Summary: This message is one part, of a five part series, on sensing God. The question in focus is how do we see God? The most important aspect of the answer to this question is to see God as he has shown himself to us in Christ.
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A little boy was drawing a picture on a piece of paper. His mother came up to him and asked him what he was drawing. The little boy responded, "I am drawing a picture of God."
The mother said to her boy that no one knows what God looks like.
The boy said confidently to his mum, “Well they will when I get through drawing this picture."
That is a story which raises two really good questions.
Is it possible to see God?
If it is possible, then what mental picture do we have of Him?
Now we know God is Spirit and his worshipper must worship him in Spirit and in truth.
We are not talking about trying to make an idol, or an icon, or an image of God.
In that sense of us looking around in the spiritual space …
Do we see God and what mental picture do we have of him?
Because, when it comes to seeing God, we need to firstly and quickly recognise that this is an issue of faith.
Does God exist or not?
You can’t see what doesn’t exist, even if you are looking perhaps through secondary means.
You are not going to see God if you are not looking for Him.
And there are many people in this world who do not believe in God for the very reason that they cannot see Him.
Their whole reason for saying “There is no God”, is “I can’ see him”.
It is a common argument against accepting Christianity … or any religion for that matter.
I read that recently in the comments section on the ABC news site.
“If God was real He could show Himself by lifting everyone off the ground all at the same time for a minute. Then I would believe”.
You can go to that website, and many websites like it, and you read lots of comments like that.
A supposably definitive test, or an action, or an outcome that people are looking for that - were it to happen - they would then believe that God is showing himself.
The problem with this attitude and this approach that all the tests we come up with are limited by our humanity and our limited way of thinking.
Have a look at these words from Psalm 50:17-21
17 You hate instruction and turn your back on My words.
18 When you see a thief, you make friends with him, and you associate with adulterers.
19 You unleash your mouth for evil and harness your tongue for deceit.
20 You sit, maligning your brother, slandering your mother’s son.
21 You have done these things, and I kept silent;
YOU THOUGHT I WAS JUST LIKE YOU.
But I will rebuke you and lay out the case before you.
This the big problem that comes when we start talking about what God looks like. Because the conversation very quickly focuses on how we can fashion God in our own image.
You think I am just like you.
You think it is an impressive act to lift everyone off the ground all at the same time.
You are so small
The reality is I have been always been carrying you all this time.
I have carried you since the day Adam was put on this earth.
Very much on this day I am carrying and providing for 7 billion people.
The earth at no time has never run out of oxygen … or will it run out of oxygen.
I gave you every idea and every piece of technology.
You just sent an unmanned probe past Pluto. Do you realise at the speed it is going that it will take 18,000 years to get to the nearest star?
And I have created all of that.
God could, if he wanted to, lift every one of the earth at the same time for a moment. Because it is a pathetic man-made example of a display of power.
And, to be honest, even if he did the first thing that would happen is that many people would start trying to find an explanation for why we all floated for a minute … and to explain it without involving God.
This would happen because that is what mankind is like.
We don’t see God because we are not looking for God.
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.