What does God look like? What does God sound like? A kid may think of an old man with a long beard and a white robe with a booming deep voice. In 1 Tim 6:16 it says that He dwells in “unapproachable light that no one has ever seen”. In John 1:18 it says “no man has ever seen God”. As much as we try to imagine as Paul says “we can’t see him”. We are physically incapable of seeing God. In John 5:37, Jesus says that we have never heard the voice of God.
In John 1:1 We learn that the Word was God and was in the beginning with God. This is evident by looking back to the creation account when God says “Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26). Who is the Us in this verse? That is the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit. God. In John 1:14 the Bible says “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory”. When the Word became flesh, he became the Son of God and a son of man. He is God, and man.
In Jesus, we can see what God wants us to see of him. Jesus said in John 14:9 that "whoever has seen him has seen the Father". In the very next sentence, he says that the words that he speaks are from the Father. The way that Jesus lived is exactly how God would show us how to live if we could see his essence. The things that Jesus taught would be exactly what God would want us to hear if we could hear his voice (Heb1:1). Jesus is the example and the instruction.
What should we observe and hear from Jesus?
Jesus loved. Love is of supreme importance to a Christian. Jesus said his disciples will be known by their love (John 13:35). But what is love? The most common English definition of love is, “An intense feeling of deep affection”. Jesus certainly had a deep affection for people, but that definition falls short of what we observe from Christ.
The love of Christ is a love that is sent in two directions. First, He loves God. Second, He loves Man (Matt 22:37-39). The love of a Christian must always be in that order. Otherwise a Christian will find him compromising the commands of God in the name of loving his neighbor. We can look at a few examples of the love of God being compromised.
Jesus gave specific instructions on marriage and divorce. He said that anyone who divorces and remarries for any reason besides fornication commits adultery (Matt 19:9). Now, how many times have you heard someone teach that? One of the reasons you won’t hear the plain teaching of Jesus on the subject of marriage and divorce is a misunderstanding of love. We think it would be unloving to essentially tell 50% of the population that they are in adulterous marriages. Well Jesus gave that teaching in a time that was plagued with frivolous divorce. He shows us by his example that you can’t truly love your neighbor if you forget to first love God. Loving God means loving the things that God loves. God loves the one-man one-woman home that he established in the garden (Matt 19:4-6).
In Matthew 23 Jesus gives a scathing rebuke to the Jewish hypocrites. These are people who appeared religious but on the inside were dead. He judged these people as being guilty of killing all righteous servants of God from Abel to Zechariah. Jesus was essentially listing their crimes for the coming judgement and destruction that would take place in AD70. If you read through that chapter of the Bible, you would think that Jesus was not loving based on the way that we use the word. But the love that Christ displayed was a love that made sure that the truth was clear (Eph 4:15).
People approach worship with a worldly definition of love for God. They have deep feelings of emotion and they think the more they feel those feelings, the more pleasing it is to God. But Jesus taught that God is pleased with “true worshipers” (John 4:23). True worshippers are people that worship God in spirit and in truth. Two components are necessary. First there is spirit. This is the attitude that one approaches God with. The other component is truth. This is worship that is authorized by God’s word, since God’s word is truth (John 17:17). There are five avenues of worship that are authorized in the New Testament. Congregational singing, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper, giving, praying, and teaching. Any addition to that is not coming from what Jesus taught about love. Biblical love does not act on its own behalf (1 Cor 13:5).
Worship is a way for Christians to express their love for God. What are you expressing in how you worship? Many express that they don’t know what he wants. That would be called presumptuous worship. And many express that they just don’t care. That would be selfish worship. Most of the time these people hold the belief that, “It’s not about religion. It’s about a relationship”. Any relationship that doesn’t take into account the desire of one of the parties is toxic.
All too often, people disregard what God wanted to show us about love through Jesus and revert back to it meaning "an intense feeling of deep affection". But we always need to remember that Jesus personifies what it means to truly love God. “but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.” John 14:31