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God

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Introduction

[SLIDE 1] New Series.
[SLIDE 2] God
Telling your friend about your spouse or a friend about another friend.
Introducing God -
Some of us have been trained: Start with what we’ve been taught to start with (evangelism practices) - it’s a big miss because we’re assuming a world view, issues and questions that aren’t being asked and use words that have either little or very different meaning to them.
We end up telling people what they should think, believe, and do.
and use words that have either little or very different meaning to them.
awkward.
Most of us don’t know where to start. Awkward.

Getting Clear

The need to Get clear on how others and us understand and talk about God is not new to us.
[SLIDE] TRUTH: The language people use to talk about God comes from their experience of God in their culture.
In OT, there was a rivalry of the gods. Ancient societies: Question of God’s existence focused on determining which god was worth of worship and service.
[SLIDE 3] God revealed himself to people in their context, culture, greater context of different religious beliefs.
[SLIDE 4] TRUTH: The language people use to talk about God comes from how they experienced God in them.

[SLIDE 5]Classic Jewish monotheism

There was one God, not like the pantheistic one god
This God was utterly different from the pantheist’s “one god.”  
Always active within his world,
he could be trusted to act more specifically on behalf of Israel.  
His eventual overthrow of pagan power at the political would be the revelation of his overthrow of the false gods of the nations. 
This monotheism was always a way of saying, frequently at great risk: our God is the true God, and your gods are worthless idols and they will be overthrown. It was a way of holding on to hope.  
[SLIDE]Jews - Called God Yahweh. Yahweh was the true God alone worthy of worship. Led to prophets speaking out against idolatry, etc.

God’s Other Names

So holy not permitted to speak it so elohim, El Shaddai (almighty), Jehova jireh - provider, etc.
The name YHWH was so sacred that Jews eventually refused to pronounce it,
Instead, they substituted the word Adonai (“my Lord”).
Later translators conflated these two words, adding the vowels of Adonai to the consonants of YHWH to produce the hybrid form Yahowah—or “Jehovah,” as it has become in English.
Modern scholars have reconstructed the likely original form Yahweh, which may be translated as “He who is,” “I will be who I will be,” or (as in the Septuagint) “I am.” It is in that latter form that Jesus claimed God’s name for himself (; , , ; ).
In the New Testament YHWH is usually translated “Lord,” a practice followed in most other translations for its occurrence in either Testament. When “Lord” or “God” are used in the Old Testament to translate YHWH the words are written in capital letters—“LORD” and “GOD,” a practice that goes back to Martin Luther.
Reflect his character, power, experience of him and therefore the best ways we should think of him and call on him.
Lexham Survey of Theology The Divine Names

the names of God are closely associated not only with his character but with his power, especially his power exercised on behalf of his people

Cowboy church.

Early Church

Early Christians were charged with being atheists because they denied the existence of pagan gods.
Not resolved until the early church. Affirmed there is only one God who is over all.
Jews - Yahweh was the true God alone worthy of worship. Led to prophets speaking out against idolatry, etc.

[SLIDE 6]Post Bible Time

Is Yahweh, only Israel’s god or also the god of humankind that all tribes/nations should worship?
In our era, society and culture, there are many filters these questions are sifted through.
3 Big Questions after the bible times
Is there a God? If so, which one? Can we know God?
In our era, society and culture, there are many filters these questions are sifted through.
No GodWhich God?
Lexham Survey of Theology God’s Existence

The Bible nowhere attempts to prove the existence of God, which it simply assumes. God is revealed as a being who is totally different from anything else in the universe, which is something he has created outside himself. God is not bound by the constraints of time or space but dwells beyond and apart from them.

For God, “being” and “existence” are synonymous. The God who reveals himself to us in time and space is the same God who dwells beyond them.

The existence of God is often defended by arguments drawn from logic and experience. The so-called proofs for the existence of God rely on analogies drawn from the created order, so that God is defined as the greatest being that can exist, as the arbiter of what constitutes justice and beauty, and as the principle that gives meaning and purpose to the created order. Human minds cannot really “prove” God’s existence, because God surpasses everything that we can imagine or conceive (he is, formally speaking, “incomprehensible”). Nowadays, most theists prefer to say that the traditional proofs produce a degree of probability that makes it more plausible and more rational to believe in God’s existence than to deny it.

