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November 16, 2019, 7:37 PM

God is Constant


In many religious settings if the speaker starts by saying “God is good…” people instinctively finish the statement with, “all the time.” The next phrase, “And all the time” leads to the phrase, “God is good.” Such phrases lead to choruses of Amen.

 

Excited proclamations aside, the phrases just mentioned illicit many reactions. At times when things in our lives are good, we agree wholeheartedly. At other times, when the days are hard, are heads spin and our hearts struggle to find the goodness of God.

 

At these moments of struggle our theological words, while real, become challenging. Is God good when the pain overwhelms? When the hurt abounds?


Our world changes fast. Think about just the difference just in cell phones in the last twenty years. Change is everywhere. We long for stability in the face of a world changing so fast. The more things change, the more they stay the same is so true. God doesn’t change.

 

We live in a throw away society. Jobs don’t last. Marriages end. Star athletes leave one team as soon as their contracts allow. So long ago we left the world where a business deal was sealed with a handshake. Promises made are not promises kept.

 

Into this fray stands our God. He is constant when all else fails. If there is anything humans are, it is unfaithful. And if there is anything God is, thankfully, it is faithful. He keeps His word. He can be trusted in everything.

 

Today we are going to nearly wrap up our year-long study on the names and characteristics of God. I’ve saved what I believe to be the best characteristics for our wrap up of this study next week. Today we are going to make three statements about God’s nature, each with three Biblical and theologically supportive truths.

 

Moses summarized the statements in one simple verse. “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4)

 

GOD IS CONSISTENT IN MORALITY

  • First Phrase: God is Good

The Hebrew word for “good” describes what is pleasant, agreeable, and beneficial. Not only is God altogether good, He is consistently good. God doesn’t know how to be anything but good.

 

God’s goodness is found throughout Scripture. Psalms 25:8-10 “Good and upright is the LORD; therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.” (See also Psalm 145:9)

 

  • God is Righteous

The words justice and righteousness come from the same root words. Justice is defined in terms of righteousness. When God is just, He is doing what is right. The root meaning of the Hebrew ṣaddîq is “straight.”

 

Because God is righteous, what He does always measures up to the standard of holiness. He judges sin and vindicates the innocent. He will be completely just and fair in His dealings with us.

Psalms proclaims God’s righteousness in multiple places. “For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.” (Psalms 11:7, see also 111:3, 119:137 and 145: 17)

 

  • God is Just

God is always right. He, in His person, bears the burden of justice. He is the plumb line by which all justice is measured. He is always fair, showing no favoritism.

 

In justice, punishment must be meted out for sin. But His justice is so much different than ours. He seeks reformation. And then because He is also full of love, the cross paid the penalty His justice demands.

 

Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”

 

GOD IS UNCHANGING IN INTEGRITY

  • God is Truth

In definition, He is that which is real as opposed to the fictitious or imaginary. In God there is no falsehood, lack of consistency, or deceit.

 

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

  • God is Genuine

God is real; he is not fabricated or constructed, as are all the other claimants to deity. In the world of the artificial, our God is real. (See Jeremiah 10:5-10)

 

  • God is Sincere

God does not change or lie. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind." (1 Samuel 15:29, See also Hebrews 6:18 and Titus 1:2)

 

 

GOD IS CONSTANT IN DETERMINATION

  • God is Immutable\

He simply cannot change. Think it through. If would change that change would have to be either in the direction of going from worse to better or from better to worse. Either of these are impossible for . If gets worse, He no longer would be God. If He got better, then before that improvement He would have been less than .

 

There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time.

 

James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Malachi 3:6 “I the LORD do not change. So, you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

 

  • God is Faithful

God will always be true to Himself and His word.

 

He is faithful at the beginning of the covenant. Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.”

He is faithful unto the end. Revelation 19:11 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.”

 

God’s faithfulness to us is not contingent on our faithfulness to Him! 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

 

  • God is Persistent

The word describes God’s long-suffering nature and His patience toward His people.

 

Psalms 86:15 “But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

 

HOW DO WE WALK IN FAITH, TRUSTING OUR CONSTANT GOD?

