Study of God, Part II, Who is God?
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, January 21, 2018
A few weeks ago, I began a sermon series on Theology, or doctrine, or what I am calling, “The Study of God.” Today, we come to a very complicated subject. Today, we begin the complicated subject of the Trinity, beginning with God the Father. This subject is complicated because we are finite and God is not. This subject is complicated because we are NOT, we are NOT omniscient. God is omniscient. So, the Bible is most important because in the Bible God has revealed Himself to us (Deuteronomy 29:29). I have a story that will help us get into this subject, One writes:
I’ve known several people who are physically blind and I’m always amazed by what they can do without sight. Growing up in Alabama, one of the most celebrated sports heroes in our state was Charley Boswell. Charley was blinded in World War II while rescuing a buddy from a burning tank. He had always been a great athlete so after the war, he took up golf. While in college I saw him play an exhibition match. Of course he had a friend line him up and give him a distance, but I can testify that it’s hard to hit that little white ball when you’re looking at it. Boswell won the National Blind Golf Championship 16 times, once shooting a score of 81. In 1958 Charley came to Ft. Worth to receive the coveted Ben Hogan Award.
Mr. Hogan agreed to play a round of golf with Charley. Charley said, “Would you like to play for money?” Hogan said, “That wouldn’t be fair!” Charley said, “C’mon, Mr. Hogan, are you afraid to play a blind golfer?” Hogan was really pretty competitive so he said, “Okay, I’ll play for money. How much?” Boswell said, “$1,000 per hole.” Hogan said, “That’s a lot. How many strokes do you want me to give you?” Boswell said, “No strokes. I’ll play you heads up.” Hogan said, “Charley, I can’t do it. What would people think of me taking advantage of a blind man?” Boswell smiled and said, “Don’t worry, Mr. Hogan, our tee time is tonight at midnight!”
Without God’s Word we are the blind leading the blind.
When I work on a sermon I go through a lot of notes about the text or the topic and I compile them into a Word document and then I write the sermon. Usually by the time I review my last source I have a good idea of the direction I feel led to teach and preach the topic or the passage. Usually, as I am compiling my Microsoft Word document I am listing Roman Numerals at the bottom to create a preaching flow. This was not as easy with this sermon. The Bible reveals a lot about God. So, I am trying to limit how much to share today. Today, I wish to focus on an introduction to the Trinity, God the Father, and the attributes of God. With respect to how complicated things can be I like what C.S. Lewis said: “If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”
Turn with me to Deuteronomy 29:29:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.
Now, turn to Psalm 139:7-12:
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
- God’s unity in diversity- the Trinity.
- God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God. Let’s say that together: “God the Father is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
- God the Son is fully God, but not all there is to God. Let’s say that together: “God the Son is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
- God, the Holy Spirit is fully God, but not all there is to God. Let’s say that together: “God, the Holy Spirit is fully God, but not all there is to God.”
- Now, let’s talk about God the Father. We will talk about the Son and the Holy Spirit in the next few weeks.
- Genesis 1:1 opens with: “in the beginning “ God created.
- We see God the Father all the way through the Old Testament.
- The Son and Holy Spirit are obedient to the Father’s will.
- God is Spirit (John 4:24).
- Jesus was submissive to the Father: Luke 2:49; 22:42; John 6:40: For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
- I like what one theologian writes: Thus, while the persons of the Trinity are equal in all their attributes, they nonetheless differ in their relationships to the creation. The Son and Holy Spirit are equal in deity to God the Father, but they are subordinate in their roles. Moreover, these differences in role are not temporary but will last forever: Paul tells us that even after the final judgment, when the “last enemy,” that is, death, is destroyed and when all things are put under Christ’s feet, “then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one” (1 Cor. 15:28).
- God the Father planned and directed creation and redemption through the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- The Father and Son work together like a Father and Son on earth.
- Now, let’s talk about some of the Attributes of God. I like what Ravi Zacharias once said: Ravi Zacharias: “God is perfect: He is the only entity in existence whose reason for existence is in Himself. Every other entity exists for God.”
- As we summarize attributes of God I am grateful to more than one Theological Text that summarize these. My sources are documented, but I am most grateful to Wayne Grudem and Paul Enns. Though we see all of these in the Bible.
- Understand that these attributes are not all separate from God, but are all cob webbed together. God has wrath at the same time God has love.
- Some will separate God’s attributes as incommunicable and communicable. Incommunicable attributes are those He does not share with us and communicable attributes are those that He does share with us. For today, I am not separating these. We could have a sermon series on these.
