Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

 
Title: What the Bible Says About God

Text: The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. (Psalms 145:17-18)

Scripture Reading: Psalm 145


It is impossible to define God.  Because if you could, you could limit Him.  It is possible, however, to describe God.  And the source book from which we arrive at a description is the Bible.  Therefore, it is appropriate to title this Bible lesson, “What the Bible Says About God.” –for that is all that matters.

There are four questions that the Bible answers about God.
1) What is the nature of God?
2) What are God’s natural attributes?
3) What are God’s moral attributes?
4) What are the roles of God?

The Scripture reading is Psalm 145. 

Let’s begin by reading this great Psalm.

1 I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.
5 I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.
6 Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness.
7 They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, And shall sing of Your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy.
9 The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.
10 All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, And Your saints shall bless You.
11 They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, And talk of Your power,
12 To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
14 The Lord upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season.
16 You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works.
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
20 The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.


The first question we asked is, “What is the nature of God?

There are at least four answers to that question.

First, God is Spirit (John 4:24). 

In John’s Gospel he wrote, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

People tend to depend on some tangible evidence for the existence of God.  But it is a ministry of the Holy Spirit to enable people to grow in their understanding and perception of God as “Spirit.”  Jesus made it clear in His conversation with a Samaritan woman, that the place of worship is not important.  The important things are the object of our worship and the manner of our worship.  When we worship, we must depend upon God’s Spirit to help us fix our thoughts on Him and express our love for Him. 

Christ came to declare God to us and He did it by showing us Himself.  Nothing contributes more to worshiping God rightly than having the right knowledge of Him.  In the Bible we are told that God is Spirit, for He is an infinite and eternal mind; an intelligent being, spiritual, invisible, and incorruptible. 

We worship God in truth, by being sincere, for God requires not only the inward part to our worship, but truth in the inward part.  When we worship, we must seek to declare God’s glory and to draw near to Him with a true heart, and not to be seen of men.

Second, we are told in Deuteronomy that God is one (Deut. 6:4).

Monotheism, which is the belief in one God, was the idea that set Judaism apart from all other religions.  On the other hand, Polytheism, the worship of many gods, was the curse of the ancient world.  Even though God has expressed Himself to humans in a variety of ways, He is still one God.  The Bible exclaims, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”  This verse is called “the Shema,” from the Hebrew word for “hear.”  The devout Jew recites it several times a day to affirm his faith in Jehovah.  The worship of foreign gods was always a threat to Israel, and this statement of faith reminded the Jews that Jehovah is the true and living God who alone deserves worship and obedience.
 
Third, God is personal (John 17:1-3).

The apostle John wrote, “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” 

People can know (experience) not an “impersonal force” or an “absolute power,” but a God who has personality and identity with humans.  Christ is our Mediator and for that reason we pray in His name.  He has undertaken the task of securing our happiness by giving eternal life to all those who will believe in Him.  To know Him as Personal Savior, and to love Him, obey Him, submit to Him, and trust in Him-this is life eternal. 

He is never far from us, because His Spirit is within us. What could be more personal than to know a God who has personally undertaken the job of providing for your salvation and who is always with you?

Forth, God is Trinitarian.

That means that, though God is one person, He reveals Himself to people as having three relationships (Gen. 1:26; Matt. 3:16-17). 

As the Father he is infinite in love, power, and wisdom.  He is the Creator who had divine purpose in all that He did. 

As the Son, He is the revealer of God, the key to humankind’s knowledge of God and history. 

As the Holy Spirit, He reveals Himself personally to humans.  The Holy Spirit “came upon” people in the Old Testament, enabling them to prophesy and perform mighty works.  He was the agent in Jesus’ conception and was present at His baptism and during His temptation in the wilderness.  He empowers and indwells believers and convicts the unsaved. 

In the first chapter of Genesis it says, “Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Man was to be a creation that was far different from all the other creatures, therefore God called a council to decide how to make him.  The three persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, consult and decide that man is to be made in God’s image, and likeness.  It is the soul of man that does especially bear God’s image.

Matthew records that all three persons of the Trinity were present at the Baptism of Jesus.  He wrote, “After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”  God spoke and the Holy Spirit came upon Him.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, were together to initiate the saving ministry of Christ.

The second question that we want the Bible to answer is, “What  are God’s natural attributes; His characteristics?”
 
The first response is that God is infinite (1 Kings 8:27).

There is no limit to His being.  Solomon wrote in 1 Kings, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!”  Can you imagine that a Being so infinitely high and holy would stoop to come and live on the earth and bless us with His presence?  But can you imagine that He would suffer and die in your place?  The infinite God, who fills all of creation, allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross, and He did it for you.

The second answer to the question is; God is omnipotent.

That means that He has all power and can do anything in keeping with His nature and purpose.  The only limits to His power are self-imposed.  He cannot lie or act contrary to His own laws, character, and purpose.

Next, there is another big word to describe Him; God is omnipresent.

He is present at all times-in all parts of His creation and universe.  He is limited neither by time nor space, but is a free, personal Spirit.

And another characteristic of God is that He is omniscient.

That means that He has all knowledge and knows all things simultaneously.  His knowledge is immediate without process of thought or reason.  God’s foreknowledge is also part of His omniscience.  However, divine omniscience gives no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with comfort. God is always thinking about us, He always has His eyes on us; and this is the way we want it, for it would be terrible to exist for a moment beyond the surveillance of our heavenly Father.

And God is also described as changeless.

A word that some preachers use is immutable.  He is the one in whom there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  God Is Changeless. Progress and change may characterize some of His works, but, God Himself remains unchanged.  He does not change; otherwise, He would not be perfect. Therefore, what we know of God can be known with certainty.  He is not different from one time to another.

