Who Is God?
-On the way home from church one Sunday, a father asked his little boy what he learned in Sunday School that morning. The son said, “We learned about the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea.” The father smiled and asked the boy to tell him about it.
-“Well,” his son said, “the Israelites left Egypt, but Pharaoh and his army chased after them. So the Jews ran as fast as they could until they got to the Red Sea. The Egyptian army was getting closer and closer. So Moses sent the Israeli Air Force to bomb the Egyptians. While that was happening, the Sea Bees built a bridge across the Red Sea. When all the Jews were safely across, Moses told the Air Force to let the Egyptians through. Then Moses sent Israeli Navy Seals to wire explosives to the bridge. As the Egyptians were crossing the bridge, Moses detonated the explosives and blew the Egyptian Army to smithereens!”
-By now the father was shocked. He looked at his son and asked, “Is that the way your Sunday School teacher taught you the story?” The boy responded, “Well, no, not exactly. But if I told you what they told me, you’d never believe it!”
[Doug Lyon, sermoncentral.com]
-Well, a lot of people have trouble believing what the Bible says about who God is and what He did throughout the history of the world. Some would even say it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as it works for you and you are sincere. But if the Bible is true (which is not hypothetical to me), then how we think about God is pretty important. If we get Him wrong or just make Him up as we go, we may find ourselves guilty of idolatry, worshiping a false god who doesn’t really exist.
-You might know the name of J.B. Phillips, an Anglican bishop who wrote several books. One of his most popular books was a paraphrase of the New Testament. One of his other books was entitled Your God Is Too Small. In that book, Phillips exposed the views of God that people hold to that are woefully inadequate. For example, there is the “cosmic policeman,” a view of God in which he is standing just around the corner, waiting for us to slip up and break the rules. Or, there is the “indulgent old man,” a little senile but very friendly. Or the “frantic manager.” In this view, God’s got sweat on his brow because the world is in such a mess, and he is trying to hold it all together. It is likely that every single one of us here this morning has a conception of God that is, at least to some degree, skewed. Our views of God may be distorted because of our background, or our experiences, or perhaps simply because of our ignorance. And we don’t realize that we are actually worshiping an idol. Much of our time is spent worshiping a figment of our own imaginations, and what we fail to realize is that God exists independently of our views of him. The God who is there exists as He is regardless of our woefully inadequate ways of thinking about him. And our goal as Christians ought to be to bring our understanding of God in line with the truth of who he really is. [Isaac Butterworth, sermoncentral.com]
-With that in mind I’d like to take a look at what the Bible says about God: Who He is, What He is like, What He does, and so on.
Who is God? - The Fact of His Existence
The fact of God’s existence is so conspicuous, both through creation and through man’s conscience, that the Bible calls the atheist a “fool” (Psalm 14:1). Accordingly, the Bible never attempts to prove the existence of God; rather, it assumes His existence from the very beginning (Genesis 1:1). What the Bible does is reveal the nature, character, and work of God.
Who is God? - The Definition
Thinking correctly about God is of utmost importance because a false idea about God is idolatry. In Psalm 50:21, God reproves the wicked man with this accusation: “You thought I was altogether like you.” To start with, a good summary definition of God is “the Supreme Being; the Creator and Ruler of all that is; the Self-existent One who is perfect in power, goodness, and wisdom.”
Who is God? - His Nature
We know certain things to be true of God for one reason: in His mercy He has condescended to reveal some of His qualities to us. God is spirit, by nature intangible (John 4:24). God is One, but He exists as three Persons—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17). God is infinite (1 Timothy 1:17), incomparable (2 Samuel 7:22), and unchanging (Malachi 3:6). God exists everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12), knows everything (Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:28), and has all power and authority (Ephesians 1; Revelation 19:6).
Who is God? - His Character
Here are some of God’s characteristics as revealed in the Bible: God is just (Acts 17:31), loving (Ephesians 2:4-5), truthful (John 14:6), and holy (1 John 1:5). God shows compassion (2 Corinthians 1:3), mercy (Romans 9:15), and grace (Romans 5:17). God judges sin (Psalm 5:5) but also offers forgiveness (Psalm 130:4).
Who is God? - His Work
We cannot understand God apart from His works, because what God does flows from who He is. Here is an abbreviated list of God’s works, past, present, and future: God created the world (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 42:5); He actively sustains the world (Colossians 1:17); He is executing His eternal plan (Ephesians 1:11) which involves the redemption of man from the curse of sin and death (Galatians 3:13-14); He draws people to Christ (John 6:44); He disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:6); and He will judge the world (Revelation 20:11-15).
Who is God? - A Relationship with Him
In the Person of the Son, God became incarnate (John 1:14). The Son of God became the Son of Man and is therefore the “bridge” between God and man (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus). It is only through the Son that we can have forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace), reconciliation with God (John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.; Romans 5:10 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!), and eternal salvation (2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.). In Jesus Christ “all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). So, to really know who God is, all we have to do is look at Jesus.
-Next week I’d like to talk more about who Jesus is. But to wrap things up today I’d like to show a video clip of The Story of God in a way you might not have heard it put together. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4cL-Zcxa9M
1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
2 Samuel 7:22 "How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears.
Malachi 3:6 "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
Psalm 139:7-12 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Revelation 19:6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Acts 17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."
Ephesians 2:4-5 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-- it is by grace you have been saved.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."
Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Psalm 5:5 5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.
Psalm 130:4 But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
Isaiah 42:5 This is what God the LORD says-- he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
Galatians 3:13-14 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
John 6:44 "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.
Revelation 20:11-15 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.