The following is an excerpt from a recent sermon series I did @APCofCburg. I pray that you would not feel alone, isolated or abandoned. For God is always with you! But I also want to make sure that you know that we (the church) are here for you also. If you’re not connected with a body of believers, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will personally connect you with a local church body that you can find fellowship and community.
But we’ve gotta see Him don’t we? We’re not okay with invisible…we’re not comfortable with invisible.
John 12:21 (KJV) 21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Well I would like to see Him too! Wouldn’t you? When I’m trying to make difficult decisions? You better believe it! I’d love to see Him! I’d love to have a one-on-one conversation with Him! But with all of the other characteristics of God, you’ve also got to accept that invisible is one of them as well!
It’s one thing for you to recognize Him as your savior…but you’ve still got to recognize Him as invisible.
It’s one thing for you to behold Him as your healer… but you’ve also got to behold Him as invisible!
How shall we know? We need a sign! We need proof…we really need to know that He exists! We really need to know that He resurrected from the dead! We really need to see Him!
Are you kidding me? An empty grave isn’t enough? Because you saw Him die on a cross…you no doubt watched His lifeless body removed and placed into a borrowed tomb…I mean, you did see the armed guards in front of the tomb with a giant stone rolled in front of the entrance, but now…you’re having trouble with the fact that in order to believe…you’ve got to see Him?
John 20:24-25 (KJV) 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
This is exactly why he received the moniker of Doubting Thomas…you know why? Because he was just being honest…he was just saying what we would all be thinking! Some of the other disciples confirmed that they had seen the resurrected Christ, but oh, not Thomas, his response was, I won’t believe it until I see it. Until I can see the nail prints in his hands, and until I can put my finger on it, and until I can thrust my hand into His side, I won’t believe it!
And we criticize Thomas for doing exactly what we would have done!
I’ll never forget how Christian author and Pastor, Craig Roeschel put it, his assessment of the church is that we (us Christians) are all just a bunch of practical atheists…and you probably find that offensive! But wait, let’s look at it for a second, so what exactly is a practical atheist? A practical atheist is someone who believes that God exists, but does life as if God doesn’t exist.
Pastor Craig goes on to list three problems with a Practical Atheist:
- We start to believe that our effort is better than God’s power!
- We comfort ourselves by saying “If I can just do a good enough job, God has to bless our ministry”. This presents us with a theological dilemma. Either God is not ministering to our needs or something is wrong with us. If I blame myself for the decline I’ll likely take credit for the increase.
- We believe that our private life doesn’t effect our public life. Samson didn’t realize that the Lord had left him, he thought he could deal with his current problem as he had in times past. We can’t allow “little” sins to hang around and remain in our lives, eventually, those “little” sins will destroy you. We believe that we must please people more than we must please God. The church should be the trend setter, the church should be dictating culture instead of culture dictating the church.
Romans 1:19-20 (KJV) 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
So here’s the application. Here’s how you can begin to accept the reality that God’s invisible. It’s the same way that you have learned to accept God as Savior, or as Healer, or as Provider, or as whatever. I guess let me put it like this: you have to choose to see an invisible God.
A precious sweet sister in our church called me late one Friday night to share her testimony with me…ummm…well, to tell me that her house could have (probably should have) burned to the ground. Yep. She called to testify to me about that!
Why would someone want to testify about their house almost burning down? The fact is, if her house would have caught on fire, and burned to the ground it would NOT have been God’s fault! Seriously. We often give too much credit to the devil. Fact: it’s an older house, and guess what? Wiring goes bad over time, and electrical issues come up, and so accidents just happen. But it didn’t. And she CHOSE to see God in all of this!
But what this precious saint told me, was that through all of the nightmare she’s been living here lately (her house almost burning down was just one of many trials she has recently been facing), she’s been able to see an invisible God! Her testimony to me was that somehow, through all of the close calls she’s had lately, she knows that God’s been there the whole time!
I dare say that seeing an invisible God takes a whole lot of more faith than seeing a visible God. I’d even be bold enough to say that if you can see an invisible God in the midst of the storm, then that requires a whole lot more faith, that seeing an invisible God when you don’t have a care in the world.
Finally, it’s not until the darkest seasons of life, that you can finally start to see God! You could even say that it’s not until everything goes pitch-black that you can finally see! Remember, He is the INVISIBLE GOD. He is YOUR INVISIBLE GOD.
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