  • I will trust that God is good, all the time. Trust that He will supply your needs. Trust even when the circumstances do not make sense.
  • I will have faith in the God who is always the same. He has never failed a single person and you won’t be the first. We cannot rely on fallen humanity but can rely on God.
  • I accept the word of God in making me right and just. He can’t wait to declare you justified. He changes your standing before God. This God has declared you new, changing your forever. Your sin is gone forever. (See Romans 5:1-2)
  • I will depend on the God is who is always true to His Word and to His people (the Church). We can count on Him to keep His promises. We can know that He will complete that spiritual work He has begun in our lives (1 Thess. 5:24).



November 10, 2019, 11:47 PM

God is Glorious Light


Glory comes in many forms. Think about ways you see glory. The answers may differ. Your answer is your own.

 

Allow me to give you two examples. One name. David Freese. Cardinals facing Texas Rangers. Last Chance. Game Six of the World Series. Crack of the bat. Home Run Cardinals. Comeback complete. Game seven route. Cardinals crowned champions!

 

Not everyone who reads these words would identify with this being a display of glory. Fans of the Cardinals will quickly identify with the moment, however. Watching him round third and seeing his teammates mob him when he arrives at home plate will not forget the scene. Pandemonium ensued.

 

On an entirely different page though is the glory of a newborn baby. Four times I’ve been blessed to be in the room for a birth of a child bearing the name Friesz! Each time the moment is electric with glory. This moment, no baby. The next, a precious little one. Now I realize that for their momma, the moments between were filled with something not quite resembling glory. However, from this daddy’s perspective it is impossible not to see the glory.

 

I get absolutely overcome at his display of God’s glory. I’d like to say that I lose it like that only when talking about my children or now grandchild. However, its not so. One of my joys as pastor is getting to welcome the little ones. I get to the hospital just as soon as possible when they are born. And as soon as possible I get that baby in my hands. With the parent’s permission, of course, I hold that precious infant up and offer God a prayer of thanks and invoke God’s protection and provision. And I cry like a baby! Every time!

In these situations, I see glory. One very secular, the other quite sacred. Add your own thoughts to the discussion. Perhaps you are captivated by a scene from nature. Does your list include a medical miracle or a miracle that defied medicine?

 

Whatever your perspective we see God’s glory on display. He intends it to be that way. Across the heavenly realm we hear echoed the following thought: Isaiah 6:3 “And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

 

Take all of the scenes of glory, put them together across all of the people who love our God and we only get the faintest whisper of His eternal glory. His glory is so much more than any of the things we see or feel.

 

The whole earth is full of His glory. In fact, His being is glorious and all that He does is designed to show His glory. The glory of God is the antithesis of mankind’s self-centered tendency. Without His glory all that we do is just empty noise. Our churches are empty shells. Our lives are meaningless routines.

 

God is glory. The Hebrew word is picturesque. It is the word Kabod and carries the meaning of weight or heavy. It is a perfect picture of that sudden sense of weight that comes over you when you realize you are in God’s presence. The heavy sense of “God is here!”

 

Charles Swindoll in a message on his radio show, “Insight for Living” says that the synonyms for kabod include the following: great honor, fame, renown, highest praise, splendor, worshipful admiration, radiant beauty, magnificence, circle of light. The word speaks of God’s dignity.

 

While the word is a simple enough one to understand it is wise to examine how God’s servants interacted with His glory in the Old Testament. One example being positive, the second negative.

 

Let us examine the encounter Moses had with God’s glory. Moses repeatedly asked God to see His glory. Like a petulant child he repeatedly asked for God to display Himself. God’s answer was a clear no. Not taking no for an answer Moses continued to ask to see God’s glory.

 

The final request and God’s response is recorded in Exodus 33:18-23

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

 

Moses begged to see God’s glory and God finally gave in to the request. The lesson we learn here is that no person can see all of God’s glory.

 

The second lesson comes in the next chapter. After seeing God’s back Moses went on to receive the commandment of God chiseled on the stone. He then made his way down the mountain to meet with God’s people.

 

 

 

Exodus 34:29-30, 33-35 records what happened when Moses came down from the mountain.

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 33 When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34 But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35 they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.

 

God’s glory ALWAYS changes us. Moses was not the same for the rest of His life. His face reflected the glory of God. Like the moon reflects the sun, so we reflect God’s glory.

