· One of the distinctives of our faith is that we worship what we cannot see. Isn’t it odd that our deepest relationship in life is with someone we can’t contact with any of our five senses: see, hear, taste, smell, or touch?
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Romans 8:24-25 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
· Some religions, of course, demand a visible god – molten image, carving, mountain, sun, etc. (Yet this was forbidden in the second commandment). Many ‘enlightened’ people today will believe only in what they can see and feel. ‘If God won’t show Himself to me, if He won’t speak to me personally, then He must not care very much about me.’
· The reason we don’t see Him is because God is Spirit. He is invisible. But this doesn’t mean He remains distant or a mystery. We actually can know what God looks like. There was a moment in time when the invisible God finally became visible. That time began in a stable in Bethlehem.
· FOUR LESSONS ABOUT GOD WHICH SHOW US WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE AND HOW HE EXPECTS US TO LIVE. (We will only have time to look at 1 & 2 this morning)
1. A Divine Picture (7-9)
· Review: Jesus has informed them that He is going away where they can’t come, to prepare a place, they know the way. This raises a question…
· Rd. vv. 5-6. The way to the Father is a person, not a pathway. It’s a redeemer, not a route. >>Who is God the Father, anyway? Jesus continues… Rd. v. 7
· >>Philip says, “Jesus, I’m glad you brought that up. If you don’t mind, I’d like to see the Father.” Rd. v. 8.
· A natural request. Moses asked. Perhaps you’ve asked or wondered.
· >>Jesus in a gentle rebuke responds… Rd. v. 9.
· What a remarkable statement! If you want to have a picture of God the Father, take a good look at Jesus. Holy, compassionate, loving, forgiving, powerful, intolerant of sin. Some people incorrectly think that God the Father as stern, always on the verge of losing His temper, while Jesus is kinder, more patient, more loving.
· God didn’t hide Himself to us. He actually did just the opposite. He has completely revealed Himself to us. He wants to be known.
· John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
· Hebrews 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature,
· No earthly illustration can do this doctrine justice, but a couple attempts: A) Full-scale replica of Oval Office in Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, down to the finest detail. It could be said, If you’ve seen that room, you’ve seen the Oval Office. But Jesus is more than a replica. He is no imitation. He is God Himself, He is one member of the divine Being who is God. B) Reflection in the mirror or photograph gives an accurate picture, but is not the object itself. But He is not merely a reflection.
· Jesus is a perfect, divine picture of God, far greater than any previous manifestation of God like the cloud or vision.
2. A Divine Paradox (10-12)
· >>Jesus continues speaking to Philip. Rd. v. 10. Jesus now says to all the disciples… Rd. vv. 11-12.
· Believe. Take my word for it, or look at the works (miracles) if necessary.
· Just said Seen Me, seen the Father, but not “I am the Father.” Note the preposition!
· Not modalism, i.e. three ‘modes’ or different ways of revealing one divine person. Cf. water: liquid, solid, gas.
· Not a lesser being, ‘almost God.’ An interrelationship. This is a brilliant way to describe the Trinity.
· A paradox – seeming contradiction. 3 vs. 1; different vs. equal. Cf. 1:1; 5:19. Jesus is God, and we are called to believe in Him as God. To deny His deity is to deny Jesus Christ. To believe in a Jesus who is not God is to believe in a different Jesus altogether. No one can come to the Father except through the Jesus of the Bible (14:6).
· We will look at Lessons 3 & 4 next week
· Final application: In John 17:21, Jesus prays that this same unity in the Trinity should be reflected in the church – ministries, business meetings, families, style differences. Are we living in harmony and manifesting such unity?