The churches of Christ Greet You (Romans 16:16)
Text: John 1:1-3
1. In order to adequately know himself, man must know God.
2. To know himself, man must know of his own origin
a. ("How is it that I am here?")
b. Was man created or did he evolve from some non-human thing?
3. A proper analysis of and valid reasoning
a. concerning one's own body, mind, and spirit (including his conscience)
b. will result in the conclusion that man was created
c. by the infinite Being we know as God.
4. To know why we are here, man must know God and His Will.
5. In order to know what to do with our own life
a. (how to be saved, and how to live as a saved person),
b. man must know God and His will.
c. Jesus said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
6. In order to know of his eternal destiny, man must know the will of God.
(Matt. 25:46; II Thess. 1:7-9; Matt. 7:13-27; et al.).
7. Therefore, our study this morning will be about knowing God.
I. MAN CAN KNOW MUCH ABOUT GOD, BUT NOT EVERYTHING
1. The Bible teaches that men can know that God does exist,
a. because “He left not himself without witness” (Acts 14:17).
b. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1),
c. and only the fool says in his heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1).
2. Men can learn or come to know what God's word (the Bible)
a. plainly teaches about Him (John 8:32).
b. Man can know that God has certain attributes
c. (which we plan to discuss in this lesson)
d. but we cannot fully comprehend everything about every attribute of God.
3. Job said, “God does great things past finding out; and wonders without number” (Job 9:10).
a. There are many secret things that belong only to the Lord,
b. but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children (Deut. 29:29).
4. Brethren, God always says what He means and always stands behind what He says.
a. God does not lie (Heb. 6:18; I Sam. 15:29).
b. What God says of Himself and of His will for man is true (II Sam. 7:28).
II. THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
1. First, God is the Self-Existent Eternal Creator.
a. It is not possible and it was never the case that God did not exist.
b. If God had not existed, then nothing would have existed.
2. Every existent---except God---had a cause.
a. He was neither caused by something other than Himself to come into existence
b. nor did He cause Himself to come into existence.
c. He is the one whose very essence it is to exist.
3. Everything which was created was created by God through the Word (John 1:1-3).
a. However, God Himself was not created.
b. Therefore, God does not depend upon anyone or anything else for His own existence.
c. Of Himself, God said, "I am that I am" (Exod. 3:14).
4. God is the creator of the physical universe (the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars),
a. human beings, all animals, and all that exists.
b. Therefore, the doctrine of creation--as taught in the Bible--is true,
c. and the theory of evolution is false.
1. Second, God is Infinite.
2. To say that God is infinite (in contrast to finite beings, such as humans)
a. is to say that God is unlimited (or absolute) in all of His attributes.
b. Thus, to affirm that God is infinite,
c. is to affirm that God is infinite in all His attributes.
3. To be less than infinite in even one attribute, is to be less than God.
a. Thus, He is infinite in power, in goodness and love,
b. in knowledge and wisdom, and in justice.
4. Further, being infinite in His nature, He cannot change in quality.
a. In other words, He cannot change for the better, and He cannot change for the worse.
b. If He could change He would be less than infinite, and thus He would not be God.
5. Since this is the case, and since God is infinite in purity,
a. if men are to be like God,
b. they must be like God in moral purity.
1. Third, God is Omniscient.
2. To say of God that He is omniscient
a. is to say both that God knows everything which is subject to being known
b. and that He is infinitely wise in dealing with what He knows
(Job 24:1, 23; 28:10; 34:21-25; 36:4-5; 37:16; 42:2; Ps. 33:13-15; 44:21; 94:9-11;
103:14; 104:24; 139:1-24; 147:4-5; Prov. 3:19-20; 5:21; 15:3, 11; Isa. 29:15;
40:27-28; 41:4; 42:9; 46:10; 48:5-6; Jer. 23:24; 51:15; Ezek. 11:5; Matt. 6:4-8; 6:18;
Acts 2:23; 15:8, 18; Rom. 11:33; I Cor. 2:7, 9-11; et al).
3. Thus, by affirming that God is omniscient,
a. we maintain that God knows whatever is possible to know.
b. He knows perfectly the past, the present, and (what to man, at least) is the future.
4. God knew---before He created Adam and Eve---that they would fall into sin.
a. This is known from the fact that the Bible says
b. the plan of God to save man is an eternal one (Eph. 3:10-11)
c. and from the fact that Christ was known as a lamb slain
d. before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:17-20; Tit. 1:1-3).
5. Knowing that man would so fall,
a. and because of His perfect love and mercy,
b. God desired to save man from the just consequences of his own sins.