Weird Notions of God

Philosophers created arguments for and against.
Middle Ages/enlightenment: Philosophical denial of God.

Sheriff

Perception and view that science was against faith

Butler

Rejection of theology as way to view the world
Since then, we’ve been trying to argue for the existence of God using their criteria. Developed systematic theology.
Today in Western Society
Complex situation. Scientific world view with no room for God
Intellectual belief that a god exists but no need for god.
Denial of science that is viewed as opposed to god.
Fertile ground for old and new religions. Makes Christian truth suspect.
Rebirth in interest in the supernatural
Just like the biblical community - fertile ground for the spread of Christianity.

Religions

Classic Jewish monotheism, then, believed that (a) there was one God, who created heaven and earth and who remained in close and dynamic relation with his creation; and that (b) this God had called Israel to be his special people.  This twin belief, tested to the limit and beyond through Israel’s checkered career, was characteristically expressed through a particular narrative: the chosen people were also the rescued people, liberated from slavery in Egypt, marked out by the gift of Torah, established in their land, exiled because of disobedience, but promised a glorious return and final settlement.  Jewish-style monotheism meant living in this story and trusting in this one true God, the God of creation and covenant, of Exodus and Return.
This God was utterly different from the pantheist’s “one god.”  This is an important point to note: many, including many scholars, have blithely assumed that because Stoics and others talked about “one god” they were saying the same thing as the Jews.  This God was also utterly different from the far-away ultra-transcendent gods of the Epicureans.  Always active within his world, did he not feed the young ravens when they called upon him?[11]—he could be trusted to act more specifically on behalf of Israel.  His eventual overthrow of pagan power at the political would be the revelation of his overthrow of the false gods of the nations.  His vindication of his people, liberating them finally from all their oppressors, would also be the vindication of his own name and reputation.  In justifying his people, he would himself be justified.  In his righteousness, his covenant faithfulness, they would find their own.
This monotheism was never, in our period, an inner analysis of the being of the one God.  It was always a way of saying, frequently at great risk: our God is the true God, and your gods are worthless idols. It was a way of holding on to hope.  We can see the dynamic of this monotheism working its way out in the manifold crises of second-temple Judaism, with the Maccabees, Judas the Galilean, and above all the two wars of the late 60s and early 130s A.D. revealing how the creational and covenantal theology and worldview remained at work through the period and in different groups.

[SLIDE 7] In Western Christianity

Today in Western Society there are many filters these questions are sifted through.
Complex situation. Scientific world view with no room for God
Intellectual belief that a god exists but no need for god.
Denial of science that is viewed as opposed to god.
Fertile ground for old and new religions. Makes Christian truth suspect.
Rebirth in interest in the supernatural

Fertile ground for weird Notions of God

Fertile ground for weird Notions of God

Sheriff
Butler
Old Geezer
Set world in motion, sits back and watches over us
Foreman
Giving orders, managing the universe

[SLIDE 7] MTD

"moralistic" in that they believe that God wants us to be good, and that the main purpose of religion is to help people be good. But since it is possible to be good without being religious, religion is an optional tool that can be chosen by those who find it helpful. American Christianity is "therapeutic" in that we believe that God and religion are valuable because they help us feel better about our problems. Finally, American teenagers show their "deism" in that they believe in a God who remains in the background of their lives—always watching over them, ready to help them, but not at the center of their lives.
Christian truth is suspect. Just like the biblical community - fertile ground for the spread of Christianity.

