Foundations of the Christian Faith- God
1st Baptist Church,
Des Moines, NM
Hello again, KLMX listeners and welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program. I’m Bryan Kimsey from the 1st Baptist Church of Des Moines. We’re talking this week about what I called "Foundations of the Christian Faith". Yesterday, I talked a little bit about the trustworthiness of the Bible. This is so important to establish because the Bible is the only source that I trust when it comes to issues regarding God, man, Christ, salvation, life, death, and just about everything else. Keep in mind as we go thru these studies that I’m only able to present a very condensed version in these 15 minutes. When we studied the Bible as part of our regular church services, I took about 6 months to cover the Bible’s origin, history, different versions, inerrancy and infallibility and so much more. All in all, we spent at least 40-50 hours study the Bible. Likewise, when we studied the character and attributes of God, it took about the same amount of time and we barely scratched the surface. So, in these short 15 minutes, all I can do is give you a very short and condensed synopsis. If you want deeper and fuller studies, come see us or any other Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. It’s a lifetime journey, make no mistake!
Today, using the Bible as our guidebook we’ll look at some attributes of God. The questions I want to examine are:
First, is there a God? Before we
go examining the attributes of God, we should establish whether or not there
even is a God and how can we know this.
Secondly, if there is a God, can
we know Him? That is, can we indeed find out something about Him? This isn’t
as obvious as it might seem since many religions deny the knowability of
Thirdly, if there is a God and if we can know Him, what attributes or characteristics does this God have?
Let’s look at the first question- "is there a God?" The Bible tells us there is. The very first verse in the Bible tells us "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). I can easily spend a week discussing just that verse, but it clearly establishes the existence of God and you’ll note that it puts Him there "in the beginning". The rest of Genesis is full of passages saying "Then God said…" and "God made…" The next book of the Bible, Exodus, opens with some genealogies and it’s not long before we hit Exodus 1:17 in which we find out that "the midwives feared God." So far, it hasn’t taken much effort to find "God" in the Bible. If we jump to the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, we find in v. 9 the statement "Worship God." And the very last verse, v. 21 says "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." We see God in the Bible, front to back.
Furthermore, Romans tells us that we all know God exists:
Romans 1:18-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (21) because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Does God exist? The Bible leaves no doubt that He does. It also leaves no doubt, as we just saw in Romans, that we know He exists as "His invisible attributes are clearly seen…being understood…so that they are without excuse."
Our next question is "Can we know God?" That is, can we find out things about this God or does He hide from man? Back to Genesis, Chapter 1 and we see:
Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." (27) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (28) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
Note here that not only did God create man in the image of God, but in v. 28 we see that God "said to them." The fact that God "said to them" shows that God is communicating with man. We do not see God communicating with the animals previously created. A little later we see in:
Genesis 3:8-10 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (9) Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" (10) So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."
From this passage we can see that God communicated with Adam and Adam communicated back. Note also that the Romans passage I just read says that man suppresses the things of God in unrighteousness and that’s exactly what we also see in Genesis. Man has sinned, knows he’s sinned, and tries to hide from God. This truth is brought up in John, Chapter 3. I’ll read verses 16-21, so you can see the context of the statements in v. 19-21.
John 3:16-21 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (17) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (18) "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (19) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (21) But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
Because of his sin, man suppresses the truth of God, tries to hide from God, tries to push God away, and hides in darkness from the light of God. Because of man’s actions, communication with God is damaged. Rather than God hiding from man, it’s man who hides from God! Yet, communication can be restored through the mediation of our High Priest, Jesus Christ. We’ll cover that relationship in a few days when we talk about Christ. For now, just note that initially, due to our sin, communication with God is impossible, but once the proper relationship is restored through the accepted atoning sacrifice of Christ, communication is not only possible but desired. Communication will come through God’s revealed and inspired word, the Bible, as prompted by the Holy Spirit who leads us to all truth.
We should see by now that God exists; we can know that He exists, and, thanks to the mediatory work of Christ, we can communicate with Him and Him with us. Now, let’s look at some of the attributes of God. It’s very common to focus on only a few of the attributes of God at the exclusion of others, but we must see as many as possible if we’re to properly respect God. Looking back over the passages we’ve already read, we see from Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." Okay, so there’s one attribute: Creator. God is a creator. We looked at Exodus 1:17 and found out that "the midwives feared God." Therefore, God is a fearful being and deserving of respect. Because the midwives feared God, He must also therefore have some power over them, otherwise, they would not fear Him anymore than you fear a fly or a cricket. From Revelation 22:9 we saw the angels commanding John to "Worship God." Thus, God is worthy of worship. Revelation 22:21 said "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you." From this we can see that God has grace. Romans 1:18 said "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven". This tells us that God has wrath and that He’s in heaven. John 3:16 said "For God so loved the world…" and that tells us that God has love. And so on! Virtually every passage in the Bible that tells us about God also yields clues as to His attributes.
Genesis 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.
Genesis 21:33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God.
Exodus 20:5- for I, the LORD your God am a jealous God.
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. (4) He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
Deuteronomy 33:27- the eternal God is your refuge…
Psalms 7:11 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalms 47:2 For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.
Psalms 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
Psalms 90:7 For we have been consumed by Your anger, And by Your wrath we are terrified.
Psalms 90:13-14 Return, O LORD! How long? And have compassion on Your servants. (14) Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
Psalms 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Nehemiah 1:5 And I said: "I pray, LORD God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments,
1 John 4:16 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.
Since man was made in the image of God, by looking at man, we can see a distorted picture of God. The picture is distorted because of man’s sin, but it is, nonetheless, an image. From looking at Scripture, we can clarify God’s attributes and get the perfect picture. God, then, is holy, just, Almighty, righteous, angry, wrathful, creator, destroyer, loving, kind, beautiful, awesome, perfect, Judge, truth, upright, merciful, wise, eternal, everlasting, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. He is all of these things at once. Just as the earth has a face in shadow and a face in light, yet is still the earth, none of these attributes of God conflict or contradict any of the other. God can be a God of wrath at the same time He is a God of love. He is a just God and a merciful God.
Our time is up and I’ll have to stop here. We’ve looked at the authority of Scripture and some aspects of God. Next time, we’ll look at man. May this message glorify God, our creator, and only wise who provided Jesus Christ as the atonement for our sins and as our mediator by which our fellowship is restored and redeemed. Amen.