One Comment to “Seeing the Unseeable”

  1. Pastor Don
    December 25, 2017

    “Seeing the Unseeable” (John 1:1-18)(12.24.17)
    Christmas Eve Morning
    John 1:1–18 (NIV84) The Word Became Flesh
    1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
    3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
    6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
    10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
    The word of God for the people of God.
    Title: “Seeing the Unseeable”
    When I was a boy of seven or so years old, my family lived on the first floor of a farm house. My brother, sister and I lived there with my father and step-mother. It was on a chicken farm in North Attleboro, MA out in the country. As part of the rent, we took care of the chickens; thousands of chickens. We had to feed the chickens and keep the place up.
    There were many times that I was told to go out to the chicken building and shut out the lights for the night. It was a few hundred yards from the house and the light from the chicken coop lit the way out there. Now, I know you are already one step ahead of me. What happened after I shut out the lights?
    Man! It got dark. I mean it was really dark. I would close the chicken coop door and step outside. The house would have some lights on, but it now seemed very far away. I would begin to walk back to the house. Stay calm, stay calm I would tell myself; but, then I would start to walk faster. The faster I walked, the more fearful I would become. Finally, I would start running, which was dangerous in the dark. And, it didn’t help because whatever was chasing me seemed to run faster too; but, I was running towards the light. No matter how many times this scenario happened, I just knew that there was something in the dark that was after me. And, I was right. Have you experienced that kind of darkness? There is in fact a whole other world at work.
    Tim Keller says, “Jesus Christ has come from that eternal, supernatural world that we sense is there, that our hearts know is there, even though our heads say no. At Christmas he punched a hole between the ideal and the real, the eternal and the temporal, and came into our world.”
    John the Baptist came as a witness to proclaim the coming light of Jesus, the true light that gives life to every person.
    The contrast between darkness and light; the contrast between good and evil; the contrast between God and our enemy the Devil is a major theme if not THE major theme of the Bible. We heard it in Hannah’s reading of 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 and from the more familiar Gospel of John 1:1-18. Hear it from a third source as we find Saul of Tarsus, the killer of early Christians, on the road to Damascus when Jesus knocks him off his high horse. Saul who would become the Apostle Paul remembers in
    Acts 26:15–18 (NIV84)
    15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
    “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
    Paul saw Jesus on that Damascus Road and his life was forever changed. And, Paul suffered much for his devotion to the gospel, the good news of Jesus’ mission here on earth. You cannot see Jesus and not have your world turned upside down.
    But, too many are content, continuing to walk in the darkness. Maybe they are not really content. Maybe they know there is something behind them so they start running. Running in the dark can be dangerous. And, Satan is happy to keep them on treadmill that never reaches the saving light of Jesus.
    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Satan is the little “g” god of this age and he is actively thwarting you from seeing the light. All manner of veils are used by the Devil who is the deceiver, the father of lies, and a murderer from the beginning. In contrast, capital “G” God said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” and made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
    How did God do this? By sending the Word, His beloved and only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus. Notice that both the negative statement and the positive statement contain the concept of being able to see God by seeing Jesus:
    Christ, who is the image of God.
    the glory of God in the face of Christ.
    My friends, this is how we see the unseeable, through Jesus.
    Over and over again in Scripture, we are told how difficult it is to see God.
    1 John 4:12 (NIV84)
    12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
    Jesus said in John 5:37–38 (NIV84),
    37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent.
    So the converse would be that if you believe in Jesus, you will hear God’s voice and see God’s form.
    Even Moses who spent a lot of time in God’s presence only saw God in a limited way.
    Exodus 33:18–23 (NIV84)
    18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
    19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
    21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
    John 6:46 (NIV84) Jesus said,
    46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
    John tells us in the 18th verse: No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
    This verse tells us two things: 1) only Jesus has seen God the Father. 2) Jesus is God.
    There is only one God; yet, God the One and Only has seen God. Though there is only one God, that God is at the Father’s side. And, that God makes Him known.
    Now, let us look at verse 1 in parallel with this 18th verse.
    >In the beginning
    >Was the Word (logos-voice): Gen. 1-God spoke
    >And the Word was with God
    >And the Word was God.
    Now, drop down to verse 14.
    >The Word became flesh
    >And made his dwelling among us.
