Friday, May 23, 2008

Seeing God
Watch the Video

Seeing God

Intro.: Do you realize that we only see only one side of the moon.

  1. One side of the moon is always facing toward the earth, the other side is always facing away.

  2. Wouldn't it be fun to be able to travel up into space and see the other side of the moon?

  3. Between 1968 and 1972 twenty-four people have seen the far side of the moon as part of the Apollo program – twelve of these actually walked on the moon.

  4. But I will never be able to see the far side of the moon – at least not directly. I will be pictures made by satellites or by the astronauts that flew over the moon.

  5. I may not be able to see the moon – but on the other hand, God gives us many views of himself.

  6. Though we will spend today looking at the first verse of the body of Peter's letter, I want to read the entire first paragraph.

Read: 1 Peter 1:3-9


Trans: Though we will only be looking at two members of the Trinity in today's passage, it is important that we understand what we mean by this classic Christian doctrine.

  1. There is only one God.

  2. The Father is shown to be God.

  3. The Son is shown to be God

  4. The Holy Spirit is shown to be God

  5. No one else is said to be God

  6. And that sums up the doctrine of the Trinity.

T.S. In 1 Peter 1:3 we get a glimpse at the nature of God

  1. Two views of our Lord

    1. If you read enough different translations of I Peter, you will find that I Peter 1:3 begins in two very different ways. The NIV is typical of many of the translations - “Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ...”. The New Revised Standard Version is a good example of an different way to read this verse. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    2. Did you notice the difference. One says “Praise the God ...” The other says “Bless be the God ...”.

    3. Now, I suppose that we could ignore the difference – but understanding the difference will also help us understand our own response to God. I could, I suppose, give you the Greek word that Peter used to start the body of his letter; but, instead, let me tell you that the Greek word means “to bless”.

    4. Thus, Peter writes “Bless be the God ...”. But wait something seems wrong. How can Peter “bless” God? How can I “bless” God? I mean, God is the blessor. He is the source of all blessing.

    5. I cannot bless God! Not in the traditional sense – yet out of a heart that has been touched by God's grace, I may wish that I could give some of the blessing God has given me back to him. Peter begins the body of his letter by responding from his heart.

(Ill.) Peter was not alone – David had the same thoughts in Psalm 103:1 –you could look at the English Standard Version, where the verse is translated, “Bless the Lord, O my soul”; or you clould might note that the NIV translates the verse, “Praise the Lord, O my soul”

    1. I wish I could bless God, I cannot. What I can do is praise God for what he has done. And so some translations will translate the Greek - “Bless ...”. Others will translate the emotion - “Praise God ...”

    2. So Peter writes, “Bless/praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

    3. But as much as the verb is important, so is the object of the praise “” ...the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    4. I was impressed as I moved through this passage that the same God that Jesus worshiped and the one whom he called father, I also worship as God, I also can call “father” - the same God that Jesus worshiped and the one whom he called father, you also worship as God, you also can call “father”. I am a child of God, you are a child of God.

(Ill.) Many of you have heard of Dr. Theodor Geisel – but you may not know it. You see, his more famous name is the children's book author, Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss once said, “Adults are obsolete adults.”1 Christ takes obsolete children and makes them children of God that never need to go obsolete.

    1. May you, as a child of God, find yourself praising God.

  1. Three views of His Son

    1. The first verse of the body of Peters letter tells a great deal about God. It also gives us three views of Jesus:
      Lord Jesus Christ

    2. Let me suggest that each part of this name can teach us something of who Jesus really is.

    3. In the Greek translation the word Lord is used almost exclusively to translate the word YHWH – God's very personal name. So personal that the Jews were not permitted to say the name out loud. And so personal that Jesus takes it for his own name, he is understood to be appropriating all the characteristics of God for himself. As Peter wrote, there was no doubt that the Jewish Christians who would be reading his letter would already believe this. The one they worshiped – was the one and only YHWH, the one and only Lord of the universe.

    4. Jesus is not only Lord, he is also, well, Jesus. Where the name YHWH was unique for God alone, Jesus was a very common name – a name with roots going back to the very early days of the Jewish nation. In fact it is the Greek spelling of the name Joshua.

    5. Oh the name fits, it means “salvation”. Very common, but, for Jesus, very appropriate. It is the very human name for a very human person.

    6. When we speak of the “Lord Jesus” we are reminded that He is both divine and human. He was both involved in creation and he was tempted just as we are.

(Ill.) Athanasius is one of my favorite early Christians. He wrote in the 4th century about Jesus. “Our Lord took a body like ours and lived as a man in order that those who had refused to recognize him in his superintendence and captaincy of the whole universe might come to recognize from the works he did here below in the body, that what dwelt in this body was the Word of God.”2

    1. But there is a third name, Christ, or in the Greek Xristos. It is the equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah – the anointed one. Remember the Jews were expecting the Messiah – the one who would bring salvation to God's people.

    2. Not only was Jesus divine, not only was Jesus human, but Jesus was also the one chosen since the beginning of the world to be God's representative to this broken world. He was annointed, was the Messiah, he was the Christ.

(Ill.) The historian Josephus was a contemporary of Jesus – but, as far as we know, he was never a believer. Yet he wrote shortly after the death of Jesus, “About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was the achiever of extraordinary deeds and was a teacher of those who accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When he was indicted by the principal men among us and Pilate condemned him to be crucified, those who had come to love him originally did not cease to do so; for he appeared to them on the third day restored to life, as the prophets of the Deity had foretold these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.” 3

    1. We worship the Lord of the universe, we worship the Son of God, the man Jesus, and we worship the one chosen to bring our salvation, the messiah, the Christ. We worship the Lord Jesus Christ.


1Dr. Seuss in Streiker, L. D. (2000). Nelson's big book of laughter : Thousands of smiles from A to Z (electronic ed.) (4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

2Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (527). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

3Flavius Josephus, Jewish historian, ad 37–95 in Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (1054). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

No comments: