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Dr. Ed Young - What Does God Look Like?

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    Dr. Ed Young - What Does God Look Like

Will Durant, historian, philosopher, tells a story of a young girl who, after class, went up to the teacher and asked, "What is God like"? The teacher answered, "You know, I don't really know. Go home and ask your mother"! She goes home and asks her mom. "What is God like"? And the mother said, "You know, I'm not real sure. Ask your daddy when he comes home". So the father came home that night. Little girl went and asked her daddy, whom she thought knew everything, "Dad, what is God like"? And the father thought and said, "You know, I just don't know how to answer that question".

Years later, they were reading through the little diary that the girl kept, and right at this moment, she wrote in her diary, "You know, I think if I had lived as long as my teacher, my mother and my dad, I would know what God is like"! What is God like? I encounter people all the time who say something like, "Well, to me, God is..." Psst! I know immediately they don't know what God is like. I know immediately they do not know what God is like. Theomania! Another big word! A psychiatrist said the number one problem in America, in the world today is theomania! What in the world is that? It means that people try to play God, and the image of God that we create-that's the God we worship; that's the God we believe in; but that God is not God!

It's like all of us in the history of our lives; we want to be the playwright. We don't want to just be the actor. Or, if it were a symphony orchestra, we not only want to write the score, but also, we want to be the conductor. We're not willing just to play the piccolo in the back row! We want to run our own lives! That's the essence of sin. Now, we look at I John. He begins to tell us, this is what John is like. By the way, you read your Bible-you'll not find many sentences, that is Verses, in the Bible, that tell you what God is like. That's right!

The Bible tells us what God has done. It tells us something of the character of God, but very, very few Verses tell us the essence of God! Very few. And most of them are written by the Apostle, John. Most of them. And we know that John wrote the Gospel of John, "G-John". We know he wrote I and II, III John. We know he wrote the Book of... uh oh! You just flunked the course, some of you! When I was in seminary, I took a year studying the Book of Revelation. Professor said, "Anybody who puts an 'S' on Revelation flunks the course"! So always, it is "Revelation"! John wrote the Book of Revelation. And John, like no other author in the Scripture, somehow had an insight into the mind of Jesus like most scholars believe no other human individual did.

In fact, when you look for symbols in the Bible; for example, the symbol for the Gospel of John is an eagle. Why is that? An eagle is the only living thing that can look at the S.U.N. right straight in the eye and not blink! Only an eagle can look at the S.U.N. and not blink. And it is said that only John, the beloved Apostle, can look at the S.O.N. of God and not blink. He gave us insight into the mind and the heart, and here he speaks in our Scripture and tells us in a wonderful, wonderful simple phrase that we find in Verse 5, "God is light". Not "God is a light. God is like light. God is light"! Tremendous phrase! And he goes on to say "There's no shadow of darkness in Him. He is light, and there is no darkness in Him".

How we see that theme throughout the Bible. In Genesis 1, God created the world. It was out, without form. It was void. It was dark. It was lifeless. It was dead. It was an inanimate object. And then suddenly, God says, "Let there be light"! And therefore light came, and light in the Scripture is usually used synonymously with the word "life". Light and life! Take a big stone! Put it out in your yard! Put it over some grass and leave it there for, oh, I don't know-six months, a year, two years.

Then turn over that stone. What are you gonna find? All the grass is dead. You're gonna find some lower, lower varmints down under there, you know-beetles, and worms, and maybe even a snake or spiders... and that ground under that stone that has been covered up for whatever period of time will have a stench to it. It has an odor to it because everything is dead, or everything is of the lower dimension because that area has not been exposed to light! Light and life belong together. God is light! Tremendous word. Tremendous word... Isaiah Chapter 9 said the people who walked around in darkness now had seen a great light! Prophecy of the coming of Jesus Christ. In Psalm 119, what do we read? He says, "The Word of God, My Word is a lamp unto your feet..."

You can see where you're going here. "And My Word is a light unto your path". You can see out ahead where you're going. You see the use of light? When we walk in the light, when we step into the light of God, what happens to us? First of all, He gives us guidance, and sometimes, it warms us. But most of all, it reveals. It illuminates us! You step into the light, and you see yourself as you are, and you see yourself as others see you; but most of all, you see yourself as God sees you. Light, light. God is light. Now, it's an interesting thing in our Scripture, and just have your Bibles there. It says, Verse 5, "This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you".

