Conversations with God Personal Contact
Sermon Summary
This message delves into the concept of God as a personal God who desires personal contact with the beings He created. After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden God began implementing His plan to re-establish a relationship with humankind. In the Old Testament we see this in the giving of the law, and the poets and the prophets who sought to explain God’s purpose for the law. His plan continues in the New Testament where He sends His One and Only Son as the truth of God in human flesh. Jesus was God’s personal point of contact, but He came at a great personal price to God! Jesus would have to be sacrificed and torn in order to gain access to God for the fallen humans. He was willing to pay the price and was crucified for sins He didn’t commit. He would die, be buried, be resurrected and return to heaven. However, before He ascended back to heaven, He promised to send His Holy Spirit to help, teach, protect and guide His followers. And just before His crucifixion He would pray a beautiful prayer to His Heavenly Father for His disciples and for those who would become followers in the future. It is truly a story of God’s desire for personal contact with humanity!

Community Group Discussion Guide
1. When it comes to God, some people find it easier to not believe at all or to believe in a God who is just some kind of impersonal force. Why do you think it is so hard for some people to believe in a personal God?

2. The Bible is the recorded history of God reaching out to establish a personal relationship with human beings. Why do you think this personal contact with His creation is so important to Him?
Jer 31:3  The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.

3. John makes the case that Jesus is the Word made flesh. In other words, the way of God, the truth of God, the life of God, and the light of God, are all bound up in Jesus as the living revelation of God to mankind. What are some things about Jesus’ life in which you can clearly see a personal and loving God reaching down in love to hurting humanity?
John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:7  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
John 14:8  Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
John 14:9  Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?
John 14:10  Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

4. Jesus prayed a very beautiful prayer for His disciples and for those who would believe in Him in the future through their testimony. He emphasized His desire that His followers would be one with Him and His Father and that they would be in unity with one another! Why do you think unity amongst His followers was such a concern?
John 17:20  "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
John 17:21  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:22  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:
John 17:23  I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 13:34  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:35  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


Full Sermon Notes

Conversations with God Personal Contact

I just don't think it would be very easy to say "It is well with my soul" if the God I worshipped was a distant, foreign, impersonal God, but thankfully He's not distant, foreign or impersonal! In fact He's closer than you think and if you're willing to look for Him you will find Him! I promise you, but more important is He promises you! I hope you realize that God's desire for personal contact with you has been a theme throughout this series. I hope you are here this morning because you desire to have personal contact with God. If not, just listen to the things we'll talk about today from the life of Jesus. Listen and discover the amazing, loving, forgiving, and personal God who knows you by name and wants you to get to know Him!
Let's pray!
"Father God, I thank You that we can know You as our personal Savior, personal Lord, personal friend! I thank You that You knew us before we were even born and long before we thought of pursuing a relationship with You, You were already pursuing a relationship with us! Why? Because You created us, You love us and You want to help us to become all You created us to be! You are very much a personal God and I ask for You to help us understand what that means in a more significant way as a result of our study today. I must decrease and You must increase so others can see and hear from You and not a man! In Jesus name I pray and believe! Amen!!

In the past few weeks we've been in the Old Testament looking at various conversations between people and God. Adam the first man, Moses the deliverer, David the king of Israel, and Jeremiah the prophet. God spoke to people in the Old Testament in powerful ways and it was recorded in the written Word of God. Today, we move to the New Testament where we will see the written Word of God take on human form! The truth of God will become living truth as God makes personal contact with the earth in a way He had not since He formed the earth and the people He had placed upon it. Things were about to change in a dramatic way. God, who to many seemed so distant, separate, unapproachable, and untouchable, was about to bridge the gap between heaven and earth, between God and man. He was about to split time into, BC (before Christ) and AD (the year of our Lord)! And, as we've discussed in the past weeks...

He was about to split the veil or curtain that had prevented people from entering the Holy of Holies so they could literally be in the presence of God. God was about to initiate personal contact with humanity in a way they had never experienced and certainly didn't expect! In order to understand what I'm saying we're going to examine several passages in the Gospel of John. It is commonly accepted that John had three groups he was trying to reach with his message. He wanted the Jews to understand God had always desired personal contact with them and this was evident in the way God had been involved so intimately in their history! He wanted the people of his day, both Jew and Gentile to understand the awesome privilege they had been granted to be alive when God personally broke down the walls. And, last, but not least, John recorded his gospel for future generations of Christ followers, so both Jew and Gentiles could experience personal contact with God through faith! We will start with John 1:1-14. Get ready because these Words of God are powerful, yet meaningful, very deep and yet written with a beautiful simplicity. We start with an overview of God's plan to establish personal contact with you and me…John 1:1-18

God's Personal
Plan for Contact

John 1:1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Jesus was the Word! John was speaking to the Jews who questioned Jesus' authority and teaching. They were committed to the law, and John lets them know that Jesus predated the law and was actually the truth of God who had served as the inspiration for the writer of the law, Moses, as well as David, Jeremiah and Isaiah.

Jesus put it this way in the gospel of Matthew 5:17

Matthew 5:17  “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Ok, let's continue reading in John's gospel

John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

There are many theories on the origins of life, but life created by a personal and loving God is difficult for some to fathom. Some don't believe in any creator, personal or otherwise. However, according to a recent Lifeway Research Study, a larger percentage of non-religious people agree rather than disagree with the following statement...