 

We must understand that God is a great God, full of glory. He is also a jealous God. He will not share His glory and He will not allow us to take His glory for granted. King Uzziah illustrates this truth in 2 Chronicles 26.

 

The first fifteen verses of this chapter records Uzziah’s rise to fame. He came to the throne at sixteen years old. While I will not seek to elaborate on all of his successes a cursory glance through the verses describe a king who was very strong, and extremely successful. He built walls and designed machines for warfare. He became famous. Most notably, he fought the Philistines.

 

2 Chronicles 26:3-5
3 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-two years. His mother’s name was Jekoliah; she was from Jerusalem. 4 He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. 5 He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success.

 

Two secrets to His success are outlined in these verses.

 

First, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. When he knew what God wanted, he did it. He lived consistently committed to obedience.

 

Second, he sought God. This word is also very specific. He set himself to seek God. More than anything else He wanted to live in God’s glory. He yearned for and chased after God’s glory.

 

The result was that God blessed him. God was His focus and God rewarded that focus. All was good until…

 

 

Skip ahead in the story a bit.

2 Chronicles 26:19-21
19 leprosy broke out on his forehead. 20 When Azariah the chief priest and all the other priests looked at him, they saw that he had leprosy on his forehead, so they hurried him out. Indeed, he himself was eager to leave, because the LORD had afflicted him. 21 King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in a separate house—leprous, and banned from the temple of the LORD. Jotham his son had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.

 

The Amplified Translation says it simply, “He was a Leper!” What a fall from a mountain peak he endured.

 

How did it happen. How did this strong and blessed king fall so far?

 

The Chronicler tells the sad tale: 2 Chronicles 26:16-19
 

16 But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the LORD his God, and entered the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 Azariah the priest with eighty other courageous priests of the LORD followed him in. 18 They confronted King Uzziah and said, “It is not right for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD. That is for the priests, the descendants of Aaron, who have been consecrated to burn incense. Leave the sanctuary, for you have been unfaithful; and you will not be honored by the LORD God.” 19 Uzziah, who had a censer in his hand ready to burn incense, became angry. While he was raging at the priests in their presence before the incense altar in the LORD’s temple, leprosy broke out on his forehead.

 

What a sad tale. He took God’s glory lightly. “He became powerful…” Pride and power are addictive. He was so proud that he blatantly disregarded the law and barged into the temple. Doing so, according to the NIV translation proved him to be unfaithful to God.

 

King Uzziah was so full of Himself that he left no room for glory. So full of pride that when 81 priests, including Azariah, attempted to warn him of his error, he tuned them out. For this pride, for this indifference to God’s glory he paid the price.

 

How do we, who live under grace, approach this passage? Understand this, that the most glorious thing God has ever done is the cross. By saving sinners He brings the most glory to Himself. The cross, far from being a picture of loss and defeat was the ultimate display of glory. For in it, He bought our salvation. That salvation brings glory even after we fall because we are covered in His grace and washed in His blood.

 

God is light. Scripture makes this statement very clear.

  • 1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”
  • John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

 

God’s light is an evidence of His glory it is on display in His world and in our lives.

 

WALKING IN THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY

  • I will exalt God’s glory in WORSHIP. I will respect and honor His glory.
  • I will LONG for His glory in my life and in my life with others.
  • I will REFLECT God’s glory and light to others. Let His light shine through you. Let His glory be reflected on your face. He chooses to weak, fallible, redeemed humans to preach the gospel because that brings Him glory.
  • I will CELEBRATE on the day when God’s glory will be fully displayed.



November 3, 2019, 7:00 PM

The Balancing Act: Balancing God's Wrath and His Love


The circus is in town. You love the circus, so you go. So many acts capture your attention, but one stands above them all. High above the center stage is the tightrope. One after another the tightrope walker makes their way across the razor thin wire. Carrying this, riding that, one at a time or multiple walkers at once. Each carefully completes their task.

 

The secret to the success of the tightrope walker is balance. Incredible balance. Lean too far this way…down you go. Shift too much weight the other way and it’s the end of the rope (pun intended).