Now I want you to notice what a tremendous P.R. guy, what a tremendous public relations guy, what a tremendous communicator is John! Look at the many ways he's trying to describe what he has felt, what he has seen, what he has heard, and who Jesus is, and how he relates... Look at the words that he uses. Look there in uh... Verse Number 3. It says, "We proclaim..." Look back up in Verse 2. He says, "Testify. Proclaim" again. "Proclaim" again, and "Right". And now, he announces. Look at all those words. He said, "I testify. I tell a few people". He said, "I proclaim to a lot of people". Then he says, "I proclaim to a lot of people". He says, "Now I have written it down". He says, "Now I'll announce it to you".

It's almost like he put it on television and radio; on the Internet on Facebook, and he just put it everywhere you could put it to tell what he had seen and what he had heard, and what he had experienced. And first of all, he says, "God is light"! By the way, what's the theme of all this? The theme is fellowship. Read it there! He says, "We have fellowship with one another, fellowship with God, and fellowship with His Son". Forget everything I'm going to say. Forget everything I say in all future pronouncements from this place. I want you to remember one thing: This whole Bible is written so that we might have fellowship. All the Old Testament; all the progressive ways God revealed Himself to man; Jesus Christ came so we might have fellowship.

Jesus Christ died so we might have fellowship. Jesus Christ was risen from the dead by God the Father. Jesus Christ ... Everything in the Bible is written so that man can have fellowship with God through Christ and with one another in this world. It's all about fellowship and this relationship! Now the word here is a very churchy word we've heard, if you've been around a long time-Koinonia. What does it mean? Common ground. You have something in common with somebody else. If a soldier came in this room and he stands over here in full uniform; he just got back from Afghanistan. Another soldier came in this room, and he had served for years in Iraq, and they would meet and shake hands.

Do you think they have anything in common? I was traveling many times in a foreign country. Hadn't seen an American in days, and I meet somebody, and I'd say, "Where you from"? "United States"! "Where you from"? "Texas"! "Whoo, Texas! Where"? "El Paso"! Well, El Paso is farther away than where I was in that far country, but I had a whole lot in common because that guy was from Texas! See what I mean? And therefore, you meet somebody, regardless of where they are, their background, or any place on this planet, and they say, "I'm a Christian". And you say you're a Christian, boy! You have common ground! Commonality! The same world view! The same insights! The same structure! That is Koinonia! That is fellowship! And that is what we can have with God! And it's all about fellowship, relationship with God.

Now, John gives us three ways that this relationship with God is blocked. Relationship with God does not work, it's found in the even Verses in this rest of this first Chapter. The even Verses! In Verse 6, it tells us how fellowship is blocked. Look at it with me. "If we say we have fellowship with Him..." That's the Lord... "And yet..." There's that... "And yet..." Heh, heh! "...walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the Truth". In other words, fellowship is broken when we lie to others. In other words, I would tell you, "Oh yes, I have fellowship with God! Oh yes! I'm a Christian"! You see, a lot of people believe the Bible, understand the basic doctrines of the church and live a good, moral life, and they're not Christians!

"Do you mean that I can believe the Bible, understand salvation, understand propitiation, understand all the doctrines of the church and attend church, and live a moral life, and I cannot be a Christian"? That's right! Christianity is marked by a relationship, fellowship with God, relating to, common ground with, talking with, listening to, dealing with, understanding. So we can say we have fellowship and we lie to others when we do not have fellowship. We walk in darkness. There's still shabbiness; there's still emptiness; there's still a void in your life and in my life. So that's one way that blocks fellowship. The next way we block fellowship, we lie to ourselves. We lie to others, say, "Oh, I've got it! I have a relationship. We lie to ourselves".

