Summary: The way we get to know God is by studying His interests and attributes, His character and His characteristics. An attribute is what you “attribute to someone.” Specifically, God’s attributes are those character qualities that uniquely define who He is.
How do you really know what someone is like? You can start by looking at what their interests are. For instance, it would be very easy to conclude that I’m a Packers fan by looking at the sweet swag I’ve accumulated over the years.
I received this Green Bay Bobble Head that actually has my head on it from Cory McAnally for my birthday a couple months ago. On Sunday afternoon I was gifted with some some more gifts (hold up chair, picture and book). On Wednesday I found additional Packer memorabilia on the table in my office (hold up sports cards).
Unbelievably, I experienced some Packer persecution when I posted a few of these images on social media. Here are some of the shots I took…
• Is that fire-starting stuff?
• Boo! Go Bears!
• Yard sale?
• So sorry
• Go Geneseo! Starting early for the high school season?
For many of you, knowing I’m a Packers fan tells you way more about me than you wanted to know. But actually, this is just part (a big part) of who I am. I have a lot of other interests and attributes. But the only way you would know them is if I chose to reveal them to you.
In a similar way, the way we get to know God is by studying His interests and attributes, His character and His characteristics. An attribute is what you “attribute to someone.” Specifically, God’s attributes are those character qualities that uniquely define who He is and what He is like.
Depending on how you count them, there are about 20 attributes of God found in Scripture. We’re only going to tackle 7 of them this summer – God is knowable, holy, omnipotent, faithful, just, unchanging and loving. While this series will not be exhaustive, it’s my prayer that it will be inspirational and will motivate us to a lifelong pursuit of knowing and growing in our love for God. May we conclude that there is no one else like Him as we read in Exodus 15:11: “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”
May God stop us, stir us, and strengthen us during this series. There is nothing more practical than beholding and believing God – for until we know Him, we haven’t even begun to live. This series will help us not only know about God, but to actually know Him more intimately and personally than we ever have before. I like Charles Spurgeon’s perspective: “Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man, as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the deity”
If you want to go deeper in your knowledge of God, I recommend five books. I’ve posted links to them on the Sermon Extras tab on the website and app. The first two are classics and the last three are more contemporary.
Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Awe: Why it Matters for Everything We Think, Say and Do by Paul David Tripp
None Like Him by Jen Wilken
The Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him by Chip Ingram
Here are just a few quotes that capture both the gravity and the gladness of knowing Him.
Perhaps the most profound quote I’ve heard is from A.W. Tozer: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…the heaviest obligation upon the Christian church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of him…the gravest question before the church is always God himself.”
I’ve also pondered this statement from J.I. Packer: “What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God…once you become aware that the main business that you are here for is to know God, most of life's problems fall into place of their own accord.”
Let’s keep three truths in mind:
1. All of God’s attributes are eternally permanent with God. They have always belonged to Him and they will always belong to Him.
2. All of God’s attributes are inseparably interconnected. Each attribute is part of the whole nature of God. They are not like a slice of pie where we can just choose one we like but more like a tapestry that is woven together. God’s love and wrath, His mercy and justice, His holiness and patience are continually functioning in a perfectly integrated yet infinitely complex way.
3. Some of God’s attributes are unique to Him while other characteristics can be passed along to us, though in a limited way. A few of God’s incommunicable attributes include His self-existence, transcendence, omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Some of His communicable characteristics include love, grace, mercy, justice and goodness.