Now, we have come to our third question, “What are God’s moral attributes.”

First, God is capable of the hatred of evil and of those things that oppose and seek to interrupt His divine purposes.

Second, God is impartial (1 Peter 1:17).

He does not show “respect of persons.”  And the judgment of God will not respect persons.  There is no external relationship, such as church membership, baptism or good works that will protect anyone from God’s judgment.  He will judge every man according to his works.  Those who have been saved through faith in Christ will be rewarded according to their works.  Those who reject Christ will be judged according to their works.  They can plead their case, but God has already warned that there will be no clemency shown at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Third, He is longsuffering (Exod. 34:6).

God’s longsuffering attitude toward sinful humans is one of His most amazing characteristics.  The prophet Naham wrote, “The LORD is slow to anger…”  We should be grateful that God is patient with us and that His judgment has been delayed until all men, both great and small, come to stand before Him.  There is still time for some to repent and turn to Christ and be saved.  But there are some who will choose to end life without Christ, and for them, God’s patience is at an end.

Perhaps God’s greatest attribute is that He is love (1 John 4:8, 16).

God does not possess love, He is love.  Love is the essence of His nature and character.  Listen to these two verses from 1John, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” And then it says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  Love is not a definition of God—God is infinitely more—but God is the definition of love.  Without Him, love does not exist.  The Greek word for God’s love is agape; it is active, yet selfless.  Though most graphically and fully illustrated in God’s love for us, agape love is also God’s pattern for our love for Him (1 John 4:19) and for our love for one another (Eph. 5:25; 1 Pet. 1:22). Its basis is God’s deliberate, active, sacrificial giving of His Son for our redemption. To be loved by God means that He has set His sights on us and is actively wooing us toward Himself at all times.  God’s love is self-starting, indestructible, undeserved, compassionate, constant, immeasurable, voluntary, and a gift. He did not begin loving at the Cross, nor will He love us more tomorrow than He does today. There is nothing we can do, think, or say that will change His love because there are no surprises for God—He knows us totally and loves us anyway.  The goal of God’s love is to have us with Him throughout eternity. He presented and made possible the accomplishment of this goal through Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross.

Finally, God is capable of showing vengeance (Rom. 12:19).

God’s vengeance, unlike human vengeance, is not a calculated retaliation because of personal hurt.  Our refusal to respond to God’s loving invitation ultimately releases His judgment. 

We have come to the last question, “What are the roles of God.

First, He is Creator (Gen. 1:1).

He is the one who conceived and created all things.  That’s what it says in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  God is Creator—the only being capable of making something from nothing.  The Bible teaches that God existed before creation and called the physical world into existence out of nothing.  Everything begins with God and fulfills His purposes for His glory.

He works by the power of His Word, the same Word that can work in our lives.

He works according to a plan: first He forms, and then He fills.

He formed the earth and filled it with plants and animals.

He formed the firmament and filled it with stars and planets.

He formed the seas and filled them with living creatures.

He can form and fill our lives today if we will yield to Him. Persons who have trusted Jesus Christ are a part of the new creation.

Second, He is Judge.

God judges us through His Word, by His Spirit, and by His perfect and holy name.  When God judges, He either dispenses justice or mercy; never injustice.  We should always pray for mercy, because if we got what we deserved, we would go into eternity without God.

The third answer is, “He is our shepherd” (Gen. 49:24; Ps. 23, John 10:11, 14).

One of the most beautiful descriptions of Jesus’ concern for people is that of Shepherd.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who gave His life for His sheep.  Jesus’ life exemplifies the traits of a shepherd.  He knows His sheep.  Sometimes several shepherds will pen their sheep together at night.  The next morning, the shepherds call to their own sheep.  Each sheep knows their shepherd’s voice and responds immediately. Jesus knows each of His sheep intimately.  He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me,” (John10:27).

Next, we know He watches over His sheep.

Sheep are curious, but dumb animals and they wander off and get lost or hurt.  Jesus never takes His eyes off His sheep, but if one of His sheep wanders off, He will search for it until He finds it and carry it back to safety.

He provides for His sheep.  That’s the next answer.

Shepherds have always had to search diligently for water.  Often the shepherd carries a small pail, patiently filling it many times for the thirsty sheep who cannot reach the available water.  Jesus cares for His sheep and provides for all their needs.

Another answer is, “He provides protection.”

A trusted shepherd provides loving protection for the flock.  Shepherds on the Bethlehem hillsides still use a sling to protect their flock from dangerous animals.  At times, shepherds throw their rods at stubborn, straying sheep that refuse to hear their voice.  At other times, shepherds gently nudge the sheep with the end of a six foot staff.  

Jesus protects His sheep from Satan and from the terrors of the world.  The psalm says, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

There is another answer to our question and that is, “He gives comfort.”

Our Shepherd gives us comfort.  Christians are comforted by the presence of the Lord.  Jesus is our Door; nothing can touch our lives without touching Him first. This is a perfect picture of shepherds, who literally become the living door of the sheepfold. They curl up in the door or in the entrance of a cave. They put their bodies between the sleeping sheep and ravenous animals or thieves.

The last and perhaps the answer that we look forward to the most is, “He is coming back.”

One day, Jesus the Chief Shepherd will return, gather His whole flock into one fold, and divide the sheep from the goats; the saved from the lost. (Matt. 25:31–33). Until that time, Jesus continues His search for every lost sheep (Matt. 18:12–14). His sheep are to yield themselves to Him for His useful service; until, at last, they “will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps. 23:6).


Human intellectual limitations make it impossible for us to exhaust our descriptions of God.  Every day lived as a member of His family produces new insights and discoveries concerning Him.  We can say with Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:38).

 

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