God who is

Identy

[SLIDE8 ]Triunity and Community

[SLIDE 9 and 10]
Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
God is one. God is three. Each of the three is God, sharing together in the one divine nature existing in three members. Father, Son, Spirit together comprise the one, eternal God.
[SLIDE 11 ]The faith of the early disciples required that they bring together three different strands of belief:
The heritage of monotheism - one God: Father.
Malachi 2:10 ESV
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?
The confession of Jesus’ lordship - Son
Luke 3:22 ESV
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
John 17:25–26 ESV
O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Promise and experience of the holy spirit.
Acts 1:8 ESV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
John 4:24 ESV
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Ruach - Breath, wind.
Life principle in the human person.
God is the source of the life principle in each human being. His presence was understood as breath.
God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being ().
God is active, dynamic, involved in his creation as the source and sustainer of created life.
This is the God we know. Through whom we understand and experience the son
We’ll spend more time on the holy spirit soon either in messages or other groups or classes.

[SLIDE 12] God is one. God is three.

Each of the three is God, sharing together in the one divine nature existing in three members. Father, Son, Spirit together comprise the one, eternal God.

How should we talk about it?

One essence, three expressions

Implications

[SLIDE 13] God is diversity

God chose to reveal himself to us in three ways that are different from each other.

[SLIDE 14] God is unity

Despite different functions, all 3 are involved in every area of God’s working in the world.
They cooperate.
The Father is the initiator of the creation, the Son and Spirit act with the father in the creative task.
The son is the word, the first of creation, through whom the Father creates.
And the spirit is the divine power active in bringing the world into existence.
Although the son is the redeemer of humanity, the Father and spirit are involved together with the son in bringing reconciliation.
The Father is the agent at word through the son and the spirit is the active divine power effecting the process from the new birth to the day of resurrection.
Although the spirit finishes resurrection, he is joined in this work by the son and the father.
The son is the Lord who will return in glory and the father is the one who will be all in all (1 cor 15:28).
Nothing in creation is totally a good description to one god who is three in one. MYSTERY.

Father

Malachi 2:10 ESV
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Luke 3:22 ESV
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
John 17:25–26 ESV
O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Spirit

GOD AS SPIRIT ()
We’ll spend more time on the holy spirit soon either in messages or other groups or classes.

Names

Lexham Survey of Theology The Divine Names

These names of God are usually descriptions of his character or power.

Lexham Survey of Theology The Divine Names

The name YHWH was so sacred that Jews eventually refused to pronounce it, which is why it contains no vowels in surviving manuscripts. Instead, they substituted the word Adonai (“my Lord”). Later translators conflated these two words, adding the vowels of Adonai to the consonants of YHWH to produce the hybrid form Yahowah—or “Jehovah,” as it has become in English. Modern scholars have reconstructed the likely original form Yahweh, which may be translated as “He who is,” “I will be who I will be,” or (as in the Septuagint) “I am.” It is in that latter form that Jesus claimed God’s name for himself (John 6:20; 8:24, 28, 58; 18:5). In the New Testament YHWH is usually translated “Lord,” a practice followed in most other translations for its occurrence in either Testament. When “Lord” or “God” are used in the Old Testament to translate YHWH the words are written in capital letters—“LORD” and “GOD,” a practice that goes back to Martin Luther.

Lexham Survey of Theology The Divine Names

In biblical usage, the names of God are closely associated not only with his character but with his power, especially his power exercised on behalf of his people (Rom 10:12–13). A key name of God making this connection is El Shaddai, which is translated as Pantokrator in the Greek New Testament and as “Almighty” in English. By definition, this name is indicative of monotheism, since there can only ever be one being who is truly Almighty. Other names, like Jehovah-jireh (Genesis 22:9–14) and Jehovah-rophe (Exodus 15:22–26) are associated with particular incidents in the life of God’s people. These names, like El Shaddai, are adaptations or modifications of more common names of God.

To call on the name of God is to invoke his power to act, and it is a great sin to abuse this by swearing or some other profane usage of God’s name. God will defend his name (his reputation, his glory), which will be exalted by and among those who sincerely believe in him (Ps 46:10; Isa 42:8).

For the personal names of the Trinity, see the articles God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

[SLIDE 15] Character/Attributes/Nature

Love is the foundational attribute of God

Love is the foundational attribute of God.
God is love within himself - the father loves the son, the son lives the father and the love between the father and son is the spirit.
Genuine love is jealous, protective. The true lover seeks to maintain and defend the love relationship whenever it is threatened by disruption, destruction, or intrusion.
Whenever another seeks to injure or undermine the love relationship, that person experiences love’s jealousy we call wrath.
Without wrath, love is reduced to sentimentality.
God is concerned that we become all that he designed humankind to be (be holy). Rejecting his design for life ends in the wrath form of God’s love.

