Summary: GOD IS FAITHFUL, UNCHANGING, ETERNAL AND TRUE IN PROMISE AND DEED
1 John 1:1-3 & 5:21 – The Nature of God -- Faithfulness
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
John, in writing to the church some 60 years after the resurrection of Christ, is the last living eyewitness to the earthly ministry years of Christ. Yet he sees a danger arising in the church, as they are attempting to blend the ideas of their day (Greek philosophy) with the message of the Gospel of Christ. It is said that John is writing to address the rise of pseudo-incipient quasi-embryonic Gnosticism.
In the book of first John, after dealing with this “spirit of antichrist”, John seems to have an unrelated comment that ends his book “Keep Yourselves From Idols.” However, a careful study of the text, shows that this ending is a summary of what the entire book has been about.
Typically, when we think of idols, we picture statues of Buddha, Totem Poles, Golden Calves, and other physical graven images.
However, the greatest threat of idolatry is much more subtle. Let me say this for your careful consideration. The greatest idol in our world goes by the name of Jesus. Yet He is not the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus experienced by the apostles and His faith which must be contended for by the saints. It is a Jesus of our own crafting, who fits comfortably with our ideas, lifestyle, culture, selfishness, and sin.
Think of positive preaching that refuses to accept the “wild-side” of the Nazarene who turned over tables, not in the riotous party centers of Rome, but with a whip in the temple of the Chosen people. What was to be a house of worship, had become a religion of profit and greed. They still called the name of Jehovah, but He had long since vacated.
We can put the name of Jesus over our door, on our t-shirts and claim that God is on our side. But when Joshua asked the appearance of God that met him before Jericho, he asked “are you for us or our enemies,” the Lord said “NEITHER” but as captain of the armies of the Lord I come.
We want to put God in a box as being on our side – that we think He is republican, a UK Wildcat fan, and so many other forms of belittling as we create “God in our image” rather than seeing God for who He is and conforming our lives, worship, and understanding to bow before Him.
I. CAN GOD BE KNOWN? HOW?
A. PROBLEM OF KNOWING GOD
1. OUR SINFULNESS
2. OUR LIMITATIONS -- HOSEA 4:6 -- my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge
B. GOD’S AWESOME MYSTERIOUSNESS
1. GOD IS INFINITE, MAN IS FINITE
a. ISAIAH 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
2. GOD IS ETERNAL, MAN IS TEMPORAL
3. GOD CANNOT BE KNOWN THROUGH REASON
a. JOB 11:7 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”
b. Job 37:23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
b. 1 CORINTHIANS 1:20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
4. GOD IS OTHER AND GREATER THAN MAN
C. IF THERE IS TO BE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, HE MUST GRANT IT.
1. IT MUST COME FROM HIS SIDE OUT OF HIS MYSTERY ACROSS THE CHASM OF FINITUDE AND SIN.
2. THIS IS REVELATION OR REVEALED KNOWLEDGE.
D. REVELATION -- UNVEILING
1. MATTHEW 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.