Next up are the sermons notes, with some additions to make them more readable, of a series I taught called “Bible Basics”. These will deal ever so briefly with a number of fundamental doctrines that are the foundations of our faith. The reason I did this series is because I believe that the 21st century Church in America is in a serious state of ignorance of God’s Word. Members of other religions have a tremendous grasp on what they believe and why, though I believe they are mistaken. But as a Christian, even a Pastor, I know that I can never know God’s Word the way I wish I could. That being said, it is not an excuse to not try. So the Bible Basics series was designed to get my congregation to thinking and digging on these topics. Hopefully they will bless you as well.
Here’s part one of the first in the series, more to follow…
These studies will cover both doctrinal and theological basics. As always I encourage you to look up these things for your self. That is your responsibility. But let’s also allow God, by His Holy Spirit and His Word to shake us up a bit when we find ourselves thinking outside the realm of His Word. The way to do that is to study these basic things and let God’s Word instruct us.
One of the most important things we can posses as Christians is a good, solid systematic theology. That may sound big to you, but really it simply means that we understand the basic premises put forth in God’s Word and we have them arranged in our minds in a systematic way. Like; Who is God? Or Who is Jesus? or Who is the Holy Spirit? Also things like; What is the Bible? What is the Church? What are Angels and Demons? Further things like; What is Man? What is Sin? What is Salvation? What happens in the end?
All these things are very important to understand, so let’s see just how much we do know. And perhaps most importantly, that we know them from God’s Word not simply because someone told us. Now obviously I cannot do justice to all of these great topics in a few sermons. These things all require further study on your part and a commitment to dig as deep as you can for yourself. So what I will give you here is a “primer” on each of these topics and enough references for you to read further. So, with all that being said, let’s begin at the beginning…
The idea of a God or “gods” has been around as long as man. Man has always worshiped something. The history of worship will not be a topic for us, rather let’s look at three different considerations; the Existence, the Nature, and the Attributes of God as revealed in His Word. I will not be doing much with the arguments for God from non-Biblical sources; I want us to be clear about what the Word of God says.
1.) “The Existence of God” = Gen.1:1, God is “assumed” and He reveals Himself as the Creator of all things seen and unseen. God is never argued nor does the Bible engage in any debate about the existence of God, He is simply assumed. There are many engaged in this argument, but God in His Word has chosen not to. Rather by not engaging in this argument God has sent us a message; try all you want and you will never get it. The argument assumes an ability to understand the material. We are not arguing for the existence of an unknown species of fish, this is God the Creator of the universe we are talking about. Isaiah 55:8 puts us in our place in this regard. In the book of Job, God once again is assumed, never argued, but His actions and attributes are argued ad infinitum by Job and his friends. For all their understanding and debating on Who God is, what He does, and why, God then shows up with this reply to all of their questions, Job 38:1-18. Notice that God never answers any of their questions; He simply states their inability to comprehend Who He is.
So trying to explain God is like trying to explain eternity, we are simply not equipped to manage this information. But that being said, God has chosen in His grace to reveal many things to us that gives us enough information to get a glimpse of His glory. Go to Exodus 3:13-14. When Moses asks God what His name is God answers; “I Am Who I Am”. What this means to us is that God is “self existent”. He has no beginning and no end. He was not created by anyone or anything and dwells in a place outside of time as we know it.
In John 4:24 Jesus says that God is “spirit”. That means He has no corporeal body as we do, He is simply “spirit”, not “made out of spirit” because that would imply that He was “made”. So He is without cause, without beginning or end, Spirit and not substance as we know it. John 5:26 Jesus states that God has “life in Himself” thus making Him the Author of all life.
Romans 1:18-20 tells us that there is much to be known about God through what He has created. He is Just (vs.18a “wrath”), He dwells in Heaven (vs18b), He establishes and upholds truth and righteousness (vs18c), He has made things about Himself manifest to mankind in an obvious way (vs19), He is the Creator (vs20a), His attributes are invisible but easily known (vs20b), they are understood by observing His creation (vs20c), what is visible through His creation is His existence, Deity and power (vs20d), God did so that all would know Who He is and have no excuses before Him (vs20e).
So as we have very briefly seen here, God has done much to reveal Himself to His creation, so much that as He says in His Word, “…so that they (mankind) are without excuse.” (Rom.1:20) In God’s Word God is assumed, asserted, and declared.