Summary: It is the presence of god, living within us, that makes it possible for us to fully express God’s love.

Title: God With… and Within

Text: I John 4:13 (13-17) Acts 2:1-4

Thesis: Love is at the core of what it means to be a Christian. It is the presence of God, living within us, that makes it possible for us to fully express God’s love.

Series: The fourth in the series from I John 4:7-21, “The Christian’s Litmus Test”

(If there were one decisive factor in determining the reality of one’s Christianity what would that test be? A confession of faith and doctrinal purity? Would the test be behavioral… good works? Would the decisive factor be relational… would it be being known by our love?


This week I read a post from Ren Whitaker on Facebook. (Ren is an old friend we’ve known from our Western Kansas days. He and Bev are now retired and living in Fort Meyers, FL.) He posted, “Just got help from apple store today to link our computers together on iCloud, iTunes, and apps store.”

I know that “i” is a term that identifies something with Apple products, i.e., ipod, iphone, ipad, itunes and now iCloud.

According to the Apple web site, “iCloud stores your music, photos, documents and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices.” I thought that sounded interesting so I explored the iCloud thing further and found out that “to use iCloud, first set it up with your Apple ID on a device with iOS5 or a Mac with OS X Lion 10.7.2. Not sure which Apple ID to use? Learn more...” (There was a link where I could learn more.)

Did anyone here today understand what I just read?

Apparently the Cloud is an infrastructure with unlimited storage capacity where users can store all the data on their computer. Though it is very real it feels very abstract so they call it a “Cloud” as in it’s out there and all your stuff is stored there and whenever you need to retrieve any of it the Cloud service delivers it to any of your devices that have internet access.

I suspect my understanding of “The Cloud” is so limited that I have not even begun to properly understand it, much less explain it. It is a mystery to me. I don’t get it but I know it is there and it works.

It is kind of that way with how I understand God. God is a mystery to me. I know a little something about God but when it comes to being able to fully understand and explain God… I’m as stumped as the next person.

But I do have some elementary understanding.

I do not believe in trithiesm. I do not believe that God is actually three different gods… God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

I do not believe in Modalism. I do not believe that God is one God but chooses to reveal himself in different modes. For example I don’t believe God switches back and forth sometimes showing up as God the Father and other times as Jesus Christ and other times as the Holy Spirit. I don’t think God is a shape-shifter who takes different forms at different times.

I am a Trinitarian. I believe that God is one, but that God who is one, exists as three Persons. For example at the baptism of Jesus Christ there was the voice from heaven that spoke saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” And as God the Father spoke from heaven of the Son who was being baptized, God the Holy Spirit came down from heaven in the form of a dove upon Jesus.

Do I understand how that can be or how it works… I don’t. It is pretty mysterious to me. But I guess it is the mystery of it that makes it a God-thing. The bible says that God’s thoughts are nothing like our thoughts, and God’s ways are far beyond anything we can imagine. Isaiah 55:8-9

But what do we know about God and how God relates to us? And how has God historically been present with us?

I. God Present With Us

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters… and God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. Genesis 1:1-2 and 26

The line, and God said, “Let us…” is a powerful phrase. It is the first hint in Scripture that God is triune. By triune we understand that God is one, but that God who is one, exists as three Persons.

Dissociative Disorder . That kind of thinking immediately conjures up images of dissociative personality disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder. Dissociative personality disorder is a condition in which one person has at least one and potentially more alter personalities. Each personality has it’s own age, sex, race, posture and mannerisms, gestures, patterns of speech and history. And each has the power to assert itself and control the person.

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