6. To do this God knew that man would need an environment
a. in which to develop moral and spiritual character so as to come back to God.
b. And having the knowledge of the environment needed by man
c. (as his "vale of soul-making"),
d. God created this world in which we live and in which catastrophic events occur…
e. Events such as earthquakes, tornadoes, disease,
f. one animal eating another, one man killing another, etc.
7. The Bible clearly teaches that God in His infinite knowledge,
a. wisdom (and love) created man,
b. created this world as a "vale of soul-making" for man,
c. and planned man's life on earth to be a probationary period
d. which ends at the moment of our physical death.
8. Thus, our few or many years of life in this world
a. is the only time in which we can make the decision
b. to turn to God in love, devotion, and obedience.
9. This is your time to obey God while your blood is still flowing warm in your veins.
1. Fourth, God is Omnijust.
2. By the word "omnijust" we mean to say that the Bible teaches
a. that God is infinite or perfect in love, goodness, and justice,
b. and, thus, will always do what is right
c. (that is, He will always act in harmony with His own nature).
3. Therefore, it must be noted that while God is full of love for the sinner,
a. He also hates or has just, righteous and awful resentment against
b. the sins which men commit.
c. Both of these attributes (love of the sinner and hatred of the sin)
d. have crucial places in the total character of God.
4. The Bible teaches that God demands of man
a. that we be like Him in moral character.
b. As He is holy, we too must be holy (I Peter 1:15-16).
c. God Himself is the ultimate, absolute good,
d. and His will reflects that perfect goodness.
5. This point entails the view that He enforces the law which He has imposed,
a. in harmony with His own perfect nature.
b. In other words, God will not overlook man's lack of love or man's disobedience.
c. To be just is to recognize and enforce this necessity.
6. Since God is holy (perfectly good and just),
a. He can fail to demand purity and to punish sin only by failing to be holy.
b. And, to fail to be holy is to fail to be God.
7. As perfectly good and loving, God intends only what is good for man.
a. Man is therefore under obligation to do what God's law imposed upon him.
b. God must demand that performance from us,
c. and must impose penalty when that demand is not met.
d. To impose the proper penalty is the proper reaction of God's righteousness and justice.
8. No attribute of God can cancel out (or annul) another.
a. His perfect integrity demands that He cannot lie;
b. He cannot deny Himself.
9. His perfect holiness requires that He cannot view sin in a complacent fashion.
a. His perfect justice requires that He cannot forgive the sinner without an atonement.
b. According to plain Bible teaching
c. this atonement is found in Jesus Christ,
d. the Son of God (I John 2:1-2; I Tim. 2:5-6; Heb. 9:11-10:4).
10. Let’s make this clear.
a. To say that God inflicts or imposes proper penalties upon the sinner,
b. is not to say that God is ever motivated by passionate selfish anger.
c. Rather, the penalties which God imposes
d. express the revulsion of His nature against all sin.
11. With God all judgment is righteous;
a. divine justice requires it for its own satisfaction.
b. God is never guilty of either an improper love or an improper hatred;
c. He loves what ought to be loved, and He hates what ought to be hated,
d. as dictated by His own nature.
e. If God lacked hatred for evil, He would lack real love for good.
12. Only one thing could be worse than committing evil (sin)…
a. That would be the approval of or failure to hate and oppose evil.
b. Having created man as a free moral agent,
c. God (as infinitely just) has the obligation of imposing proper penalties
d. when men misuse the freedom which He has given them.
e. To do less than this would be to be less than God.
13. In connection with this discussion in regard to the justice,
a. holiness, and wrath of God,
b. it must be noted that the Bible teaches that
c. God is a "great and terrible God" (Deut. 10:17).
14. Through Moses, God said to Israel, "I set before you this day
a blessing and a curse..." (Deut. 30:19).
15. To the Romans, Paul said, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who hold the truth in unrighteousness..." (Rom. 1:18).
16. In the Bible God warns that He will save only those who obey His will
a. and that He will eternally punish those
b. who die in impenitence of their disobedience (Matt. 7:21-23; II Thess. 1:7-9).
17. Many men--in fact it must be said, most men —
a. do not want God to be as He is.
b. The Jews were ashamed of and rejected the very idea of a crucified Messiah.
c. Many men reject the idea of the Christ with a sword (Matt. 10:34; Eph. 6:17).
18. With the same basic reaction, men reject the God
a. who is not only loving, merciful, longsuffering, and gracious
b. but who is also the God of wrath (Rom. 11:22) —
c. the God who cannot and will not tolerate sin.
d. Because of the very nature of sin and because of His own nature
e. God will punish the impenitent wicked (Luke 13:3).
19. It is right for men--in the light of the wrath of God —
a. to be moved by godly fear to obey Him.
b. No man can be truly wise who does not understand
c. the righteousness of God and His wrath against sin.
