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Who Do You Say God Is?

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Who do you say that I am?

, , and all tell the same story. One day, right before Jesus heads to Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus is with his disciples and he ask them, “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples answer back that some say you are this person, some say you are that prophet, some say you are this. Then Jesus ask the question of all time, the question of all eternity, “Who do you say that I am?” “Who do you say that I am?” Every human born before today, every human alive today, and every human has to answer that question. Your entire eternity hangs upon that question. Who do you say Jesus was?
Most scriptures have several different layers. There is the surface meaning, but then there is also many times a deeper meaning. Sometimes there is a deeper, deeper meaning and sometimes there is the deeper, deeper, deeper meaning. It is obvious that the question of who Jesus is refers to whether you believe he is God or not.
But there is a deeper meaning to this question. If you believe that Jesus was God, then you have to realize that God was asking, “Who do you say that I am?” Who do you say God is? Your answer to this question colors every aspect, every emotion, every idea, every belief you have. It determines who you are, where you go, and what you do. Think God is forgiving, and you will not be as concerned with sin, think God is a stern taskmaster and a justice seeker, and you will create a God of rules waiting for his creation to slip, and think God is bound by human decisions and you will have an inept god with now power.

The Book

Who do you say God is? Do you know God? There is a great difference between knowing OF someone and KNOWING someone. The God of the Bible says you must not just know OF him, but you must KNOW him.
Hosea 6:6 ESV
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Jeremiah 9:23–24 ESV
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Before Jesus was betrayed, on his last night with the disciples Jesus prayed to his father in heaven and it is recorded in .
Before Jesus was betrayed, on his last night with the disciples Jesus prayed to his father in heaven and it is recorded in .
John 17:1–3 ESV
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
and all say the same thing. The beginning of wisdom, the starting point, is fearing God and having knowledge of him.
Psalms 110:10; and all say the same thing. The beginning of wisdom, the starting point, is fearing God and having knowledge of him.
and all say the same thing. The beginning of wisdom, the starting point, is fearing God and having knowledge of him.
Do you know God? Who do you say God is?

Importance of Knowing God

Exodus 32:1–6 ESV
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.
The people of Israel have been led out of Egypt with the miracles of the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. They have witnessed this. They have had Mana poured out from heaven, traveled to Mount Sinai, and heard the voice of God. Moses had gone up on the mountain, but he hadn’t come back in some time, so they tell Aaron to make a God for them. But, I want you to understand something important from verses 4 and 5. The Golden Calf was meant to represent YHWH. It was YHWH that led them out of Egypt and the word Lord, in verse 5, is written as YHWH. The Golden Calf was meant to be YHWH. They created an idol because they did not understand who God is.
The people of Israel have been led out of Egypt with the miracles of the plagues and the crossing of the Red Sea. They have witnessed this. They have had Mana poured out from heaven, traveled to Mount Sinai, and heard the voice of God. Moses had gone up on the mountain, but he hadn’t come back in some time, so they tell Aaron to make a God for them. But, I want you to understand something important from verses 4 and 5. The Golden Calf was meant to represent YHWH. It was YHWH that led them out of Egypt and the word Lord, in verse 5, is written as YHWH. The Golden Calf was meant to be YHWH. They created an idol because they did not understand who God is.
John 4:22–24 ESV
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Acts 17:22–31 ESV
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “ ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “ ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
Paul here looks out at the men of Athens and all he see’s is idols. This does not mean he saw all the pagan temples, all the statues, but a study of the Greek shows that he was looking at things the eye doesn’t necessarily perceive. He was seeing underthings and he was seeing idols. So, Paul tells them about the “unknown God,” the true God. He tells them, “Look, you are worshiping, but you are worshipping the wrong thing.”
Paul here looks out at the men of Athens and all he see’s is idols. This does not mean he saw all the pagan temples, all the statues, but a study of the Greek shows that he was looking at things the eye doesn’t necessarily perceive. He was seeing underthings and he was seeing idols. So, Paul tells them about the “unknown God,” the true God. He tells them, “Look, you are worshiping, but you are worshipping the wrong thing.”