Look at Verse 8: "But if we say we have no sin, we're deceiving ourselves, and the Truth is not in us". Somebody said, "Well, Verse 10..." see it there? It's just like Verse 9. Look at it! Verse 10 says: "If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar. If we say we have no sin, we're deceiving ourselves; we're lying". What is that? You say that's the same thing? Not at all! The first one says if we say we have sin, we have no sin-have sin. By the way, this is a beautiful little study on the doctrine of sin right there. We have sin, or we have sinned, Verse 10. We have sin-you see it in Verse 8? And we have no sin. It says I have sinless perfection...

I meet people sometimes who say they just don't sin anymore! Oh, I really do! I, I met a guy in church, oh, a year and a half ago. He walked up to me. Didn't know him. Hadn't seen him before or since. He said, "Uh, I see, are you sanctified"? I said, "Absolutely"! He said, "I am too"! I said, "That's wonderful! And you're a Christian"? He said, "No I'm sanctified". He said, "I haven't sinned in 22 years". I said, "That's impressive"! And then he said, "Well, you believe in the doctrine of perfection, don't you, about being sinless"? I said, "What time is it? You know, I don't know if I've gone very long here... I started to say, when you told me that, I already sinned..." Uhm....So the point is, we are sinners! We miss the mark! And when we say we do not sin, or we say we have a relationship but we don't!

Now, he goes on and tells us in the odd Verses we're looking at, tells us how to have this relationship with the Lord. Look at it, Verse 7. "But if..." Boy, that's a big "if". "...we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin". What is this saying? It's saying that we walk in darkness, but then we decide that we're going to walk in the light of God! Wheww! The light of God is something!

Have you ever-remember the little book published years ago by John Hershey by the name of Hiroshima? In this book, it tells a story of how the day that bomber was warring over Hiroshima, that a group of Japanese soldiers were marching along, and they heard the roar of the bomber, and they looked up at just the time that the atomic bomb exploded, and that great flash went out, and literally, the flash was so bright that the eyes in the head of those soldiers melted and ran down their cheeks, and where they had eyes seconds before, they had holes in their head! Light that man created through the splitting of an atom! What a blinding light!

I have a good friend, a good Japanese friend. I know him well. He said he was a little boy, and when, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that his mother took him and all of his siblings and said... in Japan, and they pushed the children up into the mountains because they were afraid that great light would come to their city! And in this book, they describe that light from atomic bomb-said it is like a sheet of the sun coming down! A sheet of the sun. If man can produce that light by splitting an atom; think about the power of the light of God! It's as if we walk in the light! And that's the reason so many of us, we say, "I want to walk in the light of God. I want that exposure. I'm ready to get right..." And we walk in the light, and we say "It is too much. It is too blinding; I can't handle it".

And we back away from God and go back in the shadows, and back in the darkness. But look what this Verse says: "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, God in Christ is there with us". Others are there with us, and we have fellowship, one with another, and look what happens! The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us of all sin. There is that spot... In the Old Testament, they took a life-they offered a sacrifice, and the blood covered the sin. Didn't eliminate it! But the blood of Jesus Christ doesn't cover; it cleanses! It eliminates it! It is gone! And therefore, we can stay in the light because He is in the light with us! Others are there, having fellowship with us, and the blood keeps on cleansing us of sin. You see, that's how we have a beginning relationship with Him; fellowship with Him. That's when the Christian life is not just doctrine and morality. It is a relationship with the Almighty!

Now, look at the second thing it says. It says in Verse 9: "And if we confess our sin, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". Do you know what the word "confess" means? When you confess? What does the word confess...? Confess means "to agree with God". See, we go to confess our sin. "Lord, forgive me. I should not have said that, but You know why I said it! That guy is a..." Oh no! See, I'm not agreeing with God! You know, I've got my own spin, my own rationalization, my own take, my own excuse, my own reason. But when we see sin and we agree with what God says about sin; we understand it just doesn't work. We understand it is rebellion. We understand that it is theomania! We're tryin' to run our own life and not let the True and Living God run our lives! We try to build our life on the basis of God we've manufactured! We've manufactured.... But if we confess, agree with... He forgives!