 

I challenge my readers today to walk the balancing tightrope with me as we dive into the theological realm between God’s wrath and God’s love. Err by leaning into God’s wrath and you become legalistic with a God waiting to give his children a hard whack. Lean into God’s love to the neglect of wrath and you end with a distorted doctrine saying things such as “God would never punish anyone.” You end up with a universalist theology that says everyone will get to heaven one day.

 

FIRST, WRESTLE WITH GOD’S WRATH

Speaking of God’s wrath immediately causes the hackles to come up on the neck of some Christians. This dimension of His character is so neglected because it is misunderstood.

 

Sin always leads to ruin. Because God is love, he cannot sit idly by and watch it happen. Without God’s wrath, His goodness would not be good. Because God is holy, he must have wrath.

 

The problem with accepting God’s wrath comes because we confuse man’s anger with God’s wrath. Man’s anger can be vindictive, filled with hatred, a desire to get even, or even to harm. His wrath is nothing like our wrath.

 

The Biblical words used to describe God’s wrath shed some insight into this distinction. Two words are used to describe anger. first word is thumos which describes sudden, boiling anger. It is used often in Scripture.

The second word is Orge. This word speaks of a consistent, abiding state. This word, while similar is different in nature. It is God’s consistent action against all that is less than God.  

 

Allow me to make a short diversion. Some who read this section will find it very difficult, even painful to comprehend of any kind of wrath as being positive. Your experience with discipline was only negative. Your parent or parents only expression of wrath left real wounds, scars that lay just beyond the surface. I say to you, I am sorry for the pain you have felt. May you learn to distinguish the loving discipline of God from the pain in your past.

 

We struggle to accept the image of God’s wrath because we have seen at as contrary to God’s love. Far from contradicting His love, the presence of wrath is a necessary corollary to that love. We simply cannot have a good God who is not able to show His anger.

 

Finally, some struggle with the image of God’s wrath because they segment the Old Testament image of God and the New Testament picture. This erroneous rendering of God sees wrath in the Old Testament and love in the New Testament. This could not be further from the truth God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Both Testaments tell of a God who is both angry and loving.

 

God’s word makes it clear that wrath is a consistent part of His nature. Note the following passages:

  • Psalms 7:11 “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.”
  • John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”
  • Romans 1:18-21 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
  • Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

 

Some object to the picture of God’s wrath saying, “I don’t want a God who is prone to wrath.” Let me ask you a question. Do you really want a God who does not get angry at sin? Do you want a God who is not offended by horrific wrong?

 

As I prepared this message, I read in the Missouri Baptist paper two stories that I couldn’t help noting. First, a story about a Baptist worker in Nigeria who was one of ten people kidnapped and imprisoned. She was brutally murdered for no other reason than her belief in Jesus. Down the page in the next column was a brief article outlining a new law enacted in California REQUIRING the state schools to provide abortions for their students. Yes, taxpayer dollars mandated to pay to stop preborn lives.

 

Do we want a God who is passive in the face of such ugly, immoral stories? Because God is holy and fair, He must judge sin. His purity demands that he deal with impurity. Those who spurn his love suffer His wrath.

 

SECOND, LIVE IN GOD’S LOVE

God created people with a hole in our hearts. We need love. One can easily find proof of that. Young people who grow up without the godly affection often stumble into inappropriate relationships with less than uplifting people because they desperately seek the love that has been missing.

 

The three most important words in the New Testament relative to our discussion are, “GOD IS LOVE.” This truth of God’s nature is found in so many passages throughout the Bible. While not challenging to understand it is difficult to grasp how much He loves us.

 

John lays it out in his record of Jesus’ ministry and in his writing. He records Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:16. Go ahead and finish the verse in your head. “For God so loved…”

 

This concept comes through in his letter. 1 John 4:8-10 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

 

God’s love is expressed in giving Jesus. He sent Jesus because love comes out of His nature. He loves without condition. Like wrath, love is found throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Consider the following:

  • Deuteronomy 7:7-8 “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
  • Psalms 103:17 “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children.”
  • Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
  • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”

 

The language used to describe God’s love is very insightful. One of the Old Testament words is GHIB and means to pant, desire, and long for. The image of the deer panting for the water brooks is used to describe God’s yearning for us. He longs for you, every day!

