SEEING GOD CLEARLY

The purpose of the birth of Jesus – a birth that we celebrate each year at Christmas time – is to reveal God to us in His fullness
Yes, His birth brought us:
  • Salvation – a personal relationship with God
  • Healing – of the separation between humankind and the Creator
  • Freedom – from sin and the consequences of sin
  • Life – Abundant life as God lives His life through us
  • Grace – because we receive what we don’t deserve and can’t earn
  • Mercy – because we no longer receive what we deserve
  • Acceptance – of who we are and where we are at
  • Forgiveness – of all sin and wrong doing
  • Purpose – joining God in taking the Good News of the Kingdom worldwide
  • Hope – that there is more to life than what we see and experience here
  • Love – unconditional love – no strings attached – always the same

But, the key to all of these and more is to know God the Creator, our Heavenly Father
Jesus came to reveal God the Creator to us
Reveal Him as our Heavenly Father
Reveal Him as a loving, caring, concerned Father
If you have seen Jesus
If you have welcomed Him into your life as Lord and Saviour
If you are walking with Him in your daily, every day life
Then you have seen and experienced the Father – God the Creator and Giver of life
Jesus said, “Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”        (John 14:8-9)
Christmas is not just about Jesus born as a babe in Bethlehem
It is about God the Father offering to us a way for us to come to know Him
When we are born again – born from above – saved – become a new creature – we receive an amazing gift
A new ability that we never possessed before
The instant we made Jesus Lord and Saviour of our life He gave us a gift
Romans 6:23b “…the gift of God is eternal life”
This gift is defined for us in the Gospel according to John
John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
The supernatural ability to know God – to hear, see, touch God (1 John 1:1-4)
We call this “fellowship”
The word “know” is the same Greek word we see in texts such as…
“Joseph did not know Mary until Jesus was born”
The word means:
Intimacy – Intercourse
Closeness
Becoming one with
So, because of the birth of Jesus – and His death and resurrection – we can know the Father and have a personal, intimate, daily, dynamic, ever-deepening, unique love relationship with Him … God the Creator who is our Heavenly Father
Obviously then:
The more we come to know Jesus the more we will see and know the Father
As we read the Bible we need to remember that the purpose of the Book is to reveal God our Father for Who He really is…
To show us God in all of His fullness
Too many people read the Bible:
To pull out principles to live by
To find promises that they can claim
To learn the stories to appear knowledgeable
To observe information as if there will be a test when we stand before God
The Bible reveals the very life, nature, character, essence of God the Father
By showing us the life and ministry of Jesus His Son
John 14:9 (repeat) “…Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
For example – in the Gospel according the John, a disciple of Jesus:
Each chapter of the Gospel contains a portrayal of some special aspect of the character or work of Jesus and so reveals more of the heart of God the Father
  • Chapter 1 – Jesus as God the Son … grace, truth, life
  • Chapter 2 – Jesus as Son of Man … tempted as we are, feels what we feel
  • Chapter 3 – Jesus as Teacher – revealing the Kingdom
  • Chapter 4 – Jesus the soul-winner who came to “seek and save the lost”
  • Chapter 5 – Jesus the Healer / Great Physician
  • Chapter 6 – Jesus as the Bread of Life
  • Chapter 7 – Jesus as the Water of Life
  • Chapter 8 – Jesus as Defender of the weak
  • Chapter 9 – Jesus as the Light of the world
  • Chapter 10 – Jesus as the Good Shepherd
  • Chapter 11 – Jesus as Prince of peace
  • Chapter 12 – Jesus as King
  • Chapter 13 – Jesus as Servant
  • Chapter 14 – Jesus as the Comforter
  • Chapter 15 – Jesus as the True Vine
  • Chapter 16 – Jesus as the Giver of the Holy Spirit
  • Chapter 17 – Jesus as the Great Intercessor
  • Chapter 18 – Jesus the Suffering Servant
  • Chapter 19 – Jesus as the Sacrificial Lamb
  • Chapter 20 – Jesus as the Risen Saviour
  • Chapter 21 – Jesus as the Head of the Church
And, let me remind you once again, as you see Jesus, you see the Father
John 14:9 (repeat) “…Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
Because, Jesus came to reveal the Father – His character, His nature, His power
His love, His grace, His mercy…
However, as we read the Bible
As we relate to our Heavenly Father
As we work at knowing His heart
We are limited in what we are able to see, understand, and receive
The limitations are caused by:
Our relationship to our earthly father and what he was like
  • Our hurts from the past
  • Hurts that cause us to not trust
  • Hurts that built walls to protect
  • Hurts that have not healed
  • Hurts received from the hands of other Christians and even the Church
  • Our Christian heritage and what it did or did not teach about God
  • Our culture and how it looks at God today
  • Our experiences of God “as we know Him”
  • The Church and how it expressed His love and acceptance – or didn’t
  • Our religious glasses as we read the Bible stories
  • Our ‘making God in our own image’
  • So, creating a god who accepts and blesses our unbiblical lifestyle
  • Our friends and family
So, regretfully we have to admit that today most of us have a limited understanding of who God is
In spite of the fact that Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection are meant to reveal the Father
John 14:9 (repeat) “…Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.”
What this says to me in a very loud and clear way is that:
We need to be aware of our limitations / blind spots that are a result of who we are as a person
We need each other to see and understand the fullness of God the Father
We need, with the help of others, to remove the things that prevent us from seeing the fullness of God
Christmas has some very significant and profound meaning if we can get past
  • The focus on Christmas gifts and Christmas parties
  • The focus on family and food – too much of both at times
  • The focus on a few extra days away from work
  • The focus on rest and recreation – holidays and travel
  • The focus on financial pressures due to what is expected of us at this time of year
Almost everything we do today to celebrate the birth of the Christ child takes us away from time with Him during which He would help us to clearly see and understand the Father
And so, we have almost lost any value that might have existed in celebrating Christmas – the birth of God the Father as a child that first Christmas in Bethlehem
Discussion Questions:
When you die and finally see God face-to-face:
What three questions will God the Father ask you?
When you die and finally see God face-to-face:
What three questions will you ask God?
Possible answers:
  1. What three questions will God the Father ask you?
  2. What did you do with what I gave you?”
  3. Why did you not obey me? My commands were clearly stated!
  4. Who have you brought with you? (Who did you lead to the Lord?)
  5. What stopped you from walking in the fullness of My love?
  6. Why did you not embrace the ‘abundant life’ that I offered you?
  7. How come you failed to ‘confess Me before men’?
  8. What kept you from trusting me with your ‘life’?