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Under a Great God
One Sunday morning a mother went in to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for church, to which he replied, “I’m not going.” She asked, “Why not?”
“I’ll give you two good reasons,” he said. “Number one, they don’t like me. And number two, I don’t like them.”
His mother replied, “I’ll give you two good reasons why you should go to church. First, you’re 49 years old, and second, you’re the pastor!” I’m sure glad that is not the case for Jake nor for me, or any of our pastors or elders. This is one great family under a greater God. I want to give you a special sermon today and I’m not borrowing this sermon. I didn’t get it from Spurgeon. That’s a big deal, like the poem I know.
There once was a preacher called Spurgy,
Who greatly detested liturgy.
His sermons were fine,
I use them as mine,
and so do most of the clergy!
One of the most important questions you and I must ask is, “Who is God, and what is He like? How can we know Him?” The answer is, we know Him through His attributes. But what is an attribute? It is something that, after you add them all together you get a true picture of who God is. An attribute is not a part of God–He is not a puzzle. An attribute is something true of God.
It is a different glance at the same thing. Much like an auto accident with several witnesses, an attribute is a witness to the person of God. Much like if you tried to describe me, you would list different facts, many of which would be true of me. Chris is tall, kind, super studly, massively weird.
Much like the gospel accounts give you the truth of Christ, but from four different perspectives all are true. An attribute of God is a truth about God, but not all the truth of God, but fully the truth of God. Let’s worship God this morning here in His creation by briefly looking at a few of God’s attributes.
We will touch on a few and apply a shotgun approach–hit a bunch but not in depth, so that 1) you will trust God more than you ever have, and 2) I might light a fire under you that will never go out that you would seek to know God even more, and that you would know the God you worship. So who is God? Let’s get to know Him.
#1 God is OMNIPOTENT
What is that? When I don’t understand a certain word, I usually try to find another word or phrase that’ll help me understand the one word that’s confusing–something that says the same thing simply, because if I do not understand it, I will not live it. I try to live by the K.I.S.S. principle–Keep It Simple, Stupid. So let me give you the attribute, then give you a simple phrase that will help you live that attribute.
So what is omnipotence? Omni means all, and potence means potent or powerful. Omnipotence means all-powerful. But how do I remember it? HE CAN DO IT. God has unlimited greatness, ability and power. He’s able to perform any reality consistent with His nature.
We are really impressed with power. Baseball has its power hitters, football its power runners, basketball its power forwards. Weightlifters are power lifters. As a kid, I was very impressed by electricity when my dad handed me an electric drill with a wire brush attachment to clean off rust. As I began to use it, my arms began to shake, I realized I was being electrocuted, I thought I was going to die, and the only yell that came out sounded like a girl.
Look at Mount Saint Helens when it blew up—WOW. Now that was power! Power is significant to each of us–we understand it until we come to God. Then our minds suddenly become boggled–why? Because God claims to be all-powerful, and that defies the imagination. Add up all the power in the universe and you have not even come close to the power of God.
Since God created the universe, God has the power to do anything He wants to do. HE CAN DO IT. And that’s exactly what the Bible says in Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, thou has made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult [literally, nothing is the exception] for Thee.”
Jesus proclaimed to His disciples in Matthew 19:26 concerning the possibility of salvation, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Nothing will be impossible with God. Even in Genesis 1, God spoke to nothing and something came into existence. He didn’t even have to shout, He just spoke and there it was.
Men and women, parents and children, GOD CAN DO IT. We live in a day that loves to rationalize away the power of God. He used Moses to deliver Egypt—you’d never believe it. What’s going on in your life you don’t believe He can do. But God can do it—and that should bring us great comfort. When do you experience His power the greatest? When you are the weakest. He can do it.
What item would you change about yourself if you had the power to do so? He can do it! Second Corinthians 12:9 to 10 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness . . . for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Hey, those of you who are insecure–HE CAN DO IT! You think, “I will never measure up. I am no good yet.” God can do it–depend on Him, not you. So many attractive women suffer from this. Statements in their past by their dads, men, boyfriends about being skinny, fat, braces, rebellious, hair . . . The result is many try to find someone who treats them the way they think they are, instead of clinging to God. HE CAN DO IT. God can change you, save them, answer your prayer.
#2 God is JUST
I like–HE IS FAIR. The Old Testament word for just means straight. The New Testament word means equal, or right. Everything about God is straight, equal, and totally fair. How do you define justice? Ever try? Here is mine. (You may say, “I got a better one”–that’s okay, I’m the speaker.) God balances the scales.
