Sunday, February 19, 2006

Show Us the Father

Just a cold rain here in the Tennesse Valley. Snow and Ice is falling upon the mountains. Thankfully, our house is warm. Hope your week will be filled with great spiritual experiences.

Show us the Father
Basic Points:
We may see the face of God by looking into the face of Jesus.
1. He is like that Door (10:9) – An inviting portal to find rest.
2. He is that pathway (14:6) – A pleasant well traveled road.
3. He is Bread (6:47) – Warm, tasteful, satisfying, the Great Provider.
4. He is that Shepherd on a hill (10:11) – Who is watching our every move, our protector.
5. He is the Light (8:12) – No monster hidden by the darkness.
6. He is the Vine (15:1) – One who desires direct contact with his creation.
7. He is the source of Life (11:25) – Our hope of a resurrection.

Show Us The Father : full text
Jn. 14:8, 9
Introduction:
A. Let’s play fill in the blank for a few moments:
1. My favorite color is .................... I could eat ................... all day long. If I only had one vacation in my life, I would go to ....................... I’d give anything to meet ..............
2. In the Chicago Tribune Magazine actor Kyle Chandler was asked a series of finish-the-sentence questions. One question was, "I'd give anything to meet .........."
Chandler answered, "God Almighty. I'd like to share my favorite meal with him, and I'd let him do all the talking."
B. We all would like to meet God face to face (and one day we will).
1. Scripture reveal that is impossible to look God in the eye and live (Exod. 33:20).
2. However God has not hid himself from man.
a. To the ancients he appeared through angels (Gen. 18; Judg. 6:22); by dreams (Gen. 28); by fire (Exod. 3); by cloud (Exod. 13); by a glowing form called the “glory of the Lord” (Exod. 40: 24) and through visions (Isa. 6, Rev 1).
C. What John wanted his reader to recognize is, that, it is through Jesus we might gain insight to the appearance of God.
1. Jesus said, “God is a spirit” (Jn. 4:24); yet if you wish to see God, just look at me (Jn. 14:9).
a. Even Paul noted we may see God through Christ (Col. 1:15).
D. I would like to present God in familiar term by which Jesus described himself.
1. Is it not possible to get to know someone though you have never seen them?
a. Biographies; stories passed down through generations about family members.
2. The Bible is the biography of God. It tells us in human terms what he is like. Some love him, others despise, regardless, we are not left clueless.
3. It is my task this hour to draw upon the canvas of your heart the image of God.
4. I will draw him as I would:
a. A door; or a path, a piece of bread, a shepherd on a hill, flaming torch lighting a dungeon, a great vine stretching for miles, and a garden of Eden, abundant of life.
b. I pray each of these terms will bring us into focus a real divine being.
III. The images explained:
A. Jesus said in Jn. 10:7-10 that he was the door.
1. Doors by design are made for acceptable subjects to gain access to the building.
a. One who enters by any other means is considered a threat and worthy of prosecution.
2. Are not doors representative of places which we frequent?
a. A drunk may frequent a place which doors lead him to a bar. A lustful man, a door which leads him to a bed. A spiritual man, doors which give access to a room to worship.
3. We all enter a familiar door to a place we call “home.” What does yours look like?
a. When we see it we delight to open it for on the other side our cherished ones anxiously wait to greet us.
b. When we touch its handle it brings relief to us for we know inside rest awaits us.
c. This door represents the place I belong. It is the place from where I depart and where I return time after time.
4. Jesus pictures God like a door.
a. Not something frightening, but inviting. Not something we would fear to open but something we would love to pass through.
b. We may picture him as a giant door as a gate to an ancient city. If we have the key, the shape of a cross (which is obedience to his truth), we may enter and find security.
c. His door remains unlocked with the exception of one class of people - fools who do not prepare (Matt. 25:1ff).
5. Visualizing God as a door lets me know that I am invited to come and see him.
B. Another object Jesus uses to illustrate God is - “the way” or for clarification, a path (Jn. 14:6)
1. There are paths or roads in which we are very familiar.
a. As a child I would forge through the woods to my aunt’s house by means of a well traveled path.
2. There are paths which are not well known, but marked, such as a nature park.
3. Then there are paths which may require a map. In our great Smoky Mountains, there is a path which leads from Maine to Georgia called the Appalachian Trail, a path which is 2,175 long.
4. The path which may describe God is one that is not all too unfamiliar (Acts 17:27).
a. Most know the basics of good morals. In America, most understand Christian principles.
b. It’s not that we don’t really know the path, its that we don’t like to stay on the path as we are tempted by other trails which appear to have a short cut or an easier way of passage (Matt. 7:13, 14).
5. Illustrating God by means of a path simply implies that there is safe passage through this hostile world if we continue to walk upon it (Psa.23:4 paths of right).
C. Next, Jesus illustrates God as bread (Jn. 6:47).
1. There are so many varieties of bread which one may consume, but only one really satisfies.
2. Bread is something you smell, handle, taste, appealing. My mother’s table was never absent of bread. It is the staple of life.
3. God, being pictured as bread indicates he is needed, good, satisfying. He is one whom we may feast upon and never tire.
4. In his book entitled God’s Psychiatry, Charles Allen tells this story: As World War II was drawing to a close, the Allied armies gathered up many hungry orphans. They were placed in camps where they were well-fed. Despite excellent care, they slept poorly. They seemed nervous and afraid. Finally, a psychologist came up with the solution. Each child was given a piece of bread to hold after he was put to bed. This particular piece of bread was just to be held—not eaten. The piece of bread produced wonderful results. The children went to bed knowing instinctively they would have food to eat the next day. That guarantee gave the children a restful and contented sleep.
5. God is always near, always available, always ready to fill our emptiness, or restlessness our fears and anxieties. All we need to do is to take him with us wherever we go.
D. Again Jesus illustrates the face of God by way of shepherding (Jn.10:11-14).
1. The Psalmist aptly describes God as Shepherd (Psa. 23).
a. A Great Overseer who provides the sheep every need, food, water, direction, healing, protection, rest.
2. Shepherds were not all that popular - so it is with God.
3. Shepherds were brave, enduring harsh climate, often alone.
4. Can you see God upon his hill, looking over us in duty and love?
E. Another illustration Jesus uses to show us God is Light (Jn. 8:12; 1 Jn. 1:5).
1. Revisit the darkest place you have ever been (closet, cave) now turn on a light - that’s God! No one in their right mind prefers darkness.
a. I recall as a youth hating to find the bathroom light out.
2. Hell is described as a place of outer darkness (Matt. 25:30) while heaven is portrayed as a city set on a hill, well lit, having the glory of God in its mist, where there is neither the need of sun or moon (Rev. 21, 22).
3. All life needs light to survive, therefore every person needs God.
4. Light brings warmth, reveals beauty, beacons weary travelers, exposes danger.
5. Since God is described as light, then he is no monster. He exists for our help. He is a being worthy of welcoming in our heart to give us true light so we in turn may become the light of the world. As many may bathe in the sun, may we all bathe in the light of God’s love.
F. Again, Jesus describes the face of God to us through the imagery of a vine (Jn. 15:1ff).
1. What is being illustrated is the trunk of grape vine. From it comes forth branches which in turn bears the fruit. Now the branches cannot bear fruit apart from the vine and the vine can be of no purpose unless the branches abide on the vine.
2. That pictures God as a being that needs contact with his creation.
3. If you are not in contact with God it is because of two reasons:
a. Either we are not attached to the at all to the Vine, or;
b. Our attachment to the Vine has in some way been blocked, so that the sap isn’t flowing into us (spiritual blood clot).
4. Seeing God as the vine helps me understand my relationship to him.
a. I need pruning - things which would prohibit my spiritual development must be severed. Things which may harm me physically needs to be removed.
b. He needs my production - my efforts to preserve the knowledge of Him in others.
5. This imagery helps us cast aside the idea that God has no use for me and I no use for him. It sustains me when I am alone. For the Christian is never alone when he is “in Christ.”
G. Finally, Jesus identifies the face of God as life (Jn. 11:25).
1. Behold the spring - glow of summer - the change of fall - the sleep of winter. As long as the world stands these will never cease to be (Gen.8:22). Herein lies a promise of perpetual life.
2. The question man asks is (Job. 14:14) if a man dies, shall he live again?
3. Though there was limited information on this subject in the O.T., Through Christ all men may know that whether one dies in his spring (youth) or fall of life, he will live.
4. When the angel rolled the stone away he not only let Christ out, but he let man in. Man observed the carefully folded head wrap, the visitation of the angels, the confrontation to see the scars, and the ascension into the clouds. This leave no room for doubt that all of the human family will rise one day.
5. If a man be in Christ he will rise to eternal peace, if a man rejects the Christ, he is hopeless and doomed to a devil’s hell.
6. As you look about you, in whatever season that is upon us, life is abundant. Animals, foul, fish, children. In this we see the face of God because God is life eternal. Though all creatures will die in their own time, God has promised one species, the human family, that they will live again. It is that promise of living forever that motivates one to live for him while it is called ‘today’ for we may never know if tomorrow will ever come.
7. It is revealed that Satan brought forth death upon man. Man fears death and instinctively should fear the devil. God brought life into existence and can continue it forever. See the face of God by observing life.

