Today we are going to launch into a three week mini-series entitled “God Is…” Bill Bright, who was the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, who also wrote the “Four Spiritual Laws”, and who was responsible for the “Jesus” film – He repeatedly said throughout his life, “The most important thing we can teach another believer is who God is.” Because everything about our lives – our attitudes, our motives, our desires, our decisions, our actions, and even our words – are influenced by our view of God.
For example if you believe that God is a sort of Grandfathery Santa Claus who exists only to give you everything you ever wanted – you’ll probably live differently than if you believed that God is more like a grumpy traffic cop – just waiting to pounce on you the moment you break the law.
Or if you believe that God is sovereign and has a will and a plan for your life, you’ll probably live differently than if you believe that God is like “The force” from star wars and is something that you can learn to control and use for your own purposes.
What we believe about who God is profoundly effects how we live our lives. And so it is absolutely imperative that we have an accurate view of God. We need to know who God really is. And that can be quite a challenge because there are so many people in this world with so many different views about God. Even among Christians, you’ll find different people that have different views of who God is. So how do we know the truth? How do we really know who God is?
Well, of course, the answer is in the Word of God. God has revealed Himself to us through the Bible. The Bible is the written record of how God has interacted with different individuals, different nations (particularly the Israelites) and wtih mankind as a whole over the years. And so we can see what God is like by looking at what He has said and done throughout history as recorded in the Bible. God has further revealed Himself through the life of His Son – Jesus Christ – also recorded in the Bible. Because Jesus is God in human form, we can learn much about who God is by looking at the life of Jesus Christ.
And so for the next three weeks we want to try to discover who God is as we look at some of the attributes of God as found in the pages of Scripture. And of course, there is no way that we can cover them all. The attributes that we are going to look at over these few weeks are just a small sampling. In fact, discovering who God is really is what this adventure of life is all about. We’re not going to get there in just three weeks, but hopefully, we can whet your appetite to dig a little deeper in your own life-long journey to discovering who God is.
This graphic summarizes everything we’re going to be looking at over these few weeks. I actually found this in the notes of my study Bible and I think it does a good job of organizing the information. You’ll see there are three main headings of who God is – Creator, Judge, and Saviour. Under each of those headings are four attributes that kind of fit under that heading. And around them all is the fact that God is personal. That’s important, but we’ll talk about that later. Now, of course, this logo is not a part of the inspired Word of God. You won’t find it in Exodus or 1 Peter or any other book of the Bible – this is just a simple way to help us get started in understanding who God is.
So to get us going this morning, let’s look at the first main heading – Creator. This is the very first thing that the Bible tells us about God. Genesis 1:1.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
Ok, read that again, and think about what is it saying… “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Do you know what it means to create something? I think we mis-use that word “create” quite a bit in our language. For example, when I make a website for someone, I’ll say “I created” a website. Or when I make something different for lunch, I’ll say “I created” a new dish.
But I didn’t really create. I manipulated the materials I already had. I transformed. I put together. I invented. But I didn’t create. To create something means to bring something into existence that didn’t exist before. No raw materials. No ingredients. No pile of parts. Just nothing – and then something.
That’s what God did. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Out of nothing, God created something. He created electons and molecules. He created stars and planets. He created flowers and trees. He created ladybugs and sharks. He even created human beings – made in the very image of God – all out of nothing.
And in that one little verse “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” – we can learn a lot about who God is.
First of all, we can see that God is all powerful. He has the ability to do whatever He sets out to do. If He wants to create planet Earth out of nothing – no problem. If He want to fill the universe with billions of galaxies and fill each galaxy with billions of blazing stars – easy. If He wants to form human beings out of the dust of the earth and bring them to life with his very own breath – consider it done. There are no limits to God’s abilities.
“O Sovereign Lord, You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!” Jeremiah 32:17
And we see that time and time again throughout the Bible. It seems that God is continually doing what we think is impossible.
In Exodus, you see Him parting the Red Sea so that the Israelites can pass through with walls of water on either side. In the book of Joshua, you see Him stopping the rotation of the earth so that Joshua can finish his battle in daylight. In Matthew, you see Him feeding 5000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and two fishes, and in Luke you see Him bringing dead people back to life! Nothing is too hard for God. He is all-powerful.
And not only is He all-powerful, but He is also all-knowing. His understanding is infinite. Just think what kind of a mind it would take to create the heavens and the earth. Think of all the systems that God has designed – everything from how weather works to photosynthesis, from music to mathematics, from physics to DNA. And if that doesn’t impress you, think of God’s creative genius.
To think up things like the very idea of colors or smells. To create dragonflies, hamsters, giraffes, and beluga whales. To come up with the flavor of coffee or strawberries. God’s creativity is amazing!
“How great is the Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” Psalm 147:5
We just can’t fathom it – but God knows everything. And the all-knowing-ness of God isn’t just limited to Him having all the facts and understanding how everything works – but He actually literally knows everything! He is aware of every situation. He’s aware of every event. He’s aware of every thought of every person in every place at anytime.