 

The New Testament uses the word agapao. It speaks of God’s indiscriminate love. His love is a love that pours out with no expectation of return. It is a selfless, sacrificial love. It seeks only the benefit and well being of the one loved. It is ultimately displayed in God’s reaching out to broken, sinful humanity through the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

BALANCE THE TWO:

Our struggle is to find the right balance between God’s wrath and His love. Scripture combines the two, helping us see that for His children God’s love is demonstrated in His consistent discipline.

  • Hebrews 12:6 “Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
  • Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent

 

RESPONDING TO GOD’S WRATH AND LOVE

  • Because God is a God of wrath, I will FEAR Him.
  • Because God is a God of wrath, I will obey Him
  • Because God is a God of love and wrath, I will accept His offer of salvation. God has extended a once and for all offer. Jesus died for our salvation. He reaches to all mankind with the offer, “Whoever…” Receive His offer of salvation. Say a prayer like this:

 

“Dear Jesus, I know that I need you. I have sinned and cannot fix that in my own power. I believe, Jesus, that you died for me and rose from the dead. I receive your gift of life and ask you to forgive me. Come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Thank you, God, for saving me!”

 

  • Because God is a God of love, I will love others (1 John 4:11-12) God so overwhelms us with His love. He does this so we can overwhelm someone else with His love expressed through us. He calls us to be His kiss, His touch, and His embrace to those around us.

 




October 27, 2019, 7:25 PM

God is One AND Three in One


1 + 1 + 1 =?

 

Seems like a simple mathematical equation doesn’t it? Until it is not.

 

I have previously outlined my aversion to advanced math. was good with a problem that looked like: 2 + 2 = 4. t all made sense: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. And then someone added in X and Y. Suddenly the math didn’t work so well. At least not for me.

 

My kids quickly learned that dad was out of his element. History, English, social studies…bring those to me. Math…you are pretty much on your own. I usually told them I knew just what the answer was, “12.” I suppose at some point that had to be the right answer.

 

The theological math of the Trinity is just about as fuzzy for some people. The concept of three beings making one God is challenging to even the most advanced theologians.

 

From the beginning this doctrine caused much confusion. Modalism was an early perversion. One God in three different modes. First, the Father, then the Son, then the Spirit. Umm, NOPE! Father, Son and Spirit existed and worked simultaneous to one another not sequentially.

 

Arianism came along a bit later. This idea comes from a concept of subordination. It places God on the highest throne and relegates Jesus to a being created by God. The highest being, yes, but still just a creation. Again, WRONG! If Jesus is less than God, some mere creation He is not God, downgrading His death to just another man’s dying on just another cross. Unacceptable!

 

Macedonianism places God the Father and God the Son on equal pedestals in the heavenly realm, making the Spirit lesser. He is consigned a place beneath the others. One final time, sorry but INCORRECT. If He is lesser, the Spirit is not Divine.

 

Not the final distortion, but the final one I will mention is Tritheism. This teaching claims that there are three Gods. While this may seem to be a fitting solution, it is also not satisfactory. It denies the stated truth of Scripture that there is only one God. Indeed, this deception has been the source of so many others.

 

The truth is that the belief in the Triune God has sparked errors and falsehoods from that day up to the present day. Modern “cult” groups deny the deity of Jesus, elevate anyone to be a God, and continue many of the other ancient errors.

 

In correctly relating the Trinity it is important to begin with the right presupposition. The Word of God is absolutely correct in all that it teaches. It is correct even when my mind cannot grasp all that it says. When I don’t understand some truth, it is my inherently my inability to grasp some truth, not because there is an error. After all, as mentioned previously, if my small mind can grasp all that the Word says about God, my God would be very small indeed.

 

The God who is three and one, simultaneously and fully at the same time is a truly distinctive doctrine. We are unique in this claim. The doctrine is crucial for Christianity.

 

This belief answers what God is, what He is like, how He works and how we must approach Him. We learn that worship involves all three members of the Trinity. We understand how we are to pray.

So, let me add my voices to those seeking to bring some clarity to this mammoth doctrine. I offer the following sections humbly, seeking to prove the various aspects of the trinity through Scripture, all the while understanding that my words will never answer all the questions. We are left to accept the disparate parts outlined while leaving him to the rest.

 

Allow me to start my explanation with two very simple equations.