    >We have seen his glory,
    >The glory of the One and Only,
    >Who came from the Father,
    >Full of grace and truth.
    So, how does Jesus make God the Father seeable?
    John 12:45 (NIV84)
    45 When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.
    Jesus, speaking to his disciples, said, John 14:7–10 (NIV84)
    7 “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
    8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
    9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
    Hebrews 1:3 (NIV84)
    3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
    The way we are made, we can only see with adequate light. We are told that Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. That light is life; hence the darkness is equated with death. Until we see Jesus; until we recognize Jesus; until we receive Jesus; we are in bondage to the god of this world and enslaved to darkness. As long as we walk in darkness we cannot see our unseeable God.
    By contrast, Jesus has made a claim on all who might believe. We then are given a great gift-the “right” to become children of God; Not children born of any earthly power; rather, born of God. This is the new birth, the new creation, being born from above, being born again. This is what it means to be saved. We are saved from the god of this age chasing us and nipping at our backsides. BUT MY FRIENDS, it is way more than that. It is being and basking in the glory of Jesus, full of grace and truth!
    When I was in fourth grade, my mother was awarded full custody of the three children. We moved to East Hartford to live with my mom and step-father. At that time, Hartford, CT was still known as the insurance capital of the world. During the Christmas season, local businesses and companies put up Christmas lights. It was a big deal and the companies and community really got into it.
    It became a family tradition for years to make a trek into Hartford to see the amazing light displays. Even when we moved up near the MA border, we would go back for the Christmas Light display. There is something within us that draws us to light and beauty. We looked forward to the family time, the lights, and the hot chocolate, and the singing of Christmas Carols.
    Can I say today what Paul told the early church in 1 Thessalonians 5:5 (NIV84)?”
    “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” has a page for The Most Festive Christmas Lights Display in NJ for 2017. If you look at their map, it gives Storybook Land; a private residence on Sooy Lane in Absecon; and, the display right across the street at Historic Smithville Village.
    Last Sunday night, I was a Christmas Party for people that have been to Guatemala for mission trips. Although I have not been there, my wife has been a half-dozen times. At the party I was talking to Scoops, the owner of Scoops Ice Cream over in the village. He told me that sometimes it gets so crowded for the Christmas Light and Music display, that you cannot even cross the bridge.
    My family, while I was growing up, only periodically played at church. If asked, my parents would have told you they were Christians; but, they were nominal Christians at best. They would occasionally go to worship and likewise we would occasionally go to Sunday School. We certainly were not involved in the life of a local church. We loved Christmas, but I cannot say we loved Christ. I wonder how many people flocking to these Christmas Light Shows are drawn by the Light of Life, the Lord Jesus. My fear is that the god of this world has blinded them.
    My desire for our community is that they are able to see the unseeable; to know God; to feel God’s love; to know the glory of the One and Only, full of grace and truth. You see God my friends, only to the extent that you see Jesus. Once you have seen Jesus you no longer will fear the unknown chasing you through the darkness.
    Here is Oswald Chambers devotional entry for April 9th from My Utmost for His Highest: Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many are partakers of God’s grace who have never seen Jesus. When once you have seen Jesus, you can never be the same, other things do not appeal as they used to do.
    Always distinguish between what you see Jesus to be, and what He has done for you. If you only know what He has done for you, you have not a big enough God; but if you have had a vision of Jesus as He is, experiences can come and go, you will endure, “as seeing Him Who is invisible.” The man blind from his birth did not know Who Jesus was until He appeared and revealed Himself to him. Jesus appears to those for whom He has done something; but we cannot dictate when He will come. Suddenly at any turn He may come — “Now I see Him!”
    Jesus must appear to your friend as well as to you; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. Separation takes place where one and not the other has seen Jesus. You cannot bring your friend unless God brings him. Have you seen Jesus? Then you will want others to see Him too.
    O could I tell, ye surely would believe it!
    O could I only say what I have seen!
    How should I tell or how can ye receive it,
    How, till He bringeth you where I have been?
    God became flesh and lived amongst us. He lived a sinless perfect life. Jesus, the light of the world came to preach good news to the poor; to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the blind, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
    Jesus went to the cross of Calvary, which is why He was born. We now have peace with God through the work of Jesus. Have your eyes been opened? Can you see Him? Wait, He is coming on the clouds.
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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