God is totally fair and impartial in His dealings with men and all that God does is fair with all that God is. He cannot act in an unjust way. He always does what is right, does what should be done and He does it consistently, without partiality or prejudice. First Peter 1:17 says, “The Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, therefore conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth.” There are no crooked dealings with God.
God will always keep His promises, Ezekiel 9:15. God will judge those who do wrong, Daniel 9:14. God will forgive the repentant, 1 John 1:9. God will never forget our work, Hebrews 6:10. HE IS FAIR. If we are to be like our Father, then we must be willing to pay the price of justice. And as a representative of God it will cost you. What does that mean?
I will not live in a segregated area, speak to a segregated audience, nor can I eat in a segregated place. I hate prejudice–I oppose it. Under no circumstances will I allow any discussion for abortion to go unapposed. No matter what I am told, or how innocent it sounds, I will not lie on a loan application, tax form or any document (like, “will you have your wife work—NO” or “will your dad help pay for some of this loan, NO”).
If God is fair, then you can exalt others. Who is your competitor? Who is the one you are jealous about? When someone does better than you in grades, athletics, looks, friends, personality–maybe even in ministry . . . if God is fair, then jealousy is stupid. God is just. He made you unique. HE IS FAIR. No one who was ever created can or will do what God has designed you to do–that means you can exalt others, praise others, lift up people around you with no fear. Do you? Is the God you worship fair?
#3 God is FAITHFUL
I like the phrase–HE IS DEPENDABLE. The key verse in the book of Lamentations is 3:23 where Jeremiah says, “Great is Thy faithfulness.” (The author must have heard the hymn.) Let me ask you a question–are you expecting God to do for you all He has said that He would do? Are you? HE IS DEPENDABLE.
A couple died and they walked around Heaven for a week, oooing and ahhing. Finally he said to her, “You know, Ethel, this is so great. But we could’ve been here ten years ago if it weren’t for oat bran.” What about the choice of a mate? I had a few girlfriends before super Jean. A couple of the breakups devastated me. But as I grew in Christ, I began to realize if God will give me my best, I can depend on Him. I got excited and I ended up with the best. How? GOD IS DEPENDABLE.
God is dependable–He keeps His Word. He says, “I withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly.” And, “All things work together for good.” Not all things are good, but all things can result in good. God is faithful. Dark winters often lead to hopeful springs and fruitful falls. HE IS DEPENDABLE.
Even the book of Ruth proves God is faithful. What kind of man was Boaz before he married? He was “Ruthless”.
#4 God is GOOD
The word for good means excellent and useful. In Mark l0:l8 Jesus says, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” When I look at God’s justice or righteousness or holiness, it makes me fear. But when I look at the goodness of God, the same hand which could destroy me reaches out and tenderly holds me. He is good. Not tough to remember—HE IS GOOD. Do you know what that means?
All God’s creation is good. At the end of God’s creation, He said all His creation was good, but that man and woman were very good. You are a good work (the best) and life is good. Life is to be enjoyed. HE IS GOOD. Think about how God made man. God made him with eyes to behold the beauty of nature, ears to hear its lovely sounds, nostrils to enjoy its pleasant aromas, taste buds to relish its infinite variety of edible delights, a sense of touch to help communicate love to someone precious to him, and a mind to comprehend the meaning of it all–to name a few evidences of God’s goodness.
He affords us no end of good things–the warmth of sunlight, the joy of loving family and friends, the satisfaction of productive labor, the exhilaration of physical exercise and recreation, the refreshment of a good night’s sleep, the provision for our daily needs, and so many other blessings that enrich our lives. Are you grateful for God’s goodness? HE IS GOOD. If you are, then you’ll enjoy life.
Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” When you leave today, drink it in every day. God is good and all this world is for us to enjoy to the fullest (yet without sin). When you get this way, you’ll drive your non-Christian friends crazy–why? They have to drink or party to have fun, while all you have to do is get outside and drink in life, because GOD IS GOOD.
#5 God is PATIENT
I like HE ENDURES. The word endure/patient means long-nostril, like the picture of a face with steam coming out of the nose of someone who has lost their patience. God is one who has a long nose–it takes a long time before He explodes. Think about it–God waited 120 years for Noah’s generation to repent, and he waited 400 years for the Amorites to repent before He sent His people back into the land to wipe them out in Genesis 15:26.