What does it mean to forgive? It means to put that behind us, doesn't it? It means it is yesterday. You see, we have the idea that we repent. What does repentance mean, by the way? You ever go to the Lord and say, "Lord, I want You to forgive me"! It's like the Lord said, "Are you doing that again"? Heh, heh, heh! "Haven't we been here before"? Ever feel like that? You see, repentance means we don't confess sin and say, "I'm going right back to it again, but God is going to forgive me again and again. Isn't His grace wonderful"? You see, He takes us right back to that point. You're working a complicated problem in math. I got as high as analytical geometry. It almost killed me! It did! And you're working a problem in math. You go all the way down; you make a mistake here, but you own that mistake. You go all the way down til' you get an answer that's wrong, and you keep getting wrong answers! You say, "Well, I know I made my mistake up here, but I'm just gonna keep on going"!

You see, when we go back and God convicts us and convinces us of sin, we've gotta go back right there and deal with that right there so the rest of our life will be on the basis of getting that right, and we'll move to the bottom line, which is the right answer, the cleansing, see? Which is the cleansing.... Now, let's get practical! This is all fine, Biblical exegesis! Let's get practical! How in the world do you and I in the 21st Century have a real, genuine, alive, living relationship with God? Poof! Number one: Study the Book, the Word of God. The Word of the Lord reveals the Lord. You study the Word; the Word reveals the Lord to us. Study the Word of God! That's where you begin!

Say, "How do you study"? Don't take a whole Chapter. Just take maybe a Verse; take part of a Verse. Look what those words mean. Have a good Bible dictionary. Have a good concordance. Look where they words and just study, study. You say, "Oh, well, I don't...oh, let, look! I'm not too smart"! Oh yes you are! Just study, study, study the Word of God. That's where you start. Now, and then most of us, after we read the Word and kind of study the Word, we go immediately to prayer. Wrong! Study the Word and then meditate on the Word!

Now you won't find much written on meditation in the 21st Century, or even in the 20th Century. Isn't much in the 19th Century, a little more. To find a study of meditation, you got to go back and read some old parched-out people. Uh, Augustine, Fenlon, Aquinas, William Law, a lot of mystics! St. John of the Cross, to how to meditate! And, how you meditate on that Word! And let me show you what happens when you do. We have the promise of God in Jesus Christ! Don't miss this! Take your Bible! Turn to John, the Gospel of John! The 16th Chapter, Jesus is speaking. By the way, in your Bible, if you have red letters, it's like saying, "Da,da,da,da,da,dah! Whoo! Look! Be it! Time out! Take... Eh, eh, Jesus is... Whoop! Jesus speaking! Look! Da, da, da, da, da, dah"!

Jesus says, talking about meditation, John 16, Verse 13: "But when He, the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all Truth; for He will speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will..." Here's the word... "...glorify Me, for He will take of mine and will disclose it to you". By the way, we meditate on that Word, and all of a sudden, we meditate; we ask God to give us meaning and understanding of that Word, and that Word is glorified. You know why it's used there? The word "glory" is used, it's heavy.

Somebody say, "Boy, that's big! It means it has weight! And you're studying the Scripture. You've read it; you've got it; you interpreting in context". Then you begin to meditate and bang! The glory comes because the Holy Spirit says, "Give weight to that..." It's telling you something about God. It's telling you something about yourself. It's telling about things you need to deal with in your life. See, that's weight. We have the idea when we pray, or when we meditate that God's gonna tell us something, you know, new! You know, I, I've had people come up to me and say, "God has told me you're supposed to give me a thousand dollars"! I said, "You know, I talked to Him this morning, and I didn't get that message"! Or, better yet, been around a church for awhile. Some single will go to another single and said, "You know, God has told me we're supposed to get married"!

Hold on! If you been around church for awhile, you've run into that and you feel guilty. "Well gosh, I must not be... they're talking to God..." My point is, that's not primarily what happens in prayer and in meditation. But, first of all, he takes what Jesus, what Bible has already said and he glorified it. He brings it alive, and, and this is what a relationship is! It's when your mind descends in your heart! It's when Truth catches fire and there is light! Meditate! And God will put what is heavy! He is teaching you in that Word. And then what happens? You walk in complete joy! You walk in the light! Just imagine if you would if this whole place suddenly was dark. The whole place, midnight! No light in this whole place!
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