Faithlife Sermons

2021 BFM Series #1 - God

BFM 2000 Series: 2021  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

According to Pew Research, in 2018 80% of Americans claimed to believe in God. This number might seem high or low to you depending on your outlook on our country! Pressing the issue a little further, it was discovered that only 56% of Americans claim to believe in the God of the Bible as the other 24% believe in some other form of higher power/religion. Our culture is very anti-god in many respects, yet it’s interesting that the majority of Americans at least claim to believe in the God of the Bible. If this is true, we need to dig deep into who God is and what God is like in order to actually look like Him.
Many people claim to believe in God, but whenever they are asked to describe Him or share about their relationship with Him, they cannot do so. They paint a broad brush and share that God is love or God created the universe - two true things - but they cannot go any deeper than that. Our world, our nation, and even the church needs to rediscover what the Bible says about our God! We need to know Him in order to be like Him. We need to be like Him in order to follow Him. We need to follow Him in order to be His disciples. AW Tozer once shared that what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. This is absolutely true and an ever present reminder that we need to believe right things about god because a lot of people believe wrong things about Him. I’d press Tozer’s quote a bit further though. What the Bible says about God is the single most important truth in the universe. Either we believe what the Bible tells us about God or we reject it. If we reject what the Bible says about God, we believe in a false god - an idol - a god of our own making and in our own image.
Because the Bible is God-breathed, true, and trustworthy, we can look to it to tell us what our God is like. We see in Scripture many things about God. We see His attributes! How He is perfect, infinite, omnipresent, omnipotent, and so many things that we are not. We know that we are sinners, finite, semi-present, and weak. Yet, there are other things that God is that we can be at times. We know that God is holy, truthful, just, loving, merciful, graceful, and kind. These are things that we can be today. These are things that we are called to be today! God calls us to this challenge and we can do it because we know that He is with us and He loves us
1 John 4:19 CSB
19 We love because he first loved us.
As we continue going through the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, we are going to look at what the Bible shares with us about the triune God, what God is like, and what His plan is. Let’s begin once again by looking at what we, as Southern Baptists, believe about God.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

Does God Exist?

Again, the majority of Americans believe that God exists, but why is this the case? We live in a growing secular world that doubts God’s existence and they want to know why we believe that He does and how we can prove it. There all sorts of ways that a Christian can go about answering these types of questions. Some Christians have immediately go to their personal story and share how God has proved His existence to them through a situation in their life. Perhaps they were facing a serious health scare and they prayed to God and God healed them and, as a result, they believe in God. Many Christians have experienced something similar to this and that is their primary reason for believing in God. We’ll call these Christians the Experience group. There are other Christians who immediately go to Scripture whenever they are asked about God’s existence. They go to the Bible and share what the Bible says in order to prove God’s existence. We’ll call this group the Traditional group. Another set of Christians use logic to prove God’s existence, or at least to prove how there is evidence to support God’s existence. They look at creation, science, human anatomy, the complexity of the universe and other things in order to help answer the question of God’s existence. We’ll call these people the Researchers.
Each group has pro’s and con’s whenever you talk with a non-Christian. If you are an “Experience” person, no one can refute your experience because that’s your testimony. We are called to share our testimony of what God has done and point people to Him! This is a good thing. But, whenever you share your experience of what God has done, what if the other person hasn’t experienced that same feeling or situation? They probably think you have a cool story but if they have a different experience and background, your story is your story and their story is their story. While you think God exists, they can argue the other side based on their experiences. The Traditional person can point to God’s Word and help explain what Scripture says about creation and that God created out of nothing and how we are created in His image. This is good as well because we know that we should be able to give a defense from Scripture and hide its truths in our heart. Whenever you point to Scripture, though, there are some people out there who will simply refuse to believe in the Bible. They do not believe in God, therefore they likely will not believe in His Word being truthful and without error. The Researcher seeks to give a defense to objections made by the other person. For example, the non-Christian says that God doesn’t exist and the Researcher wants to simply provide evidence for His existence. As a result, this person points out something like the Kalam Cosmological Argument for God’s existence which posits this:
Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered Is There Any Conclusive Proof of God?