Holiness/goodness

Good (Holy) - at all times fair, just in his treatment of his creatures. Includes graciousness, compassion. He is the standard for morality. How do we see what this is - Jesus.
The presence of sin changes the experience of love from the bliss intended into wrath.

Omnipresent

No limits/eternal
No Limits/eternal - was, is, is to come

Omnipotent

Does what he wishes with no one to answer to
(omnipotent)

Omniscient

Community
Does what he wishes with no one to answer to (omnipotent)
Perfect knowledge of everything (omniscient)

Matthew 28:19–20 ESV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Doctrine of the trinity came about as a way for church theologians to address foundational questions about the Christian faith. The faith of the early disciples required that they bring together three different strands of belief:
Perfect knowledge of everything
The heritage of monotheismThe confession of Jesus’ lordshipPromise and experience of the holy spirit.
Several ways of understanding their relationship depending on what church heritage and region of the world you came from.
How should we talk about it?
One essence, three expressionsGod is one.God is three. Each of the three is God, sharing together in the one divine nature. Solitary oneness but existing in three members.Each is eternal. Father, Son, Spirit together comprise the one God. God is diversity. God chose to reveal himself to us in three ways that are different from each other. God is unity. Despite different functions, all 3 are involved in every area of God’s working in the world. They cooperate. The Father is the initiator of the creation, the Son and Spirit act with the father in the creative task. The son is the word, the principle of creation, through whom the Father creates. And the spirit is the divine power active in bringing the world into existence. And, although the son is the redeemer of humanity, the Father and spirit are involved together with the son in bringing reconciliation. The Father is the agent at word through the son and the spirit is the active divine power effecting the process from the new birth to the day of resurrection.Although the spirit finishes resurrection, he is joined in this work by the son and the father. The son is the Lord who will return in glory and the father is the one who will be all in all (1 cor 15:28).Nothing in creation is totally a good description to one god who is three in one. MYSTERY.

Father

Malachi 2:10 ESV
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?

Son

Luke 3:22 ESV
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
John 17:25–26 ESV
O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Spirit

GOD AS SPIRIT ()
Relational
Active.Ruach - Breath, wind; Life principle in the human person. God is the source of the life principle in each human being. His presence was understood as breath. God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being ().God is active, dynamic, involved in his creation as the source and sustainer of created life.This is the God we know. Through whom we understand and experience the son

Attributes/Character/Essence

Relational/Knowable

God’s purpose for creation: community with creation. To extend and share the community of the trinity ().

Knowing God

Apostles Creed

Creation narrative is about who not how.

Creation narrative is about who not how.
God’s purpose for creation: community with creation. To extend and share the community of the trinity ().
Walked with God in the garden. In the temple, God tabernacled among his people. Jesus lived among us (). The spirit would be with them when Jesus left. We grow in knowing God through the activity of the spirit in our lives.
The final goal of the work of God is the establishment of an eternal community of redeemed people living in a renewed earth, enjoying reconciliation with their God, fellowship with each other, and harmony with all creation.

Eternal

Moral Standard

[SLIDE 16]Talking About God With Others

What it isn’t

Evangelism as we think of it
Getting someone to want what you have - fosters envy, etc
Opportunity to get them to see things your way and if they don’t, tell them they’re going to hell
Winning the debate
Having all the answers
Trying to get them to make a decision (seal the deal)

What it is

Discipleship being a follower of Jesus inviting others to do the same
Make followers of Jesus not converts
Live among them - find out who is being called and draw them close to you
Understanding their perspective
Asking God what he is already doing in that person’s life and how does he want you to join in?
Ongoing conversation in a relationship: Addressing their doubts, fears, questions, etc not with answers but by being their companion along their path to Jesus. Inviting them to belong
Mentoring
Spiritual direction: What is God inviting you into?
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