The Popular God

For many people the God of the Bible is unknown to them. They worship a god that they have created out of their own minds, wills, and tolerances. They are uncomfortable with the God of the Bible, so they have created a god they can be more comfortable with. Like the Israelites, the Samaritans, and the Athenians they do not worship the God of the Bible, they worship an idol.
You may think that I am talking about the world outside the Church, but I am talking about the Church. Many pulpits preach, and Christians worship, what I call the Popular god. He is popular in the secular world. He is popular on television with certain evangelical preachers, and he reigns in the hearts of many. He isn’t the God of the Bible, but he is a false god, an idol.

God Not to be Honored.

The Popular god isn’t worthy of honor in all things. He is worthy of some honor, but it is limited and only in certain areas of life.
We don’t have to honor him in the public arena. He has no place there. No reading his word or praying in public.
We don’t have to honor him in the public arena. He has no place there. No reading his word or praying in public.
We don’t have to honor him in our government.
We don’t have to honor him in our government.
We don’t have to honor him at our work place.
We don’t have to honor him at our work place.
We don’t have to honor him in our living room where our television is at.
We don’t have to honor him in our living room where our television is at.
And we definitely do not have to give him honor in our secret place.
And we definitely do not have to give him honor in our secret place.
The Popular god is only to be honored slightly and occasionally. This is not a supreme od that is deserves all honor. This is a god that lacks what is necessarily for such honor.

Lacks Power

The Popular god lacks power. Oh, he has good intentions and noble ideas, but he has no real power to do things.
He wants everyone to be happy and he wants everyone to have what they want, but Satan and people keep thwarting his plans.
Satan brings trouble, war, conflict, disaster, crime, and destruction and the Popular god just doesn’t have the power to do anything about it.
He wants people to be his disciples and live correct lives, but he has no power to affect this change in their lives.

Lacks Knowledge

The Popular god lacks knowledge. He has desires for his kingdom, purposes that he wants to accomplish, but he is limited just like you me, he can’t tell the future.
The future is not known or planned.
The future is not known or planned.
The Popular God doesn’t know what is going to happen from one moment to the next, so he operates in a kind of mop-up mode.
The Popular God doesn’t know what is going to happen from one moment to the next, so he operates in a kind of mop-up mode.
This god has no more control over the future than you or I do.
This god has no more control over the future than you or I do.
This god is not worthy of supreme honor. He is not one that is all-powerful. He is not one that has all knowledge of the past, present and future. If he was that kind of god he would be responsible for what happens.

Lacks Wisdom

The Popular god also lacks wisdom.
He loves everyone unconditionally and wants everyone to go to heaven and be with him, but he just can’t figure out a plan to make it happen.
He loves everyone unconditionally and wants everyone to go to heaven and be with him, but he just can’t figure out a plan to make it happen.
He wants everyone to be wealthy and have all their hearts desires, but then he leaves it dependent upon our abilities.
He wants everyone to be wealthy and have all their hearts desires, but then he leaves it dependent upon our abilities.
He wants everyone healed and completely healthy, but honestly if that is really what he wants, it wasn’t very wise to leave it dependent upon our faith in him.
He wants everyone healed and completely healthy, but honestly if that is really what he wants, it wasn’t very wise to leave it dependent upon our faith in him.