(1) Whatever begins to exist must have a cause for its existence.

(2) The universe began to exist.

(3) Therefore, the universe must have a cause for its existence.

(4) The attributes of the cause of the universe (being timeless, existing outside of space, and so on) are the attributes of God.

(5) Therefore, the cause of the universe must be God (Genesis 1:1).

The non-Christian has to believe in points 1, 2, and 3. The Christian uses cause and effect to open the door with point 4 to share that there is reasonable evidence for God’s existence because the universe has a definite starting point and bears God’s creative hand from start to finish. Therefore, the Christian can argue that the cause must be God. There are other arguments the Researcher can use. The argument of Fine Tuning looks at the location of the earth in proximity to the sun. We know that the earth is roughly 93 million miles away from the sun. It is estimated that if we were just 5-10% closer to the sun, we would be incinerated. If we were 5-10% further away, we would all freeze. The earth and sun are perfectly located… Did this happen by chance? The likelihood of that seems pretty slim. The complexity of the human eye and other incredible things in our universe seem to argue that there is an intelligent designer behind His creation because of the order to fine tuning we see each and every day.
Again, each position has strengths and weaknesses and we should use all 3 of these things to answer this question! We should share our testimony. We should point people to Scripture. We should certainly study and give people reasonable evidence to God’s existence through creation.
We, as Southern Baptists, clearly believe that God not only exists but that He created all things, sustains all things, provides for all things, and is in control today.

If God Exists, What is God Like?

Not that we’ve looked at God’s existence, let’s look a little closer to His Word and rather than answering questions about His existence, let’s look at His character and attributes. The BFM 2000 shares this with us: He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures. We see a lot about God in this statement and we see much about His character in Scripture.
God is in control and reigns over His creation as it’s rightful ruler. We read about this in Genesis with creation, but we also see it in Psalm 50 as we find this
Psalm 50:10–12 CSB
10 for every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird of the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. 12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and everything in it is mine.
We find in Scripture that God is before and after all things - He is the Creator who is involved with and independent from creation
Psalm 90:2 CSB
2 Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.
Revelation 4:11 CSB
11 Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because you have created all things, and by your will they exist and were created.
We know that God is omnipresent and that we cannot hide things from Him
Colossians 1:17 CSB
17 He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.
Psalm 139:7–10 CSB
7 Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 9 If I live at the eastern horizon or settle at the western limits, 10 even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me.
God is by nature good, loving, merciful, holy, peaceful, righteous, jealous, and wrathful. He is perfect, truthful, all knowing, and all powerful.
Look at these selected Scripture references that share these attributes with us.
1 John 3:20 CSB
20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows all things.
Psalm 34:8 CSB
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the person who takes refuge in him!
1 John 4:8 CSB
8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
Psalm 103:8 CSB
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love.
Psalm 99:3 CSB
3 Let them praise your great and awe-inspiring name. He is holy.
Psalm 99:5 CSB
5 Exalt the Lord our God; bow in worship at his footstool. He is holy.
Psalm 99:9 CSB
9 Exalt the Lord our God; bow in worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy.
Deuteronomy 32:4 CSB
4 The Rock—his work is perfect; all his ways are just. A faithful God, without bias, he is righteous and true.
Exodus 20:5 CSB
5 Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me,
Romans 1:18 CSB
18 For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth,
These Scripture passages share with us who our God is.

