The Revelation of God

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Day by day God gives us opportunities, privileges and experiences that we might learn who He is. As soon as Enoch understood God as he ought to have, God took him and he was not. We have journeyed upon this earth, we have made life’s experiences and we often really desire that we could just end this earth here and go to heaven. But we are constrained to confess that we are not there yet because we do not know God as we ought to.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Do you want to live forever? Then you must know God. When we know God as we ought to know Him, a life of eternity will begin. We have a problem today; we have grown up in a world that is termed Babylon – confusion. The confusion we find in this world today is confusion over the character of God. Who is God?

As Christ sat upon Mount Olivet, He gave a message to His disciples that in the last days there would be a multitude of voices saying, “Here is Jesus, here is God, we have Him, we can tell you who God is.” Through our false parenting, the education system of today and through the media we gain multitudes of different appreciations of the character of God. As Christians we have a problem in considering God as someone who is very stern and judgemental.

Daniel 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment [was] white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne [was like] the fiery flame, [and] his wheels [as] burning fire.  10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

If we were to take these verses on their own it is very easy to understand that man comes to the conclusions that he does. Before our mind’s eye comes a picture of God seated upon a throne full of wisdom, foresight and great discernment. There with a fiery stream issuing from before Him, His throne itself being like a fiery flame, we see justice, we see judgment and the records of our lives with all the fine details of what we have done. Today this picture is coloured by the pagan representations that our society is pervaded with.

The reality is that our whole civilisation today is built upon pagan theology. If you study history, you will find that the very values of our society are built on ancient Greece, Egypt and Babylon. When you take a look at these different philosophies they are the one and the same. Each of them presents before our mind a Zeus-like representation of God. The old bearded man with long hair sitting upon his throne; in one hand the thunderbolts and in the other hand the lightning, ready to hurl them at anybody who is naughty.

Psalm 50:21 These [things] hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether [such an one] as thyself: [but] I will reprove thee, and set [them] in order before thine eyes.

When it comes to the concept of God, we colour it as human beings. The gods of old, Zeus, Apollos and Hera were painted as human with the traits of the human beings but with omnipotence and all-knowing ability and with great power and all knowledge; a very dangerous depiction of God. With man there is no mercy mingled with justice. When it comes to searching out God, we can’t.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts [are] not your thoughts, neither [are] your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

55:9 For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God is not like us. God is not who we think He is. If we want to live forever we need to know Him. To know someone is to be intimately acquainted with them, but how can we know someone we are naturally afraid of? Is not man afraid of God? When Adam sinned, he ran and hid himself. His entire concept of who God is, became deranged. Sin impaired the faculties of the mind to comprehend the character of God. Therefore he saw Him as someone who would be stern and judgemental. God came walking in the garden in the cool of the day, even after Adam had sinned. God knew what he had done and still came to be with him but Adam ran. God will open His arms wide to receive us, but with man’s eyes we see Him ready to punish us. We do not know God.

With such a mentality, it is no wonder we end up with Zeus-like representations. As you go through those mythologies you find that the Catholic Church today presents exactly the same image of God, i.e. we need a pope to stand between the wrath of God and us and that the pope must act as a go-between to appease this stern judge that wants to hurl thunderbolts at us. We all know the story of the French Revolution which was caused by the misconception of God. The people of France only had the Catholic Church’s representation of God before them and they rebelled.

God says, “Come to me. I know you have sinned. I love you still”. Man runs because he thinks that He is going to hurl thunderbolts at us as soon as we sin. As you grew up, did you believe that God was like that? I did. When I was a child, if I was naughty I would think something bad would happen and I grew up being scared of doing something naughty.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, [As] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

These words are plain, God does not delight in death, He does not delight in even affliction. He is not waiting there to just cut off all those who are going to be a problem, He wants to solve their problems.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God is full of love, but we naturally think He hates us. We need a revelation of God; we need to have our ideas of God corrected.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world,

The world was full of sinners. God so loved sinners.

John 3:16 that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Would God love a sinner so much that He would do that?

As human beings, when someone offends us our first reaction is to cut him or her off and if possible we would deal with him or her very severely. Thinking that God is like us we would expect the same from God when we fail.