    • God is 1
    • 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

Proving these will include a cascade of verses. Each comes from the NIV translation.

 

God is One

Very early in Jewish history God defined the faith rather simply for them. Deuteronomy 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” This was to be their distinctive belief. All around them the people had various gods with multiple images and statues. God said, “I am different. There is one and I am He.”

 

Throughout both the Old and New Testaments God’s word continued to emphasize this truth. Consider a couple other passages:

  • 1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men-the testimony given in its proper time.”
  • James 2:19 “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder.”

 

There is little room for discussion here. God is one. Period! Be warned, however, merely believing in one God is not enough for eternal life to come. Demons believe that and shudder in fear. The Demons are smarter than many in today’s world. Start your theology of the Trinity by accepting the truth that the Demons readily acknowledge: There is One God!

 

GOD IS THREE IN ONE 1 + 1 + 1 = 1

The truth of the Trinity is found throughout the Bible. Consider some passages.

At His baptism all three parts of the Trinity can be clearly seen. As the Son is being baptized we hear the voice of the Father offering His encouragement. “This is my Son; in Him I am well pleased.” Upon that confirmation the Spirit descends like a dove. All the Trinity is present in that one event. (Matthew 3:13-17)

 

God as three in one is present in the creation. The Father speaks to the other members of the Trinity in Genesis1:26 “Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (See Also 3:22 “Like one of us”)

 

The plural Deity also is spoken of in Isaiah 6:8 “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Father, Son, and Spirit sought a willing spokesman. They still do.

 

Jesus told us to baptize in the names of all the parts of the Trinity. Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

Jesus clearly claimed equality with God. John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” This clear affirmation of being equal with God caused the religious establishment in Jesus day to determine that He must die. They grasped the depth of Jesus’ pronouncement.

 

What, then, is the Trinity? The term Trinity describes a relationship not of three gods, but of one God who is three persons. God is three and one. Each fully God in all unity and diversity. Originally the word was Triunity. A simple word broken down into its two parts Tri=three, Unity=Oneness.

 

The word “Trinity” while not appearing in Scripture is evidenced throughout. It may not be fully explained but it sets the Biblical limits outside of which we cannot go. This doctrine helps us stay faithful to the Biblical revelation while not going outside of it.

 

Examine each statement below:

  • The Father is GOD, but He is not THE SON OR THE SPIRIT
  • Jesus is DIVINE- but He is not THE SPIRIT OR THE FATHER
  • The Holy Spirit is DIVINE, but He is not THE FATHER OR THE SON

 

There is an overwhelming weight of evidence throughout Scripture showing each part of the Trinity using the divine characteristics we have studied in previous blogs and will study in the coming weeks. An addendum following my conclusion I have a list of each trait with the verses used to support them. All three: Father, Son and Holy Spirit are described as:

    • Eternal
    • Holy
    • True
    • Omnipresent
    • Omnipotent
    • Omniscient
    • Creator
    • Sanctifier
    • Author of all spiritual operations
    • Source of eternal life
    • Teacher
    • Raising Christ from the dead
    • Inspiring the prophets, etc.
    • Supplying ministers to the church
    • Salvation is work of
    • Baptism administered in name of.
    • Benediction given in name of.

 

WE CAN SUMMARIZE THE TRUTHS THIS WAY:

  • God is ONE
  • Each of the persons within the Godhead is DIVINE (DEITY)
  • The oneness of God and the Threeness of God are not contradictory
  • The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is ESSENTIAL
  • Each of the persons of God is of the same essence and is not INFERIOR or SUPERIOR to the others in essence.
  • The Trinity is a MYSTERY that we will never be able to fully understand

 

WHAT DO WE DO WITH IT? BECAUSE GOD IS ONE BUT ALSO THREE IN ONE:

  • I will accept the fact that I see these deep truths only dimly. We see truths now with limited knowledge. But one day we will see Him face to face and our knowledge will be complete.
  • I will trust and obey God even though I don’t understand. There is much that we may not understand but trust. We may not understand how electricity gets to our home and turns on the light, but we still flip the switch. Trust God even when we don’t get it all clearly.
  • I will celebrate the truth that because there is a Trinity, I have salvation. God planned for your salvation. Jesus carried out the plan. The Spirit brought the truths to you, convicting you of your need and God’s provision. All of God brought you to Himself.

