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We Will See Him

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I John 3:1-3

Introduction

     Do you remember the excitment of waiting for Christmas when you were a child? Perhaps at this time of year it would be more relevant to ask, “Do you remember looking forward to the end of school?” I understand the elementary school children have their last day of school tomorrow and I bet they can hardly wait. Jonathan came home a week ago and told us he was done school. I think he had been waiting for this event for a while. Whenever we have an event that we are looking forward to, we are excited about it, we look forward to it and we can hardly wait till it comes. For us as adults, it may be a trip or a purchase that we are looking forward to. Is there something you are looking forward to more than anything?

     Listen to this. Read I John 3:1, 2. It says, “we will see Him.” Is that something you look forward to?

I.                  We Will!

A.                Desire

     Job experienced terrible tragedies in his life. His children were all killed, his property taken and even his health was taken from him. He was in deep sorrow, sick and in poverty. In the midst of all that trouble, was there something he was looking forward to?  We read in Job 19:25,26, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.“ The desire to see God remained as his hope and his great longing.

     The apostle Paul experienced many struggles. One of those struggles as described in Philippians was that he was in prison. Philippians was written in prison, several times in this letter he mentions that he is “in chains.” His writing to the Philippian church, however, was about ministry and what God was doing in them. He desired to serve them and to help them. Yet in the midst of that discussion, he admits that his greatest longing is to be with Christ. He says in Philippians 1:23,24, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” His greatest longing in life was to be with Christ.

     1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” Such a verse extends this longing to all of us. We have not seen Jesus or God and yet we love him and even though we do not see Him, we believe in him. Not having seen Him and not seeing him now and yet loving him and believing in him raises in us the longing and desire to see Him.

     Does that describe the longing of your heart? Is seeing Jesus something that you are looking forward to?

B.                Promise

     Sometimes we hope for something, but we know that it is only a hope and we have no reason to believe that it will happen. The desire to see Jesus is not just a hope, it is a promise.

1.It will be fulfilled

     The text we are examining today assures us that we WILL see Him.

     It was Jesus’ desire that we see Him and see His glory. He said in John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” If we know that a promise is made because the person really wants to make it, because it is their desire to make it, we have much more confidence that that promise will be fulfilled. So it is with this promise. Jesus wants us to see Him and His glory.

     Jesus promised that He would prepare a place for us so that we could be in His presence. In John 14:2,3 Jesus promised us,  “I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

     In the last book of the Bible, the promise is repeated once again in Revelation 1:7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him...”

2.Why will it be fulfilled?

     Has it ever happened to you that someone has made a promise, but when it was made, you knew that it would probably not be kept? You protected yourself against disappointment by not believing the promise so that when it wasn’t fulfilled, you weren’t disappointed. A legacy of disappointment can leave us jaded to promises.

     Two things cause us to doubt these promises. One is that we question the giver, and the other is that we know that we are not worthy. Hebrews 12:14 says “...without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (NIV)

     One fact both assures us of the reliability of the one who has promised and of our worthiness. Look again at I John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

     How do we know we will see Him? We know because we are the children of God. God has already demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross. In this act, God’s faithful, promise keeping nature is already amply demonstrated so that we do not need to doubt the one who has made the promise. He has already demonstrated His commitment to this promise by what Jesus did on the cross.

     In this same act, we also have reason to believe the promise because the death of Jesus on the cross also covers the other aspect of the reason for doubt. “We are children of God.” Last week, we looked at the fact that we are children of the heavenly Father. We noted that we are children of God by adoption. As I studied this some more this week, I realized that I missed an important aspect. We are more than children of God by mere legal right of adoption. I once met people and commented how like their parents the children looked. I was surprised when I found out that they were adopted children. We do not expect adopted children to share the physical characteristices of the parents because there is no genetic connection. We are adopted children of God and as such have a legal right to be called His children. But there more, there is also a genetic connection. We were not merely adopted, but by the Holy Spirit of God, we have received the divine nature. This is why in both Romans 8:14 and Galatians 4:6, it is the Spirit who allows us to cry out “Abba Father.” It is this relationship that makes it possible for us to be children of God and being children of God who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus and filled by the Spirit assures us that the promise of seeing God will also happen because we have been made fit to see God. “The spiritual genetric material of God is at work in anyone born of God, guaranteeing that the child will grow up displaying the Father’s features” and also guaranteeing that we will see Him!

     So we need not doubt the promise. When John says “will see Him,” that is a promise and that promise is certain!

3.When will it be fulfilled?

