SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT…
In our country, the doctrine of “religious freedom” has been corrupted into freedom from religion and God has been expelled and rejected from the framework of much of our educational and political system, not to mention from the lives of individuals; almost as if He did not exist. The Bible has something to say about this mindset:
The psalmist states: “The fool has said in his heart there is no God…” (14:1; 53:1).
Proverbs says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (1:7)
Paul, in Romans writes: “…even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” (1:28)
Much of society’s downfall and downward spiral morally is due to its rejection of God. But it doesn’t end there. As believers in the message found in the Scriptures, we find that our own level of commitment to spiritual issues is based on our idea of God.
Dr. A. W. Tozer has written a classic book on the person of God called The Knowledge of the Holy. In it he writes,
“What comes to our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people have ever risen above their religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.”
It doesn’t make any difference whether people come from a sophisticated society or a nation of heathen worshipping in front of a totem pole; a misunderstanding about who God is only leads us to error. It makes sense to study who God is so that we live in proper response to Him.
By himself man is not able to discover God, because it isn’t about gathering a bunch of information about God and analyzing it. The study of God is a spiritual venture and without a proper source of information about God we are left to conjure up a god of our imagination. If each person only considered God to be what each of us have imagined Him to be, we could never be sure if anything of what we thought of God was even true. Each person would have their own concept of who He was and what He has done. The statement by Tozer would then have serious consequences.
Whenever we meet someone who claims to be an atheist or we read about such a person, many of us try to think of arguments or ‘proofs’ for the existence of God as an aid to help these people get their lives on track. However, when you read the Bible, you find that the writers of Scripture never try to prove His existence; almost as if there was no need to prove His existence. To the writers of the Bible, His existence is simple fact; no needing to be proven. “Proof” for them is all around us. The Bible states, “the heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament shows forth His handiwork”; meaning that by looking around we can’t escape knowing of His existence and we can also learn a great deal about God as we see this world of nature around us.
But we need another source of information about God. While it is true that many things around us give evidences of His existence, we could never know His character, (the “kind” of person He is), apart from the Scriptures. The Bible then, becomes the only true source of information concerning God. We could never know the truth about God without it.
THE BIBLE REVEALS GOD TO US…
- What do we learn about God from the very first verse in the Bible (Genesis 1:1)?
What does this say about His power and ability?
- What does the Bible say about those people who, in spite of all the evidence around us, still deny His existence?
- Psalm 14:1
- Romans 1:19-23
- The Sovereignty of God:
When we consider the information given to us in Genesis 1:1 and in all the rest of chapter 1 of Genesis, we come to a conclusion about God that is inescapable. Write else do you discover in the following verses?
- What is God called in 2 Cor. 6:18?
- What is said about God in 1 Tim. 6:15?
(C) What does Eph. 1:11 reveal about God?
(D) What is said about God in Rom. 9:20, 21?
(E) What does Psalm 50:10 reveal?
(F) Briefly describe the information found in 1 Sam. 2:6-8.
(G) What do you discover in 1 Chron. 29:11, 12?
God is not subject to or answerable to any power or any abstract rule or law which could be conceived as superior to or other than Himself. He can never be surprised, defeated or uncertain. But, we also discover that in His sovereignty, His actions are without any sort of wickedness or evil. Therefore, all His actions toward His creation are always good, honorable and just.
- What you discover about God in these following verses?
(A) Heb. 6:18; Titus 1:2
(B) Gen. 19:25
(C) Psalm 136 (at the end of every verse)
(D) Malachi 3:6
(E) 2 Tim. 2:12
(F) Jer. 32:17-19
What is your conclusion about trusting in God?
- Without sacrificing His authority or jeopardizing the final outcome of His perfect will, it has pleased God to give mankind a measure of freedom of choice; and for the exercise of this choice God holds man responsible. What do you discover in…
- 2 Cor. 4:3, 4
- Romans 6:23
- John. 6:44; 16:7-11
- Philippians 2:13
- Romans. 12:1,2
- The Attributes (quality / characteristic) of God (write what you discover in the verses)
- John 4:24
- John 5:26
- Exodus 3:14
- Psalm 145:3
- Psalm 102:27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17
- Deut. 32:4
- 1 John 4:8
- Psalm 90:2
- 1 Pet. 1:16; 1 John 1:5
- Psalm 139:8; Jer. 23:23,24
- Psalm 147:4,5
- Matt. 19:26
- Read Deuteronomy 4:39. What should we understand about God?
Read the very next verse. What should be our response?
- What does Deuteronomy 7:9 say about God’s faithfulness?
- How is God described in Deuteronomy 10:17?
According to the same verse, what will God not do?
- What did King David tell his son Solomon about God in I Chronicles 28:9?
- How is God described in Psalm 46:1?
How would this offer comfort to someone going through crisis?
- Read Proverbs 15:3. What do you think it means by, “the eyes of the Lord”?
Does God “miss” anything that goes on in the world?
- Write down how God is described in Jeremiah 10:10?
God is often described as a God of love. How is His anger described?
- How does God compare himself with us in Isaiah 55:8‑9?
Do you think there is any limit to God’s knowledge?
