Summary: A sermon on why is it necessary that we study God. (Much material taken from J.B. Phillips book, Your God Is Too Small, and outline taken from God Most High by Dr. Jack Cottrell, pg. 16-17)
God is like Bayer Aspirin- Expect Him to do wonders. God is like Coke- He’s the real thing. God is like Hallmark Cards- He cared enough to send His very best.
Beginning a series on God today.
There are some who say that there is no God. Even the most primitive of cultures have a concept of God. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20, NIV.
Thankfully we have something beyond the creation and that is the special revelation of the Bible. Our main textbook for the study of God is the Bible. We believe that the Bible is inspired, inerrant, trustworthy and authoritative. God reveals himself in His Word.
There are some who say that because we are finite we cannot really know God. It is true that we cannot know everything there is to know about God. If we were able to know everything there is to know about God, we would be God. Think about the original 3 subjects of school: reading, writing and arithmetic. Even if we spend a lifetime on these subjects we will never know everything about them so does that mean that we should not study them?
The study of God is an essential aspect of human development. We cannot be satisfied with a simple general awareness of God, but must deliberately study Him. We must seek more and more knowledge and truth about Him. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3, NIV.
Thesis: Is it necessary that we study God?
To combat the secularization of our society
Our society generally denies God and the supernatural. Much of our current Western society has given up the idea of God and has affirmed that the natural universe is all that exists. Need to get God out of every aspect of life and out of the public arena. God can be in church but no where else (Like that is possible)
Mankind’s general neglect of God
We are not talking about a denial of God nor are we talking about general ignorance of God. Talking about ignoring God. “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalms 10:4, NIV.
Many have simply forgotten God, are not concerned with God, push Him out of their daily lives and thoughts. “there is no-one who understands, no-one who seeks God.” Romans 3:11.
The abundance of false gods that are being popularized
The idea of religious pluralism (We are a pluralistic society).
There has been a considerable increase of anti Christian cults and religions in the US.
Our universities are full of highly persuasive people who are advocating ideas about God that are contrary to the Bible. Many believe in a Supreme Being who is far different from the True God. Our culture abounds with false gods, whether created by religion, science, or philosophy. The need for the True God to be studied has never been stronger.
“(as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”),” 1 Corinthians 8:5, NIV.
The inadequate knowledge of the true nature of God within the Christian community itself.
Failure to give any serious thought to this subject.
Some have false ideas about God or false conceptions of God. “Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame.” 1 Corinthians 15:34, NIV.
We all need to expand our concept of God. Your God is too small- J.B. Phillips.
J.B. Phillips gives some inadequate or incorrect concepts of God in the Christian community:
1. The Heavenly Policeman:
We all have a conscience but this view says that God is our conscience.
Since we have a conscience and a sense of right and wrong this points us to something beyond ourselves. “since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” Romans 2:15, NIV.
A conscience can be overly developed in some, and easily ignored by others.
A conscience can also be perverted. Take for instance a child who is brought up by strick vegetarian parents. When he gets older and eats meat...?
2. The Heavenly Parent
Many children’s basic idea of God is founded upon the child’s idea of his father. Need to go beyond this to a more mature concept of God as our Father.
Wait a minute, didn’t Christ teach us to regard God as Our Father! We must remember that this is an analogy. When Christ taught us to regard God as Our Father in heaven He did not mean that our idea of God must be based upon our ideas of our own fathers. Some have fathers who were unjust, tyrannical, conceited, or aloof. It is the relationship that Christ is stressing. The basic concept of a father caring for his child is what is meant.