19(Psalm 084)Problem of an Invisible God
Many Christians claim a personal relationship with God. But there is a problem how can you get personal with someone you cannot see?
I suspect many of you are here today because you do want a relationship with God. You want God to be real. You want God to show up. You want God to make a difference. You want to feel and touch God.
Some years ago Dr. J.I. Packer wrote Knowing God. Basically a book on theology.
Tim Stafford: “My theory is that the title and introduction sold the book. A vast unfed hunger hides just below the surface of our churchly activities, a hunger to know God intimately and personally.”
It would seem if Stafford is right, people, includes Christian people are hungering for God.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 … He has put eternity in their hearts...
1. What causes believers dismay?
Psalms 84:2 My soul longs, yes, even faints For the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
2 Corinthians 5:2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,
Psalms 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
This frustration speaks of the human struggle to know God.
Moses who wanted to be see God, experience Him up close and personal, could only see the back of God, not face to face encounter, Paul admitted even He saw but a poor reflection, like through a glass darkly.
So what is God’s response to this universal cry of frustration for God to show up?
1 John 1:1-3: The Bible tells us about an invisible God “that which was from the beginning” so says John, who is revealed to us. Not out of some mystical mountain experience with a guru or from meditating under a tree, but in real flesh and blood
Approachable, touchable, Christianity’s main symbol, the cross, is earthy and its vision based on a God who with his fleshly arms splayed outward, eyes in agony. Here is a God with a face. Here is Jesus. But how can that be God?
Indeed, religious experts around the time Jesus was alive could not accept that.
Hebrews 2:14 "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death."
Story of Christmas tells us his purpose is to destroy stranglehold of sin on humanity.
But then what is the purpose of rising from the dead bodily as well, couldn’t he just disappear into some mystical spiritual Disneyland. Wouldn’t that be much more mysterious? Yet He chose to prove to his disciples, a very earthy experience – they heard, spoke, touched, saw his resurrected body.
It seems to me that God has a body for the sake of relationships.
An omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Spirit has power a body cannot have, but a physical body has the power of human intimacy.
H.G. Wells famous story The Invisible Man illustrates this. As long as remains invisible he will be alone.
God made it easier for us to come to know Him, by coming to us bodily even after he experienced death.
It is easier to be a friend to a Visible man than an invisible one.
The fact that God bothers to show up in the Christmas story with a body, brand new baby, born in a earthy manner, shows us that God seeks intimacy with human beings. How is he to contact us? With only way He knew would not scare, repel us. So He came vulnerable baby born in a humble manger, not in some private hospital, or palace removed from everyday life. He did not come as a macho action hero, larger than life figure that have bodyguards around him but he came as God with us Emmanuel, eating and drinking with sinners! For we want to see, feel, touch, we want our senses to come alive with a real God, if he stayed a pure spirit, we will never be able to relate. But a tangible touchable approachable little baby, a man with real skin and bones, we can relate.
We do know He came as flesh and blood, he did for fellowship with men and women. We connect with God through participating vicariously with sure testimony who have experienced Jesus.
1 John 1:1-3
Yet this is still not fully satisfactory.
Story of an old Glasgow professor named McDonald who, along with a Scottish chaplain, had bailed out of an airplane behind German lines. They were put in a prison camp. A high wire fence separated the Americans from the British, and the Germans made it next to impossible for the two sides to communicate.
MacDonald was put in the Am. Barracks and the chaplain with the Brits.
I John 4:12-14
Can we also see the need to trust the love of God that can be felt and experienced in and through the lives of those in the community of faith? Have we really tasted this? There is power when two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name!
Thus, 1 John 1:1 is starting point, this is what makes fellowship with God the Father possible, for God has taken a flesh and blood form on earth to be relevant to us. He is not somewhere out there, as if truth is out there. God the only Son has made Him known (Jn.1:18). Our access to God is through the flesh of His Son Jesus, the One the Apostles had touched, seen heard. This is the Jesus the Holy Spirit reveals.
There is a God, His name is Jesus and He wants to get to know you.
Will you let Him in?
Furthermore, there is a community of the redeemed! Oh to realize the awesome potential of a church in love with God. The power of God in us can set us free, we too can do wonders, if we are free to come near each other! Love one another as Christ loved you.