Summary: Discover the difference what we believe about God makes in our lives
Someone asked me this week, "Is our new Worship Service from 11:30 to 12:45 or 11:30 to 1:30?" And I said, "Well," and before I could get another word in, she said, "What I need to know is what time do you stop talking."
And I said, "When my stomach starts growling. We finish when I’m hungry."
When we are thinking clearly, we know that Sunday Worship Service is not about my talking but about worshipping God. Yet, many people have differing motives for coming to church. Some come to church out of routine; some come to church for friendship; and some come to church simply to learn what the Bible says. Some are here for yourselves and not for God. In fact, some aren’t even sure there is a God.
Some of you have visited my new home. I have a detached garage, which I’ve turned into my office. On my way from my office to my home, some twenty feet away, I was stopped by one of my neighbors. He told me he was a Baptist, but he’s not interested in organized religion anymore.
I said, "I’m sorry, you must have been hurt by the church." And he was.
Over the past 15 years as a Christian, I’ve discovered the evolution of an atheist. Atheists are not born; they are made. Most atheists are atheists because of one of three reasons. They are atheists because they’ve been hurt by a person or persons representing God or some authority figure in their lives; they are atheists because they’ve been taught or indoctrinated to believe that there is no God, or they are atheists because they are living in a sinful lifestyle that keeps them from seeing God.
Human beings who have not been hurt by persons or institutions associated with religion usually don’t have a problem believing in God. People who have not been indoctrinated to believe that there is no God usually have no problem believing in God. People who are willing to let go of a sinful lifestyle usually have no problem believing in God.
Most people can look at the world in which they live, the creation and themselves, and simply conclude that there must be a Creator. Complex design presupposes an Intelligent Designer, namely, God.
The first sentence of the first book in the Bible reads, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)." The Bible does not spend anytime proving there is a God. It assumes that people naturally believe there is a God. The only question is, "What is God like?"
This morning, and several other Sunday mornings after Easter Sunday, we will be looking at the question, "If there is a God, what’s He like?" We will learn from what the Bible says about what God is like.
This past week, I got my haircut not from my usual hair stylist. What I pictured for my haircut and what he pictured for my haircut were very different. When he got done, he said, "Try this on for awhile; I think you’ll like it." I wasn’t sure how to answer, since he was already done. I wasn’t going to tip him, but we talked, and he knew I was a pastor.
Each one of us has a picture of God that has developed over the years with the help of the media, the church or from life experiences. Whether we like those pictures of God in our minds is irrelevant. What is relevant is what is God really like. And when it comes to describing God, no one has the authority to say, "Try on this picture of God for awhile; I think you’ll like it."
Only God has the right and ability to describe Himself accurately. And He does this in His Word, the Bible. The Bible is our authority for learning what God is like.
Our church’s statement of belief about God comes from the Bible. Let me read our statement of belief about God, "We believe there is only one living and true God, the Maker and supreme Ruler of Heaven and earth. He is holy and worthy of all honor, confidence and love. He exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in divinity, and executing distinct but harmonious roles in the great work of restoring creation to God’s original intent and value." (Exodus 20:2,3; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:17-21; Revelation 4:11; 1 John 5:7)
You might say, "Why should I care? I just had a horrible week at work, and my anxiety is more real than your description of God. Or, I’m trying to break a lust habit, an anger habit or an eating habit, and my guilt is more real than your description of God. Or, I’ve been living life without God all these years, and my material success is more real than your description of God."