“Since the universe has organization, I think there is a creator who designed it.”
Lifeway Research

Albert Einstein was Jewish by race, not religion. He stated he was not a Christian, but also not an atheist. Einstein made it clear he did not believe in a personal God. But listen to what Einstein said in an interview when asked if he thought Jesus was a real historical person...

"Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."
(Isaacson, Walter (2007). "Einstein and Faith" Time 169 (April 5): 47.)

And yet Einstein did not believe Jesus was God in the flesh or that God, as a person even existed. As brilliant as Einstein was, he stated that for someone to believe in a personal God was to be "naive" and "childlike".
I would just like to remind us of something Jesus told His disciples...

Mark 10:15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Why did Jesus say this? It's simple really. A person has to be willing to lay down their human pride and admit there are just some things they may never completely understand or fathom, and, my inability to understand something does not make that something less real! Back to our text verse four...

John 1:4-5 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

So it's not that God is not shining light or attempting to reach out to us with personal contact, but when people are in darkness they don't understand. It's like they say, "Hey what's that light shining over there?" Or, "Somebody turn that light off, it's too bright!" Or, "Who keeps turning those lights on, can't you see I'm trying to sleep?" Or, "turn that light off, somebody's gonna see all the clutter and filth in my life!"
That may be a bigger reason than people would like to admit as to why they don't really want to get up close and personal with God! But once again, God desires personal contact with us no matter how much clutter, baggage, or sin.

This is why God continued to reach out to humanity with His plan. John 1:6ff...

John 1:6-18 “There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.”

His creation didn't recognize Him! His on people, the Hebrews who had heard and read, and even memorized the prophecies about the coming Messiah, didn't recognize Him and most rejected Him. But God the One and Only who is at the Father's side, had come to make personal contact with humanity!

And that contact was not without cost! There would be a terrible price for God to pay. Let's see what that price was. It's found in John's Gospel 3:14-17 where we get a hint of what that cost was going to be...

God's Personal
Price for Contact

John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,

The snake thing, if you don't know the story, was when there was a plague of poison snakes and God instructed Moses to make a bronze snake and hold it up on a pole and if the people looked at the snake God would heal them. This was a picture of how someday Jesus would be lifted up for the sins of many! Listen...

John 3:14-17 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Could it be that God really wanted to have a conversation with us that bad? Could it be God desired personal contact with us so much He was willing to sacrifice His only Son? Yes! That's why we call it amazing grace! Blessed assurance! Sweet salvation! Boundless love! But here's a big problem. While God has paid the price to have personal contact with us, there are many who are unwilling to let Him pay their bill. They are hesitant to accept His forgiveness. They don't think they can. "I'm to bad, done to much." An insurance company may drop you if you make to many mistakes, but not God! If you're truly sorry and ask for forgiveness. God makes a way for us! Insurance companies have what they call "accident forgiveness!" But when it come to God, you might say, "But I knew what I was doing, it was no accident!"

God knows that and listen to what His Word has to say in Romans 5:6-11. It has to do with God's cost for personal contact with us...

Romans 5:6-11 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Reconciled! That means your sin debt is paid in full, forgiven! When you accept God's payment for your sin you are saved by the perfect life Jesus lived, not by your own good works and because of this you can rejoice!!

God's Personal
Point of Contact

John 14:1-10 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God ; trust also in me.
In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

Jesus was God's personal point of contact with humankind! This should have been no surprise to the disciples but it was. Even though it had been prophesied in the writings of Moses, David, and Isaiah, and other places in the Old Testament at least 414 times and at least 700 years before Jesus ever came! Here's one...

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

And then these verses, also found in Isaiah, which spoke of The Messiah's death...

Isaiah 52:13-14 See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him —his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness —
Isaiah 53:5-6 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;  
and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Jesus was God's personal point of contact with people. Once again Jesus reminded His disciples that He was the truth! The word made flesh! He tells them He is the way to the Father, the gateway. His body would be torn so the curtain in the temple could be torn and make a way for us to get to the Heavenly Father! But He also tells them they don't have far to go to get to the Father because He said...

John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

And then Jesus tells the disciples a very important truth that would change their lives  on a daily basis. He tells them about God's Personal Paraclete of Contact.

God's Personal
Paraclete of Contact

What is a Paraclete? Paraclete is the English word for the greek word Parakletos. Which means advocate or helper.
Listen to Jesus' words in John 14:15-21

John 14:15-21 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”

Talk about personal contact! Because God loves us so much He wants to walk with us every moment of our lives and He does this by way of His Paraclete, His advocate, His helper, His Holy Spirit! I hope you're beginning to see what it means to have a personal relationship with God through personal contact with His Word, His Son and His Spirit!
Ok, I'm going to close with this last point...

God's Personal
Prayer of Contact

A series on Conversations with God and you wondered where the prayer was going to come in. It was a prayer literally prayed by Jesus to His Father and personal contact was foremost on His heart and mind. Listen to these excerpts from His prayer...

John 17:1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

John 17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.


John 17:13-23 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have
loved them even as you have loved me.

Let's pray!