 

SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT SHOWING EACH PART OF THE TRINITY FUFILL THE DIVINE CHARACTERISTICS

    • Eternal
      • Rom 16:26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—
      • Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
      • Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
    • Holy
      • Acts 3:14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
      • 1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
      • Rev 4:8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
      • Rev 15:4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”
    • True
      • John 7:28 Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.
      • Rev 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:
    • Omnipresent
      • Ps 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
      • Jer 23:24 Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?” says the Lord; “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” says the Lord.
      • Eph 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
    • Omnipotent
      • Gen 17:1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
      • Jer 32:17 ‘Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.
      • Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
      • Rom 15:19 in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
      • Heb 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
      • Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
    • Omniscient
      • John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
      • Acts 15:18 “Known to God from eternity are all His works.
      • 1 Cor 2:10–11 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
    • Creator
      • Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      • Job 26:13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
      • Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
      • Ps 148:5 Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded, and they were created.
      • John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
      • Col 1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
    • Sanctifier
      • Heb 2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
      • 1 Pet 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
      • Jude 1:1 Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:
    • Author of all spiritual operations
      • 1 Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
      • Col 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
      • Heb 13:21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
    • Source of eternal life
      • John 10:28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
      • Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      • Gal 6:8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
    • Teacher
      • Is 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.
      • Is 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.
      • Luke 21:15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
      • John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
      • Gal 1:12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
      • 1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.
    • Raising Christ from the dead
      • John 2:19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
      • 1 Cor 6:14 And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.
    • 1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
  • Inspiring the prophets, etc.
    • Mark 13:11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
    • 2 Cor 13:3 since you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.
    • Heb 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
  • Supplying ministers to the church
    • Jer 3:15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
    • Jer 26:5 to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded),
    • Matt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.
    • Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
    • Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
    • Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
  • Salvation is work of
    • 2 Thess 2:13–14 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Titus 3:4–6 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
    • 1 Pet 1:2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
  • Baptism administered in name of.
    • Matt 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
  • Benediction given in name of.
    • 2 Cor 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.



October 20, 2019, 9:16 PM

God Knows it All


The game of survivor features many challenges. In one variation people were placed into a maze, having been blindfolded. Allowed to lose their blindfold they were then told to find several items in the maze.

 

The task would be very difficult but situated above the maze is a teammate who was able to direct their paths. “Now turn right and then move forward. When you get to the next intersection you will turn left…” The game is made different because of the presence of the guide.

 

If you were in the same situation how would you feel about the one who directed your path? Would you be willing to follow their lead? Would you doubt what they were saying when they told you to turn a certain way? Probably not. You would trust them. Why? Because they have the advantage of perspective. They can see what you cannot.

 

Today as we continue to examine the question of “Who is God?” The answer is multidimensional and varied. Taken together these descriptions picture our God who is greater than the sum of the parts as we study it.

 

Today let’s examine the truth that God is all knowing. Particularly, we will describe Him using three words: omniscience, knowledge, and wise. Together, these words allow us to grasp the depth of God’s knowledge.

 

The term omniscience is a familiar one to theologians through the ages. A brief review is in order. See some of the definitions below:

 

  • The word means to have all (omni) knowledge (science).
  • He needs to learn from no one. He consults no one.
  • Everything is perfectly known by Him. He knows it all equally well.
  • He is never surprised, astounded and amazed.
  • God’s knowledge never fades. He is never forgetful, except for those things (like our sin) that He chooses not to recall.

 

God knowledge also includes the idea of wisdom. We have met the person who has a great deal of knowledge but little street smart. The word wisdom combines the idea of skill and ability. Knowledge comes to application includes both skill and ability. It is the skill to apply knowledge and the ability to do so.

 

Scripture abounds with statements expressing God’s knowledge.

 

  • Nothing escapes His Knowledge-Psalm 33:13-15

13 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind;
14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—
15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

 

Our God considers or understands everything we do. He sees it all.

 

  • He knows every detail of our LIVES Psalm 139:1-6

Psalms 139:1-6 “For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. O LORD, you have searched me, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in — behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

 

In this stirring passage David reveals the depth of God’s knowledge about His children. He sees every detail of our lives, understanding them before they even come to be. He understands every word we speak before they are formed on the tip of our tongues.

