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Background Passages: Genesis 1, Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 139, Revelation 4:1-11.
*Introduction:* "I believe in God" is a common enough statement.
But what kind of God - a God of our own making, devising, imagining or wishful thinking (our "idol", in effect) or the God who has declared and revealed himself in Scripture, in history and in Jesus?
In a word, we believe in a God who is "a living personal Spirit".
How often he is referred to as "the living God" (c.f.
Deut.5:26; 1 Sam.
17:26; Psalm 42:2; 84:2, Jeremiah 10:10, Romans 9:26, 2 Cor.3:3 etc).
He is at least personal - not some impersonal power, force or energy - as in Star Wars – “May the Force be with you”.
He has a distinct character and nature.
He can communicate with his followers - remember how the OT says he "spoke" with Abraham as with a friend - and with Isaac and Jacob and Moses and his servants the prophets.
He is Spirit - transcending the entire world-order, though that order depends totally on him.
In the fullest sense we cannot prove that he exists, though many have tried to do so.
We must come back to what the Scripture says, “whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists” (Hebrews 11:6 GNB).
The Glory of God *
This familiar biblical concept usually conveys the visible manifestation of God's being - the sense of divine majesty, greatness and transcendence, surpassing all finite reality.
Think of the experience of Moses on Sinai (Exodus 24:16,17).
Remember too, Ezekiel's vision (Ezekiel 1:28).
Some other references: Exodus 40:31, I Kings 8:11, Psalm 21:5, Isaiah 6:3, Exodus 33:22, Isaiah 42:8, 2 Cor 4:6.
~* The infinity of God - he is without limitation
            ~* The self-existence of God - he depends on nothing else "in the beginning God..."
            ~* The faithfulness of God - he is always consistent and constant, unchanging and faithful.
The glory of God proclaims God’s utter priority and self-sufficiency.
The creation of the universe and of humankind are acts of free grace and not requirements of God’s being.
Our ultimate value or significance lie, accordingly, in his glory [cf Eph 1:12].
While God’s purposes certainly aim at, and procure, his glory, they aim also at humankind’s eternal wellbeing.
/“It is for God above all things that we are born, and not for ourselves”/ - Calvin.
The Lordship of God*
This is made plain in the Covenant - Name, Yahweh "I am who I am", which may also be cast in the future tense.
It expresses his sovereignty, his power and his will and his purposes are unshakeable and his promises are unbreakable.
He rules in the world and his word prevails.
He is the Lord.
~* He is all powerful (omnipotent).
Nothing is too hard for the Lord.
Thus God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah of a son in their extreme age [Gen 18:14], and repeated in his promise to restore and liberate Jerusalem in the face of its imminent destruction by the Babylonians [Jer 32:27] this is the heart of god’s lordship and calls for an attitude of utter confidence in the midst of all “impossibilities” of human history or personal circumstances.
~* He is all-knowing (omniscient) - c.f. Ps.139:1-12
This is at once disturbing and reassuring.
It relates particularly to the theme of judgement and expressed in the image of  the “opening of the books” [Rev 20:12].
The past is not gone for ever; all time is present to God for He is the great “I AM”. 
            ~* He is everywhere present (omnipresent) Look at what Psalm 139:7-12 says.
The psalmist realises he cannot evade such a God in space, time or eternity.
Further, when wickedness triumphs, or injustice and sheer might rule unchallenged, God knows and sees all [Ps 66:12; Is 43:2; Acts 23:11].
God is not mocked [Gal 6:7] and has appointed a day to judge the world [Acts 17:31].
The Holiness of God*
This is another familiar concept - especially in the 0T and is closely related to both glory and lordship - see Isaiah's vision.
Because God is holy, in serving him our lives and living are affected.
Four related ideas are - His* *righteousness [it includes action which delivers and vindicates his people cf Jer 23:6], His justice [his holy will in operation, relating to his love and mercy, since his justice at times vindicates the needy and the penitent cf Ps 76:9, 1Jn 1:9], His wrath [not a whim, all that opposes him he resists with a total and final commitment], His goodness [relates to both his holiness and love cf Ex 33:19, Ps 34:8, Rom 2:8].
The Love of God*
The most familiar definition of God in the NT is “God is love” [1 John 4:8].
In God holiness and love are not in tension, far less in contradiction.
His love is a holy love - His holiness is a loving holiness.
Read again 1 John 4:7-10.
The agape-love of God is made plain in the teaching, actions and cross of Jesus as “the means by which our sins are forgiven”.
Agape has little currency beyond the NT.
The Gk term “eros” speaks of a love which relates to a /worthy/ object, while agape is a love for the /unworthy/, for one who has forfeited all right to the lover’s devotion.
His love ever works to redeem, forgive, restore and renew.
Closely associated with his love is his grace - unmerited favour - and the concept of his fatherhood - “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The love of God is expressed principally in the redemption of sinners and all that goes with that.
But it is also expressed in his care for his creation.
This is referred to frequently as his goodness or kindness, which is also evident in the natural world [cf Acts 14:17].
God’s mercy is his love as it encounters specific human sin.
He pardons his people’s transgression; God’s mercy is always costly for it involves his accepting the consequences of human sin in the Cross [Eph 2:4; Titus 3:5].
The Covenant is a key biblical notion round which much of the Bible’s teaching on God’s love is gathered.
By it God freely commits himself to deliver his people and to remain their God.
The Hebrew word is chesed=loyal love or “steadfast love” [RSV].
Our standing with God does not depend on our grasp of Christ, and is not qualified by faithlessness, disobedience or half-hearted responses.
God’s almighty heart beats for us, and in that fact we find our ultimate security and peace.
~*~* Fellowship Activities:
Share with one another some experience you have known of the mystery, wonder, greatness and variety of the Creator-God.
2. Share with one another some instance of God’s constant care or of His providence and provision.
3. Share some Bible passage from this sheet which has blessed, helped or challenged you
!!  REV.
*/   2.
Background Passages: John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:6-10; Hebrews 2:9-18.
*Introduction:* "I believe in Jesus".
Yet what do we believe about him?
We have usually described him by names or titles - e.g.
“Son of Man" or "Son of God".
Interestingly, Son of Man is the designation Jesus uses of himself in the Gospels, notably in Mark.
Its use in the OT can simply be another way of saying "a man".
Ezekiel is thus addressed some ninety times and that is by way of emphasizing his frail humanity.
However, it was also used of a divine figure breaking in from heaven whom the Jews came to expect - so in the book of Daniel.
Jesus' use incorporates both: human - "nowhere to lay his head" and divine "sitting at the right hand of power".
In the early Christian centuries the fight was about the reality of his humanity - whereas in more modern times generally the struggle seems to be in the reality of his divinity.
Look up the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed - both have extended paragraphs on Jesus and their aim is to stress the reality of his human existence.
This tension was resolved by the Council of Chalcedon (451) which defined Christ as one person, fully God and fully man, what the Westminster Confession of Faith describes as "two whole, perfect and distinct natures. . . .
inseparably joined in one Person".
To stress one at the expense of the other leads to a sadly distorted picture of him.
In the NT it is the Gospel most stressing his divinity which states categorically “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14) or as GNB has it “a human being”.
His Birth and Development:*
The Gospels commence by setting Jesus in a stream of human genealogy - e.g.
Matt 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-38.
Whatever we say about the means of conception "by the Holy Spirit", his birth was a normal one - Matt.1:25, Luke 2:7, Gal.4:4.
There was the climax of birth following all the normal stages of developing foetus in the womb, the weeks of gestation and labour.
His life ran like ours, “from womb to tomb” [Kierkegaard].
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