20. The sweet Psalmist said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10).
a. To fail to fear God is to thereby fall into sin.
b. Paul said, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (II Cor. 5:11).
21. The Bible is God’s word, and He really does mean what He says in it.
a. God is not a liar, and, thus, He will bring to pass all His precepts.
b. He will punish the wicked, just as Adam and Eve sinned,
c. and were cast out of the garden of Eden.
1. Fifth, God is Omnipotent (all powerful).
a. To say that God is omnipotent is not to say
b. that "there are no limits to what an all powerful Being can do."
2. By affirming that God is omnipotent, we mean that so far as power is concerned,
a. God (being infinite [without limit] in power)
b. can accomplish whatever is subject to power.
c. God will do only that which is in harmony with the absolute perfection of His nature.
3. In denying the view that there are no limits to what an omnipotent Being can do,
a. we mean to affirm that there are some things which simply cannot be done;
b. that is, some things simply are not subject to power--not even by infinite power!
4. God is infinite in power, but power meaningfully relates
a. only to what can be done--that is, to what is possible of accomplishment.
b. It does not relate to what is not possible of accomplishment.
5. It is absurd to speak of any power (even infinite power)
a. doing that which simply cannot be done.
b. God can do whatever is possible to be done,
c. but He will do only what is in harmony with His own nature.
6. For example, triangles have three--and only three---sides.
a. The unbeliever will come along and say, “If God is all powerful,
b. let’s see Him make a four sided triangle.”
7. But again, that is foolish because the word “triangle” means a three-sided figure
a. and cannot refer to any four-sided figure.
b. The making of a four-sided triangle simply is not subject to accomplishment —
c. not even by infinite power!
8. So, when a detractor says, "Since God cannot make a four-sided triangle,
a. it follows that He is deficient (or limited) in power
b. and therefore is not omnipotent,"
c. he thereby implies that the making of four-sided triangles
d. is something which God could do if only He had more power than He now has.
9. In the same way, it is absurd to say, "If God is omnipotent,
a. then He can make a ball which is at one and the same time
b. both white all over and black all over"
c. or "He can make a rock that is so heavy He can't pick it up."
d. To affirm these propositions is to affirm a logical contradiction.
e. It is to affirm an absurdity.
f. Such a proposition does not really say anything at all.
10. So, rather than saying that God cannot do such things
a. (with the accompanying implication that He is deficient in power,
b. so that, if only He had more power, He could do it),
c. one should say that such simply cannot be done —
d. that such a task is simply not subject to power, not even to infinite power.
1. Sixth, God is Omnibenevolent.
a. In describing God as being Omnibenevolent,
b. we mean to say that He is infinite (perfect) in goodness, in mercy, and in grace.
c. To save space, we shall concentrate here on the goodness of God.
2. To say that God is perfect in goodness is to say
a. that He never plans or does anything
b. which is not in harmony with His own perfect nature.
c. It is to say that God loves all good and hates all evil.
3. Yes, He hates the sin, but still loves the person who commits the sin.
4. His perfect justice, balancing with His perfect love,
a. prevents His ultimately saving those who finally reject His love,
b. that is, those who refuse to obey His will and, thus, fail to
c. the remission of their sins by the blood of Christ (Matt. 26:28).
5. It is clear that if God were all love and mercy
a. (to the exclusion of any consideration of justice and/or righteousness),
b. then He would be unjust.
c. But to be unjust is not to be God.
1. Seventh, God is impartial; thus, He loves all nations and races of men.
a. In spite of the fact that all men have sinned,
b. God proved His love for all by the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ,
c. to die for sinners (while they were yet sinners!) [Rom. 5:8].
2. No matter how grievously a man has sinned,
a. if he will "work righteousness," that is, believe, repent, and obey the Gospel,
b. God will accept or save him by the blood of Christ (Acts 10:34-35).
c. Men come to love God because they learn that God first loved them (I John 4:19).
d. If a man truly loves God, then he will obey Him (John 14:15).
1. Eighth, God is Omnipresent.
a. God is not contained within bounds of either time or space.
b. He is not limited as to place.
c. He is everywhere at all times.
2. The Psalmist made clear that wherever one may be or go —
a. whether it be in heaven, in Sheol,
b. in the deepest depths of the sea,
c. in the deepest darkness of the night, and so on — God will be there (Ps. 139).
3. The Hebrew writer implied this same truth (Heb. 4:13), and the prophet Jeremiah
a. made clear that there is no place where a man can hide from God,
b. and that God fills heaven and earth (Jer. 23:23-24).
