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Nature of God

The Essence of God

 

It is impossible to adequately define God.  He is infinite and therefore cannot be fully understood by our finite minds but we can define Him inasmuch as we know of Him.

“God is the infinite, perfect Spirit in whom all things have their source, support and end.”  STRONG  [Thiessen: 24]

1. God is Spirit

There are several implications that arise from the fact that God is Spirit.

A. God is immaterial and incorporeal

Immaterial means not made of anything and Incorporeal means without a body.  God is not made of physical substance and has no body.

John 4:24 (ESV) God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Note: Jesus, prior to the incarnation was completely spirit, however God’s nature is spirit.  

Anthropomorphisms: symbolic representations that show the attributes of God.

  • Hands Isa 65:2; Heb 1:10

  • Feet Gen 3:8; Ps 8:6

  • Eyes 1 Kings 8:29; 2 Chron 16:9

  • Ears Neh 1:6; Ps 34:15

These descriptions rather than teaching that God actually has bodily parts are simply God’s way of describing Himself to us in terms that relate to man.

B. God is Invisible

God can manifest Himself in visible form but He is Spirit and therefore by nature is invisible.

Colossians 1:15 (ESV) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Although God is invisible there are some verses that say that men saw God.  These are instances where God appears in human form to men. An example of this is the case where he appeared to Abraham before destroying Sodom. (Gen 18)

This does not contradict the truth that God is invisible in that He who created all things can assume any form that suits His purpose when He desires to communicate to man.  These appearances of God in human form in the Old Testament are called Theophanies.

C. God is Outside of this Creation

God is the creator of all things and is independent of the universe.

Genesis 1:1 (ESV) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Colossians 1:16 (ESV) For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Even though God is independent of this creation He does not stand apart from it but rather is totally involved with it in maintaining and sustaining it.

Psalm 104:30 (ESV) When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

Job 33:4 (ESV) The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

2. God is personal

God is not an impersonal force permeating this creation but rather a Person who has a will, intellect and emotions.

Exodus 3:14 (ESV) God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ”

In this verse God shows that He has self-awareness, makes decisions and has compassion on people.

A second evidence that God is personal is seen when we recognize that man has been created in His image.  Since man created in His image has personality it follows that God has personality. Similarly it is irrational to believe that the Creator made man with attributes that are greater than His own.  Therefore if we possess personality then God also must possess personality.

The Attributes of God

It is common to categorise the attributes of God into two groups:

  • Absolute Attributes

  • Moral Attributes

The absolute attributes of God

This group of attributes is distinct from the second group in that they are possessed by God alone.

A. God is self-existent

This means he is not dependent on anything outside of himself.

“God is the absolute source of all life and being, the uncaused cause.”  Duffield and Van Cleave  [Duffield et. al.: 69]

John 5:26 (ESV) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

Colossians 1:17 (ESV) And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

B. God is immutable

This means He is unchangeable.

Malachi 3:6 (ESV) “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Man changes from day to day but God is always the same.

C. God is eternal

This means God has no beginning or end.

1 Timothy 1:17 (ESV) To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 90:2 (ESV) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

D. God is omnipresent

This means God is everywhere at the same time.

Jeremiah 23:23–24 (ESV) “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

1 Kings 8:27 (ESV) “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

Although God is everywhere present we find in the Bible that He is also described as having a manifested presence at specific locations.

Revelation 4:2 (ESV) At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne.

E. God is omniscient

This means God is all knowing.

Psalm 139:1–4 (ESV) O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

What a comfort it is to know that God knows all. He knows and understands our situation.

F. God is omnipotent

This means God is all powerful.

Genesis 1:1 (ESV) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Jeremiah 32:17 (ESV) ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

Ephesians 3:20 (ESV) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,

There is nothing that is too difficult for Him!  But we need to understand that God can only do things that are logically possible and that are morally consistent with His Character.

G. God is sovereign

This means God is absolute ruler and in control of creation.

Philippians 2:9–11 (ESV) Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We need to understand that although God is Sovereign He has chosen to allow mankind to exercise free will.

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Freedom

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Freedom

What is freedom?


Freedom is the ability to make choices.

In jail your freedoms are taken away you are told what to do, when to do it.

As a Christian there are freedoms that we have access to that we can take for granted.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit
of the Lord is, there is freedom.

John 8:31-36 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my
word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the
truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of
Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that
you say, 'You will become free'?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I
say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave
does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if
the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


If Christ has set us free, what are some of the freedoms we have?


1) We have free to access God.

The first Freedom is the ability to have direct relationship with God.

Adam caused a separation between God and humanity, but because of the cross we now have direct access to God and direct access to the Father.

In the Old Testament we see thousands of years where people never had this, and they would have done ANYTHING to have this freedom


2) We are free from the penalty of sin.

We live in a world of sin - sin has consequences. When we do the wrong thing there are consequences.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.

The consequences of sin is death - but we have eternal life. As believers we are no longer due the penalty of our sin.
We are free from the eternal separation

This is why we need to share the gospel, we bring people to church to hear the message of Christ.
We have this freedom, and others need it too.


3) Free from guilt and condemnation

Romans 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

This is hard for us to understand - it is a freedom we have, that is the forgiveness of a saviour.
We don’t need to live with shame and guilt that is associated with sin.

Because of Jesus living in us, God does not condemn us.

Does this mean we can sin and do whatever we want?

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Not at all.

Because of this freedom we should avoid sin.

A child that doesn't know the hot plate is hot will eventually find out - but the child that does know should avoid it in the first place. This is the same with sin. Because we know it's wrong, we should avoid it all the more. 

However it does mean that we don’t have to carry around the guilt when we do make mistakes

This is a freedom we need to accept + thank God for. 

4) We are free so that we will love and serve others.

