Summary: You believe in a God who doesn’t exist if you believe He is like you, you can ignore Him or take Him for granted, He does not love you and will do anything to save you.
It was another one of those articles, "How to Get People to Come to Church in the ’90’s." It said you need to help them raise their self-esteem, teach them to handle anger, to deal with depression, to save their marriages, give them strength to face all kinds of trouble in this world. All of those are good things, and we do those things around here, and we should. But it reminded me of the time someone attended the church where Abraham Lincoln worshipped and asked the pastor, "Will Abraham Lincoln be in the services today?" He replied, "No, but the Almighty God will."
What do you think? Is it possible to get people to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God? I think that in some of our churches today, we work hard, we want to do things well and right when we do them in the name of Jesus, but something is missing. I think in many of our churches today, God is being missed and I believe it is the mandate of every preacher of the gospel to tell people about Jesus, including this preacher.
Jay Kessler, a former president of Youth for Christ was filling in for a pastor friend. On the way to "after church pie and fellowship," a young man walked beside him and said, "I hope you’re not offended in my saying this, but I don’t come here to the church to hear you or the pastor preach. I come to meet the very fine young ladies who are members of this church. In fact, I am an atheist, I don’t believe in God." You could tell he braced himself for the preachers reaction to this shocking news and that he sort of enjoyed shocking people.
The preacher said, "Tell me what God you don’t believe in, and I may not believe in Him either."
The Psalm 50 is directed at people who went to church, quoted Scripture, sang spiritual songs and had a very close idea of God in their heads. God called them wicked. Look at verse 16. READ vv.. 16-23 They claimed to be God’s people, said they believed in Him. But He said, "I am not the God you believe Me to be."
In these frightfully important verses of Scripture, He warns, you believe in a God who doesn’t exist if you believe He is like you. You believe in a God who doesn’t exist if you believe you can ignore Him or take Him for granted. You believe in a God who doesn’t exist if you believe He does not love you and will do anything to save you.
You believe in a God who doesn’t exist if you believe God is like you. In verse 21 He said, "You think I am like you, but I cannot let you get by with such a false assumption. I will reprove you (that is, ’correct you in this’), and prove it clearly to you.
Seven times in this Psalm, He is called the Mighty One, God, the Lord, Judge, Most High. He has from earliest creation wanted to be with us, to be known by us. In Eden we can look at that beautiful picture of perfection and put a heading over the whole thing entitled, "God with People." How He enjoyed His fellowship with Adam and Eve, but they rebelled against that fellowship. They decided they wanted to be God in their lives and had to be put out of the Garden of Eden, but God didn’t give up. He still came to them; and over that Patriarchal period of history, we can say this is a time of "God to His People."
Then came the Prophetic period where God spoke through people. Then came the time of the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus came, it was God as a person.
What is God like? God is just like Jesus Christ. The attributes of God are seen in Christ: Love, mercy, compassion, purity, sovereignty and might. God’s supreme attribute is holiness and love. God is holy love. How brightly this beams from the life of Christ. He is love. Everyone was accepted and loved by our Lord.
He is holy.
Every now and then, someone saw His holiness. You remember in the Old Testament, God saying to Moses, "You’re standing on holy ground."? Isaiah had been going to church all his life. One day, he saw what was always there, the Holy Lord God.
He heard the angels declare, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty."
Those who were close to Jesus Christ ever experienced His love, but they also experienced what R. C. Sproles calls the "Trauma of Holiness." Mark 4:37 tells us, "One night in their tiny boat on the Sea of Galilee, a furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped." As the storm became worse the disciples were frightened. Jesus was asleep on a cushion.