Understanding who God is
Bible Study 03/10/09
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Many of us come to understand God, because our exposure is limited to what we heard of God through other people. Lots of times our theology (the study of God) is limited. Our theology is placed in context according to doctrine and denominationalism. Because you were born in a particular domination, you view everything through that lens. As time goes on, you understand your relationship with God has little to do with doctrine and denominationalism, because your theology has expanded. This becomes evident when you go back to places where you used to be comfortable and realize that they are not comfortable to you now.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalms 145:3 (KJV) –God’s greatness is unsearchable. You will never master God. You are always learning and maturing in him. We have to see God as he sees himself. God simply “Is God”.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: Heb 8:10 (KJV) –God’s word is in our minds and in our hearts. When we are in relationship with God, his words are in our head and in our heart. When we talk about relationships today, we say we are sprung. It is the same when we are in relationship with God. God is the best thing that ever happened to us.
11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Heb 8:11 (KJV) – nobody has to babysit you about God, because you know him for yourself.
We come to know God through a variety of ways:
One way is through the scriptures-This is one sure way we come to know him. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Tim 3:16 (KJV) -the scriptures are here to assist us in being what we are supposed be. There are some people that have issues with the bible. The issue is not with the bible itself. The issue is with hermeneutics interpretation. This is the study of the interpretation of written text. People that doubt the bible are saying word is in consistent with what God intended it to mean when it was inspired. When we understand the nature of God, we understand its intent more clearly. When you look at that attributes of God, you have to look at it by faith and not your intellect.
Attributes of God
I. God is self existent. His life is in himself.
1. God is just God. No one created him. He is the giver of life. We live because God is. The Psalmist said the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He simply meant that everything he needed was found in God.
2. God was here before anything existed.1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalms 90:1-2 (KJV).
3. Because of God, we have life. 9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. Psalms 36:9 (KJV). Understanding who God is gives us a better picture of what we should be.
4. God made Adam. God gave Adam life. Life came from God. Adam had no life apart from God. Adam was a hollow shell until God breathed life into him. Therefore, no one can take God’s life, because God gave his life.
a. Remember when Pilate came to Jesus and said he had the power to take his life? Jesus told Pilate that he wouldn’t have that power unless God (Jesus’ father) gave it to him.
b. During Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus said,” it is finished “and then he gave up the ghost. It is evident that when God gave up the Holy Ghost, he gave up his life. It wasn’t taken.
c. God is a taker and giver of life. Job says the Lord gives and takes away. God is sovereign and sometimes we don’t’ understand what God is up to. Ex-Two people are involved in an accident and only one makes it out alive. One might say well it was simply that persons time to go, but was it? We simply don’t know, but we do know that our life is in God’s hands and what God decides to do is up to him. We trust God’s sovereignty.
II. God is spirit.
1. This means God is invisible to the human eyes. If we are in the image of God, then we are a spirit. We are invisible to human eye. We really don’t see each other. We are a spirit inside a shell. When Adam was just a shell, God blew his breath and Adam came alive. Adam became a spirit cause God blew his spirit into him. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. Ex 33:20-23 (KJV)-when you see God, you will know you have left the planet. Either they have had your funeral or they are planning it. No one has ever looked on Gods face and lived. We are not able to comprehend all his glory and live.
2. Because God is a spirit, we have to worship him in the spirit. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:24 (KJV)-the essence of worship is a spiritual matter. Flesh can’t get into God’s presence. The only intimacy that can take place is spirit to spirit. Worship is about a relationship.
3. The essence of God is his spirit. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Tim 1:17 (KJV). God is not, shaped like we are. God sent his son to earth, because Jesus was the amount of God that we could handle. We couldn’t handle God’s totality. God wrapped himself in flesh so we could behold him. We could not behold all of God’s glory. When we die, our spirit still lives somewhere
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Cor 5:4-8 (KJV). We die so that we my live.
III. God is one, yet three (the father, the son, and the Holy Ghost)
1. Being a spirit, we have 3 properties too. Those properties are the mind, the body, and the soul. Note that the word “trinity” is not in the bible. The concept however is. The God head works in complete harmony, never working against himself. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: Deut 6:4 (KJV)
2. Why would God tell Israel he is one Lord? There were two understandings of worshipping God. They were polytheism & monotheism. Polytheism is the worship of many gods. Monotheism is the worship one god. The Hebrew people worshiped one God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not the real names of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These were Babylonian names given to them by the chief official. These Hebrew boys practiced Monotheism and only worshipped the one true and living God. This is why they refused to bow down to the idol God’s when the trumpet blew.
3. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, work together. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7 (KJV)-the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, work together. They were all there (together) in the beginning during the earth’s creation. 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Gen 1:1-2 (KJV). They still work together in our life today. Ex- We hear a word, the Holy Spirit urges us to come to church. Once we are at church we are pointed towards God. The Holy Ghost is God working within us urging us to go to God. Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God urging him to hear our prayers.