     But when? Children don’t always grasp the concept of time and if we as parents make a promise that in a month an anticipated event will happen, they will wake up every day and ask, “Is today the day?” We help them wait by telling them how many more sleeps.

     It is hard to wait for the fulfillment of a promise especially when we don’t have a clear and direct knowledge of when it will happen and that is the case in regards to the day we will see Him. In response to that impatience, many have tried to make a date for when it will happen. The last issue of the MB Herald, has several articles that describe peoples attempts to do so. The answer to the question “when?” is given in our text with the words “when he appears” and that is all we are told and so we have to wait. The promise is made, the promise is sure. When Jesus comes back, we WILL see Him.

II.               See!

     When loved ones have moved away, they phone and we talk to them, email is fine, but it is just not the same as seeing them. Somehow seeing helps us understand, helps us know and helps us be sure. We have the saying, “I want to see for myself.” So it is in our longing to see God.

A.                Longing To See Him

     We read about Job who longed to see God. Likewise, Paul longed to see Him. The Psalmist expresses this longing in Psalm 17:15, “And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”

     The longing we have is to see. Now we have heard of God, we have seen His work, we have heard from Him through His word, but we long to see God.

B.                Encounters With God

     But there is a problem. Exodus 33:20 says,  “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” This is an amazing thing because in several places, Moses was described as speaking with God face to face. In Exodus 33:11 we read, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.” Even Israel was described as a nation that had seen God. Numbers 14:14 says, “And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, O LORD, are with these people and that you, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.”

     When we read this, we probably should understand that such seeing was meant figuratively because no one can see God and live. In spite of the close relationship Moses and Israel had with God, a relationship which is described as seeing God face to face, the relationship still had a distance as God reveals to Moses. He did not see Him fully. There was a limit to his seeing.

C.                 A Face To Face Encounter

     But that will be completely different when Jesus comes again. I Cor. 13:12 says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.“

     Revelation 22:4 also promises,”They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

     What we are looking forward to is a face to face encounter, a full revelation of God and of Jesus. What a privilege, what a blessed hope that we will SEE Him.

III.           Him!

     And take note that we will see HIM!. There are a lot of things that we are looking forward to. When we see the wonder of creation - the beauty of the spring and summer landscape on the prairies, the wonder of lakes, forests, mountains and streams, these things are so beautiful and if heaven is an even greater beauty, I can hardly wait to see it.

     Some people we love very much have died and we look forward to seeing those who know the Lord in heaven. I know that is a longing for many of us.

     But notice that the greatest thing of all, that which when it happens will overshadow all of these other wonders, hopes and glories is that we will see Him.

A.                See Him As He Is

     When Jesus was on earth, His glory was veiled by his human body. In Jesus’ resurrection appearances, something of that veil was pulled away and we were allowed to see a little of the glory of what He is really like. He appeared as the Jesus they had known, and yet there was a difference. His body was not subject to walls and time and space. It was no longer subject to death. He was glorified and pure and holy as he had always been. Even this glimpse is only a small glimpse, when we see Him we will see Him fully as He is.

     Visions of the presence of God have also been veiled by cherubim and cloud and smoke, but when Jesus comes, we will see fully.

     In Revelation, we have some descriptions of what we will see. God is described as seated on a throne which tells us something of his majesty, glory and that He is king. Jesus is desribed as a lamb which tells us that we will see one who is love and has sacrificed his life for us. He is described as a lion which tells us that He is the Lord of glory. He is described as riding on a white horse which tells us that we will see a conquering Lord.

B.                We Will Be Like Him

     But this seeing is not just a show which we will watch from the bleachers. What will happen when we see Him is that we will be like Him.

     The Bible describes that seeing Him will result in a complete transformation in us. All the things we don’t like about ourselves, particularly the sin which continues to beset us, will be gone.

     Romans 8:29 promises, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

     Philippians 3:21 furthermore promises, “who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

     This makes seeing Him all the more exciting. Not only will it be a beautiful vision of such proportions that we can hardly imagine, but because “vision becomes assimilation” seeing involves us very personally.

Conclusion

     I can hardly wait!

     As we struggle with the things of this world and suffer things that we find hard to understand, it is this hope that sustains us and strengthens us.

     But this was written for more than our encouragement. It was written to challenge us to transformation. I John 3:3 says, “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” May our lives reflect this hope as we live in purity.

     This hope can also become the focus of our lives. We are not living for the here and now. We are living by values that transcend this world. Often we become focused on this earth. Let us live lives that are focused above. That means that our values, our time and our goals are all transformed by this hope.

     Today I want to encourage, challenge and direct you with this glorious promise, We Will See Him!

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