God in 3 Persons: The Trinity

The BFM article on God is divided into 3 subsections that talk about the Trinity and what each person of the Trinity does. Before talking about the persons of the Trinity, we need to define the Trinity. The word trinity never occurs in the Bible. Because of this, there are some Christians who believe that God is One and not 3 in person. During our Wednesday night Bible study about 2 years ago we studied the Trinity in depth and realized that although it’s beyond our comprehension to fully understand, it is important to understand the Triune nature of our God. A basic definition of the Trinity is this: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.
Let’s look at each part of the Trinity and briefly talk about the importance of believing in our Triune God.
God the Father: God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
We see that the Father is fatherly in His attitude towards all men, but Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. What does this statement mean? It means that God created all people in His image as Genesis 1:26 shares
Genesis 1:26 CSB
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
Yet, we know that there is something special about God being Father whenever we are adopted into His family through faith in Christ. Ephesians 2:1-5 talks about this reality with us as we were once children of darkness but now we have been raised up with Christ. We are children of light. The Father reigns over His creation and is all-powerful. He knows best and He has a plan.
God the Son: Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.
This is a much longer subsection and it’s fitting because that is what we see in the Apostles Creed as well. How many of you have heard of the Apostles Creed before? How many of you have heard the Nicene Creed before? These are important confessions that we believe as Christians and they share with us truths about the Triune God: Father, Son, and Spirit. Much of the ink in these statements is given to the Son because there has been much confusion about Jesus Christ.
Some in the ancient world believed that Jesus Christ was a phantom of sorts - Gnostics - because God couldn’t put on human flesh. They denied the humanity of Jesus. Others believed that Jesus was a normal man and not truly divine - Arianism - they argued that “There was when He was not.” Meaning that the Son was no co-eternal and co-equal with the Father. They denied the Deity of Jesus. People believe similar things today, sadly. This is why we need to be clear on who Jesus was and who He is!
5 Truths about the Son of God
1. He was pre-existent. Some people say that the Son was created by the Father. No. He was pre-existent just as the Father was. Christ always was, Christ always is, and Christ always will be! He is of the same substance with the Father.
2. Christ humbled Himself and put on flesh in the incarnation.
3. He was born of the virgin Mary. Not through the virgin Mary. He was conceived through the Holy Spirit.
4. The substitutionary death of Jesus means that Jesus became our sacrifice for sin, substituted Himself for us, and bore our iniquities and curse. The BFM states that Jesus’ death was a substitute for our death. We should have died, but He died for us. (2 Cor 5:21)
5. God exalted the Son. Because God exalted Jesus above all, He is our mediator, intercessor and the giver of all gifts! Jesus literally, physically rose from the dead. Jesus then ascended into heaven, and He sat down at the right hand of God the Father. He sat down as King. He sat down as our priest. Our high priest sat down because He completed His priestly service. God the Son will return personally, visibly, and gloriously.
God the Spirit: “The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. At the moment of regeneration He baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.”
The Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood person of the Trinity. Kind of like the uncle that every family has who is a little misunderstood and doesn’t get the spotlight as much as his brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit is vital for salvation, though, as we see that He inspired the authors of Scripture like we talked about last week. He helps us interpret the Word correctly. He convicts us of our lostness before salvation and once we are Christians, He convicts us of our sin. He leads us to be more like Jesus. He gives us a spiritual gift that we are instructed to use in the Church.

What is God’s Plan?

Lots of Scripture, lots of reading about the Trinity. Lots of looking at various apologetic arguments. Whenever we think of God, we should think of His plan. We’ve talked about this during our study through Acts as we see 2 key things throughout this book: God’s providence and providing for His followers in supernatural ways in order for the Gospel to be proclaimed. This is what we know He continues to do today! God’s plan is for His followers to preach the good news of the Gospel to a lost and dying world. To be His witnesses throughout all creation. God’s plan has not changed as Numbers 23:19 shares with us that He doesn’t change His mind
Numbers 23:19 CSB
19 God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?
God’s plan is for all things to be made new. For creation to be recreated. For the curse to be reversed. This is why Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for our sins. Because of the cross, we see that we are given a task and responsibility. Again, in Acts we’ve been seeing this task unfold before our eyes. We are to go and make disciples. We share the truth with others because we know that God is still at work.
His plan isn’t fully known by any human. We don’t see every aspect of His plan and we’ll never fully understand why He allows things to happen until we get to ask Him ourselves… But, we are told that He works all things for our good. We know that He works all things for His glory. We know that His grace is sufficient as He told Paul
2 Corinthians 12:9–10 CSB
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
We can take heart in knowing that we belong to our God. That He has a plan for us. That nothing catches Him off guard. That He is in control. That He has our best interest at heart. That He is by nature good. That He loves us. That He created us.
This is the God of the Bible. Not a tyranical dictator but not a powerless puppet either. He is the Sovereign King of the Cosmos and He wins in the end.
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