Summary: Long ago C. H. Spurgeon said that the study of God would improve, humble, and expand the mind - a thesis we will test with an examination of 1 Tim 6:13-16.
“Who Alone Is Immortal”
What better way to begin my sermon than by reading from a really good one! Here is a bit of one delivered on Jan. 7, 1855:
“It has been said by someone that ‘the proper study of mankind is man.’. . . but I believe it is equally true that the proper study of God’s elect is God; the proper study of a Christian is the Godhead. The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of the great God whom he calls his Father.
There is something exceedingly improving to the mind in a contemplation of the Divinity. It is a subject so vast, that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity; so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity. No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the mind, than thoughts of God . . .
But while the subject humbles the mind, it also expands it. He who often thinks of God, will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this narrow globe . . . The most excellent study for expanding the soul, is the science of Christ, and Him crucified, and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity. 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.
And, whilst humbling and expanding, this subject is eminently consolatory . . . would you lose your sorrow? Would you drown your cares? Then go, plunge yourself in the Godhead’s deepest sea; be lost in his immensity; and you shall come forth as from a couch of rest, refreshed and invigorated. I know nothing which can so comfort the soul; so calm the swelling billows of sorrow and grief; so speak peace to the winds of trial, as a devout musing upon the subject of the Godhead . . .”
These words were spoken over a century ago by C. H. Spurgeon who was, incredibly, only twenty years old at the time. He was, perhaps, one of the greatest preachers of modern times. His words were challenging then, and they still challenge us today.
So let us today test what Spurgeon said. Let us contemplate God beginning with 1 Tim 6:13-16:
“In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time-- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”
We have the privilege of knowing God.
I have heard it said that we don’t want to know about God — we want to know Him. The idea that we can know God without knowing about Him is rather silly. It is rather like claiming to have a dear friend about whom we know nothing!
On the other hand, haven’t you heard of the biographer who studied his subject so extensively that, though he had never met the subject, could say, “I feel that I know this man very well.”
People in our society seem to have trouble knowing God.
One reason for this is that people want everything to be instantaneous and effortless. We can buy instant puddings, instant mashed potatoes, instant dinners, and we can even buy lottery tickets that have “instant winners.” If it is instant, there is nothing for us to do, and we do not have to wait.
Another reason we have trouble knowing God is that people of our era hate to think. We love to be entertained, but we can’t stand to cogitate! God has told us quite a lot about Himself, but understanding that takes effort — a lot of mental effort. Many of us hate mental effort, so our relationship with God is never all it could be.
Still another reason why people have trouble knowing God is that knowing God takes commitment. We live in a world that hates the idea of commitment. In the same way we treat friendships and even marriages, we want to be able to turn our relationships on and off at will. Knowing God shouldn’t be done that way - it can’t be done that way.
While we cannot even scratch the surface of what God has said about Himself in our few minutes here, let’s consider a few of the points we see in our text.