Summary: The gospel is God’s saving work. It flows from within himself as the revelation of who he is & what he does! In other words, God does what he does because of who he is!
What we Believe # 1 – “God”
1. ILL – After listening to Chuck Swindoll on the radio, 8 year old Debbie asked her 6 year old brother David, “Do you know about Jesus?” Expecting a new slant on the old story, David replied, “No.” Sister continued, “Sit still, ‘cause this is really scary.” After explaining the gospel as only an 8 year old could, she popped the question. “Now David, when you die, do you want to go to heaven to be with Jesus, God, your mommy & daddy & your big sister, or do you want to go to the lake of fire to be with the devil & bank robbers?” David thought about it for a moment & then answered, “I want to stay right here!”
2. If you were talking to someone who knew nothing about the gospel & you wanted to explain who Jesus was & what he did, where would you begin?
3. You could begin with his death & resurrection, but what about his sinless life? You could begin with his ministry, but what about his miraculous birth?
4. Jesus spoke about being “sent into the world by the Father” (John 3:17, 10:36). The story of Jesus Christ didn’t begin in this world at all. Jesus existed before he came into this world – he had a heavenly origin & home from where he was sent to live among us.
5. John 1:1, 14 “1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
6. According to John, the gospel actually begins in eternity in the heart & mind & purpose of God himself. Therefore, the EFCA SOF starts with the character & nature of God himself.
7. Article 1 – We believe in one God, Creator of all things, holy, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in a loving unity of three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Having limitless knowledge and sovereign power, God has graciously purposed from eternity to redeem a people for Himself and to make all things new for His own glory.
8. Beginning the SOF with God emphasizes the fact that the gospel itself begins with God.
9. Titus 1:1-3 (**Read)
10. The gospel is God’s saving work. It flows from within himself as the revelation of who he is & what he does! In other words, God does what he does because of who he is!
I. The Gospel Reveals Who God is –
**Remember, what we believe about God determines our reality.
Robert Lightner, “There is no greater or more important knowledge than that of God himself. Every Christian doctrine has its foundation in the doctrine of God – his reality & his work. All the other great truths of Scripture can be understood properly only as they are seen in relation to the person & work of the God of the Bible.”
The truth is we could spend all eternity mining the subject of God’s character & attributes.
Rom. 11:33-36 “33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! 34’Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ 35‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ 36For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”
**Let me mention 3 key elements of who he is.
A. He is 1 but 3 – trinity or tri-unity
1. “Trinity” is a term that describes the “threeness” of God. But that is only a partial description. God is also “one” – He is a unified being. So a good term to describe both truths is “Tri-unity.”
2. Definition –“There is only one God but in the unity of God there are three equally eternal Persons, the same in substance but distinct from each other in their roles.” (Adapted from B.B. Warfield).
3. This is incredibly important to our understanding of who the God of the Bible is.
4. Augustine, “In no other is error more dangerous or iniquity more laborious, or discovery of the truth more profitable.”
5. DIAGRAM – The Trinity…there is an element of mystery to this doctrine.
6. We see the doctrine of the trinity implied in the Old Testament (Gen. 1:26 “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”) & clearly revealed in the New Testament in the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:16-17) as well as the baptismal formula given to us by Christ (Matt. 28:19-20). .