When was the last time you felt at the end of your tolerance level with people? You say, “If he says that one more time, I’m going to scream.” Or, “If she does that to me again, I’m going to walk right out that door.” Or, “If I hear the name mommy one more time, I’m going to apply for a new job.” GOD ENDURES.
We may not carry through with our threats, but the fact remains, our nerves are frazzled, our patience is exhausted, and we feel we are about to have a nervous breakdown. Our breaking point probably varies from day to day, and everyone’s breaking point is slightly different. But there is one person whose endurance level is always supremely higher than ours, because GOD ENDURES.
The more I see how patient God is with me, the more it causes me to depend on the Holy Spirit to produce that same patience in me with other people–with their mistakes, with how they’ve hurt me, giving them the second, third, fourth and fifth chance. (How many chances has God given you?)
The next time you find yourself impatient, you must ask yourself, “Why am I impatient?” . . . Because I can do it better? Because they are not doing it my way? Because I want it now? Because I deserve better treatment than this? Ultimately, the reason for impatience is pride. When you confess your impatience, almost always you are confessing the symptom and not the cause, because the cause is your pride. God hangs in there—HE ENDURES. Do you?
#6 God is LOVE
What speaks to me is GOD IS SACRIFICIAL. His love is self-giving, unconditional, eternal, infinite, perfect, comforting, and life-changing. John 4:8 says, “God is love.” Yet it is one of the most misunderstood verses in all of Scripture. To know God’s love is first a taste of Heaven on Earth, but it is also a normal privilege of the Christian. What do I mean?
Well, Romans 5:5 says that . . . “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” God is telling us here not that we have love for God in our hearts, but the knowledge of God’s love for us. That means three things.
First It is poured out
Free flowing, in large quantities–like taking a swim on a hot day, God’s love is ours in overabundance.
The verb tells us God’s love has completely flooded our hearts and continues there as a reservoir.
Third This love is renewed/empowered by the filling of the Spirit
The Bible is telling us God shows His love when it rains, when He spanks us, in sustaining us in trial and through the sacrificial death of His Son. But also, the knowledge of God’s love is essential for the daily survival of the Christian. Start the day saying “Jesus loves me” ten times. We must remember Christ’s sacrifice for us. If Jesus died for me, then I can die to self. God’s love is shown in sacrificial action and love is only true of us when it’s shown in sacrificial action.
Grow up–stop longing for the wedding pictures to be true and start demonstrating love by un-balling your socks, and squeegeeing the shower glass to love your wife. Those are the actions of love, the actions of sacrifice. HE IS SACRIFICIAL.
Recognize all of God’s attributes work together. God is love–God is omnipotent, He can do it. God’s love is all-powerful. God is just–God is love. God’s love is just. God is love–God is infinite. God’s love is infinite . . . you cannot exhaust it. There is so much more to say–God is merciful, all-knowing, everywhere, forgiving, jealous, wrathful, and so much more.
But remember, God being just means He demands sinlessness—perfection. You can’t get to Heaven. When you are selling a product, it involves the negotiation of prices. The seller suggests $1,000, so the buyer offers $800. The seller says $950 and the buyer offers $850. Then the seller says $925 and the buyer counters $875. Then comes that magic moment when you negotiate a settlement at $900.
God is different–He sets the standard here. You say, “I’ll do this,” but the price stays the same. You say, “Tough seller.” So you dig deep and do this–but God’s standard stays the same. God’s standard is perfection and God is not going to move. The only way you can be right with God is, you must be perfect to get to Heaven.
And let me help you, you are not perfect. You must be covered in Christ’s righteous perfection. And you can’t earn it, buy it or negotiate for it. You can’t even be religious enough or pious enough. You can’t get it by making a decision or coming to church. You must surrender to Christ. Turn from your sin in repentance and depend on Him by faith. Only then can you be washed of your sin and only then can you be covered in His righteousness. So God justly punishes Christ for your sin on the cross. Only then does God clothe you with His perfect righteousness so that you can be right with God now and go to Heaven later.
God is love, gracious and merciful. You can be saved if you turn to Christ. You can be saved and go to Heaven if you turn to Christ, because God loved you so much He punished His Son in your place. God alone made a way for you to be forgiven. God alone provides a path to Heaven. God alone can turn you from His enemy to His friend. Turn to Christ–He is love, He is here, He’s all-powerful, He’s sacrificial, He endures, He is good and He is faithful. And only He can do it.