 

Like David we find ourselves amazed by the depth and breadth of God’s knowledge. It is simply too amazing for us. We are unable to truly grasp His mastery.

 

  • His eyes are on the WICKED and the GOOD Prov 15:3

3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.

 

No one escapes His knowledge. His eyes are on both the moral and the immoral. He sees the sinful and the godly. We like the idea that He can measure those who do not measure up. His knowledge of us is a bit more challenging. But He sees them all.

 

  • He knows the number of HAIRS on your head Matt 10: 29-30

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

 

We cannot think for a moment that Jesus didn’t have a sense of humor. He could have said that God knows everything about that. His simple theological statement would have been easy enough to understand. With this statement Jesus must have given a wry smile.


He knows how many there are. Even after you with long hairbrush it and leave the brush loaded. He knows how many fell and are wrapped around the brush on the bottom of your vacuum. Who doesn’t hate the job of cleaning those off! He knows what color your hair naturally is, even when you may have forgotten.

 

His point is simple. He knows everything about you. Everything, small and great.

 

  • He knows our very THOUGHTS Lu 5:22, Jn 2:24-25

Luke 5:22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?
John 2:24-25 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

 

Jesus knew what was inside of people. More than once in His ministry the Evangelists tell us that He did not entrust Himself to them because He saw what was within them.

 

  • He knows our THOUGHTS and ATTITUDE Hebrews 4:12-13

Hebrews 4:12-13 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

This passage justifiably gives us pause. A bad attitude is rather obvious to observe in our teenagers. We ask them to do a simple task such as clean their room. The World War III of attitudes commences.

 

The sound of their feet demonstrates a lack of pleasure with the assigned task. The “gentleness” of the door closing echoes through the house. Every sound emanating from their room further reinforces their displeasure.

 

It easy to point to the teenager (or preteen) and find a faulty attitude. Its best if we check ourselves first.

 

Which servant of Christ has not plodded their way to church while thinking about the other stuff we would rather do? Who hasn’t grudgingly approached our area of service while dreading every minute, anticipating that moment of “constructive” criticism from lady negative Nancy?

 

God sees right through our actions. He understands the motives that drive us, whether pure or not. He grasps the attitudes that we may or not mask well from those around us. He sees it all.

 

  • God is GREATER than our hearts and knows EVERYTHING (1 John 3:20)

All the verses above may leave us with a less than enthusiastic response. We are not exactly thrilled that God sees right through us. Our hearts recoil in a bit of fear. If God really sees us like that perhaps He is less than pleased with us. He may reject us. Our hearts condemn us.

 

1 John 3:20
20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything

 

God is greater than our hearts. He knows everything about us, but He is greater than those things. He knows who we are in Him. He fathoms what we are becoming in Him. He is greater than your condemning heart.

 

How do we respond to God’s knowledge? I offer four suggestions.

  • We are filled with AWE and ADORATION. We humbly look at God’s knowledge filled with admiration. We stand in respect before the God who has the perspective both in front of us and behind us.

 

  • We are COMFORTED in our SUFFERING/STRUGGLES. Regardless how deep our struggles He sees it all. No tear has ever escaped his notice. No hurt has been missed. We are buoyed in our spirit by the reality that he sees the things no one else has seen.

 

You think no one understands the depth of your hurt? You are correct in the human realm. No one truly gets it, except the God who knows ALL about it. Every bit.

 

  • We are CONFRONTED in our SIN. Perhaps this application is the most obvious. The fact that God grasps all our failures overwhelms us. Here you have a rather simple choice. You can either be overcome with guilt or you can lay it all bare before the one who knows about it anyway.

 

Yes, He knows what you did? He saw what no one else did. You don’t have to stay there, condemned. The alternative is to confess. I point, again, to John’s words, “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and CLEANSE us from ALL of our unrighteousness.” (Emphasis mine, 1 John 1:9) Confess it and come clean.

 

  • We are challenged to HAVE FAITH. Finally, we are called to trust Him. Trust that He sees exactly what is happening and because He is unbound by time, He sees precisely what is going to happen. We can trust His direction. He will lead us into the best because He knows it all. Whatever your worry today, confess the need to Him and trust Him to lead.

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