4. The trinity never works against one another Ex-The Holy Spirit would not urge you to holler out and distract someone from the man of God teaching, because you would be missing the word God has for you. This is not to be mistaken when we all celebrate and praise the together.
5. God is one with 3 manifestations, much like H20. Ex- Water has 3 properties. They are water, steam, and ice. God is self existence, because he has life in himself. He is spirit and because he is a spirit, we are a spirit (because we are created in his image). God is one yet three.
IV. God is eternal. He is unlimited by time.
1. We cannot limit God. 15 The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15 (NLT)
2. 1 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. 2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalms 90:1-2 (KJV)-In other words, we cannot limit God. God says he wants us to understand that when we were first made, we were immortal. When Adam and Eve were first created, they were supposed to live forever. The devil made Eve break the law. That introduced us to sin. As promised Adam and Eve died. They didn’t die right away, but they did later. They began to age.
God sends his son in. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (KJV); 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV)-Jesus came to promise us that we would go back to our original intent. For us to die is to gain. We die to live. When we die, our spirit goes back to God.
3. To live with Christ is to be immortal. 13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thess 4:13-17 (KJV); 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Cor 15:51-55 (KJV). As a result this is what was meant by the phrase “Sabbath will have no end”. To live with Christ is to be immortal. This is what gave the early church mortars that died so much honor. They felt that dying gave them the honor of living with God.
V. He is immutable. Unchangeable in nature.
1. Immutable means unchanging. God is unchanging in his nature. How can God tell you this is where he wants you to be, and three months later, change his mind? We are guilty of bringing God into our stuff. Ex-If we don’t get the solo, instead saying we want to quit the choir, we say God is bringing us into another season. 5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Mal 3:5-6 (KJV), 11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Psalms 33:11 (KJV), 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips; Psalms 89:34 (KJV)-God does not alter anything that comes out of his lips. If God spoke a thing, it will come to pass. It accomplishes what it is sent out to do.
2. 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Heb 6:13-18 (KJV), God doesn’t change, if he said it you can believe it.
VI. God is all omniscient. He is all knowing.
1. All things are open and naked to God 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Heb 4:13 (KJV). We were designed to be transparent and intimate. In the beginning Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed (they were transparent.), then sin was introduced when they ate of the fruit and they became ashamed of their nakedness and began hiding. Sin is the cause of us not wanting to be transparent today. We don’t want people to know when we are going through something out of fear of exposing other things about ourselves. God knows all. Even the stuff you try to cover up, God knows about it.
2. God knows the past, the present, and the future.5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jer 1:5 (KJV). Think about a picture of you made about 10 yrs ago. That would have been 1999. Think about your spiritual state at that time. Now imagine if you could have seen your life from God’s perspective. God knew everything that was going to happen to you and he knew that you would end up where you are today. God knew he had worked out but you had to go through all those different scenarios to end up where you are today. Imagine all those times you were praying and complaining and God knew what the end was going to be, but he couldn’t get you to understand. There were probably times where God said, “I got it if you would just trust me!” Here you are in 2009 and you are praying and whining and God has already worked it out on up to 2029. Just like before, he is trying to tell you to hang in there and trust him. God knows where you are supposed to end up. If could see your life from God’s perspective, then you would be thanking him for what you are going through. What you are going through is not in vain.
VII. God is omnipresent. Unlimited by space.
1. God is everywhere. 7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. Psalms 139:7-10 (KJV). Deacons used to pray this word in their prayers all the time back in the day. They knew God was everywhere.
2. God is always there. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4 (KJV)-God is always there. Ex-Bishop explains he wishes how he could be at all the bible studies at the same time or even at everybody’s bedside all at the same time. Bishop explains that he can’t, because he is only one person. Unlike Bishop, God can be everywhere at once. This is why when you are in relationship with God; you know the difference in being alone and being lonely.
VIII. God is omnipotent. All powerful.
1. God is incomprehensible. We don’t know anything powerful as God. God never runs out of being powerful. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Rev 19:6 (KJV)
2. God made a powerful promise to Abraham. Abraham and his wife were old at the time of this promise. I think his wife was in her nineties. When you got vision, you don’t need Viagra. 14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Gen 18:14 (KJV) -is there anything too hard for God. According to time of life, God said Sarah would have a son. God said he would change the nature on Sarah’s behalf. God is so powerful; he can create jobs during a recession. God is motivated by the power of your prayers.
3. There is omnipotence inside of us. When Jesus died, all power in heaven and earth was in Jesus hands. Jesus then deposited that power inside of us. Authority and power is inside of you manifested as the Holy Spirit. If you tap into it you will be powerful. This power will make your enemies tremble.