- Spirituality (John 4:24): God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
- Self-Existence ((Exodus 3:14; John 5:26; Daniel 5:23; Acts 17:28): Exodus 3:14: God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Daniel 5:23: but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven…;
- Immutability (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17): this means that God does not change. Malachi 3:6: “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
- Unity (Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5): Deuteronomy 6:4: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!
- Truth (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 1 John 4:8; John 3:16; 5:42; Rom. 5:5, 8; 8:35, 39; 1 John 4:10, 11, 19; Rev. 1:5) John 17:16: They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
- Holiness (Exodus 15:11; Leviticus 11:44, 45; Psalm 11:4-6 Isaiah 57:15), Exodus 15:11: “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?
- Relative Attributes:
- Eternity (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2; 102:12): Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
- Immensity (First Kings 8:27 emphasizes this truth (cf. also Isa. 66:1; Jer. 23:23, 24; Acts 7:48, 49)
- Eternity (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 90:2; 102:12): Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were born
- God knows all things that exist in actuality. (Ps. 139:1–6; 147:4; Matt. 6:8; 10:28–30)
- God knows all the variables concerning things that have not occurred. Jesus knew what Tyre and Sidon would have done had the gospel been preached to them (Matt. 11:21).
- God knows all future events. Because God is eternal and knows all things in one eternal act, events that are future to man are an “eternal now” to God. He knew the nations that would dominate Israel (Dan. 2:36–43; 7:4–8), and He knows the events that will yet transpire upon the earth (Matt. 24:25; Rev. 6–19).
- Omnipotence (Psalm 115:3; The name Almighty means “the mighty one” and is probably derived from the verb meaning “to be strong” (cf. Gen. 17:1; 28:3; Isa. 13:6; Ezek. 1:24; Joel 1:15)
- Sovereignty (Acts 15:18; Ephesians 1:11):
- Mercy (Ephesians 2:4; Hebrews 4:16):
- Grace (John 1:14)
- Justice (Psalm 58:11; 1 Peter 1:17):
- Patience (2 Peter 3:9)
- Jealousy (Exodus 20:5)
- Wrath (Exodus 32:9-10)
- Understand if God is against sin that means He has wrath. If He does not have wrath against sin then He is not loving
- Furthermore, if God truly is loving that means that He has wrath against sin.
- Wisdom (Psalm 104:24; Romans 16:27; 1 Corinthians 1:24) One of the communicable attributes of God. This means this is an attribute that He shares with us.
- Though I am talking about God the Father and the Son, Who is Jesus, and the Holy Spirit separately, they are united and separate at the same time.
- God the Father is not all there is to God. Say that with me: God the Father is not all there is to God.
- God is three persons.
- We see evidences of the Trinity in the Old Testament as well.
- Would anyone like to name one?
- The spirit moved along the waters… (Gen. 1:2)
- Genesis 1:26: “Let ‘us’ make man…” God uses a plural pronoun.
- There are many other places in the Old Testament, but I just wanted to share a few.
- God is Spirit and the New Testament teaches that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. (Col. 1:15) So, some believe that when God appears in the Old Testament that is really Jesus.
- So, God is 3 persons.
- Each person is fully God.
- God is one.
- I heard it said, “one what, three who’s. I like that.
- Applications: Unity and diversity and the Trinity
- In the Trinity we have unity, diversity, harmony, love and submissiveness.
- Since there is unity in diversity in the Godhead, that means that we can have unity in diversity in the church.
- We must be united with the church as much as we can.
- We must seek out diversity in gifts, talents, cultures in the church (Gal. 3:28).
- We can have unity in diversity in marriage.
- We must try to be united as families.
- We can have unity and diversity in family.
- God is perfect and God is love. There is absolute love in the Triunity of the Godhead. This is encouraging.
- Jesus modeled obedience to the Father, even though the Father is not greater than the Son. We can be submissive and obedient to authorities. We can be submissive and obedient to loved ones.
- When our family, or church exhibits faithfulness, love and harmony we are reflecting the Trinity. That is amazing.
- So, how are you doing with unity? Do you need to heal a relationship?
- How are you doing with racism? You know those thoughts that come to mind about certain groups? We can be united in diversity.
- How are you doing with humble submission and service? Jesus was humbly submissive to the Father.
- Serve someone this week in honor of Jesus.
- Heal a relationship this week in honor of the Trinity.
- If you use social media, don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Love people.
When we are united in diversity with harmony, love and submissiveness we are most reflecting the Godhead.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
Do you know Christ?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
 From a sermon by David Dykes, Has Jesus Touched Your Eyes? 8/20/2012
 Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 249.
 I heard this on his “Just Thinking” podcast