“This is what the Lord says to the people of Israel: I know what you are saying, for I know every thought that comes into your mind.” Ezekiel 11:5
Think about that… every single thought that crossed your mind last week – God knew about it. He knows every detail of the past. He knows exactly what’s going on right now, and He knows everything that’s going to happen in the future. The Bible says that God knows each of the billions upon billions of stars by name – and He knows the exact number of hairs on your head. This is a God who knows everything that could possibly be known.
And in addition to being all-knowing, and in addition to being all-powerful – God is also ever-present. He is everywhere at all times. He is not limited by the enormous size of His creation. He doesn’t have to travel from here to there. He is everywhere all the time.
“Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord. “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. Jeremiah 23:23-24
The answer is yes. Yes, He is. He’s everywhere all the time. This is a tough one for us to understand. As humans, our consciousness is tied to our bodies. Where ever our bodies go, that is where we are – in that one singular place. But God doesn’t have those restrictions. He is just as much here with us right now in this place as He is in a mall in Miami or in a Sushi Shop in Hong Kong. God is everywhere all the time.
And that leads us to the fourth and final attribute of God that we want to look at today and that is that God is sovereign. Because He is all-powerful, and because He is all-knowing, and because He is ever-present – He is sovereign.
I looked up the word “sovereign” in the dictionary and it had two really good definitions that fit God perfectly. The first definition was “possessing supreme or ultimate power”. And that certainly fits with what we’ve talked about so far. God certainly does possess supreme and ultimate power. There’s no competition. And the other definition was “acting independently and without outside interference”.
And I think that’s a very accurate description of God. He acts independently and without outside interference. Now that’s quite unlike you and I. Sometime we think that we can do whatever we want, but we can’t. There are all kinds of outside interferences that keep us from truly doing whatever we wish. For example, we are subject to the weather – we have no say in whether it rains or not. We can’t stop a hurricane. We can’t end a drought. We are subject to the weather. We are also subject to gravity – if we step off the roof, we’re going to go down whether we want to or not, because we are subject to gravity. We are subject to the restrictions our physical bodies – we can’t walk through walls – we can’t live without air. There are all kinds of things that keep us from doing whatever we want.
But not God. He is sovereign. He has no restrictions. He truly “acts independently and without outside interference”.
“All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’” Daniel 4:35
God answers to no one. He is sovereign and there is nothing to prevent His will from being done.
Now if that’s where we left it – it that’s all we knew about God – That He can do anything, that He knows everything, that’s He’s present everywhere – and that He answers to no one… Then I think we’d all be pretty terrified of Him. And to some extent, we should be. God is someone to take very seriously. But there is more to God than just those attributes. Remember that “God Is…” logo that we looked at earlier?…. God is also love. He is merciful, faithful, unchanging, holy, – He is truth, He is righteous, He is just. And when you put all those attributes together with being all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present, and sovereign… Then God isn’t a being that we should be terrified of – someone that we wish we could run away from. No… God is someone that we want to run to. Someone who is able to keep us safe from anything. That’s why Paul writes in Romans 8:38-39…
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
What comfort! What security we have in knowing that our God is the Creator. If God is for us, who can be against us?
What a privilege we have to personally know the God of Creation! Because, remember, God is personal. He’s not a mysterious force – He is a person. And He wants you to get to know Him. He wants you to experience all of His attributes.
He wants you to know His power in your own life. He wants to do impossible things in you, and through you, and for you. He wants to give you His strength when your strength is gone. You can trust in Him that He is able.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
God wants you to experience his power. God also wants you to experience His presence. He wants you to know that He is always there for you, even when no one else is. You can talk to Him at any time – in any place – He’s right there with you. You never have to be lonely or afraid.
“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
God wants you to experience His presence. God also wants you to to experience His all-knowingness. God knows everything about you. He knows your fears and He knows your dreams. He knows what makes you tick – He knows what ticks you off. He knows all about your past – and He knows all about your future.
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand.”
So you see, when we know who God really is, when we know Him personally, and we experience his power, his presence, and his all-knowingness – what a comfort! What a joy! What a privilege we have to know God!
If you’re sitting here this morning and you don’t know God – maybe you know about him, but you don’t know Him personally, I would love to introduce you to Him. If you would like to experience His power, His presence, His all-knowingness, and His sovereignty in your life, please come talk to me after the service or sometime this week. I would love to get you started in your journey to get to know God.
Or if your sitting here this morning and you’ve already started your journey to know God, but you’ve kinda stalled out recently, I’d love to help you too. If you’re finding that in recent days you haven’t been experiencing His power, His presence, or His all-knowness in your life, let me know so that I can pray for you and encourage you and perhaps together we can make a plan to help you draw close to God again – to get you going and growing and knowing God.
Because that’s what it’s all about – getting to know your Creator. That’s the point of this adventure called life. So let’s do it. Let’s get to know this all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing – Sovereign God.