GOD CAME NEAR
God Came Near to Reveal the Father to Us
Matt 11:25-27; Luke 10:21-24
Jerry A. Collins
vWhat is the meaning of Revelation?
How did Jesus reveal the father to us?
What did Jesus reveal to us about the Father?
When I was an infant I remember waking in the nite and being very frightened by a lighted Santa Claus image on my shelf above the crib. So startled in fact, that I can clearly remember not being able to scream so I just took hold of my crib and banged it against the wall until my mother came into the room. As a junior on the high school baseball team, I was the first to hit a home run over the brand new 330ft fence of our rival Airport high school. I interviewed a 105 yr old lady while I was visiting Northfield, MA who personally rode with DL Moody one morning. Moody had stopped and asked if she wanted a ride the rest of the way in his carriage to Northfield schools. A common thread to these anecdotes are things I have revealed to you about myself that you could never have known in any other way unless of course someone else who knew told you. However, the only way we can know of God is if God communicates personally to us about himself. And this is why God chose to come near to us that he might reveal the Father. Without this revelation we could only guess without any assurance at all that we know the truth about God. Jesus coming to earth changed all of that. He revealed the Father to us and He tells us so in our passage. The passage uses the word revelation twice. What does it mean to reveal something and particularly, what does it mean that Jesus reveals the father to us?
1. REVELATION IS GODíS DISCLOSURE OF HIMSELF TO US WHICH CANNOT BE KNOWN IN ANY OTHER WAY.
We can only know that God exists because He has revealed that to us. We can only know His nature and His work, and His will because He has revealed it to us. That revelation comes in two forms.
A. Natural Revelation God discloses himself to us in nature, history and our conscience. In nature we can see the power, glory, creativity and goodness of God. Although leaving man without excuse (Rom 1:19f), there are limitations to this revelation because though nature may incite someone to seek after this God, this revelation alone is insufficient to save them. It tells you there is a God but not how to have a relationship with him. God also discloses Himself in history as the One who puts down and exalts nations (Ps 75:6f). As the one who appoints nations for His holy purposes in the world (Acts 17:26f). Israelís history reveals the work of God to accomplish His purposes in and for the world. God discloses himself, finally, in our conscience. Conscience is the knowledge of self in relation to a known law of rite and wrong. Our conscience reveals an absolute law somewhere of right and wrong in the universe. Behind the design has to be a designer. Behind the standard there must be an absolute standard by which it can be measured. Who set that standard?
B. Special Revelation Specific acts of God making himself and his truth known at special times and to specific people. God revealed Himself thru miracles. Occasions on which God sort of comes out from his hiding place and shows to man that he is a living God, sovereign God, sufficient God, powerful God. Raising the dead, plagues in Egypt, healing diseased. God revealed Himself in prophecy. Events were foretold by God before they actually happened. The numerous predictions of Jesus first coming as an example (Judah, David, Bethlehem, donkey, betrayed, forsaken, pierced, vinegar, forsaken by God, buried rich mans tomb). God revealed Himself thru His Son, Jesus Christ. General revelation did not lead to clear conception of God and in spite of it man turned to myth, fables, polytheism and idolatry. Neither did the additional special revelation in miracle, prophecy. A fuller revelation of God was needed. Christ is the supreme, ultimate disclosure of the Father!
2. YOU CANNOT KNOW GOD BY WORLDLY WISDOM 21
You cannot learn your way to God studying the wisdom and information available in the world. You can be wise but it will not be able to get you to God. Wisdom of this age has some serious problems. (1) Devoid of understanding of Godís Word. Like scientists of middle ages concluding world is flat they are uniformed of the truth. (2) It is Satan/demon inspired (1 Tim 4:1). Timothy tells us to expect it to increase in later days. (3) Worldly-wise have not confessed their sin as sin. Sin causes foolishness (Rom 1:22). So Jesus concludes that the worldís well thot out conclusions about how to live life are not Godís. What man needs is revelation from God.
3. GOD REVEALS HIMSELF TO INFANTS 21 It is the humble spiritual attitude not the proud and self-sufficient that learn of God. The things of God remain hidden from those who trust in their smartness. But to those not doubting that God rules in their interest, they exchange autonomy for a life of submission to the Lord. Their dependence upon God increases and so does their knowledge of Him. Humility sees all value, virtue, power and glory beginning and ending with God. It is the absolute conviction that God alone is the source of all good. Actions in the life based on this comprehension and commitment are based in humility. Like an absolutely dependent babe we approach God for everything we need in life.
4. THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW THE FATHER IS BY THE SON All things have been handed to Jesus by the Father. His power displayed during His ministry was a preview of the full display in the coming earthly kingdom where he will reign over the earth. Man has no way in himself of discovering what God is like, because his finite, depraved mind cannot grasp Godís infinite nature. Only the Son, who is divine, knows the Father and reveals Him to us. Human religion and philosophy cannot know God. Jesus revealed 3 things to us of the Father. (1) His existence by his sinless life Jn 8:46, works Jn 5:36, his relations to the Father Mt 28:19 that He him self was God. (2) His nature in absolute holiness Jn 17:11, profound love jn 3, Fatherhood of God to us Mt 6:32, spiritual nature jn 4. (3) His will that all should repent Lk 13:1, Believe on him jn 6:28, Perfect as father Mt 5:48, believers should make disciples all over Mt 28:19. If we want to see God we need to see Jesus. He is the full and final revelation of the Father. Today while this truth is muddied and compromised, each generation must call its people back to God by faith in Jesus. God came near!