CONCLUSION

Remember the question I asked earlier, “Is it not possible to get to know someone though you have never seen them?” and I answered, “Yes” through biographies and made mention that the Bible is the biography of God?

Max Lucado retells a story about a man finding love without ever seeing the face of his lover.
John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn't, the girl with the rose.
His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind. In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner's name, Miss Hollis Maynell.
With time and effort, he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond. The next day he was shipped overseas for service in World War II. During the next year and one month the two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn't matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting—7:00 P.M. at the Grand Central in New York. "You'll recognize me," she wrote, "by the red rose I'll be wearing on my lapel." So at 7:00 he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he'd never seen. I'll let Mr. Blanchard tell you what happened.
A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were as blue as flowers. Her lips and chin had a gentle firmness, and in her pale green suit she was like springtime come alive. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small provocative smile turned her lips. "Going my way, sailor?" she murmured. Almost uncontrollably I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Hollis Maynell.
She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump, her thick-ankled feet thrust into low-heeled shoes. The girl in the green suit was quickly walking away. I felt as though I was split in two. So keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned and upheld mine. And there she stood. Her pale, plump face was gentle and sensible, her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever be grateful.
I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. "I'm Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?" The woman's face broadened into a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is about, son," she answered, "but the young lady in die green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!" '

We may see the face of God by looking into the face of Jesus.
1. He is like that Door (10:9) – An inviting portal to find rest.
2. He is that pathway (14:6) – A pleasant well traveled road.
3. He is Bread (6:47) – Warm, tasteful, satisfying, the Great Provider.
4. He is that Shepherd on a hill (10:11) – Who is watching our every move, our protector.
5. He is the Light (8:12) – No monster hidden by the darkness.
6. He is the Vine (15:1) – One who desires direct contact with his creation.
7. He is the source of Life (11:25) – Our hope of a resurrection. Can you see God now?

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