Skip to main content

Seeing the Unseeable, Approaching the Approachable, and Touching the Untouchable

Hebrews 11:27 — By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Exodus 3:5 — And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Exodus 19:12 — And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:



  • A Paradox is not "2 things you put in the water so you can into your boat."

DEFINTION: a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.

Paradox #1 "Worthless Servants" and "His Workmanship"

Lu 17:1 ¶ Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, **forgive him"*. 4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. 5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. 6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. 7 But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? 8 And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? 9 Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. 10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

  • Both statements are true — that people are both worthless and a workmanship? How should Christians think about themselves in relation to God? What is a Christian’s worth tied to?

Paradox #2: Longingly satisfied

“Blessed are those who hunger.” (Matthew 5:6)

“No one who comes to me will ever be hungry.” (John 6:35)

  • Application questions: As believers await Christ’s return, how are they to process their current state? In what ways are Christians to hunger and thirst in the present? In what ways are they to be satisfied and rest in God’s provision?

Paradox #3: To yoke or not to yoke?

“Take up my yoke and learn from me.” (Matthew 11:29)

“Don’t submit again to a yoke.” (Galatians 5:1)

  • Application questions: How does Christ’s yoke differ from the yoke of the law? How do Christians practically live under the tension of being free from certain aspects of the ceremonial law while imitating Christ who perfectly obeyed the law?

Paradox #4: The role of works

“A person is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

“A person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)

  • Application questions: What false gospels are each of the above verses warning against? What’s the relationship between faith and works in the life of someone who has been justified?

Paradox #5: The Christian life—easy or hard?

“My yoke is easy.” (Matthew 11:30)

“How difficult the road that leads to life.” (Matthew 7:14)

  • Application questions: What should believers expect out of the Christian life—is it easy or difficult? How should a proper understanding this paradox affect the way Christians process the realities of everyday life?

Paradox #6: Who’s the judge?

“The Father judges impartially according to each one’s work.” (1 Peter 1:17)

“The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22)

  • Application questions: What do these passages reveal about Christ as high priest and king?

Paradox #7: Optimist, pessimist, or realist?

“Everything is futile.” (Ecclesiastes 1:2)

Everything is meaningful—“Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

  • Application questions: What is the meaning of life found in? How does the current state of the universe reflect the realities of both the curse and the Kingdom of God that’s breaking into the world?

Paradox #8: Going public with good works

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works.” (Matthew 5:16)

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.” (Matthew 6:1)

Application questions: How should Christians go about doing good works? Is it OK to post on social media when you’re having devotions or going on a mission trip?

Paradox #9: Give up your tunic; withhold your pearls

“Give to the one who asks you.” (Matthew 5:40-41)

“Don’t toss your pearls before pigs.” (Matthew 7:6)

  • Application questions: How are Christians to steward God’s resources? What differentiates a steward from a philanthropist or a hoarder? Under what circumstances could it be right to not give to someone who asks?

Paradox #10: Testing God

“Test me in this way.” (Malachi 3:10)

“Do not test the Lord your God.” (Luke 4:12)

  • Application questions: What does it mean to test God? How are these commands motivated by faith?

Paradox #11: Is Christ a peacemaker?

“He will be named…Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

“Don’t assume that I came to bring peace.” (Matthew 10:34)

  • Application questions: How does the gospel bring peace but also divisiveness? What peace did Christ bring at this first coming? What peace will Christ bring at His second coming?

Paradox #12: Judging the rightness of judging

“Do not judge.” (Matthew 7:1)

“Judge according to righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

  • Application questions: In what context and frame of mind is it appropriate to judge? When is it wrong? Is “judge not” a trump card that can be pulled out anytime a person is challenged by someone?

Paradox #13: Wise dealings with fools

“Answer a fool.” (Proverbs 26:5)

“Don’t answer a fool.” (Proverbs 26:4)

  • Application questions: How and when should Christian engage foolish talk and actions? How should these verses guide social media interactions?

Paradox #14: The reason for Christ’s coming

“I did not come to judge the world.” (John 12:47)

“I came into this world for judgment.” (John 9:39)

  • Application questions: What was the purpose of Christ’s first coming compared to His second coming? How does an understanding of the gospel narrative reveal both of Christ’s statements are true?

Shut Out

There are limitations of the creature that make it impossible to comprehend its Creator.

Ex 19:12a — And thou shalt set bounds unto the people …

  • rope, border --- You can come ONLY THIS CLOSE.

1. The Vision


1 John 4:12 — No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 Timothy 6:14 — That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: 15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.


Hebrews 11:27 — By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

  • See, attend to, experienced ---> him Who was NOT VISIBLE, NOT CAPABLE OF BEING SEEN

  • What is there to see?

  • [Genesis 1:2] God at Creation ("And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters") BEFORE THERE WAS MAN, THERE WAS GOD

  • [Genesis 3:9] Adam and Even in the Garden ("Where art thou?")

  • [Genesis 5:22] Enoch walked with God

  • [Genesis 16:13] Hagar ("Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?, Have I seen Him who sees me?")

  • [Genesis 12:1] Abram in Haran ("Get thee out of thy country")

  • [Genesis 21:1] Sarah ("And the LORD visited Sarah")

  • [Genesis 25:22] Rebekah ("why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.")

  • [Genesis 26:2] Isaac when he was about to leave Canaan ("Go not down into Egypt")

  • [Genesis 28:16] Jacob at Bethel ("Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.")

  • [Genesis 28:16] Jacob at Bethel ("")

Ex 19:16 ¶ And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. 21 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. 23 And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. 24 And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them. 25 So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

2. The Approach

  • 1 Timothy 6:15, a light that is a CONSUMING FIRE "which no man can approach unto"

God Makes the First Move

Ex 19:10 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, 11 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.


GOD IS (Is there a God? If so, is He the God of the Bible?)

  • drawing near

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

3. The Touch