What is God Like? (2)

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Over the past few weeks we have begun this new series on the foundations of our faith. The background behind all of this is to make sure that we have a firm foundation under us and what we believe. I see many Christians today when asked about God or His Word unsure or they just don’t know. So, my desire through our time is to help give you some sure and sturdy foundations. In fact, the belief that the essence of Christianity is truth is so vital today for us as believers. We must know that God’s Word is truth. We need to know the truth about God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We need to know the truth about man’s sin and God’s plan of Salvation, and the truth about God’s revealed will for the church and our individual lives.
So, what is truth? We are living in a day and age where the world questions truth. In fact the world today believes in many so-called gods, and that there are many ways to get to heaven. There are many opinions about God and what He is like. But one of the things that we know as believers is that God’s Word is truth as we have seen over the last 2 weeks. God’s Word has revealed to us the claim about the One True God. The Bible never sets out to prove that God exists, it simply tells us.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The title of our message today is, “What is God Like?” What is God’s Character like, and what are His Attributes?
So, what do we know about God? What does His Word tells us about His Character? Let’s begin in 1 Chronicles.
1 Chronicles 29:11 ESV
11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
This verse tells us just a few things about God.
-God is great.
-God is all powerful.
-God is glorious.
-God is victorious.
-God is majestic.
-God is the creator of everything both on earth and in the heavens.
-God is exalted above all. God is head and ruler over all.
But what are some general characteristics or information regarding God?
-First of all, God is our Father and He resides in Heaven. God was referred to as our Father 13 times in the Old Testament and Jesus referred to God as His Father over 150 times, and He spoke of God being our Father 30 times throughout the New Testament. What we see here is that God has masculine attributes like He, Him and Father.
Matthew 6:9 ESV
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Matthew 16:17 ESV
17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
-Second God is Spirit. God is unlike you and I in the fact that He is Spirit. God’s invisibility means that God’s total essence, all of His spiritual being, will never be seen by us and yet God still shows himself to us through visible, created things.
John 4:24 ESV
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Colossians 1:15 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
This means that since He is an invisible Spirit we cannot see Him. However His glory can be seen.
Exodus 24:16–17 ESV
16 The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
-Third, God is the creator of all things. We know from Genesis 1:1 that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it. So, God is the master designer. And He has existed for all times, since eternity. In other words, He has always been and will always be. There was no beginning to his days and no end as well.
Revelation 1:8 ESV
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 22:13 ESV
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
-Fourth, There is only One God. In a day an age where there are so many religions and cults that claim that their leader is the true God it is important for us to know that there in only One True God.
Isaiah 43:10 ESV
10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
The God of the Bible, the God of Israel and Jacob and Moses and all the prophets tells us that there is only one God and He will not give His glory or praise to another as Isaiah 42 tells us. Interestingly God does refer to Himself as Us and Our. We will see that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all claim to be God, and yet each is a different person. We will talk more about this in the weeks to come but for now God the Father is part of the Holy Trinity.
With all of the things that we know about God and His Character, the Question that I want to ask today is this, Can we truly know God?
You see, there is a big time difference between knowing God and knowing about God. I know about Michael Jordan, but I do not know him personally. The author of Proverbs tells us this about knowing God.
Proverbs 2:3–5 ESV
3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
Solomon gives us some wise information here because he tells us that we can know God and discover the knowledge of God. Solomon is helping us to see that there is only one way to really know God and to know all that is revealed about God and that is to make Him the pursuit of our life. There are many things in this life that we can seek after but there is none more valuable than to know God.
In fact, God wants us to know Him, God wants us to pursue Him and that is why we take time to dive into His Word in order to better know Him.
-Set your mind and heart too desire God.
Psalm 27:8 ESV
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
-Fill your mind with God’s Word and then obey it.
John 14:21 ESV
21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
-Learn to fear God, knowing that the beginning of wisdom is to fear Him.
Proverbs 9:10 ESV
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
So, today we can know God. We can know more about Him and His Character and His Attributes. When I talk about God’s Attributes, an attribute is a quality or characteristic that is true about someone. So, studying God’s attributes allows us to have a limited understanding of His person. One of the wonderful things about God’s Attributes is that they work together in perfect harmony. For example, God is love, and yet God is also just. We also know that some of God’s attributes are attributes that are special only to God that we cannot posses. These attributes are attributes of God’s deity. There are some of God’s attributes we can possess, but not to the perfection that God possess them such as to be holy, to live righteously and to love others as God has loved us.
The first attribute that we need to know about God is this.

