Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lesson 4 – Theology: Who is God?

Eternal life, according to Jesus, is knowing God in an intimate, personal, and relational way. Such knowledge, which is possible only because of divine revelation, transforms us from the inside out as we begin to see ourselves in the light of His majesty and holiness.

A. Theology: The study of God
Col 2:23 >> God’s nature, character, and attributes are the ultimate source of truth.
With God, there is no end, no beginning.
Who can fathom that?
It’s easier to define infinity.
He has revealed himself to us.
We are attempting to answer the question of an infinite being.

B. What some people say who God is:
God is ultimate reality
God is what you make of it
Our heart is the temple of God
Confused about God – spirituality
A place to be happy when you are dead
Energy – essence where a relationship exists
Self – I create my own being
A fantasy concept – depending on whose worldview
The construct in my mind
A nice thought to have on a Sunday morning and irrelevant during the rest of the week

C. The Westminster Confession
I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long- suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

II. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.

III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.

D. The eclipse of God
R. C. Sproul asserts that ours is an era in which the knowledge of God has been an eclipsed – not completely destroyed, but obscured and shadowed by lies and misconceptions.

Given this situation, it is essential that we establish two main points:
1. That God exists
2. That the Bible, the vehicle of His self-revelation, is utterly reliable

E. What is eternal life? (from John 3:16)
John 4:13-14 >> The water of eternal life
John 5:24
John 6:27
John 6:54
John 17:1-3 >> Jesus defined eternal life
An intimate conversation between the Son and the Father.
That they may know you not just street knowledge or clinical knowledge but a personal communion – real relationship.
An intimate kind of knowledge, understanding, fellowship – what a privilege!!!

John 5:39-40 >> He is not diminishing the scriptures. They only point to Jesus. You must go further.

F. Spurgeon’s Perspective
“The highest science, the loftiest speculation, the mightiest philosophy, which can engage the attention of a child of God is the name, the nature, the person, the doings, and the existence of the great God which he calls his Father."

G. Paul’s Perspective
Philippians 3:8-10 >> More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.

H. God’s Perspective
Hosea 6:6 >> “I’d rather for you to be faithful and to know me than to offer sacrifices.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (New Century Version)
This is what the Lord says:
“The wise must not brag about their wisdom. The strong must not brag about their strength.
The rich must not brag about their money. But if people want to brag, let them brag that they understand and know me. Let them brag that I am the Lord, and that I am kind and fair, and that I do things that are right on earth. This kind of bragging pleases me,” says the Lord

I. Names Have Meaning
· Names of God – El Qanna – A jealous God
· What does it mean for God to be jealous? Isn’t jealousy a bad thing?

Deuteronomy 4:23-24:
Be careful not to forget the covenant of the LORD your God that he made with you; do not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything the LORD your God has forbidden. For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Zechariah 8:2:
This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “I have a very strong love for Jerusalem. My strong love for her is like a fire burning in me.”

Exodus 34:14:
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God

· God’s very name is jealous.
· The jealousy of the flesh says “you have something I want and I hate you for it.”
· The jealousy of El Qanna is a zeal that arises when sin threatens a covenant relationship.
· El Qanna arose in God to the extent of the sacrifice of His only Son.
· He is jealous when my sin threatens that relationship.
· When you wrestle in the cocoon with God, he will give you a new name.
· Jacob (supplanter) changed to Israel (strives with God) Gen. 32:28
· Abram (father of height) changed to Abraham (father of a multitude) Gen. 17:5
· Moses (taken out of the water)
· Simon (hearing) changed to Peter (rock)
· Saul (demanded) changed to Paul (little)
· You shall name the child John (God is gracious) Lk. 1:15
· You shall name His Jesus (savior)

Ps. 42:1-2 >> Hungering for God.

As we know God, we begin to know ourselves.
That will transform us.

J. The Attack (2 Cor. 10:4-5)
Take every thought captive.
Our pretentions that are against God.

2 Critical Questions that must be asked regarding his nature and His word:
1- Is there really a God?
2- Can His Word (scriptures) be trusted?

Attacks against His nature: twisting, distorting, denying, ignoring
Attacks against His Word: accusing, demeaning

All attempts to by all powers:
Extinguish >> Empires
Suppress >> Religion
Discredit >> Philosophy
Destroy >> Science
Dilute >> Academia
Deny >> Judiciary
Ignore >> …

All have failed. The Word of God is still the best seller of all time.

K. Voltaire 1776 >> claims to destroy the bible (but have failed)
“100 years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker.”
“It took 12 men to start Christianity; one will destroy it.”
He died in 1778. One hundred years later, Voltaire’s home was used to store Bibles and distribute them all over Europe.

L. Robert Ingersoll
“In 15 years, I will have this book [the Bible] in the morgue. 15 years later, Ingersoll was in the morgue. Later a pastor purchased Ingersoll’s desk and spent his life writing sermons on it.
1 Pe. 1:24-25

M. Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918)
A 19th century German liberal scholar who suggested the Documentary Hypothesis (JEPD), which theorizes that the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) was not written by Moses but evolved over time and was compiled from at least four sources written by various authors. Numerous scholars have refuted the theory.
Known as the father of “Higher Criticism”
Documentary hypothesis: “JEDP”
A proponent of liberal theology

N. The Jesus Seminar
The Jesus Seminar Started in 1985 in Berkley, California, by Robert Funk and thirty-five other liberal New Testament scholars. The Seminar,–which now includes about 100 members–meets twice a year to debate technical papers. At the close of debate on each agenda item, members vote using colored beads to indicate the degree of authenticity of Jesus’ words or deeds.

The Colored Beads
- red: Jesus undoubtedly said this or something very much like it (That’s Jesus!)
- pink: Jesus probably said this (Sure sounds like Jesus)
- grey: Jesus did not say this, but the ideas contained in it are close to His own (Well, maybe)
- black: Jesus did not say this; it represents the perspective or content of a later or different tradition (There’s been some mistake)
They voted and the book of The 5 Gospels resulted from it.
Ez. 22:26-28

They claim that 82% of words of Jesus were not spoken by him.

Are we going to be drawn to a web of deceit?

O. Dr. Del Tackett’s Personal Crisis
Is there contradiction in Scripture?
2 Kings 8:16 >> Jehoram
2 Kings 1:17 >> Joram
2 kings 3:1

How true is the bible?
Edwin Thiele: “The mysterious dates of the Hebrew Kings.”

P. Why so Fierce?
Heb. 4:12 – 13

We must give an account.

Don’t be surprised when the world around us tries to rip from us the very Word of God. Even we, sometimes in our sinful nature, don’t want to listen to God’s Word. It stands in the way of self-actualization >> the pursuit of our desires and wants.

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