1 Peter 2:16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Freedom is given to us so that we can choose to love and serve people.

Jesus came not to be served, but to serve - he was the most free person that has ever walked this earth - he was perfect.

Ironically, the message if Jesus is that we are set free to serve God and others.

True freedom is in the choice to serve others - ability to make this choice.
God doesn’t make me serve others, he gives me the choice.


5) We are free from our past.

Psalm 103:10-13 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

This is prophetic statement over out lives.

God does not hold our sins against us, but casts them as far as the East is from the West.

My past doesn’t determine my future. This is a freedom we have access to in Christ.
My past has been forgiven, I can live as a new person.


6) We are free to preach the good news of Jesus to others.

One of the freedoms we enjoy as Australians is the ability to openly share the Gospel.
This freedom however is something that we can take for granted.

More than ever the Christian church is facing opposition.

Christianity is now the most persecuted group in the world.

Attack on marriage, families and faith are at an all time high.

With the up coming election it is important that we keep these
freedoms as a priority. In Australia religious freedoms are not written into the constitution, this means it is something that can be changed - it isn't fixed. 

What can we do?

Three things we can do to make a stand for Religious Freedom:

1. PRAY
Prayer should never be the last resort, but the foundation of our faith.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

We must pray for those in authority over us our Senior Pastors + government.
Pray that God would send his people to govern our nation.
Pray that God would be sovereign over decisions and legislation.

2. POLL
In this up coming election it is important now more than ever before to know who you are voting for, and what their positions are on religious freedoms.

Encourage you to research who your local candidates are and vote. I cant tell you who to vote for, but I can encourage you to make an informed decision.

3. PETITION
Write to your local member, tell them your concerns and reason for your beliefs. This is a spiritual fight over souls.

Imagine a nation that stops my children from witnessing to their friends at school, that could get fined or go to jail for sharing their faith...we cant imagine, but that is where we are heading.

We are not fighting against people, but against principalities and the enemy.
I want to do everything i can to protect this freedom for the next generation.

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The Soul

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The Soul

The soul

3 John 1:2 3 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

That word prosper means "a good journey" - God wants you to have a good journey. 

I wanted to continue to look at the next part of the scripture in 3 John 1:2 which is THE SOUL.

What is the soul?

“The soul has a side in contact with both the material and the spiritual element of humanity, and is thus the mediating organ between body and spirit”.

What does this mean?

We live in a physical (material) world.
(Our body that allows us to do so.) This world is: created, temporary, connected to sin.

We also have the spiritual world. This is the world of the supernatural - it is perfect and eternal.

In between these two worlds is our soul. This is who we are - our personality, identity, gifts, talents.

Therefore our soul is “the gap between the natural world and the supernatural world”.

When we get saved our spirit is made perfect - this is called salvation - we are made perfect in the sight of God - this happens to our spirit.

However even though we get saved, we still live in a material world - in a world that is corrupted by sin.

Our soul is then connected to both the perfect eternal world, and the temporary natural world.

This explains why inside of every individual there is this desire to reach perfection. This battle between good and evil, right and wrong.

The soul is caught in this connection between heaven and earth.

When we get saved our spirit is made perfect, but our soul isn’t. Most people think that when they become a Christian everything will be perfect, well the reality is it wont.

Salvation is the process of “being made perfect” - this happens instantly in our spirit.

Sanctification is the process of “becoming more like Christ” - this happens over the rest of your life and happens in your soul.

This is where we want to focus on this year - on the soul.

What makes up the soul?

Well essentially there are four areas of the soul

1) The Flesh

The bible refers to the flesh, the part of us that is connected to our bodies.

2) Our Mind and Emotions

This is our thoughts and feelings.

3) The Heart

This is where our will, motives and intentions come from.

4) Our relationships

This is where we find connection and relationship.

These four areas are what make us who we are. 

These four areas are all connected, and sometimes one or two or three of these areas are healthy, but there might be one of these that God is challenging you to work on.

Psalm 23:1-3 ESV
[1] The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. [2] He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. [3] He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

God wants to restore your soul.

I believe we can see all four of these areas in this scripture.

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want" - this speaks to our Heart: our desires, intentions and motives.

At the end of the day I am content with what I have. 

When he is my Shepherd I don’t chase after meaningless pursuits. I am fulfilled in him. He will give me the desires of my heart.

Maybe God wants to restore this area of your life.

"He makes me lie down" - this speaks to our Flesh.

When I lay down my life, when I lay down my flesh he is able to lead me.

He is able to guide me - he is able to take me on that good journey he has planned for my life.

Maybe God wants to restore this area of your life.

"He leads me" - this speaks to Relationships.

Am I in relationship with him. Do walk with him every day?

Do I talk to him? Let him lead me?

He wants to model what healthy relationship looks like that we would have that with others.

Do you have healthy relationships?

Maybe God wants to restore that area of your life.

"Beside still waters" - this speaks to our Mind and Emotions.

Hows your mind, is it hectic and crazy and all over the place, or is there a peace?

Is there strength and security in your mind?

Are you tossed to an fro by the worries of life?

Is there doubt or anxiety or fear ruling your mind?

Maybe God wants to restore this area of your life.

Verse three goes on to show us WHY he wants to restore our soul - "He restores my soul, he leads me in paths of righteousness for his names sake."

The reason he wants to restore you is actually so you can help others.

God wants to use you to reach people.cHe wants to restore you so he can use you.

Our soul is like a bucket - if it has holes in it, then its hard to refresh others with what’s happening in our life.

He wants to restore us back to the vessels he created us to be.

That we would go into our community and be able to speak life and hope.To bring them to church where they can get restored.

Maybe we need to focus on the condition of our souls as much as we focus on the conditions of our body.

How’s our soul?

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