1. God is Holy.

God’s attribute of holiness means that He is untouched and unstained by the evil in the world. God is absolutely pure and perfect because He is without sin.
Exodus 15:11 ESV
11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
Psalm 99:9 ESV
9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!
Because God is holy, we are called to be holy. In other words God wants you and I to be set apart from sin and to live for Him. Our lives are to shine as a reflection of God in an unrighteous and un-holy world. When we truly understand God’s holiness it should cause us to fear the Lord and see our need for a Savior. It should also cause us to praise God for his majestic holiness.

2. God is Righteous and Just.

The words righteousness and justice are derived from the same Greek Word in the original language of the New Testament. The meaning is being right and just. Righteousness designates the perfect agreement between God’s nature and His acts. Justice is the way God legislates His righteousness. So, there is no law above God, but there is a law in God.
God’s righteousness is displayed in His judgments.
Psalm 119:137 ESV
137 Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules.
Psalm 89:14 ESV
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Because God is righteous and just we should see that God’s law must be the standard for our lives. As believers it should cause us to be thankful for the righteousness that we have in Christ, and it should cause us to remain humble and seek forgiveness for our sinfulness.

3. God is Sovereign.

This word sovereign means chief or highest, supreme in power, or superior in position to all others. Isaiah tells us this to be true of God.
Isaiah 46:9–10 ESV
9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Isaiah 45:23 ESV
23 By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
Someday every knee will bow and every tongue will give allegiance to God. The idea of God being Sovereign or in control of all things might be tough for some folks however for us as believers it should be encouraging. Why??? Because it assures the Christian that nothing is out of God’s control and that His plans cannot be thwarted. Paul describes it this way to us.
Romans 8:28 ESV
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
So, today I want to remind you again that nothing is out of God’s control. In fact, God is in control of your life, including your trials. And because of this you and I can stop worrying, we can stop with fear and doubt and know that God has a plan.

4. God is Omniscient.

This word simply means that God is “All Knowing.” God knows all things present and future, and there is nothing that catches Him off guard or takes Him by surprise.
Job 34:21 ESV
21 “For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps.
Psalm 139:1–6 ESV
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
God has an infinite understanding and possess all knowledge. God knows our thoughts and our hearts. God knows all of our sins and we cannot hide anything from Him. Since, God knows our lives better than we know, than that should give us confidence even when we blow it and mess up.

5. God is Omnipresent.

This word means that God is present everywhere. God resides or lives in heaven but he is also present here on earth and throughout His universe.
Proverbs 15:3 ESV
3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
Psalm 139:7–12 ESV
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
Since God is everywhere, it is really foolish for us to think that we can hide from God. This also means that for us as believers, we may experience the presence of God at all times and even know the blessings of walking with Him.

6. God is Omnipotent.

What this tells us is that God is all powerful. God has more than enough strength to do anything.
Jeremiah 32:17 ESV
17 ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
Revelation 19:6 ESV
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Over and over again throughout God’s Word we see this to be true. From God’s power to create the universe, to divide the seas in order for his people to cross over onto dry land. We see the power of God to bring back those who were dead and restore healing to the lame, blind and deaf. We also see God’s care for us. All of this points to God’s Omnipotent Power.

7. God is Truth.

God is absolute truth and His truth is our firm foundation because He is the only true God.
Psalm 117:2 ESV
2 For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
The truth or faithfulness of the Lord is everlasting. Jesus Christ, the Son of God is truth, and God’s Word is truth. In light of this we should be studying it and making it a foundation for our lives. We should also be looking for opportunities to share the truth of the gospel with others, because God’s truth is powerful and can save.

8. God is Love.

God is love and His love is unconditional. It is not based on the loveliness or merit of the object.
John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 5:8 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Love expresses itself in action, and God is our example. God demonstrated His love for us in sending His Son Jesus to die in our place. This is how much God loved us. Because of God’s love for us we should be obedient to Him and show love to others.

9. God is Merciful.

Mercy is God’s compassion or forbearance upon those who have opposed His will. God’s wonderful mercy is a very practical expression of His compassion to us.
Psalm 145:8–9 ESV
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
God’s mercy is displayed in our salvation. Today we should be thankful for God’s mercy and because of God’s mercy to us, we should show mercy to others around us.
Conclusion: Church there is such an importance today of knowing God’s Character. Commentator Matthew Henry once said, “Knowing God’s Character encourages us to trust freely in His mercy, for when we understand His justice and grace rightly, we will flee to Christ for refuge from the just punishment we deserve. If we do not know God’s character, we will not submit ourselves to the gracious way of salvation in Jesus Christ.”
The religious leaders of Christ time knew about Him, but they missed the fact that He was truly the Son of God. May we today not miss just knowing about God but to have a relationship with Him.
(Pray and Lead into Communion)
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