Do you think we can trust God’s plan for our lives even when we don’t understand why things happen to us?
- In Jeremiah 9:23‑24, what is God’s message to us?
How can we ever get to “know” God?
- Read Isaiah 6:1‑6. What did the writer see in v.1?
Verse 2 describes strange creatures above God’s throne. What were they saying to one another?
What was Isaiah’s response to this vision of God?
Why do you think he did this?
- Read Malachi 3:6. Is God different now than any earlier time in history?
Is He still the same God of majesty and glory that He was in the New Testament?
- What did Jesus say was the “greatest Commandment” in Mark 12:30?
What did He say was the “second greatest Commandment? (v.31)
If we followed these two Commandments; how would this affect our daily lives?
- What did Jesus say about His Father in Matthew 5:48?
Since we can never really be “perfect” in this life; what do you think this means?
- What words are used to describe God in I Timothy 1:17?
Thus far, we have studied about God; His power, His majesty, His holiness and other details about His character, all to discover exactly who God is. But, we want to know more about God than just information about Him.
In Job 9:32,33 Job cried out, “For He is not a man, as I am that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman (mediator) betwixt us that might lay his hand upon us both”.
Job’s cry of despair was that the distance between such a God as we have studied and man (the finite creature) is so vast that God could never understand what we feel about the circumstances of our lives. We understand that God knows intellectually about our situation but we think we would be more comfortable if God knew personally about this life. God has forever answered this need through the presence of His Son on the earth and has answered any questions we might have about what God is like.
- In Hebrews 1:1‑2, what are two ways God has revealed himself?
- Read Hebrews 4:14‑16 In verse 15, what does it say about Jesus?
From this verse, what makes you think Jesus understands all our circumstances?
What help does this offer according to verse 16?
- Read John 1:18. How has God made himself known to us?
Another important truth must be discussed. God became incarnate in Christ in order that He might die for sinners and thus save them from their sins. There are three inescapable doctrines:
- First the wages of sin is death.
- Second, the experience of death involves the separation of the body from the spirit.
- Third, the eternal God, because He is pure spirit, could not die. Therefore in order that God might experience the reality of death in all its fullness, He must become incarnate, clothing Himself in a body of flesh and blood. God could not die. But God Incarnate could die, and did die for our sins. Only an Incarnate God could be the Savior of sinners.
- Read Romans 3:23. What does this verse say about all mankind?
- In Romans 5:8; how did God prove his love for us?
DO YOU BELIEVE? ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?
The most important decision anyone can make in their lives is their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To become a Christian, each of us must place our faith in the truth that Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins and that there is no other way in which anyone can be in a right relationship with God other than through the cross.
If you are not yet a Christian- or not sure if you are or not- it is essential that you know the true definition of what is a “Christian”. So let’s get on the same page in defining “Christian”. Many 21st-century people, religions, and religious organizations claim the name as “Christian”. Many, however, while having the “Christian” vocabulary have a different dictionary and, in that framework of thinking, “Christian” does not mean the same thing as the original “inventers” of the word.
The first use of the word Christian occurred about 2000 years ago: “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) Being labeled a Christian during the time of the book of Acts was not a complimentary label. In fact, it was a term of derision. Are you ready for this kind of label?
The culture in that day hated these Jesus freaks and everything they believed. Disciples of Jesus Christ were men and woman mocked, ridiculed, tortured, and even executed because they believed in every word of Jesus, they believed every teaching of Jesus, and they endeavored to live lives guided by the life and word of Jesus. As such, they were called Christians, claiming not only the name but identifying themselves with Jesus Christ. They knew that they were sinners that, through God’s grace by way of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, God had restored a relationship with Him that was broken by sin. They believed the message of Jesus as told by the Apostles.
This is not the case in the 21st century. Many claim the name “Christian” at the same time they deny believing the authority Jesus gave the Scriptures; many deny foundational teachings of Jesus and His disciples including a literal resurrection, the virgin birth, and the Deity and miracles of Jesus, and even deny the relevance of centuries of long-held moral standards pertaining to virtue, marriage, and family. For purposes of this Discipleship study, the definition of “Christian” is as held by the earliest congregation of followers of Jesus Christ as expressed in the Book of Acts.
The Bible says (John 3:16), that God loved the world (people), so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to be the necessary sacrifice for our sins. He became the fulfillment of all the previous Old Testament animal sacrifices that could only cover the sins of the people. Christ’s death on the cross provides the sacrifice necessary whereby our sins can be forgiven and we can be placed in a right relationship with God forever.
Fundamental to beginning new life in Jesus Christ is the attitude of heart well expressed in Psalm 51:17 and Romans 10:9: “The sacrifices acceptable to God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart God will not despise. If you will confess these things with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.”
If you have not done so, why not take a few moments and pray to our Father in Heaven, agreeing with Him that you have sinned (fallen short of His standard of righteousness), and that you believe in and accept by faith His provision of Christ as the sacrifice for your sins.
How is God able to understand the things we go through each day and what strength and help from Him can we draw upon as a comfort?
- Read Hebrews 2:17. What does it say was the purpose for Christ being “made like His brethren”?
- Read Revelation 21:3‑4. In the future when this age is over, how will God show His love for His people?