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

While we were wicked, while we were iniquitous, while we were transgressors, God sent His Son to die for us.

Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Upon Christ God laid the sins of the world. He caused Him to suffer the punishment of guilty man and Jesus died in our stead. He shed His blood for us. Now He stands as a mediator between God and man. Do we need Jesus to stand between God and us in order for God to love us?

It is easy for us to think a mediator is as a referee. We think that God is there to hurl down thunderbolts and Jesus is there with calm words to cool Him down. Is that not what we think a mediator does?

When Adam sinned God came walking in the cool of the day to see him just as He had any other day. He knew what man had done; He knew that man had become a sinner. It was the sinner that ran and hid. It was the sinner that ran away from God, not God who ran away from man. Man became the enemy of God, not God the enemy of man.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Through the death of Jesus we have been reconciled to God, but what is it that will save us?

We shall be saved by his life.

We know that today Christianity teaches that it is the death of Christ that saves us but the Bible says it is the life of Christ that saves us.

What does it mean to be saved? It means to have eternal life. What must we have in order to have eternal life? We must have knowledge of God. To know God is life eternal. The life of Jesus is that which will save us. So what is the life of Jesus? It is the revelation of God. Through the life of Jesus Christ we may know God.

But His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways, so much higher than heaven is to the earth, how can we know His thoughts? How can we know that when God comes walking in the garden in the cool of the day that we don’t need to run? How can we know that when I see that I am a sinner that I can go running to Him and He will greet me with arms wide open? How do I know that I can come to Him just as I am? How can I know that when I do something bad He still loves me? How can I know His thoughts towards me, the chief of sinners, are peace and not evil?

I can know because God got off His throne and He bent down to earth and He spoke His words.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

How does the Bible term His Son?

How can we understand each other’s thought? It is by the word.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

A word expresses the thought. God had thoughts of peace and not of evil and that thought produced the Word. God tells us who He is so that we can know Him.

The sun shines so brightly that we can’t look upon it. God’s glory is too bright we can’t behold it, but you can look upon the full glory of the sun by the rainbow. If you were to take a prism and put it in line with that glory shining from the sun, it will break up all that glory into the colours of the rainbow. What you are beholding is the full glory of the shining sun but you can see it. It is one of the most beautiful things on earth. God sent His Son as the rainbow. In His Son was the full glory of God, but it was displayed in a way in which we could behold it.

In another analogy, we could not speak the language of heaven so God provided in Christ a translator, just as an Italian who cannot speak English needs a translator to translate the English into Italian.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

We beheld that rainbow. That gory was displayed in His life because by His life we will know God.

The Life of the Word

Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

Jesus showed us that God cares about our lives. He sent His Son to teach us a better way and to preach to us the gospel of peace and to heal all manner of sickness and disease. What is the source of our sicknesses? It is called cause to effect. The principle is – what we sow we reap. It’s our wrong habits and practices, our many sinful indulgences that bring upon us health problems. Do you think that Jesus knew it was our fault? Jesus came to show us that even though He knows it is our own fault, God will still comfort us in our afflictions and raise us to good health.

Luke 7:11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.  13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare [him] stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.  15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

God cares about more than just our health. He cares about our help in this life. Day by day God provides for us and in this instance we see that even if He has to raise to life the very provider of the household in order to supply the needs He will raise them from the dead.

Mark 4:37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?  39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

God’s thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace. When there are things in our lives that seem as though they are too much to bear, God rebukes the waves. When you feel like you have hit your limits and you can’t take it any more God will step in with deliverance. Jesus promises us that we can have His peace. Like Him, though the billows roll, we can rest and sleep through it all.

The Bible says the wicked are like the troubled sea. Have you found that the passions of your carnal heart are indeed tempestuous; that you find yourself tossed this way and that? The things that you want to do you don’t do and the very things you don’t want to do, you find yourself doing?

Matthew 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,  13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

God knows that we cannot save ourselves. He knows that without His help we are as helpless as the ship upon the stormy sea so He sends us His Son to show us that if we will not run from Him but rather let Him do His work in us, it will cleanse our soul temple and save us from ourselves.

