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The Doctrine of God
Sunday, 13 January 2008

I.  Introduction:

 Christians are what scholars call ‘monotheists.’  We believe that there is One God and no other.  Everything else apart from God belongs to the creation.  God alone is uncreated.  He has no rivals or equals.  He alone is God.  Tonight we want to consider the fact that there is only one God.  Particularly, I want to consider that He is self-existent and self-sufficient.  We will be touching on the truth of God’s unity, which we will consider in more detail when we discuss the doctrine of the Trinity in a few weeks.

II.  The Baptist Faith and Message

 A.  Why consider this?  Why is it significant for our study of the doctrine of God?  First, we must acknowledge that ‘The Baptist Faith and Message’(B, F, and M) is not authoritative like Scripture.  No, the Scripture is our only authority (which the B, F, and M affirms, see Article 1).  Yet, the B, F, and M is helpful in stating succinctly what we believe the Bible teaches as Southern Baptists.  It is what we call our statement of faith.  It is a good summary of our beliefs as Baptists.  Thus, when considering the doctrine of God, it is good for us to briefly look at what it says.
 
 B.  The Baptist Faith and Message states (taken from Article 2):
 “There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and  personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is  infinite in holiness and all other perfections. God is all powerful and all knowing; and His  perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future  decisions of His free creatures. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and  obedience. The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,  with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.”

 I want you to notice the first sentence.  We believe that “there is one and only one living and true God.”  Again, as we noted above, we are monotheists.  We do not believe in multiple gods.  There is only one God.  As we work through this series, we will be considering some of the other statements, but tonight we are simply considering the fact that God is one (and only one).

III.  Some Passages:

 A.  Genesis 1:1.  God was the only one in the beginning.  From this point the Bible moves to telling us of God’s creation, which is how everything else came into existence.  Thus, God was prior to the creation of all things for He was the Creator of all things.  We will consider this more later, as well as the idea of His eternality.
 
 B.  Exodus 3:13-14.  When Moses asks for the name of God, the Lord tells him that His name is ‘I AM.’  As you see in the ESV footnote, this phrase could be translated: ‘I am what I am’ or ‘I will be what I will be.’  This is where we get the name ‘Yahweh’ for God.  We see that God is not contingent upon anything else.  He simply is and has always been and will always be.  No created thing can make such a claim, for they owe their existence to something outside of them.  We will consider this more in a moment.

 C.  Deuteronomy 4:32-39, 6:4.  The first passage emphasizes the fact that there is no other God except Yahweh.  He alone is God.  The second passage, the often quoted ‘shemah’ states clearly that God is one.  Thus, He is One and He is the only One.  We will consider this passage again when we talk about the Trinity.  (see also 1 Samuel 2:2, 2 Samuel 22:32, Isaiah 45:5, 18, 22)

 D.  Isaiah 40:13-14.  This chapter is one we will turn to often during this series for it tells us much about God.  These two verses tell us plainly that God does not need the help or ‘counsel’ from anyone else.  As we will discuss in a moment, He is self-sufficient.

 E.  Isaiah 46:8-11.  Again, God affirms through the prophet Isaiah that there is only one God.  We also see that His purposes stand, which tells us that He has no rivals.

 F.  John 5:26.  God has life in himself.  He is not dependent on any other and no other is like Him having life within themselves.

 G.  Acts 17:24-25.  Paul in his speech to the Areopagus, tells us plainly that God does not need anything from anyone outside of Himself.  He has no need.  All life comes from Him.

 H.  Romans 11:34-35.  Again, Paul affirms that He has no need for anything.  He alone is the One, True God.  He owes His existence to none and all else owe their existence to Him.

IV.  Some Lessons:

 A.  God is One and He is the only One.  The Scriptures make it clear that there is no other God but one and that God is one.  Thus, we do well to recognize and worship Him as the One True God, with no rivals and no equals.

 B.  God is self-existent.  God is uncreated.  He spoke everything into existence, but He Himself has always been.  He owes His existence to none.  He is sustained by none but Himself.  He is self-existent.  (This could be considered an attribute of God which we will discuss later, but as we said last week, the categories will overlap at points.  This, and the next lesson, is one of those points.)

 C.  God is self-sufficient.  God needs nothing.  He is not needy in any way.  He is not contingent upon anything outside of Himself.  Listen how Tozer describes this:

Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support.  The picture of a nervous,  ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God that is precisely what we see.  Twentieth-century Christianity has put God on charity.  So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it  quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God.  But the truth is that God’s not greater for our being, nor would He be less if we did not exist.  That we do exist is altogether of God’s free determination, not by our desert nor by divine necessity. 1

The Lord is not in need of us.  Granted, He has chosen to create and love and be gracious to us.  But this is not because He was lacking something.  Rather, we are the needy ones.  We are the desperate ones.  And by His grace, our desperation is met with great mercy from Almighty God.  Again, listen to Tozer’s words: “God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but he has no necessary relation to anything outside of Himself.  His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure, not from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in Himself.” 2

V.  Conclusion:

 God is one and He is the only One.  As we said last week, what the Bible reveals to us about God is hard for us to get our minds around.  Yet, it does us good to remember the simple truth that there is only One God and we are not Him.  It rightly humbles us to meditate on the fact that God did not need us but He chose to create us and redeem us for His good pleasure.  Likewise, we must remember that our service to Him is not because He needs something, but because He has given us the glorious privilege and joy of serving Him.  We know that any work we can do for Him, we do because He has done and is doing and will do a work in us.  To the One and only God be all glory and praise.  Amen.

A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1961), p. 34.
2  Ibid, p. 32.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 January 2008 )

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