1. Ninth, God is Immutable, that is, He does not change (Mal. 3:6).
2. Men often say something like this, "God will judge men through Christ.
God is loving and merciful. All men who are saved eternally will be saved
by the grace of God. Since God is loving, merciful, and gracious, for all I know,
in the Judgment God may save some people whom the Bible teaches will be lost.
After all, I am not the Judge---God is!”
3. On a purely superficial basis, the speaker of such words appears to be
a. humble, kind, merciful, and especially loving of God.
b. But the truth of the matter is those words reject the word of God,
c. and in rejecting the word of God, they reject God.
4. Why is this the case? It is the case because they deny a basic attribute of God;
a. namely, His immutability; they brand God's word as being unreliable,
b. and they imply that God is a liar.
5. Again, the Bible teaches that God is immutable — He does not change (Heb. 13:8).
a. The Bible also declares absolutely that God does not lie (Titus 1:2).
b. His counsel (His word) will stand forever (Isa. 40:8).
6. God will not tell men that if they do thus and so they will be saved
a. and then---at the Judgment---damn those who have obeyed Him to everlasting hell.
b. Likewise, God will not warn men that if they do thus and so
c. (or do not do this or that) they will be cast into hell,
d. but then at the Judgment say to those who have not heeded His warnings,
"Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."
7. It is actually a rejection of God to say that He will not do what He says He will do.
a. For a man to say such is, in effect, to call God a liar.
b. At the Judgment, God will do what He says in His word He will do.
8. Thus, God, in His immutability will not save unbelievers –
a. He will not save the unbaptized –
b. He will not save those who are not members of the one church for which Jesus died –
c. and He will not save those who are not faithful as members of the church.
1. Tenth, God is Ruler of the entire universe.
a. All authority inherently resides in God as the Creator.
b. With the exception of Himself, He has given all authority in heaven and on earth
c. to Jesus Christ, His Son (Matt. 28:18; I Cor. 15:27).
2. Sending the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all the truth (John 16:13),
a. He delegated authority to the Holy Spirit and, in turn, to the apostles.
b. Through the Holy Spirit He gave the apostles power to lay hands on
c. and impart to those men miraculous gifts (including the gift of prophecy),
d. so that some men (called "prophets")
e. could write books of the New Testament, as did the apostles.
3. God rules the world through His Son through the Holy Spirit through His word.
a. That word (the Gospel of Christ, the law of Christ, the faith)
b. is addressed to all men, and thus, all men are amenable to it.
c. Therefore, all who faithfully obey that word will be saved (Heb. 5:9),
d. and all who do not obey it will be lost (II Thess. 1:7-9).
4. Men reject this great truth
a. when they ascribe to themselves the right (or authority) to invent
b. a plan of salvation which is not the plan taught in the New Testament.
5. They reject this great truth when they invent a "church" (a denomination),
a. which obviously is not and cannot be the church for which Jesus died.
b. Why not? Because it was started or founded by mere men.
6. They reject this great truth when they invent ways of living
a. which the Bible condemns (homosexuality; lesbianism; sex before marriage),
b. or when they invent ways of worship which the Bible does not authorize.
c. Only that which is authorized by the law of Christ is acceptable to God.
d. To be pleasing to God, one must recognize that He is Ruler!
1. Eleventh, God is Father.
2. Space and time demands that this very important attribute of God not be discussed,
a. but it must at least be mentioned.
b. How thankful all of us ought to be
c. that God is willing to be our spiritual Father.
3. Knowing that our own fleshly fathers loved and cared for us
a. and that we (who are fathers) have loved and cared
b. for our own sons and daughters,
c. we ought to trust in God with deep, abiding faith —
d. knowing that He will keep on taking care of us
e. by providing us with the things which we truly do need.
4. We must therefore, truly trust in Him as our Father
a. with confidence that--if we acknowledge Him in all our ways —
b. He will "direct our paths" (Prov. 3:5-6).
1. There are still many other important things
a. which God's word teaches us about Him,
b. (for example, more needs to be said about His holiness, His righteousness, His grace,
c. His love, His glory, His providence, His accessibility, His longsuffering, and so on).
2. But, in closing, please remember that we are not under the authority
a. of some "god" whom we human beings have invented.
b. We are under the God who gave us the Bible (His word!).
3. And we also should remember that none of us can "create" our own Bible.
a. Many people think that as long as a person
b. is sincere and zealous in religious matters —
c. God will accept the composite of our interpretations and inventions
d. as "the Bible" by which He will judge us.
4. But such is not the case.
a. Neither sincerity nor zeal is a substitute for God's truth, His word (John 17:17).
b. All men living today will be judged by His word, the Gospel (John 12:48).
5. May God help each of us to know Him better and better with every passing day.
He help us to keep on growing
“in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).