The Nature of God Part 1

Genesis  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:22
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Genesis 1:1 The Nature of God part 1 Introduction: Last week we began our studies in Genesis considering the first four words of the Bible: In the Beginning God. We discussed the definition of God understanding that is important to first define what we mean by God. We went on to discuss the existence of God and how belief in God is not simply reasonable but also compelling. We looked at the Cosmological argument which is the argument from the law of cause and effect. We looked at the Teleological argument, which is the argument from design and purpose in the universe. We looked at the Moral argument, which is the argument from the universal recognition of right and wrong. Finally we looked at the argument from Congruity, which in essence states, belief in the existence of God best explains the facts of our moral, mental and religious natures as well as the facts of the material universe. We concluded that it is not enough simply to believe in the existence of God but we must go further and ask ourselves “Who is this God?”. We considered the God, the message, and the lifestyle or person that the great religions of the world put forth, and concluded that there is not a better candidate for God than the God-Man Jesus Christ. This morning we want to continue our study of God by looking at his nature and His attributes. Before we do I would like to read this quote by A.W. Tozer. “What comes into our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above it’s religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than it’s idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshipper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the church is always God himself, and the most portentous fact about man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.” “A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical christian living as well. It is to worship what the foundation is to the temple; where it is inadequate or out of plumb the whole structure must sooner or later collapse. I believe there is scarcely an error in doctrine or a failure in applying christian ethics that cannot be traced finally to imperfect and ignoble thoughts about God.” 1. The Essence of God a. The essence or substance of God refers to the basic nature of God; if there were no essence or substance there could be no attributes. b. To speak of God is to speak of an essence, not a mere idea or the personification of an idea. i. Infinite: God is an absolute being; He is not derived from something else nor conditioned by anything else. God’s infinity suggest to us that He is the cause of everything else; all existence, all being derives from Him. The transcendence of God is another way of describing this. He is above, beyond and independent of everything that is. This is actually the idea expressed in the name Jehovah or Yaweh. I Am that I Am. ii. Spiritual: God is spirit. In His essential being God has none of the properties that belong to matter. God is invisible (from the material standpoint), without parts, without body, free from any and every limitation. iii. Personal: God is a person. He has personality. He is not merely a force or an energy. Scripture ascribes qualities and relations of personality to God. He represented as speaking, seeing, hearing, grieving, repenting, being angry, jealous, and compassionate. iv. Incomprehensible: God cannot be finally or totally comprehended or understood by human beings. We can never know Him in the ultimate, final and complete sense. If He could be He would not be God. Paul declared, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” 1. “This doctrine has much positive application for our own lives personally. It means that we will never be able to know “too much” about God, for we will never run out of things to learn about Him, and we will thus never tire in delighting in the discovery of more and more of His excellence and of the greatness of His works”. Grudem 2. “What is God like?” If by that question we mean “What is God like in Himself?” there is no answer. If we mean “What has God disclosed about himself that the reverent reason can comprehend?” there is, I believe, an answer both full and satisfying. For while the name of God is secret and His essential nature incomprehensible, He in condescending love has by revelation declared certain things to be true of Himself. These we call His attributes. “Sovereign Father, heavenly King, Thee we now presume to sing; Glad thine attributes confess, Glorious all, and numberless” - Tozer 2. The Attributes of God: The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals himself to His creatures. Love for instance is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be. His love is the way God is, and when He loves he is simply being himself. - Tozer a. This morning we will only look at the non-moral/ incommunicable attributes and will save the moral / communicable attributes for next week. b. The Non-Moral Attributes or the Incommunicable Attributes i. God’s non-moral or incommunicable attributes are the attributes that he alone possesses. They are incommunicable in the sense that he does not share them with any creation. ii. Omnipresence 1. God is everywhere. This doesn’t mean that God is so big that part of him is in every place, like God’s arm is here and his thigh is in China. Also it does not mean that God is in everything which is a pantheisim. But omnipresence means that God is everywhere present at all times. 2. Psalm 139:7-10 expresses God’s omnipresence this way: Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” 3. The doctrine of God’s omnipresence is a source of comfort for the believer, for God, the ever present one, is always available to help us. a. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” iii. Omniscience 1. God is infinite in knowledge. He knows himself and all other things perfectly from all eternity, whether they be actual or merely possible, whether past, present or future. He knows things immediately, simultaneously, exhaustively, and truly. 2. Once again Psalm 139 illustrates this point perfectly. a. It says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether” 3. God’s knowledge is infinite. a. He knows himself perfectly. No created being has complete and perfect knowledge of himself. b. He knows things actually existing. This includes inanimate creation (Sun Moon, and stars), all sea, land and air creatures, men and all their works, men’s thoughts and hearts, and men’s burdens and wants. c. He knows all things possible. There are examples in the Bible of God knowing the outcome of hypothetical situations. d. He knows the future. Scripture tells us that God knows the end from the beginning. He foreknew that Israel would rebel against him, He knew that Cyrus the king would arise and decree the temple to be rebuilt, He knew the coming of the Christ, and the crucifixion that would take place. iv. Omnipotence 1. God is all powerful. His might, His power, His strength are infinite. He made everything out of nothing by simply speaking it into existence. a. “God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.” (Ps 62:11) b. Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in… To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal says the Holy one? Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number He calls them all by name. By the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing…Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary… Isa 40:21-28 2. The believer is repeatedly urged to trust God in every walk of life on the ground of his creative, preserving, and providential power. To the Christian the omnipotence of God is a source of great comfort and hope - a. Matt 28:19 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. b. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” v. Immutability 1. God is absolutely unchangeable. He can never be different in essence, He is always the same. All change must be for the better or the worse, but God cannot change to the better, since he is absolutely perfect; neither can God change to the worse, for the same reason. God is unchanging in his being, perfections, purposes, and promises, yet God does act and feel emotions(impassability), and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations. 2. Malachi 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” 3. Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” 4. James 1:17 “The Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” a. This doctrine is comforting for the Christian in the sense that what God has declared himself to be he has always been and will always be. We don’t have to worry about him changing on us or his laws and standards being one way now and another later. This is also comforting for those who have suffered at the unpredictability of others. Conclusion: As we grow in our understanding of the nature of God we also grow in our ability to experience eternal life. When Jesus spoke of eternal life he spoke of it in this way. “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3 Eternal life is obviously a quantity of life. Life that is eternal. But it is also a quality of life. As we Know God more and more we experience a greater quality of life, and this is why studying God’s nature is so important. God’s Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Immutability should comfort us in a world where there is so much uncertainty. All that we have could be taken from us in a moment by tragedy or death. In that hour we know that He can never be taken from us, that He will never leave or forsake us, that this crisis is not outside of His almighty power, that in His fore knowledge He knew this would come and has allowed it for my good. I can have hope, peace, and rest because the Everlasting God is in control of my life and all things. That is a quality of life that nothing and no one on this earth can offer. Jesus Christ says that we can rest in Him. He says that we can have peace in Him, because he has overcome the world, because he has all authority and power.
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