Lacks Authority

But even if the Popular god had the power, the knowledge, and the wisdom it wouldn’t matter much since he lacks the authority. Authority is the right to decide and choose, the right to determine. The Popular god does not have that kind of authority.
He is not sovereign over all of creation, all events, all experiences.
He is not sovereign over all of creation, all events, all experiences.
When the Bible says that God is in control of everything and his purposes will stand, and no one can thwart them, it is just empty words with no meaning.
When the Bible says that God is in control of everything and his purposes will stand, and no one can thwart them, it is just empty words with no meaning.
Whatever authority, whatever prerogatives the Popular god exercises, whatever choices he makes whatever rights he posses are subordinated to the authority, rights, and choices of men. And if he does have anything to offer his creation he must offer it to all equally and the final decision must be up to the individual. Man says that is what’s fair, so it must be.
Whatever authority, whatever prerogatives the Popular god exercises, whatever choices he makes whatever rights he posses are subordinated to the authority, rights, and choices of men. And if he does have anything to offer his creation he must offer it to all equally and the final decision must be up to the individual. Man says that is what’s fair, so it must be.
Whatever authority, whatever prerogatives the Popular god exercises, whatever choices he makes whatever rights he posses are subordinated to the authority, rights, and choices of men. And if he does have anything to offer his creation he must offer it to all equally and the final decision must be up to the individual. Man says that is what’s fair, so it must be.
The Popular god has less freedom than man, because the Popular god can’t choose. He can only offer, man chooses. The Popular god does not exercise final authority over his creation, man has the final authority.
Who do you say that God is? Do you know God? Do you worship the God of the Bible or do you worship the Popular god?

The God of the Bible.

The Bible’s god is perfect in power, perfect in glory, perfect in knowledge, perfect in wisdom and exercises ALL authority.

Power

; ; ; ; ; and all say the same thing: Nothing is impossible for God. He has the power to do whatever he wills and , and all say that no one, not even man with his quote right to choose, can thwart the plans of God.

Knowledge

The God of the Bible has perfect knowledge. , says only the God of the Bible can tell the end from the beginning. , , and all tell the same story: The God of the Bible is a God that knows what the future holds and only he can tell you what is going to happen before it happens.

Wisdom

, , and and 46:11 all say that when the God of the Bible plans something it comes to pass. It can’t be stopped, it isn’t aborted, what man chooses doesn’t change or stop it. This is a God that has ALL the power, the God that knows the future, and when he makes his plans and they come to pass.
And in case you were wondering the Bible also says that the wisdom that the God of the Bible has comes from himself. ; ; , and all say that no on instructs this God, no one teaches this God.

Authority

So many people leave the God of the Bible as an empty shell. They want him to be the Popular god with an authority and sovereignty that is subordinated to man, but that is not the God of the Bible.
Psalm 115:3 ESV
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
Job 9:12 ESV
Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
Job 42:2 ESV
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
Psalm 135:6 ESV
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
Isaiah 14:27 ESV
For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?
Isaiah 46:10 ESV
declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Romans 9:19–21 ESV
You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?
Did you know there is a passage in the Bible written by a gentile king? A passage, if we are to believe the Bible is from God, that is inspired by his Holy Spirit.
Did you know there is a passage in the Bible written by a gentile king? A passage, if we are to believe the Bible is from God, that is inspired by his Holy Spirit.
Daniel 4:34–35 ESV
At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
Even a gentile king understood that it was the Most High’s dominion, that man is nothing, and God does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants, and no one says to him, “What have you done?”
Even a gentile king understood that it was the Most High’s dominion, that man is nothing, and God does what he wants, when he wants, where he wants, and no one says to him, “What have you done?”

Humanism and Authority

I have spent more time on authority, because this is what I so often see. Good people, good Christians, will amen that God is in control. They will praise God that he is in control of everything, but when you ask them their theology and their doctrine, you will find that they worship a god that has no authority. Humanism has seeped into the church and it has been covered up with theology and doctrine.

a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values especially: a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason

Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003).
Under Humanism it is man that has the final authority and man that chooses, God just offers. God created man so that man could live, God came to the earth and died so man could be saved, and God created heaven so that man can be happy. This is why God does anything, so man can be happy. God's glory? Oh, that's in there too of course, yes God gets glory, but it is a side effect.
Under Humanism it is man that has the final authority and man that chooses, God just offers. God created man so that man could live, God came to the earth and died so man could be saved, and God created heaven so that man can be happy. This is why God does anything, so man can be happy. God's glory? Oh, that's in there too of course, yes God gets glory, but it is a side effect.
This has gone so far that there are those that claim that when God created the universe he did not know who would be in heaven with him at the end. He set a plan in motion, not knowing who would be in heaven with him and only his knowledge of the future lets him know who will be there. The God of Humanism doesn’t control things he is a God that sets things in motion and then he has to sit back and watch. This God doesn't get to choose who will reign and live with him for eternity, that is man's choice.
This is a lie from hell. God has all authority and what choices man does have are determined by God, even man's choice is determined by God. God created men so he could get honor and glory, Jesus died so that God could get honor and glory, and when we get to heaven we will throw any crown we have at his feet and give him ALL the honor and glory. Does man gain paradise? Yes, but only as a side effect of God getting glory.
I know some of the complaints right now. Wait, man has freedom of choice, man has authority, man has free will. You are right of course. The Bible is clear that the choices a person makes are theirs, but the Bible is also clear that the choices any person makes are set in the future. A future set in stone and planned out to the last detail by God. How does it work that God determines what happens, but man's choice is his? I don't know. All I can tell you is this is what the Bible teaches, and it is your choice whether to believe it or not, but even that has been determined by God.
God.
I can tell you that complain of this what God's answer is:
Job 38:1–18 ESV
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? “Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? “Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place, that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth, and the wicked be shaken out of it? It is changed like clay under the seal, and its features stand out like a garment. From the wicked their light is withheld, and their uplifted arm is broken. “Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness? Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this.
Romans 9:17–21 ESV
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?

Honor

h2Honor
With all power, all knowledge, all wisdom, and ALL authority, is it any wonder then that God of the Bible demands worship and to be honored in everything and everywhere.
Psalm 46:10 ESV
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Isaiah 42:8 ESV
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Philippians 2:9–11 ESV
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
It wasn’t the planning of man, or man’s authority, or man’s knowledge that brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. It was the power, knowledge, wisdom, and authority of a God that has the simple name, “I AM.”
It wasn’t the planning of man, or man’s authority, or man’s knowledge that brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. It was the power, knowledge, wisdom, and authority of a God that has the simple name, “I AM.”
When this god, the God of the Bible, brought them to the mountain his first instruction was (ESV) 3 “You shall have no other gods before (besides) me. There is no other.

Conclusion

Who do you say God is? Do you honor God, or do you do as those in Romans chapter 1?
Romans 1:21 ESV
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Oh, we give the God of the Bible honor, but it is the kind of honor that the Popular god gets. Do you give God ALL authority and honor him as such, or do worship the inept and powerless Popular God? The answer to that question is not given sitting in church, but is given outside the walls with our doctrine and theology. You might say, “I don't have doctrine and theology, that is for scholars, preachers, and teachers,” but you do. You show it in how you live, what you do, where you go, and how you speak about the God of the Bible. You might ask yourself, "Well what do I believe? Do I worship the Popular god or the God of the Bible?" The Bible only ever offers one test for anything. Examine yourself and test yourself verses what it says.
Oh, we give the God of the Bible honor, but it is the kind of honor that the Popular god gets. Do you give God ALL authority and honor him as such, or do worship the inept and powerless Popular God? The answer to that question is not given sitting in church, but is given outside the walls with our doctrine and theology. You might say, “I don't have doctrine and theology, that is for scholars, preachers, and teachers,” but you do. You show it in how you live, what you do, where you go, and how you speak about the God of the Bible. You might ask yourself, "Well what do I believe? Do I worship the Popular god or the God of the Bible?" The Bible only ever offers one test for anything. Examine yourself and test yourself verses what it says.
C.S. Lewis, when talking about how people say Jesus was a good teacher, said that is the one thing you cannot do. Based upon what Jesus said, you can pity him as a madman, curse him as a demon, or take him at his word, fall down at his feet and worship him. I also like what Lewis said when he states, "He did not leave you any other option. He did not intend to." In the same manner you can take the God of the Bible at his word and recognize that he is the only one with freedom, he is the only one with authority and power, or you can call him a liar and believe in a false idol. He did not leave you any other option. He did not intend to.
demon, or take him at his word, fall down at his feet and worship him. I also like what Lewis said when he states, "He did not leave you any other option. He did not intend to." In the same manner you can take the God of the Bible at his word and recognize that he is the only one with freedom, he is the only one with authority and power, or you can call him a liar and believe in a false idol. He did not leave you any other option. He did not intend to.
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