John 8:2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.  3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,  4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.  5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?  6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not].  7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  9 And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?  11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more

When man sinned, why did he run and hide himself? He hid because of the conviction and guilt of sin and the thought that he deserved punishment. It is the conviction and guilt of sin that stands between God and us. We sin and so we think that is it, and we wait for God to hurl His thunderbolts at us. We see here that God is not like that. He does not condemn the sinner.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Saved from Condemnation

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

God not condemn us but He also takes away the source of our condemnation; He forgives us our sins. Man is slow to forgive and slow to forget. We are prone to think that God is like that also, but He is not like us. To forgive is to forget. When God forgives sinners such as we He then considers that we have never committed the act and He erases it from the books of record. Indeed we can be of good cheer.

Exodus 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

The first announcement of His name is merciful. God knows who He is talking to. He is talking to a sinner. When He introduces Himself, He introduces Himself as merciful.

He will not let you get away with it, but He is merciful and gracious. How do we meet this appreciation?

God is Himself the source of all mercy. His name is “merciful and gracious.” Exodus 34:6. He does not treat us according to our desert. He does not ask if we are worthy of His love, but He pours upon us the riches of His love, to make us worthy. He is not vindictive. He seeks not to punish, but to redeem. Even the severity which He manifests through His providences is manifested for the salvation of the wayward. He yearns with intense desire to relieve the woes of men and to apply His balsam to their wounds. It is true that God “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7), but He would take away the guilt. {MB 22.1}

Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven; neither do I condemn thee, is what He says.

Jesus Christ loves the sinner but He hates the sin. He cannot redeem a sinner who will cling to his sin because he will become identified with it; therefore He came as a teacher to teach us the right way, to teach us to abandon sin.

Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in [yourselves], neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.  14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. 15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.  16 Woe unto you, [ye] blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

He identifies where their problem is; He rebukes them.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

He identifies the sin so that He can take it away. He rebukes their iniquity so He can forgive them if they will be honest and confess it.

Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, that refused to receive Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness, and sorrow so deep that it broke His heart. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He always bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save. {DA 353.1}

There was no condemnation whatsoever. He was holy, righteous, He was God. He knew what sin was and how disgusting sin was, yet He drew close to man to bless him. Even there upon the cross when they crucified Him, He said Father forgive them for they don’t know what they do. He did not censure human weakness. When Lazarus died, Jesus raised him from the dead. The wages of sin is death, but Jesus raised the dead to life. Those who have died believing in this love that God has towards them are not dead but asleep and will wake to eternal life when He calls them.

This life that we behold in Jesus, this attitude of love toward the sinner is the attitude of God toward the sinner. Many think that Jesus is Jesus and the Father is somebody else and that Jesus has to smooth the way to the Father.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.  31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.

In the life of Jesus, Jesus is hidden we do not see Jesus. He does not bear witness of Himself; He bears witness of the Father.

John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.  8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

How many Christians today have a relationship with Jesus but not with God? It’s not a real relationship, because the relationship they are having with Jesus is a figment of their imagination. We don’t know Jesus, Jesus was hidden in the bosom of the Father. It is the Father who was revealed in the life of Christ on earth. We see the Ancient of Days who sits upon the throne with the open book.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Show us the Father?  10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Do we need to be afraid of God? Do we need to be afraid of the Father? When we see our sinfulness, then look at the life of Jesus Christ and see Jesus receiving sinners we can be assured that God the Father will receive us. Never ever are we to doubt that God is waiting with His outstretched arms waiting for us to come to Him just as we are, however we are, whatever we are, whenever. To know Jesus is to know God. To know God is life eternal. To demonstrate how fully the Father loves us:

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my [sheep], and am known of mine.

Are you part of His fold? If you are part of His fold in its truest sense you will know the Father because Jesus says that I am known of His sheep and the Father knoweth me and I know the Father.

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd.

There will be one fold and one shepherd; one clear knowledge of who God is; no confusion, doubt or judgmental but pure clear knowledge of God.

John 10:17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

“Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” That is, My Father has so loved you, that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your substitute and surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father. {DA 483.5}

Can you comprehend that? My Father has so loved you, that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you.

Does God love you? Yes He surely does.

Amen.

Posted on March 18, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, History. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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