, lasting impressions of grace.
The manifest presence of God may be found
where there is no show of religion or emotionalism. The worship may be very
simple by design, the preaching bold, straightforward, and dogmatic, with
nothing to impress, excite, or even attract the flesh, but God is there and the
sons of Jacob know it. Wherever men and women meet in the name of Christ,
trusting his blood and righteousness alone, seeking the will of God and the
glory of God, waiting upon the almighty work of God the Holy Spirit, there God
is! (Matt. 18:20). In that place, the very